Archive for the 'War' Category

Beit Hanun Massacre – Photos without Words

Click on the Picture, to see the remaining 157 Photos of the Beit Hanun Massacre!

A genocide on children…CHILDREN!!

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Armenian Genocide – Turkification!

The French College in Aintoura, Lebanon or Jemal Paha’s orphanage where Armenian children were to be turkified!

ARTICLE BY: Nora Parseghian

The Armenian nation lived the most horrible phase of its history in 1915. The Ottoman authorities executed the Genocide which resulted in the killing of over 1 million Armenians, while most of the Armenians remaining on the western parts of historic Armenia were compelled to leave there cities and villages and deported, marched towards the deserts of Iraq and Syria.

Parts of the deported Armenians reached Lebanon where they believed that they were left in peace without realizing that in one of the not-so-far villages of Lebanon, namely Aintoura, near Zouk, Keserwan, which is about half an hour drive from the capital city Beirut, a plan of Turkification of Armenian orphans had been put in motion in 1915.

Such a new page in the history of the Armenian Genocide was recently discovered by Missak Keleshian, who is an avid collector of all kinds of photos of the Armenian Genocide. This is how he speaks about this most recent discovery:

 “A few months ago I was reading a book entitled “The Lions of Marash” by Stanley E. Kerr, (President of the American Univerity of Beirut) who tells about his personal experiences with Near East Relief during the years 1919-1922.

In the book I came across a shocking photo with the following caption:

“Jemal Pasha…on the steps of the French College at Aintoura, Lebanon. Jemal Pasha had established an orphanage for Armenian children in the college building and had appointed Halide Edib to be its directress”.

Halide Edib Hanum was a famous Turkish feminist and very well known for her efforts to turkify Armenian orphans. Beside being shocking, the photo was the first step that lead to a new discovery.

“On December 8, 2005 I visited the village of Aintoura and located the school where the photo was taken. It’s a famous French College and it was established by the Jesuit priests 1657-1783 and Lazarist priests 1783-1834.

I met with the school principal Superior Lazarist Father Jean Sfeir and after showing him the photo, I asked for his permission to research the school’s archives for additional information about it and reveal its entire history. He was also amazed by the photo and asked the archivist of the school to assist me.”

“The archivist of the school Mr. Jean Sebastian Arhan, a Frenchman who came to Lebanon 43 years ago and has been since working in the archive of the French College in Aintoura. I showed him the photo and explained to him what I was looking for. To my amazement he was not only well aware of that part of the school’s history that I was interested in but he had also gathered all the archival material pertaining to that period in a separate file which he gave to me.”

According to Missak Keleshian, the most important revelation of the photo is the presence of Jemal Pasha and Halide Hanum beside Armenian orphans. Halide Hanum (Halide Edib Adivar 1884-1964) was one of the world renowned feminists of her times. She had received higher education American College for Women in1901. Best known for her novels criticizing the low social status of Turkish women; her first novel Seviye Talip, was published in 1909, Her first husband, Salih Zeki, then she remarried Dr. Adnan Adivar in 1917.

She served as a sergeant in Turkey’s nationalist military. Lived in UK, France, and as one of the early feminists met with Gandhi and visited the United States of America for meeting with the leaders of the feminist movement there. She fell in love with Kemal Atatourk but the latter rejected her.

Halide Hanum was a strong supporter of the pashas who planned, organized and executed the Armenian Genocide and played a crucial role in the efforts to turkify the remnants of the Armenians and was one of the leaders of that effort with Nigar Hanum.

Halide Adivar was Member of Parliament 1950-1954.

On October 29, 1914 the Ottoman Empire declared war against France, Great Britain and Russia. Therefore the agreement signed between the great powers and the Ottomans giving Mount Lebanon special status on June 9, 1861 was voided.

The last christian governor of Lebanon, Ohannes Kouyoumdjian Pasha, is replaced by Ali Mounif Bey, during whose reign Lebanon lived horrible condition including hunger, very harsh economic conditions and a surge in the number of executions.

At the end of 1915, the kaymakam (district governor) of Jounieh informs the responsible of the Aintoura College that they must close it down. The clergy are compelled to leave to another monastery on a higher altitude, others are taken to Anatolia and Ourfa while a few older priests, who are unable to travel, remain in Aintoura.

Following the expulsion of the Lazarist priests the school is transformed into an orphanage for Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish children. In 1915 the school housed 800 orphans and 30 soldiers who guarded the school. The staff consisted of 10 Lebanese and the director was Nebih Bey. This is when efforts to turkify the Armenian orphans start to be implemented.

The boys are circumcised and they are given Arabic and Turkish names by keeping the first letters of their Armenian names.

This is how Haroutiun Najarian becomes Hamid Nazim, Boghos Merdanian becomes Bekim Mohammed, Sarkis Sarafian becomes Safwad Suleyman.

Poor sanitary conditions, lack of nourishment and diseases prevail in the school and as a result a big number of children die. Turkish responsibles visiting the school blame Nebih Bey and accuse him of incompetence.

In 1916, the commander of the Fourth Turkish Army Jemal Pasha decides to visit the orphanage. Upon being informed that the official who had appointed him to his position and charged him with the responsibility of turkifying the orphans is planning a visit, Nebih Bey orders the statues of St. Joseph and the statue of father Saliege removed from the school’s entrance. Jemal Pasha arrives at the school accompanied by feminist Halide Hanum, who is immediately appointed to replace Nebih Bey as the principal of the orphanage.

 Halide Hanum is assisted by five Lebanese nuns from the Sacred Heart Order, who are responsible of the sanitation and nutrition of the orphans and other chores. Beside the Aintoura orphanage, Halide Hanum is also responsible of the Sister Nazareth school in Beirut, which is closed down in 1917.

400 new orphans between the ages 3-15 are brought to Aintoura with Jemal Pasha. They are accompanied by 15 young women from Turkish elite families, who join the team of 40 people working towards the islamization and turkification of the orphans.

Halide Hanum, the principal of the school, was the highest authority and was supervising all the activities aiming at the full turkification of the orphans in the shortest possible interval. Her goal was to transform the Aintoura College into an idea Turkish institution.

While famine was prevailing in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon and the Turkish plan to exterminate the Armenians by the sword and the Arabs by famine was being carried on, cows, sheep and flour were abundant in the Aintoura orphanage.

The goal was to have well fed and healthy newly turkified children. Lebanese outside the compound walls used to gather and beg for food.

Teaching at the orphanage was in Turkish. Older orphans were trained in trades – shoemaking, carpentry and others and the mullah assigned to the schools called the children to prayer five times a day.

Every night the band used to play “Long live Jemal Pasha”.

In the summer of 1916 leprosy starts spreading within the orphanage while the Ottoman Armies start loosing on the fronts in the Balkans and in Palestine.

Lutfy Bey, Rashid Bey and Halide Hanum abandon the school and the orphanage starts falling into chaos. Students start leaving the school compound and disorderly conduct leads to fights between the Turkish and Kurdish students on one side and the Armenian orphans – who were blaming the parents of the Turkish and Kurdish students of having killed their parents – on the other.

It is only through the interference of the Turkish soldiers stationed at the school that killings are avoided.

From the 1200 orphans kept at the Aintoura orphanage one thousand are Armenians and the remaining 200 are Turkish and Kurdish.

The Armenian orphans used to keep forks and other sharp objects to defend themselves. When the Ottomans retreat and the French and British arrive in the region, accompanied by members of the clergy, they find a chaotic situation in the school. One of the Lazarist leaders approaches Bayard Dodge, an officer of the American University of Beirut for assistance, who immediately complies with the request and arrange for shipments of food through the American Red Cross.

On October 1, 1918 the Turkish Army abandons Lebanon. On October 7 Father Sarlout returns to Aintoura and realizes that the situation is untenable. He arranges for the Turkish and Kurdish orphans to be transported to Damascus to ease the tension within the orphanage.

He then gathers the Armenian orphans and starts working with them to remember their Armenian names and tries to explain to them that the turkification process they were going through is no longer in force.

Once convinced, the Armenian orphans start calling each other by their original names then they gather all the forks and sharp items they were hiding and “surrender” them to the school officials.

The statue of St. Joseph is returned to its podium and the French flag flies over the school. But father Sarlout realizes that his resources are limited and he cannot support that many orphans. He calls upon Bayard Dodge and the American Red Cross to support the school and the orphans.

Mr. Crawford is then appointed principal of the Aintoura school, the staff of the school is replaced by Armenian teachers and the orphans are offered lessons in Armenian and English. Later “Near East Relief” takes over the school and keeps it until the fall of 1919, when the male orphans are sent to Aleppo and the females to the Armenian orphanage in the village of Ghazir, Lebanon.

While the school was under Turkish control, as a result of malnourishment, lack of sanitary conditions and diseases (mainly typhus), 300 Armenian orphans die. They are buried during 1916 in the backyard of the school.

In 1993 the school directors decide to build an extension in that same backyard. When they start digging the ground they come across human remains which they gather and rebury in a few joint graves in the cemetery belonging to the Aintoura priests.

When the Turks leave and Father Sarlout returns to the school, he finds there 670 orphans – 470 boys and 200 girls.

“Wondering in the different parts of the school, one corner looked very familiar to me. At a first glance I couldn’t remember where or how I had seen that spot but I was sure that this was not new to me. When I returned home I started working in my collection of photographs and after three hours I found what I was looking for:

it was the photo of a young orphan, which was actually taken in the same corner of the Aintoura school that looked familiar to me. The original of the photo was in the archives of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon, in the documents and photos belonging to Maria Jacobson.

The writing on the side of the photo notes: “Armenian orphan, clean-cut and bright”. The seal of “Near East Relief” is still visible at the bottom-left of the photo. At the time, the photo in question did not seem that important but toady, following the newly discovered facts about the Aintoura college, it was another piece of the puzzle I was faced with”,- says Keleshian.

By putting the photos side by side and researching the archives of the Aintoura College, Missak Keleshian succeeded in reconstructing one of the most horrifying phases in the life of the orphans of the Armenian Genocide – Turkification, which was nothing else but another portion of the general plan of annihilating the Armenian nation.

Types of Armenians?

i  did a bit of a research on armenians, and came across some interesting sites and message boards.

what puzzled me was the clarification and almost racist remarks against some specific groups of armenians, by armenians for armenians.

here is a “racial definition ” from a armenian teen site, which may or may not has some true traits about armenians?

Types of Armenians

 ::Hyastanci, Barskahyes, Beirutsis, Trabizontsi:: 

YOU’RE HYASTANCI IF…

– IF your rims cost more than your house
– If you wear Lofers
– If your welfare check is bigger than your car payments
– If You wear 4 or 5 stripe adidas or Badidas
– If you have one eyebrow
– If you think you’re in some Armenian Mafia
– If you think everyone’s name is “Ara”
– If your armpits smell like basterma
– if your beamer’s liscense plate says Davo em apeh
– If you have an illegal cell phone from North Hollywood
– If what you’re reading is on a stolen/bought or at good guys computer
– If you playa hate Beirutsis and Barskahyes

YOU’RE BARSKAHYE IF…

– if you have a special way of pronouncing R when speaking Armenian
– if your last name ends w/ “IAN”
– if you go to Shiraz regularly
– if your name or your cousin’s is ARTIN or ARBI or NARBEH
– If your favirote word is “HEIR” (meaning why)
– If you CALL what you do Break Dancing
– If you pluck your eyebrows or shave your legs
– If you go to Ararat parties and call them Raves
– if you wear blue contacts
– if you go “bareeeeeeeeeeev, mamen baben inchbeseeeeeeeeeeeeeeen?”

YOU’RE BEIRUTSI IF…

– You go to Teen Dances every week
– You’re in AYF
– if you always go “yallah”
– if you think that you’re the best in everything
– if your name is panos, sako, george, puzant, garo, rita, sevag, jirayr, anto…or anything else as of that.
– if every sentence you say, you end with “AGA, SHAKHS, or LAN”
– YOU Become a mechanic in the future after being in law school
– if you have a computer just for Solitaire
– if you have more oil in your hair than you have in your car
– if you won’t date a guy without a car or money
– if you’re very very very tight with money $
– if your parents want you home before 6am
– if your parents are DEGENERATE gamblers
– if you call your Peachfuzz A Goatee
– if your dad owns a Panose’s Bakery
– If you work at Gap, Millers Outpost, or some “cool” store
– if you buy your clothes from abercrombie or you know , that kinda stuff
– if you have an ararad masis picture in your TV room
– if you have one of those William Saroyan posters
– if your dad thinks “oghi for life”
– if you have “dolma” on a weekly basis
– if you like giving only GOLD stuff as gifts.

more from the forum, as a reply to above quoted:

“You’re true Nor-Nakhichevantsi if:
1. Your favorite vehicle is three-weeled motorcycle.
2. Your call russian men “Khaskhi” and women “Marushka”.
3. Your call your elder brother “aga”.
4. Your favorite dessert is water-mellon
5. You call other armenians “tusatsi”, and wonder they speak such a tongue-breaking language
6. You think of a “house” when hayastantsi says “you”.
7. You believe that your dialect only is genuine armenian, and that the true armenian word for “time” (jamanak) is “saat” (which really is arabic ).You’re true Trapezundtsi(Trabizontsi) if:
1. You KNOW that you ARE the best in the world. You from your birth already know everything a person may need to know to be successful in life.
2. Your really can rise grapes and make wine. Its in your blood.
3. Your favorite vehicle is “moskvich–pirozhok”.
4. You swim good but after 30-ty you go swimming once in decade.
– – –

anyhow, i’ve been trying to find a correct translation for  “Barskahye”. all i could find was a translation of  being ” very masculine”.

why are these classifications within one nation – Armenia ?

i now have these four types of armenians, and i am not sure if i understand any of it.

i suppose some of above answers may be funny to armenians, but maybe i am to serious about the history of armenia and just can’t really see much humor in it (aside the arab comment ).

now i have these different types of armenians. but what is the real meaning of these names ( below). yet google didn’t gave me any satisfying answers

::Hyastanci, Barskahyes, Beirutsis, Trabizontsi::

what are the true meanings?

zum~

ps: i’ve found an incredible site, giving a photographic historical tour of armenia.

i’ve been looking at the photos for the past 2 hours and i am amazed. i will not hotlink the photos from the site, i do respect the copy rights of the creator.

but yet, i think every armenian, or whomever is interested in historical facts should look at these photos

http://www.djavakhk.com/

Iraqi tribunal sentences Saddam to hang

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town, as the ousted leader, trembling and defiant, shouted “God is great!”

As he, his half brother and another senior official in his regime were convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal, Saddam yelled out, “Long live the people and death to their enemies. Long live the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!” Later, his lawyer said the former dictator had called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and refrain from revenge against U.S. forces.

The trial brought Saddam and his co-defendants before their accusers in what was one of the most highly publicized and heavily reported trials of its kind since the Nuremberg tribunals for members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime and its slaughter of 6 million Jews in the World War II Holocaust

“The verdict placed on the heads of the former regime does not represent a verdict for any one person. It is a verdict on a whole dark era that has was unmatched in  Iraq‘s history,” said Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shiite prime minister.

Some feared the court decision could exacerbate the sectarian violence that has pushed the country to the brink of civil war, after a trial that stretched over nine months in 39 sessions and ended nearly 3 1/2 months ago. The verdict came two days before midterm elections in the United States widely seen as a referendum on the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. U.S. and Iraqi officials have denied the timing was deliberate.

The White House praised the Iraqi judicial system and denied the U.S. had been “scheming” for the verdict.

Iraqis “are the ones who conducted the trial. The Iraqi judges are the ones who spent all the time pouring over the evidence. … It’s important to give them credit for running their own government,” said Tony Snow, the president’s spokesman.

In north Baghdad’s heavily Sunni Azamiyah district, clashes broke out between police and gunmen. Elsewhere in the capital, celebratory gunfire rang out.

“This government will be responsible for the consequences, with the deaths of hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands, whose blood will be shed,” Salih al-Mutlaq, a Sunni political leader, told the Al-Arabiya satellite television station.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants were on trial for a wave of revenge killings carried out in the city of Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt on the former dictator. Al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa party, then an underground opposition, has claimed responsibility for organizing the attempt on Saddam’s life.

In the streets of Dujail, people celebrated and burned pictures of their former tormentor as the verdict was read.

Saddam’s chief lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi condemned the trial as a “farce,” claiming the verdict was planned. He said defense attorneys would appeal within 30 days.

The death sentences automatically go to a nine-judge appeals panel, which has unlimited time to review the case. If the verdicts and sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days.

A court official told The Associated Press that the appeals process was likely to take three to four weeks once the formal paperwork was submitted.

During Sunday’s hearing, Saddam initially refused the chief judge’s order to rise; two bailiffs pulled the ousted ruler to his feet and he remained standing through the sentencing, sometimes wagging his finger at the judge.

Before the session began, one of Saddam’s lawyers, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, was ejected from the courtroom after handing the judge a memorandum in which he called the trial a travesty.

Chief Judge Raouf Abdul-Rahman pointed to Clark and said in English, “Get out.”

In addition to the former Iraqi dictator and Barzan Ibrahim, his former intelligence chief and half brother, the Iraqi High Tribunal convicted and sentenced Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the head of Iraq’s former Revolutionary Court, to death by hanging. Iraq’s former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Three defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison for torture and premeditated murder. Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid and his son Mizhar Abdullah Ruwayyid were party officials Dujail, along with Ali Dayih Ali. They were believed responsible for the Dujail arrests.

Mohammed Azawi Ali, a former Dujail Baath Party official, was acquitted for lack of evidence and immediately freed.

He faces additional charges in a separate case over an alleged massacre of Kurdish civilians — a trial that will continue while appeals are pending.

The guilty verdict is likely to enrage hard-liners among Saddam’s fellow Sunnis, who made up the bulk of the former ruling class. The country’s majority Shiites were persecuted under the former leader but now largely control the government.

Al-Dulaimi, Saddam’s lawyer, told AP his client called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and called on them to refrain from taking revenge on U.S. invaders.

“His message to the Iraqi people was ‘pardon and do not take revenge on the invading nations and their people’,” al-Dulaimi said, quoting Saddam. “The president also asked his countrymen to ‘unify in the face of sectarian strife.'”

In Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, 1,000 people defied the curfew and carried pictures of the city’s favorite son through the streets. Some declared the court a product of the U.S. “occupation forces” and condemned the verdict.

“By our souls, by our blood we sacrifice for you Saddam” and “Saddam your name shakes America.”

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad issued a statement saying the verdicts “demonstrate the commitment of the Iraqi people to hold them (Saddam and his co-defendants) accountable.”

“Although the Iraqis may face difficult days in the coming weeks, closing the book on Saddam and his regime is an opportunity to unite and build a better future,” Khalilzad said.

Two U.S. officials who worked as advisers to the court on matters of international judicial procedures said Saddam’s repeated outbursts during the trial may have played a key part in his conviction.

They cited his admission in a March 1 hearing that he had ordered the trial of 148 Shiites who were eventually executed, insisting that doing so was legal because they were suspected in the assassination attempt against him. “Where is the crime? Where is the crime?” he asked, standing before the panel of five judges.

Later in the same session, he argued that he was in charge and he alone must be tried. His outburst came a day after the prosecution presented a presidential decree with a signature they said was Saddam’s approval for the Dujail death sentences, their most direct evidence against him.

About 50 of those sentenced by the “Revolutionary Court” died during interrogation before they could go to the gallows. Some of those hanged were children.

“Every time they (defendants) rose and spoke, they provided a lot of incriminating evidence,” said one of the U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Under Saddam, Iraq’s bureaucracy showed a consistent tendency to document orders, policies and minutes of meetings. One document gave the names of everyone from Dujail banished to a desert detention camp in southern Iraq. Another, prepared by an aide to Saddam, gave the president a detailed account of the punitive measures against the people of Dujail.

Saddam’s trial had from the outset appeared to reflect the turmoil and violence in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

One of Saddam’s lawyers was assassinated the day after the trial’s opening session last year. Two more were later assassinated and a fourth fled the country.

In January, chief judge Rizgar Amin, a Kurd, resigned after complaints by Shiite politicians that he had failed to keep control of court proceedings. He, in turn, complained of political interference. Abdul-Rahman, another Kurd, replaced Amin.

Hearings were disrupted by outbursts from Saddam and Ibrahim, with the two raging against what they said was the illegitimacy of the court, their ill treatment in the U.S.-run facility where they are being held and the lack of protection for their lawyers.

The defense lawyers contributed to the chaos in the courtroom by staging several boycotts.

AWOL soldiers reconsider return to U.S.

By BRETT BARROUQUERE, Associated Press Writer Sat Nov 4, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Since going to Canada to avoid another deployment to Iraq, Corey Glass has considered returning to the United States. But after hearing that a fellow former soldier who surrendered to the military and was ordered to return to his unit instead of being discharged, Glass may not return at all.

“They’re not going to win the hearts and minds like that,” said Glass, 24, who signed on with the Indiana National Guard in 2002.

Kyle Snyder, a one-time combat engineer who joined the military in 2003, disappeared Wednesday, a day after surrendering at Fort Knox and 18 months after fleeing to Vancouver instead of redeploying to Iraq.

Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said a deal had been reached for a discharge, but he found out he would be returned to his unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

His troubles are complicating efforts for those among the 220 American soldiers who fled to Canada and want to return to the United States, according to lawyers, soldiers and anti-war activists.

“Nobody’s going to come back from Canada anymore,” said James Fennerty, a Chicago-based attorney who represents Snyder and other AWOL soldiers.

Several soldiers who went to Canada have said they don’t want to return to Iraq. Sgt. Patrick Hart, who deserted the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division in August 2005, a month before his second deployment, said he felt misled about the reasons for the war.

“How can I go over there if I don’t believe in the cause? I still consider myself a soldier, but I can’t do that,” said Hart, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who served more than nine years in the military.

“The whole story behind it, it all feels like a big lie,” Glass said. “I ain’t fighting for no lie.”

Fennerty said he reached a deal with the Army allowing Snyder, a private with the 94th Engineer Battalion, to receive an other-than-honorable discharge.

It’s a deal similar to one Darrell Anderson, a 24-year-old Iraq war veteran, received in October. After three days at Fort Knox, Anderson, who has denounced the war as “illegal” and “immoral,” was released to his family in Lexington, then discharged.

But Snyder ended up at a bus station in Louisville, with orders to go to St. Louis, then Fort Leonard Wood. Snyder, who said the brutality of what he saw happening to civilians in Iraq prompted him to desert, left with an anti-war activist instead of going back to the post.

Gini Sinclair, a Fort Knox spokeswoman, declined to address Snyder’s case. But she said deserters who turn themselves in are automatically returned to their units if the unit is in the United States at the time of surrender. Once reunited with the unit, the commander there decides what becomes of the soldier, Sinclair said.

When a soldier surrenders at Fort Knox and is sent to his unit, he is either put on a plane or a bus, sometimes alone, she said.

“In some cases, they will be escorted,” Sinclair said. “I don’t know what decides if that happens.”

That policy, and the question of whether an AWOL soldier can reach a deal that trumps it, is causing consternation among soldiers.

“After what they did to him, I don’t see anybody going back,” said Glass, a Fairmount, Ind., native who is currently in Toronto.

Some are seeking refugee status in Canada. Hart, who was joined in Toronto by his wife and their 3-year-old son, served time in Bosnia in the early 1990s, became a reserve, then went to Iraq after returning to active duty. The idea of returning to the United States is appealing to Hart, because he would like to see family and friends.

“I could see going back under some kind of amnesty program or something like that,” Hart said. “But I don’t trust them. My enemy isn’t foreign now. It’s domestic.”

Screamers

    SOAD to appear at AFI fest Nov. 2nd on Screamers

Screamers

“Screamers” highlights System of a Down’s 2005 world tour. It includes long takes of 7 live performances in many cities from London to Los Angeles. Their music also serves as back ground to many of the other clips in the film.

The most interesting S.O.A.D. parts of the film, however, are the interviews with the band members talking about the personal importance of helping create awareness and recognition of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. They are caught on the tour bus playing around at times, but the story-re-telling of events of the Genocide that they have heard from their grandparents, is the films focus.
The best footage of this includes older home-video footage of Serj’s grandfather, (one of the few remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the world!), and interactions with Serj and his grandfather as of last spring.

There is a very special “sneak preview” for “Screamers” at the AFI fest November 2nd and 3rd. People can get tickets now. It is also confirmed that the entire band and director will be there the night of the 2nd.

For more information about this project including image gallery and video trailer check out: http://www.screamersmovie.com

    more:

The Holocaust, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur….


And every time a U.S. president, a British Prime Minister, a U.N. Secretary General says, “Never again.” Yet it happens-again, and again, and again….Why? Because, our leaders say, We didn’t know.Yet they did know recent studies have shown that the British knew conclusively what was going on at Auschwitz…yet buried that knowledge in their files because it would have forced them to change their war plans.

 Everyone knew what was going on in Cambodia, post-the Vietnam War, as the Academy Award-winning movie “The Killing Fields” demonstrates … yet the powers that be declined to admit it, for fear they would have to do something.In Carla Garapedian’s powerful new film, “Screamers,” Pulitzer prize-winner Samantha Power says President after President, Democrat and Republican, have known about genocides as they were happening … but have chosen not to act.


In Iraq, Reagan did not want the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s massacre against the Kurds to come out, because then he would have to do something to stop him. In Bosnia, world television coverage of the genocide convinced the international community to step in…but only after 200,000 had been murdered.
In Rwanda, Bill Clinton did not want the true horrors to come out …because then he would have to do something. And now, in Darfur, George Bush has finally declared the desolation of the Southern Sudan a “genocide”-yet refused to do what it takes to stop it.
Why? Because, once again, as in 1915, when the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, first reported the wholesale extermination of the Armenian population by the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia, it was denied so the United States would not be forced to act.
That reaction gave Hitler his impetus for the Holocaust: “Who remembers the Armenians?” he declared in 1939, before ordering the murder of 6 million European Jews.
In “Screamers,” Garapedian traces the history of modern-day genocide-and genocide denial- from the fertile “Holy Mountains” of Anatolia to the current atrocities in Darfur .
This documentary is as shattering as it is powerful,which includes interviews and live performance footage with System Of A Down, the multi-platinum, Grammy-Award winning rock band, all of whose members are Armenian-American.

The film is laced with seven of the band’s songs from “Holy Mountains” to “P.L.U.C.K.” to the #1 hit “B.Y.O.B.” that illuminate the band’s views on political and social issues. Conceived by longtime collaborators Peter McAlevey and Carla Garapedian (herself an Armenian-American and documentary director of “Lifting the Veil” and “Children of the Secret State”), “Screamers” came together in the summer 2004 after producer McAlevey (“Radio Flyer,” “Shadow Hours”) approached System of a Down’s legendary producer Rick Rubin about partnering with the band to make a documentary about one of their main causes – recognition of the Armenian genocide.With Rubin’s support, Garapedian met System Of A Down, who endorsed the film’s important message-how the world’s denial of the Turk’s Armenian genocide contributed to the continuing crisis of international genocides ever since – from Armenia to Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and present-day Darfur.The cameras followed System Of A Down on their European and American tours last summer and fall as they promoted their new, two-album set, “Mezmerize” and “Hypnotize.” (Their collective record sales have totaled over 16 million albums worldwide With the band’s cooperation, McAlevey and Garapedian, along with British producer Nick de Grunwald, secured a deal with BBC Television for UK TV rights.The film was mainly financed by The Raffy Manoukian Charity in the UK.Returning to the USA, Garapedian teamed up with McAlevey stalwarts — DP Charles Rose, editor Bill Yahraus, post-production supervisor Robin M. Rosenthal and production manager Don West — as the band continued its tour in the States.She attempted to track down House Speaker Dennis Hastert (who, according to Vanity Fair magazine, has taken $500,000 in campaign contributions from the Turks in return for allowing an Armenian genocide recognition bill from ever being passed by the House of Representatives), visited a 100-year-old survivor and, most importantly, spent time with lead vocalist’s Serj Tankian’s grandfather, one of the few remaining eyewitnesses of the genocide.

Finally, just this spring, seven months after staging a protest rally at Dennis Hastert’s offices in Illinois (dubbed “Dennis, Do the Right Thing”), Tankian and drummer John Dolmayan confronted Hastert in the Capital Rotunda … luckily, the cameras were there.With an ending filmed in the actual village in Turkey where the massacre of Tankian’s ancestors began, set against the ghostly strains of the hit “Holy Mountains,” Garapedian’s film comes full circle from 1915 through the horrors of 20th and 21st Century genocide in Darfur … to a finale of ghostly images of real ancestors that will never be forgotten.
While most of the concert footage had been handled in Europe, Garapedian faced the harder challenge of linking it all to the current political debate on genocide – in Europe, Turkey and the United States.

In America, the pressure was on the Bush Administration to acknowledge its own historical record and recognize the first genocide of the 20th Century, thus setting the stage for a worldwide recognition and reparations.

Here luck played a hand again-while age alone has decimated the population of eyewitness survivors of the massacres, one turned out to be Serj’s own grandfather, Stepan Haytayan. Stepan is one of the only survivors who survived the death march from Efkere, the village Serj’s family came from in Turkey.

Fortunately, despite being in poor health, Serj’s grandfather had been videotaped by Serj a few years earlier and that, combined with Carla’s research on the village from historical archives in Harvard and Britain, helped flesh out the story of what happened the day the massacres started and the forced death marches that followed.
Then, luck intervened again -in the middle of this process word reached the filmmakers that an Armenian-American survivor of the genocide had just turned 100 in Connecticut … and received a letter from Vice-President Dick Cheney congratulating her on her good fortune in surviving the “Armenian genocide.”

It was the first time a ranking American vice-president had ever used the “g-word” officially to describe what the Turks had done. All of this just at the time the State Department was in the process of recalling its U.S. Ambassador to Armenia for using the “g-word” in connection with the Armenian genocide.

And also at a time when Congress was being asked to recognize the genocide and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, was in the political hot-seat, not least by the FBI whistle-blower, Sibel Edmonds, who consented to appear in the film.Racing to Connecticut to interview this survivor before the White House could recall the letter, Garapedian also had the good fortune to interview Henry Morgenthau III, whose grandfather had been the U.S.

Ambassador to Turkey at the time and witnessed the massacres with his own eyes, as well Pulitzer prize-winning Harvard Professor Samantha Power, whose 2002 book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” demonstrates how all the subsequent genocides of the 20th and 21st Centuries date back to our simple inability to admit what the Turks did to the Armenians.
Again, as Hitler said in ordering the destruction of European Jewry, “Who remembers the Armenians?”

Well, Power does-as does every Armenian, anywhere in the world. As do Rwandans who have an exhibit on the Armenian genocide at the very sight where the worst killing was perpetrated. As Power argues in the movie, the problem with genocide is “you can’t kill them all; there are always survivors.”

And those survivors, Power says, become the “Screamers,” the one’s who can’t rest until the world knows what has happened –
Elie Wiesel on the Holocaust, David Puttnam making “The Killing Fields” about what happened in Cambodia, Dennis Quaid giving a year of his life to a film about Bosnia or Don Cheadle starring in the acclaimed “Hotel Rwanda.”

And, in the end, that’s what “Screamers” is all about-an internationally produced film by an equally international crew that uses the music of a band of genocide survivors to explicate one of the great questions of our time:

‘Can we stop genocide? Do we really mean ‘never again?’

In the end, as lead singer Serj Tankian stands, surveying mountains very like those of his native Anatolia (and System’s mournful song “Holy Mountains” plays in the background),

Garapedian’s cameras track through the rocky remains of Efkere, his grandfather’s ruined village, as images of the sacrifice in each household appear and the roll call of the dead continues:
“Armenia-1.5 million dead; The Holocaust-6 million dead; Cambodia-2 million dead; Rwanda-800,000 dead; Bosnia-200,000 dead; Darfur-400,000 dead

and counting.”

As Serj Tankian says at the end: “I think we should all be Screamers.”

The Abu Ghraib files

my stomach is twisting. i’ve seen many photos of the “abu ghraib prison torture”…but the ones i’ve just looked at, my goodness. it is very hard for me to stomach these pixel clear photos.

i can only suggest, whomever comes across my blog, throw your food away, keep the kids away and be ready for these photos. it is beyond my thinking, or even writing. i just can’t express what i’ve just read and saw.

please note, many of these 279 photos have not been released yet.

– – –

photos from salon.com, enter at your own risk!

279 photographs and 19 videos from the Army’s internal investigation record a harrowing three months of detainee abuse inside the notorious prison — and make clear that many of those responsible have yet to be held accountable.

Editor’s note: The 10 galleries of photo and video evidence appear chronologically in the left column, followed by an additional Salon report on prosecutions for abuse and an overview of Pentagon investigations and other resources. The nine essays accompanying the photo galleries were reported and written by Michael Scherer and Mark Benjamin. Photo and video captions were compiled by Page Rockwell. Additional research, reporting and writing for “The Abu Ghraib Files” were contributed by Jeanne Carstensen, Mark Follman, Page Rockwell and Tracy Clark-Flory.

By Joan Walsh

The human rights scandal now known as “Abu Ghraib” began its journey toward exposure on Jan. 13, 2004, when Spc. Joseph Darby handed over horrific images of detainee abuse to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID). The next day, the Army launched a criminal investigation. Three and a half months later, CBS News and the New Yorker published photos and stories that introduced the world to devastating scenes of torture and suffering inside the decrepit prison in Iraq.

Today Salon presents an archive of 279 photos and 19 videos of Abu Ghraib abuse first gathered by the CID, along with information drawn from the CID’s own timeline of the events depicted. As we reported Feb. 16, Salon’s Mark Benjamin recently acquired extensive documentation of the CID investigation — including this photo archive and timeline — from a military source who spent time at Abu Ghraib and who is familiar with the Army probe.

Although the world is now sadly familiar with images of naked, hooded prisoners in scenes of horrifying humiliation and abuse, this is the first time that the full dossier of the Army’s own photographic evidence of the scandal has been made public. Most of the photos have already been seen, but the Army’s own analysis of the story behind the photos has never been fully told. It is a shocking, night-by-night record of three months inside Abu Ghraib’s notorious cellblock 1A, and it tells the story, in more graphic detail than ever before, of the rampant abuse of prisoners there. The annotated archive also includes new details about the role of the CIA, military intelligence and the CID itself in abuse captured by cameras in the fall of 2003.

The Bush administration, which recently announced plans to shut the notorious prison and transfer detainees to other sites in Iraq, would like the world to believe that it has dealt with the abuse, and that it’s time to move on. But questions about what took place there, and who was responsible, won’t end with Abu Ghraib’s closure.

In fact, after two years of relative silence, there’s suddenly new interest in asking questions. A CID spokesman recently told Salon that the agency has reopened its investigation into Abu Ghraib “to pursue some additional information” after having called the case closed in October 2005. Just this week, one of two prison dog handlers accused of torturing detainees by threatening them with dogs went on trial in Fort Meade, Md. Lawyers for Army Sgt. Michael J. Smith argue that he was only implementing dog-use policies approved by his superiors, and Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the former commander of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony at Smith’s trial.

Meanwhile, as Salon reported last week, the Army blocked the retirement of Major Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former Guantánamo interrogation commander who allegedly brought tougher intelligence tactics to Abu Ghraib, after two senators requested that he be kept on active duty so that he could face further questioning for his role in the detainee abuse scandal. Miller refused to testify at the dog-handler trials, invoking the military equivalent of the Fifth Amendment to shield himself from self-incrimination, but Pappas has charged that Miller introduced the use of dogs and other harsh tactics at the prison. Also last week, Salon revealed that U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Christopher R. Brinson is fighting the reprimand he received for his role in the abuse. Brinson, currently an aide to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., supervised military police Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr. and some of the other guards who have been convicted in the scandal. Now Brinson joins a growing chorus of Abu Ghraib figures who blame the higher command structure for what happened at the prison.

Against this backdrop of renewed scrutiny, we think the CID photo archive and related materials we present today merit close examination. In “The Abu Ghraib Files,” Salon presents an annotated, chronological version of these crucial CID investigative documents — the most comprehensive public record to date of the military’s attempt to analyze the photos from the prison. All 279 photos and 19 videos are reproduced here, along with the original captions created by Army investigators. They have been grouped into chapters that follow the CID’s timeline, and each chapter has been narrated with the facts and findings of the Taguba, Schlesinger, Fay-Jones and other Pentagon investigations (see sidebar at salon.com’s website)

But the documentation in “The Abu Ghraib Files” also draws from materials that have not been released to the public. Among these is the official logbook kept by those military soldiers who committed the bulk of the photographed abuse. Salon has also acquired an April 2005 CID interview with military police Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., one of the ringleaders of the abuse. (One hundred seventy-three of the 279 photos in the archive were taken with Graner’s Sony FD Mavica camera.) The interview was conducted several months after Graner was court-martialed and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He received a grant of immunity against further prosecution for anything he revealed. The documentation also draws from the unpublished testimony of Brinson to the CIA’s Office of Inspector General about the death of a prisoner at the hands of the CIA.

Thanks in part to that additional sourcing, “The Abu Ghraib Files” sheds new light on the 3-year-old prison abuse scandal. While many of the 279 photos have been previously released, until this point no one has been able to authenticate this number of images from the prison, or to provide the Army’s own documentation of what they reveal. This is the Army’s forensic report of what happened at the prison: dates, times, places, cameras and, in some though not all cases, identities of the detainees and soldiers involved in the abuse. (Salon has chosen to withhold detainee identities not previously known to the public, and to obscure their faces in photographs, to protect the victims’ privacy.)

Some of the noteworthy revelations include:

  • The prisoner in perhaps the most iconic photo from Abu Ghraib, the hooded man standing on a box with electrical wires attached to his hands, was being interrogated by the CID itself for his alleged role in the kidnapping and murder of two American soldiers in Iraq. As noted in Chapter 4, “Electrical Wires,” a CID spokesman confirmed to Salon that a CID agent was suspended in fall 2004 pending an investigation and later found “derelict in his duties” for his role in prisoner abuse. Salon could not confirm whether the agent was punished for his role in the abuse of the hooded man connected to electrical wires, known to military personnel as “Gilligan.”
  • The CID documentation, as well as other reporting, confirmed that a March 11 New York Times article identifying the prisoner in the iconic photo as Ali Shalal Qaissi, a local Baath Party member under Saddam Hussein and now a prisoners’ rights advocate in Jordan, was incorrect. The CID photo archive confirms that a prisoner matching Qaissi’s description — he has a deformed left hand — and known by the nickname “The Claw” was held at the prison and photographed by military police on the same night as the mock electrocution, but he was not the one standing on the box and attached to wires. The CID materials say all five photos of the hooded man were the prisoner known as “Gilligan.” It remains possible that Qaissi received similar treatment, but there is no record of that abuse.
  • Chapter 5, “Other Government Agencies,” tells the story behind photos of the mangled corpse of Manadel al-Jamadi, known as the “Ice Man,” who died during interrogation by a CIA officer. No one at the CIA has been prosecuted, even though al-Jamadi’s death was ruled a homicide. The chapter adds new detail about the CIA’s role in the prison drawn from Christopher Brinson’s testimony to CIA investigators.
  • As explained in Chapter 1, “Standard Operating Procedure,” some of the 279 photos and 19 videos in the archive depict controversial interrogation tactics employed in cellblock 1A. Among the examples of abuse on display in the photos were techniques sanctioned by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for use on “unlawful enemy combatants” in the “war on terror.” These include forced nudity, the use of dogs to terrorize prisoners, keeping prisoners in stress positions — physically uncomfortable poses of various types — for many hours, and varieties of sleep deprivation. Some of these techniques migrated from Guantánamo and Afghanistan to Iraq in 2003. (The abuse depicted in the Abu Ghraib photos did not occur during interrogation sessions, but in some cases military guards allege they were encouraged to “soften up” detainees for interrogation by higher-ranking military intelligence officers.)
  • Military intelligence personnel and civilian contractors employed by the military appear in some of the photographs with the military guards, and entries from a prison logbook captured in the archive show that in some cases military police believed their tough tactics were being approved by — and in some cases ordered by — military intelligence officers and civilian contractors. The logbook also documents prisoner rioting and the regular presence of multiple OGA (other government agency) detainees held in the military intelligence wing.

    Three years and at least six Pentagon investigations later, we now know that many share the blame for the outrages that took place at Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2003. The abuse took place against the backdrop of rising chaos in Iraq. In those months the U.S. military faced a raging insurgency for which it hadn’t planned. As mortar attacks rained down on the overcrowded prison — at one point there were only 450 guards for 7,000 prisoners — its command structure broke down. At the same time, the pressure from the Pentagon and the White House for “actionable intelligence” was intense, and harsh interrogation techniques were approved to obtain it. Bush administration lawyers, including Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, had already created a radical post-9/11 legal framework that disregarded the Geneva Conventions and other international laws governing the humane treatment of prisoners in the “war on terror.” Intelligence agencies such as the CIA were apparently given the green light to operate by their own set of secret rules.

    But while the Pentagon’s own probes have acknowledged that military commanders, civilian contractors, the CIA and government policymakers all bear some responsibility for the abuses, to date only nine enlisted soldiers have been prosecuted for their crimes at Abu Ghraib (see sidebar). An additional four soldiers and eight officers, including Brinson, Pappas and Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of military police at Abu Ghraib, have been reprimanded. (Pappas and Karpinski were also relieved of their posts.) To date no high-level U.S. officials have been brought to justice in a court of law for what went on at Abu Ghraib.

    Our purpose for presenting this large catalog of images remains much the same as it was four weeks ago when we first published a much smaller number of Abu Ghraib photos that had not previously appeared in the media. As Walter Shapiro wrote, Abu Ghraib symbolizes “the failure of a democratic society to investigate well-documented abuses by its soldiers.” The documentary record of the abuse has come out in the media in a piecemeal fashion, often lacking context or description. Meanwhile, our representatives in Washington have allowed the facts about what occurred to fester in Pentagon reports without acting on their disturbing conclusions. We believe this extensive, if deeply disturbing, CID archive of photographic evidence belongs in the public record as documentation toward further investigation and accountability.

    While we want readers to understand what it is we’re presenting, we also want to make clear its limitations. The 279-photo CID timeline and other material obtained by Salon do not include the agency’s conclusions about the evidence it gathered. The captions, which Salon has chosen to reproduce almost verbatim (see methodology), contain a significant number of missing names of soldiers and detainees, misspellings and other minor discrepancies; we don’t know if the CID addressed these issues in other drafts or documents. Also, the CID materials contain two different forensic reports. The first, completed June 6, 2004, in Tikrit, Iraq, analyzed a seized laptop computer and eight CDs and found 1,325 images and 93 videos of “suspected detainee abuse.” The second report, completed a month later in Fort Belvoir, Va., analyzed 12 CDs and found “approximately 280 individual digital photos and 19 digital movies depicting possible detainee abuse.” It remains unclear why and how the CID narrowed its set of forensic evidence to the 279 images and 19 videos that we reproduce here.

    Although the photos are a disturbing visual account of particular incidents inside Abu Ghraib prison, they should not be viewed as representing the sum total of what occurred. As the Schlesinger report states in its convoluted prose: “We do know that some of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere.” Also, the documentation doesn’t include many details about the detainees who were abused and tortured at Abu Ghraib. While the International Committee of the Red Cross report from February 2004 cited military intelligence officers as estimating that “between 70 to 90 percent of persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake,” much remains unknown about the detainees abused in the “hard site” where the Army housed violent and dangerous detainees and where much of the abuse took place.

    Finally, it’s critical to recognize that this set of images from Abu Ghraib is only one snapshot of systematic tactics the United States has used in four-plus years of the global war on terror. There have been many allegations of abuse, torture and other practices that violate international law, from holding prisoners without charging them at Guantánamo Bay and other secretive U.S. military bases and prison facilities around the world to the practice of “rendition,” or the transporting of detainees to foreign countries whose regimes use torture, to ongoing human rights violations inside detention facilities in Iraq. Abu Ghraib in fall 2003 may have been its own particular hell, but the variations of individual abuse perpetrated appear to be exceptional in only one way: They were photographed and filmed.