Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Iraq, Iran, Stop the killings! Start uniting for liberation!

CO-ORDINATED car bombings in Baghdad yesterday wrecked buildings and killed 127 people, injuring many more. It was the third such attack in the Iraqi capital in less than six months. Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki blamed a new alliance of Islamicist militants and Ba'ath leaders, whom Iraqi intelligence claims have been meeting in Syria.

Whoever planned this attack, they managed to do no damage to a US convoy which had just left the city, and to cause maximum death and suffering to ordinary Iraqi civilians who were working in the buildings or just happened to be in the streets nearby. Many people were angry not only with the bombers and whoever is behind them, but with the Iraqi authorities who had failed to protect citizens. People were asking how it was that four vehicles packed with explosives were able to get through the official checkpoints.

If, as newspapers suggest, the bombers' aim is to show that the Iraqi government cannot provide safety without the American occupiers, how does this square with the aim of getting the Americans out? In any case, the Iraqi people continue to suffer both unofficial and official terror, the depradations of bombers, and death squads terrorising opponents, and the shadow of the hangman.

We might note, incidentally, that two villains were missing from Nuri al-Maliki's allegations. The first was Saudi Arabia. It was reported a while ago that most armed intruders entering Iraq 9apart from the US, British and allies of course) came over the Saudi border. But it would not do to accuse the Saudis of a hand in anything. The second is Iran, because contrary to what Western politician's and press were suggesting a while back, the Ayatollahs' regime has acquired a strong interest in the post-invasion order in Iraq, from which it is benefitting.

TWO appeals have come my way concerning state killings. The first has come from an Iranian poet in exile, Reza Hiwa:

An Appeal on Behalf of those in Iran’s DEATH ROW

The other day
when I learned the news
I gave my word to the village
I promised to the world
that I don’t let this happen
My sister is in DEATH ROW

Subsequent to the fraudulent presidential election of June 2009, the Iranian regime is treating the Iranian people worse than an occupation force might do. Every dissident voice is silenced through intimidation, imprisonment, torture, rape, and street killing. Currently we see the beginnings of a new wave of executions, reminiscent of what happened to the Iranian opposition in the 1980s.

On November 11, Ehsan Fattahian was hanged to die. His original sentence of 10 years imprisonment was converted to the death penalty by the Appeals Court. Such a move contravenes even the laws governing the Iranian judiciary system.

Since then, the Iranian regime has continued to add to the list of those consigned to its DEATH ROW. The latest victim is a female Kurdish political activist, Zeinab Jalalian.

The IRI DEATH ROW now contains at least 26 prisoners. It has become a macabre reflection of the people of Iran in its entirety, with its many ethnic groups, religious faiths and political affiliations. It includes fourteen Kurdish prisoners, seven members of the Baha’i faith, four accused of affiliation with pro-monarchist groups and one member of the People’s Mojahedin Group. What seems common to them all, according to this regime, is their enmity towards God (Moharabeh).

We the signatories of this letter call on the people of the world and their governments to raise their voices in defence of innocent lives in Iran and to denounce these executions.
We urge you to create local committees with the participation of women’s organisations and launch a full fight to get the maximum awareness and reaction to Zeinab’s impending execution.
We urge all those in a position of authority, at any level, including members of governments, parliamentary representatives, and all other elected officials to break their silence and to condemn the death sentences in Iran.

We ask cultural, artistic, sportive, scientific, academic and human right figures to join our appeal and to raise its visibility. We ask you to sign and promote the “Save IRAN from executions” Petition, urging UN to vote for a Security Council Resolution condemning these death sentences.

Please help us save our sister Zeinab and all others confined to this SHAME ROW. We cannot avert our gaze, once more, and allow further atrocities to take place.

Non Iranian Signatories:
Noam Chomsky (Philosopher and Linguist, Massachusetts)
Maja Janovich (Historian, Journalist, Belgrade)
Teni Kenerakis (Human Rights activist, Munich)
Fabien Patrigot (Film Director/Producer, Paris)
Petra Plötz (Human Rights Activist, Munich)
Uli V. Sanden (Human Rights Activist, Munich)
Howard Zinn (Historian, US)

Iranian Signatories:
Maryam Afshari (Political Activities, Journalist, Guttenberg)
Abtin Aineh (Poet, ?)
Kazem Alamdari (?, ?)
Javad Assadian (Poet, Writer)
Shabnam Assadollahi (Human Rights Activist, Ottawa)
Maryam Azimi (Women Rights activist, Germany)
Afshin Babazadeh (Poet, London)
Monireh Baradaran (1988 Massacre Survivor, Human Right Activists, ?)
Shahnaz Bayat (Women Rights activist, Germany)
George Boghozian (Human Rights activist, Canada?)
Chahla Chafiq (Writer, Paris)
Marjan Eftekhari (Women Rights activist, Switzerland)
Zoya Eskandarian (Women Rights activist, ?)
Fereshteh Farahani (?, ?)
Mohammad Fattahnia (Poet and translator, ?)
Iraj Ghahramanlou (Doctor, Human Rights activist, Exile)
Avideh Hashemi (Human Rights activist, Paris)
Laleh Hassanpour (Writer, ?)
Naser Hissami (Writer, Stockholm)
Reza Hiwa (Poet, Paris)
Maryam Hossein-Khah (?, ?)
Iran Freedom (?, ?)
Jila Golanbar (Women Rights activist, ?)
Koohyar Goudarzi (?, ?)
Mohammad Jalali Chime (M. Sahar) (Poet, ?)
Rahman Javanmardi (Human Rights activist, Rotterdam)
Ali Kalai (Iranian Blogger, Human Right activist, ?)
Monireh Kazemi (Women Rights activist, Frankfort)
Ayaz khonsyawashan (Writer and Journalist, Bergen)
Ali Kalai (Human Rights activist)
Sattar Leghai (Writer, Journalist)
Firuzeh Mahmoudi (United4Iran International Coordinator, ?)
Sirus Malakooti (Chairman of Artists Without Frontiers, London)
Dr. Kavian Milani (Human Rights activist, Vienna)
Mehrdad Mashayekhi (?, ?)
Behzad Mehrani (Blogger, Activist, ?)
Shokooh Mirzadegi (Writer and Journalist, US)
Khadijeh Moghaddam (?, ?)
Firuzeh Mohajer (Writer, University Professor, ?)
Nahid Mokry (Women Rights activist, Stockholm)
Shahin Navaie (Women Rights activist, Berlin)
Mahshid Pegahi (Women Rights activist, Germany)
Zeinab Peighambar-Zadeh (Journalist, Women Rights activist, ?)
Aida Qajar (Blogger, Activist, ?)
Maryam Rahmani (Human Rights activist, ?)
Mahshid Rasti (Human Right Activist, Stockholm)
Mojtaba Samiei-Zadeh (Blogger, Activist, ?)
Aida Saadat (Women Rights activist, ?)
Fayzeh Salehi (Women Right activist, Stockholm)
Mojgan Servati (Sociologist, Writer and Researcher- Monster)
Rouhi Shafiei (Sociologist, Women Rights activist, ?)
Shahabeddin Sheikhi (Photographer and Political Activist, Tehran)
Shirin Tabibzadeh (Editor, activist)
Nireh Tohidi (?, ?)
Abbas Vali (Boğaziçi University, Department of Sociology, Istanbul)
Bita Yari (Blogger, Political activist, ?)

The second message, received via the newsletter of Iraq Occupation Focus, concerns an issue I have raised before, the number of people facing the death penalty in Iraq.

4 December 2009

The Iraqi authorities must immediately stop the executions of more than 900 people on death row who have exhausted their legal appeals and could be put to death at any time, Amnesty International said.

The prisoners, who include 17 women, are said to have had their death sentences ratified by the Presidential Council, the final step before executions are carried out.

At least 120 people are known to have been executed in Iraq so far this year.

"In a country which already has one of the highest rates of execution in the world, the prospect that this statistic may rise significantly is disturbing indeed," said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

Many of the condemned prisoners have been convicted of offences such as murder and kidnapping. Some are likely to have been sentenced after unfair trials.

The government is reportedly trying to present itself as being tough on crime and capable of overcoming the difficult security situation in the country, before the national elections in 2010.

Opposition politicians have expressed concern that executions may be carried out to allow the ruling al-Da’wa party to gain political advantage ahead of the elections. They have called on the government to temporarily suspend all executions.

One of those women facing execution is Samar Sa’ad ‘Abdullah, who was sentenced to death on 15 August 2005. She had been found guilty of the murder of her uncle, his wife and one of their children in Baghdad.

Samar Sa’ad ‘Abdullah was reported to have blamed the killings on her fiancé, who, she said, had carried them out in order to rob her uncle.

At her trial, Samar Sa’ad ‘Abdullah alleged that, after her arrest, police in Hay al-Khadhra, Baghdad, had beaten her with a cable, beaten the soles of her feet (falaqa) and subjected her to electric shocks to make her “confess”.

The judge failed to order an investigation into her allegations, and sentenced her to death.

Her father, Sa’ad ‘Abdel- Majid ‘Abd al-Karim, told Amnesty International the trial was concluded in less than two days, that he was not permitted entry to the court, and that Amal ‘Abdel-Amir al-Zubaidi, one of Samar’s lawyers, was ordered out of the court by the trial judge.

Samar Sa’ad ‘Abdullah's death sentence was confirmed by the Court of Cassation on 26 February 2007.

Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in August 2004, at least 1,000 people have been sentenced to death and scores have been executed. There are no official figures for the number of prisoners facing execution.

After all avenues of appeal have been exhausted, death sentences are referred to the Presidential Council, composed of the President and the two Vice-Presidents, for ratification, after which they are carried out.

The President, Jalal Talabani, opposes the death penalty and delegates his ratification powers to the two Vice-Presidents, who do not oppose its use.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the Iraqi authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on executions. "The Iraqi government must heed international demands to stop executions," said Philip Luther.

Thousands of Iranian students took part in demonstrations on Monday, and here in London members of Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) joined a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy.

Whatever the different politics of those opposing the two regimes in Baghdad and Tehran, and the variety of those on death row, there can be agreement that neither regime has the right to carry out these death penalties on political opponents or those scapegoated for the crimes of past regimes. There can be agreement too that what the imperialists offer is not liberation, as has been shown in Iraq. But nor is the ruthless killing of ordinary working people any kind of popular resistance, whoever carries it out.

In the past, both Iraqi and Iranian regimes, as well as outside powers, have used armed groups and even genuine national struggles, against each other, only to dump and even crush them when circumstances change. The People's Mojihadeen of Iran, who found backing and bases from Saddam Hussein in Iraq have now been disarmed, fighters and families have been rounded up and face deportation, and they are reduced to appealing to the West, which whatever its differences with Iran still as them on its "terrorist" lists.

During the Iran-Iraq war some Iranians, Iraqis and Kurds here in London managed to mount a demonstration together against the war. Now while the Iranian and Iraqi governments are in alliance, would be a good time for genuinely democratic, progressive, anti-imperialist and socialist Iranians, Iraqis and Kurds, and those campaigning in solidarity with the workers and oppressed in both Iran and Iraq, to get together and discuss perspectives and a common strategy.





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At 10:28 PM, Blogger bushtrash.com said...

War is illegal


Against a background of escalating ecological crises, and the fact that large parts of the world´s population are being exposed to extreme poverty, inhuman working conditions and increasing social tensions, the annual global military expenditure has risen to more than 1000 billion dollars.
The military-industrial complex of just a few G8 countries is responsible for the overwhelming part of this spending, causing incalcuable social and ecological consequences.

Unequal distribution of global resources, increasingly controlled by large multinational companies, global debt policy and unfair international trading practices ultimately could not be maintained without military security. In many countries the military is used to repress critical opposition.

The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 are increasingly used to justify systematic surveillance and the dismantling of constitutional rights. Even European countries have helped to establish Guantanamo-like secret prisons, where torture in all probability takes place.

Iraq was attacked based on falsified evidence causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people, widespread destruction, destabilization and contamination with cancer-causing depleted uranium munitions.
Now plans to attack Iran and the possibility of a new World War have been made public, meeting resistance even from moderate elements within the military due to the unforeseeable consequences.

Faced with the choice between a war, that according to some western leaders, will last for many years or a possible peaceful transformation we support the following demands:

1) [Impeachment proceedings against US President Bush and US Vice President Cheney before the 2008 election, a demand raised in solidarity with large parts of the US public and some members of US Congress.]
Furthermore prosecution by the International Court of Justice of G. W. Bush, R. Cheney and other officials from various countries for waging wars of aggression contrary to international law and committing crimes against humanity.

2) International investigation of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. They are used as the central justification for the "War on Terror", but well documented evidence shows that the official explanation of 9/11 cannot be correct. International personalities in science, politics, and culture, including high-ranking military veterans, have called for a new investigation.

3) Immediate military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, and no attack against Iran. International prohibition of war as a means of conflict resolution. Military intervention and export of weapons should be criminalized.
In a civilized society torture must be prohibited in any form.

4) Conversion of military industries to civilian purposes and the development of ecological and sustainable energy resources. According to the UN environmental agency, a fraction of the annual global defence expenditure could ensure that all humans have access to clean water and a basic supply of food and healthcare.

This statement is based on a commitment to non-violence and tolerance of all ethnic groups and religions. Two devastating World Wars and historical catastrophes like the Nazi Holocaust must always remind us of the worst consequences of nationalism, racism and incitement to war.

Sign this statement, pass it on, whatever we can do. It is up to us.

(After US-President Obama took office the demand for impeachment in #1 has been placed in parentheses. The text of the declaration remains unchanged.)

to sign please use mailform or send e-mail to:support@war-is-illegal.org
or warisillegal@fastmail.fm

More than 3000 signatures since November 2007


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