Richard Moore

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Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 10:03:38 -0400
From: The Wisdom Fund <•••@••.•••>
To: Richard Moore  <•••@••.•••>

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May 15, 2005
The Independent (UK)

Up to 500 protesters feared dead. Ex-ambassador accuses UK of failing
democracy movement
by Stephen Khan, Francis Elliott, and Peter Boehm

Hundreds of protesters are reported to have been gunned down
in bloody clashes with government forces that have ravaged
eastern Uzbekistan.

One human rights observer in the eastern city of Andizhan said
that up to 500 people may have perished in the shootings and
the gun battles that followed. A doctor spoke of "many, many
dead", witnesses said 200 to 300 people were shot dead, and an
AP reporter saw at least 30 bodies in Andijan. As night fell,
tension was high, with armoured vehicles positioned at
crossroads and trucks blocking main thoroughfares. Terrified
demonstrators tried to flee the country, seen as a key ally by
Britain and the US in the war on terror.

As blood-spattered bodies were lifted from the streets of
Andizhan, survivors and thousands of others packed their bags
and headed for neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. Some made it across
the border and were in refugee camps.

In a severe rebuke to London and Washington's approach to the
region, Britain's former ambassador to the country yesterday
said the countries had swallowed Uzbek propaganda that sought
to portray the democracy movement as a brand of Islamic
extremism. . . .

Craig Murray told the IoS that the Government had to take some
responsibility for the unfolding events because it had failed
to support those trying to oppose the dictatorship of
President Islam Karimov. . . .

Sir Menzies Campbell, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats,
said, "Rather than use force to impose democracy, as in Iraq,
should we not be more assiduous in promoting democratic
movements in countries like Uzbekistan?" . . .

Uzbekistan is believed to be one of the destination countries
for the highly secretive 'renditions programme', whereby the
CIA ships terrorist suspects to third-party countries where
torture is used that cannot be employed in the US.--Nick Paton
Walsh and Paul Harris, "Anger as US backs brutal regime," The
Observer (UK), May 15, 2005

The Wisdom Fund

From: "Global Network" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Global Network" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Silence in Uzbekistan - Why it Matters for Peace-in-Space Activists
Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 18:25:19 -0400

Silence in Uzbekistan -

Why it Matters for Peace-in-Space Activists

We can thank the BBC, the Russian Interfax news agency, and
various human rights organizations for getting the truth out
about Uzbekistan, after its government, the US government, and
various Western news agencies tried to put the "fix" in Friday
night.  Here's what really happened: an armed group of local
residents of Andijan (NOT IMU or Hizb-ut Tahrir militant
supporters) stormed the local prison to release local business
leaders.  Local civic activists charged that the Uzbek
government had been advised by the US government, without
evidence, that these leaders were IMU "terrorists" and should
be held in prison indefinitely.  The prison doors were opened
and everyone was freed.  Later, more than 10,000
mostly-unarmed citizens, with a high percentage of children,
gathered in the public square to demand the resignation of
Islam Karimov.

The BBC accurately reported as of noon Eastern time on Friday
that security forces had opened fire on protesters with
submachine guns, killing at least 500, including at least 100
children.  Condoleezza Rice and State Dept. spokesman Richard
Boucher said that they did not believe the reports, and in any
event, these people were probably supporters of terrorists. 
Sure enough, on Saturday morning all the Western news reports
from AP, Reuters, etc. said that only 10 were dead, and that
these were "armed rebels".  The BBC had warned Friday
afternoon that bodies were being taken to Uzbek government
hospitals, the hospitals were being closed, and that bodies
would no doubt "disappear." Isn't it funny how some Russian
news outlets told the truth, while virtually all Western
sources outside BBC served as Uzbek government mouthpieces?

Luckily, by Saturday afternoon, reports were emerging that 500
dead was probably an understatement.  This should be a warning
to all Stalinist governments that, in the Internet age, hidden
massacres are simply impossible to maintain.  It should also
be a warning to the US to watch out for its seamier friends.

This issue is of immediate relevance to Global Network and all
working for peace in space, because the US maintains a major
space and intelligence base, a so-called "Forward Operating
Location", at Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan.  Consequently,
we will support Islam Karimov unflaggingly.  But the position
of Condi Rice and the US government will look more and more
untenable over the next few days.

Loring Wirbel
Colorado Springs

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517
(207) 319-2017 (Cell phone)
<> (Our blog)


Uzbekistan's Tiananmen 

By Fotini Christia  |  May 21, 2005 

THE BLOODY protests in Uzbekistan's Andijan square have
exposed the Bush administration's Janus-faced policy on regime
change. Recent talk of spreading democracy and bringing
freedom to the oppressed sits very uneasily with the ''yes, he
is a bastard but he is our bastard" approach, reminiscent of
the Cold War, which has guided US relations with Uzbekistan.
In this case -- unlike Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan --
America's ally of choice is not a pro-democracy revolutionary
but a proven despot, the Uzbek leader Islam Karimov. Plagued
with political repression and economic disenfranchisement as
well as a  rise in Islamism, Uzbekistan is a case in point as
to why the United States cannot and should not have it both

The most populous republic in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is rich
in natural resources and the world's second biggest cotton
producer after China. Despite its economic potential,
Uzbekistan's growth and living standards are among the lowest
in the former Soviet Union. Dominated by Karimov since the
republic's independence in 1991, the Uzbek political scene has
become increasingly repressive. After strategically aligning
himself with the United States in the war against terror and
offering an Uzbek military base for US military operations in
neighboring Afghanistan, Karimov has used the threat of
radical Muslim unrest to justify the persecution and
oppression of his political opponents.

No opposition parties are recognized and Karimov's regime has
decimated Uzbek civil society: there are practically no
independent local NGOs and no freedom of expression or
association. Independent media operations have been driven
underground and foreign correspondents forced to leave the
country. Despite a constitutional ban on censorship, local
journalists opposing the regime have been blacklisted. With
the media neutered, no one really knows how many people have
been killed or wounded in the recent protests. Estimates
currently range from a few dozen to several hundred and the UN
has called for an independent investigation on last week's

Karimov's persecution of the secular opposition has
increasingly pushed ordinary Uzbeks into the arms of radical
Islamist groups. The Islamist group with the broadest appeal
is Hizb-ut-Tahrir (the Islamic Party of Liberation), which
claims to stand for the peaceful overthrow of the Uzbek
government and the creation of a caliphate throughout Central
Asia. Karimov has branded Hizb-ut-Tahrir a terrorist
organization (though it is not on the US State Department List
of Foreign Terrorist Organizations) and blames it for bombings
and suicide attacks that took place in Tashkent last spring
and summer. The recent protests in Andijan were in opposition
to the government's indiscriminate arrests on the grounds of
membership to Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Uzbekistan therefore combines political oppression and the
rise of Islamism with economic opportunity for rebellion. So
far the mix has proved highly volatile. If the United States
wants to avoid increased violations of human rights and the
possibility of a future Islamist takeover, it must take
immediate steps to strengthen civil society in Uzbekistan.
Karimov has to be pressured to allow the registration of
opposition parties such as ERK (Freedom), BIRLIK (Unity) and
OZOD DEHQON (Free Peasants) as well as the registration of
truly independent NGOs. The reintroduction of an independent
media and guarantees that freedom of conscience, expression
and association will be respected are also essential.

But for Karimov to commit to change credibly, all reforms have
to be tied to monetary incentives. The United States, as well
as international financial institutions, should make aid and
loans conditional on tangible reform. This pressure would be
most effective if it involved coordinated action from the
United States and Russia as well as international political
and financial organizations. Action has to be immediate to
avert further refugee flows to Kyrgyzstan and other
neighboring states that could prove highly destabilizing for
the broader region.

According to one of the leading opposition figures, the Free
Peasants Party General Secretary Nigora Khidoyatova, a
revolution is on the way in Uzbekistan. ''Our revolution will
be green," she said, alluding to her peasants' party color and
pointing to an orange poster of Ukraine's Victor Yushchenko
hanging on her cabinet. Unless the United States effectively
pressures President Karimov to strengthen civil society and
its fledgling democratic forces, a revolution will sweep
Uzbekistan. And once it erupts it may very well be green:
Islamist green.

Fotini Christia is a fellow in international and intrastate
conflict at the Belfer Center for Science and International
Affairs at Harvard University. She served as an elections
observer in Uzbekistan.  

©Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

"Escaping The Matrix - 
Global Transformation: 
    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
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    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
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