Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Partners In Freedom™

Esteemed Partner In Freedom Uzbekistan is fighting off international requests to investigate its military's recent open-air slaughter of political protesters, even as it tries to get its story straight on just how many people got perforated by assault rifle fire.

Uzbekistan has said 169 people died when soldiers put down a "bandit uprising" in Andijan on 13 May. An army source told the BBC that 500 people were killed.

The unrest in Andijan began when a group of men stormed the town's prison and freed 23 businessmen accused of being Islamic extremists. A large protest was then staged, joined by hundreds of residents as well as the freed prisoners.

Witnesses said troops fired indiscriminately at civilians in the crowd.

Hey, it's better than being boiled alive like a fucking lobster, right? Some people just want to complain no matter what.

At any rate, the UN is less than thrilled that their requests have been directly thwarted by murderous scumbag/molester of livestock Islam Karimov.

The call for an international inquiry into the deaths of the civilians was made by Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Philip Alston, the UN's special investigator on illegal and arbitrary executions, also called on the Uzbek authorities to allow him to visit the country. He said he was "gravely concerned about reports that hundreds of people, including women and children, were killed on May 13 when government troops fired indiscriminately to disperse a demonstration".

The Uzbek government denies that police fired on civilians and has blamed the unrest on Islamic militants.

Ms Arbour conceded last night that outside scrutiny was now unlikely. "I think ... the response is not very promising," she said.


The Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan issued a joint statement saying that security forces may have killed 1,000 civilians and injured 2,000. Human rights groups have complained for years that Mr Karimov has used claims of religious extremism as a pretext to stamp out political dissent.

Even if you were to somehow give Karimov the benefit of the doubt for preserving law and order, just in a practical sense, any fool knows that violent crackdowns on religious extremism just makes them that much more extreme. Karimov has given the "Islamic radicals" a handy rallying cry.

Someone may want to remind Karimov that the only reason the Shah of Iran got to die a quiet death in exile, rather than be literally ripped to shreds by an enraged populace, was because he was our son-of-a-bitch, so we hustled him out of there.

Karimov is a useful tool in the War On Some Terror™, but he's not our S.O.B., not in the Somoza-Pinochet-Ferdinand Marcos sense.

So what about these supposed "Islamic radicals", anyway? What is the deal with this Bakhtiyor Rakhimov guy? [/seinfeld]

On May 14, Korasuv residents burned government buildings, drove away authorities and rebuilt a bridge leading to a thriving bazaar on the Kyrgyz side of the border. The government had dismantled the bridge two years ago, leaving Korasuv residents struggling for survival.

The government troops swept into Korasuv before dawn Thursday, quickly arresting Rakhimov, his 14-year old son and close associates. Rakhimov's 25-year old niece, Dilnoza, said Saturday that 15 people had been arrested, and Rakhimov, his son and several others remain in custody.

"We will stay here until they free them," Dilnoza Rakhimova said.

Other demonstrators hailed Rakhimov as a respected people's leader who had helped create jobs. "He did everything for the people, he's not against the government," said Aziza Ulukhodjjayeva, 47.

"He gave people jobs and a way to make money," she said, referring to the bridge which Rakhimov and his followers quickly restored after taking over.

Well, he sounds like a right bastard, as our British friends might put it. Fixing bridges and employing people. God, won't someone step in and halt this radicalism? Can't you see -- he restored a bridge!

At this point, let us face our prayer rugs toward Crawford and thank a beneficent Karl Rove for granting Karimov the restraint in dealing with such an obvious terrorist.

In addition to the government-sponsored murder and mayhem, Uzbek refugees are fleeing across the border to peaceful Kyrgyzstan, who wants nothing more than to stay out of this mess (and maybe buy a vowel).

Around midnight on May 12, Atamatov said he heard about 10 shots, then someone opened the door of his prison cell with a crowbar. He and another 11 inmates in the cell came out to the street.

Someone there, whom Atamatov said he didn't know, said: "Those who want can come with us to the governor's office." And so he went, and found himself among thousands of people who demonstrated all day.

Atamatov said government troops shot at them in the morning, killing about a dozen people, and opened fire again about noon, killing a similar number. Two hours later, he said, they took aim from a truck and killed a 5-year-old boy who was running along a street. When his mother ran screaming toward her son, soldiers shot her, too, Atamatov said.

He estimated that 150-200 people died on the square when troops encircled it in late afternoon, and that many more were killed as they ran for their lives down a main avenue, Chulpon Shokh Prospect.

After an all-night trek, they reached the Kyrgyz border. A resident of the frontier village of Teshik Tosh said he would show them a way to cross the border, but he led them into an ambush and was himself killed.

That's the cold hard reality of what's going on there, folks. Now, how many of the crowing smart-asses who just couldn't contain themselves over Lebanon (which turned into a return of the pro-Syrian PM), over Ukraine (which, if it had happened here, would have meant President John Kerry), over Iraq (which is hitting gravitational velocity as it plummets toward civil war), have something fucking smart to say about this?

To our credit, we are now "scaling down" our use of their airbase, and in the near future will probably relocate the 1000 troops we have stationed there. But this is a tacit acknowledgement of every criticism leveled by the most virulent of leftist protesters -- that we only care about vicious thugs when our precious oil is involved, but we have the goddamned nerve to dress up our aggression in noxious fripperies about How Much We Care.

Well, do we care about human rights, or do we care about Hummer rights?


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