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September 22nd, 2009

“The anger of the world’s professional killers is (a source of) pride for us.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, commenting on criticism from the European Union after his newest public denial of the Holocaust.

Prior entries:

September 6th, 2009

June 14th, 2009

May 11th, 2009

January 5th, 2009

January 4th, 2009

 

Year 2008

Year 2007

Year 2006

Left: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. An article of the Associated Press from September 21st, 2009 reported that “Ahmadinejad said Monday he was proud his denial of the Holocaust had enraged the West, as the controversial leader geared up for a United Nations trip to stress what he said would be a message of ‘peace and friendship.’ […] ‘The anger of the world’s professional killers is (a source of) pride for us,’ Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency. He was responding to a question about criticism from the European Union following a speech on Friday in which he questioned whether the Holocaust was a ‘real event.’ The ‘killers’ reference appeared to be directed primarily at Israel and the U.S. […].” The entire article can be read here.

 

Right: Russian jews being executed by German members of the S.S. during the occupation of the Ukraine by German troops in 1942 - one of millions of documents, which prove the existence of the Holocaust.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks before Friday prayers at the Tehran University campus in Tehran, Iran. Ahmadinejad lashed out at Israel and the West saying Friday the Holocaust was a lie and a pretext for occupying Palestinian lands. - September 18th, 2009 - Vahid Salemi/Associated Press.

2) Mass Execution of Jews in Vinnista, Ukraine by members of the “Sicherheitsdienst” of the German S.S. (“Einsatzgruppe D”). - 1942 - Unknown source.  

 

September 6th, 2009

“We draw our strength in fostering the rule of law in the country.”

Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, commenting on allegations about illegal detentions and arrests in his country.

 

Left: Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq. On July 23rd, 2009, al-Maliki was invited by the Washington-based “Institute of Peace” to discuss with U.S. journalists the current situation in Iraq. Asked about recent arbitrary detentions and arrests in Southern Iraq, al-Maliki responded in general terms: “We draw our strength in fostering the rule of law in the country. And the Iraqis have confidence in us because we have dealt all along based on the law and not based on any sectarian or ethnic background.” More about al-Maliki’s remarks can be read here.

 

Right: Samar Saed Abdullah, a Iraqi female inmate, who is accused of murder and on death row for 4 years. She is currently imprisoned in a Baghdad maximum security facility. According to court documents and a CNN report from September 1st, 2009, Abdullah “was tried and convicted in a single day, on August 15th, 2005.” Abdullah states that her previus confession to the alleged murder had been coerced through torture and duress. More about torture and deaths in the Iraqi prison system can be read here.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Nouri al Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq - 2009 - Leon Neal/Agence France Presse;

2) Samar Saed Abdullah - undated - Family photo/published by CNN;

 

June 14th, 2009

"The Islamic nation of Iran proved that it attaches significance to national dignity and considers resistance against tyranny powers and extremists with the aim of restoring its rights as its major values and honor."

Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, commenting on the Iranian presidential elections.

 

Left: Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran & Leader of the Islamic Revolution. Commenting on the Iranian presidential election results, an article on the Iranian’s Press TV website quoted Khamenei as follows: “‘The 10th presidential election was an epic and ominous event,’ Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday. ‘The Islamic nation of Iran proved that it attaches significance to national dignity and considers resistance against tyranny powers and extremists with the aim of restoring its rights as its major values and honor. The wise and vigilant Iranian people showed they are still committed to the path of the architect of the Islamic Revolution the late Imam Khomeini,’ the Leader added. […]”

 

Right: Delara Darabi, executed by the government of Iran on May 1st, 2009 for having allegedly committed murder at the age of 17. More information about the execution of minor offenders in the State of Iran can be found in an article from the Wall Street Journal from May 29th, 2009.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran - 2009 - Press TV;

2) Delara Darabi, executed on May 1st, 2009 - undated - retrieved from the website Iran Human Rights;

 

May 11th, 2009

We have been very smart in being intelligent of convincing operatives to end up working for us.”

King Abdullah II responds to the question, whether Jordan engages in torture of prisoners.

 

Left: King Abdullah II of Jordan. During an interview with journalist David Gregory on “Meet the Press”, King Abdullah II of Jordan responds as follows to the question, whether Jordan engages in torture of prisoners:

 

Mr. Gregory:  “Does torture work?”

 

King Abdullah II: “I ...”

 

“Mr. Gregory:  “Does it produce valuable intelligence?”

 

King Abdullah II:  “I’m not an expert to be able to say one way or another if it does. Again, it’s such a gray area when it comes to, to a country at war. I think there, there are smarter ways of being able to deal with getting information.”

 

Mr. Gregory: “But yet Jordan is one of the most stalwart U.S. allies in the Middle East. There’s a lot of business that's done between the two countries and a very tight relationship. Did Jordan engage in torture in concert with the United States?”

 

King Abdullah II: “No. And I, I, I have been told by my people that I’ve asked on, on many occasions, as these international issues came up, I think that we have been very smart in, in, in being intelligent of convincing operatives that we have come across to, to end up working for us. And you can’t do that when it comes to torture.”

 

Mr. Gregory: “The Human Rights Watch issued a report about Jordan which contradicts that, and it said the following. I’ll put it on the screen and allow you to react to it. ‘From 2001 until at least 2004, Jordan's General Intelligence Department served as a proxy jailer for the U.S. CIA, holding prisoners that the CIA apparently wanted kept out of circulation, and later handing some of them back to the CIA. More than just warehousing these men, the GID interrogated them using methods that were even more brutal than those in which the CIA has been implicated to date. ... If the Jordanians did indeed promise the U.S. authorities that prisoners rendered there would not be tortured, it was a promise that neither the U.S. nor Jordan believed.’”

 

King Abdullah II: “I … when that report came out, or when I was asked that question I think by one of your colleagues several years ago, I went straight back to my director of intelligence at the time and I said, ‘Is there any foundations to this?’ And he said categorically no. And I made it quite clear to him and all the colleagues that have come up the ranks since then that we don't tolerate that. So I’d like to think that my people were telling me the truth.”

 

Right: Prison cell in Jordan. The above-mentioned Human Rights Watch report, titled “Torture and Impunity in Jordan’s Prisons” from October 8th, 2008, paints a different picture of the current conditions in Jordan’s prison system:

 

“Torture remained widespread and routine in Jordan’s prisons at the time of Human Rights Watch’s research in 2007. Updates to our investigation in 2008 reveal that problems of torture and accountability persist. We received allegations of ill-treatment, often amounting to torture, from 66 out of 110 prisoners interviewed. Prison guards torture inmates with near impunity because police prosecutors and police judges at the Police Court do too little to pursue cases against their fellow officers. […]

 

“The public concern of Jordan’s highest leadership about torture has not showed lasting effects on the ground. Prison guards under the jurisdiction of the Public Security Directorate routinely torture or ill-treat inmates for perceived infractions of prison rules or for requests, such as access to doctors, the telephone, or visitation, but also in retaliation for filing complaints. In five prisons, detainees told us that prison directors participated in torture. We found torture in each of the seven prisons we visited between August 2007 and April 2008, speaking unsupervised to 110 prisoners. We found several instances of recent torture only days before our visit in four prisons.

 

“Most common forms of torture include beatings with cables and sticks and the suspension by the wrists of inmates from metal grates for hours at a time. Guards flog the defenseless prisoner with knotted electrical cables, beat him with hoses and truncheons, or kick him with fists and boots. […]

 

“Torture remains a tolerated practice in Jordan's prisons because mechanisms for individual accountability are lacking. The deterrent effect of a royal proclamation against torture is less than that of effectively prosecuting an individual guard. Yet, the esprit de corps of the PSD, its reluctance to prosecute, name, and shame torturers within its ranks decidedly militates in favor of settling incidents of torture quietly and internally, if at all, with only a few egregious cases making it to the courts. […]”

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) King Abdullah II of Jordan - 2009 - Agence France Presse;

2) Prison Cell in Jordan - undated - Reuters;

 

January 5th, 2009

“We carry the greatest weapon on Earth, which is justice.”

Shimon Peres commenting on Israel’s bombing campaign of the Gaza strip.

 

Left: Shimon Peres, Nobel Peace Prize winner and current President of the State of Israel. In an article from ABC News from January 5th, 2009 he was cited, commenting on Israel’s bombing on the Gaza strip: “We have nothing against the Gaza people, we wish them well. We are not part of the Palestinian politics. We carry the greatest weapon on Earth, which is justice.”

 

Right: Three Palestinian boys, killed by Israeli missiles;

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Shimon Peres, current President of the State of Israel and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994, during a visit to Poland to attend the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the uprising in Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto - April 2008 - Senate of the Republic of Poland;

2) Three Palestinian boys who were killed in an Israeli missile strike during their funeral in the Rafah refugee camp. The attacks brought the death toll in Gaza to more than 300, according to Palestinian medical officials. - December 29th, 2008 - Khalil Hamra/Associated Press;

 

 

January 4th, 2009

“Germany does not take part in this war.”

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder in a television address on the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 20th, 2003.

Left: Former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder. Schröder repeatedly publicly defended his anti-Iraq war position in 2002 and 2003, which was a significant contributing factor in the victory of his party during the federal elections in fall of 2002.

 

Right: German spy “Volker Heinster”, agent of the German foreign intelligence agency “BND” (Bundesnachrichtendienst) in front of the looted German embassy in Baghdad in March/April of 2003. “Heinster” and his colleague “Reiner Mahner” provided the U.S. military during the initial phase of the invasion of Iraq with important military intelligence about Iraqi troops. “Heinster’s” mission to Iraq was coordinated from the headquarters of the BND and authorized by Schröder and other members of his office. More about the involvement of the German government in the war in Iraq can be found here.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Gerhard Schröder, SPD, Bundeskanzler a. D./former German chancellor - Date unknown - Deutscher Bundestag/German parliament;

2) BND agent “Volker Heinster” in front of the German embassy in Baghdad. - March/April 2003 - Source unknown/published by Der Spiegel;

 

 

September 4th, 2008

“War in Iraq is a task from God.”

Republican candidate for the U.S. Vice-Presidency and current Governor for the State of Alaska, Sarah Palin during a speech at the graduation service of the school ministry of the “Wasilla Assembly of God Church” in June of 2007.

 

Left: During a speech in June 2007 before the “Wasilla Assembly of God”, Sarah Palin made the following remarks: “Pray for our military men and women, who are striving to do what is right also for this country - that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure, that we are praying for. There is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan. So, bless them with your prayers. Your prayers are protection over our soldiers.” A video tape of Palin’s presentation can be watched here and here. A background press article from the Associated Press from September 4th, 2008 can be found here.

 

Right: An Iraqi woman with his child in an Iraqi refugee camp. Two out of 5 million displaced persons and refugees, who lost their home since the United States started the “holy war” against Iraq in 2003.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska and 2008 Republican candidate for the U.S. Vice-Presidency - 2006 - Official portrait from the State of Alaska/Jeff Schultz;

2) An Iraqi walks with her baby in front of tents in a refugee camp east of Baghdad. The continuing rise of sectarian violence is causing increasing numbers of Iraqis to leave the neighborhoods and towns where they live and to seek refuge areas. - May 21st, 2007 - Karim Kadim/AP;

 

 

 

January 14th, 2008

“I am deeply convinced: The patient promotion of the rule of law is one of the best methods to ensure that human rights and individual freedoms obtain worldwide acceptance.”

Excerpt of a speech made by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the “Conference of Experts on the Promotion of the Rule of Law” on November 30th, 2007 in Berlin.

 

 

Left: Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been the Foreign Minister of Germany since November 22nd, 2005. Since November 2007 he is also the Vice-Chancellor. Between 1998 and 1999 he was the State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery and the Commissioner for the Federal Intelligence Services. He became then the Head of the Federal Chancellery until he became Foreign Minister. The complete text of Steinmeier’s speech on November 30th, 2007 can be read here (in German, external link).

 

Right: Mohammed Haydar Zammar. Zammar was born in 1961 in Syria. At the age of 10 he moved with his family to Germany and became a German citizen. During the 1990s he joined radical islamic groups and apparently became a recruiter for Al-Qaida. During a trip to Morocco in December of 2001, he was arrested by the local authorities and handed over to the CIA, which transported him to Syria. There he was handed over to the Syrian authorities. He was imprisoned and sentenced on February 11th, 2007 to 12 years in jail for having been or being a member of the Syrian branch of the “Muslim Brotherhood”.

 

During a commission hearing of the German parliament, which investigates the activities of the German foreign intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst), it was revealed that in 2002 the Federal Chancellery allowed the questioning of Zammar by members of the BND, the German Federal Police (BKA) and the Federal Domestic Intelligence Agency (Bundesverfassungsschutz) in his prison in Syria - although it was known to the Chancellery that Zammar most likely had been or was being tortured by the Syrian police. Around that time, the Chancellery negotiated a deal with the Syrian authorities and agreed not to prosecute Syrian spies, who operated in Germany, for the promise by Syria to refrain from activities against Syrian opposition members in Germany. During their dealings with Syria, it was well known to the German authorities, that “Syria is indeed a terrible dictatorship,” according to the former terrorism expert in the Chancellery Steinberg. The involvement of the Chancellery in the deportation of Zammar by the CIA is still not clear. A summary of Steinberg’s testimony before the commission can be read in an article of the  German magazine “Der Spiegel”.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

1) Frank-Walter Steinmeier - 2007 - File photo from the website of the German Foreign Ministry;

2) Mohammed Haydar Zammar - undated - Knut Müller/Associated Press;

 

 

 

November 18th, 2007

“There was no ‘massacre’ and no ‘cover-up.’”

Excerpt of a statement made by Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the “Thomas More Law Center” in connection with the arraignement of Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani before a military court for the attempted cover-up of the killings in Haditha, Iraq on November 19th, 2005.

 

 

Left: Richard Thompson - President and Chief Counsel of the “Thomas More Law Center”. Thompson is the current defense attorney of Jeffrey Chessani, who is charged in connection with the Haditha killings from November 19th, 2005 by a military court for “dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order for failing to accurately report and investigate the incident.”

 

Right: U.S. Marine and three dead Iraqi civilians, killed by U.S. Marines in the initial taxi cab killings at Haditha. A total of 24 Iraqi civilians, including 10 women and children and an elderly man in a wheelchair, were murdered on that day. More information about the Haditha massacre can be found here.

 

The full statement of Thompson can be found on the website of the Thomas More Law Center: “Every patriotic American has a stake in the outcome of this case. A U.S. Army Colonel and an Army General conducted two separate investigations, and came to the same conclusion: there was no ‘massacre’ and no ‘cover-up.’ Yet the government still pursued a multi-million dollar investigation in order to appease an anti-war politician and the ‘blame America first’ media. Now, we have the absurd situation of Lt. Colonel Chessani being charged with failing to report and investigate a crime that never occurred.  Every American should be outraged at the way this dedicated Marine and his family are being treated by the nation he so loyally defended.”

 

According to its own mission statement, “the Thomas More Law Center is a not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. Our purpose is to be the sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square. We achieve this goal principally through litigation, seeking out significant cases, consistent with our mission, where our expertise can be of service to others. We also defend and promote faith and family through media and educational efforts. Above all, the lawyers of the Thomas More Center seek to meet the highest moral and ethical standards of our Christian faith and our legal profession […]”

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

 

(1) Richard Thompson - undated - Internet site of the Thomas More Law Center;

(2) U.S. Marine and dead Iraqis - November 19th/20th, 2005 - U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service;

 

 

 

July 25th, 2007

“We do not question the integrity of the Marine Corps or any other branch of the Military.”

Excerpt of the Mission statement of the Massachusetts-based “Military Combat Defense Fund”, which operates as a private fundraising organization for individual defendants in the Hamdaniya and Haditha military trials.

 

 

Left: President and Member of the Board for the “Military Combat Defense Fund”, Mark O’Reilly. Reilly was the former Chief Staff to the Mayor City of Brockton and the former executive director of the organization “South Shore Habitat for Humanity”.

 

Right: Dead Haditha children on the way to the morgue, after having been killed by U.S. Marines on November 19th, 2005.

 

The Mission Statement of the “Military Combat Defense Fund” further states: “The ‘Military Combat Defense Fund’ is a non-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We believe in the fundamental decency of our armed forces. We believe that our fighting men and woman deserve nothing less than our undying gratitude and unwavering support. If the need arises, we also believe that they deserve the best legal counsel available. We are raising funds to assist in the defense of U.S. Military Personnel, regardless of branch of service, charged with alleged crimes of violence arising from a combat situation while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. […] We do not question the integrity of the Marine Corps or any other branch of the Military. Nor do we condone or encourage violence against civilians. We do know that politics is likely to play a part in these prosecutions. Anyone that has been in combat knows how confusing things can get. Decisions have to be made in a split second and the harshest judge of those decisions is the combat Marine or Soldier who has made them. […]”

 

According to its website, the organization is currently financially supporting one of the defendants in the Hamdaniya military trial (Lawrence Hutchins) and four defendants in the Haditha trial: Frank Wuterich, Stephen Tatum, Justin Sharratt & Andrew Grayson.

 

With regards to the actions of the above mentioned defendants, the military proceedings and documents have established so far the following:

 

Lawrence Hutchins (Hamdaniya) - excerpt from an Associated Press article from October 16th, 2006: “The leader of a Marine squad suspected of kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man appeared in military court Monday, but a judge delayed a ruling on whether to order a court-martial while he reviews evidence. Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins headed the eight-man squad that prosecutors said took Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, from his home in Hamdania and shot him without provocation after they failed to catch a known insurgent. […] During previous proceedings, prosecutors said much of the information comes from statements given by the seven Marines and a Navy corpsman assigned to the squad. On Oct. 6, the corpsman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy under a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to testify at his court-martial and during upcoming proceedings about what he witnessed in Iraq. Bacos has testified that Hutchins fired three rounds into Awad’s head after checking to see if he was dead. […]”

 

Frank Wuterich (Haditha) - excerpt from North County Times article from December 27th, 2006: “The man at the center of accusations that Marines under his control murdered 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last year ordered his troops to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,’ according to a prosecution document. The document known as a ‘Charge Sheet’ alleges that Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich issued those orders ‘or words to that effect’ during the incident that took place on Nov. 19, 2005. In doing so, Marine Corps prosecutors further allege, the 26-year-old Connecticut native disregarded so-called rules of engagement directives that required he ‘have positive identification prior to engaging a target.’ The four-page document obtained this week by the North County Times also accuses Wuterich of directing a corporal charged in the case to lie by telling investigators that Iraqi army members shot and killed four men who emerged from a taxi that happened upon the scene. The corporal also was directed to falsely state that he had ordered the men to stop running. […]”

 

Steven Tatum (Haditha) - excerpt from a North County Times article from July 17th, 2007: “A Marine lance corporal accused of killing Iraqi civilians told a buddy to shoot women and children cowering in the back bedroom of a Haditha home, his squad mate testified in a rapt courtroom Tuesday. ‘I told him that there’s womens and kids in that room," Lance Cpl. Humberto Mendoza said. ‘He replied, ‘Well, shoot them,’’ continued Mendoza, whose native language is not English. ‘I replied, ‘There’s just womens and kids. There’s no males, no threat, no hostile situation.’’ Mendoza said that when he refused the order, Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum brushed past him and headed into the room himself. ‘Next thing I know, I hear a lot of noise in the house,’ Mendoza said. […]”

 

Justin Sharratt (Haditha) - excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article from June 14th, 2007: “A Marine lance corporal accused of executing three unarmed Iraqi brothers in Haditha told a hearing officer Thursday that he killed them after two of them pointed AK-47s at him while he searched their home for insurgents. […] ‘We did not execute any Iraqi males,’ Sharratt said in a strong, clear voice. ‘I am a disciplined Marine. … On Nov. 19, I did exactly as I was trained to do.’ Prosecutors assert that the three Iraqi men were unarmed and that Sharratt and Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich killed them at close range without provocation. Sharratt said he gave the AK-47s to a Marine the day of the incident. But testimony indicated that there was no clear record of the weapons being recovered at the house, although records do show two AK-47s being recovered somewhere in the neighborhood that day. Prosecutors also assert that because the Iraqis were slain with a handgun, the killings were ‘execution-style,’ because troops rarely use handguns when assaulting houses. But a military pathologist said pictures of the dead men did not suggest that the fatal bullets were fired at close enough range to show the powder burns consistent with such a mode of killing. […]”

 

Andrew Grayson (Haditha) - excerpt from a San Diego Union-Tribune article from June 8th, 2007: “A Marine who took pictures of 24 Iraqis killed by U.S. forces testified yesterday that one of his commanders later ordered him to erase the photos, including those showing dead women and children. ‘I just kind of looked at him with shock,’ Staff Sgt. Justin Laughner said about the instructions from 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson. ‘It just didn't seem right. ... To me, it looked like destroying evidence,’ Laughner testified in a Camp Pendleton courtroom. He said Grayson told him in February 2006 to delete the images from his computer and that he promptly did so. By then, a journalist’s inquiry had prompted top military brass to start investigating the killings, which occurred Nov. 19, 2005, in the city of Haditha. […] Grayson [is] accused of failing to properly investigate the 24 deaths. […]”

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

(1) Mark O’Reilly - published March 2007 - Internet site of “South Shore Habitat For Humanity”;

(2) Dead victims of Haditha massacre/video still - November 19th/20th, 2005 - Taher Thabet/Iraq;

 

 

 

April 15th, 2007

“Hans Filbinger was not a National Socialist. On the contrary: He was an opponent of the NS regime.”

Public remarks by German state governor Günther Oettinger during the memorial service for Hans Filbinger, Oettinger’s predecessor, former navy judge during the 3rd Reich and member of the German Nazi party from 1937 until the end of the second world war.

 

 

Left: Current governor for the German state of Baden-Württemberg Günther Oettinger. He is a member of the conservative ruling party Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Oettinger’s speech at the memorial service for Filbinger can be read here (in German).

 

Right: Hans Filbinger in his later years.

 

Background article on the Oettinger/Filbinger scandal by Judy Dempsey for the International Herald Tribune, dated April 15th, 2007:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a rebellion inside her conservative party after Günther Oettinger, premier of the conservative southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, refused to retract a funeral eulogy in which he praised a disgraced Nazi judge. Merkel, who until now has managed to maintain some discipline in her Christian Democratic Union party since being elected chancellor in late 2005, will meet senior party leaders Monday in an attempt to prevent the crisis from growing.

“The German Jewish community has already asked for the resignation of Oettinger, and the Social Democrats and Greens have also called upon him to retract his praise of Hans Filbinger, a former Nazi judge who issued death sentences during World War II but who concealed the fact for decades. In 1966, Filbinger was elected premier of Baden-Württemberg; he resigned in 1978, only after it was revealed that he had worked as a military judge and had been a member of the Nazi Party.

“Merkel said she wished that ‘beyond honoring the great life’s works of Premier Hans Filbinger, critical questions about the Nazi era had also been posed.’ This, she added, was particularly important ‘out of respect for the feelings of the victims’ of the Third Reich. Despite the growing outrage, even from the conservative media, Oettinger stood by his original remarks Sunday. ‘I believe Filbinger was an opponent of the dictatorship,’ he said in a radio interview. ‘My comments were justifiable.’

“During the funeral Wednesday, Oettinger uncritically praised Filbinger. He said that there had been ‘no verdict that Hans Filbinger handed down that led to someone's losing his life,’ adding that Filbinger had not been a real Nazi but, like millions of other Germans, had been forced to bow to the pressure of the time. […]”

 

Background information on Hans Filbinger - from the Obituary notes by David Childs for the Independent (April 9th, 2007): “Hans Karl Filbinger, politician and judge: born Mannheim, Germany 15 September 1913; married Ingeborg Breuer (one son, four daughters); died Freiburg, Germany 1 April 2007.

“Hans Filbinger’s life revealed how Hitler’s Third Reich has continued to haunt the German political scene. A highly popular Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, he was forced out of office in 1978 because of his wartime activities and was still under fire in 2004.

“A Catholic, born in Mannheim in 1913, Filbinger studied law in Freiburg, Munich and Paris. Having joined the Catholic youth organisation at school, he remained a member until it was banned by the Nazis. According to the news magazine Der Spiegel, Filbinger also joined the Nazi student organisation, the SA stormtroopers and, in 1937, the Nazi party. In 1940 he passed his state law exam and a few months later was called up for service in the navy. He was posted to the naval legal service.

“In 1946, Filbinger returned to academic work at Freiburg University and also worked as a lawyer. He joined the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in 1951 and in 1960 was elected to the regional parliament. Weeks later Kurt Georg Kiesinger, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, invited him to take over as Minister of Interior of the state. When in 1966 Kiesinger was elected Chancellor of Germany, Filbinger succeeded him as Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister.

“In 1969, when Willy Brandt became West German Chancellor, Filbinger took up a position as a strong opponent of Brandt’s Social-Liberal coalition. He increased the CDU vote in Baden- Württemberg in the regional elections of 1972, and again in 1976, campaigning under the slogan ‘Freedom instead of Socialism’. Some saw Filbinger as a possible future Chancellor of West Germany. […]

“In 1978, Filbinger’s career was finally torpedoed by the dramatist Rolf Hochhuth who denounced him for his wartime activities. Hochhuth wrote in the weekly Die Zeit that in January 1945 Filbinger was part of the team that condemned the 22-year-old sailor Walter Gröger to death. Later, Filbinger admitted that he had been involved with two other death sentences, in January and April 1945, only days before the war’s end.

“He made the mistake of first attempting to deny the facts, and then not expressing regret for his activities. He argued that death sentences for desertion were common in armies in wartime. Few accused him of being a fanatical Nazi and it was revealed that he had attempted to get lesser sentences in some cases. Filbinger resigned on 7 August 1978, although he remained honorary chairman of the Baden- Württemberg CDU until 1997. […]” [End of article]

Filbinger applied for membership in the German Nazy party (“NSDAP”) on May 20th, 1937. Shortly after, the application Filbinger’s was granted and he became an official member (No. 4026789). Membership within the NSDAp required the following oath, which Filbinger signed on his application card: “As a faithful follower to the Führer, I promise to support the party to the best of my ability.”

After his resignation as state governor, Filbinger founded the conservative/right-wing think tank “Studienzentrum Weikersheim” in 1979. During the 1980s and 1990s the institute was involved in several scandals, as it repeatedly invited speakers of the ultra-conservaitve/right-wing political spectrum or its board members maintained contacts to right-wing extremists.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

(1) Günther Oettinger - April 2007 - Financial Times Deutschland/Associated Press;

(2) Hans Filbinger - undated - ARD Television;

 

 

 

March 10th, 2007

“With the release of this year’s [human rights] reports […] we are recommitting ourselves to call every government to account that still treats the basic rights of its citizens as options rather than, in President Bush’s words, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.”

Public remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the occasion of the relase of the U.S. State Department’s human rights report for the year 2006 on March 6th, 2007.

 

 

Left: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the presentation of this year’s human rights report by the U.S. State Department on March 6th, 2007. Her full remarks on the release of the report can be read here.

 

Right: A killed Iraqi boy from Jalameda, deprived of his most basic human right - the right to live - by an U.S. airstrike on December 8th, 2006. More about the Jalameda massacre can be found here.

 

Background: “On Tuesday - to ritualized hoots of derision from around the globe - the U.S. Department of State released its 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The annual reports detail ‘the status of internationally recognized human rights’ in virtually every country in the world - except, of course, the U.S. itself.

“At first glance, this year's reports contain few surprises. The State Department laments the genocide in Darfur, notes that Russia has experienced a ‘further erosion of government accountability’ and reminds us that Cuba denies its citizens ‘the fundamental right to change their government peacefully.’ The reports also document rights abuses in China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea - in fact, pretty much all over the place. Even tiny Monaco is rebuked for denying its citizens ‘the right to change their government or denounce the royal family.’

“Although the State Department announces the annual reports with fanfare, the rest of the world rarely responds with enthusiasm. This year is no exception. China, a perennial target, declared that ‘the United States has lorded it over other countries by condemning other countries' human rights practices while ignoring its own problems.’ Other foreign commentators also complained about U.S. hypocrisy. After Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other highly publicized human rights controversies, they wondered, where does the U.S. get off casting stones at others? […]” Excerpt of a Los Angeles Times article from March 9th, 2007.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

(1) Condoleezza Rice - March 6th, 2007 - State Department photo by Michael Gross;

(2) Killed Iraqi boy from Jalameda - December 8th, 2006 - Al Jazeera;

 

 

 

January 30th, 2007

“I observe with great concern that abuse of human rights still takes place in numerous countries, and that torture, the death penalty and the denial of elementary fundamental liberties are everyday occurrences in many places. A crucial task of German foreign policy, therefore, is and will remain to promote the observance of human rights.”

Public statement by Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the occasion of the upcoming Human Rights Day, on December 9th, 2006.

 

 

Left: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, since 2005 Foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Germany and former Head of the Federal Chancellery from 1999 until 2005. The full statement of Steinmeier on the occasion of Human Rights day can be read here (external link).

 

Right: Murat Kurnaz, “[…] a German-born Turk, was arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of being a militant. He was transferred to Afghanistan, where he says American interrogators hung him from chains. He was sent to Guantanamo and held there until last August, when he was released. He was never charged with a crime. Intelligence documents cited by German media suggest Kurnaz, a 24-year-old shipbuilder, could have been freed years earlier. The files indicate that the CIA offered to release Kurnaz and return him to Germany in 2002. […] At the time Kurnaz’s fate was being decided, Steinmeier oversaw German spy agencies as chief of staff to then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Documents being examined by a special committee of Parliament allege that Steinmeier and former foreign intelligence director August Hanning rejected the U.S. offer. […]” Excerpt of a Los Angeles Times article from January 26th, 2007.

 

Steinmeier still defends his decision to stop the release of the innocent Kurnaz from Guantanamo and his return to Germany, although he was already informed in 2002 by the U.S. government and the German foreign intelligence service (BND) that Kurnaz had no ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban. He stated publicly that he would decide exactly the same way today, that his decisions of 2002 were perfectly correct and the criticism of his actions “shameless”. (link to German article).

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

(1) Frank-Walter Steinmeier - 2006 - file photo from the website of the German embassy in Washington, D.C.;

(2) Murat Kurnaz attends an interview with Radio Bremen TV in Bremen, Germany. - August 31st, 2006 - Radio Bremen TV/Handout/Reuters;

 

 

 

January 15th, 2007

 

 

“We have to prevent the return to warlordism and so we need to get some type of neutral force in there now. Some people would like the United States to lead on this issue of Somalia.”

Press statement of Jendayi Frazer, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, in reaction to several U.S. air strikes in South Somalia on January 9th, 2007.

 

 

Left: Frazer heads the Bureau of African Affairs since September 29th, 2005. According to her official biography, “[s]ecurity issues remain of interest to Dr. Frazer, who regularly speaks to military audiences and about military-related issues in Africa.” Her statement to the U.S. bombings can be read in an BBC News article from January 10th, 2007.

 

Right: Three members of a U.S. supported Somali warlord coalition. A Reuters article from June 5th, 2006 describes that at least until 2006 the United States has funneled money and equipment to Somali warlords: “The United States has been funnelling more than $100,000 a month to warlords battling Islamist militia in Somalia, according to a Somalia expert who has conferred with the groups in the country. […] U.S. government officials refused to discuss any possible secret U.S. involvement in the strategically placed Horn of Africa state, which has been wrecked by years of fighting. But former U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said an operation to support the warlords’ alliance appeared to involve both the CIA and U.S. military. John Prendergast, who monitors Somalia for the think-tank International Crisis Group, said he learnt during meetings with alliance members in Somalia that the CIA was financing the warlords with cash payments. Prendergast estimated that CIA-operated flights into Somalia have been bringing in $100,000 to $150,000 per month for the warlords. […]” 

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

(1) Jendayi Frazer - 2005/2006 - file photo from the website of the U.S. State Department;

(2) Three Somali members of the anti-terrorism warlord coalition that has been battling forces loyal to Islamic courts are seen heavy armed in Balad. - 2006 - Reuters;

 

 

 

December 31st, 2006

“Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice […] is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy […]”

President Bush's Statement on the execution of Saddam Hussein from December 29th, 2006.

 

 

Left: U.S. President Bush on December 27th, 2006. The full statement by Bush on Saddam Hussein’s execution can be read here.

 

Right: The executed Saddam Hussein hanging from the gallows.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right):

(1) U.S. President George Bush delivers a statement on the passing of former President Gerald R. Ford from Crawford, Texas. - December 27th, 2006 - White House photo by Paul Morse;

(2) Screenshot from a video filmed with a cellphone camera featuring the dead Saddam Hussein, a few seconds after his execution - December 30th, 2006 - unknown source;

 

 

 

December 15th, 2006

“Most importantly, he worked to establish a culture in the Pentagon that rewards innovation and intelligent risk taking, and encourages our military and civilian leaders to challenge established ways of thinking.”

U.S. President George W. Bush at the “Full Honor Review” for parting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on December 15th, 2006.

 

 

Left: President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shake hands following President Bush’s remarks honoring outgoing Secretary Rumsfeld during an Armed Forces Full Honor Review at the Pentagon Friday, Dec. 15, 2006, as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace applauds. (external link to the official White House presentation)

 

Right: “U.S. intelligence personnel ordered military dog handlers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to use unmuzzled dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees during interrogations late last year, a plan approved by the highest-ranking military intelligence officer at the facility, according to sworn statements the handlers provided to military investigators. A military intelligence interrogator also told investigators that two dog handlers at Abu Ghraib were ‘having a contest’ to see how many detainees they could make involuntarily urinate out of fear of the dogs, according to the previously undisclosed statements obtained by The Washington Post. The statements by the dog handlers provide the clearest indication yet that military intelligence personnel were deeply involved in tactics later deemed by a U.S. Army general to be ‘sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses.’ […]” Excerpt of an article by the Washington Post from June 11th, 2004.

 

Photo Credits (from left to right)

(1) Donald Rumsfeld, Peter Pace & George W. Bush - December 15th, 2006 - White House photo by Paul Morse;

(2) An unmuzzled dog appears to be used to frighten a detainee at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Two military dog handlers told investigators that intelligence personnel ordered them to use dogs to intimidate prisoners. - undated photo from fall of 2003;

 

 

 

December 8th, 2006

“America’s belief in human dignity and human rights will guide our policy.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the presentation of the annual U.S. Human Rights report on March 28th, 2005.

 

 

Left: José Padilla, blindfolded, deafened and shackled, on the way from his cell to his dentist. Padilla, a so-called “enemy combattant”, is incarcerated without trial for more than four years at the U.S. Navy military facility in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

Right: Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State since January 26th, 2005, regularly propagates the human rights policy of the United States of America.

 

For more details about the circumstances of Padilla’s detention read the affidavit of Angela Hegarty, a medical doctor who treated Padilla in 2006.

 

Photo credits (from left to right):

(1) & (2) Still shots from an unclassified DoD video - Exhibit E, Docket No. 695, Filed December 1st, 2006 - USA et al vs. Hassoun et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida;

(3) Official portrait of Condoleezza Rice - February 2005 - U.S. Department of State;

 

 

 

November 23rd, 2006

“He is the type of guy you would want dating your daughter.”

Attorney Mark Zaid about his client Sgt. Frank Wuterich during an interview with the “National Public Radio” (NPR) on November 21st, 2006.

 

 

Frank Wuterich (left), former leader of 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who led an attack of U.S. marines against Iraqis on November 19th, 2005, which left 24 civilians dead, including 15 women and children (right). Wuterich is now a defendant before a U.S. military tribunal because of the killings.

More about the Haditha Massacre: link

 

Photo credits (from left to right):

(1) F. Wuterich - undated family photo;

(2) & (3) Murder scene in Haditha - video provided to Reuters in March by Hamourabi, a human rights group - November 20th, 2005 - bloodstained bedroom and covered dead Iraqi civlians;