So Joe, seems you might be wrong as usual... See especially the URLs for Physicians for Human Rights in the second article below.
Just because a news source might be run by socialists doesn't mean that they don't report accurately. And when news sources appear to be censoring their data, one has to examine a broad range of sources to determine what is, and is not likely.
Interview with Jamie Doran, director of Massacre at Mazar
Source: The Socialist Web (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/dora-j17.shtml)
Authors: Stefan Steinberg
Jamie Doran is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has been producing films for the past 22 years. He spent seven years working for the BBC before establishing his own independent television company. He has spent much of the last eight months working in Afghanistan on film projects. The WSWS conducted this interview with Doran on June 14.
WSWS: You deal briefly with the events in the fort of Qala-i-Janghi, but the main part of your film concentrates on the fate of all 8,000 fighters who surrendered to American forces in Konduz.
JD: That’s right. 8,000 surrendered to Amir Jahn, who negotiated the surrender deal. In the film he says he counted the prisoners one by one, and there were 8,000 of them. 470 went to Qala-i-Janghi. The assumption is that seven-and-a-half-thousand went from Qala-i-Janghi to Sheberghan, and the result of that transport was that, according to his words, “Just 3,015 are left. Where are the rest?”
WSWS: What happened to the surviving 3,015? Have they been set free?
JD: No, most of them are still there in prison. They are letting some of them go, but the majority are still in detention.
WSWS: Regarding the US involvement in what took place, could I ask about the witnesses who appear in the film?
JD: Three members of the Afghan military appear in the film, two ordinary soldiers and one general. Then there is one taxi diver who witnessed three containers with blood pouring from them. He said his hair stood on end and that it was horrific. Then two of the truck drivers testify who were forced to take the containers into the desert. Based on the statements of the witnesses, the total number of those transported was at the very least 1,500, but more likely the total is up to 3,000.
WSWS: Is there any other evidence, apart from the testimony of these witnesses, on the involvement of the American military in the deaths of these 3,000 prisoners?
JD: Absolutely not. The reason the story has been released early is that I received a warning from Mazar-i-Sharif that the graves in the desert were being tampered with. All the evidence is in the graves, and it is essential that those graves are not touched!
WSWS: Do you know who was tampering with them?
JD: Yes I do, but I am not saying. What I am saying is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and the genuinely innocent have nothing to fear from an independent inquiry. So the Afghans and Americans involved in this have nothing to fear from an independent inquiry, if they are innocent. I am sure they can have no objections to such an inquiry.
WSWS: In your opinion, in such an operation involving the transportation and elimination of up to 3,000 people, is it possible that the American troops did not have knowledge or give their consent?
JD: You want my opinion? My answer is no. One hundred and fifty Americans soldiers were present at Sheberghan prison. That does not include CIA personnel. In my opinion, it would be highly unlikely that they could remain unaware of something taking place of such magnitude.
WSWS: In your opinion, how high up in the US army chain of command does complicity in these events extend?
JD: I repeat. When you have 150 American soldiers and a number of CIA personnel in the vicinity of Sheberghan prison, it would be extremely strange if they did not have knowledge of these atrocities taking place.
WSWS: In the film, witnesses say that American military personnel were involved in the torture and shooting of Afghan prisoners.
JD: In the film, accusations are made that torture was carried out by American soldiers, but the major accusation in terms of the numbers involved is that an American officer told one of the witnesses to get the containers out of the town of Sheberghan before satellite pictures could be taken. Also, one of the drivers talked of 30 to 40 American soldiers being present at the location of the murder and burial of survivors in the desert.
WSWS: Is there any evidence to point to the participation of American soldiers in shooting victims in the desert?
JD: I have absolutely no evidence that American troops were involved in the shooting that took place in the desert. At the same time, there are other witnesses to the mass grave in the desert. There are human rights activists who found the mass grave in the desert even before me, and they now describe my film as “the missing link.” They found the grave and, under the auspices of the UN, dug up a small section of earth containing 15 bodies. They estimate that in that one section of the desert there were about a thousand bodies. They too are calling for the grave to be protected, because at the moment it is being protected by no one. So the evidence can be easily tampered with.
WSWS: Based on the evidence of your film, what are you calling for?
JD: I am a journalist. I do not make calls. What I am saying is that evidence must be protected. It is essential that the grave is protected until an international inquiry can be carried out.
WSWS: What has been the reaction to your film?
JD: It has been incredible. I have had worldwide inquiries. There has even been interest in America. It has been astonishing. I have had inquires from South Africa, Australia, as well as every country in Europe.
WSWS: What are your plans for showing the film to a wider audience?
JD: As you know, this is a short film that I have released in order to prevent the graves being damaged. The main film will be finished in about five to six weeks, and will carry greater implications against the people involved.
WSWS: Could you say something about the risks involved in shooting your film?
JD: I was working as an independent journalist in Afghanistan—that says everything. I do not give a damn about my own position, but I am concerned about my journalists there and, in particular, I am concerned about the witnesses who risked everything to appear in the film. They had no reason to give these interviews. It has put them in great danger. None of them received a single cent for their contributions. I repeat that they received absolutely no payment for their appearance in the film and have only, in fact, put themselves in extreme danger. It is urgent that immediate action is taken to protect the graves, protect the evidence. The innocent have nothing to fear.
Further evidence of a massacre of Taliban prisoners
Source: The Socialist Web (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/dora-j17.shtml)
Authors: Peter Schwarz
New reports from a human rights organisation and the German press have substantiated charges that US troops, aided by local and international allies, massacred thousands of defenceless Taliban in the course of the war in Afghanistan.
The international press first reported treatment of Taliban prisoners that systematically breached the Geneva Conventions at the end of November. At that time, American aircraft and helicopters quelled an apparent revolt by prisoners at the fortress of Qala-i-Janghi near Mazar-i-Sharif, which was bombed from the air. Several hundred prisoners died as a result of the bombardment, with just 86 surviving the attack.
The victims were members of the Taliban, who had previously surrendered in Konduz to troops led by the Uzbek general, Rashid Dostum, an ally of the Americans. Having surrendered, the Taliban were prisoners of war entitled to full protection under the Geneva Conventions.
>From the approximately 8,000 fighters who surrendered in Konduz only 500 to 800 were taken to Qala-i-Janghi. Soon information emerged that other Taliban had been murdered.
Last January and February, a team from the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), based in Boston, visited a number of graves in the Mazar-i-Sharif and Sheberghan area. They established that two of the mass graves that they investigated were of recent origin. The team quoted testimony from inhabitants of the region, who claimed to have seen scores of bodies unloaded from container trucks and buried in the desert by bulldozers.
In a May 1 letter to the provisional Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, the PHR wrote: “The forensic team also found evidence of recently disposed human remains in two of the nine gravesites that were visited. While we are not in a position to verify the provenance of the remains in these sites, we heard speculation from well-informed international observers that one of these sites, near the city of Sheberghan, could have been a disposal ground of Taliban prisoners who had surrendered to the Northern Alliance in November and December 2001.”
The report detailing the investigation (including photos) by the PHR and its letter to Karzai are available on at: (http://www.phrusa.org/research/afghanistan/report_graves.html#1and http://www.phrusa.org/research/afghanistan/karzai_letter.html).
Earlier this month, Irish documentary filmmaker Jamie Doran screened his uncompleted film Massacre in Mazar in a number of European cities. Witnesses appearing in the film gave more accounts detailing a massacre of up to 3,000 Taliban.
According to these witnesses, between 200 and 300 of the prisoners from Konduz were packed into each of the containers, which were ostensibly being used to take them to the prison at Sheberghan. En route, approximately half of the captives suffocated or were killed by shots fired by soldiers into the airtight containers. Others were executed as the containers were unloaded into a mass grave in the desert. According to the witnesses, American soldiers were present during this massacre.
The German weekly newspaper Die Zeit recently sent two reporters, Giuliana Sgrena and Ulrich Ladurner, to Masar-i-Sharif to carry out their own investigation. Their report confirms many of the statements made in the film by Jamie Doran.
In the latest edition of Der Zeit, they write: “It is not difficult to find people in Sheberghan who can relate what took place in the desert of Dascht-i-Laili. Without exhibiting any degree of excitement they tell of executions and Taliban suffocated in containers.”
The reporters quote the inhabitant of a nearby village, who said: “I counted at least 13 containers. They were transported on lorries. It was daytime when they arrived.” Asked how these men died, the villager responded: “We were told that they had suffocated in the containers, but some of the containers were splattered with blood.”
According to the report in Die Zeit, the local population was certain that the operation took place in the presence of American soldiers: “We enquired further. No one doubted that the Americans had taken part. Even at higher levels there are no doubts on this issue.”
Die Zeit, however, estimates the total of dead Taliban to be somewhat lower than the figure given in the Doran film.
Doran said that 8,000 Taliban surrendered in Konduz. He bases his figure on the statement given by the Uzbek commander who led the surrender negotiations. In an interview with the WSWS, Doran said: “8,000 surrendered to Amir Jahn, who negotiated the surrender deal. In the film he says he counted the prisoners one by one, and there were 8,000 of them. 470 went to Qala-i-Janghi. The assumption is that seven-and-a-half-thousand went from Qala-i-Janghi to Sheberghan, and the result of that transport was that, according to his words, “Just 3,015 are left. Where are the rest?”
According to the witnesses in the Doran film at least 1,500, but more likely up to 3,000, were massacred.
Die Zeit on the other hand speaks of “around 5,000 Taliban” who surrendered in Konduz, without accounting for the difference between their figure and that given by Doran. The paper estimates the number of victims at Qala-i-Janghi to be around 600, and the number of prisoners whose whereabouts remain unknown to be at least 1,000. The report concludes: “That a proportion of the 1,000 have disappeared, while others suffocated in the containers, is indisputable.”
At the same time, Die Zeit refers to a further slaughter involving the deaths of 570 Taliban. This “case of at the very least astonishingly ruthless conduct of war” actually took place in the town of Mazar-i-Sharif when it was occupied by troops of the Northern Alliance. Taliban fighters had hidden in the Sultan Rasia school in the middle of the town and were carrying out a bitter defence of their position. American air strikes were called in to break their resistance. After the action, the Red Cross collected a total of 570 corpses.
The various reports emerging from Afghanistan present a horrific picture of a ruthlessly conducted colonial war. These accounts contrast sharply with the official image projected by the Pentagon and the media, and indicate that the US military is guilty of major war crimes.
There are increasing demands for a full and independent investigation of what took place in Afghanistan. The Physicians for Human Rights is demanding that the mass graves be protected to ensure no evidence is removed from the site or destroyed. The United Nations has also taken up this demand. However, neither the Afghan government nor Washington has responded to these calls. The European parliament plans to discuss the issue at the beginning of July.
---- This message was posted by Hermit to the Virus 2002 board on Church of Virus BBS. <http://virus.lucifer.com/bbs/index.php?board=51;action=display;threadid=26019>
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