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KENNY LERNER

 

The Idiot News                “Nothing Ever Happens”                April 24, 2002

 

WHY THEY HATE US

The US is the uncontested most powerful nation in the world.  As such, our security should not be dependent on the oppression of others.  Throughout the Afghan war, Uzbekistan has allowed a US base and 1,000 troops to operate from Uzbek soil.  In return, “President” Bush will triple aid to Uzbekistan raising funding to $160 million next year. “In my judgment, any country right now that has a DESPOTIC LEADERSHIP, that is unrepresentative of its people, that is not putting in place market economic systems, that is RIFE WITH CORRUPTION, a lack of transparency and NO RULE OF LAW....is a loser.”

                                Sec of State, Colin Powell 2/28/02

 

DESPOTIC LEADERSHIP

“Uzbekistan’s method of harvesting cotton has only added to its national anguish.  The most visible victims of cotton are women and children...During the harvest season, the schools are emptied of children.  Poor women are rounded up.  All are shipped to the fields and forced to toil beneath the molten Central Asian sun, sometimes without shelter or adequate drinking water...The Russian word for cotton worker is Rabaochy, or rab for short...Rab also means “slave”.

                                Tom Bissell, Harpers Magazine  April 2002

 

“Uzbekistan is leading a regionwide crackdown on all forms of Islam that

are not state-controlled...Repression that is driving entire villages

into opposition and forcing religion underground...When the mass arrest

of Muslims began in 1997, young religious men went underground or fled

to safety in Afghanistan or Tajikistan where they made contact with more

militant movements.”  
                                 NY Times 8/16/01

 

RULE OF LAW

“Torture is a systematic problem in Uzbekistan”

                                Elizabeth Anderson, Exec Director Human RightsWatch

 

“Both police and the National Security Service routinely tortured, beat, and otherwise mistreated detainees to obtain confessions...Police also used suffocation, electric shock, rape, and other sexual abuse...”

                                US State Department

 

“The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) focuses only on establishment of democracy, the protection of human rights and the freedom of the press.  I am now questioning these values.”

                                President Islam Karimov (1989-Present)  January 8, 2000

 

“On Uzbekistan’s independence in 1991, the families who live nearby restored the mosque and began building a madrassa, or religious school, next door.  Then the police came and began taking the men away.  Uzbek and foreign human rights workers say more than 1,000 affiliated with the mosque have been imprisoned, in many cases on the strength of planted evidence or confessions exacted through torture...the Uzbek governmnet has said imprisoned Muslims supported the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, but at the Ota Ullohom mosque and elsewhere, the crackdown PREDATES the known existence of the terrorist group.”

                                NY TIMES 10/29/01

 

“The security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained persons, on false charges, particularly Muslims suspected of extremist sympathies, frequently planting narcotics, weapons, or banned literature on them.  Human rights groups estimated that the number of persons in detention for political or religious reasons and for terrorism, primarily attendees of unofficial mosques and members of Islamist political groups, but also members of the secular opposition and human rights activists, was approximately 7,500.”

                                US State Department (human rights report 2002)

 

“Judges whose decisions have been overturned...may be removed from office;  consequently judges rarely defy the recommendations of prosecutors.  As a result, defendants almost always are found guilty.”

                                US State Department

 

RIFE WITH CORRUPTION...

“Every citizen must carry such a document (passport) when travelling INSIDE or outside the country...citizens must have permission in order to resettle in a new city...The government does not permit the existance of opposition parties.”

                                US State Department

 

“We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.  The

lesson of our time is clear.  When nations close their markets and

opportunity is hoarded by a privileged few, no amount--no amount of

development aid is ever enough.  We must tie greater aid to political

and legal and economic reforms and by insisting on reform, we do the

work of compassion.”

                                GW Bush   March 22, 2002

 

“Uzbekistan possesses significant economic potential and has a well-educated population and qualified labor force.  It is rich in such natural resources as gold, natural gas, oil, coal, silver, and copper. It is the world’s 9th largest producer of gold and among its 10 largest suppliers of natural gas.  The country remains underdeveloped however, with a GNP percapita estimated at $1010 in 1996.  ...Private property does not enjoy sufficient protection under the legal system.  The US Trade Representative reports that “bribery and corrution are endemic...Businesses must register with numerous government organizations...This process is so complex that many Uzbekistanni officials themselves have difficulty with it.”  The Economist Intelligence Unit cites corruption as a pervasive problem.  ...Uzbekistan’s banking system is shaky and controlled by the state.  The central bank is not independent of the state...Uzbekistan’s many state-owned eneterprises control wages and prices...”

                                The Heritage Foundation (the 2001 index of Economic Freedom)

 

editor’s note:

        The Aral Sea in Uzbekistan was once the 4th largest inland body of water in the world.  By the year 2010, it will be completely dried up. This is because cotton requires 30 annual inches of rain while Uzbekistan usually gets 14 inches.  Guess where they get the extra water from!  So far the sea has left behind a desert seabed the size of Massachusetts.  It has also left behind fishing villages like Moynaq which is now 80 miles from the sea.  The sands are a poisonous reminder of the toxic wastes the Soviets dumped there.  The current regime is still ruled by the former Communist boss, Islam Karimov.  He has been poisoning the souls of a nation whose hope is drying up since 1989.  The irony, of course, is that some whom we fight were driven to Al-qaeda by Karimov.  We give ammunition to the Bin Ladins of the world with every dollar we send him.  Karimov’s “Bush-speak” sends me down memory lane to the good old cold war...

 

“Indifference to, and tolerance of, those with EVIL intentions who are spreading various fabrications, handing out leaflets, committing theft and sedition in some neighborhoods and who are spreading propaganda on behalf of religion should be recognized as being supportive of these EVIL-DOERS.”

                                Predsident Islam Karimov   10/09/01

 

These former first secretaries of their regional Communist parties became presidents and set about denigrating their once dear party.  I watched this happen in Uzbekistan with Islam Karimov, who is still, remarkably, the Uzbek president....Just 15 days before this tragedy (WTC 9/11), Mr. Karimov had promised that he would grant an amnesty that would have released thousands of citizens who had been convicted of various crimes.  Among those eligible were at least 1,000 political prisoners promised amnesty...But by late September such promises of freedom became unnecessary...Uzbekistan is drifting toward an anti-American stance, if one understands “American” as implying democracy, human rights and the struggle against state-sponsored terror.”

                                Muhammad Salih, leader of the Erk (Freedom) Party of Uzbekistan