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URUK Net 16 February, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 10:15

Wikileaks slams arrest and releases Afghan death data for 2008
Wikileaks releases NATO report on civilian deaths
Wikileaks
A confidential NATO report from January reveals that civilian deaths from the war in Afghanistan have increased by 46% over the past year. The 12 page report was authenticated and released in full today by Wikileaks. The report shows a dramatic escalation of the war and civil disorder. Coalition deaths increased by 35%, assassinations and kidnappings by 50% and attacks on the Kabul based Government of Hamid Karzai also more than doubled, rising a massive 119%. The report highlights huge increases on attacks aimed at Coalition forces, including a 27 % increase in IED attacks, a 40%. rise in rifle and rocket fire and an increase in surface to air fire of 67%…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51838

Former Gitmo Guard Tells All
Scott Horton, Harper’s
Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51845

The War Recession
Alan Bock
…While this recession might not achieve the depth and length of the Great Depression, it is likely to last longer and be deeper than any since WWII. How much of the problem is attributable to the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the roughly $515 billion the U.S. spends annually on “normal” military operations may not be possible to calculate, though I would love to hear about respectable studies that have been done on the matter. But it seems probable that the desire to be a world-bestriding imperial power with 800 military bases and facilities scattered around the globe has played a role in bringing the U.S. to its economic knees…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51844

Ayoon wa Azan (When it’s Anti-Arab Racism, the Double Standards Begin)
Jihad El-Khazen, Al-Hayat
Perhaps the correct name of the political party Yisrael Beitenu is the Jewish Fascist Party; its leader Avigdor Lieberman is not much different than other racists, such as Jean-Marie Le Pen of France and the late Jorg Haider of Austria. While I completely agree with this opinion, it is not mine. I heard it from a friend, Dr. Ahmad al-Tibi, after I called him to congratulate him on winning a seat in the Knesset, on the success of the United Arab List in taking a total of four seats, and on the general success of Arab lists, despite the drop in Palestinian Arab turn-out. Dr. Tibi talked about the rise of the extreme right in Israel and said that Lieberman was much worse than Haider and Le Pen. There is an apparent and interesting difference among the three, since the French and Austrian fascist politicians directed their racism against foreigners in their countries, especially Muslims, while Lieberman, an immigrant, directs his racism against the country’s original inhabitants. Dr. Tibi reminded me of an important point as he continued his comparison. When Haider won in the Austrian elections, the international community and the governments of Europe and Israel boycotted the Austrian government…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51842

Obama administration seeks to block lawsuit over illegal wiretapping
By John Burton and Marge Holland
For the second time in less than a week, lawyers from the Justice Department headed by Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder have embraced the Bush administration’s pseudo-legal argument that the “state secrets” doctrine bars civil lawsuits challenging the methods used in its so-called “war on terror.” On February 9, Obama administration lawyers argued before the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, headquartered in San Francisco, that the maintenance of “state secrets” mandates the dismissal of cases challenging “extraordinary rendition” – that is kidnapping and torture – by the US government.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51841

The Beat Goes On: Torture, Tasers and American Tradition
Chris Floyd
Another day, another citizen killed by a police Taser. From the SF Chronicle: A man in his 20s died after a struggle with San Jose police during which he was jolted with a Taser, police said Thursday. The man, whose name was not immediately released, died in the backyard of a home on the 2200 block of Amador Drive in east San Jose after being jolted with the stun gun, said Officer Enrique Garcia…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51847

Financial Crisis: Toxic Plans for Toxic Assets
Stephen Lendman
…Examine Obama’s economic team. Poor policy produces failed results no different than under George Bush. Neither Bernanke or Greespan saw bubbles, so it’s no surprise that in late 2006 Mr. B. said “US housing prices merely reflect a strong US economy.” Today he risks serious inflation by flooding the market with liquidity and worrying later how he’ll sop it up. Debt defines today’s crisis, yet under Bush, Geithner, as New York Fed president, helped fuel it and believes more debt, over-consumption, and unaffordable new borrowing will return the economy to sustainable growth which, of course, it can’t…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51843

Israel intends to use the unlawful combatant law against Gaza POWs
Palestinian Information Center
The PA ministry of prisoners’ affairs in Gaza said on Monday that Israel intends to use the law of “unlawful combatant” against more than 200 civilians kidnapped during its war on the Gaza Strip whose fate and whereabouts are still unknown and concealed by the IOA. In a statement received by the PIC, Riyadh Al-Ashqar, the director of the information office in the ministry, explained that Israel devised the law of unlawful combatant to legalize the abduction of civilians endlessly and without any trial. Ashqar added that according to this arbitrary law, the prisoners are denied the right of defending themselves or knowing the charges filed against them…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51848

Israel takes control of more West Bank land
By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer Karin Laub, Associated Press Writer
Israel has taken control of a large chunk of land near a prominent West Bank settlement, paving the way for the possible construction of 2,500 settlement homes, officials said Monday, in a new challenge to Mideast peacemaking. Successive Israeli governments have broken promises to the United States to halt settlement expansion, defined by Washington as an obstacle to peace. Ongoing expansion is likely to create friction not only with the Palestinians, but with President Barack Obama, whose Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, has long pushed for a settlement freeze. Obama has said he’d get involved quickly in Mideast peace efforts…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51849

U.S. Envoy Reaches Out to Iran in Afghan Visit
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr., NYTimes
President Obama’s top envoy to Afghanistan declared Sunday that Iran should play a vital role helping stabilize the war-torn country. It was the latest statement by Obama officials signaling a clear shift away from the Bush administration’s policy of avoiding direct engagement with Tehran… “It is absolutely clear that Iran plays an important role in Afghanistan,” Mr. Holbrooke said during an interview on Sunday with Tolo TV, a private Afghan television network. “They have a legitimate role to play in this region, as do all of Afghanistan’s neighbors.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51840

The Little Things That Pass Us By
By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
… There has been much said and written about Palestine and the difficulties faced by its people as a result of Israel’s occupation. What I would like to say is that even though the bombs are no longer raining down on Gaza and there are no visible signs of conflict in the West Bank, the battle is far from over. There are so many other injustices being perpetrated every day against the Palestinians that go unnoticed, unseen and disregarded. They should not. A fisherman who cannot put food on his family’s table or a mother who cannot cross a checkpoint to take her children home are huge injustices for those on the receiving end. Just because they do not reach our television screens or newspapers does not make them any less significant…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51837

US Airstrike Kills 31 in Pakistan
PIR ZUBAIR SHAH, NYTimes
At least 31 people were killed Monday in a remote area of Pakistan close to the Afghanistan border in what appeared to be a missile strike from an American drone, according to a government official and a resident in the Kurram tribal region. The government official, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, said the attack was apparently the second in three days targeting militants loyal to Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban leader in Pakistan. On Saturday, a missile struck a compound used by Mr. Mehsud in South Waziristan, killing 30 people, but the Taliban leader was not among the reported victims…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51833

IRAQ: Unemployment bad and getting worse
Tina Susman, LATimes
As Iraq’s security situation improves, its employment situation is lagging behind, according to a report compiled by the United Nations and other, non-governmental agencies. The just-released findings indicate that unemployment in Iraq is 18%, with an additional 10% of the labor force working part time but wanting to work more. One of the most troubling pieces of the report concerns the percentage of young men out of work: 28% of those ages 15 to 29 are unemployed.
Women also are disproportionately out of work. Only 17% have jobs, a low number compared to neighboring countries… Unemployment and under-employment have plagued Iraq since the U.S. invasion of March 2003…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51850

Video: Israeli Navy shoots Gaza Fisherman
ya9ni
Israeli navy gun boats fire at several Palestinian fishing boats which are only 3km west of the port in Gaza City. One of the fishermen – Rafik Abu Rayala is badly injured…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51832

IOF tank shell kills Palestinian, wound five others
Palestinian Information Center
A Palestinian citizen was killed on Monday and five others wounded in an Israeli occupation forces’ bombardment of civilian neighborhoods north of Gaza Strip. Medical sources said that medical teams evacuated the body of Rajab Subuh along with five casualties after an IOF tank fired at a civilian home in Attatra, north of the Strip. In Rafah, IOF warplanes at noon Monday fired a number of missiles at the Gaza Strip border areas with Egypt but no casualties were reported, security sources said…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51839

Bleeding Gaza Schools
By Motasem Dalloul, IOL Correspondent
In the bombed-out Gaza Strip, schooling, already hit by a chocking Israeli siege, has become a greater struggle after three weeks of massive bombing and attacks that left dozens of schools in ruins and students too traumatized to learn. “We are working hard to find an appropriate building to resume our work, but because of the shortage of buildings and the increase of demand after the war we haven’t found any yet,” Mamdouh Salem, headmaster of the American International School in Gaza, told IslamOnline.net…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51831

Iranian Arabs seek equal rights
Ahmed Janabi, Aljazeera.net
Amnesty International has urged Iran to improve its human rights record as the country celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Amnesty said that “some sectors of society – including ethnic minorities – continue to face widespread discrimination, while the situation for other groups – notably some religious minorities – has significantly worsened”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51830

Report: Lives of patients in Israeli jails are in real danger
Palestinian Information Center
The Palestinian center for prisoners’ studies reported Sunday that the lives of dozens of prisoners and patients in Israeli jails are in real danger especially the detainees with chronic diseases who live under the mercy of prisons’ doctors, noting that some imprisoned patients died after they underwent surgery. In a report received by the PIC, the center warned of the deterioration of the health status of most Palestinian patients in prisons such as the cancer patients Fayz Zaidat and Ra’ed Darabiya as well as Osama Sa’eed who suffers from severe infections in his stomach and eyes…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51828

Iran wins $1.5 billion Basra construction contract
Azzaman
An Iranian firm has won a $1.5 billion contract to build a new town in the southern city of Basra, Hayder Ali, the head of Basra Investment Commission said. The town will include 5,000 housing units as well as modern amenities like schools, markets, parks and health facilities, he said… News of the massive contract comes only a few days after a landmark visit to the country by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Baghdad during which the countries were reported to have drawn a roadmap to boost trade exchange value to $5 billion…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51836

Chavez wins Venezuela referendum
AlJazeera.net
Venezuela’s president has won a referendum to scrap term limits for elected officials, allowing him to seek re-election indefinitely. Hugo Chavez greeted cheering supporters at the presidential palace in Caracas on Sunday, moments after the country’s electoral commission chief declared victory for the “yes” vote… Tibisay Lucena, the chief of the national electoral council, said that with 94 per cent of the vote counted, 54 per cent had backed the president’s proposal – an unbeatable lead…

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WE ARE SCREWED NO MATTER WHO FORMS THE NEW ISRAELI GOVERNMENT
Desertpeace
…As I write this the two leading Parties, Kadima and Likud, are desperately seeking ways to form a coalition with those Parties willing to work with them. Common denominator being the continuation of the occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements, and the draining of resources belonging to other countries. It won’t matter in the slightest who actually becomes the next Prime Minister, be it Livni or Netanyahu. The only difference between them are their names and gender. As far as the Parties they represent, there are no differences whatsoever…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51846

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