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URUK Net 26 February, 2009

Last updated: Saturday, February 28, 2009 12:02

Iraq Museum reopening tells story of a hijacked country
Fatih Abdulsalam, Azzaman
Even the reopening of the Iraq Museum was a shock that reminded many in Iraq of a country that has been hijacked. Thousands of works were on show but Iraqis were nowhere to be seen enjoying the occasion. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki might have reveled as well as the few dignitaries he had invited for the highly restricted opening festivities. But ordinary Iraqis, who own the museum and the country, were kept several kilometers away by armed guards. Even the skies were cordoned off by helicopter gunships…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52187

Sniping at the elderly in Khoza’a
Eva Bartlett | In Gaza
…”We haven’t been back to this land for about 2 months,” Mohammed Suleiman Abu Arjela, Walid’s father, explained. Indeed, at the end of November, 2008, he’d stood by his cowshed hoping to work the land that day, explaining that his farm had been twice devastated [First, in September 2006, when Israeli forces entered with bulldozers, destroying 5 dunums (1 dunum= 1000 square metres) of 15 year old olive trees, 2 dunums of orange and lemon trees, the kitchen and the bathroom of his home, the cow shed, with 7 cows inside, and 200 turkeys and 100 bred pigeons in the process. And then in summer 2008, Israeli soldiers returned, killing 15 sheep, destroying 10 tons of animal feed, and filling in the cistern with rubble, destroying the water source.]. The bulldozers which entered near his land that November day prevented he and the handful of other farmers from plowing the land, instead leaving as quickly as their donkeys and tractor would allow. Small numbers of farmers also dared to go on their land Tuesday, hoping that this might be a day they could safely farm and gather animal fodder. And like the Abu Arjelas, they were mostly elderly men and women and their sons, spread out over a large area. Roughly five minutes after the Abu Arjelas had reached their land, Israeli forces amassed at the border fence began firing…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52185

Curse of heavy rains for Gazans stuck in tents
Hiba Lama
Heavy rains have proved a curse to Gaza’s newly homeless who are asking that the Israeli ban on reconstruction be lifted. The three-weeks of major attacks destroyed fully or partially thousands of homes. A group of families are crammed together in 50 tents. The cloth does not come close to protecting them from the elements, including the harsh winter and heavy rain. At a time when everyone prayed for heavy rain to aid in the drought, the members of this makeshift camp in Gaza are calling on God to have mercy on their children who are drenched in torrential downpours…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52180

Interview with comrade Marwan Abdullal, PFLP representative in Lebanon
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
…It is impossible to find a strong ground for resistance under division. On the contrary, division is a suitable ground for occupation. Placing the Palestinian people’s interest as priority to the interest of the political organizations will make the internal talks between the organizations be on the right track there will also be a will to remove all the obstacles. Hence, we hope that the talks that started in Cairo will go according to the planned agenda, and to form common committees that include all the Palestinian Organizations and address the key points…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52192

Video: Anti-Imperialist Media releases salute to PFLP, “Resistance Until Victory”
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Anti-Imperialist Media, a collective of video activists, has made the following video, “Resistance Until Victory,” a tribute to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the PFLP, available. Released in February 2009, the video combines historical images, military videos and images, posters, music and information from the PFLP and AAMB websites and interviews of PFLP leaders about the history of the Palestinian people and our resistance. Such videos are an important method of informing and spreading the word about the Palestinian cause throughout the world…

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Freeing Up Resources … for More War
The Slow Pullout Method
NORMAN SOLOMON
Hours after President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, the New York Times printed the news that he plans to gradually withdraw “American combat forces” from Iraq during the next 18 months. The newspaper reported that the advantages of the pullout will include “relieving the strain on the armed forces and freeing up resources for Afghanistan.” The president’s speech had little to say about the plans for escalation, but the few words will come back to haunt: “With our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaida and combat extremism, because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens halfway around the world. We will not allow it.” Obama didn’t mention the additional number of U.S. troops — 17,000 — that he has just ordered to Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52178

Under the Bombing, A Girl Child Called Hope
Erin Cunningham
Ghalia Hussein’s husband refused to evacuate their Rafah home near the Israeli border amid heavy bombardment during the recent 22-day siege. Struck by a missile at the top of their stairs, he bled to death while ambulances attempted to reach him. He left Ghalia three children, a destroyed home, and no income to speak of. “I had to flee with the children. There was nothing we could do,” Ghalia said from the United Nations (UN) school in Rafah where she took refuge during the conflict. “Now, I have nothing. How will we survive?” Making up half of the coastal enclave’s 1.5 million people, Gaza’s women – and their children – bore the brunt of Israel’s deadly Operation Cast Lead. They are the post-war period’s most vulnerable population, says the UN…

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A Simple Question About Presidents And Their Actions
Winter Patriot
…In my opinion, the ascension of and worldwide adoration for Savior Obama has done more damage to the causes of peace, truth and justice than any event since — and possibly even including — the so-called “terrorist attacks” that launched the so-called “Global War On Terror”. The American imperial monster lives on, but now — for far too many people — its deadly tentacles are heavily masked. Only the mask is new. The depredations remain the same. Incredibly (or predictably!), Budda Obama’s campaign of hope and change and unity is turning out to be the precursor to an administration where change remains something you can hope for, whereas unity is now. And unity, of course, means uniting behind the horrific abuses of the previous administration — and making those abuses permanent…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52183

U.S. To Leave Residual Force Of 50,000 In Iraq After “Pullout”
ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer
Some of the U.S. forces likely to remain in Iraq after President Barack Obama fulfills his pledge to withdraw combat troops would still have a combat role fighting suspected terrorists, the Pentagon said Wednesday. Obama could announce his withdrawal strategy as early as Friday. He will travel that day to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the White House announced Wednesday. While there Obama is expected to outline a compromise withdrawal plan that leaves behind as many as 50,000 troops for cleanup and protection operations…

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Trapped Between the Wall and the Green Line
Mel Frykberg
“They started smashing down doors at 2am last Wednesday before moving through homes and destroying property,” says the mayor of Jayyus, Muhammed Taher Shamasni. “Residents were assaulted, money was stolen, computers confiscated, over 60 young men arrested and the village placed under curfew. The Israeli soldiers came into my home and threw the contents of cupboards and closets on to the floor,” Shamasni told IPS…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52189

Syria says Iraqi refugees turn into ‘unbearable’ economic burden
By Mundher Shawi, Azzaman
Syria says the presence of more than a million Iraqi refugees is stretching its strapped economic resources to the limit and has asked other Arab countries for help. It has asked a forthcoming Arab foreign ministers conference scheduled for March to place Iraqi refugees’ issue on their agenda, saying it can no longer bear paying for their stay on its territory. Syria has been spending up to $2 billion a year on Iraqi refugees and that its efforts to persuade donor countries and international aid organizations for help have almost gone unheeded…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52181

Taliban call for peace with Afghans
Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters
The Taliban are willing to work with all Afghan groups to achieve peace, but the problems of Afghanistan can only be solved if foreign troops withdraw from the country, a senior insurgent leader said. The Taliban have made a strong come-back in the last three years, extending the scale and scope of their insurgency across the south and east and up to the fringes of the Afghan capital… Mutassim said the armed struggle was the only way to drive out foreign forces and if the United States sent more troops to Afghanistan that would just lead to more soldiers being killed… Mutassim denied the austere Islamists movement had been against women’s education while they were in power, but said the ravages of war had not allowed girls to be schooled. “I say that educating women is as necessary as educating men,” he said. The Taliban have eased a number of their hard line edicts against such things as television and music in the areas they control making them, Mutassim said, more popular now than when they were in power…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52182

Israel seizes land in plan to encircle West Bank town with fence
Ma’an news
The Israeli military has issued an order to confiscate farmland in order to build a 295-meter barbed-wire fence separating the West Bank town of Beit Ummar from an adjacent highway. According to the Beit Ummar’s municipal council, the town is appealing the decision in an Israeli military tribunal and with the head of the land department in the Civil Administration…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52188

NATIONAL DIALOUG TO SAVE A PALESTINIAN NATION
Hiyam Noir, PalestineFreeVoice
…In Cairo reconciliation meetings between the two largest Palestinian political factions which began on Thursday did not have an immediate break trough. It is expected that by the end of March the long awaited Palestinian consensus will be settled. Both Hamas and Fatah has agreed to recover National Palestinian unity, aimed at ending the division, a long deadlock between the two main Palestinian factions,Hamas and Fatah,which outcome was a two year long internal war. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar of Hamas and Azzam Al-Ahmad of Fatah held a joint press conference after officials from the two movements assembled. Al-Ahmad confirmed that his Fatah party and Hamas has decided to form a national consensus government. Both concluded that the division among Palestinians had given the Israelis a chance to exploit the division between Hamas and Fatah, aiming to destroy the peace process and then carry out the recent massacre of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52169

Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan sets stage for continued war
Bill Van Auken, WSWS
In his first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, President Barack Obama promised that he would “soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war.” The US president offered no details about his plan. Subsequent leaks from within the administration and the Pentagon, however, have made it clear that, as with so much of his high-flown but ambiguous rhetoric, the vagueness was deliberately crafted to mask a lie—or in this case, two lies…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52166

Israel’s Military Mephistopheles
Officials Claim Unelected Former General “Running the Country”
Jonathan Cook
It is not entirely surprising that Amos Gilad, an Israeli general who once sued his own government for “irreversible mental damage” caused by his role in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, has publicly courted controversy again. On Monday, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, suspended Mr. Gilad as his envoy to Egypt, responsible for negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas, after Mr. Gilad called the prime minister’s truce conditions “insane”. The move threatened to unleash a political storm in Israel. Ehud Barak, the defense minister and a longtime ally of Mr. Gilad, rushed to denounce Mr Olmert’s decision. He insisted that Mr Gilad, a defense ministry official in charge of diplomatic and security issues, would continue with his other duties…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52176

AFGHANISTAN: IDPs in northwest battle cold, diseases and hunger
IRIN News
… Amid a worsening humanitarian situation across Afghanistan largely resulting from conflict, drought and high food prices, the issue of how to meet the needs of IDPs remains a pressing challenge for the Afghan government and aid organisations. Over 235,000 individuals are currently displaced in different parts of the country, down from about one million in 2002, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). However, tens of thousands of IDPs are deprived of basic necessities and are in need of immediate assistance, Amnesty International, a London-based rights watchdog, said on 18 February…

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CIA’s secret Operations worldwide and drug money
Farzana Shah
In Afghanistan US/NATO put blame on Taliban for the poppy cultivation in Afghanistan for financing their resistance to allied forces. Ironically, it was only in Taliban era when the world had seen a sharp decline in opium crop in Afghanistan. Taliban banned opium cultivation nationwide. A more important question is how and when this business of drug production and trafficking started in region? CIA has been using drug money since long to generate money to support its operations all over the world. It did not start in Afghanistan it was brought here after experimenting somewhere else…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52154

Lawyer says Guantanamo abuse worse since Obama
Luke Baker, Reuters
Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards “get their kicks in” before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees. Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike. The Pentagon said on Monday that it had received renewed reports of prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52172

UK: Jack Straw blocks release of cabinet minutes on Iraq
By Ann Talbot
The UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vetoed a ruling made under the Freedom of Information Act instructing the government to release the minutes of two key cabinet meetings on March 13 and 17, 2003, when the decision to go to war against Iraq was discussed. This is the first time that the government has used its veto to prevent the release of information under the Act, which came into force in 2005…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52168

Rights org: Palestinians in Israel suffer health rights discrimination
Report, Arab Association for Human Rights
Since 2003, the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) has periodically published reports examining different aspects of the discrimination faced by Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel. In 2009, HRA has decided to focus on the right to health — an important factor that influences other human rights and shapes human dignity. Economic and social rights form an important component of universal human rights. These rights, including the right to health, have not been well received by many governments with a capitalist orientation, which tend to see these issues as a manifestation of human needs rather than human rights. This reflects a tendency to avoid granting these rights an obligatory character and to free the state from the need to invest the resources required for their realization…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52164

Patient dies as a result of Israel’s siege on Gaza
by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian patient died on Thursday at a Gaza hospital after the Israeli occupation barred him from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment abroad. The patient was identified as Husam Mohammad Hallas, age 30, from al-Shujaeyya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. He suffered from heart disease while the Israeli siege left Gaza hospitals unable to treat patients, as most of their equipment is out of service, and their medicine stores had run out of basic supplies…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52163

Obama’s very own quagmire
Thomas Walkom
…Obama is continuing the policy, started by his predecessor George W. Bush, of bombing suspected Taliban hideouts in Pakistan. As well, the U.S. has sent about 70 military “advisers” into that country. We shouldn’t be surprised. When he was campaigning for the presidency, Obama promised to vigorously pursue the Taliban into their Pakistani sanctuaries. At the time, he was criticized as naive. The smart money said he’d never follow through. Apparently, the smart money was wrong. In fact, Obama’s Afghan strategy seems remarkably similar to that of Bush…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52173

Are Palestinians Allowed to Resist? (Part I)
By Dina Jadallah-Taschler
…The facts are simple enough. And yet that is not at all how current media narratives present the struggle. It is never referred to as one for liberation and freedom. Resistance to the oppressive occupation and to the expansionist and dispossessing Israeli state is never presented as a right, despite the self-evident moral and legal principle, that as the (occupying) aggressor, Israel cannot justify violence against resistance to its own initial aggression. (3: for a broader discussion of this issue, see Michael Mandel, “Israel’s Unjust War on Gaza: Self-Defence Against Peace,” Counterpunch, 2/5/2009; also available here.) And yet, in this last massacre, Gazans who are starving, imprisoned, mostly refugees from the original displacement that happened with Israel’s creation, and who have qualitatively modest (but technologically improving – distance/reach) weapons, are the ones being blamed for “starting” or inviting the attack on themselves. This is objectionable on several levels. Fundamentally, the framing of the story which equates Palestinian resistance with the fourth strongest army in the world is inherently deceptive. Additionally, it blames the victim for resisting annihilation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52162

Are Palestinians Allowed to Resist? (Part 2)
Dina Jadallah-Taschler
…In the final analysis, non-violence is still a worthy means of resistance. Significantly, it enhances growing international perceptions of the brutality of the occupation and builds on the legal consensus and framework of the legitimacy of Palestinian rights, as recurrently affirmed through UN General Assembly annual resolutions and the most recent ruling against the apartheid wall at the International Court of Justice. Non-violent resistance, by being more accessible to ordinary people, additionally creates more sustainable and widespread networks of resistance. At a minimum, it establishes a network of interdependence for the newly liberated society to build on. But it is not enough. And arguably, it has never been enough, especially in the absence of a more just as opposed to legalistic international relations…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52177

Fatah, Hamas agree to form transitional government
Ma’an news
Rival Palestinian factions have agreed to form a new transitional government that will operate until presidential and parliamentary elections can be held, a top Hamas leader said on Thursday evening. Flanked by officials from 14 different factions at a press conference in Cairo, Hamas political leader Mussa Abu Marzuq said that they had reached agreement in principle on forming a transitional government. The factions are in Cairo in an effort to end nearly two years of Palestinian political disunity. Ahmad Qurei, the leader of the Fatah delegation at the Egyptian-brokered talks, said, “This government could be formed approved by all of the Palestinian factions or could be technocrat government, or [another form of] government approved by the committees,” referring to the panels overseeing the specifics of the reconciliation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52161

Charitable institution robbed as Israeli forces invade Jenin
Ali Samoudi for PNN
The Charity Friends Clinic and Hospital in the northern West Bank’s Jenin was hit yesterday by three masked men. It was an armed robbery, the culprits of which claimed to be Israeli special forces. It occurred as Israeli forces carried out a raid in the city. At five o’clock in the morning, says hospital director Dr. Mohammed, three people in black masks broke into the medical facility. They were carrying two handguns and held the doctor on duty in the emergency room at gunpoint for half an hour…

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Afghan Resistance Statement
NATO Emergency Meeting Ends With no Achievement
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
USA has now reached a moribund state that she is catching every straw to rescue herself but with no avail! With the passage of every day, she lands into the depth of colossal waves. NATO Emergency Meeting is an example on hand where the Americans turned every stone to achieve their target but all their efforts came to nothing. US defence secretary Robert repeated his rhetoric in the Meeting participated by the defence ministers of NATO member countries. He said, the situation in Afghanistan had continuously exacerbated and the NATO mission was facing a great danger and threat. He urged them to send more troops to Afghanistan. However, the NATO ministers of defence turned down US request collectively and in one voice, saying that they were not ready to send more troops to Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52158

Prisoners tortured to death
Stephen C. Webster
The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of “abusive” behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.
Prisoners tortured to deathThe documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as “clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52159

Pakistan army and ISI in CIA’s firing line
By Asif Haroon Raja
…There is no denying the fact that the CIA used drug money to finance war against the Soviets in the 1980s. Earlier on it had also used drug money in Nicaragua in 1979-80 to finance Contras. By the close of Afghan war in 1989, Afghanistan was the second biggest opium producing country in the world. It was almost cleansed of the curse of drugs by the Taliban during their rule from 1996 to 2001. It has now been converted into the largest heroin producing state in the world. Hamid Karzai brother Izzatullah Wasifi is the biggest heroin producer and there are dozens of heroin factories established across the country and run by Wasifi and other Afghan warlords. Ahmad Wali Karzai in Kandahar handles all exports of heroin to Europe through Turkmenistan…Without Pentagon and CIA blessing it is not possible to export thousands of tons of heroin…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52157

Time for sanctions
Ezzedine Choukri Fishere*
In July 2006, after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa declared the Middle East peace process dead. Some found his statement premature and argued that the peace process was only “frozen”. A few months later, in fact on Christmas Eve, the US administration intervened in order to resuscitate the ailing process, moving it to what would become the “Annapolis intensive care unit”. The peace process was kept there on life support until the end of 2008, and then left to die quietly as the key actors exited the stage. Now that Israel has brought back the master of ceremonies, it is time to bury the dead…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52171

Poised for Expansion: Zionists in 1948
By M. Shahid Alam
In their first test of strength with the ‘natives’ in 1948, the Zionists had gained control of nearly four-fifths of Palestine, expelled most of the Palestinians from these territories, and repulsed the combined forces of five Arab proto-states. Yet, the Zionists were not about to rest on their laurels: their interests did not lie in making peace with the Arabs. The events of 1948 had demonstrated what they could achieve; with minor losses of their own, they had obliterated Palestinian society and handily beaten back the Arabs…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52156

ZIO WEB ATTACKS — ARE YOU A ‘VICTIM’?
Desertpeace
Do you write articles giving the truth about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Do you have a Blog known for its anti zionist viewpoints? Have you been getting extra ‘visitors’ to your Blog who leave negative comments or participate in polls? If yes to any of the above, there is a good reason for all of this…it’s a project called Megaphone Israel. It is a new desktop tool that alerts its subscribers to any entries that might be anti Israel or anti zionist…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52167

Netanyahu’s dilemma
Khaled Amayreh
Tasked with forming the next Israeli government, Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu has been trying in vain to convince Kadima leader Tzipi Livni to join him in a coalition government that would be acceptable to the international community, particularly the new US administration. This week, Netanyahu met with both Livni and Labour Party leader Ehud Barak. However, the meetings ended fruitlessly as both refused to join a Likud-led government, citing “diametrically opposed agendas” and opposition to a partnership with the Likud by their respective constituencies…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52170

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