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URUK Net 16 April, 2009

Last updated: Sunday, April 19, 2009 7:43

Law and Justice first, Mr Mitchell. Peace comes later
STUART LITTLEWOOD
So they sent you to the Holy Land, Mr Mitchell, for talks. So many before you have gone to talk. They failed because polite talk isn’t enough. What will you say about the subjugation of Palestine’s people and Israel’s defilement of this once-lovely place? How will you answer charges that your county, the USofA, is godfather, bankroller, arms supplier and good buddy to the racist thieves and colonizers that have turned it into a powder-keg? Mr Mitchell, the people you are talking to in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem are, in the words of a respected British Jewish MP, “a gang of amoral thugs”. The stench of ethnic cleansing is everywhere…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53486

Non-Violence in Palestine: Timing and Intentions
Ramzy Baroud
…In the midst of this mess, where is the call for Israel to embrace non-violence? Would the media and the world community press the Israelis to embrace non-violence, had they endured such atrocities such as those witnessed in Gaza? And once again, the intentions of the “establishment” come in to question. One has to wonder, if Abu al-Aish would have responded with the resolve of so many grieving parents who vowed to “never leave” to “rebuild” to “resist until victory or death in its pursuit”, would he still be recognized for his efforts to promote peace among Palestinians and Israelis?…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53487

Torture Memos Said CIA Could Use Insects and Severely Beat Detainee
Jason Leopold
CIA interrogators were given legal authorization to slam an alleged “high-value” detainee’s head against a wall, place insects inside a “confinement box” to induce fear, and force him to remain awake for 11 consecutive days, according to a closely guarded Aug. 1, 2002 legal memo released publicly by the Justice Department for the first time Thursday. The memo, signed by the former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jay Bybee, was written about a week after Bybee’s office had given the CIA verbal authorization that subjecting the detainee to seven other brutal interrogation methods would not violate torture laws…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53494

Iraqi Gay Murders Surge; World Finally Takes Note
DOUG IRELAND
…Ali Hili, the coordinator of Iraqi LGBT, who briefed Polis by telephone for his Iraqi trip, told Gay City News from London that “we have been able to confirm 63 more murders of gay people in Iraq just since December,” bringing to nearly 600 the number of cases of LGBT Iraqis killed for their sexuality that his group has documented since the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of all Iraqi Shiite Muslims, issued a death-to-all-gays fatwa in 2005. But, Hili added, “Since there are parts of Iraq where we have no correspondents or members, we are convinced that the actual number of gays killed in these last months since December is much higher.”…On April 8, the New York Times published a story, headlined “Iraq’s Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder,” in which it recognized for the first time the existence of anti-gay death squads… Unfortunately, the Times article omitted any mention of the anti-gay death squads of the Badr Corps, the military arm of the former Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which in 2007 changed its name to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq when it entered the coalition government as its largest Islamist party, and which acknowledges Sistani as its supreme leader and spiritual guide. The estimated 11,000 members of the Badr Corps militia, which has been responsible for a large majority of the murders of gays since Sistani’s fatwa calling for such killings, was integrated into the Ministry of the Interior in 2006,! and sin ce then its Badr anti-gay death squads have operated in police uniforms with complete impunity…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53488

Video: Riz Khan – Gaza’s unending nightmare
AlJazeeraEnglish
Riz speaks with Mahmoud Daher (WHO) in Gaza and Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who was in Gaza in January to provide medical care, and described what he saw as “nightmarish havoc”. …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53490

Israeli police violate own ban, pray near Al-Aqsa Mosque
Ma’an news
Israeli police officers in charge of preventing extremist settlers from performing religious rituals near the Al-Aqsa Mosque were seen praying there on Thursday. Settlers had earlier been prevented by Jerusalem police from reaching Lion’s Gate near Al-Aqsa on Thursday, yet the police themselves were later seen praying there. Ma’an’s Jerusalem correspondent reported that police removed their uniforms, put on head coverings, and began to pray in the area shortly after preventing settlers from reaching the very same place…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53491

Errant Drone Attacks Spur Militants in Pakistan
Gareth Porter*
…Although the strikes have been sold to the U.S. public as a way to weaken and disrupt al Qaeda, which is an explicitly counter-terrorist objective, al Qaeda is not actually the main threat to U.S. security emanating from Pakistan, according to some analysts. The real threat comes from the broader, rapidly growing insurgency of Islamic militants against the shaky Pakistani government and military, they observe, and the drone strikes are a strategically inappropriate approach to that problem. “Al Qaeda has very little to do with the militancy in the tribal areas of Pakistan,” said Marvin Weinbaum, former Afghanistan and Pakistan analyst at the Bureau of Intelligence Research at the U.S. Department of State and now scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53492

Obama exonerates CIA torturers
By Patrick Martin
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that CIA agents who engaged in torture of prisoners over the past seven years will not be prosecuted or punished. As the Justice Department released memos documenting in grisly detail the interrogation guidelines set down by the Bush administration, the White House made it clear that neither those who ordered the torture nor those who carried it out would face justice. The four memos released Thursday were written by the Office of Legal Counsel, an arm of the US Department of Justice, in 2002 and 2005. Their release was compelled by a court-established deadline in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53493

Tortured Logic: Obama Writes Off Old Crimes While Promoting New Outrages
Chris Floyd
…Barack Obama is being given great credit for releasing the memos, although as the president himself points out in his statement, their release was actually required by law. I suppose it’s true that the United States government has become so degraded that we must be surprised and glad when a president actually obeys the law when it suits him, but I must say that I can’t find any great cause for rejoicing — especially as Obama’s statement immediately and definitely ruled out prosecuting any of the direct perpetrators of these criminal actions… This story will be buried in a day, or less, just as all the other many, many stories about the American torture program have been buried, year after year after year. And even this story — as morally repulsive as it is — deals only with the tip of the iceberg of America’s global gulag. It refers only the CIA’s treatment of a very limited number of high-profile prisoners. Yet tens of thousands of people have passed through the belly of the gulag beast, where many have been tortured, held captive for years, even murdered. And not only is this still going on, but the Obama Administration is moving strenuously in court to drive these captives even deeper into limbo, asserting that no one who is plunged into the netherworld of America’s little Gitmos in Afghanistan has the slightest right to any tincture of legal redress — even they had been kidnapped from the streets of some foreign city and “renditioned” to Afghani! stan. Th e old crimes are being written off; the new crimes keep going on…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53484

Video
Baghdad: City of Walls
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian
Baghdad, a traumatised city, wears its scars as a series of giant walls dividing its neighbourhoods. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from his hometown in the first part of his City of Walls video series…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53467

Bush Torture Memos Released By Obama: See The Complete Documents
Sam Stein
As part of an ongoing court case, the Department of Justice released on Thursday memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005, detailing techniques used for interrogation of terrorism suspects. In doing so, President Obama declared: “While I believe strongly in transparency and accountability, I also believe that in a dangerous world, the United States must sometimes carry out intelligence operations and protect information that is classified for purposes of national security. …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53482

Obama assures intelligence officials they won’t be prosecuted over torture
Mark Silva
The Obama administration, in releasing Department of Justice memos the Bush administration used to justify harsh interrogation techniques, assured intelligence officials today that they will not be prosecuted for the methods they employed. “In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution,” President Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. “The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world,” said Obama, who has barred such interrogation techniques as “water-boarding” — a simulation of drowning that was authorized during President Bush’s administration…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53481

Chalabi: Bush conspired with Iran
RAWStory
Ahmed Chalabi, once a darling of rightwing power brokers in Washington, D.C. for his support of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, is not a man to be taken at his word. Of course, this doesn’t mean that he never says things of acute interest. In a recent interview with Lebanese news outlet Dar Al-Hayat, Chalabi accuses former President George W. Bush of conspiring with Iran before the fall of Saddam…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53485

“Some 24,145 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territories since 1967”
Marian Houk
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICHAD) “estimates that some 24,145 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territories since 1967, based on information gleaned from the Israeli Ministry of Interior, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Civil Administration, OCHA and other UN sources, Palestinian & Israeli human rights groups, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, our field work and other sources. Last updated on 7 April 2009?. ICAHD says, in that report, that punitive demolitions are when “houses [are] demolished as punishment for the actions of people associated with the houses. The actions in questions have been everything from political organizing to attacks on Israeli civilians. This policy was suspended by the IDF in February, 2005 after it reached the conclusion that rather than deterring attacks, punitive demolitions only enflame the people and lead to more attacks. The practice was resumed on 19 January 2009?…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53477

IRAQ: More Than Two Million Refugees Waiting to Come Home
Marina Litvinsky
…The report, “Iraq: Preventing the Point of No Return,” issued last week, notes that despite encouraging returns, the government of Iraq has not realistically assessed the country’s ability to absorb large numbers of returns. RI found that Iraqis who have returned struggle to find shelter, electricity, water, jobs and access to health care. “There is immense pressure on displaced Iraqis to return home. The problem is that they return home to ethnically cleansed neighbourhoods and poor government services,” said RI President Ken Bacon. Completed during RI’s mission to Baghdad, Eskanderia, Fallujah, Karbala and Hilla to assess the humanitarian situation inside Iraq, the report says the aid community is unable to get a comprehensive picture of conditions and that restrictions placed on U.N. staff need to be adapted to the actual security climate in individual regions…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53476

Settlers Destroy Palestinian Water Tanks as Soldiers Look On
Palestine Solidarity Project
A little after 4pm, four or five masked settlers youth climbed onto the roof of the Awaywi family home and punctured six large metal water tanks in open sight of a manned Israeli military tower. Basma Awaywi, the mother of the family, was on the outside passage way of the house when she saw the masked settlers on the roof, she was frightened and went into the house. About than 15 meters from the roof of the house is an Israeli military tower staffed with soldiers that have a clear view of the roof. Several other Israeli military watchtowers also have full view of the Awaywi family roof top…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53475

Yes, the U.S. is still a racist state
Marcy Newman, Body on the line
It is official. Okay, well, that is a lie. It always has been a racist state. But those who drank the obama koolaid and think that somehow having a black president equals the “post-racism” are particularly delusional. I’ve been following the world conference against racism (a.k.a. “Durban 2) religiously, but i haven’t really written much about it because most of that material is in a chapter in my book so i’ve put all my energy into that. but now that the conference will begin this weekend and that the final decision from the White House has been made i think it warrants some discussion…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53474

Report: US Air Strikes in Iraq Kill Mostly Women, Children
39 Percent of Those Killed Were Children
Kim Sengupta, Independent
Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead. Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53472

Peres dismisses talk of Israeli attack on Iran
Dan Williams, Reuters
Israeli President Shimon Peres rejected speculation on Thursday his country might attack Iran to deny it the means of making nuclear weapons and said U.S.-led diplomacy was the solution… The advent of Israel’s rightist Netanyahu government has redoubled international concern that Israel could go it alone with preventive strikes against its arch-foe’s nuclear sites, even at the cost of falling foul of the Obama administration. But Peres’s office quoted him as telling visiting U.S. envoy George Mitchell: “All the talk about a possible attack by Israel on Iran is not true. The solution in Iran is not military.”…

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Israeli warplanes bomb house in central Gaza Strip
Ma’an news
Israeli jetfighters shelled and destroyed a deserted house in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, according to local witnesses. No injuries were reported in the strike. The home apparently belonged to the Abu Safiya family in eastern Deir Al-Balah. Witnesses also reported that Israeli drones were hovering over the area following the airstrike…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53478

Hope For Gaza Convoy (Update 2)
Organizations and Reputable figures join the Convoy in Holland
Sameh A. Habeeb
Days after the announcement of launching Hope for Gaza Convoy, many organizations and supporters joined the convoy in European countries. Hundreds of people and charitable organizations have expressed their readiness to leave with the convoy. Humanitarian and Relief Coordinator, Amin Abu Rashed, said that many important organizations decided to participate in the “Hope for Gaza Convoy” “We have secured a number of trucks loaded by many aids and medical kits for Gaza children. We expect to have more people and Organizations with us in few days.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53464

Gaza Patients protest at the Rafah Border Crossing
Ghassan Bannoura – IMEMC
Scores of patients from various parts of the Gaza Strip protested on Thursday at the Rafah Border Crossing located between Egypt and southern Gaza. Local sources said people carried banners calling for Egypt to open the crossing and to keep it free of politics. The patients demanded that they be allowed to travel for treatment outside the Gaza Strip since the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza have left the hospitals there unable to treat many illnesses. According to the Department responsible for Borders and Crossings at least 700 Palestinian patients are waiting for the opening of the Rafah border crossing in order to access treatment outside the Strip…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53471

PPS releases report on Palestinian detainees
Saed Bannoura – IMEM
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) issued a detailed report on the Palestinian detainees imprisoned by Israel as the Palestinians prepare for commemorating the Palestinian Prisoners Day on April 17. The report revealed that Israelis are still holding 10500 Palestinians captive…Al Zaghari added that Israel increased its violations and restrictions against the detainees after prisoner-swap talks failed to achieve a deal, placing dozens of detainees in solitary confinement in addition to imposing high fines on dozens of detainees. Israel also barred the detainees from their visitations rights as punishment after prisoner-swap talks failed. Other violations against the detainees include denying basic medical rights to sick and wounded detainees as well as regular ransacking of their cells…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53470

Troops Stole Boxes of Iraq Reconstruction Cash … Literally … But There’s a Lot More to the Story
Liliana Segura
This weekend the Los Angeles Times ran an article titled “Some U.S. troops tempted by reconstruction cash,” reporting that the Department of Justice is pursing some “three dozen prosecutions” of soldiers and others involving bribery for “reconstruction” projects in Iraq and Afghanistan. The piece tells the story of one Army captain, a 28-year old graduate from West Point, who according to a federal indictment, “managed to skim more than $690,000 in cash as the civil affairs officer overseeing millions of dollars intended for reconstruction projects and payments to private Iraqi security forces northeast of Baghdad.” In a particularly brazen move, Capt. Michael Dung Nguyen allegedly packed the cash into boxes, which he then mailed to his home in Beaverton, Oregon…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53468

From Iraq to Appalachia
Ronald Teska
What do the Iraq and Appalachia have in common? More than you may think. Both are occupied by U.S. energy corporations, resulting in colonization. It’s oil in one case and coal in the other, but make no mistake about it: The modus operandi and consequences are strikingly similar. Soldiers and coal miners have a shared camaraderie as both are enforcers of the will of the oil and coal corporations for the purpose of increasing bottom-line profits at any cost. This is depicted on a billboard in Beckley, W. Va., showing soldiers and coal miners arm in arm. The major difference being that coal miners do not have to kick down the doors of Appalachians to get the coal, as the coal companies already own most all of it…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53465

International Seeds Day on April 26
to advocate for Patent-FREE seeds, biodiversity farmers rights and to challenge Iraq’s Order 81
Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies (INEAS)
– Organizations, activists, farmers and organic food advocates around the world have endorsed and will observe April 26 as International Seeds Day (ISD). The purpose of the ISD is to educate the public and inform the media about:
Order 81 and how it had and will devastate the future of IRAQ’s agriculture;

how to resist the ability of giant agricultural corporations’ to control seed resources;

the importance of biodiversity and how to practice seed saving; and

the dangers of genetically modified food and patent seeds

Join us to learn and educate about patent-free seeds and farmers’ rights, to mobilize a worldwide movement to challenge the giant agricultural corporations and to revoke Order 81.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53479

Suicide bomber hits Iraq army base
AlJazeera.net
A suicide bomber has killed at least 16 soldiers and wounded 50 people at a military base in Iraq’s western Anbar province, the army says. “A suicide bomber blew himself up among the soldiers, who were in a queue waiting to enter the cafeteria,” a defence ministry official said on Thursday. “The attacker was wearing an Iraqi army uniform,” he said, adding that no civilians were allowed into the joint Iraqi-US army base in Habbaniyah, about 70km west of Baghdad…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53466

Taliban: Nato chief ‘major enemy’
AlJazeera.net
The Taliban movement has said that the new Nato chief is the “major enemy” for Muslims for defending the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who will begin workk as Nato secretary-general in November, was prime minister of Denmark when the drawings were published in one of the country’s newspapers in 2006. “The major enemy of Islam’s prophet … has become the secretary general of Nato,” Afghanistan’s Taliban said on a website on Thursday…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53469

Bush Torture Memos Released By Obama: See The Complete Documents
Sam Stein
As part of an ongoing court case, the Department of Justice released on Thursday memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005, detailing techniques used for interrogation of terrorism suspects. In doing so, President Obama declared: “While I believe strongly in transparency and accountability, I also believe that in a dangerous world, the United States must sometimes carry out intelligence operations and protect information that is classified for purposes of national security. …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53482

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