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URUK Net 2 May, 2009

Last updated: Monday, May 4, 2009 7:16

President Obama Won’t Rule Out Torture
Doug Giebel
During his April 29, 2009, press conference, President Obama was asked if he would ever authorize or resort to torture. His answer more than implied an acceptance of torture, and true to form it was ignored in conference recaps by the main stream media. The question was asked by Mark Knoller of CBS News. Here is the exchange (emphasis added)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53911

U.S. Coup Plans In Pakistan
Moon of Alabama
There could be three motives behind all the Obama administration’s talk about a new government in Pakistan. 1. To put pressure on President Zardari to make him do what the U.S. wants 2. To push the Pakistani army towards a coup against Zardari. 3. An attempt to steal Pakistan’s nukes. Number two is now the most likely scenario…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53910

UN: RIGHTS ABUSED IN IRAQ
William Fisher
Iraqi prisons are torturing detainees, locking people up for months without charges and, in most cases, allowing the perpetrators of these human rights to escape justice, according to a new United Nations report. “Security may not be sustainable unless significant steps are taken in the area of human rights such as strengthening the rule of law and addressing impunity,” the report warned… The UN report found that: The 26,249 people being held in Iraq prisons in December faced “months or even years in overcrowded cells” and many had not been formally charged. The use of torture as an interrogation method and the ill-treatment of detainees remains “a serious challenge to Iraq’s criminal justice system.” There is no known case in which any official in the powerful Ministry of Defense, which has its own jails, “has been held accountable for human rights abuses.”…

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The Big Lie About Torture
Bernard Chazelle
The story goes like this: The US didn’t torture until the Bush gang came to power. Some say we’re a nation of laws and criminal investigations are the only way to return to our virginal past; others share the same objective but reject prosecutions as needlessly divisive; a third group advocates torture as the new post 9/11 norm (…) It’s been amply documented that the US has condoned, taught, and practiced torture since WWII. The military created a whole university to teach such things as electrocution, confining detaines in coffin-like boxes, kidnapping their parents, etc. The Phoenix program institutionalized torture in Vietnam…

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Israel continues to persecute its Palestinian citizens
Hala J. Gores
Israeli writer Zvi Raanan said in a recent In My Opinion piece (”Misguided views on Israel,” April 12) that he opposes discussion of Israel’s “perceived past sins.” No, Mr. Raanan, the expulsion in 1948 of more than 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children, including some of my relatives — and the killing and maiming of thousands more — because they were not Jewish, is not a “perceived sin.” It is a historical fact documented by many, including Israeli historians. It is the core injustice of the region and one that occurred within the lifetimes of many people still living today. Moreover, Israel’s continuation of this ruthless policy of ethnic exclusion is at the center of today’s conflict. Raanan states that “Arabs who still live in Israel [the small remnant who were not forced out in 1947-49] are rightful citizens of Israel.” First of all, please stop denying us our name — we are Palestinians. Secondly, we are systematically discriminated against by Israel…

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A “Secret” Database of Israeli Settlements
Secrecy News
Last January 30, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed a secret Israeli government database on settlements in the occupied West Bank, and posted the Hebrew text (pdf) of the database on their website. Last month, the ODNI Open Source Center completed an English translation of the 200-page document. Secrecy News obtained a copy of the translation (pdf) which we are publishing today…

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Soldier: Green planned to kill Iraqi family
Associated Press
After raping an Iraqi teen and killing her family, a former U.S. Army soldier placed a pillow over the young girl’s face, then fired multiple shots from an AK-47, killing her, two ex-soldiers said yesterday. Jesse Spielman and James Paul Barker, both former members of the 101st Airborne Division who were with Steven Dale Green during the crimes, told jurors at his trial that Green, Barker and another soldier put on lightweight black long underwear, known to soldiers as “ninja suits,” as a disguise before going to the family’s home on March 12, 2006. Barker said he and Green had discussed a plan to attack the family. Barker, who is serving a 90-year prison sentence for his role in the attack, said part of the plan was “that Green was going to kill whoever was in the house.”..

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Violence kills 335 Iraqis and maims more than 1,300 in April
Haqi Ismael, Azzaman
Some 335 Iraqis lost their lives to violence last month, according to an independent Iraqi human rights group. The group said altogether more than 1,700 Iraqis were either killed or maimed in April which it described as the bloodiest since September 2008 in which 444 Iraqis were killed. The group, The Institutional Observatory for Rights and Freedoms, relies heavily on government counts which are normally based on hospital records. But not all Iraqis killed by violence are taken to hospitals and analysts doubt government casualty figures…

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Long live Palestine!
By Suzanne Saba, From the PSL Socialism Conference in Chicago
In 1948, over 60 percent of the Palestinian population was expelled from its historic homeland. More than 750,000 Palestinians were made homeless refugees and forced to live in inhumane conditions in squalid refugee camps. When Palestine was stolen, plans had already been long laid out for the domination of the Middle East. The United States, along with other capitalist powers, continue to fund the Israeli apartheid state and supply it with weapons to murder and oppress the native people of the land. The new Democratic White House is taking the same stand on the Palestinian plight as other administrations have done before…

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Hamas Gaining International Legitimacy
Analysis by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler
Delegations from the rival Fatah and Hamas organisations have again failed in Cairo to bridge their differences meant to usher in a Palestinian unity government, but this has in no way slowed inroads which the Islamist movement has been making to increase its international legitimacy – much to Israel’s concern. Since the conclusion of Israel’s 22-day military offensive in January which coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama taking power in Washington, Gaza-controlled Hamas has had many more international visitors. Sources close to the Hamas leadership in once diplomatically isolated Gaza confirm that official representatives of several European governments have come calling, over and above Norway, which has long sought to breach the Israel- U.S.-European boycott…

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Obama administration seeks extraordinary military powers in Pakistan
By Bill Van Auken
The Obama administration is increasingly treating its growing intervention in Pakistan as a separate counter-insurgency war for which it is demanding the same kind of extraordinary military powers obtained by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq. This was the main message delivered by Pentagon officials on Capitol Hill over the last few days, together with increasingly dire warnings that without immediate and unconditional US military funding for Pakistan, the government could collapse…

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2 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq
UPI
A man wearing the uniform of an Iraqi soldier shot and killed two U.S. soldiers Saturday in an ambush south of Mosul, authorities said. Iraqi police and the U.S. military gave different versions of what happened, the Los Angeles Times reported. Police said the gunman was in the Iraqi military, identifying him as Hassan Dulaimi, and said he got away after the shooting. U.S. authorities said the man was killed after the attack, which also left three U.S. soldiers wounded…

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Palestinian women settlement workers’ plight
Sarah Irving, The Electronic Intifada
Umm Raed’s sick husband hasn’t worked in more than 20 years. Her own family can’t, or won’t, help support her and her seven children. So her job in the Royalife factory in the Barkan industrial zone, built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land in the Salfit governorate in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was the household’s main source of income. But since autumn 2008, Umm Raed and a number of other women from her village have been out of a job. Sick of low pay, dangerous conditions and bullying treatment, in the summer workers at the factory took action. Supported by the Israeli labor rights organization Kav LaOved, they first complained to the factory management and then called for a strike. The striking workers were fired, reinstated under a court order, and then fired again. Sewing bed linens for export to the US, Turkey and European countries including Germany and Spain, the women described working conditions reminiscent of the horror stories that come from sweatshops in China or maquilas on the US-Mexican border..

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Iraqi ‘executioner’ defends killing of gay men
Nizar Latif
Abu Muslim likens his work to that of a surgeon, cutting out diseased parts of a body to save it from cancer. But unlike a doctor, he does not save lives, he takes them. Specifically, Abu Muslim and a small group of colleagues claim to have been killing homosexual men in Baghdad… “We had approval from the main Iraqi tribes here to liquidate those [men] copying the ways of women,” he said, explaining that he had been in the Mahdi Army but was now working independently after the militia was disbanded by the leader of the Sadr movement, Muqtada al Sadr. “Although the Mahdi Army is today limited and in fact stalled, we cannot sit by with our arms crossed while these homosexuals flout the rules and ethics that must be followed under the Islamic religion,” Abu Muslim said…
In the Shaab district, a 23-year-old homosexual man agreed to an interview on condition of anonymity. “We all know homosexuals are killed here,” he said. “They get murdered by firing squads, but only after they’ve been tortured. There’s a large waste dump in al Shaab and that’s where the bodies are left.”..

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JFO: Freedom of the press threatened in Iraq
Aswat al-Iraq
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) has warned that journalistic freedoms in Iraq are in peril, noting that 256 violations against journalists and media workers have been recorded in the country throughout one year. In its annual report for the period May 3, 2008-2009, the observatory said that media personnel in Iraq were subjected to 58 physical assaults, 98 arrests and 14 detentions by U.S. and Iraqi security forces…

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Us(S) Torture? Nah…We are better at it than “them”
Imad Khadduri
I received a passionate email from an old friend regarding a recently aired ABC video of a 2004 incident in which Sheikh Issa, the brother of the UAE Emir Sheikh Khalifa, is violently punishing an Afghan (CNN report – in Arabic) who swindled him out of a US$5,000 grain delivery deal. It was very shocking to my old friend who is now in Chicago. This is my response to her: “The video is indeed repugnant. But is anybody in the email list that were addressed recalling the Americans’ atrocities in Abu Ghraib prison (and the then pregnant smiley face (see below) who is now a mother) and their treatment of Guantanamo’s “guests”? And, would anyone in your email list be still sympathizing with the US war criminal soldier (Steven Green) who is still bragging in court “’that was awesome’” about his raping and burning of the 14 years old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in Mahmoudiya in 2006?”…

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Two Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza
Ma’an News
Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike carried out against smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Saturday. “The bodies of the two who were killed were received in the local Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital,” said Mu’aweiyah Hasaneen, the head of Emergency and Ambulance Services within the Gaza Strip Health Ministry. The two Palestinians were identified as Jehad Abu Jarad and Hamdan Al-Astal, both in their 20s. A third Palestinian is possibly still missing, Hasaneen added…

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Jerusalem Christian beaten by the Israeli Police in preparation for the Pope’s visit
ALQUDS NEWSPAPER
Israeli police on Tuesday evening, severely beaten Samer Andrea Karkar, a Palestinian Christian living in the Old City on the Latin Patriarchate street where he owns an Italian Restaurant and supermarket, the same street, which will host His Holiness on his visit to the Patriarchate in occupied Jerusalem. Prior to the expected visit the Israeli police prevented residents from entering the street due to repairs and maintenance. When Samer tried to persuade the Israeli force to allow his sister and her children to enter to pass through to their home in the same street since the children were asleep, the soldiers ordered him to leave and one policeman told him that he did not want to see him in any street, and then beaten him severely and threw him on the ground where other soldiers took their part too and then they took him to the police station despite the fact that his store was still open and un-manned…

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Israeli forces breach Gaza borders in four attacks Saturday; four injured
Ma’an News
Following three months of near-silence on the borders Israeli forces launched four separate attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip Saturday injuring four. Targets included a group of resistance fighters, a farmer and smuggling tunnels…According to the Brigades Israeli forces then entered the Strip and clashed with the fighters, who forced the soldiers to retreat. Palestinian security sources confirmed the reports, saying Israeli forces stationed east of Jabaliya opened fire towards Palestinian areas. They reported no injuries…

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PFLP objects to forming government without agreement
Ma’an News
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) objects to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ intention to form a government without a national Palestinian agreement, a member of the group’s politburo said on Saturday. In a statement to Ma’an, PFLP politburo member Rabah Muhana said such an act “will complicate Palestinian division, hindering the dialogue.” He added that “forming such a government will create a negative atmosphere that does not benefit the Palestinian interest,” and explained that “it comes within the arguments between Fatah and Hamas empowering the state of division between the two sides, and will increase the suffering of the Palestinians.”…

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Mada Report: 257 violations of media freedoms in Palstine during 2008
Ma’an News
The West Bank and Gaza witnessed 257 violations of media freedoms during 2008. Of those, 147 were committed by Israeli settlers and military, and 110 by Palestinian security services and armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The statistics came from the annual report from the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (Mada), which was released Friday… The report counted 51 Israeli arrests and detainments, and the closure of four media broadcasting stations across the West Bank and Jerusalem. Rival Hamas-Fatah violence also contributed to the poor media situation in Palestinian areas, the report found, and counted 60 journalists arrested or detained and some tortured by West Bank and Gaza Strip security forces…

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