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URUK Net 4 June, 2009

Last updated: Monday, June 22, 2009 11:23

Forget “negotiations”, Obama. The situation cries out for law and justice
Stuart Littlewood
Whenever western leaders lecture us about a solution to the Israel-Palestine problem, they rely on those comfortable, woolly words “negotiation” and “peace process”… it’s a convenient crutch. Kick away the crutch and they’d finally have to grasp the nettle of justice, something they have always avoided. Justice is underpinned by law, but the operation of law in the Holy Land is conspicuously absent. The Arabs, I believe, want plain, simple justice. Why is this such a problem to a western alliance that claims to itself sweeping moral authority? President Obama, speaking the other day in a BBC interview, said he believed the US was “going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track” between Israel and the Palestinians. Asked about Israel’s defiance of his call for a halt to illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Obama urged patience, saying it was early in the conversation. “Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It’s never a matter of quick results.” Diplomacy hasn’t produced a result in 61 years, and he made no mention of implementing international law and enforcing UN resolutions..

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Three US soldiers killed in Afghanistan
AFP
Three US soldiers deployed to fight extremists in Afghanistan were killed Thursday when their convoy was ambushed with a bomb attack and gunfire, the US military said. The attack was in the province of Kapisa, just north of Kabul, where US troops are operating alongside hundreds of French soldiers. “Three coalition service members were killed in an attack on their convoy in Kapisa province this morning when their convoy struck an improvised explosive device and came under small-arms fire,” the military said. The force’s media office told AFP separately that the three were from the United States…

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Israeli army applauds itself with the removal of two checkpoints, UN discover these claims are false
Katherine Orwell
The Israeli army proudly declares on its website the removal of two checkpoints inside the West Bank to “further ease the daily life of the Palestinian population”. One day later UN workers have found the checkpoints still to be in place. According to the Israeli army the two checkpoints, one in Bir Zeit north of the city of Ramallah and the other one next to the village of at-Tayba, also in the Ramallah area, were removed on Tuesday…

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A Bush in sheep’s clothing
Obama’s speech shows little real change. In most regards his analysis maintains flawed American policies
Ali Abunimah
Once you strip away the mujamalat – the courtesies exchanged between guest and host – the substance of President Obama’s speech in Cairo indicates there is likely to be little real change in US policy. It is not necessary to divine Obama’s intentions – he may be utterly sincere and I believe he is. It is his analysis and prescriptions that in most regards maintain flawed American policies intact. Though he pledged to “speak the truth as best I can”, there was much the president left out. He spoke of tension between “America and Islam” – the former a concrete specific place, the latter a vague construct subsuming peoples, practices, histories and countries more varied than similar…

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Israel’s siege on Gaza claims the life of another infant
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
The Al Mezan Center for Human Right reported Thursday that a seven-month old infant died on Wednesday evening at the Gaza European hospital in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He was at the Intensive Care Unit suffering from a heart failure and respiratory issues. The child was identified as Ibrahim Mohamamd Zo’rob, 7 months. The Center said that the family of the child obtained on May 18, transfer papers to move him to Al Maqassid Hospital in East Jerusalem. They authorized the Al Mezan Center to apply for a permit to allow them into Jerusalem but the Israeli authorities never responded to any of the requests filed by the center…

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UN Human Rights Council Blasts US for Killing Civilians, Drone Attacks and Using Mercenaries
Jeremy Scahill
The UN Human Rights Council has issued a report blasting the US for killing civilians, violating human rights and creating a “zone of impunity” for unaccountable private contractors to fight its wars. The UN group also criticized the US use of drones to attack Pakistan. The report, released this week was authored by Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. “First, the government has failed to track and make public the number of civilian casualties, or the conditions under which deaths occurred,” he said…

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Obama’s “Af-Pak” War: Destabilizing a Nuclear Nation
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
No one can deny that the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater of war now belongs to President Obama. He campaigned for the privilege to put his own theories of war into action in the region, which the White House and Pentagon now refer to as “Af-pak.” It’s doubtful that Afghans or Pakistanis think of themselves as living in Af-Pak – but, it’s all the same to the Americans. Obama, the candidate, vowed to make Afghanistan and Pakistan the focus of his efforts, and to disengage from Iraq. There is no evidence that Obama ever intends to leave Iraq, but he has put his stamp on Afghanistan and created a humanitarian disaster in Pakistan. That humanitarian disaster will lead inevitably to a profound political crisis and even greater Pakistani hatred of the United States…

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Former Saddam deputy remains defiant
AFP
Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri on Tuesday defied the United States to capture him alive in a rare newspaper interview. “The Americans will only have me as a martyr,” Duri told the Algerian Arabic-language daily Ennahar in the interview, where he also denied being in captivity or having fled to an Arab nation. “We will invite (US President Barack) Obama to negotiations soon,” he added, in a reference to his banned Baath party, which had ruled out talks proposed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, stating his government consisted of “traitors and spies”…

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Red Cross Informed Powell About Torture
Jason Leopold
The International Committee of the Red Cross began an investigation of US war crimes in Iraq from the first days of the invasion, interviewing Iraqi captives from March to November 2003. On January 15, 2004, Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger expressed his concern to Secretary of State Colin Powell about the Bush administration’s attitude regarding international law. An ICRC January 16, 2004, news release, which summarized Kellenberger’s meeting with Powell, said, “the ICRC is increasingly concerned about the fate of an unknown number of people captured as part of the so-called global war on terror and held in undisclosed locations.” Kellenberger, according to minutes of the meeting, “raised ICRC concerns over detention issues in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq…

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How Many Times Will Guantánamo Kill?
Moazzam Begg
“From Allah we come and to him is the return.” How many times will we have to utter these Quranic words of condolence for prisoners who die after being incarcerated without charge or trial for years on end? It began with the deaths of Manei al-Otaibi, Yasser al-Zahrani (Saudi Arabia) and Ali Abdullah Ahmed Al Salami (Yemen) in June 2006. That was followed the deaths of Abdul Rahman al-Amri (Saudi Arabia) in May 2007 followed by Abdur-Razzaq (Afghanistan) in 2008. All but the latter are said to have committed suicide. That version of events is highly contested by their families and former prisoners who knew them. A few weeks ago the alleged suicide of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi in a Libyan desert-prison elicited a similar response. This week, it was the turn of Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, one of the hundred or so Yemenis, the single largest group still held at Guantánamo Bay…

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Iran can supply Nabucco if relations normalise -U.S.
Reuters
Iran can participate in the European-Union backed gas Nabucco pipeline if Washington normalises relations with Tehran, the U.S. Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy said on Thursday. The Nabucco pipeline, conceived as a way to decrease Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas has been unable to find sufficient throughput for the 31 billion cubic metre pipeline. The project is competing with the rival Russian-backed South Stream project to feed growing European gas consumption…

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Obama’s Cybersecurity Plan: Bring in the Contractors!
Tom Burghardt
…The Obama administration’s Cyberspace Policy Review is a corporatist boondoggle that will neither ameliorate nor frankly, even begin to address the most pertinent cybersecurity threats faced by the vast majority of Americans: hacking and spoofing attacks by criminals. Why? The wretched programs riddled with bad code and near non-existent “security” patches breeched as soon as they’re written are not part of the playbook. Indeed, the corporations and software developers who’ve grown rich off of the Internet have no incentive to write better programs! After all, from a business perspective its far better to terrorize the public into demanding more intrusive, and less accountable, minders who will “police” the Internet—for a hefty price…

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US soldier dies after Iraq grenade attack
AFP
An American soldier died following a grenade attack on his patrol in northern Iraq’s tense city of Kirkuk on Thursday, the US Army said. The soldier survived the blast but later succumbed to his wounds, a statement said. The army is only weeks away from a June 30 deadline to withdraw from Iraqi urban areas ahead of a full-scale pull-out by the end of 2011, as part of a security accord signed between Baghdad and Washington…

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Four dead as internal clashes end in Qalqilia
Ghassan Bannoura
Four Palestinians were reported dead and numbers injured as Palestinian security forces announced that clashes with Hamas fighters ended in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia on Thursday midday. The clashes started early morning and lasted till midday, The security forces and the gunmen exchanged fire after the gunmen opened fire at a vehicle that belongs to the Palestinian security forces, officials reported. A security official in Qalqilia stated that the Hamas fighters hurled a grenade at the security patrol killing one officer and wounding several others…

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Iranian presidential election: candidates debate strategic shift
By Sahand Avedis and Alex Lantier
…For the Iranian bourgeoisie, the possibility of improving relations with Washington poses a sea change in its global prospects. Though Iran carries out most of its trade and investment with US capitalism’s European or Asian rivals, Tehran’s confrontational relations with Washington plays an even larger role in the country’s economic and political life…A rapprochement with Washington would doubtless mean an acceleration of the moves underway by both Ahmadinejad and the reformists to cut subsidies and concentrate oil revenues even more tightly in the hands of the Iranian ruling elite, in preparation for deals with US corporations and finance capital…

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Despite Israel’s efforts, Palestinian festival celebrates literature
Sousan Hammad, The Electronic Intifada
Because the writers were aware of Israel’s unjust treatment toward Palestinians, organizers agreed that to get a legitimate feel of Palestine they would travel as “Palestinians.” This meant the caravan of writers dealt with the cattle-trade of checkpoints, interrogations, and more. “We wanted the writers to travel how Palestinians travel. We didn’t want them to have special treatment,” Hamilton said. On a Saturday, at the courtyard of the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem, the festival began like a huge family wedding. Piles of food and flowers stretched along a table…

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Hezbollah alliance has edge in Lebanon vote: pollsters
AFP
Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its allies are poised to defeat Lebanon’s Western-backed parliamentary majority in this month’s general election, pollsters said on Thursday. “The fight will be fierce, but all polls since last summer show the opposition winning by a slight margin,” said Abdo Saad, head of the Beirut Centre for Research and Information. “Overall, our statistics show an opposition win by two or three seats.”..

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Obama speech reaction, from Gaza to Pakistan and Afghanistan
Rory McCarthy in Gaza City, Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Jon Boone in Logar province
…There was interest if not excitement at the New Raja restaurant, a modest lunchtime joint in Islamabad. Mopping up his curry with a chunk of flat bread as he waited for the speech to start, Nisar Ahmed Faizee, a burly trader with a scraggly beard, was sceptical it would change much. “Osama, Obama – what’s the difference?” he said, reaching for his cigarettes. “It’s all a big drama.” His languid cynicism was reflected on the streets outside, where men lounged in the shade sipping fruit juice and sheltering from the head-drilling heat of a Pakistani summer. Not many came inside to watch. “We’re not interested,” said Anwar Khan, perched behind a counter filled with cheap watches. The cricket friendly between Ireland and the Netherlands played on his tiny television. “For us, Bush and Obama are the same. They are droning us to death”…

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Text of Obama’s speech at Cairo University in Egypt
CQ Transcriptwire
I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum. We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate…

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Ahmadinejad: Blair apologized to Iran
PressTV
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says former British prime minister Tony Blair has sent a letter to apologize to Iran regarding the sailors’ case. During a TV debate with his rival Mir-Hossein Mousavi which was broadcast live on Wednesday, he defended his foreign policy and said Blair’s letter had prompted his government to release the 15 British sailors who were captured by Iranian forces after trespassing in Iran’s waters in 2007. “The sailors were captured and after the issue reached a climax, Mr. Blair sent a letter of apology. He said they would change their policy toward Iran. The related documents are in the Foreign Ministry …

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GI Special 7F2: June National Guard Special [ 3 June 2009 ]
Thomas F. Barton
Behold The Dawn Of Day That Breaks Upon The World: Fort Hood Active Duty Soldiers March Against The Wars: “There Are Thousands Of Guys Who Are Not Coming Home To Their Mom And Dad”. “I Lost Three Buddies In My Platoon In Iraq And For What?. “Why Lose More When We Don’t Have To?”.
Michigan Army National Guard Home From Iraq: “I Guess Officers From The Army Couldn’t Be Bothered To Come Talk To Their Own Guys”. “Next Month We Actually Go Out Into The Woods And Pretend To Train”

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