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URUK Net 10 June, 2009

Last updated: Monday, June 22, 2009 11:35

The Normalization of Violence, Torture and Annihilation
Arthur Silber
… How often do you hear or see mention of more than a million innocent people murdered in Iraq, a genocide of historic proportions by any minimally civilized standard? With less than a handful of exceptions, all national politicians have supported and continue to support this criminal war and the occupation of Iraq. For a couple of years, the Democrats could have defunded the barbaric occupation of Iraq; they refuse to do so, for they support this program. This also means that, in the last election, tens of millions of people, all those “good” Americans who are so noble and peace-loving, voted for a war criminal. It didn’t matter whether you voted for McCain or Obama: both of them were and are war criminals. But almost no one will tell you that. And it’s not just me who says so, but the Nuremberg Principles, the very principles which the United States was once largely responsible for devising and which the U.S. never hesitates to apply to everyone else, but never to itself. Many Americans, including many of those progressive organizations that once claimed to be anti-war, today enthusiastically support the Empire’s wars of aggression and domination — now that Democrats control the machinery of death. These people were never anti-war: they were against wars run by Republicans. They’re murderous, lying, hypocritical bastards…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55006

Reading As Resistance
Free Gaza Movement launches its “Right to Read” Campaign
Free Gaza Movement
In partnership with Al-Aqsa University, the Free Gaza Movement (FG) is launching its “Right to Read” campaign which will use the FG boats to deliver textbooks and other educational supplies to universities throughout the occupied Gaza Strip. This is not a charitable endeavor. Rather it is an act of solidarity and resistance to Israel’s chokehold on Gaza and attempt to deny Palestinians education. According to UNWRA, Israel’s blockade prevents ink, paper and other learning materials from entering into Gaza…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55013

White House had long planned GM and Chrysler bankruptcies
By Jerry White
While the Obama administration publicly claimed it was seeking to avoid bankruptcy filings by Chrysler and General Motors, behind the scenes the White House was determined to throw the two Detroit automakers into the bankruptcy courts. Documents filed with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York make it clear that Obama’s Auto Task Force—headed by millionaire private equity manager Steven Rattner—had decided as early as Inauguration Day that a court-ordered restructuring of GM and Chrysler was needed…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55012

Testimony: Dozens of settlers throw stones at vehicle driving near the Qedumim settlement, injuring three of the passengers
B’Tselem
I work in Israel for ‘Imad Muhammad ‘Aref, a building contractor from Jaffa. Every day, he comes in his car, to pick me up along with some other laborers from the village. This morning [Monday, 1 June], between 4:20-4:30 A.M., ‘Imad came to my house in his car, a white Ford minibus with yellow [Israeli] plates to get. The other laborers from the village were already in the vehicle. I got in and we drove off. A few minutes after we passed the Jit junction, about five hundred meters from the entrance to the Qedumim settlement, I heard banging sounds and felt a pain in my head. I thought we were being fired at. I touched my head, and blood spurted onto my face. I realized that the sounds were stones that had hit the vehicle. It was like a gale of stones. I heard someone tell me that ‘Ali, who sat next to the driver, had been injured. The stones flew into the vehicle. The windows shattered and pieces of glass flew and hit us…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55010

At least 40,000 civilians in Pakistan’s Swat: Red Cross
Some 40,000 civilians remain in Pakistan’s troubled Swat region where they lack access to electricity and water amid a military assault against the Taliban, the Red Cross said on Tuesday. “Every time we entered a village, hundreds of people asked for help,” said Michael von Bergen, an International Committee of the Red Cross representative who was part of a convoy delivering aid in the region last weekend. “Those who did not leave are now desperate. They need food, clean water and working medical facilities,” he added in a statement…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55017

Afghanistan: Children Among 20 Killed in Coalition Bombing Raid in Ghor Province
Muhammad Hassan Hakimi
Nine children and 11 “suspected Taliban insurgents” were killed in a Coalition bombing raid in the northwestern Ghor province, a police officer said on Wednesday. Acting police chief Col. Zainul Abidin told Pajhwok Afghan News the airstrike by US-led forces in Shahrak district targeted dreaded Taliban commander Mullah Mustafa…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55014

Obama moves aggressively against North Korea
By Peter Symonds
The US administration has signalled a more aggressive stance toward North Korea that will only compound an already tense situation in North East Asia. Speaking in France on Saturday, President Obama declared that the US would take “a very hard look” at its approach following North Korea’s second nuclear test last month. Accusing Pyongyang of “constantly destabilising the region,” he ruled out any effort to encourage North Korea to return to talks, saying: “We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55011

Beyond The Soaring Rhetoric of Obama’s Cairo Speech: A Toxic Innocence At Home
Phil Rockstroh
…But, as far as investigating US governmental policies of torture and then prosecuting its architects and operatives goes, the Obama administration’s mantra has degenerated from, “yes, we can,” to “no, can-do.” Unless President Obama reverses course, he will prove himself not to be an agent of change, but another water-board carrier for the psychopaths of the status quo. Such a high level of denial only increases the intensity of the murderous libido that flows beneath the surface of American life — that chthonic river of repressed rage surging within the psyches of the besieged laboring class, who, despite being burdened by debt slavery and chafed by ever diminishing prospects, still clutch the kitschy iconography of the god of the consumer state. Although that god has fallen, it will not go solemnly to the boneyard of dead myths…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55008

Reinforcing Presumed Religious Identities: Where are Women and Secularists of Muslim Countries in Obama’s Speech in Cairo?
by Marieme Helie Lucas
It is beyond doubt that many people around the world, of various political opinions and creeds, will feel relieved after the discourse the President of the USA delivered in Cairo last week. It is apparently a new voice, a voice of peace, quite far from Bush’s clash of civilizations. But is it so? I presume that political commentators will point at the fact that Obama equates violence on the side of occupied Palestinians to violence on the side of Israeli colonizers, or that he has not abandoned the idea that the USA should tell the world how to behave and fight for their rights, or that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reduced to a religious conflict, or that he still justifies the war in Afghanistan, etc. All those are important issues that need to be challenged. However, what affects me most, as an Algerian secularist, is that Obama has not done away with the idea of homogeneous civilizations that was at the heart of the theory of the “clash of civilizations.” Moreover, his very American idea of civilization is that it can be equated to religion. He persistently opposes “Islam and the West” (as two entities — civilizations), “America and Islam” (a country vs. a religion); he claims that “America is not at war with Islam.” In short ‘the West’ is composed of countries, while ‘Islam’ is not…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54997

Guantánamo’s Hidden History: Shocking Statistics of Starvation
ANDY WORTHINGTON
Today is the third anniversary of the deaths in Guantánamo of three prisoners, Ali al-Salami, Mani al-Utaybi and Yasser al-Zahrani. The anniversary comes just two weeks after the second anniversary of the death of Abdul Rahman al-Amri, the fourth prisoner to die in mysterious circumstances, and just eight days after the death of a fifth prisoner, Muhammad Salih. The authorities maintain that the men died by committing suicide, although doubts about this explanation have repeatedly been voiced by former prisoners. However, it is also significant that all five men were long-term hunger strikers. Cageprisoners is marking this sad anniversary with a brief report about the Guantánamo hunger strikers, and the dreadful toll that prolonged starvation — and brutal force-feeding, which is the response of the US military — exacts on prisoners held, for the most part, without charge or trial in a seemingly endless legal limbo. Force-feeding involves prisoners being strapped into a restraint chair and force-fed twice daily against their will, through an agonizing process that involves having a tube inserted into the stomach through the nose…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54996

From Vietnam to Abu Ghraib
The Dangerous World of Indefinite Detentions
By JENNIFER VAN BERGEN and DOUGLAS VALENTINE
Where you find administrative detentions, you are likely to find torture. The reason is simple and can be traced to the elements of administrative detention itself: the absence of human rights safeguards and normal legal guarantees such as due process, habeas corpus, fair trial, confidential legal counsel, and judicial review; vague and confusing definitions, standards, and procedures; inadequate adversarial procedural oversight; excessive Executive Branch power stemming from prolonged emergencies; and the involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency (”CIA”) or other secret, thus unaccountable, Executive Branch agencies …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54995

No Obama effect in Lebanon
By Eurasia Group analyst Hani Sabra and Willis Sparks
Political blogs have been buzzing for the past several days with spots and posts about an “Obama effect” on last weekend’s parliamentary elections in Lebanon — elections that the anti-U.S. opposition was largely expected to win, but didn’t. Here’s the theory: Now that Barack Obama has replaced the much despised George W. Bush, the people of the Middle East — at least those with an opportunity to vote — won’t support “extremists” simply to spite America. The elections in Lebanon reveal the Obama effect in action: the ruling “moderate” March 14 coalition bucked the polls, fended off Hizbullah’s challenge, and won the election. That’s a great story, and one that complements last week’s Obama speech to the “Muslim world.” But there is no evidence of any such effect in Lebanon’s elections and plenty of evidence that America’s new president had little impact on the outcome… March 14 candidates did not campaign on a pro-U.S. platform. Nor did its gains come from areas dominated by Hizbullah. These elections were decided by Christians, and some of them still voted for the opposition. In other words, last weekend’s elections in Lebanon were not a referendum on the tone and credibility of U.S. outreach to the Middle East…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55009

Blackwater Still Working in Iraq for the International Republican Institute, According to New Lawsuit
Andy Worthington,
It seems as though every week there is a new lawsuit filed against Blackwater for the killing of civilians in Iraq. While the Justice Department has failed to prosecute most of these cases (the September 2007 Nisour Square massacre being an exception), attorney Susan Burke has dedicated a substantial part of her practice to holding the company responsible for its crimes. She works in cooperation with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Not only is Burke representing the victims of Nisour Square in their civil suit, and the family of an Iraqi guard allegedly murdered by a drunken Blackwater operative, but she has filed at least a half a dozen other cases against the company. “Erik Prince, a modern-day merchant of death, acts as if he is above the rule of law,” charges Burke…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54999

Israeli forces seize four Palestinian children
Ma’an News
Israeli forces seized four Palestinian children during a raid the West Bank village of Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem early on Wednesday morning. Witnesses in the village said Israeli soldiers stormed dozens of houses, detaining Dawood Mohammad Najeeb, 12, Abdullah Hassan Najeeb, Shararah Hassan Mahmood Najeeb, 11, and Mahmoud Kareem Najeeb, 12…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54998

Toning It Down…
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
A friend of mine who knows of my blog, wrote to me, saying that she was not at all amused by my last post on Ze Lebanon, and she concluded her mail, asking me to — tone it down, okay habibtee !(darling or chérie) […] Jews and Israelis ask me to tone it down saying — you agh (are) an aghab (arab) teghoghist ! (terrorist) and the liberal artsy fartsy add – revisionist anti-Semite ! The Americans ask me to tone it down, saying — ya know somethin’ hon, you’re just a hateful person, you’re just jealous of us and what we stand for ! (when they’re walking around like Rambos carrying their dicks and guns on their shoulders…raping and killing everyone in sight). The English and other Westerners also ask me to tone it down, saying — we did what we could, you can’t possibly generalize that way, you are biased and this is most disappointing – we really expected better from you ! (you can include the anti-war clowns in this lot)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54994

Israel to expand its settlements
By Jean Shaoul
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has refused to submit to US President Barack Obama’s demand for a complete cessation to settlement expansion and the building of new settlements in the West Bank. Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, reinforced Obama’s demand, saying, “Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions”. The Obama administration’s public opposition to Israel’s settlement expansion is bound up with attempts to fashion a more acceptable face for US imperialism so that its Arab allies can justify their stance in the aftermath of Iraq. Washington’s pose as an advocate of a just settlement for the Palestinians has no credibility if it allows without protest the continued expansion of settlements that break up the contiguity of the West Bank and make any putative Palestinian entity unviable…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=54992

PFLP views new US policy as ‘just like Bush’; skeptical over Mitchell statements
Ma’an News
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine “doubts the seriousness of the new U.S. Administration and the new envoy for the Middle East,” the movement said in response to US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell’s comments Wednesday. Mitchell met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the day, and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday. He promised Israel that ties would remain strong, but insisted on a two-state solution and an end to Israeli settlement construction, as per US President Barack Obama’s official policy…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55020

Salah: IOA plans to demolish 70% of Palestinian homes in O. Jerusalem
Palestinian Information Center
Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has warned that the Israeli occupation authority was planning to demolish 70% of Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem. He said in a report published on Wednesday by the Khalij newspaper that the IOA has set the date of 2020 as the final date for evacuating all Palestinians from the Old City of Jerusalem and then to get rid of all Palestinians from all areas of Jerusalem by the year 2050…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55016

IRAQ: Appeal for help to clear landmines
IRIN news
Iraqi Environment Minister Narmin Othman has appealed for more international support to clear the country of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). “It is impossible to depend on the government. We need international support to bring in qualified specialists and we need financial support, as the government’s budget can’t cover the expense,” Othman told IRIN on 6 June. Othman did not know specifically how much money would be needed but could only say “billions of dollars” were necessary. She described the explosive remnants of war (ERW), UXOs, landmines and pieces of tanks and military vehicles as “Iraq’s biggest environmental problem”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55005

Obama Shoe Photo Seen As “Insult” By Some Israelis
Susan Crile
A photograph of President Obama has caused some controversy in Israel. White House photographer Pete Sousa on Monday snapped a photo of the president while he talked on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In the photo, Obama has his feet propped up on a desk inside the Oval Office, and a number of Israeli newscasters last night called the posture insulting, since in many Arab countries, it is considered an insult to show someone the sole of your shoe…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55015

Iraq market bombing kills 28 people including children
Agence France-Presse
A car bomb exploded in a market in a southern Iraqi town yesterday, killing 28 people including women and children in the bloodiest attack to hit the country in weeks. Forty-five people were also wounded in the bombing in the town of Batha in the predominantly Shiite province of Dhiqar, defense and interior ministry officials said. Although bombings remain common in the capital Baghdad and the restive northern city of Mosul, attacks in the province and its capital Nasiriyah are rare…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55001

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