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URUK Net 22 August, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:31

A dubious litmus test for the poll
Kim Sengupta
Call it the mystery of the invisible voters. At one polling station in Nad-e-Ali, just over 400 people had voted by 1pm. Three hours later, the figure had apparently surged to some 1,200. This despite the fact the streets were empty, all shops and businesses were shut and an Afghan army officer saying his men standing guard had hardly seen any civilians heading to these particular voting booths…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57227

Coming into Israel’s crosshairs
Jamal Juma
…In fact, Lieberman’s visit to South America, and Israel’s new foreign policy strategy, force a choice on the governments and people of South America, which goes far beyond solidarity with Palestine: Cab South American politics move forward in constructing a new continental and global order based on democracy, human rights and mutual solidarity or will it fall pray to those that are working against the emancipation of Latin America and the south? The protests during Lieberman’s visit clarify where the people stand. They show that those that have built a colonial state on the destruction of the Palestinian people and have driven apartheid to most brutal excesses can never be allies and partners of democratic and progressive countries…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57224

Iranian boy who defied Tehran hardliners tells of prison rape ordeal
Homa Homayoun, TimesOnline
The 15-year-old boy sits weeping in a safehouse in central Iran, broken in body and spirit. Reza will not go outside — he is terrified of being left alone. He says he wants to end his life and it is not hard to understand why: for daring to wear the green wristband of Iran’s opposition he was locked up for 20 days, beaten, raped repeatedly and subjected to the Abu Ghraib-style sexual humiliations and abuse. “My life is over. I don’t think I can ever recover,” he said, as he recounted his experiences to The Times — on condition that his identity not be revealed. A doctor who is treating him, at great risk to herself, confirmed that he is suicidal, and bears the appalling injuries consistent with his story. The family is desperate, and is exploring ways of fleeing Iran… Reza’s ordeal began in mid-July when he was arrested with about 40 other teenagers during an opposition demonstration in a large provincial city. Most were too young even to have voted…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57233

From the crusaders on, contempt for the Arabs is written in stone
What was it that bestowed upon our ancestors such ill-will towards the Arabs?
Robert Fisk
Not long ago, the owner of a Majorcan palace found 13th-century graffiti on his basement wall. It was scrawled there by a knight en route to the Crusades. Translated, it read: “Sod the Arabs.” I owe this sublime quotation to last Saturday’s Financial Times property section – the only FT worth reading during the week, only to be perused, of course, after purchasing Saturday’s Independent – but it coincided with a whole series of bons mots on the Arab world which I’ve been hoovering up from a collection of letters and books of the 1920s and 1930s…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57234

AFRICOM: Western Self-Serving Interests or African Security?
By Paul I. Adujie
America’s establishment of the so-called African Command(AFRICOM), should be seen for what it is: America’s self-interested armada of protection for America, and her allies and not for Africa’s security. Africa has steadily and increasingly become more important by playing the role for Westerners as repository of energy resources which powers the engine-rooms of Western economies. Additionally, America and her Western allies are in trepidations and stampede to stem China’s forays into Africa with plethora of real investments in solid infrastructures in many African nations….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57237

Baghdad bombings possible inside job
AP
Iraq’s foreign minister said that those who carried out bombings that targeted government buildings in the Iraqi capital received help to pull off the attacks, possibly from Iraqi security forces. The comments comes as anger mounts over the bombings that have lead lawmakers to scrutinize the readiness of Iraqi security forces and raised questions about the loosening of security measures in Baghdad. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered security tightened and concrete blast walls to remain around potential targets, reversing an order earlier this month to remove the walls in Baghdad by mid-September…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57225

Iran confronts rape, torture allegations
Hamid Dabashi
…After years of sporadic charges and troubling rumors, finally a courageous cleric has put a stamp of public recognition on atrocious practices in the theocratic state. Mehdi Karrubi — one of the revolutionary founders of the Islamic Republic, a high-ranking cleric, a presidential candidate, a former speaker of the house and now a widely popular political activist — has published a letter, addressing it to the former president and current head of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He accuses the security officers of the Islamic Republic of repeatedly and violently raping young women and men while they are in custody. Since the publication of this letter, a massive outpouring of testimony and reports has come out, corroborating Karrubi’s charges that rapes of young women and men are a widespread, common practice in the Islamic Republic. These are not light charges for any state, for any republic, let alone for an Islamic Republic…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57226

Iftaar dates
Eva Bartlett, In Gaza
Not having looked out of my building’s stairs windows in quite a while, yesterday I finally noticed the flattened neighbouring multi-storey building. During the Israeli attacks on Gaza this winter, I only a few times slept in my building, staying instead at the Red Crescent office, or at the hospitals, or at the news agency building. The afternoon was a little nicer. I’d gone to Saha, to see how people were preparing for Ramadan. And despite hearing what I’d expected to hear –on the effects of the siege, war, unemployment… of life in Gaza and that Ramadan would be far from special and lovely this year –I had a number of very nice encounters…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57222

The First Israeli Jew in Fatah’s Parliament
By Jonathan Cook
If a single person deserves the title of serial thorn in the side of the Israeli state, Uri Davis, a professor of critical Israel studies at al Quds University on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, might be the one to claim it. The crowning moment for Dr. Davis arrived last weekend when he became the first Israeli Jew to be elected to one of Fatah’s governing bodies, the Revolutionary Council. It is a public relations breakthrough for Fatah – which held its sixth congress last week, this time under occupation in the West Bank city of Bethlehem – in which Dr Davis clearly takes some pride…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57221

CIA Used Gun, Drill in Interrogation
IG Report Describes Tactics Against Alleged Cole Mastermind
By Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith, WP
CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured al-Qaeda commander into giving up information, according to a long-concealed agency report due to be made public next week, former and current U.S. officials who have read the document said Friday. The tactics — which one official described Friday as a threatened execution — were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA’s inspector general’s report on the agency’s interrogation program. Nashiri, who was captured in November 2002 and held for four years in one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons, ultimately became one of three al-Qaeda chieftains subjected to a form of simulated drowning known as waterboarding. ..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57236

GI Special 7H17: Their Lies Don’t Work Anymore [ 22 August 2009 ]
Thomas F. Barton
A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more U.S. troops should be sent to the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The new poll comes amid widespread speculation that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will request more troops for his stepped-up effort to remove the Taliban from Afghan towns and villages. That position gets the backing of 24 percent of those polled, while nearly twice as many, 45 percent, want to decrease the number of military forces there.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57228

GI Special 7H18: The Possibilites Seem Endless [ 22 August 2009 ]
Thomas F. Barton
Join the Army, where you can edit all that you can edit.
In July, in a sharp break from tradition, the Army began encouraging its personnel — from the privates to the generals — to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life. The program uses the same software behind the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and could potentially lead to hundreds of Army guides being “wikified.” “For a couple hundred years, the Army has been writing doctrine in a particular way, and for a couple months, we have been doing it online in this wiki,” said Col. Charles J. Burnett, the director of the Army’s Battle Command Knowledge System. “The only ones who could write doctrine were the select few. “Now, imagine the challenge in accepting that anybody can go on the wiki and make a change — that is a big challenge, culturally.”

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57229

In Focus Falling apart
Galal Nassar
…Now, it appears, genocide tops the agenda of the occupation authority. Granted, the occupation forces’ scope for direct operations has shrunk with their withdrawal into their bases, with the result that they have to resort to less overt means. The same applies to the governing authorities installed by the occupation. Faced with a dwindling physical presence and political sway, their sole choice is to wreak havoc through staged terrorist acts, tightening security as they point fingers, and using the opportunity to rally religious affiliates whose kin have fallen victim to the violence. Genocide has become the instrument of choice in the north as well as the south. Fanatic Kurdish leaders have turned to ethnic cleansing in the region over which they want to secure their control. Meanwhile, Iraq’s neighbours continue to dread the day when Iraq will be able to stand on its own two feet and are doing their utmost to drive the country into an endless spiral of sectarian violence. As always, the Iraqi people are paying the highest price. If the resistance is their sole source of succour, the resistance in its current state offers little hope. Only through solidifying its ranks and adopting a unified strategy can the resistance become Iraq’s road to safety and salvation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57201

Washington praises Afghan election fiasco to justify war escalation
Bill Van Auken
President Barack Obama spoke to reporters on the White House lawn Friday, declaring that the August 20 presidential election in US-occupied Afghanistan was “an important step forward in the Afghan people’s effort to take control of their future.” On Thursday, in a radio interview, he praised what he termed “a successful election in Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s effort to disrupt it,” while vowing that his administration would stay “focused on finishing the job in Afghanistan.” Whether Obama knew it or not, his remarks echoed those delivered by one of his predecessors, who heaped similar praise on a vote that had taken place in a country thousands of miles away, while promising that US troops there would soon “finish the job.” The year was 1967, the president was Lyndon B. Johnson and the election was in Vietnam..

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Video: Maher Zain – Palestine Will Be Free ?????? ??? ????
Awakening Records
Awakening Records is pleased to announce the release of the world’s first animated peace music video on Palestine. Palestine will be Free’ is performed by Awakening’s latest music sensation – Maher Zain. This is the first time an animated peace music video has been produced on Palestine: “We are recognised as pioneers and constantly pushing the bounds of creativity and innovation. This animated music video for our new star artist Maher Zain is just another step in that direction and certainly not the last”, said Bara Kherigi, Director of Awakening Records…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57206

PFLP demands investigation into allegations of organ theft by occupation soldiers
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -PFLP
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called on Saturday, August 22, 2009 for an immediate, serious investigation into reports alleging that Zionist occupation forces stole organs from young Palestinians they killed in the West Bank and Gaza. These reports, published in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, quoted Palestinians who recalled young men who had been seized by Zionist forces and killed in custody, and their bodies being returned missing organs, as well as that the bodies of young Palestinians killed in clashes were taken by the occupation forces and buried without being returned to their families. The PFLP said in its statement that these reports should be taken seriously by international human rights organizations, and fully investigated…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57214

Arrogance And Torture: A History of Guantánamo
Andy Worthington
If you’re looking for an introduction to the extra-legal horrors of Guantánamo, and the casual, almost mundane manner in which randomly-seized prisoners, who were not even screened according to the Geneva Conventions, found themselves the victims of a torture policy designed to make them reveal their mostly non-existent secrets, then you may like this article, which I wrote for the Future of Freedom Foundation, for whom I write a weekly column…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57218

Objection !
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
…How sweet of Ahmadinejad to nominate three women in an assembly of a 1000 turbans. Before the progressives, liberals, leftists (including the Arab jerks and specially the Arab jerks), the anti-zionists… of the new world order, jump up and down like monkeys, and praise the “ feminism” of Ahmadinejad, it is well worth mentioning that some “reformist” Ayatush (Ayatollah) said that them women are capable. So Ahamdinejad in an effort to quell the reformist voices, jumped and nominated three…I suppose the liberal feminist progressive women’s movement of the new world order will hail that highly objectionable unconfirmed possibility of having three women in the all male turbaned assembly as a definite sign of female liberation. Code Pink and Co. will probably issue another set of pink gadgets, like pink panties and pink nail varnish, as they did during their “immense” “anti-war effort” when the Americans and Iranians (and their deadly sectarian fascist militias) invaded Iraq and stripped IRAQI women (and men of course) and also IRAQI gays of all their liberties and freedoms. And pushed back IRAQI women to the stone age. When during the “dictatorship”, they were the most emancipated women in the whole of the Middle East…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57213

Prisoners of Gaza
by Jordan Flaherty and Lily Keber
In the midst of a devastating military bombardment and continuing economic blockade, the people of Gaza are still demanding freedom. Palestinians complain that media attention has focused disproportionately on Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006, while US media and politicians rarely speak out about the more than 11,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, almost half of them without charges…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57210

Derailing Injustice – Palestinian Civil Resistance to the “Jerusalem LightRail”
Omar Barghouti, Jerusalem Quarterly
“Swimming against the tide” is regarded by many cultures, including Arab culture, as unwise, if not altogether irrational and desperately futile; swimming against the tide and hoping to reach your desired destination would, then, defy common sense and call into question one’s sanity. Taking this defiance to a new level, the Palestinian civil society campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)1 and its international supporters in the solidarity movement have been contributing to resisting Israel’s multi-faceted oppression against the indigenous people of Palestine by mobilizing international civil society to apply effective, non violent and sustained pressure against it until it fully complies with its obligations under international law and respects Palestinian rights…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57211

Baath Party is back in the picture
Phil Sands
…The room is used for meetings by the Iraqi Baath Party, still fighting against US troops in the country, and members of other militant groups involved with the Supreme Leadership for Jihad and Liberation, a network of more than half a dozen insurgent organisations. At the start of last month, according to a Baath Party official, a European diplomat visited the apartment block and held talks with the militants. “It was a formal meeting,” said Abu Mohammad, the exiled Iraqi and Baath Party member who runs the office. “The diplomat came and said he was here on behalf of his government to find out what we wanted in a future Iraq and to hear our strategy, our aims and goals.” The discussions were carried out on agreement that the diplomat’s country would not be publicly identified. “I can only tell you that he represents a significant European country,” Abu Mohammad said. “We sat and talked, just as we have spoken to Iraqis who come here as mediators, we presume wanting to take messages back to the Iraqi government.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57220

Nouri talks about his “open war”
The Common Ills
Reuters reports Nouri al-Maliki, thug of the occupation, went on state television in Iraq today and spoke. He’s quoted stating: I want to tell the Iraqi people we are still in an open war against them. I reassure the Iraqi people that the security forces can still keep up the battle and achieve victory despite breaches here and there. “Them” is being interpreted to mean ‘terrorists’; however, it’s probably not a mistake to read ‘them’ in the normal sense of the sentence: “I want to tell the Iraqi people we are still in an open war against them.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57217

Obama administration uses Blackwater in drone killings
By Tom Eley
In the wake of Thursday’s revelations that the Bush administration hired Blackwater USA to carry out assassinations of alleged Al Qaeda operatives, more information has come to light regarding the intimate and ongoing relationship between the shadowy paramilitary security contractor and the American state. In spite of Blackwater’s well-established record of indiscriminate killings of Iraqi civilians, the Obama administration has retained its services in Afghanistan, where a new report reveals that Blackwater has been contracted to work with the unmanned Predator drones that carry out assassinations and terrorize villages in eastern and southern Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57203

No sign of voters on election day in Afghanistan despite official claims
Tom Coghlan, Times
At 8am, an hour after the Afghanistan’s presidential polls opened, the polling station at the Haji Janat Gul High School, a dusty collection half-finished buildings designated for use by Kuchi nomads, was entirely empty of voters. But the apparent lack of voter activity was deceptive, insisted election officials; the ballot boxes were already full almost to the brim. “The people have already come. They came here with lorries at 7 o’clock, now they have gone to the fields with their sheep” said Lawan Geen proudly…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57205

Iran’s Rafsanjani urges warring factions to follow Khamenei
AFP
Powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani urged Iran’s warring political groups on Saturday to follow the orders of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for ending the present political turmoil. In his first such statement in direct support of Khamenei since the June 12 election, the former president said “the current situation needs everyone to observe the leader’s decrees and advice,” Iranian news agencies reported… He said authorities must follow Khamenei’s advice also on the issue of political detainees jailed in the aftermath of the election…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57219

Video: Settlers Attack Palestinian Shepherds With Impunity
Palestine Monitor
The investigation into a brutal and frenzied attack by illegal Jewish settlers on Palestinian shepherds has been closed by the Israeli police because it was “not possible to identify the attackers” due to their masked identities. The attack was caught on camera last year and shows four men coming from an illegal Jewish settlement to attack three local Palestinian shepherds with baseball bats. The attack was filmed by a relative, who had been given a camera by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem as part of its Shooting Back project. B’Tselem had handed video cameras to Palestinians in troubled areas so that they could document abuses against them…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57215

Nine citizens and two Italian activists suffocate during Nil’in protest
Nine Palestinian citizens and two Italian activists suffered suffocation during the weekly anti-wall protest in Nil’in village when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired dozens of tear gas canisters at the masses. A large number of IOF troops were deployed Friday morning in olive fields and along the southeastern and southwestern areas of the village. The IOF troops also prevented volunteers who wanted to join the weekly protest from entering the village and blocked commercial activities in it…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57209

Holy Ramadan in Gaza:Exposed to Chemical Polution and Blockade
Hiyam Noir, PalestineFreeVoice
…In Gaza the the children and young ones are denied to grow up healthy, the adults are denied to grow old, their natural lifespan is been shortened by cancer,diabetes and other fatal diseases.After the Israelis many chemical wars on Gaza, the population across the densely populated enclave, are exposed to unusually high amounts of toxic contaminants.The soil, the air and the water is contaminated,infested by allotrope’s as arsenic and white phosphorous, radioactive uranium,and other metallic chemical elements such as, lithium, the pesticide DDT, the heavy metal mercury and lead…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57204

Clerics query Iran cabinet choices
Aljazeera.net
Conservative religious leaders in Iran have raised objections to the decision by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, to include three women in his new cabinet. The Tehran Emrouz newspaper on Saturday quoted Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, a member of the parliament’s judiciary committee, as saying there were “religious doubts” over how women would cope with the positions. “Although it is a new idea to choose women as ministers, there are religious doubts over the abilities of women when it comes to management,” said Rahbar, who heads the clerics’ faction in the 290-member conservative-dominated Iranian parliament. “This should be considered by the government.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57208

I live in a tent, with no privacy
Ayman T. Quader
And every time, she tries to understand what happened to her, she asks herself : what was my fault?, what’s going to happen to me in my tent? Ilham, 30 years old, a mother of 6 , she lives in Al-atatra district , in the northern part of the Gaza strip. The Israeli war had a huge impact on her, it actually destroyed her house, her parent’s house and killed her brother. Ilham and her family spent 25 days in one of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s schools (UNRWA), to take shelter from phosphorous missiles of death that was chasing all the population of the strip…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57200

MISUNDERSTANDING ZIONISM
Desertpeace
There has been much talk lately of the ‘Two State Solution’ as a means of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many western leaders have told the Netanyahu administration that this is the only road to a just peace in the region. Netanyahu agrees! The ‘Two State Solution’ is the only way…. Two States, one for Israelis and the other for extreme rightwing settlers. BUT…… this is not what is meant by the ‘Two State Solution’…… BUT……this is what the Israeli government means….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57197

Zionist group holds a meeting to ‘counter’ the Arabs in the Negev
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
The Arabs48 news Website reported that a Zionist organization calling itself Ha-Shomer Ha-Hadash (The New Guard), held a meeting on Thursday to ‘counter’ what they described as ‘the Arab embezzling of Israeli lands in the Negev and the Galilee”. The group disregarded the fact that the lands in question are owned by the Arabs, and called for bringing more Jewish settlers to live in the Galilee and the Negev. One of the members of the group is Brig. Gen. Ram Shmoeli; he said that ‘Israel has a national task to preserve 4 million Dunams (nearly 988421 Acres) before they are fully stolen by the Arabs”, according to Shmoeli…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57212

Darwish: Revolutionary poetry beyond poetry of revolution
Lutfi Khalaf
To write about a cause means that you add to it, to its soul and show the dark parts of it which wouldn’t have appeared before you wrote. Many academics described poets who wrote about revolution as political poets with “political hemoglobin in their blood cells, and political air in their lungs.” Indeed, Mahmoud Darwish was seen like that by the average Palestinian, and even by men when I was at preparatory school reading his poetry…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57216

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