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URUK Net 23 August, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:32

Letter to President Obama
Dr. Ayad Abdullah/Iraqi academic
Thank you for you to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. I hope that you will have time for this letter from the Muslim Arab Iraqis. You mentioned that Ramadan remind us of the common values shared with Islam such as justice, tolerance and respect for human dignity. I agree with you, Mr. President, that these values are common between Islam and Christianity and I am a Muslim, I believe, and work by word and deed […] I am an Iraqi Muslim; your forces occupied my country six years ago and destroyed everything alive. Would you please Mr. President answer my questions on the following, and I hope that you are not troubled if my questions are as follows: 1 – Does the imposition of economic embargo on Iraq for 13 years, the pretext of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and failed to prove illusory existence; and more than 1.5 million of Iraqi children killed due to that embargo, justice or tolerance or respect for the dignity of humanity? 2 – Is the bombing of Iraq, by depleted uranium bombs and internationally banned cluster bombs and phosphorous by your forces, justice or tolerance? 3 – Your troops have invaded my country, Iraq, in 2003 and there are still so far the pretext of alleged weapons of mass destruction is this, Mr. President, justice, note that my country is a member of the United Nations and the occupation had been outside all international laws?…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57263

Aiding and Abetting War Crimes
The Israeli military tested new weapons in Gaza with U.S. support
By Frida Berrigan
…Israel—the largest recipient of U.S. military aid—has one of the most sophisticated and extensive military arsenals in the region. U.S.-origin weapons predominate and are an emblem of Washington’s close relationship with Tel Aviv. During George W. Bush’s presidency, Israel received more than $22 billion in military assistance from the United States. The bulk of this was in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which are U.S. grants for weapons purchases. Now, FMF is on the rise. President Obama is following through on his predecessor’s promise to increase security assistance to $30 billion over the next 10 years. In a review of the Gaza war published in February 2009, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service listed U.S. weapons platforms used in Operation Cast Lead, including “F-15 and F-16 aircraft [and] Apache helicopters.” Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) list of the U.S. systems deployed by Israel is far more extensive, including Cobra helicopters and American-made High-Explosive, Dual-Purpose rockets and HEAT missiles. In addition to these systems, human rights groups found evidence of Israel’s use of a wide array of controversial, experimental weapons systems…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57267

Weaponizing Psychology
Treating People Like Dogs
Peter Chamberlin
Nearly all of the Pentagon’s counter-insurgency warfare doctrine has been based on distortions of the pirated theories of former president of the American Psychological Association, Prof. Martin Seligman. Now we learn that post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) treatments for war veterans have been developed from his work as well. The US military has totally embraced Seligman’s controversial theories, twisting them to suit their deadly purposes, basing their computer-modeled psyops plans, plans for homeland security, even their recruitment strategies, upon his theories of “learned helplessness,” looking for ways to bring-about its most debilitating form, learned hopelessness. Every one of these programs is geared towards finding and exploiting the human breaking point…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57258

The future? the present? A Week in Gaza: August 7-13 2009
Eva Bartlett, In Gaza
The family and friends from Ezbet Abd Rabboh, who are like a family to me, invited me to see their newest addition to the family: a healthy one-month-old boy. Time passes quickly in Gaza, and until today, I’ve not seen him. I’ve also not seen the slow progression away from post-traumatic stress in the older kids that lived through the hell of the winter Israeli attacks. Slowly and subtly, they are becoming stronger, though the emotional wounds are deep and not easy to erase. `Abdullah, at least, smiles now and stands taller with a straight back, without the hunched cower which was a product of the post-massacre months…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57261

Quantcast In Iran, report of secret burials brings call for inquiry
By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
An Iranian lawmaker vowed Saturday to examine allegations that dozens of unidentified people killed in the recent post-election unrest were secretly buried last month in the country’s largest cemetery. The reformist website Norooznews.org on Friday cited an unnamed employee of the capital’s Behesht Zahra cemetery as saying that 44 unidentified corpses were buried July 12 and 15 amid heavy security. Majid Nasirpour, a reformist lawmaker who serves on the parliament’s Social Affairs Committee, filed a request for an inquiry…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57268

Swedish daily publishes second article on ‘IDF organ harvesting’
YNet News
Despite Israel’s harsh protests, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published a second article accusing the IDF of harvesting Palestinian organs. In the article, published Sunday, Oisín Cantwell and Urban Andersson report from the northern West Bank village of Imatin, where 19-year-old Bilal Ahmad Ghanem was killed during a clash with Israeli soldiers in 1992…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57270

Added notes on “The name’s Obama — Barack Obama”
Joseph Cannon, Cannonfire
A few posts down, I once again discussed my pet theory that young Barack Obama had been recruited by the CIA, a theory which annoys some and intrigues others. (See, for example, the strange blog here.) One piece of evidence favoring this idea concerns Obama’s post-college gig at Business International Corporation, a New York firm never named or accurately described in his book, Dreams From My Father. A number of sources have pegged BIC as a company which has provided cover for CIA operatives…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57266

US Military Chief: Afghanistan Situation is ‘Serious and Deteriorating’
VOA News
The U.S. military’s top officer says he believes the situation in Afghanistan is “serious and deteriorating.” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said in an interview on U.S. television CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that the Taliban insurgency has “gotten better [and] more sophisticated” in its tactics over the past couple of years…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57274

Massive Al-Quds Settlement Expansion
IslamOnline.net
Despite claims of scaling back settlement activities, Israel plans to build housing units, a swimming pool, mini country club, community library, parking spaces, a synagogue and kindergartens in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem). “We are talking about a massive expansion of an existing settlement in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood into a settlement of more than 1,000 in the heart of a crowded Palestinian neighborhood in the eastern part of the city,” Yehudit Oppenheimer, director of the Ir Amim group, told Yediot Aharonot on Sunday, 23 August…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57264

CIA report into Bush Administration’s treatment of suspects released
Tim Reid, Times
The alleged crimes and abuses carried out under the Bush Administration will take centre stage today with the release of a report detailing brutal CIA interrogations, a document that could trigger criminal investigations later this week. The 2004 report, which has been suppressed until now, documents in grim detail interrogations of terror suspects at secret CIA “black site” prisons between 2002 and 2004, including mock executions, such as threatening a prisoner with a gun and power drill…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57262

Books and paper banned from entering Gaza as new academic year begins, 200 more schools needed
PNN
With the academic year about to begin, the Gaza Strip is falling short on schools. During the major Israeli attacks of late December and January, many schools were destroyed or partially destroyed. They have not been repaired or rebuilt because reconstruction materials are still banned under the siege. Palestinian Legislative Council member and Chairman of the People’s Committee against the Siege, Jamal Al Khudari, said today that the Gaza Strip needs to build more than 200 new schools to accommodate students…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57260

Where’s the Coverage of Cindy Sheehan?
Jason Ditz
With President Barack Obama heading to Martha’s Vineyard for a long vacation away from touting the “success” of the Iraq War and promoting the Afghan War’s escalation this weekend, he is going to be greeted with a lot of ads critical of his health care plan. And something else, or rather someone else. Cindy Sheehan. Remember her? The public face of the antiwar movement who hounded President Bush for years after her son was killed in Iraq in April 2004…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57259

‘Hezbollah’ accused allege torture in Egypt jail
By Jailan Zayan (AFP)
Twenty-two men, dressed in white and crowded into a cage in a Cairo court, denied charges on Sunday of plotting attacks in Egypt for Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, with some alleging torture by police. As the trial began, the alleged members of the cell pleaded not guilty to charges of “conspiracy to murder, spying for a foreign organisation with intent of conducting terrorist attacks and weapons possession.” Some of the defendants said they had been tortured in police custody, with one man shouting to the judge: “If you dont’ believe us, just look at our bodies.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57257

US military: American soldier killed in Iraq
AP
The U.S. military says an American soldier has died of Injuries sustained during an attack on a U.S. patrol in the Iraqi capital. A military statement says the soldier assigned to Multi-National Division-Baghdad died Sunday but gave no further details. It says the soldier’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. It says the incident is under investigation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57273

Yemen: 2 Houthi commanders, 100 fighters killed
Global Arab Network
Yemeni forces have killed more than 100 Houthi fighters, including two of their leaders, after fierce battles to recapture a town, government officials have said. Yemeni government forces have taken control of a main stronghold of Huthi opposition fighters in the latest major development in the ongoing fierce fighting between the fighters and the regulars in northern regions of the Gulf country…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57269

The Body Snatchers of Israel
Kawther Salam
Independently of the recently published article of the Swedish journalist Donald Boström about the Israelis murdering Palestinians in order to harvesting of organs for sale, and independently of the hysteric screeching and denials by the Israelis, I want to present my readers what I witnessed, saw, observed and heard during my 22 years of journalistic work under the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. My personal experience confirms what Mr. Boström wrote: while I do not know the particular case which he describes, it is typical for what the Israelis do in Palestine all the time, what is “normal” since the early seventies…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57246

* * * NOT SATIRE * * *
Jewish groups accuse Obama of promoting ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Jews
Chris McGreal
Hardline pro-Israel groups in the US have been confronting President Barack Obama’s demands for a halt to settlement expansion by accusing him of promoting the ethnic cleansing of Jews and jeopardising Israel’s security. Members of Congress allied with Israel and powerful lobby groups in Washington are also trying to shift the focus of administration policy from the Jewish settlements, arguing they are not an obstacle to peace, to demands for Arab governments to recognise Israel…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57247

Another Stranded Forgotten People…
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
This is not getting much coverage – Displaced Somalis fleeing in thousands… Somalis are our Muslim brothers and sisters too, and they should not be forgotten. They have no support from the international community and this innocent people need our help. It is overwhelming. Where does one start ? Iraqi refugees, Palestinians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Somalis…? And they tell me that the Islamic world is not exclusively targeted…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57249

Death Squad
Blackwater Accused of Creating ‘Killing Program’
SPIEGEL
A memo obtained by SPIEGEL indicates that cooperation between the CIA and private security firm Blackwater was deeper than previously known. SPIEGEL has uncovered further details about a plan to set up squads for targeted killings of suspected al-Qaida leadership in Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57254

Military Aid or Raid: War on Terror Expands to Pakistan
By Harsha Walia
On the eve of the 62nd anniversary of India’s and Pakistan’s independence from British rule, Obama justified the war on Afghanistan and Pakistan (AfPak) by evoking Bush’s mantra: “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again.” The invocation of the colonial “us versus them” is strategically vital for a war-crusading Obama to invisibilize the daily violence of Western state and corporate policies, to firmly entrench a civilizational (read: racial) divide, and to dismiss critics as “unpatriotic” or the all-purpose “terrorism supporters”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57245

Peace Now: “Settlement construction continues as usual
Peace Now
This is a semiannual report prepared and published by the Israeli Peace Now Movement on Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. (January – June 2009). The report shows in details the ongoing construction and expansion of settlements and polices in this regard. Although the construction and expansion plans were approved by previous government, it is within the power of the current government to void the plans and the approvals, but the Israeli government is ongoing with its plans to construct and expand Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. ..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57243

American Military Base in Islamabad
Shakil Ahmad
It’s an open secret that the Americans use their embassies to conduct intelligence and covert operations in the host country. There is no need to go in the explanation of such operations, as we clearly understand the America is involved in anti-state activities in Pakistan. Besides the official attachments of their civil and military personnel in our establishment and cantonments, they have created a scattered network of minor covert command centres in different key locations in Pakistan. Following the attacks on some of their such centres, specially the Marriot Hotel, Islamabad and Peshawar, they manipulated to have a formally protected command centre along with a military base in disguise of Embassy in Islamabad…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57251

We will return. We will come back. We will never forget.
Free Gaza team
A year ago, 44 of us saw the coastline of Gaza in the distance, after 30 hours of traveling across the Mediterranean Sea. We were jubilant. We had made it to Gaza. We had actually made it to Gaza. We had really, really made it to Gaza. We had MADE IT TO GAZA. From a distance, the shore looked like stalagmites had sprouted across the landscape. Every piece of sand, every section of pier, every chunk of rock was occupied by people. Thousands of Palestinians greeted us, blowing whistles and cheering and high-fiving each other….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57252

Lebanese man is target of first rendition under Obama
By Bob Drogin
A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center here was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration. Unlike terrorism suspects who were secretly snatched by the CIA and harshly interrogated and imprisoned overseas during the George W. Bush administration, Raymond Azar was flown to this Washington suburb for a case involving inflated invoices. Azar, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery, the only charge against him…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57242

Hamas-Fatah talks postponed
Ma’an News
An upcoming round of Hamas-Fatah unity talks has been postponed until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Egypt’s official MENA news agency said on Sunday. The talks had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Cairo. MENA quoted an Egyptian security official saying that the postponement came after the visits the Egyptian security delegation visited Ramallah and Damascus which last week…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57244

CONNECT THE DOTS – CHENEY – CIA – BLACKWATER & PAT TILLMAN
Allen L Roland, thepeoplesvoice.org
Connect the dots ~ Cheney did indeed have his CIA assassination group but it was outsourced, much like torture was outsourced to foreign countries, to Blackwater mercenaries and Pat Tillman was most likely a target during the 2004 election year for he was about to support John Kerry: In my column on April 1, 2009 DID CHENEY ASSASSINATION RING TARGET PAT TILLMAN ? I wrote of the Seymour Hersh’s revelation of an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Dick Cheney and now confirmed by former Cheney aide John Hannah. I also wrote that it’s time to re-open the investigation of Pat Tillman’s questionable death by friendly fire which was stonewalled by both the Bush administration and the Pentagon generals…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57240

“Ramadan Hard Without Them”
IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
Almaza Samuni used to anxiously await the holy fasting month of Ramadan; her favorite time of the year. But this year Ramadan is different. “I’m sad because my mother is not around to make the meals for breaking the fast,” the orphaned child told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, August 23. Samuni, 13, used to spend Ramadan afternoons cooking with her mother and her six siblings, all of them were killed in the Israeli onslaught against Gaza last December. In the evenings, the family used to gather around a table and break their fast together in a joyous atmosphere. Today, Samuni lives in a tent pitched on the ruins of their house in a rubble-strewn wasteland on the outskirts of Gaza City…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57239

Secret prisons and sovereignty
Legal black holes such as Bagram are the physical manifestation of the ‘state of exception’ beloved of leaders throughout history
Bernard Keenan
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) demanded that the Obama administration release information on 600 detainees held at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. The request mirrors that made to the Bush administration seven years before, regarding the men held in Guantánamo Bay. The continued use of secret prisons to hold detainees – some not captured in the Afghan conflict, but brought to Bagram from elsewhere – seems contrary to the announcement of 23 January 2009 when the Obama administration, fresh into office, declared that the indefinite detention of foreign prisoners at Guantánamo Bay would end. In April, the CIA announced that it had ceased operating its network of secret prisons. Publicly at least, it seemed that the extraordinary powers claimed for the president following 11 September 2001 had been a historical anomaly, gone with Bush and his cabal…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57253

Arab-Israelis battle for Great Mosque at Beersheva
Jonathan Cook
The walls have been freshly plastered and painted white, the sculpted stone window frames are filled with frosted glass and the builders are hanging spotlights from the ceiling. The municipality of Beersheva, the capital of southern Israel, is racing to put the finishing touches to repairs of the city’s long-neglected and unused Great Mosque, built more than 100 years ago by the Ottoman rulers of what was then Palestine. But, over the protests of Beersheva’s thousands-strong community of Muslims, the Jewish-run municipality is not planning to restore the city’s only mosque to its former glory as a place of worship. It wants to convert it into a museum…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57250

The Battle for Yemen’s Unity
By Abdulsattar Hatitah
Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat – Fawzi, the eldest son of Al-Zubayri, who belongs to the Al Sarih tribe, was killed two weeks ago. He was serving in Al-Firqah Division of the Yemeni Army. He was taking part in fighting in the rugged Razih Mountains where rebels seeking to restore the Imamate theocratic rule, which prevailed in the country before the1960s, were barricaded. Al-Zubaryi put the photo of his son and that of his son’s friend on the windshield of his cab…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57248

Gaza schools reopen amid problems
Aljazeera.net
Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after their summer break, with a shortage of school supplies and overcrowded classrooms posing a threat to the quality of their education. Nearly 300 schools and nursery schools were heavily damaged during Israel’s assault on the territory last winter and several were completely destroyed. Because of Israel’s siege of the enclave, enough supplies of stationary and other school equipment is not available in Gaza and neither is necessary construction material to repair the damaged schools…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57256

Iran: Testimonies of torture and rape
Hamid Tehrani
The Iranian authorities have been accused by UN experts and the opposition of torturing jailed protesters of the June 12 presidential election results. Mehdi Karoubi, an opposition leader and former Speaker of Iran’s parliement, claimed that both male and female detainees have been raped in the Evin and Kahrizak prisons in Tehran, and that political prisoners are being tortured to death. Rape and torture are not a new phenomenon in Iran’s prisons, but the recent events have focused more attention on the prisons of the Islamic Regime. Iranian civil society activists, including Reza Allamehzadeh, a leading film director, have been using citizen media to highlight testimonies about the Iranian tragedy…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57255

Electricity crisis in Gaza intensifies during Ramadan
Ma’an News
For the past three years Gazans have dealt with an increased strain on their power grid during the month of Ramadan, usually eating their two meals (one at dusk and another at dawn) in the dark. The chronic electricity shortage in Gaza is primarily the result of Israel’s ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. The only power plant in Gaza was bombarded in 2006 by an Israeli airstrike. While subsequent repairs have brought the plant back into working order, it operates at only two-thirds capacity because Israel restricts the amount of European Union-supplied industrial fuel allowed through the Nahal Oz crossing point…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57238

UN report details grim effects of Israeli blockade on Gaza
IRIN news
A new UN report describes the devastating humanitarian impact of two years of Israel’s “unprecedented blockade on all border crossings in and out of the Gaza Strip”. Released in August by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Jerusalem, the report details the rapid deterioration of livelihoods, food security, education, health, shelter, energy and water and sanitation inside Gaza. “The blockade has ‘locked in’ 1.5 million people in what is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, triggering a protracted human dignity crisis with negative humanitarian consequences,” said the report…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57235

Afghan rivals claim election fraud
Aljazeera.net
Rivals for the Afghan presidency have accused each other of electoral fraud in the wake of the presidential and provincial elections. While both camps dismissed each other’s accusations, the Election Complaints Commission on Sunday said it was investigating 225 allegations of misconduct. The commission, made up of both Afghan and international members, acts effectively as a court of appeal to Afghanistan’s own Independent Election Commission (IEC)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57232

Jewish religous groups ‘enter Al-Aqsa compound’
Ma’an News
Jewish religious groups entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, according to the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage.
The group sent a statement explaining that the incident was unprecedented, because Jewish religious groups have never in the past entered the compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The month of fasting and prayer began on Saturday. Israeli authorities have not commented on the report. The Al-Aqsa Foundation called on Palestinians from Jerusalem and inside the Green Line to come to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to protect it…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57230

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