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URUK Net 31 October, 2009

Last updated: Monday, November 2, 2009 8:09

Lest we forget?
William Bowles
October 31, 2009 – There is something ironic—if not downright obscene—about the fact that in the UK the Poppy is used as the symbol of remembrance for all those who have died in the UK’s countless imperial wars, a symbol that is being used to punt the latest ‘adventure’, Afghanistan, home of the opium poppy. The use of the Poppy flower as a symbol of remembrance stems from the fact that the Poppy grew in abundance in the slaughterhouse called Flanders in WWI, due apparently to the fact that the artillery shells exposed the formerly deeply buried seeds to the sun. ‘Lest we forget’ apparently now reads ‘We forgot’ as ‘our boys’ slug it out for the Empire with an enemy they will never defeat, but then the sick thing about this particular imperial war is that it ain’t about winning. In part it’s about waging a war for the minds of British public, thus punting the Poppy, this time in the name of the ‘War on Terror’ is shoved down our throats every time we turn on the telly and every announcer, every newscaster sports the Poppy badge…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59594

Iraq’s Booming Funeral Market
By Afif Sarhan,
October 31, 2009 – With deadly attacks still claiming more lives in the war-torn country, the funeral market in Iraq has turned from a simple work into a booming business. “Before US-led invasion, I had one ceremony to take care,” mourner Ali Abdel-Kareem al-Shuwafi, 48, told IslamOnline.net on Friday, October 30. “But in the last four years, I had to hire 12 employees and other 15 who are used when we have many ceremonies to hold in the same day…

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Clinton in Pakistan encounters widespread distrust of U.S.
By Alex Rodriguez
October 31, 2009 – Every time Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to win over Pakistanis during her three-day charm offensive last week, they fired back a polite but firm message: We don’t really trust your country. No matter how hard Clinton tried to reassure audiences in Lahore and Islamabad with talk of providing economic aid where it’s needed most, Pakistanis seized on her visit as the perfect moment to lash out at a U.S. government they perceive as arrogant, domineering and insensitive to their plight. At a televised town hall meeting in Islamabad, the capital, on Friday, a woman in a mostly female audience characterized U.S. drone missile strikes on suspected terrorist targets in northwestern Pakistan as de facto acts of terrorism. A day earlier in Lahore, a college student asked Clinton why every student who visits the U.S. is viewed there as a terrorist…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59596

Lawsuit Accuses Psychologist of Ignoring Guantanamo Torture
William Fisher
October 31, 2009 – The state board responsible for licensing – and disciplining – psychologists in Louisiana is “fighting awfully hard to turn a blind eye to serious allegations of abuse” brought against one of its members, who is being accused of complicity in beatings, religious and sexual humiliation, rape threats and painful body positions during his service as a senior adviser on interrogations for the US military in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. That is the view expressed to Truthout by Deborah Popowski, cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), part of the legal team representing Dr. Trudy Bond, an Ohio-based psychologist, who is suing the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to compel it to investigate the behavior of Louisiana psychologist and retired US Army Col. Dr. Larry C. James, a former high-ranking adviser on interrogations for the US military in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59593

Action urged against Israel’s ‘discriminatory water policies’
By Hani Hazaimeh
October 31, 2009 – The National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) on Saturday urged international human rights agencies to expose Israel’s practices that aim to deny Palestinians the right to have access to clean water. In a statement issued yesterday in response to a recently issued report by Amnesty International (AI), the NCHR said the report represents “a cry for justice and rings the bell for the international community to take immediate action to put an end to Israel’s unilateral measures in the occupied territories”, such as preventing the Palestinians from developing water resources by expropriating their underground water sources, as well as demolishing houses, water grids and field crops…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59591

Iraqi parties form new coalition
Aljazeera.net
October 31, 2009 – Two leading Iraqi secular political blocs have joined forces to run in January’s general elections. The mainly Shia National Accord Movement and the Sunni National Dialogue Front announced in a statement on Saturday that they will now form the new Iraqi National Movement. The new group said that its aim is to create a political environment that attempts to end sectarianism, promote better state institutions and stop neighbouring countries’ influence in Iraq – especially that of Iran. They also said that the objective of the new coalition is to build the armed forces as part of a framework to impose the law…

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IT’S ALL A BIG HAZE
Malcom Lagauche
October 31, 2009 – …To many people, the subject of Iraq from the time of August 2, 1990 until today has been a big haze. So many things have occurred that it appears like the world experienced many versions of the ongoing U.S.-Iraq war. However, it is still one ongoing war that has included many battles. No cease-fire has been in place since August 2, 1990. One part of the big haze that probably has escaped the memory of most people is the last week of the George Bush I presidency. Incidents of that week were used as a warmup for future belligerence against Iraq. With the invasion of Grenada in 1983, came a new experiment for the U.S. in how aggressive its foreign policy could be. An outrageous attack against a small country occurred. The media were shut out and the government of Grenada was imprisoned. To this day, some have not even been able to talk to any outsiders. The U.S. waited to see how much rage its citizenry would present. Absolutely nothing. Next came Panama. The same overwhelming force against a small country and the same kidnapping and imprisonment of the nation’s leader. Again, no outrage. Desert Storm was a much larger version of the prior two invasions. Again, the deceit worked and, with the exception of a few U.S. activists or groups, the U.S. got away with it. The next step was to be able to attack Iraq at any time, even though the U.S. signed a cease-fire agreement with Iraq, for no reason other than bravado. From March 1991 to January 1993, the embargo took hold. Iraqis began to suff! er and d ie..

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9yr-old boy tortured, says former Guantanamo detainee
The Star
October 31, 2009 – A British Muslim detained for three years at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison manned by the United States, revealed that the youngest detainee he knew of was a nine-year-old boy who was also tortured like the rest. Ruhal Ahmed’s story was among more accounts of atrocities committed against the detainees at Guantanamo, told before an open commission hearing which began Friday on the sidelines of an international conference to criminalise war. The testimonies before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission Hearings will be submitted to a tribunal in conjunction with the Criminalise War Conference and War Crimes Tribunal 2009 spearheaded by former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad…

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How the “Most Moral Army in the World” Wages War on Students
Stuart Littlewood
October 31, 2009 – If there’s one thing the Israelis are good at it’s making war on women and children. They killed 952 Palestinian kiddies in their homeland between 2000 and the start of the Gaza blitzkrieg in December 2008 (according to B’Tselem statistics). They murdered at least 350 more during their Cast Lead onslaught and have kept Gaza under daily attack ever since. So the brave Israelis must have eliminated nearly 1400 youngsters by now. Would anyone care to guess how many they left bleeding, maimed and crippled? The “most moral army in the world” also loves waging war against Palestinian university students…

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Afghan Resistance Statement
The Afghans’ Decision About the Runoff Elections is Unchanged
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
October 31, 2009 – The runoff for selection of a figurehead for the Kabul regime as per the expansionist policy of America elucidates that how brazen and avaricious Americans can be to ensure their interests. It also proved that how blatantly they make their puppets seem ludicrous and shameful among the public. No question, Afghanistan is under a military occupation, the war is flaring up, and the people are deprived of liberty, security and facilities. They are bearing the brunt of the terror being created by tanks and helicopters of the invaders on daily basis. Moreover, they face brutalities of the invading troops from day to day. In such unstable conditions, how real elections can be held to elect a really representative Afghan leadership? Their claims in this regard is a mere irrational and unpractical bragging…

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Humanity Targeted in Gaza
by Yousef Munayyer
October 31, 2009 – There was a time, not so long ago in fact, when opposing armies would line up across from each other with nothing but green fields between them and take turns exchanging fire. While these tactics were very efficient at killing soldiers on both sides, civilians were rarely ever hurt. Somewhere along the line this all changed. Whether it was because of industrialization, urbanization or adaptations in military strategy, one stark and indisputable fact remains: at the beginning of the twentieth century the ratio of civilian to military deaths in wars was one to eight and by the end of it inverted to eight to one…

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Palestinian Child Prisoners – Video and UK Speaking Tour
Defence for Children International
October 31, 2009 – On Monday, 2 November 2009, DCI-Palestine will accompany Mohammad and his mother Somaya on a four-day speaking tour of the UK to highlight the plight of Palestinian child prisoners. Mohammad, from the occupied West Bank, was 14 years old when he was detained by Israeli forces in February 2008 and accused of throwing stones at the Wall. Mohammad was beaten, interrogated in the absence of a lawyer, deceived into signing a confession, prosecuted in a military court and sentenced to four months imprisonment inside Israel. Whilst in prison, he received no education and no family visits…

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AI: Afghanistan: German government must investigate deadly Kunduz airstrikes
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
October 31, 2009 – The German government should immediately launch a credible, transparent investigation into a 4 September airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that killed scores of people, many of them civilians, Amnesty International said on Thursday. The German military said on Thursday that NATO’s investigation suggested the airstrike, which targeted two fuel tanker trucks that had been hijacked by Taleban fighters five hours earlier, was appropriate even though it led to civilian casualties. Amnesty international’s investigation into the Kunduz incident suggests that the laws of war may have been violated during the airstrike…

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PFLP: Shut down the war criminals wherever they go!
A call to international progressive forces – for wide distribution
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -PFLP
October 31, 2009 – Protests have recently greeted the leaders and representatives of the occupation state wherever they have traveled – in October 2009 in the United States, former occupation prime minister and war criminal Ehud Olmert has been chased from city to city, shouted down in every venue and exposed for his war crimes. Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon was protested and his speech interrupted at the London School of Economics on October 26, 2009. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine salutes all of these protesters and calls upon all Palestinian and Arab communities and international activists for justice to shut down these war criminals, racists and oppressors wherever they go!…

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Iran says EU firms in talks to bring its gas to Nabucco
AFP
October 31, 2009 — An Iranian official said on Saturday that European firms are in talks for Iran to join the EU’s flagship Nabucco gas pipeline project, which aims to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russia, Mehr news agency reported. “At the moment some European companies have started unofficial talks for Iran to join this pipeline,” Mehr quoted Reza Kasaizadeh, managing director of National Iranian Gas Exports Company, as saying…

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The United States and the Islamic Republic are using a weapon of mass destruction against the workers of Iran
Saeed Valadbaygi, Revolutionary Road…
October 31, 2009 – …I speak for the masses, the class of workers and community generating people that have no capital other than the power of their work for sale. Poverty, unemployment, the high cost of living and inflation are nothing new in Iran. The people of Iran have for years lived with economic pressure, but in recent years the crisis ridden economic situation together with the failure of international policies in dealing with West have created very difficult circumstances for the Islamic Republic. These circumstances have advanced to the point where the government has fired its own fatal bullet. The legislative parliament of the Islamic Republic has in recent weeks approved a plan for “targeting subsidies”. This occurrence is precisely the other side of a coin that is multiplied in America. Congress has finally approved the plan for “wider economic sanctions”…The direct outcome of approval of both these plans is unbearable pressure for the people of Iran. Economic sanctioning is a weapon of mass destruction, a weapon that is used by both poles against the people. The outcome of economic sanctions in the not too distant past and in Iraq show that close to 5,000 children and elderly lose their lives each month because of the effects of such sanctions…

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Water authority warns of groundwater depletion in Gaza
Palestinian Information Center
October 31, 2009 – The Palestinian water authority has warned Saturday of the depletion of underground water supplies in the Gaza Strip within the next 10 years, calling for taking serious action to save these supplies. In a report, the water authority said that Gaza suffers from an annual water deficit up to 70,000,000 cubic meters as a result of the natural increase in Gaza population who live on the coastal aquifer to meet their needs of water. It pointed out that the overlap between the Mediterranean Sea and the aquifer caused a high rate of salts in water in addition to high concentration of nitrates due to the leakage of sewage and irrigation water into it…

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Upping the ante at Al-Aqsa
Khaled Amayreh
October 31, 2009 – Government-backed Jewish religious extremists have stepped up their efforts to seize a foothold at Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade in East Jerusalem, ostensibly in order to erect there a Jewish temple. Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the three holiest Islamic sanctuaries. The other two are the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet Mohamed’s Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia. On Sunday, 25 October crack Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa site, firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at Muslim worshipers…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59580

Operation Cast Lead: The Elusive Quest for Self-Defense in International Law
Noura Erakat, RUTGERS LAW RECORD
October 31, 2009 – On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a 22-day military offensive against Gaza called “Operation Cast Lead.” Israeli forces killed some 1,300 Palestinians, including 280 children, and injured approximately 4,300 others, including 1,100 children. Civilians comprised nearly 70 percent of the Palestinian death toll. The aerial and ground offensive also destroyed 2,400 homes, 29 schools, 121 commercial and industrial workshops, 60 police stations, and 30 mosques. During the Operation, thirteen Israelis were killed including three civilians and four soldiers killed by friendly fire..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59588

Video: Gaza war widows struggle to survive
AlJazeeraEnglish
October 31, 2009 – Ten months after Israels war on the Gaza Strip, the effects of the deadly offensive are still being deeply felt. Hundreds of Palestinian women lost their husbands in the war and have had to step into their husbands’ roles as the main breadwinners in their families. Al Jazeera’s Barbra Serra reports from Gaza, where women traditionally used to stay at home to take care of their children. Now, many widows are struggling to find work…

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ISRAEL: New report highlights exploitation of migrant workers
IRIN news
October 31, 2009 – Migrant workers in Israel’s agriculture sector are among the most exploited, according to a 28 October report by Kav LaOved, an Israeli NGO campaigning for the rights of disadvantaged workers in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Ninety percent of such workers work more hours than allowed under Israeli law, without overtime payments, said the report, which has been presented to members of parliament. The report summarizes hundreds of complaints by agricultural workers and dozens of inspections by Kav LaOved volunteers at work sites around the country, and paints a grim picture of systematic exploitation and severe violations of workers’ rights in the agricultural sector…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59571

US makes cynical overture to Sri Lanka over war crimes
By Wije Dias
October 31, 2009 – The US State Department last week issued a 68-page report providing details of the Sri Lankan army’s atrocities during the final months of the war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Its purpose, however, is not to bring war criminals to justice, but to boost US influence in Colombo and strengthen relations with the Sri Lankan government. While guarded in its conclusions and driven by Washington’s political agenda, the report is nevertheless a devastating indictment of the Sri Lankan government’s war crimes. It details more than 100 incidents in which the army shelled and bombed LTTE-held areas proclaimed by the military as a no-fire zone (NFZ)…

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US wages and salaries rise at record-low levels
By Andre Damon
October 31, 2009 – Employment costs in the US rose at the lowest annual amount in at least 27 years, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department. Stagnant wages and salaries are the outcome of government policies designed to lower the living standards of workers. Over the past 12 months, the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index rose by 1.5 percent, marking the lowest wage and salary growth since these figures started to be collected in 1982…

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Report: 4,524 Palestinians detained by Israel since the start of this year Palestinian Information Center
Palestinian Information Center
October 31, 2009 — Researcher in prisoners’ affairs Abdelnasser Farwana reported Friday that he documented 4,524 Israeli arrests of Palestinian citizens since the start of 2009, 412 of them took place in October. Farwana said that the West Bank and Jerusalem witnessed the kidnapping of 3,456 citizens, while 1,068 others were kidnapped in Gaza, mostly during the last war, noting that there were children, women, patients and elderly people among those who were kidnapped this year…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59565

Fool’s gold
Plans for an election are impractical at best
Khaled Amayreh
October 31, 2009 – As if the stalled and nearly moribund peace process between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel didn’t face enough problems, PA President Mahmoud Abbas dropped a bombshell this week when he called for “presidential and legislative elections” to be held in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem on 24 January. The decree is more than problematic since Abbas’s Western-backed regime in Ramallah has no control over East Jerusalem, which Israel considers part of its “eternal, united capital” and the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas. Moreover, whatever semblance of authority the PA regime has in the West Bank is completely subject to Israeli whim. This means that if Abbas is serious about holding elections in the three separate territories on the designated date, he will have to coordinate the elections with both Israel and Hamas…

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Afghan vote in the balance, Abdullah may not run
By Golnar Motevalli
October 31, 2009 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s election rival, Abdullah Abdullah, will announce on Sunday whether he will take part in next week’s disputed run-off vote, as Western diplomatic sources said he was leaning toward pulling out. Abdullah canceled a planned trip to India on Saturday, just before a deadline he had given Karzai to sack Afghanistan’s top election official was to expire. Afghanistan has been racked by weeks of political uncertainty after widespread fraud marred the first round, with security a major concern after a resurgent Taliban vowed to disrupt the November 7 run-off…

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Israeli forces shoot, detain Palestinian in Gaza
Ma’an News
October 31, 2009 – Israeli forces shot and detained a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. A local medical official and an Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an the unidentified male was shot northwest of Beit Lahiya. Israeli forces said they transferred the injured Palestinian to a medical post, said Dr Muawiyah Hassanein, the Health Ministry’s director of emergency and ambulance services, in a telephone interview…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=59584

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