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URUK Net 11 December, 2009 Part 2

Last updated: Monday, December 14, 2009 9:00

Mercenaries and assassins: The real face of Obama’s “good war”
By Bill Van Auken
December 12, 2009 – Reports that mercenaries employed by the notorious Blackwater-Xe military contracting firm participated in CIA assassinations in Iraq and Afghanistan have further exposed the real character of so-called “good war” that is being escalated by the Obama administration. Citing former employees of the firm and US intelligence agents, the New York Times reported Friday that Blackwater gunmen, ostensibly contracted as security guards, “participated in some of the CIA’s most sensitive activities—clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61000

Tony Blair admits: I would have invaded Iraq anyway
WMD were not vital for war says ex-PM ahead of appearance at Chilcot inquiry
Riazat Butt and Richard Norton-Taylor
December 12, 2009 – Tony Blair has said he would have invaded Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and would have found a way to justify the war to parliament and the public. The former prime minister made the confession during an interview with Fern Britton, to be broadcast on Sunday on BBC1, in which he said he would still have thought it right to remove Saddam Hussein from power. “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?” Blair was asked. He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61001

Baath Party prepares its return
Nizar Latif
December 12, 2009 – In the summer of 2003, the Baath Party was banned in Iraq and, regardless of various flawed reconciliation efforts designed to rehabilitate former members, it remains banned today. Despite its illegal status, however, there has been growing talk that the Baathists are on the verge of making a comeback…In the absence of reliable opinion polling, it is impossible to verify the claims of either anti-Baathists or pro-Baathists that they may be returning to some kind of popularity and power. There is some anecdotal evidence that there may be some truth in the suggestion. Abdel Khaliq Reza, 58, from Basra, said he had considered himself an enemy of the Baath Party after the invasion of Kuwait. He lost family members in the subsequent war with US-led forces and held Saddam and the Baathists responsible. Six years of occupation since 2003 has, he said, been enough to change his mind. “The people of Basra are poorer and more miserable than ever,” he said. “And control was handed to Iran. The Baath were right to fight against the Americans. I see now they were fighting for a strong and single country. Everyone else just works to make Iraq weak and divided. “I say the Baathists will be elected because they are the ones who can build Iraq up again.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61017

School textbook highlights Iraq’s Sunni-Shiite divide
By Marwa Sabah
December 12, 2009 – As Suhair Abdul Khaaliq shelters from a rare Baghdad cloudburst, waiting for her seven-year-old daughter Rana to emerge from primary school, it’s obvious she’s angry about a new textbook. Thumbing through Iraq’s newly published “Islamic Education” manual, the mother of three points to photographs illustrating the differences between how the country’s two biggest religious groupings, Sunnis and Shiites, pray. “I’m shocked — I don’t think it’s a good idea to be showing six or seven-year-olds these differences,” says Suhair, 30, from the ethnically mixed neighbourhood of Tunis in northern Baghdad…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61020

Blackwater operating at CIA Pakistan base, ex-official says
Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Ewen MacAskill in Washington
December 12, 2009 – The US contractor Blackwater is operating in Pakistan at a secret CIA airfield used for launching drone attacks, according to a former US official, despite repeated government denials that the company is in the country. The official, who had direct knowledge of the operation, said that employees with Blackwater, now renamed Xe Services, patrol the area round the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan province…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61003

PFLP statement on 42nd anniversary: Time for a new political era of resistance and national liberation
PFLP – Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
December 12, 2009 – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine stands today, 42 years from its founding on December 11, 1967. The PFLP was founded in response to the defeat of regimes and ideologies in the June 1967 war, and took action to initiate resistance in all forms on a strategic, long-term basis, mobilize the masses of the Palestinian Arab people to fight, neutralize the technological advantage of the occupation war machines through lightning attacks, and defeat the enemy and the entire Zionist and imperialist colonial scheme. Looking at the anniversary of the founding of our Front, it was a culmination of the historic experience of our people throughout generations of confrontation of successive colonialist and Zionist attacks…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61012

Answering Obama’s Afghanistan deceptions
By Eric Ruder, Socialist Worker
December 12, 2009 – Barack Obama’s December 1 nationally televised address to announce a further escalation of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan cemented his role as a war president who bears responsibility for the U.S. war on that country. It also marked Obama’s assumption of the task of providing the justifications, alibis and obfuscations needed to cloak U.S. military aims in an aura of legitimacy. Eric Ruder goes through Obama’s speech and counters seven of Barack Obama’s worst half-truths and lies about Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61018

US army installs Gaza monitoring system
Ma’an News
December 12, 2009 – Egypt’s plan to build an underground wall along its border with Gaza, first exposed by the Israeli daily Haaretz, is the second of two initiatives backed by the US military, informed sources said. In recent months, US army engineers have moved forward on a two-phase, multimillion-dollar project to stop the flow of weapons and money into the besieged coastal strip. The first stage of the initiative includes the installation of below-ground, state-of-the-art sensors capable of detecting sound or movement nearby, Ma’an has learned. US experts began the process about one year ago, and it is nearing completion…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61016

Gaza one year on: The aftermath of a tragedy
Donald MacIntyre
December 12, 2009 – Hilmi Samouni still hopes at some point – “inshallah” – to go back to his old job as a kitchen assistant in the Palmyra, Gaza City’s best known shwarma restaurant. But unlike his 22-year-old brother Khamiz, who is working once again in a car paint shop, and his 20-year-old cousin Mousa, on a two-year accountancy diploma course at Al Azhar University, Hilmi, who is 26, found that he couldn’t cope when he returned to the Palmyra after the war. “Everyone there was very supportive,” he says, “but I couldn’t do good work.” Unlike Mousa, who also lost his parents, and Khamiz, Hilmi saw the bodies not only of his father Talal and his mother Rahme but also of his wife Maha, age 20, and their only son, six-month-old Mohammed, among the 21 killed in the shelling of the warehouse in which they had been ordered by Israeli troops to gather. It still bothers Hilmi that he has no pictures of any of them; they were burnt when the family home was fired on the day before…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61019

Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Many Afghans prefer decisive rule to disarray of Karzai government
By Griff Witte, Washington Post
December 12, 2009 – Like nearly all provinces in Afghanistan, this one has two governors. The first was appointed by President Hamid Karzai and is backed by thousands of U.S. troops. He governs this mountainous eastern Afghan province by day, cutting the ribbons on new development projects and, according to fellow officials with knowledge of his dealings, taking a generous personal cut of the province’s foreign assistance budget. The second governor was chosen by Taliban leader Mohammad Omar and, hunted by American soldiers, sneaks in only at night. He issues edicts on “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” stationery, plots attacks against government forces and fires any lower-ranking Taliban official tainted by even the whiff of corruption…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61008

Afghan resistance statement
Obama’s Repeated Strategy Will Bring in Infamy for America
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
December 12, 2009 – Negative response by American Allies and Coalition countries to send more troops to Afghanistan, forced Obama to take up the burden himself. It is because a growing number of America’s Allies now believe the Afghan issue has no military solution. Naming it a new strategy for Afghanistan, Obama is now trying to make it a success. It is his moribund attempt to fix the situation and put a clout on the sagging morale that their troops are suffering from and cover up the ground realities in Afghanistan for some time…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61007

’A Horrifying Demographic Problem’
Palestine Monitor
December 12, 2009 – A wave of recent studies from academics both sides of the wall have revealed ingrained racism in Israeli schools. Books authorised by the ministry of education habitually use geography, history, language and other methods to instil negative perceptions of Arabs and Palestinians.Nurit Peled, co-founder of Bereaved Parents for Peace and lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has written extensively on the subject. “From the age of three children have a military education. From the minute they learn about holidays it is about our land and our destiny.” Peled believes feelings of national pride are subtly manipulated to craft an identity based on superiority and advancement, inversely denigrating those outside these parameters. “The message that we are the strongest is very sophisticated in mainstream education. The wars and pogroms, the Nakba, a word which is never used, are all mentioned the context of our progress.” This approach legitimises atrocities committed in the name of Israeli advancement..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61013

Holocaust survivor to participate in Gaza Freedom March
Ma’an News
December 12, 2009 – Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein will head to Gaza with 1,000 international delegates of the Gaza Freedom March, set for 31 December, a statement released by the event’s organizers said on Friday. Hedy Epstein, 85, was 8 years old when Adolf Hitler came to power and remembers the Kristallnacht in Germany; the anti-semitism in school, the revocation of German citizenship, the burning of synagogues, and males over 16 being sent away to concentration camps…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61014

US Iraq jail an ‘al-Qaeda school’
Aljazeera.net
December 12, 2009 – Extremists held in a US-run detention centre in Iraq were allowed to teach fellow detainees how to use explosives and become suicide bombers, a former inmate has told Al Jazeera. Adel Jasim Mohammed, a former detainee of Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr, said that US officials did nothing to stop radicals from indoctrinating young detainees at the camp. “Extremists had freedom to educate the young detainees. I saw them giving courses using classroom boards on how to use explosives, weapons and how to become suicide bombers,” Mohammed said…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61006

US ‘militarising’ Afghanistan aid
Aljazeera.net
December 12, 2009 – Aid groups working in Afghanistan have accused the US of trying to “militarise” their work by attaching conditions to aid and grants. A number of aid organisations have told Al Jazeera they have turned down funding from the US government as the money has strings attached to military operations. One such stipulation is “battlefield clean-up”, which tasks aid groups with working directly under military reconstruction teams…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61015

Christian Palestinian leaders call for church boycott in Kairos document
Press release, Palestinian BDS National Committee
December 12, 2009 – Today, prominent Christian Palestinian leaders are releasing a historical Kairos Palestine Document, calling on churches around the world “to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.” Unambiguously endorsing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as one of the key nonviolent forms of solidarity that international faith-based organizations are urged to adopt, the document affirms: “We see boycott and disinvestment as tools of justice, peace and security …”

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61005

10 Israeli UAVs headed for Afghanistan
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST
December 12, 2009 – Ten new Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will debut in Afghanistan in the coming weeks, after the Israel Aerospace Industries made the first delivery of the Heron UAV to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on Thursday. Under the $91-million lease, the RAAF will receive 10 Heron UAVs, mission payloads, Automatic Ground Control Stations as well as spare parts. Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) already provides maintenance for the Canadian Air Force – which operates Herons in Afghanistan – and will support the RAAF mission as well…

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Making Friends with Israel
by Gilad Atzmon
December 12, 2009 – ..Considering Israel’s crimes against humanity in general and Palestinians in particular, one would expect Britain to send an impartial ambassador to the Jewish state. Judeo centric by admission and Zionist by education, Gould is certainly not the man for the job. As Gould himself admits, “the fact that I’m Jewish means I will come with a particular insight and sympathy and understanding, because the story of my family is in certain respects the story of the people of the State of Israel.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61009

Medics: Israeli fire kills Gaza man
Ma’an News
December 12, 2009 – Israeli shelling killed a Palestinian civilian in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, a medical official said. The victim was identified as Sami Shihadah Abu Khousah, 47. Muawiyah Hassanein, de facto Health Ministry director of ambulance and emergency services, told Ma’an that Khousah suffered blood loss after he was struck by Israeli artillery east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60999

Iran’s six-month-old crackdown on media and Internet
Reporters Without Borders
December 12, 2009 – Six months after Iran’s disputed 12 June presidential election, the authorities continue to censor news and information and persecute journalists. More than 100 journalists have been arrested in these past six months and around 50 have fled into exile. A dozen newspapers have been closed by the authorities and access to thousands of Internet pages has been blocked…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61011

21 Israeli peace activists arrested in East Jerusalem protest
Saed Bannoura
December 12, 2009 – In a rowdy march Friday afternoon, dozens of Israeli peace activists marched in solidarity with Palestinian residents who have been forced from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. 21 were arrested when they tried to reclaim a home that was stolen from the indigenous Palestinian residents by right-wing Israeli settlers. Israeli officials claim that six Israeli police officers were lightly injured during the rush to arrest the demonstrators…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61010

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