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URUK Net 31 January, 2009 Part 2

Last updated: Monday, February 2, 2009 12:11

Living (and dying) in the age of barbarism
William Bowles
…It surely cannot have escaped your attention that our much vaunted ‘democracies’ are in fact barbarian states masquerading as civilized. And if you haven’t noticed then it’s time you did not only because they do their ‘civilizing’ in your name but when they’ve done ‘civilizing’ the brown and poor people of our planet, it’ll be your turn next to get ‘civilized’. The greed of the few would seem to be the underlying cause and of course greed needs power and to paraphrase, (private) power corrupts and total (private) power corrupts completely. Looked at historically, the crime against humanity committed by the ‘Chosen People’ in Gaza is but the tip of an iceberg but it is most definitely as brazen a piece of ‘civilizing’ as we have witnessed recently…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51424

Obama’s calculated anger over Wall Street bonuses
Tom Eley
On Thursday, President Obama publicly criticized Wall Street bankers who awarded themselves more than $18 billion in annual bonuses even as their banks collapsed, driving the US and world economy into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Obama called the bonuses, which came to light in a Wednesday New York Times article, “shameful.” Though there was a sharp decline in the bonuses from the last three years, when year-end bonuses ranged between $28 billion and $37 billion, this year’s haul was still the sixth-largest on record. Obama’s remarks were a carefully calculated and scripted affair…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51416

Jingoism all the way
Khaled Amayreh
One of the main but undeclared goals of the recent Israeli blitzkrieg against the Gaza Strip was to significantly enhance the chances of the Kadima and Labour parties in upcoming Israeli elections, slated for 10 February. Conventional wisdom has it that Israeli Jewish voters are more likely to give their votes to candidates with a reputation of toughness vis-à-vis the Palestinians. In the popular and political lexicon, this means spilling Palestinian blood, destroying more Palestinian homes and narrowing Palestinian horizons. Kadima and Labour party leaders had hoped that the killing and maiming of thousands of Palestinians, mostly innocent civilians, coupled with the relentless bombing and destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and agricultural land, would put both parties in an advantageous position against the Likud, led by Benyamin Netanyahu. However, post-war polls have shown that the genocidal Gaza onslaught didn’t dramatically help Kadima and that the popularity boost it briefly obtained during the Gaza campaign proved variable rather than constant…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51422

Two Gazans killed ‘in cold blood’, say witnesses
John Lyons
THREE witnesses have claimed that Israeli soldiers shot in cold blood two civilians who had their hands in the air on the second day of the Israeli offensive in Gaza. In an investigation by The Weekend Australian in Gaza, the three people making the claim were on a tractor that was stopped by Israeli soldiers about 4 o’clock in the afternoon of January 4 in northern Gaza – the second day of Israel’s ground operation. Two of the witnesses were on a trailer being pulled by the tractor and the third was sitting on one of the wheel coverings…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51423

Adjusting to disaster
Saleh Al-Naami
Although he could see the bulldozer tearing at his house, 75-year-old Youssef Al-Najjar, who is paralysed, remained in his bed, unable to take action and submitting himself to his fate. He was spending the night alone after his family had left the house, fearing that Israel would invade the area of the southern Gaza Strip where they live, in Khazaa village. As Youssef lay there, a neighbour called Sobhi risked his life to climb up to the window and push his way in. He picked up the paralysed old man and carried him out the back door, out of sight of the occupation soldiers who were protecting the bulldozer razing the three- storey building that consists of six apartments…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51421

MEDIA-US: Gaza Coverage Echoed Govt Support of Israel
Marina Litvinsky
U.S. television coverage of the recent three-week conflict in the Gaza Strip failed to tell both sides of the story, according to a number of media analysts. The most recent conflict between the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian faction Hamas garnered some media attention, with an unusually large spike in coverage, but that level sank as the fighting dragged on. During both the first and second weeks of the attack, including a massive aerial attack and a full-scale ground invasion of the tiny, densely-populated Gaza Strip, the conflict was the top story on the nightly newscasts of the three major U.S. networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), where it got 55 minutes of total airtime…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51420

Bush officials authorized torture of US citizen, lawyers say
John Byrne, RAW Story
Attorneys for US citizen Jose Padilla — who was convicted of material support for terrorist activities in 2007 — say that high-level Bush Administration officials knew their client was being tortured during the time he was held an enemy combatant in a South Carolina brig, because of the command structure and that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld employed in approving harsh interrogation tactics. Rumsfeld approved the harsh interrogation techniques early in Bush’s presidency. In Iraq, a cheat sheet titled “Interrogation Rules of Engagement,” revealed that some of them required the Iraq commanding general’s approval…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51419

Who wants rule by scholars?
Galal Nassar, Al-Ahram Weekly
…In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Nahar, published Wednesday 24 December, Mahdi Akef, supreme guide of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was asked about the expansion of Shia influence in the region. “I have nothing against it. We have 56 Sunni countries in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, so why be afraid of Iran, when it is the only Shia country in the world,” he replied.What the Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide forgets is that Iranian Shiism is not mainstream Shiism. Iran is propagating the party of the absolute velayat-e faqih…Unfortunately, Mahdi Akef is not alone. There is a long line of pro-Iranian writers who naively sympathise with the Brotherhood’s ideas, apparently to spite the Egyptian regime. Theirs is a risky game…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51418

The gases of the Israeli bombs in Gaza have spared no one
Vittorio Arrigoni, Guerrilla Radio Blog
…Ahmed told me on the phone about a new kids’ game – until a few days ago, they amused themselves by relighting the fires, simply by kicking the fragments of white phosphorous bombs found scattered all over the Strip. The debris left by these devices with high chemical potential has very long-lasting inflammable properties. Even when picked up several days after their detonation, it still catches fire if shaken about. The Al Quds hospital paramedics speak of how they gave up trying to put out the fires provoked by these illegal bombs – their flames seemed to feed off the water being thrown at them. “The consequences of all the shit that’s been thrown at us in these last three weeks will surface in the near future, with new cancer cases and deformed babies”, Munir, a doctor at Al Shifa hospital told me. Even Gaza’s neighbours seem to be worried by this massive use of weapons forbidden by all international conventions. In Sderot, and likewise in Ashkelon, Israeli citizens have formally asked their government for clarifications regarding the weapons that have been used to torment us. It’s obvious that impoverished uranium and white phosphorous scattered in such a criminal manner all over the tiny patch of land that is Gaza won’t discriminate between Jews and Muslims when it comes to provoking generic illnesses…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51404

The BBC’s Warped impartiality
STUART LITTLEWOOD
The BBC wouldn’t help the Gaza Appeal because doing so might jeopardise the public’s confidence in the BBC’s impartiality. That’s laughable. Everyone I know has written several times to the BBC complaining about its glaring lack of impartiality when reporting the Palestine-Israel conflict. Some feel obliged to protest on a daily basis. So brazen is the British Broadcasting Corporation’s eagerness to “fudge it” for Israel that it is widely known here as the Zionist Broadcasting Corporation – the ZBC or Zee-Bee-Cee…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51403

The new siege mechanism
Nicola Nasser
…Israel, the occupying power, is determined to keep a tight grip on the reconstruction process, which is why it sustained its closure of the border crossing following its “unilateral” ceasefire. Indeed, this is why it declared the ceasefire unilaterally: it did not want to be bound by any agreement — the Egyptian initiative or any other framework — that would oblige it to lift the embargo, if only partially, in order to facilitate reconstruction. Tel Aviv has also been seeking to obtain “guarantees” from international agencies such as UNWRA. On 19 January Reuters reported that Western diplomats revealed that Israel had asked the UN and other agencies to submit itemised lists of the goods, equipment and staff that they intend to send into Gaza, whether for urgent relief or for the more long-term reconstruction process…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51413

Angry Afghans threaten US troops after Special Forces raids kill civilians
JASON STRAZIUSO, AP News
An angry Afghan man with a thick black beard ranted wildly at the U.S. officials, shouting about how their overnight raid had killed 16 civilians in his village. An Afghan elder cried out in grief that his son and four grandsons were among the dead. One after another, a long line of government officials, villagers and community leaders told American military officials at the Laghman governor’s compound that Afghan soldiers must be allowed to take part in such raids. Several predicted increased violence against U.S. forces if more nighttime operations take place…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51411

Shoe monument in Iraq demolished
CNN
The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN. Assisted by kids at the Tikrit Orphanage, sculptor Laith al-Amiri on Tuesday erected a huge brown replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad. But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi — now in an Iraqi jail. After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51393

‘Myth of Exile’: Justifying Slaughter in Gaza
Janine Roberts
Many have been appalled by the seemingly mindless orgy of destruction of families, children, homes, streets, shops and orchards in Gaza carried out by the Israeli armed forces. It left me wanting to know what has happened to make ordinary well-educated Israelis think that it is morally right to do this to their comparatively unarmed neighbors? I perhaps stumbled on part of the answer in the bookstore at Tel Aviv airport on a recent visit to Israel. A map on display marked all the land from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea as Israel: there was no West Bank, no Gaza Strip. A travel book I admired for its photos of a beautiful land also described it all as Israel. Jericho was in Israel it stated, although deep inside the West Bank. If this bookstore is as typical as I suspect, then most Israelis are convinced they already own the lands now occupied by Palestinians…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51406

War on Gaza: Israeli Action, Not Reaction
By Nicola Nasser – Bir Zeit, The West Bank
Stubbornly insisting on getting the carriage before the horse as the approach to a ‘durable and sustainable’ ceasefire in Gaza Strip, U.S. and European diplomacy in particular is building on an Israeli misleading premise that the 22 – day military operation, dubbed ‘Cast Lead,’ against the Palestinian Gaza Strip was a reaction and not a premeditated long planned scheme that found in the change of guards in Washington D.C. an excellent timing. It was ‘not simply a reaction,’ but ‘a calculation,’ Daniel Klaidman wrote in Newsweek on January 10. U.S. and European diplomats are reiterating the Israeli propaganda justification: “What would any normal country do if they were threatened by rocket fire? They would act.”..

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Victims twice over
Azmi Ashour
…Developments in the Middle East bring to the fore many contradictions, ambiguities and falsehoods. Events in Gaza, today, throw into relief the fact that some of the world’s commonly held perceptions on the Palestinian- Israeli conflict are founded on little more than skewed facts and myths. Foremost among these misperceptions is Israel’s peaceful intent. Israel has routinely snubbed sincere peace initiatives to end the conflict, preferring instead to manage the conflict in its own relentless way, which depends heavily on aggression, killing and destruction, along with economic siege, all given a veneer of legitimacy for domestic and foreign consumption. Consequently, the other side must be forever vigilant in order to forestall an attack that could happen at any moment on such feeble pretexts as “self-defence” cited by Israel and those who have vested interests in its policies. Which leads us to the question as to whether the universally acknowledged right to self-defence is one that is denied to the Palestinians…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51417

Afghanistan Tries to Hide Troubled Past
Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi
War crimes evidence disappearing in northern Afghanistan as perpetrators reportedly try and clear the bones from mass graves. Dasht-e-Laili is a broad, desolate expanse of desert in northern Afghanistan that, at first glance, holds nothing but sand-devils whipped up by the whistling wind. But underneath the arid soil lie the bones of thousands of victims of Afghanistan’s recent conflicts, when wave upon wave of prisoners were dumped in the desert. Human rights activists say the perpetrators of these acts are trying to erase the evidence of their crimes by clearing out the mass graves that still dot the Laili desert. They want the government to act to protect the sites, so that those responsible can eventually be brought to justice. “Our colleagues in Mazar-e-Sharif have found that graves have been destroyed and only a small number of bones are left,” said Mohammad Nadir Naderi, spokesperson for the Afghan Independent human Rights Commission. “The destruction of the evidence of human rights violations is a major problem.”…Jowzjani said he did not know how many died in the first and second massacres, but said that Dostum’s followers buried more than 2,000 captured Taleban in mass graves. The Taleban claim the number of dead in 2001 was much higher. Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told IWPR that their figures indicate that 3,800 Taleban were killed after surrendering…

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Video: Gazans urge Hamas and Fatah leaders to talks
AlJazeeraEnglish
There is growing pressure on Hamas to reconcile with the rival Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. Many are urging unity in light of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip – but how to achieve that is eluding both parties…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51398

Taliban warns US over Afghan plan
AlJazeera.net
The Taliban has warned Barack Obama, the new US president, that his plans to send more troops to Afghanistan will lead to more bloodshed. In remarks broadcast on Al Jazeera on Saturday, Mullah Mohamad Rasul, a Taliban leader, said that fighters of the group were ready to take on the US troops. “Just as they are bringing more troops, so too the Taliban will have more troops,” Rasul, a former governor of Nimruz province, told Al Jazeera. “During the Bush administration the suicide bombers were registering individually, but now they are coming in groups. The whole nation is ready for the fight,” he said, referring to the administration of George Bush, Obama’s predecessor…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51397

Threat of Violence Looms Again Over Fallujah
Dahr Jamail
The threat of violence hangs over Fallujah again as leaders of the Awakening Council fight for political power through the elections Jan. 31. The Awakening Councils were set up and backed by the U.S. military to curb spiralling violence. According to the U.S. military, most of the members recruited were former resistance fighters. Over recent years, they grew to a strength of about 100,000 men, each paid 300 dollars a month. U.S. aid to the Councils was cut off in October on the understanding that the members would be absorbed into Iraqi government forces. To date, less than a third have been given government jobs…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51396

Israeli military refuses water filtration system for Gaza
Saed Bannoura – IMEM
The Israeli government has blocked the entry of a much-needed water filtration system into the ravaged Gaza Strip. The French Foreign Ministry said Friday that Israel has refused to allow the French government from bringing the filtration system to Gaza, where people have been without clean water for weeks. In some parts of Gaza, sewage is flooding streets and homes after the three-week long Israeli assault that ended last week when Israeli officials declared a ceasefire…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51394

Every family has a story, here are some of them
Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine
There are many stories. Each account — each murdered individual, each wounded person, each burned-out and broken house, each shattered window, trashed kitchen, strewn item of clothing, bedroom turned upside down, bullet and shelling hole in walls, offensive Israeli army graffiti — is important. I start to tell the stories of Ezbet Abbed Rabu, eastern Jabaliya, where homes off the main north south road, Salah al-Din, were penetrated by bullets, bombs and/or soldiers. If they weren’t destroyed, they were occupied or shot up. Or occupied and then destroyed. The army was creative in their destruction, in their defacing of property, in their insults. Creative in the ways they could shit in rooms and save their shit for cupboards and unexpected places. Actually, their creativity wasn’t so broad. The rest was routine: ransack the house from top to bottom. Turn over or break every clothing cupboard, kitchen shelf, television, computer, window pane and water tank…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51392

Spain to amend law to avoid trying Israeli war criminals
Palestinian Information Center
The Spanish government has decided to amend the country’s law dealing with prosecuting military commanders involved in war crimes. Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni announced the news following a meeting with her Spanish counterpart Miguel Moratinos after a Spanish court accepted a lawsuit against former Israeli war ministry Benjamin Ben Eliezer and the then head of the air force Dan Halutz on charges against humanity. The Israeli 2nd TV channel quoted Livni as expressing satisfaction over Moratinos’s decision and informed both Israeli premier Ehud Olmert and justice minister Daniel Friedman on the latest developments in this regard…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51395

Polls close in key Iraqi elections
AlJazeera.net
Millions of Iraqis have voted in key regional elections amid extremely tight security. About 15 million Iraqis were eligible to vote in the polls, held in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces on Saturday. The polls, seen as a test of the security situation in Iraq, closed at 6am (15:00GMT) following an hour’s extension by electoral authorities aimed at giving more Iraqis the opportunity to vote. More than 14,000 candidates competed for 440 seats…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51399

Israel, Hamas divided on ceasefire terms
Ma’an news
While Hamas sources in Gaza have indicated they will accept a ceasefire deal with Israel, Hamas leader in exile Mousa Abu Marzouq said the Cairo plan cannot be accepted unless it includes opening the Gaza crossings and ending the siege on Gaza. On the Israeli side, Army Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday that sides were closer than ever in reaching a long-term ceasefire deal despite the recent violations of the two unilateral calls for a halt in violence earlier this month..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51401

Is an Israeli Jewish sense of victimization perpetuating the conflict with Palestinians?
Akiva Eldar, Haaretz
A new study of Jewish Israelis shows that most accept the ‘official version’ of the history of the conflict with the Palestinians. Is it any wonder, then, that the same public also buys the establishment explanation of the operation in Gaza? A pioneering research study dealing with Israeli Jews’ memory of the conflict with the Arabs, from its inception to the present, came into the world together with the war in Gaza…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51405

Friday Prayers on the Ruins of a Jabalya Mosque
Hiyam Noir, PalestineFreeVoice
On Friday the residents in Jabalya refuge camp conducted their prayers on the ruin of one of the Holy Mosque which were destroyed during the tree weeks long Israelis offensive…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51407

Calm Iraqi election marred as thousands were denied vote
By Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers
Iraqis cast ballots in 14 of the country’s 18 provinces Saturday, selecting among 14,500 candidates for 440 seats on new provincial councils. The day was free of election-related violence, but thousands of Iraqis were unable to vote because their names were inexplicably missing from voter lists. Some confused Iraqis even wandered neighborhoods looking for a polling place that would accept their vote. The extent of the no-vote could not be determined, but thousands of Iraqis in some locales took to the streets to protest…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51408

Iraq government hit by graft; 4,000 forged university degrees uncovered
Hadeel al-Jawari, Azzaman
Iraq’s government is being crippled by corruption at a time when millions of Iraqis go to polls to select new provincial councils.Higher Education and Scientific Reach Ministry’s inspector general says graft and forgery are the threats that may derail any democratic reforms. Abdulhameed al-Rawi said his office has spotted more than 2,000 forged post-graduate degrees presented by government officials, faculty members of colleges and institutions…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51409

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