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URUK Net 10 February, 2009

Last updated: Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:26

When Destruction Is the Cost of Denial
Arthur Silber
…The United States today is determined to act out the final stages of denial and destruction. Our ruling class refuses to pause and take stock, or to ask themselves if the edifice they have erected on a huge body of lies must be painfully reconstructed on a foundation closer to the truth. A pattern that is pitiful in the individual case is terrifying when it occurs on this much vaster scale. In the case of the United States, the terror is greatly increased. The accumulated reservoir of power, including an arsenal of weapons more powerful than the world has ever known, means that a last drink, or a last affair, or a final orgy of financial bets and war may result in the ultimate destruction of not only the United States itself, but of large parts of the rest of the world…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51684

Time to hold Veolia to account
Adri Nieuwhof and Daniel Machover, The Electronic Intifada
During the bidding process for an eight-year, $4.5 billion dollar contract to operate Stockholm county’s subway, the French company Veolia came under heavy pressure in the Swedish media for its involvement in Israel’s tramway project that links illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem. With its involvement in this project, Veolia is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the company is playing a key role in Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem irreversible. In 2005, Amnesty International-France and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) already warned Veolia to stay away from the tramway project. Despite international actions against Veolia’s participation in the tramway project, the company still refuses to take action, at the risk of increased damage to its already questionable image and losing business in Europe…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51692

UN chief encourages Obama to talk to Iran soon
EDITH M. LEDERER
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he is “very optimistic” about President Barack Obama’s swift engagement on key international issues and encouraged the United States to start talking to Iran to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program as soon as possible. In a wide-ranging press conference, Ban also praised Obama’s “very swift and decisive” choice of special envoys to focus on two key international issues, the Middle East and Afghanistan-Pakistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51690

“State Secrets” Privilege Not Gone with Bush
William Fisher
President Barack Obama has cast doubt on his promise to put an end to secret government by allowing his Justice Department to follow a path frequently taken by his predecessor. Before a federal appeals court in San Francisco Monday, lawyers from the Obama Department of Justice invoked the same “state secrets privilege” used by the administration of President George W. Bush to argue that a lawsuit brought on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyan Mohamed and four other alleged victims of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme should not go forward because revealing the evidence would harm national security…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51693

Ahmadinejad: Iran Ready for US Talks
Jason Ditz
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared at today’s Tehran rally marking the 30th anniversary of the Iranian revolution that the Iranian government is “ready” to talk to the United States “in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect.” The United States and Iran have had an antagonistic relationship since the 1979 revolution, but an increasing number of Iranian officials have expressed hope that new President Barack Obama would be open to improving ties between the two nations…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51689

The war where I was killed and Gaza survived
Eman Mohammed writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine
Since Israeli missile savagery first hit Gaza, everything started to become blurry to me. My vision was totally unclear — all the horrible events went in slow motion as if I was watching a horror movie, but the most realistic one I’ve ever seen. My biggest fear was losing a loved one. After 21 indescribable days, “the war was over,” or so they said. But it wasn’t for me; enormous destruction covered the beautiful face of Gaza that I knew. Thousands of houses and buildings were wiped off the earth. Three weeks were all that Israeli warplanes and tanks needed to smash so many living creatures in Gaza including babies — even unborn ones — women, children, men and the elderly…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51688

Obama/Biden try to consolidate power at the Munich Security Conference
Les Blough, Editor, Axis of Logic .
…Obama’s policy on taking prisoners out of Guantanamo is similar to his policy of troop withdrawal from Iraq. Remove the prisoners only to place them in prisons abroad with lower profile than Guantanamo and take credit for “closing Guantanamo”. Take the troops out of Iraq, only to put them into Pakistan and Afghanistan, thus getting credit for withdrawing troops from Iraq. These disingenuous contrivances are as transparent as they are insulting to our intelligence. But they are making good word-play among the Obama team cheerleaders in the corporate media…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51687

US-Russia-Afghanistan: Triangulation or strangulation?
…Despite talk of change and both his and Vice President Joe Biden’s professed distaste and distrust for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, it appears that Obama is committed to continuing Bush’s ill-conceived policy of bombing both Afghanistan and Pakistan, supporting a puppet regime and expecting the starving shell-shocked natives to be thankful. One innovation from the “dying” days of the Bush regime that thankfully looks like it was still-born was proposed by General Bantz John Craddock, the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe , Commander of the US European Command and head of the International Security Assistance Force, the “peace-keeping force” operating in Afghanistan . He advocated giving troops a license to kill all suspected poppy farmers, in effect ordering the mass execution of tens of thousands of civilians…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51686

Gaza: How Do People Keep Going?
Kathy Kelly
People have asked me, since I returned from Gaza, how people manage? How do they keep going after being traumatized by bombing and punished by a comprehensive state of siege? I wonder myself. I know that whether the loss of life is on the Gazan or the Israeli side of the border, bereaved survivors feel the same pain and misery. On both sides of the border, I think children pull people through horrendous and horrifying nightmares. Adults squelch their panic, cry in private, and strive to regain semblances of normal life, wanting to carry their children through a precarious ordeal…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51691

On the Fires of Creativity…
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
…Why am I writing all of this ? I am not sure myself… Maybe because allowing the fires of creativity is the best antidote to wars, occupation and death…or maybe because of some other hidden reason that I have not yet uncovered…or maybe because my own fictional characters are dying to get out once and for all, instead of this hide and seek that I play with them and take on a reality of their own however short lived this one may be…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51683

Obama administration defends torturers
Bill Van Auken
All of the Obama administration’s rhetoric about “change you can believe in,” government transparency and democratic ideals went up in smoke Monday morning in a San Francisco federal courtroom. A federal attorney representing President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, rose to announce that the new administration will be standing pat on the position taken by George Bush and his Justice Department in a case involving some of the most heinous crimes of the previous administration. Like his predecessor, Obama is invoking the state secrets privilege to quash a case brought on behalf of individuals who were abducted by the CIA, held in secrecy and without charges and transported to third countries to be interrogated under torture…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51679

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP: Recent opinion polls in Israel indicate a change and increase in the overall Israeli society of racism and hatred of Arabs and Palestinians
Palestinian National Initiative
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, said today that recent opinion polls ahead of the Israeli elections show a clear shift in the Israeli society towards increased racism and hatred of Arabs and Palestinians. Said Dr. Barghouthi, “Lieberman is collecting more and more votes, and he says frankly what all Israeli leaders think but do not say: that there should not be a Palestinian state for the Palestinians, and that their existence must be temporary.” “The Israeli elections held tomorrow will no doubt confirm that a transformation has taken place in the Israeli society, and will confirm their extremist apartheid attitudes which are worse than even those that prevailed in South Africa.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51662

Israeli settlers open fire on Bethlehem village
Najib Farrag, PNN
With the Israeli elections being largely campaigned on support for the militant settler movement Jewish extremists continue to act with impunity. The occupied West Bank was the scene last night of the type of shooting that has become routine from the south’s Hebron to Nablus in the north. Israeli settlers from the Beitar Illit Settlement built on the land of several western Bethlehem towns opened fire on Husan Village Monday. Settlers entered the town and began firing at houses and along the streets. Residents describe the shooting as “sudden” and “indiscriminate.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51665

Aftermath: “We Never Feel Safe”
PCHR – Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Foreign correspondents and camera crews have now begun to leave Gaza, in search of the next headline grabbing location. But ongoing airstrikes and violations of international law are a stark reminder that there is no real end to Israel’s offensive here. Since Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on 18 January it has continued to launch strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip. Some families in the southern town of Rafah have been evacuated from their homes up to ten times in the last 15 days. Faten el Sha’er, a 31 year old mother of one, lives just 150 metres from Gaza’s southern border with Egypt…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51670

The Universal Right to Self-Defense: Remembering the Second Intifada
Ron Jacobs
I finally got around to reading Ramzy Baroud’s 2006 book The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle on the twentieth day of Tel Aviv’s most recent attack on Gaza. While debating with various online acquaintances about the possible intentions of Israel’s government and watching streaming video from Al-Jazeera inside Gaza, I began to read this volume. Hoping to understand what I can’t understand—why Israel insists on what seems to be a path towards eternal war that will never guarantee its security—I was drawn into Baroud’s description of the events leading up to the Al-Aqsa intifada that took place for some five years after Ariel Sharon took thousands of Israeli troops and police forces with him to the Al-Aqsa mosque in September 2000. .

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51674

Israel’s Inverse Exceptionalism
M. Shahid Alam
Critics of Zionism and Israel – including a few Israelis – have charted an inverse exceptionalism, which describes an Israel that is aberrant, violates international norms with near impunity, engages in systematic abuse of human rights, wages wars at will, and has expanded its territories through conquest. This is not the place to offer an exhaustive list of these negative Israeli exceptionalisms, but we will list a few that are more egregious. As an exclusionary settler-colony, Israel does not stand alone in the history of European expansion overseas: but it is the only one of its kind in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51673

Iranian Revolution’s Thirtieth Anniversary
Reza Fiyouzat, Revolutionary Flowerpot Society
Thirty years ago, during the several months past, my generation was restructuring social life in Iran, breaking down government doors previously impervious to people’s demands, evicting a dictatorial bunch of idiots who had been imposed on us in 1953, in a coup inspired in the U.K. and carried out by the CIA. And so it was, thirty years ago, during these very months past, that we stormed ministries, prisons and government buildings, sat down in school yards, refused to go to or teach classes, went on strike in factories, oil refineries and petrochemical plants, marched in the streets in hundreds, then thousands, and soon in hundreds of thousands…So, we had a moment, but the moment was stolen. The thieves are still in possession of our jewels. We, however, have not died out. Worse for the mullahs, those who hate their rule constitute an absolute majority of the Iranian population. Yes, indeed, we have not gone away…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51677

Capitalism’s Self-inflicted Apocalypse
Michael Parenti
After the overthrow of communist governments in Eastern Europe, capitalism was paraded as the indomitable system that brings prosperity and democracy, the system that would prevail unto the end of history. The present economic crisis, however, has convinced even some prominent free-marketeers that something is gravely amiss. Truth be told, capitalism has yet to come to terms with several historical forces that cause it endless trouble: democracy, prosperity, and capitalism itself, the very entities that capitalist rulers claim to be fostering…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51675

Palestinian boy shot by Israeli settlers near Bethlehem
Ghassan Bannoura – IMEMC
A Palestinian boy from the village of Hussan, located near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, was injured on Monday night when he was shot by Israeli settlers, local sources reported. Medical sources stated that Ali Hammamrah, age 15, sustained wounds in his leg, and was moved to Bethlehem hospital for treatment. The village reported that the boy was playing in the street when settlers form a nearby settlement drove by and opened fire, injuring the boy. They added that the settlers have increased their attacks on the villagers and their lands in recent weeks. …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51672

Israel names four detainees who will not be freed under any prisoner-swap deal
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
The al-Quds al-Araby newspaper reported Tuesday that Israel presented the names of four Palestinian detainees who will not be freed under any prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel. Hamas presented to Egypt a list of detainees it wants freed in exchange for releasing captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Egypt, acting as mediator, presented the list to Israel. Three of the four detainees Israel refuses to release under any circumstances are sentenced to multiple life-terms after being “convicted” of planning suicide bombings that led to the death of dozens of Israelis. The fourth is Ahmad Saadat, secretary-general of the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51671

Gaza: The Waiting Game Has Started
Rajeshree Sisodia
Mohammed El Hour and US new President Barack Obamas’ lives are intertwined. 48-year-old Mohammed sits in his three-room home in Nuseirat camp, Gaza, explaining how his son Abdel Qader will be disfigured for life after being hit in the face by shrapnel when Israeli F16s bombed a house nearby. 23-year-old Abdel Qader lost his lips, his nose, his teeth and broke his jaw during the shelling at the end of last December. He had been helping neighbours flee when he was injured. The F16 and shells that hit Mohammed’s son more than likely came from the US. Thousands of miles away the US’s 44th leader is in the infancy of his presidency…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51676

Rabin’s legacy: Protesters’ accounts show Israel ‘breaking the bones’ of peaceful demonstrators
Ma’an news
Israeli forces are carrying out a policy of shooting at the legs of peaceful demonstrators who protest the Israeli separation wall each Friday in towns across the West Bank, demonstrators are reporting. The accounts of the Palestinian demonstrators who have been wounded by Israeli fire in recent weeks is raising the legacy of the first Palestinian Intifada, when Israeli then-defense minister Yitzak Rabin ordered his soldiers to “break the bones” of young protesters. A representative of the Popular Committee against the Wall in the village of Ni’lin, Ahed Al-Khawaja, said that Israeli snipers, shooting from nearby hilltops or from stands of trees, are causing debilitating injuries, especially among young men who come to demonstrate…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51678

The War that did not make the Headlines: Over Five Million Dead in Congo?
Behind the Numbers Redux: How Truth is Hidden, Even When it Seems to Be Told
Keith Harmon Snow
The International Rescue Committee in late January 2008 released a new report on the mortality in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. The report caught the eye of some news agencies, who quickly whipped up trite little articles as supposed expressions of horror. Over and over it has been declared “the world’s forgotten crises.” There are reasons why Darfur is in the crises of the day, the poster crises, and why Congo is hardly mentioned…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51680

Gilad Shalit: The Grand Illusion
Gilad Atzmon, Palestine Think Tank
…Gilad Shalit saga is no doubt an exemplary case-study of Israeli identity. In spite of the fact that Gilad Shailt is a soldier who was directly involved in the Israeli military crime against a civilian population, the Israelis and Jewish lobbies around the world insist upon presenting him as an ‘innocent victim’…Within the Israeli narrative, the soldier is grasped as an innocent being that is ‘caught’ in a war which he is doomed to fight against his will. The Israeli combatant ‘shoots and sobs’. Within the Israeli deluded mindset and historical narrative, the Israelis ‘seek peace’ and it is somehow always the ‘others’ who bring hostility and violence about. This outright self-deception is so imbued within the Israeli self image, something that allows the Israelis to launch and initiate one war after another while being totally convinced that it is always the ‘Arabs’ who attempt to throw the Israeli into the sea…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51667

US looking for Iran talks ‘in coming months’: Obama
AFP
US President Barack Obama renewed his call for direct US dialogue with Iran, saying he hoped to create the conditions to “start sitting across the table, face to face” in the coming months. “I think there’s the possibility, at least, of a relationship of mutual respect and progress,” Obama said at the first press conference of his young presidency, but “it’s time now for Iran to send some signals that it wants to act differently.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51666

U.S. Seeking Iran as Common Ally in Afghanistan
ToTheCenter.com
Iran and the United States sharing common interest? The Obama administration thinks so. And the United States will seek to engage in this strange alliance over Afghanistan, specifically the country’s growing drug trade. This strategy could also help to ease tensions with Iran. The Wall Street Journal reports that Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s new advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan, will open up discussions with Iran in an effort to fight the Afghan drug trade…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51663

Obama’s Mideast ways are pretty similar to Bush’s
Yossi Alpher
It is too early to evaluate the direction the Mitchell mission is taking. Mitchell’s preliminary visit, immediately after the war in Gaza and just days before Israel’s elections, can only be defined as an orientation tour. Hence, at this early date we can address the Mitchell mission only in terms of the direction George Mitchell appears to be headed. Based on this first foray into the region, Mitchell’s mission can already be characterized as one enveloped in a paradox: He is not addressing all those Middle East actors who will have to be addressed if progress is to be achieved and if the principles laid out by President Barack Obama for dealing with the Middle East are to be honored…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51660

Disillusioned Arabs to snub election
Jonathan Cook
Elias Khoury, a 33-year-old architect from the village of Ibilin in Galilee, has been a lifelong supporter of the Communist Democratic Front, the only joint Arab-Jewish party represented in the Israeli parliament. No longer. Tomorrow, when Israelis head to the polls to elect their next government, Mr Khoury – one of the country’s 1.2 million Arab citizens – will be staying home rather than casting a vote. “I’ve given up on the talk of coexistence,” he said. “Now it’s clear it is just empty rhetoric. After the attack on Gaza, I am sure there will never be two states here. It’s going to be either a Jewish state with no Arabs, or an Arab state with no Jews. Voting any Arab party into the parliament is a waste of time.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51659

UNRWA resumes Gaza aid shipments after Hamas returns goods
Ma’an news
The UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees said on Monday that it would reverse a ban on aid deliveries to Gaza after Hamas authorities returned confiscated goods. UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in a statement that Hamas had return all the supplies, including blankets and food packages that were seized on 3 and 5 February. The relief agency is however facing another obstacle: Israeli restrictions on the import of humanitarian goods into Gaza…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51661

A $50 Billion Dollar Subsidy for a Dead Industry
Nukes and the Stimulus
HARVEY WASSERMAN
The infamous $50 billion nuke power loan guarantee package meant to use your money to build new nuke reactors has gone missing from saturation media coverage of Obama’s Stimulus Package. But it’s still in the Senate version of the bill, it could be voted on this week, and it could kill us all. Like that $30,000 antique toilet that disappeared into the banking bailout, the corporate media carries not a word about this gargantuan handout to the dying reactor industry. All the hype about a “nuclear renaissance” will come to naught without this massive taxpayer handout. But if it goes through, the landscape could be pock marked with lethal new nukes…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51681

UN to resume Gaza aid operations
AlJazeera.net
…Meanwhile on Monday, UN officials reiterated their call for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and open the crossings for urgent supplies to be sent in to the Palestinian territory. “It is absolutely crucial that Israel allow the crossings to be opened and also expand the list of items that go in,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict, told reporters following her recent visit to Gaza, the West Bank and southern Israel. “At the moment less than 200 [aid] trucks are going through [the crossing points into Gaza],” she said…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51682

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