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URUK Net 18 February, 2009

Last updated: Sunday, February 22, 2009 10:07

US occupation of Iraq: An ongoing criminal enterprise
Bill Van Auken
Recent media reports on the mounting evidence of wholesale corruption in US reconstruction efforts in Iraq are symptomatic of the criminal nature of Washington’s war and occupation from their inception nearly six years ago. These crimes are continuing under the Obama administration, with no end in sight. Citing unnamed senior government officials and court documents, the New York Times reported Sunday that federal investigators have turned their sights on two senior US military officers who were in charge of contracting out reconstruction projects in Iraq in the aftermath of the March 2003 invasion…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51929

Afghan Official Claims 15 Civilians Killed in US Strike in Herat
Shapoor Saber in Herat
United States forces in Afghanistan claim to have killed up to 15 militants associated with an infamous warlord in Herat province in an airstrike on February 16, but district officials and eyewitnesses say that the dead were a family of Kuchis, or nomads, who were camped out nearby…Ghulam Mahboob Afzalzada, district governor of Gozara, insisted the strike had claimed the lives of Kuchis, a nomadic people who shepherd their animals throughout the country. “Foreign forces, without coordinating the attack with the local government, killed innocent people,” said Afzalzada, speaking from the scene of the attack Tuesday afternoon. “All those killed were civilians.” All are Kuchi nomads.” Eyewitness say six women, five men, and four children in the village of Karez Sultan were killed in the strike. Several hundred animals are also said to have been killed there…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51928

Report: “Israeli Amy kidnapped 7600 children since 2000, 246 remain behind bars”
Saed Bannoura – IMEM
Palestinian Researcher, specialized in detainees’ affairs, Awni Farawna, stated that the Israeli army kidnapped 7600 Palestinian children, males and females, since the year 2000; 246 children are still behind bars. At least 200 of the kidnapped children were detained under administrative detention, without charges or trial. Some of the children were as young as 12 years old. One detainee is now 13 months old as he was born behind bars. His mother, Fatima AL Zoq, was kidnapped while pregnant and gave birth in prison while she was handcuffed and her legs were tied to the hospital bed…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51938

Gaza’s Empty Shops
By Ola Attallah, IOL Correspondent
Abu Ahmed Al-Madhoun has never felt more desperate. He toured Gaza City for hours with a long list of necessary commodities for his family. In every shop he visited the answer was always the same. “No milk, no cheese, no canned food, no cleaning soaps, not even baby diapers,” Al-Madhoun echoes the answer given to him. “There is nothing out there at all.” After a futile search, Al-Madhoun does not know what to tell his hungry kids when he returns home empty-handed. “I don’t know what to do.” Nearly a month since the end of Israel’s three-week war, the densely-populated, impoverished coastal enclave has almost ran out of supplies. Merchants say all commodities, from food to medicine and baby milk, have vanished over the past few months…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51932

Operation Uptick: Obama Launches Afghan Surge
Chris Floyd
And so it begins: the great Obama “surge” in Afghanistan. Before withdrawing a single soldier from Iraq, Barack Obama is throwing 17,500 more troops into the boiling Afghan cauldron. The deployment is the first installment of what Obama aides affirm could be much larger escalation down the road: as soon as the vaunted “strategic review” of Afghan policy – led by hawks like Joe Biden, Richard Holbrook and General David “Pre-President” Petraeus – is completed…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51919

DOJ probe on Yoo torture memos ‘damning;’ senators demand answers
Jason Leopold
A key line in George W. Bush’s defense against war crimes charges has weakened with the disclosure that an internal Justice Department watchdog has concluded that the legal advice, which cleared the way for Bush’s policies on torture and other abuse of detainees, was tainted by political influence. An investigation by H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, reached “damning” conclusions about numerous cases of “misconduct” in the advice from John Yoo and other lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, according to legal sources familiar with the report’s contents…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51936

NWO or ‘chaos’
Eric Walberg
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill passed this week will define Barack Obama’s presidency. But it is really just the younger sibling to the Troubled Assets Relief Programme. To separate the now trillions being handed out to the banksters from the $800 billion being handed out to the lottery winners is to be ingenuous. The elder sister’s patrons are already blackmailing mama Obama, wailing for more trillions or they will plunge the economy into even greater financial crisis. “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” they hissed to Treasury Secretary Geithner, who, according to economist Michael Hudson, quickly “pledged government financing for as much as $2 trillion…to spur new lending and address banks’ toxic assets, seeking to end the credit crunch hobbling the economy.” Hudson calls it “Stage One of a two-stage plan”, so far unannounced, to transfer trillions more to people who, in any sane world, would be behind bars, the purpose being to re-inflate the bubble economy that made them wealthy beyond their dreams while leaving wages stagnant and creating little meaningful work…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51917

Winning in Gaza
By Miko Peled
The common wisdom regarding Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza suggests that Israel is defending itself against a vicious enemy and that all means justify the cause of security for the citizens of Israeli cities. Common wisdom dictates that the US must support the Israeli Jewish population in their effort to gain recognition and acceptance, not to say security for their fledgling democracy. But here common wisdom stand stands in stark contrast to the dictates of reality because Israel is fighting a war it cannot possibly win. For more than sixty years Palestinians have been living as refugees in the Gaza strip as well as other areas in and around what used to be Palestine. Those who live in the refugee camps have for three generations suffered unimaginable hardships that began with homelessness, poverty and deprivation and went on to include incursions by Israeli commandos, shelling by Israeli artillery and air assaults by the Israeli air force. In Gaza close to 900,000 people are refugees who were forced off of their land in 1948…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51931

DirecTV Censors US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s Gaza TV ad.
MuzzleWatch
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation received an emergency grant from Cultures of Resistance and produced this commercial on Gaza. After extensive discussion with DirecTV the company declined the ad. This is not an atypical action for corporate US media, but it does demand a response. (The Campaign is now running the ad on various progressive blogs.)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51930

Video: Afghans fear civilian casualties with greater US troop presence
AlJazeeraEnglish
As Barack Obama, the US president, signed his economic rescue plan into law on Tuesday he also approved an additional 17,000 US troops for Afghanistan. They’ll join the 38,000 already battling the Taliban in the country. Obama said the extra troops are necessary to “stabilise a deteriorating situation”. But all this came as residents in one Afghan village told an increasingly familiar story – one of US air attacks, and civilian casualties…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51927

Farra: Israel destroyed 3,000 residential units in Khan Younis
Palestinian Information Center
Mohamed Al-Farra, the mayor of Khan Younis city, said Tuesday that Israel destroyed about 3,000 residential units and other buildings in the city during its wanton aggression on the Gaza Strip. In a statement received by the PIC, Farra explained that Israel destroyed completely 450 housing units and over 2,500 other units partially as well as it caused serious damage to about 25 educational institutions, schools, mosques and emergency centers…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51926

Israeli forces round up youth in Jayyous school, arrest 65 including from Stop the Wall Campaign
PNN
The northwestern West Bank town of Jayyous is under siege Wednesday. Beginning early this morning Israeli forces imposed curfew on the northeastern Qalqilia town and stormed nearby Tulkarem. Soldiers launched a large-scale raid of dozens of homes and overtook rooftops in Jayyous as sniper and observation posts. At the same time the Israelis conducted a major round up of young people, forcing them into a Jayyous school…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51935

Cairo backs Manama over Iran claim
Zawya, United Arab Emirates
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has offered his country’s full support for Bahrain as the kingdom faces challenges to its sovereignty. On Monday, the Egyptian leader made a short visit to Manama where he held talks with King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa…However, sources close to the Egyptian leader said that the hours-long visit also aimed at expressing solidarity with Bahrain in view of Iran’s claims over the nation’s territory and suggestion that Bahrainis would vote to be under Tehran’s sovereignty if they were given a choice. Last week, Iranian MP Darioush Ghanbari said that if Bahrainis were to vote in a referendum, they would choose to be part of Iran. Bahrainis have reacted angrily to the claims and received full support from the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League and Kuwait…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51933

Israeli forces seize 65 youths in Jayyus in third day of mass arrests
Ma’an news
In a third consecutive day of mass arrests Israeli forces stormed the northern West Bank town of Jayyus near Qalqiliya early morning Wednesday and seized 65 Palestinian youth in an ongoing military operation. Israeli soldiers declared the town a “Closed Military Area” and barred journalists from entering. A curfew has been imposed, trapping residents in their homes. Soldiers told the families of those detained that they were “wanted” by Israeli intelligence…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51925

Boycott and Disinvest in Israel, in Solidarity and Self-Defense
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
African Americans must take a leadership role in the movement to boycott and disinvest in Israel, both for reasons of elemental justice and to defend our own people from the raging right-wing, corporate assault, of which the pro-Israel lobby is an integral component. If solidarity with Palestinians who suffer the aggressions of a regime as fundamentally racist as apartheid South Africa is not a compelling enough reason — and it surely is — then self-defense against Zionist subversion of domestic Black politics should move us to action. There can be no prospect of global peace or domestic progress while Israel runs amok in the Mid-East and its operatives wreak havoc in the African American political arena.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51924

Nine Remarks on the Israeli Elections
Michael Warschawski, Alternative Information Center (AIC)
Less than a month after the Gaza massacre, Israeli democracy worked as if nothing had happened; Right and Left were arguing for and against the killings while Israeli citizens were doing their civic duty with the ballot. With one hand massacring, the other voting: several of us felt that it was somehow obscene, yet went to vote like all the others…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51923

Chasing mirages in the Middle East
Hasan Abu Nimah
…The peace mirage, however, is all deception with no fascination. The so-called “peace process” and the resulting negotiations long ago became ends in themselves: profitable or self-serving for the participants and failure-disguising for all concerned. For Israel, it is ideal to give the impression that it is engaged in peace talks while it continues to occupy and colonize Palestinians and deny their rights, as if the situation on the ground would have no effect on any negotiations. And for the Palestinian Authority which failed completely (due to its own corruption as well as Israeli occupation) to establish any real gains for the Palestinian people, the continued negotiations became the sole reason for its existence and the only way for those who control it to earn a living…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51922

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME
Malcom Lagauche
The scandal of Iraqi POW abuse after the illegal March 2003 invasion had the world in an uproar. However, there is a precedent that went unnoticed and underreported of brutal treatment of Iraqi POWs — the 1991 abuse of Iraqi POWs during and after Operation Desert Storm. In June 1991, while the editor of the East County Weekly newspaper in Alpine, California, I received a call from a veteran of Desert Storm. He heard that I was compiling information about the Gulf War and said he had a story to tell me. I made an appointment for later that morning and he showed up and talked. The former U.S. Army soldier told me that Iraqi POWs were rounded up and put in barbed wire pens. After a few days, they were shot by soldiers without any reason or ways of defending themselves. According to the ex-GI, one soldier would shoot into the pen and another, in a seat would keep score. The following day, the roles were reversed and the scorekeeper became shooter. He then added that Iraqi POWs were beheaded by U.S. soldiers…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51937

Assad urges US to rebuild diplomatic road to Damascus
In rare interview, Syrian leader calls on Obama to restore envoy and make good on promise of dialogue
Ian Black, Guardian
Syria expects the US to send an ambassador to Damascus soon to make good on Barack Obama’s offer to engage in dialogue with countries the Bush administration shunned, President Bashar al-Assad told the Guardian today. Assad used a rare newspaper interview to set out his hopes for a new relationship with the US now the Bush era is over – one he hopes will see Washington act as the “main arbiter” in the moribund Middle East peace process. “There is no substitute for the United States,” Assad said…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51921

Israel: Borders will remain closed and there will be no ceasefire without Shalit’s release
Ghassan Bannoura – IMEMC
The Israeli government announced that Israel would not open its border crossings with the Gaza Strip and rejected a long-term ceasefire deal in the costal region, until Palestinian factions release the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The decision was made during a security cabinet meeting for the outgoing Isreali Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, on Wednesday midday. Meir Sheetrit, Israel’s Interior Minister, told the Israeli radio that, “it would be inconceivable” for Israel to accept the proposed ceasefire by Egypt calling for reopening border crossings without the release of Shalit…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51920

History Taboo in Iraq Schools
By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent
Jamil Haydan gets confused whenever he goes through the history of Iraq in the school books. “I feel like there is a gap in the history, specially recent events,” the 14-year-old student at a Baghdad school told IslamOnline.net. “We are treated as if we are unable to know what happens in Iraq, but we are.” The history of the Arab country since the 2003 US-led invasion is completely absent from school textbooks. American troops, George W. Bush and the sectarian violence that plagued the country for years after the invasion are non-existent whether in books or even class discussions. Former president Saddam Hussein, who was ousted by the US and later executed by the Iraqi government, and his longtime ruling Baath party are taboos…

The government admits that banning certain chapters of Iraq’s recent history from textbooks is deliberate.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=51818

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