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URUK Net 4 March, 2009

Last updated: Thursday, March 5, 2009 11:27

Choosing Atrocity: Israel, America and the Strangling of Gaza
Chris Floyd
...Here again, I will pay Barack Obama much more respect than many of his followers do. I don't believe that he looked at the attack on Gaza, felt to his very soul that it was an horrific atrocity, but then refused to denounce it out of some sort of cynical political calculation. (Which is the usual explanation offered by his acolytes when he does something unseemly.) I believe that, like most good, decent, honorable, upright, serious members of the American Empire's power elite, he did not think the attack on Gaza was an atrocity at all. It was simply a grim necessity, the kind of thing that essentially good and altruistic nations like the United States and Israel have to do sometimes, even if, unfortunately, it does produce some "collateral damage" here and there. But just like the last great Democratic secretary of state said about the 500,000 children killed by America's Gaza-like blockade of Iraq for years on end, these grimly necessary unfortunate actions are "worth it." Just as Bush could have ended the attack with a word, so too could Obama end the deliberate degradation and destruction of the Palestinians in Gaza. He could force the Israelis to lift the blockade tomorrow -- today -- this very hour -- simply by threatening to cut off the massive flow of American aid that Israel is dependent on. The fact that he will not do that -- or anything like that -- is, like the Israeli infliction of Nazi-like collective punishment on Gaza, a very deliberate choice...

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52323

Kafka Era Double Standard
Edward S. Herman
The U.S. political class and those of the EU and the new “hope” and “change” leader of the United States, Barack Obama, justify Israel’s attack on Gaza as based on its “right of self-defense.” There is, of course, the question of whether it is acceptable to defend yourself by a massive attack on a civilian population when this is not the only route to self defense—the Israelis could withdraw from an illegal occupation, they could stop starving the Gaza population, and they could abide by negotiated ceasefires (in this case, effectively and almost surely deliberately ended by their November 6 killing of six Gaza Palestinians). There is also the problem that the Israeli action violated the UN Charter. Article 51, the self-defense exception, requires immediate notification of the Security Council and, after any immediate attack is contained, giving over remedial action to the Security Council. There is also the problem that this “self-defense” operation was planned six months in advance and is widely believed in Israel to be linked to Israeli politics, with the two ruling parties seeking an improved standing—which they achieved—by military action…

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Afghani resistance compels shift in U.S. policy
Goal of military victory eclipsed by efforts to avoid defeat
Sunil Freeman
Political and military leaders are scrambling to redefine the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, now in its seventh year, as the situation spirals out of control in the face of a rapidly strengthening insurgency. The primary goal may no longer be securing victory, but rather avoiding a catastrophic, humiliating defeat. As part of that strategy, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unsuccessfully lobbied defense ministers of NATO countries for commitments of additional troops at a recent meeting in Krakow, Poland. Those troops would have augmented the 17,000 additional troops Barack Obama authorized to join the struggling U.S. occupation force. The less-than-enthusiastic response from NATO countries was one more blow to the U.S. occupation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52330

Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List
Andy Worthington
I’ve just published the first definitive list of the 779 prisoners held in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which is available in four parts…The list is the result of three years’ research and writing about Guantánamo, which began with my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press), and has continued with over 300 articles about Guantánamo for a variety of publications. The list provides details of the 533 prisoners who have been released, and includes, for the first time ever, accurate dates for their release. It also provides details of the 241 prisoners who are still held, including the 59 prisoners who have been cleared for release. Although some stories are still unknown, the stories of 700 prisoners are referenced either by links to my extensive archive of articles about Guantánamo, or to the chapters in The Guantánamo Files where they can be found…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52336

Israel’s crimes in Gaza
Reem Salahi
Having returned from Gaza, I am trying to come to terms with what I saw, what I heard and honestly, what I don’t think I will ever understand — the justification. While Israel’s recent offensive has been the most egregious of any historical attack upon the Palestinians in Gaza, it is just that, one of many. Gaza has been under Israeli bombardment and sanctions for decades. Prior to the Israeli pullout in 2005, Gaza was under complete Israeli control and occupation. Nearly 8,000 Israeli settlers occupied 40 percent of Gaza while the 1.5 million Palestinians occupied the remaining 60 percent. Settlements were located on the most fertile lands and along Gaza’s beautiful coastal regions and checkpoints prevented Palestinian mobility. Despite being one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, 25 miles long and 4 to 7.5 miles wide, Gaza was divided into three sections and Palestinians had to pass through multiple checkpoints to get from one section to the next. Often Israeli forces would close these checkpoints and not allow the Palestinians access to the other regions in Gaza as a form of collective punishment…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52339

“The Ultimate Aim is the Transfer of Arab-Israelis”
Ethnic Cleansing and Israel
CONN HALLINAN
One of the more disturbing developments in the Middle East is a growing consensus among Israelis that it would acceptable to expel—in the words of advocates “transfer”—its Arab citizens to either a yet as unformed Palestinian state or the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt. Such sentiment is hardly new among Israeli extremists, and it has long been advocated by racist Jewish organizations like Kach, the party of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, as well as groups like the National Union, which doubled its Knesset representation in the last election. But “transfer” is no longer the exclusive policy of extremists, as it has increasingly become a part of mainstream political dialogue. “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines,” Kadima leader and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a group of Tel Aviv high school students last December, “and among other things, I will be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘ your national solution lies elsewhere.’”..

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Israel Boycott Movement Gains Momentum
Mel Frykberg
“Standing United with the People of Gaza” is the theme of this week’s Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), which kicked off in Toronto and another 39 cities across the globe Sunday. A movement to boycott Israeli goods, culture and academic institutions is gaining momentum as Geneva prepares to host the UN’s Anti-Racism Conference, Durban 2 next month amidst swirling controversy. Both Canada and the U.S. are boycotting the Durban 2 conference in protest over what they perceive as a strongly anti-Israel agenda…

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Video: The Financial Crisis: a Socialist Perspective
Sam Gindin
A strategy with short and medium term demands, geared to fostering the relation of forces necessary to move beyond capital… I am a member of the organizing committee of Masse Critique, which is a collective inside Quebec Solidaire dedicated to popular education over three major themes: a critique of the capitalist system; ecosocialism; and of course support for the people’s struggles and anti-imperialism…

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Maliki’s Private Security Forces?
Musings On Iraq
On February 17 members of the Baghdad Brigade arrested the secretary of parliamentarian Mohammad al-Daini. Nine days before members of the same unit detained Daini’s chief bodyguard. That began the latest drama in Iraq’s parliament as Daini was accused of involvement in a series of terrorist and criminal acts. The events also highlighted one of two security units that have come to be increasingly scrutinized by Iraqi lawmakers. The Baghdad Brigade and the Counterterrorism Unit have been accused of being Prime Minister’s private security forces. The Baghdad Brigade has been in charge of the Green Zone since it was handed over by the U.S. on New Year’s day 2009. It is led by General Emaad Yahseen Al Zuhary, and is officially part of the Army. Its’ operations against Daini’s staff shows that it apparently has police powers in other parts of the capital. The Counterterrorism force is an elite unit of over 4,000… . Both the Baghdad Brigade and the Counterterrorism Unit also answer directly to the Prime Minister…Maliki has increasingly used the security forces against his political rivals..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52340

Clinton voices support for Israel
AlJazeera.net
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said that Washington is committed to Israel’s security and demanded an end to Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The former first lady made the remarks as she met Israeli leaders on Tuesday as part of her first visit to the Middle East since joining the US administration. “It is important that the United States always underscores our unshakeable, durable and fundamental support for the state of Israel,” she said after holding talks with Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, on Tuesday…

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America’s Fiscal Collapse
Michel Chossudovsky
…Financial manipulation is an integral part of the New World Order. It constitutes a powerful means to accumulate wealth. Under the present political arrangement, those responsible for monetary policy are quite deliberately serving the interests of the financiers, to the detriment of working people, leading to economic dislocation, unemployment and mass poverty. This article has focussed on how financial manipulation has served to shatter the structure of US public expenditure. This restructuring of global financial markets and institutions (alongside the pillage of national economies) has enabled the accumulation of vast amounts of private wealth – a large portion of which has been amassed as a result of strictly speculative transactions. …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52338

U.S.-SYRIA: Washington Ends Its Diplomatic Embargo
By Jim Lobe*
Ending a four-year diplomatic embargo on Damascus, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday confirmed that it is sending two high-level officials to Syria this week for “preliminary conversations”, presumably on improving relations. The trip, which will be undertaken by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and Daniel Shapiro, a senior staffer on the National Security Council who also served as one of Obama’s top Mideast advisers during his presidential campaign, was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem…

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MI5 ALERT ON BANK RIOTS
By Geraint Jones
TOP secret contingency plans have been drawn up to counter the threat posed by a “summer of discontent” in Britain.The “double-whammy” of the worst economic crisis in living memory and a motley crew of political extremists determined to stir up civil disorder has led to the extraordinary step of the Army being put on standby. MI5 and Special Branch are targeting activists they fear could inflame anger over job losses and payouts to failed bankers…

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Iraq plans census to map ethnic divisions
By Khalid al-Ansary and Missy Ryan
Iraq will hold a nationwide census in October, its first in 22 years, mapping ethnic divisions in a survey which could encourage reconciliation or fan the feuds threatening its fragile calm. The census, the first including Iraq’s Kurdish north since 1987, will take place over the course of one or two days, said Mehdi al-Alak, who heads Iraq’s Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT). Alak is planning to send at least 250,000 schoolteachers to homes across major cities and dusty hamlets to shed light on the true makeup of Iraq’s diverse population…

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As Dangerous as Netanyahu
By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
The Palestinians in the occupied lands and the refugee camps must have been puzzled by those Palestinian leaders’ declarations and commentators’ peppy articles lamenting the loss of the butchers of Gaza, Kadima-Labor coalition, to the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition. Have the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank established mystical bonds with the butchers of Gaza who became their only accepted partners for peace? I can’t see the teensiest difference between the policies of the two camps. If there is any difference, it is that unlike Kadima and Labour leaders, Netanyahu practices what he preaches. Netanyahu is a dangerous leader but Olmert, Livni, Peres and Barak are no less dangerous. The only competition among these leaders is the level of the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians and the blood wantonly spilled under their leaderships…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=52335

US soldier killed in attack on base in Iraq
SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer
Insurgents attacked a main U.S.-Iraqi base Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul, killing one American soldier and striking directly at the Iraqi command center for an offensive against the militants…With the U.S. combat role in Iraq set to end in August 2010, Mosul represents one of the key remaining showdowns with insurgents. American military planners have backed up Iraqi forces in the crackdown launched last month…

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Gaza solid waste management in dire straits
IRIN News
The lack of technical means to transport and process solid waste in Gaza is posing a severe risk to people’s health in the enclave, experts say. Many Gazans, especially children, have developed breathing problems as a result of the stench emanating from rubbish dumps and the indiscriminate burning of waste; insects attracted to the rubbish tips and ground pollution pose further health risks, according to Bahaa Alagha, planning and project manager in Gaza’s Environment Quality Authority…

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Obama Offered Deal to Russia in Secret Letter
By PETER BAKER, NYTimes
President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday. The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles…

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Obama denies Iran offer to Russia
AlJazeera.net
Barack Obama, the United States president, has dismissed reports that he had linked halting Washington’s plans for a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe to Russian help on containing Iran’s nuclear programme. The New York Times had reported that Obama had last month offered the deal in a letter hand-delivered to Dmitry Medvedev, his Russian counterpart, in Moscow by officials in the US administration…

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GAZA… OPERATION ‘WINTER STORM’, PART 2
Desertpeace
After ISRAEL demolished their homes where are the international human rights organization to see the suffering of Palestinian citizens in Gaza?…

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Talabani: Iraq wants Iranian opposition camp out
Xinhua
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Monday that Iraq wanted to expel the Iranian rebel Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO) that opposes the Islamic regime. Talabani made the remarks in a joint news conference with Iran’s former president and current Expediency Council head Ali Akbar Hashemi who arrived here earlier in the day for a visit. Speaking to the reporters, Talabani accused the MKO, also known as the PMOI (People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran) of supporting former Saddam Hussein regime…

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