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URUK Net 18 April, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:45

Were Democrats Aware About the CIA’s Torture Program?
By Jason Leopold
One day after the Obama administration released four gruesome Bush-era legal opinions that described in shocking detail the torturous methods CIA interrogators were permitted to use to extract information from alleged “high-value” detainees, a majority of Democrats have remained collectively silent on whether the disclosures warrant a full-scale criminal investigation… Still, the silence on the question of accountability among a large majority of Democrats begs the question: were Democrats aware of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and are refusing to call for a wide-ranging probe because they approved of the torture?…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53530

No Pushtuns to Fight Taliban: US
By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent
The Barack Obama administration is pressing Pakistan to withdraw Pushtun troops from borders with Afghanistan on claims of sympathizing with the Taliban, a move seen as a US bid to divide the army on ethnic basis. “The US administration through different channels has been pressurizing Pakistan for quite some time to withdraw Pushtun troops of army and paramilitary forces as it believes that they often turn a blind eye to the Taliban activities on Pak-Afghan border, and in tribal areas where military operations are on,” a senior government official told IslamOnline.net… Defense and security analysts warn that the US is seeking to divide Pakistan’s powerful army on ethnic basis. “America wants to divide Pakistan army on the basis of Pushtun, Punjabi, Baloch and Sindhi,” General rtd Mirza Aslam Baig, a former Pakistani army chief, told IOL…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53529

Bassem Abu Rahme, killed in Bil’in protest against the Wall, rest peacefully
Eva Bartlett, In Gaza
I take time to mourn the death of Bassem Abu Rahme, the 18th to be murdered, along with scores injured, while protesting against Israel’s illegal annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank. The death and injury toll at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces includes minors, countless local residents, journalists, and many Israelis and internationals. The oft- militarily-besieged village of Bil’in is one of countless villages in the path of the annexation wall Israel has constructed for so-called ’security’ reasons, stealing Palestinian lands, and lives, in the process…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53528

What Would Palestine Want Us to Do?
Mazin Qumsiyeh
We now know how Nothingyahoo (Netanyahu) intends to pursue the classic Israeli policy of engaging in endless “Peace Talks” without the intention of reaching any peace based on International law. He says to US envoy George Mitchell that his government wants the Palestinians to agree to recognize Israel not just as a state but as “A JEWISH STATE” before beginning to discuss the possibility of a two-state solution. This is like South Africa under apartheid insisting that the ANC recognize South Africa as a White State before beginning to discuss the possibility of giving the blacks a state (a Bantustan)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53525

UN Protects Israel From Racism Charges
By Nora Barrows-Friedman
As the wreckage from Israel’s recent siege on Gaza continues to smoulder, international civil society organisations are assembling this week in Switzerland to address Israel’s crimes of military occupation and racism. But any discussion on Israel’s actions in Palestine will be excluded from the formal framework at the Durban Anti-Racism Review Conference in Geneva Monday. Israel-Palestine has been deliberately eliminated from the official programme, structured by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR). Civil society groups believe that the United States, countries within the European Union and Israel pressured the UN to omit a review of Israel’s racial discrimination against Palestinians…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53524

How Obama Excused Torture
Bruce Fein
…Obama, however, promised non-prosecution of all CIA personnel complicit in torture who relied on the flawed OLC advice. He further pledged to defend them from criminal investigations initiated by foreign jurisdictions and to indemnify them if they are held liable in damages for constitutional or statutory wrongdoing. Obama is similarly defending former OLC Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo against a torture suit initiated by Jose Padilla, convicted of terrorism in 2007 after the government dropped charges that as an “enemy combatant” he plotted to set off a “dirty bomb.” The Yoo memoranda on torture have also been renounced and discredited. Obama also promised to follow the Bush-Cheney duumvirate in claiming secrecy for alleged national-security secrets because “the world is dangerous.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53523

Video: Death squad memories haunt Iraqi civilians
Aljaeera.net
Analysis of figures from Iraq indicates that death squads are responsible for a much higher number of civilian deaths than previously thought. Thirty-three per cent of deaths since the start of the US-led 2003 invasion are now being blamed on execution-style killings…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53522

US banks to set up Iran branch: Report
PressTV
Four American banks, including Citibank and Goldman Sachs, have applied for opening a branch in Iran, an Iranian daily has reported. The banks made a formal request to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) about 20 days ago to establish a branch in the country, the Jaam-e-Jam newspaper quoted an informed source as saying. “If the CBI approves their request, these four banks will set up a temporary branch in an Iranian free trade zone,” the source told Jaam-e-Jam, without revealing the names of the other two banks. “If they can work according to Iran’s banking law, they will be allowed to open branches in Tehran and other cities.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53526

Palestinian youth killed near Ramallah
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
Israeli soldiers shot and killed on Friday at night a Palestinian youth and wounded another near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The army claimed that the youth attempted to hurl a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military jeep. The incident raises the number of Palestinians killed on Friday to three. The youth was identified as Mohammad Ali Nuwwara, 16, from Al Jalazoun refugee camp in Ramallah…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53521

Barack Obama: Crime Boss
Stephen Lendman
Since taking office, Obama, wittingly or otherwise, has headed the largest criminal enterprise in history — the mass looting of national wealth to enrich his Wall Street benefactors. He assembled a rogue economic team of Clinton/Robert Rubin retreads — to fix the current crisis they engineered. In a March 13 article, (author and former Republican strategist) Kevin Phillips called them “recycled senior (Clinton administration) Democrats (responsible for the) tech mania, deregulation binge and (1997-2000) stock market bubble and crash. (Obama) extend(ed) the (disastrous) mismanagement and pro-Wall Street bias of the 2008 Bush regime bailout.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53519

Free Gaza Movement: We are coming back, this time with a flotilla
Ma’an News
The Free Gaza Movement will return to the Strip with a “flotilla” of boats at the end of May carrying generators for hospitals and schools, medical supplies as well as journalists and politicians to observe the situation in the coastal area. The team said it hoped to have supplies and sponsors organized by the end of April, and hope to set sail for the Gaza Strip between 25 and 31 May. The flotilla will include 5-10 boats from several nations…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53517

Torture memos reveal brutality of US imperialism
Tom Eley
On Thursday, the US Justice Department released four legal memos crafted during the Bush administration that authorized agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to commit specific acts of torture against prisoners swept up in the “war on terror.” The Obama administration faced a Thursday deadline to release the memos after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The release of the legal opinions, written by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002 and 2005, adds to an overwhelming body of evidence that proves the Bush administration carried out a large-scale and systematic torture operation in flagrant violation of domestic and international law…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53516

GI Special 7D11: “Paddling In Toxic Waste” [ 17 April 2009 ]
Thomas F. Barton
Iraqi police say a bomber detonated his explosive belt killing seven U.S.-allied paramilitaries and wounding 22 others waiting in line for their salaries outside a military headquarters south of Baghdad. Police spokesman Maj. Muthana Khalid said the bomber mingled into a crowd of about 250 Awakening Council members outside the headquarters and blew himself up. The explosion took place around 11 a.m. on Saturday in Jbala, about 35 miles, or 50 kilometers, south of Baghdad.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53518

Barack Obama offers olive branch to Chávez, Ortega and Latin America
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
President Barack Obama moved to recast US relations with Latin America yesterday with a charm offensive aimed at the hemisphere’s most radical leftist governments. The US leader used his debut at a Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago to draw a line under the Bush administration’s legacy. Obama promised a “new beginning” with Cuba, sought out Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez for a handshake and used humour to defuse a challenge from Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53520

Palestinian Prisoners: Imprisoned for their Love of Freedom
Reham Alhelsi
Every year, on April 17, Palestinians commemorate the Palestinian Political Prisoners Day. On 17.4.1974 the first Palestinian political prisoner, Mahmoud Baker Hijazi, was released from Israeli prisons in the first prisoner exchange deal with Israel. That same year, the Palestinian National Council declared the 17th of April a day of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, to be commemorated every year. In Occupied Palestine prison and imprisonment are as common as sunrise and sunset. There is almost no family that had not been subjected to Israeli imprisonment one way or the other. Palestinians are being detained on a daily basis, making them the most imprisoned people on earth. It is difficult to estimate their number, but several sources put the number of Palestinians detained or imprisoned by Israel since 1967 at over 750,000 Palestinians, making 20% of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories, and approximately 40% of the total Palestinian male population. With the outbreak of the 2nd Intifada in September 2000 until September 2008 some 65,000 men, 750 women and 7,500 children were arrested by Israel. According to the ICRC, in October 2008 there were 10,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Addammeer puts the number at 9,493, 750 of which are administrative detainees, 349 aged 18 and under, and 75 are females. Among those detained are political figures and some 47 Palestinians parliamentarians…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53511

“Our peaceful towns should no longer be the graveyard of our youth”
Palestinian National Initiative
This afternoon the Israeli army killed Basem Abu Rahma, 25, in the village of Bi’lin, West of Ramallah. Abu Rahma was , hit by a high velocity gas canister in his chest, during a peaceful demonstration aginst the Wall Israel is building around the village. “I saw Basem, who was wearing a yellow football T-shirt, being hit and collapsing on the ground”, reported Palestine Monitor’s photographer in Bil’in. MP Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, The Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative expressed shock “For four years, the residents of Bi’lin have been peacefully resisting the building of the Apartheid Wall, every single Friday.” “This, represent the Palestinian commitment to the non-violence principles and their steadfastness. Palestinian and International youths are peacefully struggling, but our towns where such demonstrations take place can no longer be the graveyards of our youths”, Barghouthi said. “By constantly defying non-violence and responding with an overwhelming use of force, the Israeli army is aiming to provoke Palestinian violence and launch the aggression circle”, he added firmly. In similar incidents this year, the Israeli army killed 4 Palestinian children and teenagers in the nearby village of Ni’lim, as well as critically injuring an American peace activist…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53500

A Taste of AFRICOM: Somalia did find peace and tried to stop piracy until the US bombed the shit out of it in 2006
chycho.com
…So while our Western Mainstream Media continues to feed us government sanctioned news, we should remember why and how Somalia became a failed State, some of the reasons as to why Somali pirates have become so active in the region, and we should never forget that it was the Union of Islamic Court fighters, the same organization that the United States bombed the shit out of in 2006 all the way up to 2008, that initially tried to prevent Somali pirates from seizing ships off the coast of Africa…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53506

Voices Rise from under the Rubble in Gaza
By Ahmad Barqawi
Last Monday, 13th of April 2009, was supposed to be a good day for Ahmad, a nine year old Palestinian boy from Gaza who became widely known for appearing on Aljazeera Channel speaking about the horrors he witnessed during the Israeli war on the strip and how life has become utterly unbearable under the siege “The World should come and see how our children are sitting on the floor with no blankets or mattresses; is this a life? This is not a life, This is a siege; a large prison; I switch on the TV only to find funerals, war, death, destruction and amputated body parts, I wish to see children programs!” he said in that ingenuous yet defiant tone of voice which made him memorable to millions of viewers across the world; “let the world come and witness how we live, they (the Israelis) destroyed our homes and there is nothing left for us, what shall we do?” …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53509

US Threatens to Invade Eritrea
Jason Ditz
The United States has reportedly threatened to invade Eritrea and subject it to “the same fate as Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks” for providing support to the al-Shabaab resistance movement in Somalia, which the US has since attempted to link with al-Qaeda. The Daily Telegraph quotes one source as saying “There are consequences for working with al-Shabaab when President Obama cannot afford to look weak on terrorism.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53510

Drug Addiction, and Misery, Increase In Afghanistan
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
A growing number of Afghans — including children — are escaping the pain of war and poverty by using opium or heroin, for as little as a dollar a day.
Women opium addicts. A United Nations survey begun this month is widely expected to show that at least 1 in 12 people in Afghanistan abuses drugs — double the number in the last survey four years ago. Experts say that the alarming trend is not being addressed by the Afghan government and its international partners, even though most officials acknowledge that the drug scourge threatens lasting stability in Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53508

Against All Odds…
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
…And when I woke up, I checked my inbox — my morning ritual, I found several mails. Great ones for which I thank you all. Very touched. One in particular got me thinking, with racing thoughts, I could not ignore. This person who is VERY committed to my beloved – Iraq, enquired about why my blog was blocked and said to the effect — Iraq can be forgotten now and the so-called anti-imperialists, the Arabs and the Palestinians can dance over the corpses of 1 million and half Iraqis and celebrate the US-Iranian alliance. Sometimes it is one word or one sentence that suffices…more of a reason to keep IRAQ alive and not forgotten – against all odds. So all of you out there who have supported my Beloved, in your own ways – you too need to keep her alive and not forgotten…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53514

Human Body Parts
Dahr Jamail
In Iraq, time leaves bloody marks upon each day of the ongoing US occupation. The policies of the Obama administration, adopted from the Bush administration, continue to wreak their havoc on the Iraqi people. The US-created al-Sahwa (Sons of Iraq), a Sunni militia comprised mostly of former resistance fighters and even some members of al-Qaeda, that grew to 100,000 in number, now threatens to fade back into the shadows in order to resume anti-occupation resistance operations against the US military and Iraqi government security forces. The Sahwa, which were to be incorporated into the government security apparatus, have instead been suffering attacks by that same apparatus for several months – attacks that are now occurring daily. And they are reacting in kind…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53512

Caught on Video – Murder of a Palestinian Protesting the Apartheid wall
Reuters.com
“Apr. 17 – A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli security forces during a weekly anti-barrier protest in the West Bank.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53513

Shells hit Baghdad’s Green Zone after 3-month lull
By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer
Suspected militants shelled Baghdad’s protected Green Zone on Saturday in the first such bombardment in more than three months. The back-to-back strikes reverberated across the Tigris River to a popular promenade, sending families packing up from fish restaurants and abruptly halting a party at a club. Violence across Iraq remains sharply down compared with past years, but attacks and bloodshed have edged up in recent weeks and brought worries that it could slow the return of nightlife and commerce to parts of Baghdad…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53515

Email to Independent’s Kim Sengupta RE: IBC, Lancet, ORB
Gabriele Zamparini
Thanks for your report, “Iraq air raids hit mostly women and children”. I appreciate you reminded your readers about the Lancet’s. If I may, I’d like to point out: 1) You write: “IBC estimates that the total deaths in the conflict so far number 99,774.” This is not correct. IBC is a count of civilian deaths based mostly on Western, English language media. As you surely understand, in a conflict as the Iraq one is very difficult, if not impossible, to know who’s a civilian and who’s not and surely it’s impossible to have a reliable picture of the casualties of war based on media reports. 2) There is also a study by ORB, in association with its research partner IIACSS, that estimates that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53498

Ideal Israeli Soldiers; Not Only Killers But Thieves
Ayman T. Quader
The old man sat in the light of a kerosene lamp and looked bleakly ahead. His wife sat in the opposite corner, crying loudly “They soiled our sheets, haram, haram, they broke our bed, fired guns in our bed’ ‘and’, the old man said ‘they took all our money. The day after we left we found a 100shekel note in the garden, that’s all’. He was talking about the Israeli occupation of his house to a foreign photographer who had come to film the destruction in North of the Gaza Strip. Sa’ad Al Atar lived in a line of houses along a high ridge overlooking Gaza city in Atatra district. It was the part of Gaza nearest the Israeli border, and it also commanded long views of Gaza city, so it was bombed repeatedly in the first few days, and most of the houses were destroyed…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53497

Palestinian man killed by tear-gas canister in Bil’in
Ma’an news
A Palestinian man was killed on Friday when Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators in the West Bank village of Bil’in, near Ramallah. Palestinian medical officials identified the man as 29-year-old Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh, who had previously been listed in serious condition following a direct shot to the stomach from an Israeli fired tear-gas canister on Friday afternoon…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53499

Has Washington lost Lebanon?
Part II: Persia Rising
Franklin Lamb
…Without current natural resources (there may be gas and oil off its coast) Lebanon continues to work to develop its tourism and banking industries and to model itself roughly after Switzerland. Many in Lebanon and in Iran are waiting to test the words of the Obama administration. As one of Lebanon’s leading clerics, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, widely respected in Lebanon, Iran and the Middle East, told his congregation last Friday at noon prayers, “We have heard beautiful words from the new American administration. Through open and honest dialogue and discussing freely all the concerns of each side, we can resolve our misunderstanding and make a better life for all our people”. Lebanon will resist US pressure to diminish its expanding relations with Iran as it resists the Bush legacy of “with us or against us.” Its people strongly prefer good relations with both Tehran and Washington and this will remain the case after June 7th…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53501

Besieged Gazans resorting to Internet to communicate with outside world
Yousef Al-Helou
Living in the besieged Gaza, a strip of land about 45 km long and 8 km wide means that you are isolated from the outside world. To allay that sense of isolation Gazans have resorted to the internet, to be in touch with their loved ones from whom they have been separated for over two years, due to the ongoing Israeli blockade and closure of Rafah border crossing policed by Egypt. “I have not seen my family for more than 3 years due to the Israeli blockade and continued closure of Rafah border crossing but thanks to technology, I can see them through webcam and talk to them via microphone but I really hope to see them face to face and that the crossing which is the only exit for the Gazans to the outside world be open forever, so that we can cross in and out whenever we want; now we are prisoners and we really aspire to freedom of movement”, Ahmad Dallol, Gaza resident said while setting on his PC chatting to his family, currently residing in UAE…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53502

Bush Memos Parallel Claim 9/11 “Mastermind’s” Children Were Tortured With Insects
John Byrne
…At a military tribunal in 2007, the father of a Guantanamo detainee alleged that Pakistani guards had confessed that American interrogators used ants to coerce the children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into revealing their father’s whereabouts. The statement was made by Ali Khan, the father of detainee Majid Khan, who gave a detailed account of his son’s interrogation at the hands of American guards in Pakistan. In his statement, Khan asserted that one of his sons was held at the same place as the young children of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. “The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs and were denied food and water by other guards,” the statement read. “They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.” Khan’s statement is second-hand. But the picture he paints of his son’s interrogation at the hands of American interrogators is strikingly similar to the accounts given by numerous other detainees to the International Red Cross…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53503

Hezbollah sees signs of acceptance from West
Cites European assurance of support after June vote
ocelyne Zablit AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS
The West can no longer ignore Hezbollah and has given assurances it will deal with the militant group if it wins upcoming elections in Lebanon, the Shi’ite movement’s deputy chief says. “Western countries are rushing to speak with us and will do so even more in the future,” Sheik Naim Qassem said in an interview with Agence France-Presse…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53504

“Iranian drone” Photo is Israeli?
Middle East Institute
Iran may have been doing some photo tampering again, reminiscent of the “missile launch” photo last year that had clearly been Photoshopped. This time Press TV, the Iranian news agency, has apparently run a photo of a soon-to-be-unveiled “Iranian drone” that is actually an Israeli Heron, and the photo is identical to an Israel Aircraft Industries photo of the Heron…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53505

Threatening fliers against homosexuals posted in Baghdad
Liz Sly and Caesar Ahmed
Offering the latest evidence of an organized campaign of persecution against Iraq’s gay community, threatening fliers have been posted around the impoverished Shiite enclave of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad targeting homosexuals, according to residents. “If you don’t cease your perverted acts, you will get your fair punishment,” read the warnings, which were posted on walls on a variety of streets around the neighborhood. On some were scrawled the names of two or three local men suspected of being gay, says one resident, who estimates he saw about 15 names in all…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53507

Palestinian teen shot dead by settlers at Hebron-area settlement
Ma’an news
…Residents of the Hebron-area settlement of Haggay reported that they were patrolling the area when they saw a Palestinian walking around the Israeli-military secured area. Two settlers approached the man and reportedly struggled with him, at which point he pulled out a knife, according to one account. Both men then tried to shoot the Palestinian, who was identified as 17-year-old Rabah Hejazi Seder, they reportedly said…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53496

Infant succumbs to wounds sustained during latest Israeli strike on Gaza
An infant from Gaza City seriously injured in Israel’s latest airstrike on the Strip Wednesday night succumbed to his injuries overnight. Palestinian medical sources identified the baby as four-month-old Ayham Karim Eid; he had inhaled poisonous released during Israel’s attack on a home in Gaza City Wednesday night. He was taken to hospital where medical crews stabilized him, but his conditioned worsened and he passed away…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53495

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