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URUK Net 20 April, 2009

Last updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 10:54

Palestinian, you are on your own!
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
…Gilad Shalit “who turned 22 in captivity, will have been a hostage of Hamas for about 1,000 days,” writes Isabel Kershner on March 8th 2009, in the New York Times. “Around 11,700 Palestinians resisting illegal occupation, including children under the age of 18 and elderly, are held hostage by Apartheid Israel”, writes the history of the oppressed. Most of those detained, according to Ali ‘Olwan a lawyer at the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Gaza, have spent more than twenty years in captivity. These prisoners are held under inhumane conditions, says ‘Olwan, in denial of medical examination, no visits by their families and children are allowed, in addition to being subject to various torture techniques. Majdi, who is now 43, hasn’t seen his brother, Bashir, who has been in captivity since 1986, 23 years of age then. “My mother’s wish is to see her son before she dies. It has been 15 years that she last saw his face.”..

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Declaration of the Belgrade Conference, March 23 – 24, 2009
The Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals
…NATO Aggression against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) was an invasion that had been prepared long time in advance, with the following global goals: setting a precedent for military interventions worldwide; bringing American troops to the Balkans and expanding NATO to the East; encircling Russia; changing the International Law Order established after Second World War by imposing the rule that might is right; imposing neoliberal capitalistic system; weakening Europe and damaging the role of the United Nations. The ultimate goal has been to reinforce the U.S. concept of unipolar world order for the purpose of establishing the control over all the economic, natural, and human resources of the Planet. The extension of NATO in Europe and to other continents proves a will to become the gendarme of the multicorporate capital all over the world…The Conference expressed its solidarity with the Palestinian people who has the right to freedom, independence and own country, just like any other nation in the Middle East has. The illegal military occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have no justification whatsoever and therefore should end up…

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Iraq: Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of LGBT People
IGLHRC
The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Iraqi government has an obligation to protect the right to life (Article 6) and the right of all its citizens “to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 7)…

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Sectarian Gov. Re-arrests 40 Iraqis
AMSI – ASSOCIATION OF MUSLIM SCHOLARS IN IRAQ
So-called leadership of Baghdad arrested 40 civilians who were recently released by the occupation forces according to the statement of Qasim Atta. So-called spokesman for the imposition of the Law Qassim Atta said: “The leadership of Baghdad arrested 40 persons released by U.S. forces recently.” This statement confirms what was done by the government police and the military forces before two days arresting a number of civilians in the area of al Bakriyyah near Ghazaliya district of Baghdad who were released by the occupation forces…

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Obama’s “Love Letter” to the CIA Distorts Historical Truth
by Sherwood Ross
One can only wonder what prompted the incredible absurdities written by President Obama in his April 16th love letter to the employees of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA). It not only absolves CIA torturers from prosecution on the grounds that they were only following orders, (the same defense employed by Nazi hoodlums at the Nuremburg war crimes trials after World War Two,) but his laudatory statements about The Agency fly in the face of the historical record. Obama’s letter surely will go down in history as one of the most disingenuous documents ever to appear under the presidential seal. Worse, it strongly hints the American public has elected another in that long line of imperial presidents stretching back to William McKinley…

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Haitians Overwhelmingly Reject Electoral Sham
Stephen Lendman
On April 19, sham elections were held to fill 12 open seats in the 30-member Haitian Senate, but most Haitians refused to go along. Earlier in February on procedural grounds, Haiti’s Provisional Election Council (CEP) disqualified Fanmi Lavalas (FL) candidates from participating, the party most Haitians support. Mass outrage and apprehension showed up in Priorities Project (HPP) pre-election polls with only 5% of eligible voters stating an intention to participate…

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Soul — Walk Away
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
You know something, there is something that is worse than an outright occupation… That something that is worse, is when people try to fuck with your brains…They distort reality, truth, to such an extent, that you are left busy trying not to go crazy…Just in case, you have not noticed, but this is what resistance to torture is all about – not to go crazy. Every time reality hits me, the reality of Iraq hits me, I try to push it away…the ugliness is too much to contend with. The UGLINESS in capital letters. I am sure those who devised this occupation are not too concerned with aesthetics… The Ugliness is not just physical…I wish it were just that. The Ugliness sieves through so many levels, so many levels it is hard to articulate. But if I ask you to trust me on that one, and tell you that I am not the only who feels it that way – will you believe me ?…

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Process Philosophy: Immorality and Imbecility in the Torture Memo Mess
Chris Floyd
Let’s do something we rarely do around these parts. Let’s do a “process story,” looking at an issue from the standpoint of how it plays out in the political game. As a rule, we prefer to focus much less on political kibitzing in the imperial courts, and more on the actual products of imperial policy: i.e., corpses, chaos and corruption. But just for a moment, let’s “processize” Barack Obama’s bold, progressive, morality-restoring decision not to prosecute anyone at all for the filthy torture system installed by the very highest officials of the Bush Administration, even as he releases memos showing clearly that practices which are high crimes under U.S. law were explicitly authorized by the White House. (And make no mistake; Obama has not only decided to let the actual, ground-level waterboarders, wall-slammers and child torturers get off scot-free; he is also going to let the gilded creators and framers of the system live on untroubled in peace, prosperity and privilege. Obama’s chief gatekeeper and hatchet man, Rahm Emanuel, made this clear over the weekend, telling Beltway waterboy George Stephanopoulos: “But those who devised the [torture] policies – [Obama] believes that they were — should not be prosecuted either.”)…

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Israeli Apartheid “justice”: Kill an Arab = 6 months community service
Gaza; Peace n’ Freedom
From Ynet: The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Haim Castro, a former Border Guard officer, who was convicted of shooting dead an Israeli Arab in Kfar Qassem six years ago, without there being any immediate threat to his life. Castro was sentenced to six months community service by a district court. He then appealed to the Supreme Court arguing he did not shoot the man in question, but his appeal was rejected. Do you really need any further argument that Israel is an Apartheid state? The same state holds thousands of Palestinians in detention, many of them having done no crime at all…

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Iraqi General Hails Arrest of “al-Qaeda Kids”
Four Children Under Age 14 Were Captured Near Kirkuk
Jason Ditz
In one of the most bizarre triumphs for the Iraqi security forces, General Abdelamir al-Zaidi revealed today that four children under the age of 14 were successfully captured by Iraqi special forces units in and around the northern city of Kirkuk. Dubbed the “Birds of Paradise,” the children are accused of being linked to al-Qaeda, recruiting children to “carry out suicide attacks and to aid the terrorist groups in detonating roadside bombs.” Gen. Zaidi declined to offer further information about the arrests, citing the secrecy of the operation and ongoing investigations. He said other “suspects” had been arrested, however…

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Video: Arabs in Israel complain of discrimination
Aljaeera.net
Israel’s treatment of its Arab citizens has raised accusations of racism. Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are not Israeli citizens, instead Israel issues identity cards permitting them to live there. But now authorities are threatening to retrieve dozens of IDs…

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Iraq: the forgotten war
James Cogan
Not so long ago, the term “the forgotten war” was being used to describe American lack of interest in its military occupation of Afghanistan. US domination of that country was assumed to be an accomplished fact. Now the same label could be applied to Iraq—and for the same reason. To a large extent, the American ruling elite has been convinced by its own propaganda. From the Obama administration to the Republican opposition and the mass media, there is a consensus that the US troop surge to Iraq in 2007 and 2008 led to “victory”… The current relative stability was accomplished by more than five years of bloody repression of Iraqi opposition to the US invasion—the most violent being the surge years. As many as 1.2 million Iraqis lost their lives, as well as over 4,500 American and other occupying troops. The legacy of US occupation is a shattered and traumatised society, wracked by communal divisions and incapable of satisfying even the most elementary social needs of the population…

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Director of Maps in Jerusalem: Israeli forces to begin work on largest settlement ever
PNN
A Palestinian official noted on Monday that the Israeli government will soon begin the bidding for the implementation of a scheme for the largest settlement in the West Bank and city of Jerusalem since the 1948. The Director of Maps and the Orient House for the Palestinian Authority in the city of Jerusalem, Khalil Tefakji, said today that it will cost 5 billion dollars over five years. Tefakji told reporters that “this is classified as the largest planned settlement project with the most dangerous right-wing government which has launched the new functions to ratify it after it was founded in the last days of the previous government.”…

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Renouncing Israel on Principle
Steven Salaita
… Many people, anyway, have written in more detail about the insidiousness underlying affirmations of Israel’s “right to exist,” a phrase so ambiguous it should invoke any thinking person’s suspicion. Rather than limiting my discussion to philosophical, political, and practical factors, I’d like to mention a worthy psychological reason to refuse the demand that anybody who wants to enter into a conversation about the Israel-Palestine conflict must first proclaim devotion to Israel’s existence: principle. Indeed, I would suggest refusing to acquiesce on principle. Zionists hold nearly all the power in the Israel-Palestine conflict and much of the power in the culture wars the conflict inspires. They have more funds, better access to corporate media, and the backing of the American military. The Palestinians, however, hold one form of power that doesn’t require money, media sympathy, or weaponry: the legitimacy that Zionists so desperately want us to confer to Israel. It is a small power, one without a material apparatus, but it is power, nevertheless, one I am unwilling to relinquish, one I have no moral obligation to relinquish. Zionists already took Palestine. Now they’re trying to appropriate our right to resist, too…

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Afghan Resistance Statement
Why are the Americans closing down Jihadi media?
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The American newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, quoting sources in the Pentagon, wrote the day before yesterday that those Internet sites and radio stations that according to them belong to or are attributed to the Taliban or are supporting them would be closed down… This is despite the fact that the Americans alone in Afghanistan or outside it have started hundreds of radio and television stations and thousands of newspapers, publications and magazine to spread poisonous, false and hateful propaganda against the Taliban and to hide huge casualties and losses inflicted on them every day by the Taliban so that no publication, news agency or website could give the exact number of American losses of life and material on a daily basis in various parts of Afghanistan…

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Thanks, Palestinians, for St George!
Stuart Littlewood
April 23 is when we in England celebrate our patron saint, George. St George and the Dragon are to be seen everywhere in Bethlehem, especially in and around the ancient Church of the Nativity. Many Bethlehem houses have a panel of St George carved in stone and set in the wall above the front door. Although George is England’s patron saint he never set foot here, and there is much argument about who this warrior-saint was and where he came from. But there are no such doubts in Palestine: George was a Palestinian born at Lydda and brought up in the Christian faith, although some sources insist that he was born in Cappadocea (Turkey) and taken home by his mother to her native Palestine when his father died…

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Putting Finance Capitalism “Back in Its Box”
Stephen Lendman
So writes Philip Augar in an April 13 Financial Times (FT) op-ed. He’s a former UK investment banker/broker and author of The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism, The Greed Merchants, and most recently Chasing Alpha: How Reckless Growth and Unchecked Ambition Ruined the City’s Golden Decade. More on his newest book below. He quotes Nicolas Sarkozy, a questionable choice, at the G 20 summit saying “The all-powerful market that is always right is finished,” then on departure adding “a page has been turned.” …

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PFLP: Some in Hamas and Fatah benefitting from ongoing division
Ma’an News
An “interest group” within both Hamas and Fatah are benefitting from the ongoing state of infighting between the two movements, said a senior leader in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Sunday. Jamil Mizher, a member of the PFLP Central Committee said, “It is unacceptable for Fatah and Hamas to continue this division that diminishing the Palestinian national project increasing the tragedies and pains of the Palestinians.” He called for “a popular move to pressure the two sides to end division restoring unity.”..

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Israeli forces besiege Bethlehem to protect alleged thieves
Ma’an News
Israeli forces besieged the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday night, closing all military checkpoints leading to the area. As a result, more than 200,000 residents of the city were under collective punishment under the pretext that an Israeli settler came under fire in the eastern Bethlehem district, near Tuqu’ village. However, Ma’an has learned that the Israeli claims were false, and that the siege on Bethlehem was meant to provide coverage for thieves who broke into the home of Bassam Musallam in the town of Beit Jala; Palestinian police detectives reportedly arrested them. Interrogations revealed that the thieves were holders of Israeli IDs…

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Gaza war legacy persists
Yousef Al-Helou
…3 months have passed since Israel ended its offensive on the besieged costal strip, but still no inquiry has been conducted into possible Israeli war crimes and nothing has been done to bring alleged perpetrators to justice. Despite the fact that many international lawyers and international fact-finding missions visited war-torn Gaza and gathered testimonies and talked to survivors, but it seems that Gaza is forgotten now while its people are suffering not because of the consequences of the war but also because of the nearly 2-years long tight blockage imposed on Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants who are isolated from the rest of the world…

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Israeli drones still hovering over Gaza despite ceasefire
Yousef Al-Helou
During the Israeli 22-day long offensive on the besieged Gaza waged on Dec 27, Israeli air force used various kinds of warplanes including military drones known as UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). The loud buzzing of Israeli drones can be heard and they are clearly visible in the sky above, the drones are operated from a remote position, usually outside the combat zone. They use optics that are able to see the details of a man’s clothing and are fitted with pinpoint accurate missiles killing Palestinians…

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Obama’s Iraq: NO ‘CHANGE’
Sarah Meyer, Index Research
…Asked in Turkey how he was different from President Bush, Mr. Obama said: “Here in the US is like piloting a big tanker. They’re not like people … You can’t just whip them around and go in a new direction. Instead, you’ve gotta slowly move it and then eventually you end up in a very different place. “ Very difficult for President Obama, when – for political survival – he has chosen to listen to those with the mindset from the military – industrial complex/PNAC/AIPAC. The key word that now gives a clue to the reality of Obama’s formerly hopeful policies is “BUT,” following his “change” rhetoric…

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Worse Than Bush
KABOBfest
…With George Bush, we had a clear villain; a murderous abuser of human rights and executor of imperialist policies that many of his actions cam under scrutiny, and even though he managed to get away with many crimes, they were not accepted as righteous by the wider population. So all Bush got to do about this conference that called for recognizing Zionism and racism, was to stay out it, the US and Israel only. Obama, on the other hand, with his liberal movement mandate, gets away with more crimes than Bush, because the liberal who scrutinized Bush’s every action, are sleeping rotten when it comes to Obama, thinking that Change towards an equitable progressive society was achieved on election day. Not only did Obama managed to change the draft text of the conference to omit mentions of the racism inherent to Zionism and the Israeli state, and followed that by having all the side activities critical of Israel pushed out side of the conference, but also he boycotted the conference, influencing a slew of western countries that, despite histories rich with racism and colonialism, had some qualms about associating with Bush…

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The writing on the wall spells “freedom”
Arjan El Fassed
“My dear Palestinian brothers and sisters, I have come to your land and I have recognized shades of my own.” These are the first 20 words of an open letter written by Farid Esack, a South African scholar and political activist known for his role in the struggle against apartheid. The total length of his letter is 1,998 carefully chosen words in which he argues that the situation in Palestine is worse than it ever was in South Africa under apartheid rule. Esack, a black South African who worked closely with Nelson Mandela, is astonished at how ordinary people beat about the bush when it comes to Israel and the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinians. “Do ‘objectivity,’ ‘moderation,’ and seeing ‘both sides’ not have limits?” he asks. “Is moderation in matters of clear injustice really a virtue? Do both parties deserve an ‘equal hearing’ in a situation of domestic violence — wherein a woman is beaten up by a male who was abused by his father some time ago — because ‘he,’ too, is a ‘victim?’”…

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Pakistan: Women, children among eight killed in US drone strike
Online – International News Network
As many as eight people, including women and children were killed and several others injured in the suspected US drone attack on Gangi Khel area of Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan Agency on Sunday morning, locals said…ccording to a private TV channel, the drone targeted a house, located in the area of Taliban commander, Mulla Faqir Mohammad, killing eight persons, women and children among them, and several others injured. Media reports reaching here said that the attack was carried out in populous region and sounds of explosions heard far away, while locals said they could have never heard such powerful explosions before this and were seen smoke emitting from the site…

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More revelations from Bush torture memos
Tom Eley
The Bush administration memos released last Thursday by the US Justice Department demonstrate that Washington carried out a studied and systematic torture operation for years. The documents, written by lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counsel, make clear that the CIA was carrying out torture prior to, and during the time the memos were written in 2002 and 2005. They also show that Bush administration officials were well aware that the methods discussed could be construed as torture. They therefore sought to develop an ex post facto and pseudo-legal rationale for specific acts of torture, in defiance of US and international laws…

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Int’l organizations: Tens of thousands of Gazans are still homeless
PIC
A coalition of international humanitarian organizations in the Gaza Strip warned that tens of thousands of Gaza citizens are still homeless and do not have access to many basic services such as clean drinking water months after the end of the Israeli devastating war on Gaza. The organizations appealed to the international community especially the EU to practically enhance the scarce humanitarian aid it provides to the impoverished Gaza people whose suffering increased after the Israeli war…

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