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URUK Net 23 April, 2009

Last updated: Friday, April 24, 2009 19:06

Israel Covering Up Gaza Crimes: HRW
IslamOnline.net
Human Rights Watch on Thursday, April 23, branded Israeli probes into the recent Gaza war as an attempt to covering up Israeli war crimes perpetrated in the densely-populated coastal enclave. “The conclusions are an apparent attempt to mask violations of the laws of war by Israeli forces in Gaza,” HRW Deputy Director Joe Stork said in a statement. Israeli deputy army chief Major General Dan Harel claimed on Wednesday, April 22, that five military internal investigations into the 22-day war found “no violations” of international law…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53649

Polis: Iraqi gays executions have begun
Rex Wockner
Of the five or six members of Iraqi LGBT who reportedly have been sentenced to death in Baghdad for belonging to a supposedly banned organization, one has escaped custody and one has been executed, says U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.
According to Polis, the “egregious human rights violations” are “being carried out by Iraqi government officials from the Ministry of the Interior.”
“While I do not know if these executions are being sanctioned at the highest levels of the Iraqi government, it is nonetheless disturbing that government officials and state-funded security forces are involved in the torturing and execution of LGBT Iraqis,” Polis wrote to Patricia Butenis, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Polis said the U.S. government “appears to be largely unaware that the executions of gay and transgender Iraqis have been able to occur in Iraq” and has expressed an “unwillingness to seriously consider these allegations and examine the evidence (from) international human rights watchdog organizations.”…

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Mashal addresses British MP’s via Videoconference
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
Khalid Mashal, Hamas political Bureau Chief in Syria, addressed on Thursday British parliamentarian via videoconference and said that Israel is the biggest obstacle to peace as it foiled different peace deals, including Arab initiatives. Mashal added that the international community is aware the Israel is obstructing peace, but fails to act. He stated that the only way to achieve peace in the region is to pressure Israel and oblige it to withdraw from the Arab and Palestinian territories…

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AIPAC, NSA Spying and the Corruption of Congress
Tom Burghardt
A major scandal involving a top Democrat, the Israeli lobby-shop AIPAC and charges that former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sought congressional help to suppress media reports of systematic, illegal warrantless surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) broke on Sunday. Congressional Quarterly revealed that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) “was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department [to] reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.”..

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UN: Gaza’s post-war environmental problems worsening
AP
Environmental hazards in the Gaza Strip, such as sewage contamination, have intensfied since Israel’s recent war on Hamas there because even basic infrastructure repairs are stalled by an ongoing border blockade of the territory, the UN’s environment chief said Tuesday. The UN Environment Program will dispatch experts to Gaza for a 10-day mission, starting May 11, to assess how the three-week war has harmed the environment, said the agency’s head, Achim Steiner…

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Bush, top cabinet officials monitored torture of detainees
Tom Eley
Former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other top Bush administration officials had detailed knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture tactics and approved them, according to a front-page article published Wednesday by the New York Times. Also on Wednesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee released the results of its investigation into the treatment of alleged terrorists in military prisons. Among its major findings, the 231-page report confirms that CIA torture began months before the drafting of the recently released Bush Justice Department legal memos that sanctioned it…

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Disgraced commander calls out Cheney for ‘scapegoating’ Abu Ghraib soldiers
David Edwards
…MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann stated on Wednesday’s edition of Countdown, “When the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison came to light, Rumsfeld blamed it on a few bad apples. He was right. What we know is that the few bad apples were Rumsfeld himself and Mr. Bush, Cheney and more. They were the bad apples. And as happens with bad apples, they corrupted others around them.”…

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Rice gave early approval for CIA waterboarding, Senate report reveals
Ewen MacAskill and Stephen Bates
Condoleezza Rice gave permission for the CIA to use waterboarding techniques on the alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah as early as July 2002, the first known official approval for the technique, according to a report released by the Senate intelligence committee yesterday. The revelation indicates that Rice, who at the time was national security adviser and went on to be secretary of state, played a greater role than she admitted in written testimony last autumn…

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Ahmadinejad speech provokes walkout at UN anti-racism conference
Richard Phillips, WSWS
Hysterical denunciations by the US, Israel and the European powers of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN’s anti-racism review conference on Monday in Geneva were entirely predictable and part of a highly-orchestrated campaign against the event. After boycotting the first UN anti-racism conference in 2001, Israel has been agitating against the recall meeting in Geneva, determined to stamp out any criticism within UN circles of its ongoing repression of the Palestinian people. …Notwithstanding Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, his comments were not animated by any genuine concern for the Palestinian people, nor will the Iranian government conduct any genuine struggle against Zionism and its imperialist backers. Ahmadinejad faces national elections in June and with falling oil prices and growing unemployment his speech was primarily aimed at an Iranian domestic audience. He is also acutely aware that the deep-seated hostility among the Arab masses over collaboration between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern governments has provided him with an opportunity to posture within the region as a representative of the masses.

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Israeli soldiers detain busloads of schoolchildren for three hours
Ma’an News
Israeli soldiers attacked the teachers and children returning from a school trip in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar on Thursday afternoon. Upon returning from a trip to Ramallah and Jericho, Israeli soldiers halted the busses at the entrance to the town, ordering the children and teachers off the busses. The children were held for three hours before international human rights activists stationed in the village intervened. The presence of teachers and the children’s’ families also prevented the army from holding them longer…

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Clinton: Pakistan ‘abdicating to Taliban’
Aljaeera.net
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has accused Pakistan’s government of “abdicating to the Taliban” by agreeing to the enforcement of Islamic law in part of the country. Clinton’s criticism came in comments to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists,” she said…

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Rule of Law Vetoed by President Obama
Joel S. Hirschhorn
There are no headlines or pontificating pundits, but the real news that has become crystal clear to any but the most delusional and distracted Americans is that President Obama has no commitment to applying the rule of law where it counts. Certainly, not applying it to the large number of rich and powerful people that have violated our Constitution and plunged the nation into economic disaster. Again and again we hear the flimsy argument from Obama and his top advisors that he wants to look forward and not backward. This is tortured logic when it comes to delivering justice in a nation supposedly cherishing the rule of law…

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Heroic US GIs Slaughter Afghan Family Members
Why I Live in the Middle of the Desert? A Victim Of US Butchery Appeals
Mohammed Daud Miraki, PhD
“It was the middle of the night this past winter when the door of my house exploded out of its foundation. My family and I were awakened by the sheer noise of the explosion. My pregnant wife, my two daughters, my son and I stepped out of the house into our yard. As we approached the destroyed door of our yard, the intruding US soldiers had already entered the compound and they started firing at us. The bullets hit everyone in my family including my wife and our unborn child, two daughters, my son and I; everyone was killed except one of my daughters and I. After the shooting, the US forces ordered vicious attack dogs to drag the bodies of my family members out of the yard into the ally outside. I was also bitten by the dogs after I shielded my surviving daughter, who was also badly injured by an incoming US round. So, when I covered my daughter with my body from the attacks of these vicious dogs, the US troops ordered these vicious beasts to attack me as well…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53633

* * * NOT SATIRE * * *
Barak: Gaza probe shows IDF among world’s most moral armies
Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
The Israel Defense Forces announced on Wednesday that an internal investigation has determined that no civilians were purposefully harmed by IDF troops during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. Following the release of the investigation results, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the army’s willingness to probe itself “once again proves that the IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world. “The IDF is not afraid to investigate itself and in that, proves that its operations are ethical,” said Barak. The defense minister added that he has “complete faith in the IDF, from the chief of staff to the last of the combat soldiers.”..

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Gen. Petraeus predicts things will get worse in Afghanistan
By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff
General David Petraeus, architect of the US military surge credited with dramatically reducing violence in Iraq, told a forum at the John F. Kennedy School of Government today that the military situation in Afghanistan will probably deteriorate in the near term. “We do believe we can achieve progress, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Petraeus, the leader of US Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…

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British soldiers ‘tortured and murdered 20 Iraqis, then covered it up with firefight claim’
Neil Sears
British soldiers tortured and murdered up to 20 Iraqis in cold blood, the High Court was told yesterday. It happened after a three-hour gun battle at an Army checkpoint near Basra, a lawyer claimed. Rabinder Singh said a group of local men were taken prisoner and transported to an Army camp where they were beaten with a rusty tent pole, punched, slammed against walls, denied water, blasted with loud music and forced to strip naked in the presence of a woman – a humiliation for Muslim men. The next day, he said, only nine were still alive – and 20 corpses were returned to their families. One was teenager Hamid Al-Sweady…

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Democratic defender of NSA spying was wiretapped in Israeli spy probe
Bill Van Auken
Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California was recorded in 2005 on a National Security Agency (NSA) wiretap of a suspected Israeli intelligence agent, according to current and former government officials cited in press reports. The recorded conversation, they indicated, dealt with an apparent quid pro quo arrangement involving Harman’s promise to seek leniency for two indicted pro-Israeli lobbyists in return for support for her bid to become chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The revelation has further exposed the internecine struggles within the US state apparatus as well as the intimate involvement of the Democratic Party and the media in the assault on democratic rights…

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IOA demolishes Palestinian home south of Jerusalem, 4 others near Nablus
PIC
The Israeli occupation authority demolished a Palestinian house without prior warning in the Sal’ah area, south of occupied Jerusalem, Wednesday morning at the pretext of unlicensed construction. Local sources said that the house is owned by Ammar Hedidon who has a family composed of five members, pointing out that the IOA had demolished the foundations of the house two months ago before Hdidon restored it. In another related context, Israeli bulldozers escorted by a large number of IOF troops demolished also on Wednesday four Palestinian homes in Al-Taweel area near Aqraba village, south of Nablus, while four others were awaiting the same fate…

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GI Special 7D14: An Uncertain Trumpet [ 23 April 2009 ]
Thomas F. Barton
CNN exclusively joined Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, in southern Afghanistan to get a firsthand look at where the fight is headed. Michael Hastings, a contributor for GQ magazine who just returned from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, said he felt a sense of skepticism among U.S. commanders and soldiers in regard a long-term strategy in Afghanistan. “Essentially, the questions these officials asked were, ‘What are we winning? Even if we win in Afghanistan, what is exactly that we’re winning?’ “Maybe the answer is, maybe we’re winning security gains, but that’s not even for sure and certainly no guarantee of that,” said Hastings, who was embedded with American forces.

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Scores dead in Iraq suicide blasts
Aljaeera.net
At least 73 people have been killed in two separate suicide attacks in Iraq, police say. One bomber detonated his explosives in Baghdad, killing 28 people, while the other targeted Iranian pilgrims north of the Iraqi capital, leaving 45 dead. The blast in central Baghdad took place as a group of policemen were distributing relief supplies to Iraqis who had been driven from their homes during the sectarian bloodshed that followed the 2003 US-led invasion. Fifty people were wounded and at least five children were among the dead, police said…

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April 23, 2009: 1 Marine, 96 Killed; 157 Wounded in Iraq
Margaret Griffis
At least 96 people were killed and 157 more were wounded, mostly in two significant suicide-bombing attacks. Over 50 of the dead and about 77 of the wounded are believed to be Iranian pilgrims. This came on the same day that Iran and Iraq announced a oil deal. The DoD reported the death of a Marine from non-combat causes in Anbar. Meanwhile, the A.P. has learned that 87,000 Iraqis have “officially” died in violent attacks since 2005. Also, one of the most wanted al-Qaeda figures, whether he actually exists or not, has been reported captured. ..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53658

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