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URUK Net 27 April, 2009

Last updated: Thursday, April 30, 2009 9:00

Israeli Use of Palestinians As Human Shields
Stephen Lendman
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is a Gaza-based Palestinian NGO mandated “to promote, protect and prevent violations of human rights in general, and economic, social and cultural rights in particular, to provide effective aid to those victims of such violations, and to enhance the quality of life of the community in (Gaza’s) marginalized sectors.” It monitors and documents violations, provides legal aid and advocacy, and helps Gazans on “fundamental issues such as basic human rights, democracy, and international humanitarian” matters. It also produces reports and publications on its work. In April, it published a seven-case study update of its July 2008 report titled: “Hiding Behind Civilians – The Continued Use of Palestinian Civilians as Human Shields by the Israeli Occupation Forces.” This article reviews both reports to highlight what international law unequivocally prohibits. Nonetheless, it’s customary IDF practice even though Israel’s Supreme Court banned it on October 6, 2005…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53741

Rapist, Untouchable Iraqi Police
By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent
Salman [not his real name] says he was locked up, beaten, raped and humiliated for long months. His abusers, according to him, were not vicious gangs or armed militias, but rather those who, by law, were supposed to protect him. “I was beaten more than four times per week, and sometimes I stayed the whole night inside a room being interrogated and tortured,” the young man told IslamOnline.net, recalling his 9-month ordeal in police custody. “After one month…they started to rape me every week,” he added with a painful look in his eyes. Salman was detained for nine months without being told why and was never allowed a visit by a lawyer despite his family’s frantic efforts to find his whereabouts… Finally, his suffering came to an end after his family paid $9,000 to get him released from custody…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53746

Against Prosecution (I): A Vicious Fury — with Nukes
Arthur Silber
…Given the scope of these gathering catastrophes, one might think that those who direct and implement the American imperial project would at least momentarily consider adopting aims somewhat more modest than global hegemony maintained by a worldwide empire of bases. Of course, one would be gravely mistaken. No less an authority on the liberal-progressive mindset than Media Matters informs us, in its typically exhausting tone of outraged moral indignation, that certain conservatives are vicious liars when they accuse the Obama administration of wishing to cut military spending. Oh, no! yelps Media Matters. The Great White Hope — and the emphasis is on White and don’t you forget it, although most people never understood this in the first place, which ignorance constitutes a major part of the diseased heart of Obama’s evil genius — is increasing military spending…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53739

Why Iran Is Hungry for Business with the US
Stanley Reed, Spiegel
Nestled in rocky hills about 40 minutes from Tehran, Pardis Technology Park is supposed to be Iran’s answer to Silicon Valley. But these days, Pardis is deserted and forlorn, with many buildings standing unfinished, their exposed girders rusting. Foreign companies are reluctant to invest in the Islamic Republic, and domestic outfits are cash-strapped. Both foreigners and locals may find a new reason to move in. President Barack Obama has indicated a willingness to ease tensions with Tehran, and many Iranian businesspeople hope their leaders will engage with him. A relaxing of US economic sanctions “would be a seismic shift,” says Ramin Rabii, chairman of Turquoise Partners, a fund manager that invests in Iran. Americans and other Western companies might benefit, too…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53742

Limpid Love…
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
You know, most of my writing time is taken up by Iraq. Her deaths, her misery, her plight, her agonies, her misery, her destruction, her loss of identity… I find myself negotiating with Time, trying to out maneuver Him…I find myself stealing moments away from Her, because I have this deep need to renew ties with some other reality, another reality that I know exists in parallel to mine… Such long awaited moments were granted to me this evening…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53757

Destruction of mosques in Israel after 1948
Helena Cobban
An argument that I heard from many peace activists in Israel and Palestine during my recent visit is that the Nakba— that is, the dispersal of the Palestinians from their homes, primarily in 1948, and the expropriation and frequent destruction of the properties they had left behind— was not a one-ff affair, but is a continuing process. Current news photos of Palestinians in Gaza or Jerusalem who have been expelled from their homes through Israeli acts of violence, and are forced to live in tents while Israelis either take over or demolish their homes, are continuing evidence of this…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53743

Video: Afghan civilian deaths help Taliban
AljaeeraEnglish
The US says the Taliban poses one of the biggest threats there is to world security. Others welcome their version of law and order, which they say brings peace to the areas they control… Al Jazeera’s Nick Clark reports from the heartland of the group, in southern Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53744

Number of 12 year olds arrested and imprisoned by Israeli forces on sharp incline this year
PNN
The Global Movement for the Defense of Children’s Palestine Branch reports that Israeli imprisonment of Palestinian children is up. Over the past two months Israeli forces have increased campaigns against children. At the end of February 2009 the number of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons was up to 423. This is the highest number since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in 2000. It is not just that the number is increasing, reports Defense of Children, the age is getting younger…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53751

Soldiers confirm Israel’s war crimes in Gaza
Kim Bullimore
…According to Rachel Johnson, an Australian human rights activist with the International Solidarity Movement, the testimony of the soldiers is just the tip of the iceberg. Johnson, who entered Gaza two days after the war concluded, visited dozens of Palestinian villages and cities, taking testimony and writing reports about the attacks on Palestinian civilians. Along with other international human rights activists, she also provided international accompaniment to Palestinian civilians who were still coming under Israeli fire, despite Israel’s supposed unilateral cease-fire. Johnson told Direct Action that while it was clear that Israeli soldiers were allowed to act with impunity in Gaza, this “was part of a broader sanctioned policy by the Israeli military that sought to deliberately target Palestinian civilian infrastructure and Palestinian civilians”. She noted that the Israeli military wantonly destroyed civilian houses during the three-week bombardment…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53753

Na’eem: Israel pressures patients to give information about the resistance
PIC
Dr. Bassem Na’eem, the minister of health, told the visiting Scottish delegation headed by MSP Pauline McNeill, that the IOA pressures Palestinian patients to give information about the resistance fighters in exchange for receiving medical treatment in its hospitals. Dr. Na’eem also accused the PA in Ramallah of assisting Israel in its blockade on Gaza through instigating foreign powers against the Palestinian government and its refusal to provide Gaza patients with passports…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53759

Torture and Washington’s policy of aggressive war
Alex Lantier
…The invasion of Iraq, justified to the American public through the use of torture, encouraged Washington to expand the use of torture against the Iraqi people so as to obtain information on the Iraqi resistance. Guantánamo Bay prison commander General Geoffrey Miller was sent to Iraq to “Gitmoize” Iraq—i.e., to transfer the interrogation methods of Guantánamo Bay to Iraqi prisons. The result was the Abu Ghraib scandal, as pictures surfaced in 2004 showing large-scale US torture of Iraqi prisoners. The close link between torture and US wars of aggression again confirms the contention of the International Military Tribunal set up to prosecute the Nazi leadership at Nuremburg: “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53758

* News * World news * Israel Non-violent protests against West Bank barrier turn increasingly dangerous
Palestinian demonstrations intended to be peaceful met with Israeli teargas, stun grenades and sometimes live ammunition
by Rory McCarthy in Bil’in
It began calmly enough with a march down the high street after midday prayers at the mosque. Palestinian villagers were surrounded by dozens of foreigners singing and waving flags. They turned and headed out to the olive-tree fields and up towards the broad path of Israel’s West Bank barrier. There, behind a concrete hilltop bunker, the Israeli soldiers looked down on them. The crowd approached the barrier, still singing. One man flew a paper kite shaped as a plane. “This land is a closed military zone,” an Israeli soldier shouted in flawless Arabic over a loudspeaker. “You are not allowed near the wall.” Then the soldiers fired a barrage of teargas…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53756

Torture whitewash from The Dark Side
Pepe Escobar
It’s a script worthy of Freddie Krueger, the fictional character from the A Nightmare on Elm Street films. Nearly five years after the irruption of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, here’s another chamber of horrors, another glimpse of how The Dark Side really works. But the George W Bush torture memos released by the Barack Obama administration last week, written in legalese by Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury, are just a preview. Many will relish the newspeak. (”We conclude that – although sleep deprivation and use of the waterboard present more substantial questions in certain aspects under the statute and the use of tile waterboard raises the most substantial issue – none of these specific techniques, considered individually, would violate the prohibition in sections 134:0•2340A.”) As for the whole movie – a 21st century remix of a D W Griffith epic – it could be called Death of a Nation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53754

An Appeal — UPDATE II
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
..According to official sources – and please bear in mind that official sources only take into account the Iraqis who officially registered with them. So accordingly, the figures/ratios are as follows as per the January 2009 UN Report on Refugees. And I am quoting : “ There are also trends in Iraq’s refugees. 55% of those registered by the United Nations are Sunnis. Another 18-20% are minority groups such as Christians, Mandeans, Yazidis, Turkmen, and Shabaks, even though they only make up 3-4% of Iraq’s population.” That leaves only 25% Iraqi Shiites who have also been exiled since the American occupation, since 2003. What is most evident, is that the bulk of the refugees are made of Sunnis — 55%. That, even for a layperson, points very clearly to a deliberate systematic policy of ethnic/sectarian cleansing undertaken by the Shiite militias who now form the current Iraq puppet government – the puppet government under American Occupation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53750

We’re All Torturers Now
Will anything about the U.S. torture scandal ever scandalize us again?
Dahlia Lithwick
In April of 2004, the world first learned that American soldiers in Iraq had abused detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. Images first revealed on CBS and in The New Yorker showed prisoners standing hooded on a box with wires attached to their hands and genitals; piles of naked prisoners stacked into a pyramid; and detainees forced to simulate sexual acts upon one another, often with grinning GIs on hand to point and offer a jaunty thumbs up…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53749

Millions of Iraqis displaced
James Cogan
…In testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on March 31, academic Nabil Al-Tikriti described the impact of ethnic cleansing under the US occupation: “Communal consolidation has progressed to such an extent that Iraq has already evolved somewhat from a mosaic patchwork of geographically mixed sectarian clusters into the rough outline of three large regions coinciding with the majoritarian ethno-sectarian identities of Shi’i Arab, Sunni Arab, and Kurdish. Those who either refuse to or are not allowed to fit within these majoritarian identities have mostly been forced out.” As a consequence, he noted, virtually all the Sabaean-Mandaean and Shabak communities have left the country, along with at least half the Chaldean and Assyrian Christian population. Large numbers of better educated and secular Iraqis, some of whom were members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, fled the country in the first years of the occupation as they faced persecution from the US military and the Shiite fundamentalist parties that assumed power after the invasion. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for example, estimates that one third of the adult Iraqi refugees residing in Syria have a college degree. As a result, the number of health professionals in Iraq has fallen from 36,000 in 2000 to just 18,000, according to an April 7 report by Refugees International. Large numbers of public servants, academics and teachers also left…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53752

Hillary Clinton makes crisis visit to Iraq
By Bill Van Auken
…Clearly, Washington’s aim is to keep Iraqi forces weak enough so that the country’s government remains dependent upon US support for its survival. By maintaining its military domination over the country, the US aims to secure effective control over Iraq’s vast oil reserves. However, the plan initiated under the Bush administration and continued under Obama calls for this domination to be secured with substantially fewer US troops and reliance on Iraqi puppet forces. The Obama administration’s intention to escalate the US military intervention in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan is predicated on its ability to transfer a major portion of the 140,000 US soldiers and Marines now occupying Iraq to US imperialism’s Central Asian front…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53755

Legal group: Israel must allow UN investigation to proceed
Press release, National Lawyers Guild,
Calling the Israeli military’s self-exoneration “lacking in credibility,” the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) on Thursday categorically rejected the Israeli military’s findings that its soldiers did not commit war crimes during “Operation Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip. The NLG reiterates its call to US President Barack Obama to lend strong support to the UN — commissioned investigation into the conduct of both Israel and Hamas during Israel’s 22-day offensive — something Hamas has already agreed to, but Israel has indicated it will block…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53745

Hillary shatters Condi’s Beirut record but can she propel the US team to electoral Victory?
Franklin Lamb
On June 17, 2008, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice set a remarkable American and World Record for the shortest visit to Lebanon ever recorded by a serving US Secretary of State. The objective was to express love, affection, and non-interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs. Some wags in Beirut will tell you it was George Bush’s’ Secretary of State’s greatest single achievement. History will judge, but Ms. Rice was definitely in and out of Lebanon ten months ago in a breadth taking 275 minutes! Today, April 26, 2009, that record was shattered…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53740

Convoy Update: Maimed Europeans to go Gaza
The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
A number of maimed Europeans announced the willingness to join “Hope For Gaza Convoy” heading to Gaza in May 2009. European Campaign to End Gaza Siege (ECEGS) received a number of requests from disabled people in various EU countries. Convoy spokesman, Ramy Abdu, said that the participation of maimed people came to stress on the necessity of rescuing the besieged Gazans by all means, especially the disabled people resulted in the last Israeli war. According to Abdu, the maimed Europeans would participate along with various activists and officials…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53738

ISRAELI POLICE CRACK DOWN ON INTERNET PEACE ACTIVISTS
Desertpeace
… I have just learned that a number of Israeli peace activists have had their computers confiscated, have been called for interrogations, and have only been released upon signing agreements not to contact their political friends for 30 days. We are asking you to contact the Israeli Attorney General to demand an immediate stop to this harassment. The activists targeted are members of New Profile, a group of feminist women and men daring to suggest that Israel need not be a militarized society. …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=53748

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