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URUK Net 3 July, 2009

Last updated: Sunday, July 5, 2009 9:16

Please sign letter to the UN: Free Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners
Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat
We are asking for your endorsement and that of your organization to the below letter, inspired by the hunger strike of imprisoned Palestinian national leader Ahmad Sa’adat, calling upon United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to uphold his responsibilities and take action to protect the rights, health and lives of Palestinian prisoners and demand the freedom of all 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners. This letter will be delivered to Ban Ki-Moon’s office on July 8, 2009…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55669

Israel Insults Britain (Again)
Stuart Littlewood
On Tuesday the Israeli navy, in a blatant act of piracy on the high seas, assaulted the vessel ‘Spirit of Humanity’ and abducted six British nationals who were taking part in a voyage of mercy. The tiny unarmed ship was bringing a humanitarian cargo of medicines, children’s toys and reconstruction materials to the devastated people of Gaza. Israel’s murderous 22-day offensive last December/January left more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties, 200 schools, 39 mosques and two churches damaged or destroyed. The International Committee of the Red Cross says the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair”, unable to rebuild their lives because Israel, having wantonly wrecked their civil society and infrastructure, is blocking efforts to bring in the necessary repair materials. Those on board the ‘Spirit of Humanity’ were acting in accord with donors’ pledges of $4.5 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation and US President Obama’s request to Israel to let those supplies pass. ..

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Report: US Opposes New Iran Sanctions
US Diplomats Aim to Block G8 Summit Sanctions
Jason Ditz
Among the major topics of discussion at next week’s G8 summit in the central Italian college town of L’Aquila will be new sanctions against the Iranian government. Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi predicted earlier in the week that such sanctions would pass. But in an almost unfathomable change in directions from the nation that has generally spearheaded the pro-sanctions position, diplomats say that the United States is opposed to the new sanctions, which would punish oil companies that do business in Iran…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55671

Unfolded Ballot Slips in the Boxes
Shahram Rafizadeh
…While Iran’s powerful Guardian Council confirmed ayatollah Khamenei’s position on the elections, after “recounting” some of the ballots, the publication of photographs showing the “recount” process by IRNA state-run news agency caused an uproar. These photos show a stack of new and “unfolded” ballot slips some of which bear the name of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad written with the same handwriting. The unfolded slips raise questions because normally when a person writes his candidate of choice on the ballot slip, he folds the slip to drop it into the ballot box. The accidental airing of these unfolded ballot slips by government news agencies became such a hot news item rapidly spreading around the country that the spokesperson of the Guardian Council which is responsible for organizing national elections in Iran, had no choice but to raise the issue at his press conference who said, “just because ballot slips had not been folded is not sufficient proof to show that violations took place. Other evidence must also be presented as proof.”…

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Forbidden fruit
Khaled Amayreh
In brazen defiance of American demands for freezing Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Israeli government has decided to build hundreds of additional settler units. On Monday, the government approved the expansion of the Adam colony, north of Jerusalem, despite repeated American and international calls for a total freeze of settlement expansion. The approval, which okayed the building of at least 50 settler units, was made in coordination with settler leaders as well as the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to Defence Ministry sources, as many as 1,450 settler units were being planned in the Adam settlement alone. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot said that at least 3,200 settler units were under construction in the West Bank by the end of 2008…

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Honduras: CNN Video Shows Coup Soldiers Shoot Tires on Protest Bus
Al Giordano
One of the bragging points of the Honduras coup defenders is that their rallies, they say, are “bigger” than the anti-coup rallies. The largest crowd count I’ve seen from the pro-coup side is “65,000,” but as the total count of all the rallies held on the same day in all the cities of Honduras. If true, that would be 0.8 percent of the Honduran population of eight million; pretty small potatoes considering that the coup government and business interests have vast resources at their disposal to bus them in, give them time off with pay from work, provide food, etcetera. Me thinks they brag about protest too much.

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OBAMA HAS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO ESCALATE AFGHAN WAR AND IS CREATING “HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE” IN PAKISTAN
By Sherwood Ross
President Obama has no legal authority either from the United Nations or the U.S. Congress under the War Powers Resolution(WPR) to escalate the war in Afghanistan, a distinguished professor of international law says. “President Obama’s surge of 21,000 troops now engaged in combat in Afghanistan comes on top of the 60,000 we already had there,” says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign…

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UN expert: Israel’s seizure of aid boat “criminal”
Ma’an News
A top United Nations official in a statement on Friday denounced Israel’s seizure of a humanitarian aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip earlier this week. The UN official, Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories Richard Falk, denounced what he called the unlawful naval seizure by an Israeli gunboat on Tuesday. “This Israeli action implements its cruel blockade of the entire Palestinian population of Gaza, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits any form of collective punishment directed at an occupied people,” Falk said…

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Iran, Palestine and the Arab Nationalists: a response to Rime Allaf
Raid Khoury
In the June 25 edition of “Bitterlemons.org”, Rime Allaf lashes out at Arab nationalists for what she perceives is their support of Ahmadinajad and the repressive Iranian regime. Allaf is simply wrong. The one group of Arabs which has not supported Ahmadinajad or the ruling theocracy in Tehran is the Arab nationalists, a position dating back to the rise of Khomeini and the establishment of the “Islamic” republic. This position has placed the Arab nationalists at odds with members of virtually every other ideological camp in the Arab world from the far left to the Islamic right whose rise to dominance, after decades in which secular Arab nationalism and the Left dominated Arab public discourse, lead opposition movements, and carried the banner of Palestinian liberation, is traced back to the Iranian revolution of 1979…

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AIC Testifies to UN Fact Finding Commission on Gaza Conflict: “Israeli Business Interests Determine Diet of Palestinians Under Siege in Gaza”
The Alternative Information Center (AIC)
“The world should be aware of the human implications of Israel’s policy of ‘no development, no prosperity’ in the Gaza Strip,” noted AIC economist Shir Hever, as he testified today (2 July 2009) in Amman before the United Nations Fact Finding Commission on the Gaza Conflict. The AIC was invited to testify before this important body following intensive work in gathering and publishing primary information and analyses during Israel’s recent military attacks on the Gaza Strip. In addition to today’s personal testimony, the AIC submitted two documents to the UN Fact Finding Commission: a collection of AIC original articles focusing on the political, social and legal developments in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel and the Gaza Strip during the Israeli attacks on the latter, with an emphasis on Israeli oppression of popular protests against the military attacks, particularly by Palestinian citizens and residents of Israel; restrictions on reporting from and about the Gaza Strip; and reviews of the economic, social and legal aspects of the attacks…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55682

U.S. Faces Resentment in Afghan Region
By CARLOTTA GALL, NYTimes
The mood of the Afghan people has tipped into a popular revolt in some parts of southern Afghanistan, presenting incoming American forces with an even harder job than expected in reversing military losses to the Taliban and winning over the population. Villagers in some districts have taken up arms against foreign troops to protect their homes or in anger after losing relatives in airstrikes, several community representatives interviewed said. Others have been moved to join the insurgents out of poverty or simply because the Taliban’s influence is so pervasive here…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55670

Coup “President” Installs Nephew as “Mayor” of Honduras’ Second City
Al Giordano
The Oligarch Diaspora shouts, again and again, in its flailing attempt to convince the Honduran people and the world that its coup d’etat was somehow legitimate, “we want democracy!” Well, here’s a powerful example of the kind of “democracy” they apparently want. In November of 2008, the voters of San Pedro Sula – with a population of one million, it’s the second largest city in Honduras – elected Mayor Rodolfo Padilla Sunseri (right, in the photo above) to be their Liberal Party candidate for mayor, with 63 percent of the vote. Another candidate in that contest – William Hall Micheletti (left, in the photo above, and doesn’t that last name sound familiar?) – garnered just 16 percent, coming in third. Padilla went on to win the mayoralty. But when your uncle Roberto Micheletti is the newly installed dictator of your country, coming in third is good enough!…

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Massive turnout at Gaza funeral for teen girl killed by Israel
Ma’an News
Large crowds assembled on Friday at the funeral procession for a 17-year-old girl killed by Israeli shelling in central Gaza late on Thursday night. The procession took to the streets from a local mosque and marched with the body to the girl’s final burial place in a nearby cemetery. Hiam Abu A’yesh, 17, was killed and her 24-year-old brother Husam was injured by shrapnel from an Israeli shell that struck the family’s home in the Juhor Ad-Dik neighborhood in the Strip, according to medical officials at Al-Aqsa Hospital…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55665

The Base Court: Another Fortress Rising in America’s Ring of Iron
Chris Floyd
While President Obama circumnavigates the globe, talking loftily of peace and engagement with the peoples of the world — in language largely cribbed from old George Bush speeches, but presented in a far more photogenic, plausive package — this is the real face that the United States is showing to the world. Chalmers Johnson writes: The U.S. Empire of Bases — at $102 billion a year already the world’s costliest military enterprise — just got a good deal more expensive. As a start, on May 27th, we learned that the State Department will build a new “embassy” in Islamabad, Pakistan, which at $736 million will be the second priciest ever constructed, only $4 million less, if cost overruns don’t occur, than the Vatican-City-sized one the Bush administration put up in Baghdad…

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GI Special 7G3: A Wonderful Celebration [ 3 July 2009 ]
Thomas F. Barton
His Excellency Benedict Arnold Orders Day Of National Celebration: 125,000 British Troops Withdraw From American Cities To Their Bases In The Countryside: Thousand Will Remain In Boston, New York, And Others Cities To Help Train Arnold’s Native Army; Happy Crowds Dance And Sing To Thank His Majesty George III For Freeing Them From Rebel Terror. MORE: [A Somewhat Different Point Of View:] “If I Were An American, As I Am An Englishman, While A Foreign Troop Was Landed In My Country, I Never Would Lay Down My Arms — Never — Never — Never”.

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IOF troops fire at the legs of Palestinian girl before kidnapping her
Palestinian Information Center
A Palestinian girl was wounded in the legs Friday morning when IOF troops opened fire at the girl, according to local sources. The sources said that IOF troops manning the Hamra roadblock in the Jordan Valley fired towards the girl at close range wounding her in the legs. The girl was then kidnapped by the IOF troops. A helicopter was seen circling the scene. Elsewhere in the West Bank, IOF troops on Friday morning kidnapped three Palestinians in the Nablus and al-Khalil districts, according to local sources. One of them is 17-year-old Mahdi Kayyal, while the other two are still unknown…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55660

The still-growing NPR “torture” controversy
Glenn Greenwald
There are several noteworthy developments since I wrote on Tuesday about the refusal of NPR’s Ombdusman, Alica Shepard, to be interviewed by me about NPR’s ban on using the word “torture” to describe the Bush administration’s interrogation tactics. Given the utter vapidity of her rationale (”there are two sides to the issue. And I’m not sure, why is it so important to call something torture?”), I was momentarily amazed to learn that she actually teaches “Media Ethics” to graduate students at Georgetown University (my amazement quickly dissipated once I recalled that this is the same institution that, until last year, paid Doug Feith — Doug Feith — to teach students “national security policy” and that Berkeley Law School has John Yoo “teaching law” to its students; next semester at Georgetown: Karl Rove teaches Civility in a Post-Partisan Age, Bill Kristol lectures on Accountability in Punditry, while David Gregory examines The Role of Intellect in Adversarial Questioning)…

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Reviewing Marjorie Cohn and Kathleen Gilberd’s “Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent”
by Stephen Lendman
Marjorie Cohn is a Distinguished Law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where she’s taught since 1991 and is the current President of the National Lawyers Guild. She’s also been a criminal defense attorney at the trial and appellate levels, is an author, and writes many articles for professional journals, other publications, and numerous popular web sites. Her record of achievements, distinctions, and awards are many and varied – for her teaching, writing, and her work as a lawyer and activist for peace, social and economic justice, and respect for the rule of law. Cohn’s previous books include “Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice” and “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55685

Cyber Command Launched. U.S. Strategic Command to Oversee Offensive Military Operations
Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a memorandum June 23 that announced the launch of U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). A scheme by securocrats in the works for several years, the order specifies that the new office will be a “subordinate unified command” under U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). According to the memorandum, CYBERCOM “will reach initial operating capability (IOC) not later than October 2009 and full operating capability (FOC) not later than October 2010.”…

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Pakistan: Deaths in ‘US drone’ raid
Aljazeera.net
Fifteen suspected militants have been killed and 30 wounded in an attack by unmanned US drone aircraft on Taliban targets near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Pakistan officials have said. Missiles struck a suspected training facility in an area controlled by Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader and al-Qaeda ally, in parts of South Waziristan on Friday, a Pakistani intelligence spokesperson said. A suspected militant hide-out in Kokat Khel was also hit…

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NEW YORKERS PROTEST THE PIRACY ON THE MEDITERRANEAN …… PHOTO ESSAY
Desertpeace
…On Wednesday afternoon, July 1st, hundreds of people gathered in NYC outside the Israeli Consulate to protest an act of piracy by the Israeli Navy. The navy attacked the Spirit of Humanity, a small boat flying the flag of Cyprus, in international waters, which was loaded with humanitarian supplies for the people of Gaza. The 21 aide workers were kidnapped and taken to Israel where they are still being held. One of the aide workers was Cynthia McKinney, former representative to the House of Representatives from Georgia and candidate for president on the Green Party ticket. The demonstration was called by NYC Councilmember Charles Barron and supported by several groups that oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestine and want justice for the Palestinian people. ..

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=55664

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