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URUK Net 4 August, 2009

Last updated: Friday, August 7, 2009 9:32

18.54 Minutes of a Soul Wound.
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
Someone forwarded me this very moving and powerful video. The four artists interviewed, summed up in 18.54 minutes, my three years of blogging. I have mentioned, referred, inferred to, in all of my previous posts — the Iraqi Soul. Yes I believe that there is a collective Soul of a People, in particular an ancient people like the Iraqis. I don’t want to say much. I invite you to watch closely this short documentary. Watch it closely with attention and listen to what is, and most importantly to what is not said…

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Impunity for Settlers, Prosecution for Palestinians: The Two Roles Secret Evidence Plays In the Israeli Justice System
Al-Haq
As a Palestinian human rights organisation committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq strongly condemns the decision of Israeli State Prosecutors to drop all charges against an Israeli settler who shot and wounded two Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron in December 2008…

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Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
Jeremy Scahill
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”..

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CIA director issues a warning to Congress
Bill Van Auken
In an extraordinary column published Sunday in the Washington Post, the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, issued a blunt warning to the US Congress to forego any investigation of the agency’s operations under the Bush administration. “I’ve become increasingly concerned that the focus on the past, especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action,” Panetta writes. In other words, accounting for the crimes of the past must not be allowed to interfere with the crimes of the present and the future…

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Shackles and Chains: America Leads the World Again
Chris Floyd
We have often talked here about the American gulag — not the far-flung prisons and “intense interrogation” chambers of the global militarist empire, where tens of thousands of captives languish, often without the slightest pretense of even a modicum of rights or legal process — but the countless human holding pens that glut the highways and byways of the sacred Homeland itself, where not thousands but literally millions of people are incarcerated in a brutal system of retribution, abuse and moral atrocity: a system increasingly geared to corporate profit; a seedbed and training ground for gangs and extremists; a breaker and stigmatizer of generation after generation of Americans. Yes, once again, the latest annual rankings of the world’s prison population are in, and, once again, 2008 found the good old US of A the winners by a country mile…

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The Anti-Empire Report
Keeping track of the empire’s crimes
by William Blum
If you catch the CIA with its hand in the cookie jar and the Agency admits the obvious — what your eyes can plainly see — that its hand is indeed in the cookie jar, it means one of two things: a) the CIA’s hand is in several other cookie jars at the same time which you don’t know about and they hope that by confessing to the one instance they can keep the others covered up; or b) its hand is not really in the cookie jar — it’s an illusion to throw you off the right scent — but they want you to believe it….

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Activists hold little hope for legal justice on Agent Orange
by An Dien & Jon Dillingham
A legal victory for Vietnamese Agent Orange victims is highly unlikely as the US government and chemical companies work only to protect themselves, several international activists have said. For Günter Giesenfeld, president of the Germany -Vietnam Friendship Association, the legal battle was exhausted as the US government would never officially implicate itself in so grave a crime. “A decision in favor of these victims would have been a decision declaring the US Army to have committed war crimes and the US government to be war criminals – a decision no US court never would dare to take,” said Giesenfeld…

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An Unholy Alliance
Pulse
I always talk about Israeli pacifists and their inability to see the barriers they place on the Palestinian road to justice, dignity, and human rights. Today I’d like to talk about a much more appalling occurrence; Amnesty International supporting Leonard Cohen’s breach of the boycott of Israel…

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In Kahrizak, we had to Lick the Water
Pedestrian
…Some they would only beat which was the best. They would keep others in solitary confinement. They would burn hands and feet inside hot tar [I personally know a distant acquitantance who has lost his left foot]. Some lost all their teeth. Most of those who come out of Kahrizak do not have all their teeth anymore. They would take the younger ones to the hanging pole, throw the rope around their neck, hang them for a second and then bring them back down. They kids would die and come to life again. And they were beating them the whole time and cursing. Those prisoners who were stronger did not even get the daily meals and would be forced to stay in their cells the longest and that’s when they had released a large number of mice in the cells and…

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64 Years Too Late and Not a Moment Too Soon
Tom Engelhardt & Frida Berrigan
…In Hiroshima, Little Boy’s huge fireball and explosion killed 70,000 to 80,000 people instantly. Another 70,000 were seriously injured. As Joseph Siracusa, author of Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction, writes: “In one terrible moment, 60% of Hiroshima… was destroyed. The blast temperature was estimated to reach over a million degrees Celsius, which ignited the surrounding air, forming a fireball some 840 feet in diameter.” Three days later, Fat Man exploded 1,840 feet above Nagasaki, with the force of 22,000 tons of TNT. According to “Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered,” a web resource on the bombings developed for young people and educators, 286,000 people lived in Nagasaki before the bomb was dropped; 74,000 of them were killed instantly and another 75,000 were seriously injured. In addition to those who died immediately, or soon after the bombings, tens of thousands more would succumb to radiation sickness and other radiation-induced maladies in the months, and then years, that followed…

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Iraq to introduce Internet censorship
The Online Lunchpail ™
…When the Bush regime installed a new government in Iraq, did you truly expect this new government to pay any heed to the free flow of ideas? Predictably, suppression of dissent has been a hallmark of the new puppet regime in Iraq. Now Iraq is tackling the Internet. Sameer al-Hasoon of Iraq’s communications ministry told the AP that all websites that “violate social morals” will be outlawed…

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Taliban rockets fired at embassies in Afghan capital
Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters
Taliban militants fired at least nine rockets at the Afghan capital before dawn on Tuesday in the biggest attack of its kind for several years, some landing near major Western embassies, police and witnesses said. Amid an escalation of violence before August 20 presidential elections, two rockets struck the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic area, home to both the US and British embassies as well as the headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the elections and have called on Afghans to boycott the ballot, the second direct presidential poll since the Islamists were toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001…

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It’s the Body Bags Stupid
By Iftekhar A. Khan
…Many who thought Obama would change US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan have been disappointed. Obama and Brown don’t formulate policies; reps of powerful interest groups do. How could Robert Gates, who outlasted Bush regime, take a U-turn on the AfPak strategy he himself devised? He has been at the centre stage of conceiving and planning the brutal military offensive Panther’s Claw in Helmand – Southern Afghanistan. Richard Holbrooke on the AfPak scene is another face for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld….

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Terrorism At Where There Is No Road To Afghanistan (EXCLUSIVE Report from Peshawar)
By Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai – Therearenosunglasses
Excellent report from eyewitness in Peshawar, detailing precisely the criminal negligence of both Pakistani and American governments in their transshipment of hazardous materiels (fuel, explosives and weaponry) through the narrow crowded back roads of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not only is Pakistan forced to submit to American demands upon it, but the people of Pakistan are paid in the currency of suffering and death for their peaceful acceptance of these outrages.

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Interview: What now for Fatah?
Aljazeera.net
…Hamas’ legitimacy is derived from its opposition to the Oslo accords, its 2006 election victory and the Israeli siege and war on Gaza. Through these it has gained more nationalist credentials, making it a real rival to Fatah. As a rival movement it stands to gain from Fatah’s demise but if you consider the broader interests of the Palestinian national movement, Hamas will eventually be weakened if Fatah splinters. It will make it an easier target for Israel and Hamas will realise that it cannot continue the struggle alone. The tragedy is that they are both engaged in a deadly power struggle supported by regional and international powers that are more interested in making the two parties totally submit rather than in supporting a movement that genuinely seeks Palestinian rights. Hamas’ refusal to allow Fatah representatives from the Gaza Strip to attend the conference is viewed, even by those within Fatah who support a partnership with Hamas, as an act intended to accelerate the death of Fatah. This is not to say that the PA can be exonerated for the arrest of Hamas leaders or cadres in the West Bank, regardless of the excuses they give for these arrests….

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The Black Hole of CMU: Muslims isolated in special US prisons
Karin Friedemann – thepeoplesvoice.org
Not much is known about the new federal prisons called Communications Management Units (CMUs), that house primarily Muslims and political activists, except that they are located in Terre Haute, Indiana and Marion, Illinois. Although the US government refuses to disclose the list of prisoners to the public, inmates include Enaam Arnaout, founder of Islamic charity Benevolence International Foundation, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, physician and founder of Iraqi charity Help the Needy, Ghassan Elashi, founder of Holy Land Foundation and CAIR Dallas, Randall Royer, Muslim civil rights activist, Yassin Aref, imam and Kurdish refugee, Sabri Benkahla, an American who was abducted the day before his wedding while studying in Saudi Arabia, and John Walker Lindh, an American convert to Islam who was captured in Afghanistan, plus some non-Muslim political activists. Most of these prisoners were falsely accused of terrorist offenses and then imprisoned for lesser charges but given sentences meant for serious terrorism-related crimes…

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Ghoul: Israeli leaders should stand trial for crimes against women prisoners
Palestinian Information Center
Minister of prisoners’ affairs Mohammed Al-Ghoul has said that Israeli leaders should stand trial as war criminals for their flagrant violations of Palestinian female prisoners’ rights. He told a press conference in Gaza on Monday that the number of female prisoners in Israeli occupation jails had reached 65 including three from the Gaza Strip, four from Jerusalem and the rest from the West Bank. Ghoul said that the Israeli prisons authority was preventing prisoners from visiting each other and corresponding with their families…

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Human rights report notes 200 arrests in Barta’ and 900 Palestinians in prison without family visits
PNN
Some 900 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived of family visitation for over two years. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report for the week of 23 through 29 July also notes this week that Israeli forces arrested 200 workers from Barta’a Village which is isolated by the Wall. A report by the Prisoners’ Society noted today that three Palestinians have just passed 17 years in Israeli prisons while Israeli forces arrested 312 Palestinians during month of July and 3,372 since beginning of the year…

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As US, NATO causalities mount
Pentagon to press for more troops in Afghan war
By Jerry White
Six American troops were killed in fighting in Afghanistan over the weekend, along with a French soldier and two Canadians. The spike in casualties follows the deaths of 74 NATO soldiers last month, including 43 Americans. July was the deadliest month for occupying troops since the invasion of Afghanistan eight years ago. Most of the deaths occurred in the south of the country—particularly in the Helmand province—where US and British forces launched an offensive last month. Three of the US deaths occurred in a roadside bombing in Kandahar province on Saturday. The same day, two Canadians were killed when an improvised bomb exploded near their patrol just west of Kandahar…

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Israel annexes Palestinian village near Jerusalem
Saed Bannoura
The Israeli Authorities annexed the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa by placing it on the map west of the Annexation Wall, and considered it part of Jerusalem. The decision means that the village would be isolated from the West Bank. The decision comes in contradiction with a decision issued by the Israeli government in 2006 in which it decided not to annex the village. Implementing the decision means that some 3000 Palestinians would be allowed to enter Israel without any permits, but would also be isolated from the West Bank…

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“Beiruti in Jaffa, Yafawi in Beirut”: Shafiq al-Hout’s story in his own words
Tribute, The Electronic Intifada
On Sunday, 2 August 2009, the celebrated journalist and founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Shafiq al-Hout passed away in Beirut, Lebanon at the age of 77. The following is part of Shafiq’s story as told to me as part of an oral history project conducted in Beirut in 1999. The project aimed to develop appropriate material for teaching English to Palestinian refugee children based on oral history interviews with five Palestinians old enough to remember their lives in Palestine before the 1948 dispossession. Shafiq was most enthusiastic about participating in the project, explaining, “They want to erase Palestine from the memory of the new generation, and anything I can do to fight that, I will be more than happy.” …

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