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URUK Net 17 August, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:26

Targeting Iraq’s LGBT community and Iraq’s press
The Common Ills
In Iraq, who’s not under assault? The ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ overseen by puppet Nouri al-Maliki never drifts over to the religious minorities or the LGBT community or the Iraqi press. Two of those groups are in the new cyle this morning: the LGBT community and the press. Picking up from last night, a new report from Human Rights Watch will be released today (click here for Ernesto Londono’s Washington Post report). This morning the BBC adds of the report, “The report says members of the Mehdi Army militia group is spearheading the campaign, but police are also accused even though homosexuality is legal. Witnesses say vigilante groups break into homes and pick people up in the street, interrogating them to extract the names of other potential victims, before murdering them.” CNN notes, “Interviews with doctors indicate hundreds of men had been killed, but the exact number was unclear because of the stigma associated with homosexuality in Iraq, the New York-based watchdog group said in its report.” BBC correspondent Natalia Antelava interviewed gay men in Baghdad who report that no attempts are made by security forces to stop the assaults against them…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57042

New Israeli rules curb travel from West Bank
Jonathan Cook
In an echo of restrictions already firmly in place in Gaza, Israel has begun barring movement between Israel and the West Bank for anyone holding a foreign passport, including humanitarian aid workers and thousands of Palestinian residents. The new policy is designed to force foreign citizens to choose between visiting Israel, including East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed illegally, and the West Bank. In most cases, travel between the two areas will no longer be possible. The new regulation is in breach of Israel’s commitments under the Oslo accords to western governments that their citizens would be given continued access to the occupied territories…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57046

Video allegedly shows British soldier abusing Iraqis
CNN
As British authorities prepare to resume an inquiry into a hotel clerk’s death in Basra while held by British soldiers in 2003, a video has emerged allegedly showing a British soldier abusing Iraqi prisoners. The video shows Cpl. Donald Payne, formerly of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, swearing and yelling at bound and hooded Iraqi prisoners as he orders them to stay in “stress positions” — in this case, holding themselves in seated positions by leaning their backs against a wall while stretching out their arms, wrists bound with white plastic cuffs. As one man after another slumps to the floor, Payne jerks them back to the position and yells at them. “Get up! Get up! Get up!” he yells at one man as groans can be heard…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57050

Journalism in the dumps
Iqbal Tamimi, Palestine Think Tank
Mostafa, an unemployed Palestinian refugee from Albaqaa camp in Jordan, unfolds a crumbled page of an old magazine in an attempt to read the stale news dated three years ago. This routine ritual comes usually after eating his falafel meal that was wrapped with the page. This is the only way someone suffering from poverty like Mostafa can read some news. It is common practice that the poisonous ink of the print hugs the meals of the poor in Jordan, where the 250 fills paid for the lowest-priced newspaper can buy such a humble vegetarian meal, described as “the kebabs of the poor.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57041

Gaza: Children Have a Way With Miracles
By Mohammed Omer
Call it that choice between looking at the half-full or half-empty part of the results. And it is almost half; 55 percent of schoolchildren passed their exams in Gaza this year. The results in the humanities section in the exams, the Tawjihis as they are called, were 4 percent better than last year, and in the sciences they were better by 2 percent. So much for the impact of the Israeli bombardment last December-January, on most of the children anyway…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57039

Field, Place, Trajectory
By Milad S., via Revolutionary Flowerpot Society
We are witnessing a gradual transformation and redirecting of the slogans. It took less than two months for the people to move from the annulment of the elections to the collective realization that the real nature and the legal framework of this republic are the real obstacles in the way of the movement. The more elaborate forms of mass meetings, organization of thousands of small cells, the increase in capabilities for printing and distributing nightly fliers and news bulletins — these are all indicative of a widened field for movement. With the joining in of different regions, the movement is also redefined at each stage: the widening of the local protests against Naziabad, 17th of Shahrivar (southern neighborhood of Tehran with a dominantly poor population), is an example of the spreading of the struggle from neighborhood to neighborhood…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57048

Afghanistan: Four ISAF soldiers killed as polls loom
AKI
With violence on the rise ahead of this week’s elections, four more soldiers from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been killed in roadside bomb attacks. Three soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said on Monday. A fourth soldier perished in a similar attack in the east, the multinational force said on Monday. Military chiefs have insisted British troops in Afghanistan are “undeterred” by the violence, despite the UK military death toll having reached 204 with the deaths of three British soldiers in a blast on Sunday while on patrol near Sangin in the Taliban stronghold of southern Helmand province…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57043

The Colorado Springs Soldier-Murders, Guy Harvey Baker and the Hidden Costs of War
Gary G. Kohls, MD – thepeoplesvoice.org
Given the sobering realities of horrific war crimes over in Iraq followed by rapes, murders and suicides in Colorado Springs, CO, by members of the U S Army’s Fourth Infantry Division, Fourth Brigade www.gazette.com it is well to re-examine an old case of a similar nature perpetrated by an unfortunate ex-Marine who was also trained to kill without mercy or remorse. What happened in St. Paul MN in August of 1994 should have been a premonition of things to come and proof that the Pentagon hasn’t really learned anything since Vietnam…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57044

What Motivates the Zionists “Israel, Palestine or Money”
Irish4Palestine
A lesson in what motivates Zionists. No outcry from Israeli officials over the monumental civilian deaths they caused, no anger over the innocent Palestinian children they killed, no outrage over the thousands of illegal home evictions, no outcry over the millions in refugee camps, no outcry over punishing an entire population, no outcry over the illegal use of white phosphorous and DIME missiles, no outcry over the settlers burning acres of Palestinian land, no outrage over separating entire families for generations, no outcry over racist messages scrawled inside Palestinian homes in Gaza, no outrage over people dying every day because they can’t get to a proper hospital, no outrage over the children who are orphaned, no outrage over Israel’s refusal to make peace…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57045

Why Do We Embrace Zionists Like Uri Avnery?
Umkahlil
It never ceases to amaze me that Palestinians promote Zionist writers and thinkers. Case in point is Uri Avnery, a man who has never renounced Zionism; in fact, he is a proud Zionist. Helena Cobban in Counterpunch points out that Avnery seems to plead with Dov Yermiya, who recently renounced Zionism, to reconsider. Avnery, who obviously knows better or should know better if he could get beyond his tribal affinity, writes about a vision of Zionism that was in its incipient stages more “idealistic.” One wonders what’s idealistic about a state built upon the ruins of another culture and civilization; one wonders what’s idealistic and laudable about a state which has refugees at its gates seeing Jews from all over the world reaping the benefits from ill gotten gains, yet Avnery rivals the best of the Zionist proselytizers…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57047

Nonviolent direct action, solidarity and struggle
Ramzi Kysia
A year ago, 44 ordinary people from 17 different countries sailed to Gaza in two small wooden boats. We did what our governments would not do — we broke through the Israeli siege. During the last year the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven more voyages, successfully arriving to Gaza on five separate occasions. Regardless of Israeli threats and intimidation, Free Gaza volunteers will continue sailing unarmed boats to Gaza. Ours remain the only international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in more than 42 years. By directly challenging the Israeli military with our small boats, we have concretely demonstrated that this siege has nothing whatsoever to do with security and is simply an illegal act of collective punishment.

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57038

Hillary Clinton seeks to strengthen US imperialism’s position in Africa
By Ann Talbot
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 11-day tour of Africa took in seven countries across the continent. Following on from President Obama’s trip to Ghana, her visit highlights his administration’s intention to strengthen the US position in Africa against the challenge of its rivals. “It’s where his blood comes from,” she said, echoing Obama’s words in Ghana when he drew attention to his African ancestry. In what has become a mantra, she ignored the effects of centuries of depredation and looting and blamed Africa’s present impoverished condition on the lack of “good governance.” She made no acknowledgement of the US role in establishing the corrupt regimes that govern Africa today. Nor did she refer to the part that US-based companies play in feeding the Swiss bank accounts of African politicians and generals…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57037

Reinventing No Child Left Behind
Stephen Lendman
Enacted on January 8, 2002, the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act’s (NCLB) sponsors claimed it would close the achievement gap between inner city and rural schools and more affluent suburban ones by setting high reading and math standards, then testing to assure they’re achieved. However, the law’s real aim is to commodify public education, end government responsibility for it, and make it another business profit center. Renewing NCLB stalled in both houses of Congress for good reason. It’s long on testing, school choice, and market-based reforms, but short on real achievement. It’s built around rote learning, standardized tests, requiring teachers to teach to the test, assessing results by Average Yearly Progress (AYP) scores, and punishing failure by firing teachers and principals, closing schools, and transforming them from public to charter or for-profit ones…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57036

Afghanistan: Growing resistance to the ‘40-year war’
by Simon Assaf
The US military has admitted that the Afghan resistance is spreading across the country. US General Stanley McChrystal, who is presenting a strategic assessment of the occupation, warned that the insurgency has spread from its traditional areas to other parts of the country. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, McChrystal said, “We’ve got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It’s hard work.” His warning came as fighters stormed a government building Pul-i-Alam, near the Afghan capital, Kabul…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57040

Still Funding Blackwater Mercenaries
Valerie Jarrett: Trust Obama on Blackwater
Jeremy Scahill
President Obama’s senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett, was confronted over the weekend with the fact that the administration continues contracting with the scandal-plagued mercenary firm Blackwater (which now does business as Xe Services and US Training Center). “He has to balance national security with transparency and I bet with him. I bet with him and I’m asking you to trust him,” Jarrett told a raucous crowd Saturday at the NetRoots Nation conference in Pittsburgh. Jarrett was directly asked why Obama keeps paying millions of dollars to Blackwater—a question which received substantial applause and which Jarrett failed to directly answer. Instead, she appealed to a commitment of faith in Obama by activists and bloggers…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57035

Israel’s state-sponsored injustice
Seth Freedman
Within an hour of arriving at the Palestinian hamlet of Susiya, the local settlers decided to make an unwelcome appearance on the farmers’ land, shattering the calm of dusk as the sun set over the Judean hills. The intruders drove their sheep all the way to the edge of the Palestinians’ encampment, encouraging their animals to gorge themselves on the sparse flora belonging to their neighbours’ flocks. Watching a crime take place is never pleasant for onlookers, but the experience is made infinitely worse when there is no recourse whatsoever to ameliorate the situation. In more tolerant and equitable societies, witnesses can pick up the phone and call the authorities, in the hope and expectation that the police will intervene on behalf of the victim and right the wrong being committed. But when the very security forces meant to deal out justice are standing alongside the criminals and providing armed cover for their actions, the sense of disbelief and disaffection with the status quo is off the scale…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57034

Friday Demonstration in Bil’in Was Attacked With Tear Gas and “Chara” By the Israeli Military
Bryan, The Alternative Information Center
The village of Bil’in near Ramallah demonstrated last Friday, as on every Friday, against the illegal military occupation, the segregation Wall, and for the release of 18 local activists, who are still under arrest together with the two leaders of the Bil’in Popular Committee, Mohammed al-Khatib and Adib Abu Rahma. Supported by a crowd of internationals and Israeli activists, last Friday’s demonstration involved up to 400 participants…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57033

A Palestinian man dies due to the Israeli siege on Gaza, death toll stands at 344
Ghassan Bannoura – IMEMC
A Palestinian man was reported dead on Monday after he was unable to leave the Gaza Strip for the life saving medical care he needed. 44 year old Umar Al Sha’er had kidney failure he needed medical care outside the Gaza Strip because doctors there do not have the needed medical equipments needed to save his life…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57032

The families of Gaza profit from bunny business
Independent
The shrapnel holes in the wall behind her underline why Subheya Motawe, her husband and their 15 children were forced to escape from their four-room home in this central Gaza village last January. With no time to grab most of their possessions, Mrs Motawe, 52, had the presence of mind to at least take the most valuable one before fleeing: a pregnant female rabbit. After the family returned home at the end of the Israeli military’s assault on Gaza, the doe gave birth to a healthy litter. Which was just as well since most of the family’s other 24 rabbits were casualties of Operation Cast Lead – either directly because of bombardment or indirectly because Mrs Motawe hadn’t been able to leave the house to get feed or clean water for them. With the new offspring, Mrs Motawe had the nucleus she needed to make a fresh start…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57049

PCHR Condemns Bloody Clashes in Rafah;
28 Persons Killed and at Least 100 Others Wounded
PCHR – Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
On Friday afternoon, bloody confrontations erupted between the police and the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) on one side and members of an armed group known as “Soldiers of Allah’s Supporters” on the other side. The clashes continued until Saturday morning, taking lives of at least 28 persons and wounding more than 100 others, some of whom sustained serious wounds. The dead include 3 civilians, 3 police officers, 3 members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades and 8 members of the armed group, including its leader, Sheikh ‘Abdul Latif Mousa…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57031

Expired and Expiring Ideas in Palestine-Israel Conflict
By Dina Jadallah
Now more than ever, it is necessary to state caveats when using words. In some cases, the caveats have expanded so greatly, that there is little space left for the original meaning. Politically, this means that while some words and ideas refuse to die, they have become denuded of meaning and merely serve as tools of statecraft. Others are dead and buried but are then retrieved and presented as if they are still viable. In an effort to wipe the lipstick off the proverbial pig, I’ll present a few examples of expired and expiring ideas in the Palestine-Israel conflict . Some of these ideas are blatantly dead. Everyone knows they’re dead. And yet the powers that be prop them up and use them as a means of controlling the population or as justification to conduct “negotiations,” also known as endless concessions…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57029

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