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URUK Net 20 August, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:29

In The Heat…
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
Listen guys, I think am losing it… My body is here, my mind and heart are not. Been trying to get through to Baghdad, to no avail. She hears me not. The sound of my phone ring is drowned, drowned in Her screams… I don’t know who, but someone slammed the door earlier on, I jumped from my seat… I left the house, shortly after, and went to the living – inhaling living spirits like some asphyxiated patient on an oxygen mask. Someone thumped his fists on a table, I jumped off my seat again… I returned home, to my familiar dwellings, where the walls smell of solitude and silence, my cocoon away from the living…the living dead…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57149

Obama’s Unspoken Trade-Off: Dead US/NATO Occupation Troops versus Dead Afghan Civilians?
by Marc W. Herold
Buried in the public relations blather of U.S. Marine legions “liberating” Helmand and Afghan (sham) “elections” as democracy-restored is an unspoken trade-off over who disproportionately dies in America’s modern wars in the Third World. Under George W. Bush, U.S politico-military elites chose to fight the Afghan war with minimal regard for so-called collateral casualties. But the soaring toll of killed Afghan civilians swayed world public opinion and stoked the Afghan resistance as grieved Afghan family members sought revenge. Enter Barack Obama. Faced with the prospect of NATO forces being withdrawn as restless NATO country citizens mobilized against the war, the Obama war machine took the decision to trade-off (mostly) lower-class U.S. “volunteer” soldiers from rural America for fewer rural Afghan civilians killed. The decision had nothing to do with valuing Afghan lives and everything to do with a careful political calculation. In outlying areas such as in the Pakistan borderlands or in isolated rural areas of Afghanistan, Obama’s war machine cavalierly slaughters innocent civilians with the same impunity and at the same rate as his maligned predecessor did as drone strikes in Pakistan and U.S air strikes in Farah and Logar have demonstrated…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57153

Stuggling against poverty
by Noor El Swairki
“Is it fair for the poor to be poorer?” queried a bitter Hanan, while cleaning one of the windows where she works. Hanan, like many other women living in the Gaza strip, has taken up work as a housekeeper since the war ended. Hanan’s husband has been unable to find work, which has left her being the main provider in the household. Her household consists of her husband and nine children. They live in a rented apartment, since their own home was destroyed. While her daughter will graduate next year, Hanan fears she will not be able to find work and will join the growing number of the jobless in the Gaza strip…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57152

Blackwater: CIA Assassins?
Jeremy Scahill
In April 2002, the CIA paid Blackwater more than $5 million to deploy a small team of men inside Afghanistan during the early stages of US operations in the country. A month later, Erik Prince, the company’s owner and a former Navy SEAL, flew to Afghanistan as part of the original twenty-man Blackwater contingent. Blackwater worked for the CIA at its station in Kabul as well as in Shkin, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where they operated out of a mud fortress known as the Alamo. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Blackwater, Prince and the CIA. Now the New York Times is reporting that in 2004 the CIA hired Blackwater “as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57156

Media freedoms organization says it was singled out by Hamas government after criticizing policy
PNN
The Information Ministry of the Hamas government issued a statement from the Gaza Strip against critics of its recent decision to ban the press from Rafah hospitals during the fight between Hamas security and the Islamic group calling for an “Islamic emirate.” The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said that it was one of the organizations targeted by the Hamas criticism…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57154

Iraqis blame bombings on political infighting
By Muhanad Mohammed, Reuters
…Wednesday’s explosions struck at the heart of Iraqi state power, close to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone complex, damaging the finance and foreign ministries nearby. The scale of the security lapses fostered political conspiracy theories. “The reason for the blasts was political infighting, and the Iraqi people are the victims,” said shopper Munther al-Lamy at a deserted downtown market that is normally a sea of people. “Security forces at these checkpoints were loyal to particular parties, which is why they let the attacks happen.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57150

Poll: Only 12 percent of Israelis believe Obama supports Israel
DPA
Only 12 percent of Israelis believe U.S. President Barack Obama’s policies are supportive of Israel, according to a poll released on Thursday. The poll was conducted jointly by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Police and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It was conducted between August 9 and 15. The poll also found that 64 per cent of Palestinians still feel Obama’s policy is more supportive of Israel, while 40 per cent of Israelis think it is more support of the Palestinians…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57151

August 20, 2009: 40 Iraqis Killed, 223 Wounded
Margaret Griffis
A series of bombings just south of Baghdad in Babel province has killed or wounded over 200 people just a day after a similar series of attacks in Baghdad. Unlike the ones in Baghdad, the blasts did not seem to target government buildings. At least three blasts were reported in Mussayab and Mahaweel, but reports are still sketchy. Overall, at least 40 Iraqis were killed and 223 more were wounded across the country. The holy month of Ramadan begins tomorrow with the sighting of the crescent moon…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57157

Iraq’s Brutal War on Gays: Another “Extraordinary Achievement” of American Militarism
Chris Floyd
…when you destroy a society by aggressive war, when you kill more than one million innocent people (out of a total population of 25 million: a kill rate of one out of every 25 Iraqis), when you dispossess four million innocent people, when you join with your local puppets in a savage war of ethnic cleansing, when through invasion and prior years of near-genocidal sanctions you eviscerate one of the most secular states in the Middle East, when you empower violent religious extremists to further your own agenda of domination, this is what you get: the eruption of the human mind’s most savage instincts and blind fears, set loose in a maelstrom of degradation. And still, the urbane, educated, civilized, “progressive” president can stand before the world and declare that America’s military rapine of Iraq is “an extraordinary achievement.”

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57141

CIA Hired Private Military Firm Blackwater for Secret Assassination Program
Democracy Now!
The New York Times is reporting the CIA hired contractors from Blackwater in 2004 as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of al-Qaeda. The CIA spent several million dollars on the program, which the Times claims did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects. We speak to independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, author of the bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57138

Anti-gay gangs terrorise Iraq
Scott Long
Who rules Iraq? If you ask Baghdad officials or the Obama administration’s proconsuls, they will tell you: a democratically elected Iraqi government, a triumphant product of the “purple revolution” that reflects the will of Iraq’s people. If you ask Mashal, a shopkeeper from Baghdad’s al-Sha’ab neighbourhood, he has a different answer. “Four men came into the shop,” he told us about one awful evening in April. “They pulled out guns. They were the Mahdi army. “The place they took me to was very close to a mosque or actually in the courtyard – I could hear the call to prayer very clearly. When they hauled me out of the car, they beat me unconscious. “Late the next day, they came to me and said, ‘We know you are gay.’ They pulled out a list of names and started reading them … I knew four who were still alive. One they had already killed. “They interrogated me for three hours that night. They demanded I give them names of other gays. At night they got a broomstick. They used it to rape me.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57135

Karzai and Warlords Mount Massive Vote Fraud Scheme
Gareth Porter,
…The socio-political structure of Afghanistan remains so hierarchical that warlords can deliver very large blocs of votes to Karzai by telling their followers to vote for him, and in some provinces – especially in the Pashtun south – by forcing local tribal elders to cooperate in voter fraud schemes. The system in which warlords pressure tribal elders to deliver the vote for Karzai was illustrated by a village elder in Herat province who said he had been threatened by a local commander with “very unpleasant consequences” if the residents of his village did not vote for Karzai, according to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57128

Gaza mothers, newborns affected by Israeli blockade
IRIN news
Inadequate infrastructure, lack of equipment and a shortage of hospital staff are contributing to the deterioration of hospital care for mothers and newborns in Gaza, according to a July 2009 assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem. WHO attributes the dismal state of Gaza’s healthcare system to the Israeli blockade since June 2007, when Hamas took over control of the territory. “The Israeli blockade affects the supply of medical equipment and conditions in the maternity wards, and perpetuates the isolation of healthcare professionals, making it difficult to maintain international standards of practice,” said Tony Laurence, head of the WHO West Bank and Gaza Office in Jerusalem…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57144

Afghanistan’s gunpoint election
James Cogan
By any measure, today’s presidential election in Afghanistan is a travesty. The poll takes place under conditions of a continuing foreign military occupation to prop up a puppet government that is notorious for its human rights abuses, corruption and failure to provide for the basic needs of the vast majority of the population. The incumbent president and leading contender, Hamid Karzai, who was installed in office in 2002 by the US, is widely despised by the Afghan people. Excluded from the field of major candidates is anyone who opposes the US-NATO occupation, despite the fact that it is opposed by a large majority of the population, particularly in the southern Pashtun region, where Taliban influence is strong. Karzai’s leading rival and former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, was previously a spokesman for the Northern Alliance militias that helped the US topple the Taliban….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57125

Guantanamo’s ‘more evil twin’?
By Andrew Wander
It is a US-run prison built from scratch on an US military base to hold “enemy combatants” captured in the so-called “war on terror”. Those imprisoned there have never been charged with a crime, nor do they have any meaningful way of challenging their detention. The inmates allege abuse at the hands of their captors, ranging from sleep deprivation to brutal beatings. And no, it is not Guantanamo Bay. The Bagram Theatre Internment Facility lies on a sprawling US military complex, 40km northeast of the Afghan capital Kabul. It holds almost three times as many prisoners as Guantanamo and, as its better-known Cuban counterpart prepares to close, the Bagram prison is about to double in size…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57127

Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory No. 33/2009 (13 – 19 August 2009)
PCHR – Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (13 – 19 August 2009): Shooting: On 14 August 2009, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats opposite to Rafah beach. As a result, a 12-year-old Palestinian child, who was at the beach, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head. During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank. A number of demonstrators also suffered from the inhalation of an unknown substance used by Israeli forces in Bal’ein village, west of Ramallah. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes bombarded the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt allegedly to destroy smuggling tunnels…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57133

Four US soldiers killed in Afghanistan
AFP
Four US soldiers were killed in attacks in southern Afghanistan, the military said Thursday, with security forces on alert for violence during voting in presidential and provincial elections. Three were killed in attacks in the south on Wednesday while a fourth died in a mortar attack in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, the International Security Assistance Force said. The new deaths added to a mounting death toll for international troops in Afghanistan that has reached 50 this month, according to a toll maintained by the independent icasualties.org group…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57140

British troops forced to destroy their own Chinook after it is brought down ‘by enemy fire’ in Afghanistan
MailOnline
British troops have been forced to destroy their own multi-million pound Chinook helicopter after it was brought down in Afghanistan today, possibly by enemy fire. The helicopter crew escaped injury after their Chinook was forced to make an emergency landing in Afghanistan following an engine fire, the Ministry of Defence said today…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57147

JCSER: “Israel is forcing Palestinians in Jerusalem to demolish their own homes”
Saed Bannoura
The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economical Rights (JSCER) issued a press release stating that the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem are forcing Jerusalemite Palestinians to demolish their own homes. The JCSER said that the Israeli authorities forced 18 Palestinians families to demolish their homes since last July rendering 136, mainly women and children, homeless. The residents are forced to do so because if the Jerusalem municipality demolishes their homes using its equipment and workers it sends them the bill. Usually the bill mounts to dozens of thousands of Israeli Shekels…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57134

Bilin’s unwavering spirit of resistance
Jody McIntyre writing from Bilin, occupied West Bank
The Ofer military base is not an easy place to get into. But after most of my friends and the father of the family I was living with, Mohammed Khatib (also a leading member of the Bilin Popular Committee) were arrested in a brutal night raid on the occupied West Bank village of Bilin, I was determined to go to their court hearing. Unfortunately, the taxi driver dropped me off at the wrong entrance. Four menacing Israeli soldiers faced me, and they did not look pleased at my presence…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57132

Give Me No Liberty, Give Me Death: Innocence is No Defense
Chris Floyd
Scott Horton at Harper’s points out two recent cases that underline a central tenet of perhaps the the most powerful and pervasive factions in America’s judicial history: the “movement conservatives” who largely congregate in the Federalist Society, and whose god and high priest is the radical extremist and torture apologist, Antonin Scalia. And what is that central tenet? That the need of the state to put its citizens to death outweighs and overrules the actual innocence of wrongfully convicted individuals….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57131

Boycott Israel
by Neve Gordon
Israeli newspapers this summer are filled with angry articles about the push for an international boycott of Israel. Films have been withdrawn from Israeli film festivals, Leonard Cohen is under fire around the world for his decision to perform in Tel Aviv, and Oxfam has severed ties with a celebrity spokesperson, a British actress who also endorses cosmetics produced in the occupied territories. Clearly, the campaign to use the kind of tactics that helped put an end to the practice of apartheid in South Africa is gaining many followers around the world…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57130

Family of critically-injured US peace activist vows lawsuit after Israel denies responsibility
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC
Israel has declared the shooting of US peace activist Tristan Anderson by Israeli forces at a non-violent protest in March to be “an act of war”. Under this classification, the Israeli government says that they have no responsibility for critically injuring the activist by firing a high-velocity tear gas canister at his head. In response, Anderson’s parents have submitted a notice of intent to file a lawsuit against the Israeli government, and have submitted a formal complaint with the Israeli Department of Defense…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57129

Congress Shirks its Responsibility, Allows White House to Make Wars
by Sherwood Ross
On occasion, critics of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have questioned, with good reason, whether the American war in Afghanistan has been carried far beyond what Congress authorized. This raises a fundamental question that has bedeviled the country since 1950. Although the Constitution requires Congress to make the decision to go to war and to decide the kind of war to be fought (navel, land, air), since the Korean conflict it has largely abdicated that responsibility to the president, says a law school dean and authority on the issue. The result has been more frequent (and frequently misguided) wars, than there would have been had Congress done its duty…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57148

Israeli forces continue to target the leadership of Palestinian non-violent resistance
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
Once again the night in Bil’in was disrupted by a raid ending with the arrest of one the members of the Village’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. This occurred the night after the childrens demonstration where the children had chanted slogans like “We want to sleep,” “Stop the night raids”. The house of Bil’in Popular Committee member and vice president of the Bil’in village council, Mohammad Abu Rahma, (age 50), known by his friends as Abu Nizar, was raided shortly before 2am on Thursday morning. About 25 soldiers with their faces painted in black had come to the village on foot…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57142

Are We Really Cattle?
Peter Chamberlin
Have we really become “We the sheeple,” or are we still human beings? The planet is dying under the thrall of a small minority of men who think of the rest of the human race as “cattle,” livestock for them to buy and sell. The ruling class behaves much like a spoiled child, if they don’t get to have everything their way all of the time, they throw this massive temper tantrum and threaten to upset the whole game. They have gotten their way in everything for so long that they have fallen under the spell of their own propaganda. They believe that we are sub-human animals, who should be herded into the best outcome possible. But, have the rest of us begun to accept this as well?…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57143

HEYET Strongly Denounced Explosions
Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI/HEYET)
The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (HEYET) strongly condemned the criminal bombings in the capital Baghdad which killed and wounded hundreds of innocent Iraqis. The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (HEYET) said in the statement: “What remains from the perpetrators at the bloods of Iraqis are their unjust crimes without any dignity, honor, conscience or religion…They are ignoring all positive calls from all the sons of this country for the sanctity of shedding innocent blood, healing the wounds and cleansing the soul from the taint of occupation and its aides. “…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57145

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Desertpeace
In the streets of every major city in Israel the gay community calls out for acceptance and equality. Recent events in Tel Aviv demonstrate that their plight is a legitimate one….. but are their goals to be achieved when they themselves discriminate against sections of their own community? Apparently, the Palestinians involved in this community are not only discriminated against by the racist Israelis, but also by the racists in the gay community as well….. in reality, they are ’second class citizens’ two times over! read about it below…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57137

More than half of America against the war in Afghanistan for first time
By Mail Foreign Service
More than half of America is against the war in Afghanistan for the first time, a poll has revealed. Fifty-one per cent of those polled now say the war is not worth fighting, an increase of five percentage points in five months. At the same time, the number of those in favour of the U.S. presence in the region has slumped to a meagre 32 per cent…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57139

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