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URUK Net 25 August, 2009

Last updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:09

Wrist-slap and Tickle: Obama Goes Mild on CIA Torture
Chris Floyd
The American political world is shocked – shocked – to discover that the CIA has been torturing some of the victims seized, kidnapped, snatched and literally sold into captivity by America’s Terror Warriors. (Other captives have been tortured by the military, by hired contractors, and by various other organs of the security apparat.) This despite the fact that these tortures – including the threat to kill a captive’s children – have been known for years, reported in the mainstream media and in several books by well-regard writers with highly respectable publishing houses. (I’ve been writing about America’s torture regimen, in print and on-line, since early 2002, drawing almost entirely on these widely available sources.) None of the material now being released is “news” in the sense that it is new; but as always, it’s nice to have one more source of confirmation for these already multiply-confirmed high crimes….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57320

One year after Free Gaza arrives
Eva Bartlett, In Gaza
Yesterday, one year to the day of the Free Gaza movement’s historic landing at Gaza port (the 1st in over 40 years), various Palestinian NGOs and organizations held a press conference, calling for the siege on Gaza (over3 years! unbelieveable!!) to be halted, for humanitarian goods to enter, and for Gaza’s Palestinians to have a shot at the just life that so many of us outside Gaza enjoy. The first Free Gaza voyage brought 2 old boats (certainly no match for Israel’s state of the art, US-funded navy) and a random bunch of internationals with justice on their minds and Palestinians’ suffering in their hearts. Following that, 4 more voyages successfully docked in Gaza’s port, and another 3 were forcibly stopped by the Israeli occupation forces navy…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57317

The quest for a greater Israel
Settler ideology has made the sanctity of the land a central tenet and effectively turned the Palestinians into aliens on their own soil
Ian Black
It was Israel’s stunning military victory over its Arab enemies in 1967 that opened up Judea and Samaria – the Hebrew names for the West Bank and the heart of the biblical land of Israel (”the cradle of the nation”) for settlement by Jews. Naomi Shemer, Israel’s Vera Lynn, sang her haunting anthem “Jerusalem of Gold” – in a euphoric and for some almost messianic atmosphere in which peace with the newly occupied Palestinians was barely considered. The idea of “Greater Israel” (more accurately the “whole land of Israel”) appealed to both religious and secular rightwing nationalists who sought to fulfill divine commandments about the “beginning of redemption”, as well as create “facts on the ground” to enhance Israel’s security…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57315

‘Iraq Will Be A Colony of Iran’
Robert Dreyfuss
Iraq’s Shiite religious parties, most with ties to Iran, have reestablished a political bloc called the Iraqi National Alliance. Among its founders are Ahmad Chalabi, the revered darling of US neoconservatives such as Richard Perle and Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute; Muqtada al-Sadr, the brooding, mercurial mullah who has mysteriously retreated to Qom, Iran’s religious capital, for quick-study lessons on how to become an ayatollah; and, of course, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, one of the founders of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which has changed its name but not its spots. SCIRI, the anchor of the new coalition, is now called the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), but it still acts as an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which founded it in 1982, and its paramilitary Badr Brigade — also a part of the new Iraqi alliance — is a terrorist unit that operates pro-Iran death squads in Iraq. Let’s sort this out. First of all, although Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has so far opted not to join the pan-Shiite religious alliance, American Pollyannas who see Maliki as a nationalist, pro-American ally are wrong. Like the new INA alliance, Maliki is in thrall to the Iranians, too, only slightly less so…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57321

AFRICOM: Pentagon’s First Direct Military Intervention In Africa
by Rick Rozoff
The 2009 World Population Data Sheet published by the Washington, DC-based Population Reference Bureau states that the population of the African continent has surpassed one billion. Africans now account for over a seventh of the human race. Africa’s 53 nations are 28% of the 192 countries in the world. The size and location of the continent along with its human and natural resources – oil, natural gas, gold, diamonds, uranium, cobalt, chromium, platinum, timber, cotton, food products – make it an increasingly important part of a world that is daily becoming more integrated and interdependent. Africa is also the last continent to free itself from colonial domination…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57324

Boycotting the Claims of Benjamin Pogrund
By Frank Barat
Benjamin Pogrund piece, arguing that “Boycotts only harden Israeli opinion, is a groundbreaking work of distortion of history, denial of facts, propaganda, disinformation and could have been written by Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime minister of Israel. Benjamin Pogrund should know better. He is wrong on pretty much every single argument he makes. Apartheid entirely applies to the State of Israel policies towards the Palestinians. We are here talking about “The Crime of Apartheid” (as defined by the 2002 Rome statute of the International Criminal Court). “inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” It lists such crimes as murder, enslavement, deprivation of physical liberty, forced relocation, sexual violence, and collective persecution…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57330

Some Thoughts on the Hijab…
Layla Anwar, Uncensored Arabwomanblues
…So yes, the Hijab can be a form of protection for FREE women, distancing intruders and putting a barrier, a border between themselves and the intruding men. The Hijab on the other hand is NOT a tool by the men to enslave FREE women, by forcefully veiling them. This is not the primary CONTEXTUAL intention and meaning behind the Hijab. And between the initial intention and what men made out of it, lies a world of difference and a world of consequences…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57309

Internal CIA report shows agents tortured, killed prisoners
By Tom Eley
On Monday, the White House made public a heavily redacted version of a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inspector general’s report discussing cases of agency torture and murder of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The same day, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a federal prosecutor to investigate nearly a dozen cases of torture discussed in the report. Separately, an anonymous White House official told the media that the US would continue the practice of rendition, whereby terror suspects are abducted and sent to other nations to be interrogated under torture….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57313

Four US soldiers killed, making 2009 deadliest year for Nato in Afghanistan
The deaths of four US soldiers in Afghanistan means 2009 has become the bloodiest year for international troops since operations began in 2001.
Alexandra Topping
Four US soldiers with the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force were killed today in Afghanistan, making 2009 the deadliest year for coalition troops since operations began. These latest deaths bring the number of Nato soldiers killed since the start of the year to 295. In 2008, there were 294 coalition deaths…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57316

Iraq, Syria Recall Diplomats Over Baghdad Bombings
By Caroline Alexander
Iraq recalled its ambassador from Syria today and said the government in Damascus must give up two Saddam Hussein loyalists for allegedly organizing bombings in Baghdad last week that killed 95 people. Syria in turn recalled its envoy to Baghdad, saying that unless Iraq provides proof, it would consider the claims to have been fabricated for “political goals,” the state-owned Syrian Arab News Agency reported…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57319

The pitfalls of Palestinian national consciousness
Haidar Eid, The Electronic Intifada
The sixth congress of the Fatah movement, held in Bethlehem earlier this month, gave us a front row seat to the closing act of an important period of Palestinian nationalism. True, the conference was held on Palestinian soil, but, ironically, under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers. The failure of the Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fatah) to achieve any of its declared goals was symbolized in its holding the conference under occupation. This reflects not only the demise of Fatah — the faction that dominated the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for decades — but the general demise of contemporary Palestinian nationalism….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57322

What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report
Glenn Greenwald
I wrote earlier today about Eric Holder’s decision to “review” whether criminal prosecutions are warranted in connection with the torture of Terrorism suspects — that can be read here — but I want to write separately about the release today of the 2004 CIA’s Inspector General Report (.pdf), both because it’s extraordinary in its own right and because it underscores how unjust it would be to prosecute only low-level interrogators rather than the high-level officials who implemented the torture regime. Initially, it should be emphasized that yet again, it is not the Congress or the establishment media which is uncovering these abuses and forcing disclosure of government misconduct. Rather, it is the ACLU (with which I consult) that, along with other human rights organizations, has had to fill the void left by those failed institutions, using their own funds to pursue litigation to compel disclosure. Without their efforts, we would know vastly less than we know now about the crimes our government committed….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57326

PFLP: Ramadan is a holy month to defend Jerusalem
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -PFLP
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine greeted the Arab nation and Islamic world on the holy month of Ramadan, and called for Ramadan to be a month to defend occupied Jerusalem against the Zionist occupation policies. A PFLP spokesperson said on August 24, 2009 that the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference must shoulder their political, religious and national responsibilities to confront the occupation attacks upon occupied Jerusalem and its people. The Zionist enemy, the spokesperson said, is daily committing crimes – demolishing Arab homes, stealing their land and property by force of arms, and engaging in a determined policy of the Zionization of Jerusalem, through settlement construction and dispossession of Palestinians, utilizing the racist laws of the illegitimate occupation…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57318

Gaza we are Coming
Aljaeera.net
In August 2008, two wooden Greek ships laden with 44 activists from 17 different countries managed something no other vessel had in 41 years and broke the marine blockade that Israel has unilaterally imposed in Gaza, in contravention of international law. The mission was the brainchild of the Free Gaza Movement, founded in 2006, who realised that the only realistic way of breaking through the blockade was via the sea. However the project was fraught with delays and risks from the outset and in the words of Paul Larudee from the group: “This project died a thousand deaths and every time it was about to die someone, somebody new, stepped forward to save the project.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57314

U.S. Increasing Use of Private Contractors in War Zone
By Jeremy Scahill
The Department of Defense has released an updated census of Pentagon contractors deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and CENTCOM’s area of operations. The overall number of contractors in the third quarter of 2009 increased slightly from 243,000 to 244,000, which means that private forces continue to constitute about half of the total US force deployed in these two wars. Two other statistics jump out. First, in Iraq, the DoD reports that there was “a 19 % increase (from 10,743 to 13,232) of armed DoD PSCs in Iraq compared to the 2nd quarter FY 2009 census.” The DoD says the “increase can be attributed to an increased need for PSCs to provide security as the military begins to drawdown forces and to our continued improved ability to account for subcontractors who are providing security services.” In other words, less soldiers means more mercenaries in Iraq…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57325

Open Letter to Kenneth Roth
Why has Human Rights Watch Fallen Silent on Honduras?
Various undersigned
We are deeply concerned by the absence of statements and reports from your organization over the serious and systematic human rights abuses that have been committed under the Honduran coup regime over the past six weeks. It is disappointing to see that in the weeks since July 8, when Human Rights Watch issued its most recent press release on Honduras, that it has not raised the alarm over the extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions, physical assaults, and attacks on the press – many of which have been thoroughly documented – that have occurred in Honduras, in most cases by the coup regime against the supporters of the democratic and constitutional government of Manuel Zelaya. We call on your organization to fulfill your important role as a guardian of universal human rights and condemn, strongly and forcefully, the ongoing abuses being committed by the illegal regime in Honduras. We also ask that you conduct your own investigation of these crimes…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57329

ISRAEL THRIVES ON ‘BEING THE VICTIM’
Desertpeace
…A big tempest in a tea pot is brewing as Israel and Sweden enter a diplomatic fray because a Swedish newspaper suggested investigations are needed on cases of removal of organs from Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. There has been thousands of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli forces and families in many cases explain how the injured and killed are taken to medical facilities and returned ordered to be buried immediately without uncovering why their bodies were opened “for autopsies” and stitched back with missing organs. Now there are so many documented Israeli atrocities and I do believe it is important that activists get their stories right before adding another to the long list of (far better) documented atrocities. There have been well-documented massacres, ethnic cleansing, use of white phosphorous on civilians, mass execution, torture, extrajudicial execution, bombing of crowded refugee camps, and many more. So I will not here add to this storm. I did notice missing from the discussion the fact that Israeli authorities themselves have acknowledged at least one pathologist harvesting organs but that story from 2002 was never followed up and we do not know what happened to this investigations (like hundreds of other “investigations” before it)…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57312

Israeli airstrike kills three in Gaza
Ma’an News
Israeli airstrikes overnight on a smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah killed two Palestinians and injured nine others. According to medical sources Nael Ali Batiniji, 22, and Mansour Ali Batiniji, 32, and Ibrahim Batiniji 24, arrived dead at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. The three were brothers. Rescue workers were still searching for more bodies in the rubble of the tunnel. The medics also said nine people were taken to hospitals in ambulances after the strike…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57311

Video: Palestinians object to ‘alternative homeland’ plan
AlJazeeraEnglish
Israeli politicians have proposed making Jordan an alternative home for Palestinians as part of a Middle East peace deal. But many of Jordan’s two million Palestinian refugees object to the plan and there appears little likelihood that Jordanian officials would agree. Al Jazeera’s Nisreen el-Shamayleh, reports from Jordan, on the Palestinians right to return and the reaction to the Israeli proposal…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57323

Homeless and Struggling In New Orleans
On the Fourth Anniversary of Katrina, New Orleans is Still Far From Recovery
by Jordan Flaherty
Crawling through a hole in a fence and walking through an open doorway, Shamus Rohn and Mike Miller lead the way into an abandoned Midcity hospital. They are outreach workers for the New Orleans organization UNITY for the Homeless, and they do this all day long; searching empty houses and buildings for homeless people, so they can offer services and support. “We joke about having turned criminal trespass into a fulltime job,” says Rohn….

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57327

Attacks cripple Iraq’s national grid
By Ali Latif, Azzaman
Iraqis enjoy 2 hours a day of electricity amid soaring temperatures and deteriorating security conditions. Attacks now target public utilities, mainly power plants, aggravating conditions for an already rickety national grid…Attacks like these are routinely blamed on al-Qaeda or supporters of the Baath party which ruled the country prior to the 2003-U.S. invasion. But government officials, speaking on the strict condition of anonymity, say the attacks cannot be “distanced from the current political status quo.” With the elections scheduled early 2010, the officials say the perpetrators could be trying to “undermine” the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and reduce his chances for re-election…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=57328

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