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URUK Net 16 November, 2009

Last updated: Thursday, November 19, 2009 10:58

Channel 4 Dispatches investigates The pro-Israel lobby in Britain: FULL TEXT
Middle East Monitor
November 16, 2009 – … The Conservative Friends of Israel is beyond doubt the best connected, and probably the best funded, of all Westminster lobbying groups. Eighty percent of Conservative MPs are members. The leader of the Conservative Party is often expected to appear at their events, while the shadow foreign secretary and his team are subjected to persistent pressure by the CFI. CFI’s director, Stuart Polak, is a familiar face in Westminster and well-known to everyone in the Tory establishment. Robert Halfon, the CFI’s political director and Tory candidate for Harlow, is sometimes regarded as the brains of the operation. Both are well-liked by Tory MPs…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60134

Iraq abuse was widespread, says convicted ex-soldier
By Sam Marsden, Press Association
November 16, 2009 – …Payne became the first member of the UK armed forces to be convicted of a war crime when he pleaded guilty at a court martial to inhumanely treating civilians. Giving evidence to the inquiry today, he dramatically changed his account to admit for the first time that he used “gratuitous violence” against the detainees and witnessed other soldiers copying him. But he was accused of lying about the involvement of other members of 1QLR. Payne told the inquiry he had until now covered up the extent of the abuse of Mr Mousa and other Iraqis arrested with him out of “misguided loyalty”. He claimed he saw every member of the unit commanded by Lt Rodgers, known by the call sign G10A, beating the prisoners…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60127

'Commanding officer Jorge Mendonca threatened to blow Iraqi prisoner's head off'
Johnny McDevitt
November 16, 2009 – A “trigger-happy” former commanding officer of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment pointed his gun at an Iraqi prisoner and threatened to blow the man's face off, an Army abuse inquiry heard today. Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Mendonca, of 1st Battalion QLR, acted as if he were a member of the SAS and presided over a regimental unit in which there was a culture of abuse, according to Donald Payne, a former corporal giving evidence over the death of an Iraqi hotel receptionist at the hands of British troops in 2003. Payne, the first member of the Armed Forces to be convicted of a war crime, also told the inquiry into Baha Mousa's death that he witnessed a former QLR Lieutenant, Craig Rodgers, place a jerry can of petrol filled with water in front of an Iraqi boy and pour the liquid over him before lighting a match…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60126

Israeli army kidnapped 6200 children since 2000
Official report
Middle East Monitor
November 16, 2009 – An official report, received by Arab League from the minister of prisoners' affairs in the Palestinian Authority (Ramallah), revealed that the Israeli occupation forces have kidnapped about 6,200 Palestinian children since the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada (2000), including approximately 337 children still detained in Israeli prisons and interrogation centers. During last Saturday's meeting of the Arab League's permanent delegates council, which was set to discuss the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Minister Issa Qaraqe introduced the report, which unveiled the “repressive, inhumane practices of the Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention camps,” stressing that this violates the rules of international law, conventions on children's rights, and all international norms.

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60131

U.S. “would veto” Palestinian state move: Senators
By Douglas Hamilton
November 16, 2009 – The United States would veto a Palestinian declaration of statehood in the United Nations Security Council, U.S. senators visiting Israel said Monday. They said the threat by Palestinian officials to take the issue to a United Nations resolution was a waste of time and would go nowhere. They urged Arab states to stop it. “It would be D.O.A. – dead on arrival,” Democratic Party Senator Ted Kaufman (DE) told a news conference in Jerusalem. “It's a waste of time.”…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60129

Surveillance State, U.S.A.
Tom Engelhardt & Alfred W. McCoy
November 16, 2009 – In his approach to National Security Agency surveillance, as well as CIA renditions, drone assassinations, and military detention, President Obama has to a surprising extent embraced the expanded executive powers championed by his conservative predecessor, George W. Bush. This bipartisan affirmation of the imperial executive could “reverberate for generations,” warns Jack Balkin, a specialist on First Amendment freedoms at Yale Law School. And consider these but some of the early fruits from the hybrid seeds that the Global War on Terror has planted on American soil. Yet surprisingly few Americans seem aware of the toll that this already endless war has taken on our civil liberties. Don't be too surprised, then, when, in the midst of some future crisis, advanced surveillance methods and other techniques developed in our recent counterinsurgency wars migrate from Baghdad, Falluja, and Kandahar to your hometown or urban neighborhood. And don't ever claim that nobody told you this could happen — at least not if you care to read on…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60130

Campus Watch copycats close in on Israeli professors
Right hopes to silence boycott call from academics
By Jonathan Cook
November 16, 2009 – Right-wing groups in Israel want to create a climate of fear among left-wing scholars at Israeli universities by emulating the “witch-hunt” tactics of the US academic monitoring group Campus Watch, Israeli professors warn. The watchdog groups IsraCampus and Israel Academia Monitor are believed to be stepping up their campaigns after the recent publication in a US newspaper of an Israeli professor's call to boycott Israel…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60125

Gray Days, Black Days…
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
November 16, 2009 – It feels as if the Sun no longer shines over Baghdad…It's a perpetual Maghreb. Maghreb as in Sunset. Daily killings. On good days, around 10 to 15, on bad days, up to 3'000 and on so-so days around 500. Today another 12 killed in one Sunni village on the outskirts of Baghdad, murdered by men in uniforms. And the day has just started…by this evening the toll will be mounting. That's for the killings. Then you have the up coming executions of 126 women, on Eid Al Adha, another set of sacrificial lamb offerings…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60115

Officer 'abused Iraqi prisoners'
BBC News
November 16, 2009 – The only soldier convicted in connection with the death of Iraqi Baha Mousa claims that he witnessed an Army officer abuse other prisoners. Former corporal Donald Payne told a public inquiry into Mr Mousa's death that he saw a group led by Lt Craig Rodgers “kick and/or punch” prisoners. Mr Mousa, 26, died in Basra in 2003 while in the custody of the former Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR)…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60114

Why Isn't Gates Blocks Torture Photos Bigger News?
by RFK Lives
November 16, 2009 – Buried inside today's NYT, I saw this little AP nugget: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has blocked the release of more photographs of foreign detainees abused by their American captors, saying their release would endanger American soldiers…This article confirms my worst suspicions in that regard. This WH went to court to stop the release of photos, lost in court, got Congress to change the law, and went back to court for a 2d round. Under that set of circumstances, it's hard to see the WH ever prosecuting anyone other than the smallest fry for torture…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60124

Video: Mandela's cellmate says Israeli apartheid worse than South Africa
SuppressedNews
November 16, 2009 – Achmad Cassiem is a veteran of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He joined the armed struggle for justice at age 15, and at the age of 17 he became one of the youngest people to be imprisoned on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela, where he served a total of 11 years. He is a teacher by profession, a founder of the Islamic Unity Convention and an adviser to the Islamic Human Rights Commission. He says that Israeli apartheid is worse than South Africa ever was (and he would know)…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60128

Iraq: Government pushes oil privatisation
Tim Dobson
November 15, 2009 – Before and after the invasion of Iraq, the war’s goal of privatising Iraq’s oil to the benefit of Western oil corporations was highlighted not just by the war’s opponents, but also by many of its supporters. Just before the March 20, 2003 US-led invasion, the US state department's Oil and Energy Working Group said Iraq “should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war”. The Iraq Study Group, which gave recommendations to the US government in 2006, said the US should “assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise”…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60112

The Suffering Goes On and On
By Ron Forthofer
November 16, 2009 – …Also overshadowed in the dispute about the Goldstone report is the siege of Gaza that continues today. Eleven months before the Israeli attack, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner general for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, wrote: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and – some would say – encouragement of the international community.” The situation she described has greatly worsened since Israel's attack. Israel has refused to allow material for rebuilding homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, civil administration buildings, sanitation facilities, etc. into Gaza. There is also a critical shortage of food, clean water and medicine. Unfortunately, the U.S. and Europe, leaders of the so-called civilized world, are active partners in this crime against humanity. Through their silence, the U.S. corporate media also abet this crime…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60120

Hamas criticizes PA attempt to seek UN recognition of statehood
DPA
November 16, 2009 – Hamas rejected Monday a Palestinian suggestion to seek UN Security Council support for unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Such a declaration would have no meaning and was merely an attempt by the rival Palestinian camp of President Mahmoud Abbas to pretend it had an alternative to faltering peace negotiations, other than armed struggle, said the radical Islamist movement controlling Gaza. 'This move is not a meaningful declaration. It simply aims at escaping the benefits of resistance against the (Israeli) occupation,' Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader based in Gaza, said in a statement sent to journalists…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60119

Iraqi cleaner takes UK to court over alleged sexual harassment
Deborah Haynes
November 16, 2009 – An Iraqi cleaner who claims that she was sexually harassed at the British Embassy and at the ambassador’s residence in Baghdad is taking the Government to court over its alleged failure to investigate her complaints. The case will challenge a decision by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allow KBR, the American company contracted to maintain the two premises, to conduct its own investigation into the allegations, rather than carry out an independent inquiry. It will also examine whether the FCO failed to protect the cleaner’s human rights after she allegedly became the victim of sexual harassment by several British KBR managers in 2006 and early 2007…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60118

Anti-war soldier faces 10 years in jail
ROBERT BOOTH
November 16, 2009 – A British soldier who faces up to 10 years in jail for speaking out against the war in Afghanistan will go before a military judge this week to discover if he will remain in an army jail while he awaits trial. nIn an escalation of the Ministry of Defence's legal action against him, Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, 27, was arrested and charged last week with five counts of disobeying lawful commands and standing orders in relation to his public opposition to the war expressed at an anti-war rally last month. He had already been charged with desertion for refusing to return to fight in Afghanistan…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60117

Israeli ministers threaten to annex West Bank
Ma'an News
November 16, 2009 – Israeli ministers continued threatening to take unilateral measures if the Palestinian Authority (PA) declares statehood without a negotiated peace agreement. According to Israeli sources, Benjamin Netanyahu's administration may even consider withdrawing from the Oslo Accords. Israeli Minister of Environment Gilad Erian on Monday threatened to stop delivering taxes collected on behalf of the PA. He also threatened to erect more military checkpoints in the West Bank. “We will not allow the Palestinians to declare a state unilaterally.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60116

Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims
50% of MPs in the shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel members, according to Channel 4's Dispatches
Ian Black
November 16, 2009 – Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain look set to see their influence increase if the Conservatives win the next election, a film scrutinising the activities of a powerful but little-known lobby warns today. At least half of the shadow cabinet are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), according to a Dispatches programme being screened on Channel 4. The programme-makers describe the CFI as “beyond doubt the most well- connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups”…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60113

UK soldier killed in Afghanistan
UKPA
November 16, 2009 – A British soldier from 33 Engineer Regiment has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said. The serviceman died in the blast near Gereshk, in Helmand province on Sunday afternoon. His death takes the British death toll in Afghanistan so far this year to 97…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60132

Gunmen in army uniforms kill 12 Iraqi villagers
Reuters
November 16, 2009 – Gunmen wearing military uniforms shot dead at least 12 men in a pre-dawn attack in a village near Baghdad on Monday, villagers and police said. The attack took place in the mainly Sunni village of Zauba, west of Baghdad, which at the height of the fighting in Iraq was viewed as a hotbed of support for Sunni Islamist insurgents. One of those killed was affiliated with the main Sunni Arab political party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, police said…

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60121

Resisting through education
Marryam Haleem writing from Beit Hanoun, occupied Gaza Strip
November 16, 2009 – “That was the happiest day of my life,” Ahmad explained, “I was freed that day.” “Come on,” I laughed as we walked down the dusty Gaza street, the Mediterranean sun beating down hard on our faces. “It couldn't have been that bad. I mean, we all dislike school to some degree, but it has its nice things too.” His grave eyes looked wholly unconvinced. “The day I graduated from university was the best day of my life,” he firmly repeated. And then he added, more to himself than to me, “I wish I could erase all my memories of my time in school.”..

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=60123

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