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Iraq snapshot - August 15, 2014. (The Common Ills) - 02-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - So few want to admit that. In part because they whored for Nouri al-Maliki and in part because they lack the ability to they were wrong to cheer Nouri on. The man was a tyrant and a despot. He had Iraqis rounded up -- usually Sunnis -- mass 'arrests' that lacked arrest warrants. The people were then lost in the 'legal' system -- often never tried, not on trial once, but kept in prisons. Some people were arrested with arrest warrants -- for other people!They have an arrest warrent for Ali al-Mutlaq. They go to his family's home. Ali is not present so they arrest Ali's wife, sister, child or parent. That's not justice. It is why so many innocents rot in prison -- accused of no crime but held regardless. Many of the females in Nouri's prison arrived there as a result of being a relative of someone. Once in prison, many girls and women were assaulted or raped....There was his targeting of Iraq's LGBTQ community. There was his attack on protesters -- most infamously the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted fvia Nouri's federal forces storming in. ...

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Chronicles of a Death Foretold: The Kerry Negotiations (by Samia al-Botmeh, Diana Buttu, Raja Khalidi, Rashid Khalidi, and Mouin Rabbani) - 02-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Farsighted observers saw it coming. For them, the apparent breakdown in April 2014 of the initiative launched by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry amid much fanfare nine months earlier, in August 2013, came as no great surprise. Would U.S. diplomacy have the courage to do something it had failed to do for over thirty-five years, and put forward an initiative on Palestine that diverged markedly from the Israeli government’s colonialist, annexationist agenda? Would Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the heir to a tradition going back to Zeev Jabotinsky (the founder of the maximalist strand of Zionism that has dominated Israeli politics since 1977) have a Nixon-going-to-China moment in response to Kerry’s effort? And would Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas accept whatever formula emerged from Kerry’s efforts? ...

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Ray Odierno: Living in the Third Person about Iraq (By: Peter Van Buren) - 02-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - .... The very factors Odierno speaks today of almost as if he was an independent third party dispassionately looking back are the same ones he was responsible for resolving over his many years of command in Iraq. Odierno watched as the United States poured $25 billion into training the gleefully third world standard Iraqi Army he now says was not properly trained. He was handmaiden to the 2010 elections that saw the Iranians broker a Maliki victory and the installation of a Shia-based non-representative government. He oversaw the military reconstruction efforts over years of the Occupation that failed (alongside the State Department’s efforts) to create the very institutions whose absence he now decries. Despite all this, the best Odierno can come up with as an explanation for why everything is a mess in 2014 is the Iraqi’s messed up his good work.But if Maliki is anything more than a talisman for the whole mess of post-2003 Iraq, he was certainly America’s choice (twice) for the role ...

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Gitmo Detainee's Lawyers Can't Describe Video (By ADAM KLASFELD) - 02-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - - Lawyers for a hunger-striking detainee must abide by restrictions barring the "distribution of, or discussion of" videos of their client's forcible cell extractions taking him to his force-feedings, a federal judge ruled. Syrian-born detainee Mohammed Abu Wa'el Dhiab, also known as Jihad Dhiab, has been detained at the U.S. military prison in Cuba for 12 years, and his continued detention is indefinite even though he was cleared for release in 2009. Dhiab has been one of the most visible of Guantanamo's hunger-strikers for his brief success challenging his prison's force-feeding protocols in federal court...

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Israel's Incessant Death-State Concept
The “Defense” Addiction
(by ANDREW SMOLSKI) - 02-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Only a cold diagnosis would be proper for such a horror as has been inflicted upon the Palestinians during the gruesome Operation Protective Edge and seven decades of occupation. The Israeli State has become pathological (or was it always so?), a State motivated to commit a psychopathic onslaught continuously and indefinitely. Israel is ripe to be diagnosed as a "Death-State", a concept constructed by Eugene W. Holland’s as the linking up of a militarized, bureaucratic state with a capitalist political economy and a social psychological desire pushing nihilistic destruction. What desiring-machines, as Deleuze and Guattari liked to call them, are making these terrorizing libidinal flows within the Israeli State?...

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Syria : At least 8 Palestinians tortured to death in the last week (-Talal Alyan) - 02-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - There are 2,433 documented Palestinian casualties of the Syrian war so far, the overwhelming majority at the hands of Assad forces and proxies. At least 230 of these martyrs have been met by a particularly gruesome end; death by torture. In the past week alone, 8 Palestinians have been tortured to death in Assad prisons. The emphasis on the fact that these casualties are Palestinian is not to imply that Palestinian life is more precious than Syrian life. Let it instead stand as testament to the dishonesty of those who continue to regard what is happening in Syria as irrelevant to Palestine.Here are the names of the Palestinians tortured to death in the past week. Count your dead, Palestine, regardless of where or by whom they were slaughtered. ...

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Under Occupation
The Shortest Distance Between Palestine and Ferguson
(by JAIME OMAR YASSIN) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 -The superficially coincidental images coming from both Gaza and Ferguson this month have created some surprising and sudden currents of solidarity. Many have looked on with amazement, for example, as Gazans offer tips via twitter to those who have been involved in the uprising and faced the absurd and excessively militarized response to it by Ferguson police. And participants in "peaceful" vigils and more militant confrontations in Ferguson have invoked Gaza by now a dozens times.Few have looked at images coming out of Ferguson and not been tempted to draw the same allusions between the 2/3 Black suburb policed by a nearly all-white police force, and Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. It would be difficult not to draw that comparison at the moment given the spectacle of the massive armory gifted to the FPD by the federal government in the name of stopping "terror"–which has so often been given a Palestinian face in the US–and the revelation that the former police chief of Ferguson studied "counter-terror" measures in Israel in 2011....

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Nobody's Expendable
The Fallacious Human Shield and Collateral Damage Arguments
(by ROBERT J. GOULD) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 -The human shield argument, in the news today from Israel and the war with Gaza and in the ongoing debates about drones, is similar to the collateral damage argument. Let’s take the collateral damage argument first. (Of course, this argument is given from the perspective of those asserting the argument, not the victims of the argument.)The collateral damage argument goes like this: First, the enemy intentionally places itself close to civilian populations, so that any attack on the enemy will necessitate civilian deaths. Second, since it is the enemy’s intent to put those civilians at risk, civilian deaths are the enemy’s responsibility, not ours. Therefore, the argument’s proponents are, however regrettably, free to kill civilians because the enemy put them in harm’s way, and cynically uses these deaths for propaganda advantage. Following along the lines of this collateral damage argument, the human shield argument goes like this: First, the enemy hides amongst civilians, notably in hospitals and schools, so that any attack on the enemy will necessitate civilian deaths, especially children and the sick....

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Gaza: a testing ground for Israeli military technology - (Shir Hever) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Israel may be a relatively small state, but it is the largest per-capita weapons exporter in the world. The Israeli arms companies have the advantage in marketing their products around the world, because they can claim that their products have been tested in actual combat. Senior officers of the Israeli army often pursue a second career in the arms industry after retiring from service, and as soldiers they already have the opportunity to perform valuable services to their future employers, by testing weapon systems developed by the arms companies, by convincing the Israeli government and public of the necessity of such technologies for military victory, and by offering praise to the companies producing these weapons....


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Living under occupation in Ferguson (Nicole Colson) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - SINCE 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by an unidentified police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on August 9, the majority Black city just outside of St. Louis has been rocked by protests against the racism of a system that sees the lives of young Black men as disposable. The response of authorities has been to flood the town with hundreds of police from dozens of neighboring cities and towns, decked out in riot gear, and armed with assault weapons, attack dogs and militarized vehicles for "crowd control." Protesters say "keeping the peace" is the last thing on these cops' minds--the invaders are acting in a deliberately provocative and aggressive manner, leading to an escalation of violence over several more nights of protest...

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New found interest in Iraqi women? (The Common Ills) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Religious minority women have been targeted since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. You're only just now noticing? Are you five-years-old or six?....It looks less like you care about Iraqi women -- you clearly don't care enough to even do the basic work required to grasp this isn't a Sunni issue -- and more like you're pimping war and are convinced you've found your issue.When you can write about it in a manner that doesn't suggest this ongoing, over a decade long problem didn't just start yesterday, people might care about the issue.Right now, it just looks like you're attempting to inflame tensions further in order to give the world more war.P.S. Where was your tired ass when Sunni women and girls were being tortured and raped in Nouri's jails and prisons?...

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10 things that have changed forever on Gaza (Ramzy Baroud) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - After every bloody episode of violence perpetrated by Israel, media spin doctors are deployed with one grand mission: Absolve Israel of any responsibility in its acts of carnage. These apologists not only demonise Palestinians, but also anyone who dares to take a stand on their behalf. The main staple of this Israeli strategy is blaming the victim. There is nothing new in this tactic - this is how the so-called "Arab-Israeli conflict" has been presented in Western media. The narrative is always much closer to that of Israeli official and media discourses than that of Palestinians' - despite the decades-long military occupation, successive wars, and countless massacres...


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Canada and Israel: An anti-Arab stance? (Ahmad Moussa) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - The Harper Government is shaming and embarrassing Canadian citizens and Canada's international image, demonstrated through them losing a seat at the United Nations Security Council due to their foreign policy stances, one being in relation to Israel; reinforced recently with their support for the latest incursion on the Gaza Strip.The Harper Government has criticised United Nations statements including the Human Rights Council for authorizing an international investigation into war crimes during Operation Protective Edge. These developments on the international level arose as a result of the understandably grave concerns over the disproportionate death toll; the majority of casualties being innocent Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children....


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Palestinians express "solidarity with the people of Ferguson" in Mike Brown statement (Rana Baker) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Palestinian groups and individuals inside and outside of historic Palestine have signed the following statement in solidarity with their brethren in Ferguson, Missouri. Unsurprisingly, many of the police deployed to crush unarmed protesters demanding justice for the brutal murder of eighteen-year-old black American Mike Brown are Israel-trained. Despotic tactics Palestinians largely associate with Israel’s colonial military, such as teargassing protesters and harassing journalists, have all been implemented in Ferguson. Although Ferguson and Palestine are two different contexts, both places and their people are fighting against white supremacist regimes of oppression which continue to view them as "disposable others" and act accordingly...

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Palestinian refugees mark one year of return to destroyed village (Patrick O. Strickland) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Kufr Birim is one of the hundreds of Palestinian villages depopulated by Zionist militas during the Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe") — the ethnic cleansing which led to Israel’s foundation in 1948. Earlier this month, activists held a week-long youth camp in this village. More than seventy young Palestinians living in present-day Israel attended.The camp featured lectures and tours that teach the village’s Palestinian history, as well as arts and crafts activities and musical and theater performances."For 66 years we have been trying to return," George Ghantous, an organizer of the camp, told The Electronic Intifada...

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Football fan slain by Israel predicted he would be next martyr (Budour Youssef Hassan) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - "If you call his number now, no one will answer. The friend you used to call so frequently is gone," said Muhammad Qattri’s mother, Um Muhammad. She held her slain son’s phone and was speaking to one of his friends. Just a few hours prior to his killing on Friday, 8 August, 19-year-old Qattri had eaten his lunch at home. And as he so often did, he ate quickly and left the house to take part in a protest without telling his mother. For the last two years, Qattri — or Abu Hassan as they called him at his home in al-Amari refugee camp, south of Ramallah — regularly participated in protests across the occupied West Bank, including outside Ofer military prison and the Beit El settlement....

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The implications of the Israeli war on Gaza (Yaser Alashqar) - 01-sep-2014

August 15, 2014 - Most of the news reporting and analysis concerning what is happening in Gaza has left out two crucial issues: the human context and the long-term implications of Israel's war against this impoverished territory. Gaza, the place where I grew up, has not seen progress and development for decades. Since 2006, the situation there has worsened significantly with the imposition of a cruel military siege by Israel from land, sea and air. Over the years, Israeli policies towards Gaza have gradually expanded from occupying and de-developing Gaza, to the current so called "military operations"....

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Syria News - August 14, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - By the end of Thursday, the coordination committees were able to document 75 martyrs including 15 children, 7 women, and 6 martyrs under torture: 24 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs; 23 in Aleppo; 17 in Homs; 5 in Idlib; 4 in Daraa and 2 Hama...

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Four scenes from a war zone called Iraq (Haifa Zangana) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - ... Listening to this repetitive US mantra, one is compelled to wonder if US officials either suffer an acute state of dementia to forget their disastrous role in Iraq, or if they hold nothing but contempt for the Iraqi people. Why? Firstly; one look at Iraq today, or what is left of the Iraq we used to know, is enough to show the extent of the destruction in social and human terms as much as in infrastructure. The fragmentation of society, and the ever-increasing animosity and revenge sentiments in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led occupation dubbed "Operation Iraqi Freedom." Secondly; calling upon Iraqi politicians to form a new inclusive government is a meaningless act, since most, if not all of today's Iraqi officials are the same politicians who have been collaborating with the US since the nineties. Official labels and tags may have changed, but corruption, sectarianism and squabbling over power remain the same. Brutal militias attached to the same parties engaged in the political process which has been designed by the US occupation are the same; as we say in Iraq, "it is the same donkey, different saddle."...

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Hebron: a hotbed of tension and human rights abuses (By Charlotte Drax) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - Israel’s first settlement in the West Bank, Kiryat Arba, was established in 1968 adjacent to the municipal boundaries of Hebron, and the city soon saw frequent confrontations between the Israeli settlers and its Palestinian inhabitants. Due to its religious significance, Hebron became a stronghold for the religious extremists within the settler movement. Today, the city has four Israeli settlements in its center with approximately 500 residents. It has also been surrounded on all sides by four, much larger, Israeli settlements....

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Shameless Cooke knifes Syrian people’s resistance to Assad/ISIS fascism (Michael Karadjis) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - ....If Cooke was pointing out that this blatant betrayal of the Syrian rebels as they resisted ISIS was evidence of US acquiescence with ISIS, he would be right in this sense. As against the forces of the Syrian revolution, yes, the US acquiesces with ISIS just as the Assad regime does. That is because in relation to revolution, the US, the Assad regime and ISIS are all on the side of counterrevolution, regardless of whether or not they love each other otherwise. But Cooke is not saying that at all. On the contrary, by identifying ISIS with the Syrian uprising against Assad, by calling it the "driving force" in the Syrian war against the regime, Cooke is not just echoing Assadist propaganda, he is also slandering the entire cast of Syrian rebel organisations, all of whom have shed rivers of blood to drive ISIS out of as much of Syria as possible, to ensure the liberation from one form of tyranny does not bequeath another, all the time being bombed from the skies by the fascist regime while doing so....

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Putting Palestinians “On a Diet”: Israel’s Siege & Blockade of Gaza (IMEU) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 -Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza are central pillars of a policy of economic warfare intended to punish the entire population of the tiny, occupied coastal strip in the hopes that Palestinians living there will blame Hamas for their predicament and reject the organization as well as any resistance to Israel’s continued control of the territory. As noted by the UN and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, this amounts to collective punishment, which is a violation of international law. In early 2006, Dov Weisglass, then a senior advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained that Israeli policy was designed "to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." ...

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Dear Jon Voight: A letter about Gaza (Gil Hochberg & Mark LeVine) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - As the carnage in Gaza reached a crescendo in the beginning of August, Jon Voight, one of Hollywood's most vocal conservatives, penned a harsh attack on fellow actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in response to a letter they signed condemning the latest Israeli bombing of Gaza in which he accused them of "inciting anti-Semitism all over the world". Many activists dismiss Voight's letter as the rantings of an unthinking actor who long ago lost touch with political reality - a poor relation of conservative icon Charlton Heston. But Voight's vitriol, and the narratives behind them, have for decades been quite effective in silencing criticism of Israel in Hollywood or among entertainers more broadly....



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From Gaza to Brazil: Stop Financing Drones That Kill Our Children (By Haidar Eid – Gaza) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - ....An entire generation of children in the Gaza Strip have grown up experiencing repeated massacres and the wholesale destruction of the infrastructure that supports life in the 21st century. The recent series of massacres against the Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in 1967, started in 2006, continued in 2008/9 and 2012 and has been made unbearable by an eight year long inhumane siege. This massacre did not start with the killing of three Israeli settlers a few weeks ago, as has been falsely claimed by many Western media outlets. These killings might have not even been committed by a Palestinian, and yet we hear this falsehood repeated uncritically by the media supposed to be unbiased and independent....

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Hundreds of scholars say they won’t engage with University of Illinois unless decision to block Salaita is reversed (Corey Robin) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - In the last 24 hours, sociologists and scholars of composition and rhetoric have organized two new statements of refusal regarding the Steven Salaita affair. 1. The sociology statement reads as follows: Dear Chancellor Wise: We are members of Sociology departments from around the world who write, regretfully, to inform you that we will not engage with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as speakers, or as participants in conferences or other events at Illinois, until you rescind the decision to block Professor Steven Salaita’s appointment to the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Many prominent academics have written eloquently about the chilling effect your decision will have on the free expression of dissident ideas by academics; legal scholars have argued that it is a violation of academic freedom and more fundamentally, of freedom of speech.


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Is ISIS a Direct Threat to the U.S.? (By: Peter Van Buren) - 01-sep-2014

August 14, 2014 - Is ISIS a Direct Threat to the U.S.? Doubtful. First, a few samples of the fear-mongering rhetoric. he militant Islamic State group could launch a direct attack on U.S. soil," warned South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who claimed the militants are a "direct threat to our homeland… They are coming." Graham, and his running dog accomplice John McCain, have never found a threat they could not exaggerate. "In reality, ISIS represents the most virulent form of Islamic jihad the planet has ever seen. These folks are not Muslims, they are animals, frankly… another 9/11 is imminent." said Ali Khedery, who, as an advisor to five U.S. ambassadors in Iraq, is personally responsible for much of the mess there....

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continua / continued










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