Wednesday, August 02, 2006

[UrukNet] - [Daily Information from Occupied Iraq] - [newsletter 01 Aug 2006]
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According To Jewish Law...
The Truth Will Set You Free
A recent article from Ynet News reads: Yesha Rabbinical Council: During time of war, enemy has no innocents The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy." All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers a! nd civilians," the statement said. (Efrat Weiss) Well, that's news to me. I must have missed the switch from the hundreds of years of defining and refining human rights, civil rights, and international law to this regressive, Neanderthal interpretation of the Torah. Do we discard international law and human rights to soothe the world's oldest persecution complex?...

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UK asks Bahrain Media not to Publish Israeli Crimes Photos
Sabbah's blog
Not only they don’t want to help in putting an end to the barbaric terrorist Israeli war on Lebanese… not only they provide a passage for the smart (doubtful) bombs to reach the Israel Terrorist State… but they want us to keep our mouth shut and not to show the world the atrocities committed by their barbaric partners on Lebanon and Palestine. A letter from the British Embassy in Bahrain to Al Watan newspaper was published today. The text re! ads: Please, don’t publish our crimes photos! We all wish that you stop publishing the photos of the destruction on your front page, and we hope you stop mixing between the hazy position of the U.S.A. and not actively trying to do anything...

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“Peacekeepers” to the Rescue
Tom Mysiewicz – Shamireaders
The calculated madness of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon, the attacks on ambulances, columns of civilians, bridges, power plants, Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, Christians and just about everything that moves—and now the horrendous "bunker buster" attack on a building in Qana filled mostly with child refugees--may simply be a gambit to create a humanitarian crisis of such a degree in Lebanon that the world will rush to allow a strong UN, NATO or other "peacek! eeping" force to enter the country. Such an eventuality, while in the interest of Israeli planners and of great benefit in a future war against Iran and Syria, would be a serious error for the participants as well as the victims. For a "peacekeeping" force is no substitute for strict international sanctions on Israel (including an embargo on WMDs and weapons capable of being used on civilian populations)...

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They're taking it all.
Lenin's Tomb
Israeli forces thrust into Lebanon on Tuesday in an escalation of the war and landed troops by helicopter in Hizbollah heartland near Baalbek. The Israeli army said three Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting in the south. Hizbollah said it launched multiple rockets at Matzuva in northern Israel, and the Israeli army said five of its soldiers were wounded in cross-border fire. They are even 'warning' people to the north-east of the Litani to leave their homes - how f! amiliar, and how ominous, is this? ..

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The Truth of Israel’s War
Anwaar Hussain, Fountainhead
...The truth is that despite the fact that Zionist controlled media reports just 13% of Palestinian children’s’ massacre and 88% of Israeli children’s deaths, the numbers tell a horrifying tale; for 121 Israeli children reportedly killed by Palestinians, close to 800 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis. The truth is that while zero Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians, 25000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel and whi! le two Israelis are being held prisoners by the Palestinians, 9,599 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel. The truth is that the great benefactor of Israel, the United States of America, gives more than $15 million per day to the Israeli government and military while the Palestinian NGOs get a miserly $232,290 per day to care for the victims of Israeli aggression...

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Following Qana massacre
Israel escalates Lebanon offensive with US backing

Mike Head, WSWS
Given yet another green light by the Bush administration in the wake of the Qana massacre, Israel has intensified its bombardment of Lebanon and launched a wider ground offensive in a bid to occupy a swathe of territory across the south. In the face of an international outcry over the murder of 60 innocent people, mainly children and women, in Qana, the Israeli government has declared there will be no ceasefire u! ntil it has accomplished its mission of wiping out Hezbollah. This means the terrorisation and expulsion of the population of south Lebanon...

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'No Hezbollah Rockets Fired from Qana'
Dahr Jamail
Red Cross workers and residents of Qana, where Israeli bombing killed at least 60 civilians, have told IPS that no Hezbollah rockets were launched from the city before the Israeli air strike. The Israeli military has said it bombed the building in which several people had taken shelter, more than half of them children, because the Army had faced rocket fire from Qana. The Israeli military has said that Hezbollah was therefore responsible for the deaths. "There we! re no Hezbollah rockets fired from here," 32-year-old Ali Abdel told IPS. "Anyone in this village will tell you this, because it is the truth." Abdel had taken shelter in a nearby house when the shelter was bombed at 1 am. When the bombings finally let up in the morning, he went back to the bombed shelter to search for relatives...

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Four-year-old Qana survivor's night between the dead
Hanady Salman writing from Beirut, Live from Lebanon
Three of my colleagues went to Tyre today. I will spare you the details of what they saw and wrote. There's only one thing that I need to share with you. Saada went to Jabal Amel hospital where she found a four year old boy, Hassan Chalhoub, who had spent the previous night in the morgue between the dead. He had been sleeping next to his sister, six-year-old Zeinab, in the shelter in Qana. There with him were! his mom and his dad, who's confined to a wheelchair. Many of the people of Qana are survivors of the 1996 massacre, when 110 people were killed and more than 100 were injured when by Israeli raids on civilians who had sought shelter in a nearby UN base. Thus, many of the people of Qana have special needs...

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Lebanese Red Cross Repeatedly Targeted
Dahr Jamail
Israeli warplanes are attacking the Lebanese Red Cross repeatedly, members of the medical aid group say. "The night of July 23 we were called to rescue a family whose home was bombed," Kassem Shaulan, a 28-year-old medic with the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre told IPS. "Just as I finished loading the three injured people in my ambulance, it was struck by a rocket and all of us were injured." The ambulance, now parked outside of the Red Cross headquarters in this coa! stal city, had a hole through the centre of the red cross painted on its roof. The inside was heavily damaged and pieces of the metal frame of the van hung limply, riddled with shrapnel holes...

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Why must the right wing sound so brutally stupid?
John Chuckman, Online Journal Contributing Writer
Just when I thought he had shown a glimmer of statesmanship, Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister courtesy of just over one-third of the vote, reverted to character. Following Israel's apparently deliberate targeting of four UN observers in Lebanon, including one Canadian, Harper thought it appropriate to ask, not why Israel killed them, but why the observers were there? His inspired question reminded me of noth! ing so much as a rape-case lawyer attacking the victim with questions along the lines of why was she in such a place? at such a time? wearing such a dress? Condoleezza Rice, Bush's official idiot-savant, gave us a memorable quote last week concerning Israeli barbarism in Lebanon: "We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new Middle East." I wonder what would have been press reaction in America to some high official saying, as the World Trade Center toppled in flames, "We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new America"?...

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A war of self-defense against mothers and children
Luciana Bohne, Online Journal Contributing Writer
...Israel's all-out attack on a sovereign country, which had nothing to do with Hizballah's action nor had any power to control it, sets a record -- topping the already egregious example of Iraq -- for unprovoked imperial aggression and ratchets up the threshold of terror to which defenseless and blameless victims can be subjected by nations protected by the imperial umbrella of US power. Too, the Lebanese people ! should draw conclusions in the interest of their future self-preservation from the consequences of US false democracy-building projects like the expulsion of Syria and the installation of a US-friendly regime in Lebanon, which left them unprotected against the latest attack. They should weigh the gifting of any alleged US democracy export against the relentless reality of the US onslaught for hegemony in the region....

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The Case for Israel, by Israel
Gabriel Ash,
... The clamor did not rise because Israel killed civilians. Israel kills civilians every day, if not in Lebanon than in Nablus, and if not in Nablus, in Gaza. But to kill so many people at once, with such frightening efficiency, that deserves at least five points and the driver’s license revoked for three months. It was the bathos of Egyptian PM Mubarak that hit on the most telling description of the offense when he called Israel’s behavior "irre! sponsible." In the metaphoric highways of the global order, killing the poor and brown residents of places like Qana is not in itself extraordinary...

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And They Threw It All Away
Making America Safe ... for Dictatorship

...George Orwell long ago imagined a world deliberately kept in a perpetual state of war, where the citizenry would accept totalitarian rule in the name of patriotism and security. We are now entering such a state. The yellow "support the troops" ribbons mindlessly pasted on the trunks and rear doors of half the cars, vans and SUVs in America are testimony to a sheep-like acceptance of the official administration line tha! t war is good and in America's interest. I saw one such ribbon today that was particularly credulous. It read: "Remember 9-11. Support our Troops." This despite the fact that our troops are not fighting anyone who remotely had anything to do with 9-11. We are not far from that Orwellian condition...

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Israel's Man at the UN
Tom Barry, Axis of Logic
John Bolton has proved to be the right man for the job. As UN ambassador, Bolton has clearly and consistently projected the White House's Middle East policies, especially the administration's unwavering support for Israel. As international criticism of Israel mounts, President Bush has asked Congress to approve his renomination of Bolton—a longtime State Department diplomat who has over three decades sought to debilitate the United Nations and who has earned a reput! ation as a defender of an aggressive Israel. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) calls Bolton "one of Israel's truest friends in the world." Last summer the Senate rejected the nomination of Bolton, a right-wing ideologue fiercely opposed to all international laws and institutions that constrain U.S. power. Overriding congressional concerns that Bolton would be an ineffective UN ambassador because of his long history of criticizing the United Nations, Bush appointed Bolton to the post during the August 2005 congressional recess...

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Lebanon: "We have lost faith in the international community"
Moving Testimony of a Lebanese Christian living in Beirut.

Mayssoun Sukarieh,
...Just how many blood-curdling shrieks from the dying, and horrified outcries from the grief-stricken, do you need to hear before you will finally act out of a commitment to humanity -- a humanity that hopefully still links you to me, and to so many more, above and beyond this sick voyeuristic consumption of pornographic images from wars? To tell ! you the truth, my friend, we who are here have lost faith in the idea that "public opinion" is capable of changing anything. We have lost faith in the idea of an "international community" that can help us by stopping these massacres. The U.N. is now just another cold and unfeeling puppet face of the U.S. government puppeteers. Or it is simply an organization that is as helpless and powerless as we are here. U.N. representatives have also been dying under the bombs alongside us, AND YET NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO CONDEMN ISRAEL...

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Four British soldiers killed
David Fickling & Ben Hammersley,
Three UK soldiers were killed in Afghanistan today and one in southern Iraq in one of the deadliest single days for British troops since the "war on terror" began. Militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns killed three UK soldiers and seriously wounded a fourth in a major offensive operation in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province. In Iraq, a British soldier was also killed in the port city of Basra after a militant mort! ar attack on the coalition force base in the city at around 3am local time (midnight BST)...

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Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Monday, 31 July 2006.
Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice.
...The Baghdad-based independent Iraqi Organization for Follow-up and Observation ("Mi'mar") reported on Monday that it had obtained documents an other information confirming that a total of 719 Iraqis have been executed without trial in the prisons run by the American occupation since US troops entered Iraq in the spring of 2003. "Mi'mar" reported that documen! ts and testimony in the organization’s possession indicated that a number of those prisoners died when medicine they required was denied them. Others died under torture. The number of prisoners held by the Americans who were shot to death after being tortured exceeded 400...

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Today in Iraq
A service member assigned to the 16th Corps Support Group was killed in action by an improvised explosive device while conducting a convoy south of Baghdad, Iraq July 31. A second service member from the unit was wounded in the same attack. (CENTCOM). A British soldier has been killed in a mortar attack on a base in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. A bus carrying many Iraqi soldiers was struck in Beiji, killing everyone on board. Police earlier said that 2! 0 Iraqi soldiers were killed on the bus. Al-Askari confirmed that many of the passengers were soldiers, but said he did not know how many. He said the bus was not being escorted by U.S. troops, as earlier believed...

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Lebanon: the full invasion is on
Eli Stephens, Left I on the News
The latest news reports from AP make clear that Israel has decided (had decided from the beginning?) on a full-scale invasion of Lebanon. Air strikes are continuing, making a complete joke of the supposed 48-hour pause, and the ground invasion has escalated dramatically, including Israeli commandos (now reportedly trapped in a hospital and fighting for their lives) landing by helicopter in Baalbeck, 80 miles north of Israel and, in fact, north of B! eirut. Israel is now dropping leaflets on villages north of the Litani, demanding that villagers flee, and openly admitting their intention to occupy Lebanon up to the Litani (which, considering all their previous claims about their intentions have proven false, isn't worth much)...

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Israel's "wider offensive" on behalf of Empire.
Lenin's Tomb
So, since Israeli generals are pissed off at Olmert for being such a sissy, the Israeli cabinet has authorised a wider offensive. What sort of 'wider offensive'? They're still bombing inside Lebanon, destroying the infrastructure as before, but the big push is going to come on the ground in what Israel advertises as a two-week offensive involving thousands more troops. At the same time, they are reported to have been bombing heavily on the Lebanese-Syri! an border, and the Syrian army has been instructed to "raise readiness", while it has been suggested that they are gathering forces in preparation for a potential invasion by Israel. Israel claims that a Syrian bomb was detonated next to an Israeli army post in the occupied Golan Heights. Bush has been threatening Iran and Syria again. The Israeli News Agency is agitating for war with both countries...

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GI Special 4H1: "Delaying Defeat" - August 1, 2006
Thomas F. Barton
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq - the title alone of Thomas E. Ricks's book is enough to make it shoot to number one on Ricks has twice been a member of a reporting team that won the Pulitzer; he has been covering the military for over 20 years. His recent book is a brutal look at the bundle of failures in conception, operation and execution that are the American involvement in Iraq.
On Friday, he was at the New America Foundation along with Colonel Larry Wilkerson (retired), former chief of staff at the State Department, at a gathering hosted by Steve Clemons, the director of the American Strategy Program at NAF.
His conclusion is that Iraq is in a "civil war," and that the occupation has reached a point where it is "delaying defeat."

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Yahoo! News Photo - Rare clouds seen above Antarctica on Yahoo! News Photos

A rare and spectacular nacreous cloud (top) appears high in the stratosphere some 20km above Australia's Mawson station in Antartica, July 2006. Australian scientists have said they were studying what rare iridescent clouds over Antarctica can reveal about global climate change.(AFP/Australian Antarctic Division/File)

Bloglines - Krauthammer falsely claimed estate tax "penalizes a lot of small businesses"

Media Matters for America
Latest Media Matters for America items

Krauthammer falsely claimed estate tax "penalizes a lot of small businesses"

In Taxes

On the July 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer falsely claimed that the estate tax "penalizes a lot of small businesses" and could leave the "heirs" of a "small-business owner" with "nothing." In fact, the estate tax affects very few small-business owners, and the highest marginal estate-tax rate is 46 percent. Krauthammer also claimed that an increase in the minimum wage "will always destroy jobs." However, as Media Matters for America has noted, research has shown that increasing the minimum wage does not result in job loss or negatively affect employment.

Krauthammer misstated the impact of the estate tax and a minimum-wage increase in order to justify what he described as a "reasonable compromise" reached by House Republicans, who paired a minimum-wage increase and estate-tax cut in a single bill. According to Krauthammer, linking the two measures "says to a small-business owner, 'Yes, you're going to be hurt if the minimum wage is raised, but we're going to try to help you on the back end when you die, so your heirs are at least going to have something to inherit and not nothing.' "

However, several studies have shown that the estate tax affects a very low number of small-business owners. As Media Matters has noted, a March 2005 report by the Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center found that of all the estates affected by the tax in 2004, only 440 (roughly 2 percent) were "primarily made up of farm and business assets," whether large or small. The Tax Policy Center report also noted that revenue from these 440 farms and businesses constituted only 5.6 percent of total estate-tax revenue collected in 2004. "Small" farms and businesses -- "defined as those valued at less than $5 million" -- constituted less than 1 percent of total estate-tax liability in 2004. Moreover, as noted by the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a July 2005 Congressional Budget Office report found that based on an analysis of 1999 and 2000 estate-tax returns, only 135 family-owned businesses would have owed any estate tax at the current exemption level of $2 million. By contrast, about 4.5 million active businesses with assets under $5 million filed income-tax returns in 2002, according to the IRS.

Furthermore, contrary to Krauthammer's suggestion that the estate tax might leave an heir with "nothing," the marginal estate-tax rate in 2006 is 46 percent, and according to CBPP, the effective estate-tax rate under 2006 law -- the percentage estates owe after deductions and exemptions -- is 19 percent for the average estate that actually owes any estate tax.

Several studies also contradict Krauthammer's claim that a minimum-wage increase "will always destroy jobs." As Media Matters has noted, a 1998 Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study of the impact of the two most recent increases in the federal minimum wage found that the effect on employment was "economically small and statistically insignificant ... [and] almost as likely to be positive as negative." Additionally, as the weblog Think Progress noted in a July 24 entry, a 1995 study by Princeton University economists David Card and Alan B. Krueger found that increases in state and federal minimum wages led "to increases in pay, but no loss in jobs." Think Progress also noted that a report from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development found that the state's 2005 minimum-wage increase "produced $175 million in additional payroll and a $3 million boost in state tax revenue."

From the July 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, with Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes, and guest host Brian Wilson:

KONDRACKE: Look, we've got full employment, right? And it's not as though workers are going to get fired if they're paid more.

BARNES: Yes, they are.

KONDRACKE: Oh no, they're not. Fred -- all right, better go out and look for illegal aliens, then, and pay them under the table. Look, this minimum wage has not been raised for almost 10 years. CEO pay at the biggest hundred corporations goes up 25 percent a year. And you know, it is -- and they -- what the Republicans are trying to do is cover themselves, here. They're trying to -- the House Republicans want to go home and say, "We voted for the minimum wage," knowing full well that it's tied to this estate tax, which is an obscenity unto itself, elimination. That's for the very highest, richest, fattest cats in the world, and they know that that won't pass the Senate, so it's a fraud. It's a political fraud. And the Republicans ought to be ashamed of themselves.

KRAUTHAMMER: I was going to take the reasoned position between --

WILSON: Which is?

KRAUTHAMMER: -- the two extremes, but after hearing Mort, I guess I'm just going to have to attack him on this. Look, the minimum wage -- estate tax first of all, penalizes a lot of small businesses, and the reason that Republicans are trying to match a minimum-wage hike with estate-tax relief is that it says to a small-business owner, "Yes, you're going to be hurt if the minimum wage is raised, but we're going to try to help you on the back end when you die, so your heirs are at least going to have something to inherit and not nothing." So I think it's a reasonable combination of those two. You want to raise the minimum wage, but if it's not economically determined, if it's not as a result of increased productivity, it will be -- it's going to harm business, and it also is going to also eliminate some people from the wage market, from the labor market.

KONDRACKE: Productivity -- productivity is surging -- productivity is surging, and workers are not sharing in those productivity gains.


KONDRACKE: They're not. They are simply not. Wages have been flat.

KRAUTHAMMER: The way to answer what you're saying -- so why not raise it $10 an hour. And the reason is, if you raise it $10 an hour, it will destroy jobs.

KONDRACKE: It has not been raised for 10 years.

KRAUTHAMMER: It will always destroy jobs, it's always a question -- it's only a question of how high do you want to go.

The national survey of 1,010 adults

In an elegiac survey of his nine-year leadership, Mr Blair .....

“The Israel Defence Forces is the most moral army in the world”

Bloglines - Racist Jewish Fundamentalism

The Cat's Blog

Racist Jewish Fundamentalism

By The Cat's Dream

Two articles on the Racist Jewish Fundamentalism 1) Israel's Latest Massacre in Qana: Racist Jewish Fundamentalism a Factor by Omar Barghouti, Electronic Lebanon, 30 July 2006 2) Yesha Rabbinical Council: During time of war, enemy has no innocents, YNET NEWS.COM, 30 July 2006

Gibson forgot Rule # 1: Public criticism not permitted for some

Bloglines - CNN: Qana building not hit by Israeli strike, but collapsed on residents

CNN: Qana building not hit by Israeli strike, but collapsed on residents

In israel

CNN's Ben Wedeman, who was at the site, reported that no ordinance actually hit the building, but hit the ground nearby, creating a large crater. He speculated that the concussive impact cause the nearby four-story apartment to collapse.

Deutsche Bank building at Ground Zero