Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Romney exposed his ignorance in the land of the prophets

The Washington Post- Sam Bahour

"Mitt Romney made history on Monday. In a single speech from Jerusalem, he proved beyond a reasonable doubt that to qualify to be a U.S. presidential candidate one needs precious little understanding of history, economics, or reality. Romney has just enough to be dangerous.

With no sense of the impediments Palestinians labor under, Romney compared Israel’s economic success to that of its Palestinian neighbors and claimed the discrepancy was due to “cultural” differences and the “hand of providence.” Such blatantly racist and bigoted references to the conflicting parties are only occasionally rivaled by Israel’s most right-wing politicians."

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Forget the prayers, start begging, Rummy!

Prayer cannot save this dull-witted sloth so he might as well give it up & start begging for our mercy (which will not be forthcoming). Privilege & entitlement are hard things to overcome but for Rummy they have proven the kiss of death for any sense of humanity & decency. Along with entitlement, he nurtured his already vacuous soul at the intellectual trough of such writers as David Landes, who wrote “The Wealth And Poverty Of Nations”. Landes’s book can’t be considered scholarship but rather is an odious defense of inequality wherein he defends slavery as good for Blacks. Before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, that was common in histories of slavery but that great social movement brought Black scholarship to the fore, demolishing past histories as only good for toilet paper & land fill. But this had no affect on the venal mind of Landes, who made a fortune writing economic rubbish as a minion for Wall Street. These regrettable influences explain how Rummy could support the Vietnam War while getting an exemption from serving, though hundreds of thousands of Black Americans & other working class kids did serve. It was good for them to get drafted to fight a rich man’s war!? Now this slug is saying Palestinian culture explains their income inferiority relative to Israel, ignoring the Israeli occupation & apartheid--& he cited Landes's book in his support. Many conclusions can be drawn from this man’s rise to influence: one would be the bankruptcy of US electoral politics; the other would be that immense wealth can buy even a slug some stature. But prayer can still not save his soul! (Photo by Dan Balilty/AP)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Your rescue rings hollow, buster!

This is surely not a moment of humor & this young farmer in Anju City, North Korea, would find it least so. As torrential rains have pounded & flooded so many countries, destroying farmlands, cities, livelihoods, & forcing stranded people & livestock to seek shelter even on rooftops, this young man braves all to rescue this belligerent pig. But that smart little porker knows that following the largesse of rescue is the barbecue & s/he’s in no mood to accommodate his false gesture of comradeship. Long live belligerence! (Photo by Kim Kwang Hyon/AP)

Chinese environmental protests

Looks like courage is a common human quality though it never fails to inspire. This man facing a phalanx of riot cops in Qidong, Jiangsu Province, eastern China is one of thousands of protestors who took to the streets Saturday against a proposed waste water discharge project linked to a Japanese paper factory being built upstream in the city of Nantong. The project was scrapped after the protests despite this excessive show of military force. It wasn’t announced if plans for the factory are also scrapped but the Japanese owners say the waste water will only be discharged after treatment that meets national standards. We’ve heard that before! Regrettably, so have Chinese environmentalists & citizens who well know implementation of environmental laws in China is weak in legal oversight & bends over backwards to accommodate the predations of multinational corporations. If they don’t concern themselves with child labor, why the hell would they concern themselves with manufacturing processes that contaminate river ways!? Over the past several years, China has cited dozens of multinational corporations (including American Standard, Panasonic, Pepsi, Nestle, & 3M) mainly for discharges of substandard waste water. The government’s reckless disregard for environmental concerns has provoked confrontations with thousands of Chinese who do not like seeing their cities, fields, & rivers laid waste & stinking like cesspools. Reportedly, the Qidong protest is only the latest of thousands of environmental protests in China. A few weeks ago, the city of Shifang in the SW province of Sichuan scrapped plans for a copper plant after a protest by thousands, including high school students. Looks like a thunderous awakening is on the horizon in China. (Photo by Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Just kidding, folks!

I was just kidding about all that hope & change stuff! Forward to the deluge!   (Photo by Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Revealed: producer of propaganda BBC report on Gaza attack has history of fabrication

26 July 2012

A journalist who produced a film defending Israel’s war crimes in Gaza for the BBC is the same man who wrote hoax stories about Palestine and Lebanon a decade ago, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

In 2002, South African-British freelance journalist Paul Martin posed as a Palestinian journalist writing from Bethlehem under the fake name Sayed Anwar. But Martin later had to admit there was no such person. Martin also sometimes uses the name Paul Cainer.

In stories written for right-wing broadsheet The Washington Times in 2002, Martin posed as a native informant reporting a “reign of terror” against Palestinian Christians by “hard-core Palestinian militants” who he claimed had “seized the Church of the Nativity” (“Exiled Palestinian militants ran two-year reign of terror,” 13 May 2002; “Arafat Aided group that besiged church,” 23 May 2002).

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As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role

A gunman who said he was a member of a jihadist group near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in Syria. The signs read “The solution is Islam,” left, and “There is no god but God.”

"As the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s government grinds on with no resolution in sight, Syrians involved in the armed struggle say it is becoming more radicalized: homegrown Muslim jihadists, as well as small groups of fighters from Al Qaeda, are taking a more prominent role and demanding a say in running the resistance. "
Read more-The New York Times

Sunday, July 29, 2012

‘Don’t tell my mother that I am blind’: Muhammad Brash grasps for light in the darkness of Israeli jail

Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by the Palestinian resistance from his tank and held for five years, is known worldwide as a “victim” of the “terrorist” Palestinians.

But seeing how little the world knows of our Palestinian political prisoners infuriates me. There is not only one. Nearly five thousand Palestinians are behind Israeli bars, which are more like “a grave for the living.” as my dad ad, who spent 15 years in Israel’s prisons, frequently describes his detention.

Last night, while following the latest news on political prisoners, I saw a headline reading, “The medical situation of the detainee Muhammad Brash is deteriorating.” I’m certain few have read that name before.

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Photoshop creats jobs!

Top photo published in a Gereman paper with the headline: "Assad's Tanks roll through the streets to the Mother of all Battles. Bottom photo is the original showing the couple walking in the street published two days earlier.

Robert Fisk: Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy

The West's real target here is not Assad's brutal regime but his ally, Iran, and its nuclear weapons

The Independent-Robert Fisk

Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I'm not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I'm referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion – eastern as well as western – in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

A tribute to indigenous leadership

I don’t usually like to intrude into the stories I tell but tonight I watched a concert of Lakota Indians at Mt. Rushmore in the US state of South Dakota--historically a center of Native American resistance to ethnic cleansing. It was magnificent musically & politically overwhelming. Once I had to come to grips with the facts that my grandparents & their generation were part of colonizing the US & Canada & exterminating Native Americans. As a child, I was on the cusp of that history. My parents took us to the state park where the great Mississippi River begins & we had to drive past tar paper igloos where vanquished Indians now lived. At the mouth of the river, a Native American man in feathered headgear sold American flags on a stick. He was an old man, of the generation that would have fought the US settler invasions, but now reduced to penury & beggary--& playing Indian for tourists. He seemed like a dead man walking to me & I tugged on him, asking, “Are you alive, are you real?” Which must have incinerated his dignity & he never flinched or moved in response. Later, as a teen-ager, we took a class trip on a school bus to an Indian reservation in that same park. In those days, Indians still had to ask permission to leave the rez to even walk into town to get a soda. But a bus of anglo school kids could drive around gawking, as if Indians were red-seated monkeys in the zoo. It was my first political protest. I demanded everyone sit down, look straight ahead, & refuse to gawk at people as if they were animals. Laws changed after the great Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s & Native Americans were allowed to move to cities--though their conditions of life & the oppression against them did not improve. So I am heartened beyond all imaginings that as the capitalist predators driven by greed destroy this planet, indigenous peoples from India to Colombia to South Dakota to Ecuador to Mexico to Australia & so many places have emerged as a leading force of resistance to renew a more humble, dignified relationship to Mother Earth, to reclaim their ancestral rights & homes, & to lead us in understanding that we do not control nature or defy it but only collaborate with it & them in fraternity & sorority. (Photographer unidentified but posted in honor of the man selling US flags at the mouth of the Mississippi River)

Anti-Dowolympics protests

Despite reports English plebeians unable to afford tickets to the Dowolympics were making fools of themselves in the pubs singing "God Save the Queen", there were in fact protests against the militarization of London. While the government cries austerity & slashes public services, the opening ceremony alone cost $40 million; the cost of security is $850,149,000. (Photo of Anti Olympics protest march in Mile End Park, East London)

God save the queen--& I mean that in the most sarcastic way!

What a voluptuous moment in comedy! The Olympic opening with Betty Windsor & Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 & parachuting Betty into the stadium to applause!? You know tickets to the Olympics cost a fortune & the stadium filled with the 1% when you see them rise to their feet in tribute to this little old lady. Reports are that even in the pubs, people placed their hands on their hearts & sang, “God Save the Queen”, but that was in sarcasm, wasn’t it!? Needless to say, Daniel Craig has just pawned off his sex appeal for a moment kissing Betty’s ass.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Take down the Israeli wall!

One of the repugnant features of Israeli apartheid is the wall separating Israel from the West Bank & Gaza & the security checkpoints Palestinians must use to enter the country that was once their own. This is Ramadan & Palestinian Muslims want to worship at the Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are reportedly allowed to enter Al-Aqsa without restrictions but Israel places severe restrictions on Palestinians from  Gaza & the West Bank both for traveling to the mosque & entering it. Here a Palestinian woman deals with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint as she tries to get to Al-Aqsa. You don’t have to know Arabic to read the indignation & contempt on her face. Support her right to travel & worship where she wants; boycott all Israeli products (barcode 729).   (AFP photo)

This video of Pink Floyd singing "Song for Palestine" has shots of the wall in all its shame and images of the damage done to Gaza by the aerial bombardment of Israel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1fYDBib39s

Romney's diplomatic debut

Romney triumphant from his first blunder in foreign diplomacy where he remarkably made Davy Cameron seem witty in contrast. The economic slash & burn rhetoric that plays so well here with the media didn’t go over so well when criticizing Davy’s mismanagement. Now Rummy is headed for Israel & Poland. Expect a renewal of the Cold War in Eastern Europe; but in Israel, compared to Netanyahu, he’ll do just swell. (Photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP of Latin American Clown Congress in Guatemala City)

Wolves beware!

And they say feminism hasn't changed anything!? Kick ass, Little Red Riding Hood!

In solidarity with the people of Bhopal

In solidarity with the people of Bhopal, India, protesting the 2012 Dowolympics for allowing Dow Chemical sponsorship in defiance of human rights, we remember this glorious moment at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City. Tommie Smith & Juan Carlos (with the support of Peter Norman who wore a human rights badge on his shirt) raised their fists in a gesture that Smith said was not a “Black power salute, but in fact a “human rights salute”. It’s an immensely dignified protest whereas the Dowolympics might better deserve the inglorious “digital salute”.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dow forever stands indicted

Activists & victims of India’s Bhopal gas accident in 1984 campaigned for months to the British government & the International Olympic Committee demanding they drop Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics. US-based Dow is now the owner of Union Carbide, whose neglect of safety systems to save money caused  the pesticide plant to leak toxic gas (an ingredient in pesticides the plant produced) into the city, killing an estimated 25,000, injuring half a million, & contaminating the environment & water supply, which has created a whole new generation of children suffering chemically-induced illness & neurological disabilities. Their just petitions received little help from the Indian government since it is collusive in this criminal travesty. In June 2010, an Indian court indicted seven former managers at Union Carbide for negligence & sentenced them to two years in jail & a fine of $2,100. Despite public outrage in India, the Supreme Court there upheld corporate impunity & turned down an appeal for harsher sentences. Dow sponsorship politically contaminates the 2012 London Dowolympics. Activists held a Special Olympics protest in Bhopal to educate about the legacy of pollution, disability, & human suffering that Dow leaves in its wake. This weeping mother at the protest holds her child suffering those effects. It’s not yet clear how civil & criminal litigation against Dow/Union Carbide will proceed since in June a US court absolved the company of all liability in the Bhopal disaster which means they are not liable for remediation or pollution-related claims. It’s not certain legal appeals are exhausted but political pressure on the courts & Dow can eventually render a just judgement. Dow will forever stand indicted. (Photo by Prakash Singh/AFP)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Keep waving, Betty!

Aint she adorable!? And she exudes such supreme feudal confidence surrounded by the four groveling toadies, smarmy Davy Cameron, Johnny Major-screw-up, oh so Tony Blair, & Gordy Brown-nose, at another of those nauseating Diamond Jubilee events. Did you think all that crap was over with the flotilla up the Thames? Betty was just getting started. The only time she’s taken out from the festivities was to bet on the horses at the Epsom Derby. Otherwise, our girl is out there waving, which is the only thing she knows how to do. Many have wondered why she doesn’t retire since she’s 86 years-old. And be locked alone in the castle with Phil!? Or leave the kingdom in the hands of Chucky & these four stooges!? Keep waving, Betty!  (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/Reuters)

Police violence against Black & Latino youth

Police violence against Black & Latino youth has always been extreme & has crescendoed in recent decades under the guise of the drug war. Police across the country flout the Bill of Rights in the Black community, including harassment, stop & frisk, illegal search & seizures, racial profiling, & summary execution of unarmed “suspects”. To justify it all, police claim the victims were “suspected gang members” & have made the allegation a loaded term signifying violence & “narco-terrorism”.  The morgues & jails have been filled with the victims of this frame-up--the purpose of which is to terrorize Black & Latino youth & prevent the emergence of a new civil rights movement. A simple review of the Bill of Rights shows conclusively there is no possible legal objection to young people hanging out in groups & it is the tendency of young people to do so--whatever the hell you call them, whether the Boy Scouts, the Baptist church choir, or a neighborhood group of friends. Freedom of association & the right to assembly are rights protected by the First Amendment. But  “suspected gang member" has become the mantra to justify violence against Black youth. That is the context of events in Anaheim, CA where thousands of protestors are responding angrily to a pattern of police shootings of Latino men, including unarmed 25 year-old Manuel Angel Diaz last Saturday & 21 year-old Joel Mathew Acevedo last Sunday who police claim shot at them. Police testimony is not reliable. Here a protestor is arrested at Anaheim City Hall on July 24th. This “Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People” points to the need for a new civil rights movement which the police & government are so intent on preventing. (Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)

Dispensing gas masks in Israel

Well things sure turned out in Israel like the European Zionists promised! They convinced millions of Jews the answer to pogroms & antisemitism was to violently expel Palestinians from their lands & set up a Jewish state. Political opponents of Zionism insisted such a state based on violence would be a death trap for Jews. So this promised land has now delivered 64 years of apartheid & ethnic cleansing of the resistant Palestinians. And here the government is dispensing gas masks & protection kits against chemical & biological warfare at a distribution center in Mevaseret Zion, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Zionism is a cynical, elitist, & pessimistic ideology that has only increased human suffering for millions of people & has proven a dead end for ending antisemitism. (Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Policy Change: "Terrorists" Are Now "Insurgents"

Moon of Alabama

"This is the biggest Orwellian rewrite I have ever experienced.

For years the label "AlQaeda" and "terrorists" were practically used as synonyms. But, following the Obama administrations lead, the New York Times has now rewritten its stylebook and relabeled "AlQaeda" from "terrorists group" to a somewhat neutral "insurgency".

Iraq Insurgents Kill Nearly 100 After Declaring New Offensive

BAGHDAD — In a coordinated display intended to show they remain a viable force, Iraqi insurgents launched at least 37 separate attacks throughout the country on Monday morning, setting off car bombs, storming a military base, attacking policemen in their homes and ambushing checkpoints, Iraqi authorities said....

So there are now "insurgents" in Iraq? Should we support them?

Further into the piece it becomes clear who these "insurgents" are:

The attacks, coming in the early days of Ramadan, the monthlong Muslim religious rite, were predicted Sunday in an audio message attributed to the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Bakir Al Baghdadi, and posted on the group’s Web site. Mr. Baghdada vowed that a new offensive, which he called Breaking Down Walls, would begin soon."
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The fight for democratic rights is international

This scene is from a Manila protest against Filipino President Benigno Aquino’s state of the nation speech on Monday, where he laid out plans for increased militarism in the country. We’ve seen riot cops & soldiers attack unarmed strikers & protestors in almost every country with truncheons, water cannons (including with toxic dyes), tear gas, rubber bullets, bulldozers, & tanks. The right to public protest is being violently wrested from our hands in order so the oligarchs can impose regimes of subservience & austerity. Democratic rights, including the right to assembly & freedom of speech can only be defended & advanced through massive opposition & by shutting the country down if necessary--as the miners & working people of Spain are doing. Our Spanish brothers & sisters are in the forefront of this international struggle now but they have been inspired by the struggles of people in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Greece, Portugal, Chile, India, Nigeria, & the Occupy movement in many countries. The attack on democracy is global. The struggle for democracy is also international & demands not just sentiments of solidarity but an active & practical one, reaching out & joining hands with activists around the world in our pursuit of justice & freedom.  (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding in China

Around the globe in several countries, there are massive floods this year (as there were last year) & several immense forest fires on the scale of Colorado. Most of these have gone completely unreported by US media, though they have wreaked terrible destruction & dislocated millions of people. This photo from Chongqing, China shows an elderly woman being rescued & evacuated from her flooded neighborhood.The flooding in Beijing (over 1,000 miles from Chongqing) is the worst in over 60 years. Apparently the government response to the floods is reminiscent of Bush after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This provoked fierce criticism of the regime by thousands of microbloggers. They expressed outrage no emergency broadcast system was deployed, complained that some of Beijing’s 37 deaths could have been prevented with proper warnings, criticized inadequate rescue services & that no shelters were provided, & denounced Beijing’s ancient drainage system. One blogger said: "We can host the most luxurious Olympics & send satellites into space but can never seem to fix the drainage system.” What drew the greatest scorn was the government call for donations to an emergency flood relief fund. In China (as in the US), the Red Cross is associated with the government & last year was nailed in a major scandal over flagrant misappropriation of funds so the regime could hardly hide behind the Red Cross--as they continue to do in the US. According to the Beijing Times, the Chinese government (or as US media puts it, “Beijing’s propaganda chief”) ordered Chinese media to “correctly guide public opinion” & stick to stories of “achievements worthy of praise & tears”. So to distract from the government’s response, media focused on touching tales of residents helping rescue each other. Is that shades of US network news, or what!?  But the difference is the US media doesn’t need censors to coerce. Happy patter & heart warming banalities are their stock in trade & covering for treachery is what they’re paid to do. (Photo by AFP)

Why so many communist philosophers?

The destructive nature of neoliberalism has prompted many philosophers to reconsider communist ideas.
The 2008 financial crisis has sparked renewed interest in the writings of Karl Marx, says Zabala [EPA]

Barcelona, Spain - Reading and writing about Karl Marx does not necessarily make you a communist, but the fact that a number of distinguished philosophers are reevaluating Marx's ideas certainly means something.

After the autumn 2008 global economic crisis, new editions of Marx's texts returned to our bookstores accompanied by a large number of introductions, biographies, and new interpretations of the German master.

While this resurrection was undoubtedly caused by the financial meltdown allowed by our democratic governments, Marx's revival among philosophers is not as simple a consequence as many believe.

After all, in the early nineties the great French philosopher Jacques Derrida anticipated this return as a response to Francis Fukuyama's (self-proclaimed) "neoliberal victory" at the "end of history".

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Dismantling Joe

Workers are taking down the statue of deceased Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, now discredited for allowing child sexual assault to go on in his program. Nice start & when they’re finished dismantling Joe they can continue by taking down the hundreds of Confederate monuments all over the US & those racist monstrosities against Native Americans, like the one in front of the Natural History Museum in NYC. Come to think of it, why stop there!? They should start dismantling a lot of the racist exhibits inside those natural history museums where Native Americans are treated as extinct anthropological curiosities & Africans are treated as primitives. Consider the advantages of this in increasing employment & getting rid of historical lies & cultural pollution. (Photo by Abby Drey/MCT/Centre Daily Times)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Interspecies love works good both ways

Don’t you just love when that interspecies thing is working right & they’re not eating us & we’re not shooting them!? This is Patrick Karabaranga, a warden at a national gorilla sanctuary in Rumangabo, Democratic Republic of Congo playing with an orphaned mountain gorilla. The Virunga National Park where Mr. Karabaranga works is home to 210 mountain gorillas, approximately one quarter of the world’s population. The four orphans living in the sanctuary were rescued after their parents were killed by poachers or traffickers. (Photo by Phil Moore/AFP)

US-NATO out of Syria

This post is dedicated to the memory of Ibrahim Kashoush, a Syrian folksinger called the “nightingale of the revolution”, who changed the lyrics of traditional wedding & celebratory songs to create protest songs. In June & July 2011, he led hundreds of thousands of Syrian protestors chanting for democracy. On July 5th, 2011, brother Ibrahim’s body was found dumped in the Assi River with his adam’s apple & voice chord cut out--as a clear warning to those who spoke out against the Bashar al-Assad regime. We honor Ibrahim Kashoush as we honor the thousands of other martyrs of the Syrian opposition to tyranny. We are unalterably opposed to any US-NATO military intervention into Syria--either directly or by proxy--because we want the popular uprising against Bashar to succeed & not be compromised & destroyed by US military & paramilitary scheming. And we reject the libertarian point of view that this uprising is orchestrated entirely by the CIA, Mossad, & other spy agencies--because libertarians have nothing but contempt for working people as agents of transformative change in society. Long live the Syrian uprising! Down with Bashar’s tyranny! And tribute to Ibrahim Kashoush & the thousands of Syrians who have lost their lives & paid a terrible price for freedom! Your sacrifice is a beacon to suffering humanity around the world & will live on in our struggles.

US out of Iraq now!

Ah yes. US military aggression has certainly made the world safer for democracy. Here an Iraqi woman & her child are terrorized as her home in Arab Jabour is raided by a soldier from the Iraqi military--proxy for US soldiers in what are now called “coalition forces”, since the Pentagon uses euphemisms & proxies to disguise occupation. Arab Jabour is called “al Qaeda country” by the Pentagon & in the past several years has been pummeled with thousands of pounds of US bombs. Raiding homes is ostensibly an attempt to root out al Qaeda safe havens which probably don't exist. But this is the way you terrorize resistance to occupation. And isn’t this the war Obomba declared ended? Demand the immediate unconditional withdrawal of all US (or is that coalition forces?) from Iraq. US out now! (Photo by Alaa al-Marjani/AP)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Damascus Bombs and Mysteries

Let us be clear on what is happening in Syria:
1) We really don’t know what is happening in Syria.
2) There is an unprecedented disinformation campaign going on, and from all sides.
3) When the US refrains from resorting to a military option, it spends millions on psychological warfare. We see evidence of that in Syria.
4) Every week for a year, we are told that the regime is about to fall, and that the US is preparing for the post-Bashar era.
5) The Syrian National Council and Free Syrian Army have lost any little say over their own actions and rhetoric. They are now mere tools for regional and international intelligence services.
6) The secrecy of the Syrian regime will only increase over time.
7) We don’t really know who calls the shots in Syria. The attempt to extrapolate from Hafez’s era to Bashar’s is fallacious.
8) The regime won’t collapse overnight and won’t collapse in one strike.
9) If the regime — as the New York Times and other Western papers maintain daily — has lost all domestic support and that it now relies exclusively on Alawi support, then it won’t be standing.
10) Western media are now mere vehicles of propaganda of Western governments, just as the Syrian regime media are propaganda outlets for the regime.
11) Even if the armed revolt expands and intensifies, and even if Western public and covert support increases, the fight for Syria will drag on and will inevitably spill over to Lebanon.
12) The season of Arab uprisings have entered a different phase — the US has managed to contain their dangerous impact and to restrict the freedom campaign of the Arab people.
13) The season of Arab uprisings has not ended. It will go through different phases.
14) The outcome of the conflict in Syria will be far from respecting the wishes of the Syrian people, just as the GCC-US management of the Yemen crisis preserved an ugly regime.
15) The US-Israel will do their best to keep the Syrian regime intact after toppling Bashar — if they succeed in toppling him that is.
Full article al-akhbar

Another phony baloney

Elie Wiesel is a Jewish-American writer, holocaust survivor, & Nobel laureate whose high-flown rhetoric is often quoted for its humanity. His most famous quote is: “I swore never to be silent whenever & wherever human beings endure suffering & humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” So true but complete baloney in the mouth of Wiesel, a rabid Zionist who only makes self-aggrandizing comments like this to better peddle Zionism & shill for Israel. He has never spoken out in opposition to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians because he supports it. Norman Finkelstein politically eviscerated Wiesel in the book “The Holocaust Industry” where in discussing the role Wiesel plays he said, “There’s no business like Shoah business.” (Photo of Wiesel probably from one of his self-promoting screeds)

Who runs Spain now!?

Plebeian minds viewing this photo would say, “This is what democracy looks like”: millions of Spaniards in 80 municipalities marching against the IMF & Eurobank imposed austerity program of attacks on working people. But while millions of irate working people are voting “hell no” on the assaults, the Eurozone finance ministers, IMF, & Spanish banks are finalizing the deal. So who runs Spain now!? What happened to national sovereignty? What happened to democracy? Why do bankers in Spain, Germany, France, & the UK get to decide who will pay the price for capitalism’s high crimes & misdemeanors!? Events are moving us way past indignation & pointing in the direction of revolution. Throw the bums out! (Photo of Madrid, July 19th, 2012; photographer not identified)

How to curb addiction to video games

This story gets recycled about once a year & repetition has not made it less odious. Cheongryong Self-Denial Training Camp on Daebu Island, South Korea is a military camp run by retired marines for elementary & high school students to learn discipline. They are taught self-flagellant exercises in mud & snow which make the masochism of medieval monasteries look soft by comparison. Some children are sent there because of parental confusion about how to handle kids addicted to video games. This might suggest the South Korean regime (occupied by the US military) is as militaristic as that of North Korea. Or is there a difference between goose-stepping & forcing your kids to crawl through the mud?  (Photo by Ahn Young-Joon/AP)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Omar is dead. Whoop-dee-doo!

Omar Suleiman is dead. What is there to say about him when even the NY Times, the mouth piece of US capital, cannot find any good to say about him? The LA Times in a damning obituary noted he was a snappy dresser. That’s the best they can do? So let’s not beat around the bush: Omar was a human slug without a single redeeming quality. His delight was torturing decent people in the most vile & violent ways that even gave his CIA collaborators pause. We are not interested in the forensics of his demise; we only want to know where to show up to celebrate. The Egyptian people who he tyrannized & tortured for decades rose up & threw his ugly ass out of office & when he tried to run for president they rose up & bounced him again. He didn’t die from heart disease. He didn’t have one. He died because the Egyptian uprising made him face what a despicable monster he really was without the trappings of state power. The only thing you can say about him that isn’t damning is that he’s dead. May he RIP if that can be done in hell. Amen.
Read more, NY Times
And here, LA Times

Getting to the bottom of things

So we need to get to the bottom of why Spanish firefighters are showing up at protests buck-naked--although firefighters were a visible & attired presence at protests today in Madrid & Barcelona. Turns out they’re not just shameless exhibitionists or looking for a date. They’re steaming mad & trying to make a point in the most dramatic way. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but some of us like it. In Mieres, Spain, 8 members of the fire brigade posed  in flagrante (which in Latin means, “in blazing crime”) in front of the firehouse under a banner saying, “With so many cuts, we have been left naked.” So there you have it. Firefighters began protesting in 2010 against the privatizing of emergency services, a pay cut of 5%, & a wage freeze. Protests continued in 2011 against broadsided attacks on all public workers (including teachers, nurses, firefighters), with cuts to health, education, public transport, water. In the new round of attacks, public workers will lose a Christmas bonus (equivalent to a 7% reduction in annual pay), & sales tax increases that will pummel them & all consumers. (Photo by Eloy Alonso/Reuters)

Humanitarian dental care

An inmate in a jail in Quezon, Philippines is getting a tooth extracted under a program of the government’s Public Attorney’s office. The program provides legal assistance to prisoners as well as free medical & dental services as “part of a humanitarian aid program”. Does this look like humanitarian dental care to you!? Maybe those prisoners should review their legal assistance too. It could explain why they’re behind bars. (Photo by Rolex Dela Pena/EPA)

Spanish working people say no to austerities

Today, there were protests in cities across Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia against the newest installment of austerity measures passed by the parliament. The parliament of course is trying to restore banker’s & investor’s confidence on the backs of working people. The attacks on working people might be much more daunting if the entire world weren’t rising up in opposition to them & if it weren’t for those striking miners.  (Top photo of Madrid by Andres Kudacki/AP; bottom photo of Valencia, no photographer identified)

Don't let the uniforms fool you!

Don’t let those military uniforms fool you--anymore than those photos of HHHHarry in the trenches of Afghanistan or WWWWilly in a helicopter. This traversing wall is in a gym at a secondary school in Jersey where Chucky is visiting as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour to celebrate generations of deadbeats living off the impoverished body politic. His assignment has been kindergarten classrooms (where he learned to cut colored paper), secondary schools, & newsrooms--all places they might not notice how dumb & inept he is. He wasn’t born that way but over 60 years of doing nothing but horse-back riding & betting on the horses has made him noteworthy in that regard. Milord might merit pity if you can get past the free-loading. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

A diplomatic gesture worth nothing

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis in several major cities have been protesting against the re-opening of NATO supply routes from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Thousands also protested along the route of the hundreds of supply trucks that cross into Afghanistan every day. Pakistan had closed the roads last November to protest the killing of 24 soldiers in a NATO airstrike. They re-opened the route on July 3rd, after Hillary Clinton apologized for their deaths. That apology exposes the utter bankruptcy of the Pakistani government. A wimpy diplomatic gesture cannot possibly outweigh the US drone attacks in Pakistan that have killed & displaced millions. What about those lives? The US-NATO war in Afghanistan has displaced, killed, maimed, orphaned, traumatized millions in Afghanistan. What about those lives? No apology by any minion to collaborators with US terrorism can suffice. Demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO forces from Afghanistan & the end of the US drone siege in Pakistan. In this photo, 22 NATO trucks were destroyed by magnetic bombs just north of Kabul.  (Photo by Javed Dehsabzi/AP)

The preferable relationship of forces between military & citizens

Here, Nasa Indians drag a Colombian soldier off their lands in Toribio, Colombia on July 17th. For years, the Nasa people have demanded government troops, right-wing paramilitary forces, & guerilla combatants in FARC stay off their ancestral lands because the over 60-year civil war targets their communities & resources, & has become a pretext for the expropriation of their territory. The war has created one of the largest displaced populations in the world, with Afro-Colombians & indigenous peoples comprising the majority of millions displaced. These communities have sustained human rights violations, including massacres of their leaders, forcible expropriation of their towns & farm lands, political terror & bombardments of their towns by all sides, the establishment of military barracks in their schools, & confiscation of sports fields for use as heliports. They face the spread of coca cultivation & narcotics trafficking in their region, & violent expropriations under the pretext of combating the drug trade. They are simultaneously engaged in a fight for their very existence against the government’s neoliberal plans for mono-crop export agriculture. This explains why the Colombian military & police are trained, backed, & bankrolled by the US to a fuller extent than the armed forces of any country except Egypt, Israel, Afghanistan, & Iraq.

The Nasa, other indigenous communities, & Afro-Colombians are politically active & savvy, collaborate with each other, have led many protests, & presented their defense to the UN & other agencies. In 2004, they organized the largest protest in history (60,000 people) against Colombian military policies & against the then proposed free trade agreement with the US. In 2005, they also organized a referendum on free trade in which 70% of the population participated, with 98% voting against free trade with the US. (The agreement went into effect May 2012.) Also in 2005, 300 representatives from indigenous reserves & Afro-Colombian communities met to strategize a survival plan in the civil war. But in response, the Colombian government attempts to implicate them as FARC auxiliaries & demands collaboration against FARC; those who do not go along become suspect; all forms of social protest have become not just suspect but criminal since FARC is said to direct them in secret. That explains why the Nasa people want them all off their lands & out of their towns. Unfortunately, riot police using tear gas & shotguns retook this site in Toribio, chasing off the Nasa who had expelled the soldiers. We can add our voice to the tough-minded struggle of the Nasa, other indigenous communities, & Afro-Colombians by demanding US out of Colombia; No US aid to Colombia; End the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. (Photo by William Fernando Martinez/AP)

This Saturday in Melbourne: Dr Virginia Tilley speaks on "Apartheid and International Law in the Occupied Territories.

THIS SATURDAY IN MELBOURNE: Please go and hear Dr Virginia Tilley speak on "Apartheid and International Law in the Occupied Territories. Her expertise on the concepts of apartheid and colonialism as they pertain to Israel and the Palestinian territories under its control, saw her editing the recently released book “Beyond Occupation” with some eminent contributors of which she is one. At a time when Israel is increasingly under the microscope for its brutal treatment of the Palestinians, Dr Tilley presents her conclusions as to whether Israel is in fact and law an apartheid state. Her analysis and its implications impacts on us all.

Saturday 21 July 2012 at 5.30pm
117-131 Capel Street, North Melbourne

Richard Falk: Pros and cons of Western Palestinian solidarity

Sympathetic Westerners should avoid insisting on their own solutions, and let Palestinians lead instead.
"These comments reflect my reading of a passionate and provocative essay by Linah Alsaafin entitled "How obsession with 'non-violence' harms the Palestinian cause", which was published online in Electronic Intifada on July 11, 2012. The burden of her excellent article is the insistence that it is for the Palestinians, and only the Palestinians, to decide on the forms and nature of their resistance. She writes with high credibility as a recent graduate of Birzeit University who was born in Cardiff, Wales and lived in England and the United States, as well as Palestine.

She persuasively insists that for sympathetic observers and allies to worship at the altar of Palestinian non-violence is to cede to the West the authority to determine what are acceptable and unacceptable forms of Palestinian struggle. This is grotesquely hypocritical considering the degree to which Western militarism is violently unleashed around the planet to maintain structures of oppression and exploitation, more benignly described as "national interests". In effect, the culturally sanctioned political morality of the West is indicative of an opportunistically split personality: nonviolence for your struggle, violence for ours. Well-meaning liberals, by broadcasting such an insidious message, are not to be welcomed as true allies."
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(Richard Falk is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.)

Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman dies

Long-time intelligence chief and Hosni Mubarak's close ally has died in US while undergoing medical examination.
Omar SuleimanHe joined the race for the country's presidency in April, but his candidature was rejected

Omar Suleiman, Egypt's former vice-president and long-time spy chief to deposed president Hosni Mubarak, has died in the US, the official MENA news agency has reported. He was 76.

"Former vice president General Omar Suleiman died in the early hours of Thursday in a hospital in the United States," the agency said.

"He was undergoing medical tests in Cleveland," Suleiman's aide Hussein Kamal said, adding that arrangements were being made to return his body to Egypt for burial.

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Libya's defeated Islamists

Liberals unexpectedly won recent elections, partly due to disorganisation and splits among Islamists.
The National Forces Coalition, headed by Mahmoud Jibril, soundly defeated Islamists in Libya's elections

"We certainly did not expect the results, but... our future is certainly better than our present and our past," said Sami al-Saadi, the former ideologue of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and the founder of the political party al-Umma al-Wasat, which finished third in Central Tripoli during Libya's recent parliamentary election. The man whom Taliban leader Mullah Omar once called the "Sheikh of the Arabs", and who authored the LIFG's anti-democracy manifesto The Choice is Theirs, accepted the apparent victory of Libya's more liberal forces.

Indeed, the results raised eyebrows, even among those analysts who did not expect an Islamist landslide. In the electoral district that includes Derna, commonly viewed as an Islamist stronghold, the liberal-leaning National Forces Coalition (NFC), a grouping of more than 60 parties and hundreds of local civil-society organisations, won 59,769 votes, while the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) of the Muslim Brothers (MB) received only 8,619. The liberal-leaning Central National Trend (CNT) finished third, with 4,962 votes.

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Leading Syrian regime figures killed in Damascus bomb attack

Rebels kill Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law, defence minister and other key figures in Damascus
Assef Shawkat
Assef Shawkat, brother-in-law of the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, who has been killed by a rebel bomb in Damascus.

Syria's uprising has entered a dramatic new phase as rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad killed three of his top security chiefs in a devastating bomb attack in the heart of Damascus.

Syrian state TV confirmed the death of Assef Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law and the deputy head of the armed forces, and his closest security adviser, as well as Dawoud Rajha, the minister of defence and the regime's most senior Christian figure. Hassan Turkmani, its crisis management chief, was also killed.

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Jonathan Cook: Israel’s Annexation Plan


The recently published report by an Israeli judge concluding that Israel is not in fact occupying the Palestinian territories – despite a well-established international consensus to the contrary – has provoked mostly incredulity or mirth in Israel and abroad.

Leftwing websites in Israel used comically captioned photographs to highlight Justice Edmond Levy’s preposterous finding. One shows an Israeli soldier pressing the barrel of a rifle to the forehead of a Palestinian pinned to the ground, saying: “You see – I told you there’s no occupation.”

Even Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, seemed a little discomfited by the coverage last week. He was handed the report more than a fortnight earlier but was apparently reluctant to make it public.

Downplaying the Levy report’s significance may prove unwise, however. If Netanyahu is embarrassed, it is only because of the timing of the report’s publication rather than its substance.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Israeli lawmaker tears up "abominable" New Testament, throws it in trash

A member of the Israeli parliament has torn up a copy of the New Testament and thrown it in the trash.

An edition of the Bible had been distributed to all members of the Knesset by Victor Kalish, the head of a Christian publishing society.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Housing is a human right

Homelessness is international, existing in almost every country--and the struggle to end it is also international. Clothing, food, health, & housing are primary human needs & cannot be left to chance or good fortune. They need to be defined & fought for as human rights.

Solidarity is power

Bangladeshi garment workers march to express solidarity with the striking miners of Spain. Solidarity is a marvelous & powerful thing.

Human rights crimes are the norm for migrants

Atrocious human rights crimes are the norm for undocumented migrants. These young men from Central America try to sleep while waiting for a northbound freight train near Mexico City. It must be noted it is legal for migrants to travel through Mexico to the US border but the Mexican government hasn’t done a damn thing to make it safe. To make the over 1,000 mile journey from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc., people have to jump on & off moving trains, called “la bestia” (the beast). Hundreds not only sustain serious injuries & amputations along the way, but also extreme violence, including robbery, assault, rape, murder. The media & government blame it on drug cartels but more likely the responsible are paramilitary & military forces attempting to deter migration. Under a dozen UN agreements (like the International Declaration of Human Rights), immigrants have rights under international law. But even the UN acknowledges these rights are “soft laws”, meaning they have absolutely no binding power on governments whether they sign them or not. The US, Mexico, Israel, are among the signatories on many of these agreements & are guilty of dozens of international crimes, including assassinations, false imprisonment, genocide, apartheid, occupation, torture, but of course they’re never held accountable in an international tribunal. Immigration is a human right. Open the borders! ((Photo by Marco Ugarte/AP)

Follow the purple workers; they know what they're doing!

There is a global assault on public education, teachers, & teacher’s unions, with significant strikes in Uganda, Nigeria, Greece, the US, India. Here cops in Srinagar, India are manhandling & arresting a Kashmiri teacher during a protest to demand raises & regularization of their jobs. This is a long standing battle since many teachers have been on temporary contracts since 1994 & even held a hunger strike last summer over the issue. They’re demanding contract workers be made permanent & that all vacancies be filled. Last month in Srinagar, several protests by public service workers, including teachers, were attacked by cops trying to prevent public protests & strikes. Fifty strikers were injured; some required hospitalization. Srinagar cops spray toxic purple chemical dyes from water cannons. The water cannons are dangerous enough by themselves without adding chemicals & cause any number of injuries, including broken bones, eye & skin damage, injured internal organs. Our solidarity & highest respect for these strikers on the front lines of defending public education.(Photograph by Tauseef Mustafa/AFP)

Violence against child workers

This photo is from two years ago but is posted to show the kind of violence child workers are subjected to & the collusion of governments in enforcing child labor. This very young Bangladeshi boy is a factory worker on strike in 2010 from a garment factory producing for global brands from discounts chains to upscale stores, like Walmart, J.C. Penney, as well as European chains. It is estimated 3 million workers, mostly women, work in the Bangladeshi garment industry. Textile workers, who are paid chicken feed rather than a living wage, were demanding back pay & wage increases. Employers pay less than minimum wage, are in substantial arrears, & frequently cut wages. Though children under 14-years-old are banned by law from working in Bangladesh, thousands do in hundreds of factories. Police used bamboo staves, tear gas, & water cannons against strikers who built barricades & pelted cops with stones. This is not the only photo of a child striker being beaten. It has been pointed out that this generation of workers are not country kids naive about the ways of the world but people who grew up in the slums & know they need to be united & organized. Our fullest solidarity with them in standing up against the vultures & predators. Part of that solidarity is exposing & educating about the use of child labor by western companies. (Photographer not identified)

Posted just for the humor of it!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Standing up for Mother Earth

Standing up for Mother Earth in Brazil: does the spirit of resistance & human courage in the face of overwhelming force ever fail to leave you breathless!? Or make you proud to be human? (Photographer  not identified)

Zombie apocalypse?

Even Mad Magazine could not do justice to the stinking cynicism of this encounter between Hillary Clinton & Mohamad Tantawi, the dictator of Egypt. Clinton is the chief bully & shill for US foreign policy (which includes wars & bombing sieges in at least 7 countries & bankrolls dictatorship in Egypt & several other countries) & has the bold-faced temerity to lecture Tantawi, who tortures, jails, & shoots at democracy protestors when the two criminals are in complete accord on shooting down the Egyptian uprising. Who in the world does she think she’s kidding when she scolds the cadaverous general about protecting the rights of all Egyptians, including women & minorities!? US hands off Egypt! Long live the Egyptian uprising! (Photo by Brendan Smialowski, Pool/AP)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Israel building for peace: New colony in Abu al Ajaj!

Gadi military base (disused) - location of new settlementIsraeli settlers are establishing yet another new colony in the Jordan Valley. With the support of the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, they are taking over a disused army base close to two Palestinian communities and claiming the land for themselves, just as the notorious Maskiyyot settlers did in 2002.

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