The emotional trauma of refugees & immigrants

Syrian refugee & granddaughter in Jordan  (AP Photo:Muhammed Muheisen) August 24 2015

Perhaps in the massive movements of refugees & immigrants around the world we can overlook the overwhelming emotions caused by dislocation & uncertainty, by the immense losses involved. Humans just aren’t suited well for war. We’re not suited well for suffering.

Four-year-old Syrian refugee Amal held by her grandmother Halima Ali allows us for a moment to glimpse the unbearable they endure. They’re in a tented refugee camp near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan where there are already long-established Palestinian refugee camps from the 1948 & 1967 expulsions from Palestine.

Our fullest solidarity with refugees & immigrants all over the world.

(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Flooding & neoliberal plunder

Boy & sheep in flood in India (EPA:STR) August 24 2015

If you know something about sheep & shepherding are you less impressed with this boy transporting sheep on a banana raft? Because to a landlubber, it looks positively Olympian.

They’re in Assam state, India where heavy rains triggered flash floods submerging 1,000 villages in water & affecting nearly 300,000 people.

Massive flooding is going on all over the world on every continent & is a neon red alert for climate change. But when neoliberal capitalists have to choose between massive profits from plunder & human survival, they just can’t help themselves: greed is what gets their adrenalin pumping. We need to save them from themselves, save ourselves from their greed, & make this world suitable for people to live & love in.

(Photo from EPA/STR)

Obama regime force-feeds illegally detained at Gitmo

Tariq Ba Odah

It’s not certain how Obama weasels out of condemnation for the same human rights crimes Netanyahu commits by unlawful detainment of prisoners & force-feeding prisoners who protest this by hunger strikes.

We just went through weeks of crisis over the health of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammad Allan in the Israeli gulag. Israel has its gulag; the US has Guantanamo & numerous secret torture centers, including in Afghanistan.

Tariq Ba Odah is a 36-year-old Yemeni man & Saudi resident picked up in 2001 in Pakistan by local police, turned over to the US military, & transferred to Guantanamo in 2002 for no apparent crime. He has served all that time, subjected to torture, without charge by the US government. In 2007 he initiated a hunger strike to protest indefinite detention for having done nothing & in 2009 was cleared for release by the Obama regime.

Before the Saudi-led bombing assault on Yemen, there were many protests in Yemen demanding the release of Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo. For reasons understood only by the criminal minds that run the US, Yemeni detainees are in a special, arbitrary category requiring they be released to a third country. That is the hogwash reason Ba Odah has not been released.

Ba Odah has been force-fed over the eight years of his hunger strike & now on the point of death, he is being force-fed twice daily. Force-feeding has been determined by countless authoritative medical bodies as torture. Quite frankly, it’s a form of waterboarding. The arms, legs, & head of the prisoner are strapped to a chair while tubes are pushed through his/her nose to the stomach. Ba Odah, who is about 5’4″ tall & once weighed 160 pounds now weighs 33 kg (75 lbs) & is considered dying.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed “Ba Odah v. Obama”, a habeas corpus petition on behalf of Tariq Ba Odah demanding his release on humanitarian grounds–which to date the Obama regime is denying.

Ba Odah is a remarkable man with undaunted spirit. He wrote: “A captive does not possess any realistic means to send his messages to the world other than to strike. . . Freedom should be much more precious for the human being than all the desires on earth. And we should never give it up regardless of how expensive the price may be.” (Tariq Ba Odah, April 2013, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba)

There must be an international hue & cry against these monstrous practices. Obama should not be seen as man of the people but as the war criminal & executioner that he is.

Release Tariq Ba Odah! Close down Guantanamo & the American gulag overseas! No more torture in our names.

(Photo is Tariq Ba Odah)

Afghans fleeing US-NATO war among refugees entering Greece

Afghan refugee inLesbos (AP Photo:Visar Kryeziu) August 23 2015

This young girl is an Afghan refugee (wrapped in a plastic sheet) after being rescued off the cost of Lesbos, Greece on Friday. Before SYRIZA temporarily loosened restrictions on refugees & immigrants, thousands were stuck in squalid filthy prisons, subject to right-wing vigilante attacks, homeless, unable to move on to other European countries because Greece functioned as the front line of Frontex & denied them papers.

There were many reports about thousands of Afghan youth trying to cross the barrier wall Greece had built on the Turkish border. They had worked their way from war & unemployment in Afghanistan to homelessness & incarceration in Greece. Some did make it through the Frontex barriers to homelessness in Germany & elsewhere.

The European Union has every obligation under international law to grant sanctuary to these refugees–& sanctuary with social service benefits, not just the right to sleep under a bridge. Particularly because most the EU member states deployed troops in Afghanistan under NATO.

It’s not certain how many NATO troops remain in Afghanistan since the US claims its withdrawn & is closing down the war. Just like they claimed in Iraq & we see how that’s turned out.

One of the most important historic missions today is to rebuild the international antiwar movement demanding the US get the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq, & every other country that it’s bombing. Antiwar opposition is not just another “worthy cause” but of preeminent importance when people are being bombed to smithereens & treated like neoliberal chattel. It is a call to arms because it affects every aspect of society in the aggressed & aggressor countries: female oppression, racist, ethnic, & every other form of discrimination, economic inequality.

Rebuild the international antiwar movement. US-NATO out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Uganda, & everywhere else it is.

(Photo by Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Joe Mantegna holding auction to support Israeli army

The actor, Joe Mantegna, is holding a gun auction to benefit the Israeli military. Of course it’s one of the most powerful military apparatuses in the world thanks to the largesse of the US Pentagon & doesn’t need this kind of charity. It’s likely just to engage celebrities in public displays of obeisance to Israel & the mythology of Exodus surrounding its origin.

It would be good if supporters of BDS took a look at his Facebook wall (where it appears the only thing he loves more than Israel is himself) & leave comments objecting to his auction. To be spiteful, you could leave the comment under the photo of him & Gary Sinise, the right-wing actor who never met a war or other repugnance he didn’t just love.

American television has become psychopathic & xenophobic

American television has become so disturbed & obsessed with the macabre, the sadistic, & psychopathic that it’s impossible to watch. I love whodunnit detective stories but the crimes portrayed are now grotesque & graphically portrayed. There really wasn’t room for a Hannibal Lecter knock-off but they made a series anyway. The rest are all glorifications of militarism, the CIA & FBI, & are up to their eyeballs in Islamophobia & evil terrorists with Arab names.

I may have to stop eating for three weeks to afford cable just so there’s something to watch at night. And please don’t tell me to dump the TV. Some of us actually like watching. Without apologies.

No I will not sign the get-well card for Jimmy Carter

No I will not sign the get-well card for Jimmy Carter so stop messaging it to me. I’m truly sorry he has cancer & glad he’s taking the news with equanimity & good grace. But I refuse to participate in the beatification rituals.

He has a political accounting to make–not just to the American people–but to those in several countries who suffered from his policies while president. Those policies do not a halo make. There were crimes against humanity involved, including in El Salvador, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Iran, Palestine, Egypt.

I wish no one evil (with the exception of Kissinger) but I expect no less decency from Carter than I do from ordinary activists.

Autopsy disproves police version of shooting of Mansur Ball-Bey

Mansur Ball-Bey

Autopsy results on Mansur Ball-Bey–the 18-year-old shot dead by police last Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri–contradict the version of events told by police. Police authorities claimed he pointed a gun at them as he fled a home they were serving with a search warrant. They say he dropped his weapon & took off running after officers fired four shots at him–one of those shots fatal.

The autopsy by the chief medical examiner shows Ball-Bey died from a single bullet shot in the back which hit his heart & would have killed him instantly, making it impossible for him to keep running.
There’s no way Police Chief Sam Dotson can finesse this crime but that didn’t stop him from trying. He said the location of the fatal shot doesn’t prove or disprove the police narrative–“Just because he was shot in the back doesn’t mean he was running away.” We’ll let that idiocy stand without comment.

According to the young man’s family–who don’t believe the police account–he wasn’t a troublemaker or delinquent. He had gone over to a relative’s house after his regular job at FedEx & was still wearing his work uniform. He graduated in June from high school, worked part-time, was active in the Moorish Temple, & was planning on going to college this fall.

Our deepest condolences to the family. May he Rest in Peace.

(Photo is Mansur Ball-Bey provided by family)

Frontex at the Greek-Macedonia border

Frontex at the Greek-Macedonia border (Georgi Licovski:EPA) August 22 2015

Frontex at the Greek-Macedonia border: Frontex is the thug squad of European Union immigration policy–the same thug squad allowing thousands of immigrants to drown in the Mediterranean Sea.

Macedonian police are blocking refugees trying to cross what the Guardian-UK calls “an illegal crossing point on the border.” Another case of the devil being in the details. As part of a joint operation agreement with the EU & Frontex, Macedonian riot police & military are throwing up razor-wire fencing & using tear gas & grenades against unarmed refugees. The entire border is now an “illegal crossing point.”

This photo speaks for itself & condemns EU immigration policy for the barbarism it is. Imagine that Frontex at the behest of European politicians allows human beings to drown & denies sanctuary to thousands fleeing war & bombing! That’s the barbarism of neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism.

Immigration is a human right. Sanctuary for refugees is a human right. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Georgi Licovski/EPA)