Obama awards Kissinger for decades of war & human rights crimes

Obama with Kissinger in 2010 (Mandel Ngan:AFP:Getty Images) May 11 2016

On Monday, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, acting on behalf of Obama, awarded Henry Kissinger the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award presented by the Pentagon to a private citizen.

The list of Kissinger’s human rights & war crimes boggles the mind; the estimates of his victims is in the several millions–including in Chile, Argentina, Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor, Pakistan just during the Nixon & Ford regimes–& he continued to advise presidents thereafter in several murderous US wars. He reportedly joked & sneered about some of the monstrous crimes he was responsible for.

Some consider the toothy-grinned Obama as cool, hip, a regular fellow who’ll morph into a humanitarian when his term is up. But his association with & honoring of Kissinger (not to mention his several wars) identifies him as a lying-assed scoundrel who merits the condemnation of all men & women of good will.

(Photo is the two war criminals in 2010 by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

It sends shivers up my spine that many Sanders’ supporters will pull the lesser evil switcheroo & start campaigning for Clinton against Trump. Actually it breaks my heart that anyone calling themselves progressive could vote for such a dishonest, war-mongering candidate with a target on the Palestinians & destroying BDS.

The contrast between Drumpf & Clinton dramatizes the treacheries & banalities of lesser evil politics more than anything in endless cycles of the travesty that is US elections. That’s why the majority of eligible US voters don’t bother to register or vote. You can’t fool all the people most of the time.

Statement by Steven Salaita on the travesty of lesser evil politics:

“Politicians who have voted for wars, expanded the carceral state, funded drone programs, cosigned the kill list, bankrolled Israeli ethnic cleansing, impoverished millions (perhaps billions), justified police brutality, trampled women’s rights, destroyed the environment, rescued bankers with taxpayer money, amplified anti-Black racism, deified Wall Street, cheered torture, enacted discriminatory legislation, invigorated xenophobia, privatized public assets, poisoned human beings with toxic water, cossetted dictators, denied the Armenian genocide, warehoused undocumented workers (including children) in overcrowded closets, dispossessed Indigenous peoples, and transformed a religion with over a billion adherents into a progenitor of terrorism are now wringing their hands about the horrors of a potential Trump presidency.

And an army of commentators can’t stop warning us about the moral boundaries we’re fixing to cross.

Just shut up already. The hypocrisy is bad enough. But the sanctimony is out of control, even for a bunch of hypocrites.”

Ahmed Manasra convicted of attempted murder by Israeli kangaroo court

Ahmad Manasrah

Reposting this from last February because it explains the case of Ahmed Manasra, the 14-year-old Palestinian boy convicted in an Israeli kangaroo courtroom on two charges of attempted murder after he allegedly attacked two Israelis with a knife, neither of whom died.

His lawyer Lea Tsemel says young Manasra faces up to twenty years in prison but is of course planning to appeal the decision.

This verdict for attempted murder by a young boy contrasts grotesquely with the manslaughter charge against Israeli soldier Elor Azarya who was filmed executing a fallen Palestinian man in Hebron, West Bank. Thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv to support Azarya & calling for death to Palestinians.

The petition cited in the post is still operative so please take a moment to sign it to protest this outrageous flouting of justice.

Israeli malfeasance around the case of Ahmed Manasra could keep a fleet of human rights lawyers busy for years. He was a 13-year-old kid when Israel escalated its provocations at al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem last fall & turned occupied East Jerusalem into a martial law zone.

Israeli police shot him after they saw Israeli settlers from an illegal settlement in East Jerusalem chasing him for allegedly stabbing a settler (Oct. 12th). His case became famous because videos of his shooting by police circulated on social media. The videos showed him with legs splayed, profusely bleeding, reaching out for help, while Israeli settlers stood around shouting obscenities at him & urging police to do him in. An Israeli police officer actually kicked him back down when he tried to raise his body. When the ambulance arrived, Israeli medics reportedly dawdled & prolonged the process of getting him to a hospital.

He was treated in a Jerusalem hospital for a broken skull & moved from there to a detention center. A Jerusalem court indicted him on October 30th on two counts of attempted murder because the two settlers he & his cousin attacked survived their wounds. His 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra was shot dead by police at the scene before a car ran over his body.

The police interrogation of young Ahmed in November was videotaped & also circulated on social media. Israeli police are seen screaming at him, verbally abusing him, pressuring him to confess. He is seen crying, hitting his head, & repeating “I do not remember.” Did the interrogators inform him of his rights? Did he know that under international & Israeli law he had the right to an attorney? Or do those rights not apply to Palestinian kids in occupied East Jerusalem?

But Israeli authorities weren’t through with him yet. They repeatedly delayed his trial so that it would take place after he turned fourteen in late January & could be tried as an adult where he could receive the maximum sentence of 20 years.

Ahmed’s defense attorney is Lea Tsemel, a remarkable Israeli woman who has defended Palestinian youth for decades & is a supporter of Palestinian rights. She told Al Jazeera, “The allegation against him is not that he stabbed anybody, but that he had the intention to kill. We will have to prove he did not have that intention, but rather to cause pain & frighten.”

Khaled Manasra, Ahmed’s uncle & the father of Hassan who was shot dead, told Al Jazeera, “Young people see what happens at the al-Aqsa Mosque, how [Israeli forces] beat Palestinians, ladies; they see Palestinians being killed, like what happened to the Dawabsheh family. In their minds, they think they can stop it.”

Palestinian Intifada in concert with massive international solidarity is the only thing that can stop it & that is exactly why Israel targets Palestinian youth for intimidation, incarceration without due process, torture in the gulag, summary execution.

The most powerful way to stand with Ahmed Manasra is to honor the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel (BDS). Buy nothing with barcode beginning 729. And consider attending the solidarity march in Washington DC on March 20th.

Please sign this petition to free Ahmed Manasra: https://secure.avaaz.org/…/amnesty_international_freedom_…/…

(Photo is Ahmed Manasra being taken to jail after verdict)

The central role of disability rights in politics & social transformation

Kashmiri disability protester (May 11 2016

In the not very distant past, those with disabilities of any kind were warehoused in state institutions under barbaric conditions including abuse of all kinds–at least in the US. They were looked down on as inferior, substandard human beings. That denigration took root in language & still manifests for those with intellectual disabilities, including adding -tard as a suffix in terms of abuse. (Stupid is a social condition, not a designation for disability.)

It appeared to be progress when US states closed down those institutions in the late 1960s-70s but they did not provide alternative social services like housing, counseling, advocates, & many ended up homeless.

It was a new day rising when those with disabilities began to organize themselves politically in the 1970s to demand equal rights & the end of flagrant discrimination, marginalization & social isolation in every aspect of life.

There were frequent photos of protesters in wheelchairs during the Arab uprisings, during the Greek austerity protests, in the Occupy movement protests–all fighting as peers. There are frequent photos of refugees disembarking from dinghies in Greece on wheelchairs & joining other refugees in rushing the border fence between Greece & Macedonia. They also are engaged in battles with their own governments to provide social services & social security still denied them–not to mention destroying the popular & institutional prejudices against them as inferior human beings.

Several times, most recently two weeks ago, disability activists on crutches & in wheelchairs in Bolivia marched on the capital to demand an increase in their paltry social security benefits. This photo is an activist of the Jammu & Kashmir Handicapped Association being arrested by Indian police at a protest for disability rights in Srinagar. Media reports that over a dozen activists were arrested, some of them on crutches or in wheelchairs.

The activists, marching behind a banner reading “We want justice, we want rights,” were demanding the reservation of government & private jobs, concessions on electricity & water bills, subsidies on loans, & social security of 6,000 Indian rupees (around $90) each month. India does not have social security so that demand is extremely avant-garde & strengthens the political struggles within India proper for social security.

Because of so many barbarous wars, disability rights has become a central issue in politics–& not just for the veterans who fight them: hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, & elsewhere have been disabled.

There is an ideology behind denying those with disabilities full stature in social & political life. It’s the same genre as racism, misogyny, & supremacist views of all kinds. The historic mission of humanity is to overcome such rancid impediments & make this world suitable for all human beings to live in.

(Photo by Mukhtar Khan/AP)