It’s difficult to keep up with the avalanche of terrorist attacks around the world. Barely has the smoke cleared in Istanbul when they strike again in Dhaka & in Baghdad. It’s impossible to unravel reality from war mongering in the media reports of what happened & who is responsible. One can see where false flag explanations get their appeal because often the stories don’t add up or are simple-minded.

Those terrorist attacks cannot be isolated from US bombing terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia; from Saudi-led, US & UK-backed bombing in Yemen; from Russian & Syrian bombing in Syria; from Israeli bombing of Gaza. By isolating suicide bombings & making them the story, we turn attention from those monstrous wars which are the context generating individual acts of terrorism. That is not to excuse terrorism but to understand its political genesis in desperation.

The historic imperative remains: rebuild the international antiwar movement.

Elie Wiesel, an obituary not of the panegyric kind

Elie Wiesel (Michael Fattal) July 2 2016

There are so many ways to write the obituary of Elie Wiesel. We’re going to get a belly-full of the panegyric kind over the next few weeks. This isn’t that kind.

Being a Buchenwald survivor & losing close family members in the holocaust deeply affected Wiesel. But instead of putting his grief to good purpose by joining with others in the international struggle against racism & colonialism, he wedded himself to Zionism, the rightwing nationalism based on belief in Jewish supremacism.

Within a few years of his release, at the young age of 20, he began his descent into nationalist supremacism by translating articles for the Irgun, a criminal paramilitary death squad that helped create the state of Israel by the use of terrorism, including bombings & massacres of Palestinians. The Irgun eventually formed the basis of the Israeli army, still notorious for unspeakable brutality against Palestinians.

With growing prominence as a writer, he began to grasp the commercial value of milking the horrors of the holocaust for personal gain & to promote a Jewish-only state. He became a master at self-serving platitudes like in his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech when he famously said, “I swore never to be silent whenever & wherever human beings endure suffering & humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Our man wasn’t silent. Nor certainly neutral. His bullhorn of choice was taking out full-page ads in international media to promote Jewish immigration to Israel, illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, & most despicably at the height of the 2014 bombing siege in Gaza, he justified that assault. While Israeli warplanes were bombing hospitals, schools, residences, refugee centers for seven weeks, this nationalist jackass took out an ad accusing Palestinians of using their children as human shields. That’s a hell of a condemnation that should be put on his tombstone.

For honing the art of propaganda in support of Jewish supremacism over Palestinians & to promote the state of Israel, our man has a pile of awards that go a mile high. He may be one of the most feted people in the world. That’s what you get for supporting colonialism & ethnic cleansing.

You’re supposed to find something good about a person when they die. There’s no reason to do that since the impending panegyrics will invent entire catalogs of virtues to attribute to him. If we must find some, let it be said he aged well & was a snappy dresser.

Let his epitaph reflect the life he led: he supported colonialism & the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by carpet bombing that targeted children. He lived his own damnation. In his support of Israel, he knew no shame.

(Photo of Wiesel by Michael Fattal)

Carlos Santana: the poet of apartheid

Santana the phony

Carlos Santana is a weasel & not just a garden variety kind of weasel but the kind that tries to portray himself as a deep-thinking poet & man of the people. He can sling that hippy peace & love crap so ardently one could call him the Deepak Chopra of Israeli apartheid.

Despite months of campaigning by BDS activists trying to educate his bony ass & asking him to honor the cultural boycott of Israel, he is proceeding with his July 30th concert in Tel Aviv. He actually had the gall to post a video message on Thursday saying he’s excited to return to Israel to promote a “musical message of peace, love & an end to conflict.” In street parlance, that’s known as a crock of you-know-what.

Last Tuesday, the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace tried to deliver a petition with 25,000 signatures to the headquarters of The Milagro Foundation set up by Santana for underprivileged kids around the world. Workers at the foundation “refused to open the door…& closed the blinds,” according to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). How weasely do you get!?

While the poet of apartheid does his schtick, our mission is to build BDS, the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel. As for Santana, he can stick his poetry where the sun don’t shine.

(Photo of the poet of ethnic cleansing is screen shot from his message)

Anyone surprised that Hillary Clinton supports the death penalty? And Drumpf supports waterboarding & even worse forms of torture. That should make lesser evil decisions a piece of cake. But no, there are still those with invincible credulity who parse distinctions between the two.

This whole campaign has been nothing but a circus side show, even topping the last campaign, & it’s gonna go all down hill from here as the credulous go back forth & then again around the block casting off panic & predictions about who will make the world more dangerous. That depends on what you fear most–waterboarding or hanging.

Somme centenary: celebration of slaughter

Somme centenary REUTERS:Francois Mori:Pool: July 1 2016

This is Cameron & Charlie the Mooch putting on long faces to impersonate mourning at the centenary ceremony in France marking the WWI Battle of the Somme begun July 1st, 1916. It was fought on French territory by the French & British armies against the German army & was one of the largest & deadliest battles in human history. When it ended in November 1916, over a million soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing from all three armies.

Every Tom, Dick, & Harry from the British aristocracy was there with the long faces, standing with heads of state, politicians like Jeremy Corbyn, the Archbishop of Canterbury, orchestras, choirs, military bands, & schoolchildren they want to inculcate with the mythology about WWI being fought over democracy when it was fought primarily by the US & Europe over the colonial division of the world.

WWI was a monstrous war we’re taught to honor when it should be understood & condemned as setting off the militarism & endless wars that have marked the last 100 years & made the lives of millions of people a living hell. There was nothing emancipatory nor democratic about it.

Do people like Cameron actually believe we’ll buy the sad face schtick when they continue the barbarisms of WWI in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, & elsewhere? Do the mutant Windsors actually think we’ll buy the feigned sorrow when they had to be dragged away from the horse track & forced at gunpoint to attend?

There is nothing to honor about the Battle of the Somme. It was a catastrophe whether the men who fought it understood that or not. The only reason Britain & France are putting on this dog & pony mockery is to maintain the image of war as a noble pursuit that young people should be willing & eager to participate in not just as a patriotic duty but as an honor.

The historic imperative remains: rebuild the international antiwar movement to put an end to endless wars that have taken the lives of millions of people–soldiers & civilians.

(Photo by Francois Mori/Pool/Reuters)

The leading American of Mexican ancestry who supports Drumpf is from this area so she’s making local news. Turns out her father is a hitman sitting in a Texas jail for murdering an attorney for the drug cartels.

So she’s not deranged as we suspected but has vested interests in xenophobic politics.

Israeli mounted police rush Palestinians at Qalandiya checkpoint

IDF on horseback

This video of mounted Israeli troops dispersing Palestinians makes my blood boil. On more than one occasion I have been in protests in the US where they drove mounted police at protesters. It is absolutely terrifying & extremely dangerous for them to do so.

This is the military occupation of Palestine. This is colonialism & apartheid.

Build BDS.

Mural art & social protest

Rafah crossing mural (Photo- Ibraheem Abu Mustafa:REUTERS) July 1 2016

This is a mural at the Rafah border crossing from Gaza into Egypt. The Palestinian woman sitting in front of it is waiting for a travel permit to cross after Egypt opened it yesterday for five days.

Mural art has played an immense role in protest, from opposing the British occupation of Northern Ireland to the Arab uprisings of 2011, most notably in Egypt & Yemen–& of course all over the Israeli apartheid wall.

Culture, especially music & art, have always been part of social protest–which is exactly why the cultural boycott of Israel is so important & why Israel fights it tooth & nail, including throwing exorbitant fees at celebrities to induce them to perform as the backdrop to ethnic cleansing.

The tragedy is that artistic creativity would best be used to explore the human psyche & our relationship to each other & to nature but in war & occupation it must be used to assert our humanity against barbarism.

Build BDS, the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel. Buy nothing with a barcode beginning 729.

(Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

The political crisis of photojournalism

Kabul suicide bomb (Photo- Omar Sobhani:REUTERS) July 1 2016

The character of photojournalism seems to be changing to come more in line with that embedding thing the US Pentagon employs to censor news. It’s most evident in those areas where there is war & occupation.

Photojournalism editors have long had an almost anthropological fetish with Hindu religious practices. They’ve always focused on gripping moments on a sports field. But you could find some coverage of Iraq & Afghanistan & even Palestine–though there was a long news blackout on Kashmir. There are certainly photojournalists working the field in those countries but what gets published makes a travesty of war journalism.

It doesn’t take a suspicious mind to wonder why coverage of Afghanistan is either human interest fluff, images of women in that distinctive blue burqa (to remind us that they’re bombing emancipation into Afghan women), or scenes of suicide bombings. How many suicide bombings have there been in Afghanistan? Too many, for sure, because civilians are usually killed. But the number of 25 incidents since 2011 pales by comparison to the number of bombing sorties flown by US warplanes. Just in the first forty days of 2016, the US had flown 422 bombing missions; in all of 2015, they totaled 4,600 sorties.

Thousands of bombers do a lot damage, kill a lot people, destroy homes, mosques, fields, schools, & terrorize the population. And US news media doesn’t report about that? What we get instead is sanitized news that leaves out what matters about war & occupation in order to keep us politically stupid & passive in opposing their monstrous wars.

The historic imperative remains: rebuild the international antiwar movement to demand US our of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq! US out of Syria!

Photo is Afghan troops inspecting damage from a suicide attack in Kabul yesterday.

(Photo by Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Iceland is not a worker’s paradise despite growing mythology

Reykjavik (from Times of Israel)

A caveat from one who’s learned the hard way:

Several friends are circulating an article from the Times of Israel titled “Iceland’s capital declares boycott of all Israeli goods.” It’s dated September 16 2015 but being circulated as though it were current news–even suggesting it is about all of Iceland & not just Reykjavik, the capital. They must have missed the September 19, 2015 story in the same paper titled “Iceland capital retracting decision to boycott Israel.”

The actual story is that the Reykjavik city council voted for a general boycott of Israeli goods but the mayor overruled that to include only products from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. Since the city council called the boycott a symbolic act, it’s not certain they ever put mechanisms in place to enforce it.

Only days after the mayor’s retraction & after condemnation from Israel, the Foreign Ministry of Iceland said the decision was “not in line” with the country’s foreign policy.

This is worth pointing out because in researching stories–for example about violent military actions against civilians in Kashmir or Palestine–one finds that violent incidents are so common & go back so many years that the first thing one must do is check dates so as not to add to the cacophony of media deceits & confusion.

Iceland is not a utopian or socialist country. It’s fully integrated into the world capitalist system & shares most of its problems, including inequality & restrictions on immigration similar to Europe. Jailing a banker or two for corruption doesn’t ameliorate that.

(Photo of Reykjavik from Times of Israel)