India underestimated the power of Kashmiri activists on social media in exposing the occupation

When India began this murderous rampage on July 9th, they must have thought they could get away with it, that international media was still locked down tighter than a drum, & that they could do summary executions on a grand scale.

But Kashmiri activists had tirelessly laid down the groundwork of exposure on social media. Even when India shut down the internet & cell phone communication in Kashmir, those Kashmiris living abroad & others who stood in solidarity against the occupation could campaign in their stead & not let the voices of Kashmiri resistance be silenced.

There will be no going back for India. The brutality of their rampage stands exposed before the world because mainstream media had to respond with a counter-narrative to that of activists on social media. The barbarity of pellet weapons in particular received exposure–best by Kashmiri activists on social media, but also in major media like the NY Times, Washington Post, & others. Pellet guns alone will damn the occupation in the judgement of many.

That exposure means the monumental work of building international solidarity, including educational events, debates, rallies, can now move forward since it has already begun in opposition to this rampage with rallies held around the world.

Long live Kashmiri Intifada. End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

Kashmiri human rights leader Khurram Parvez arrested in Srinagar


Khurram Parvez

Prominent Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez was arrested by police at his home in Srinagar only hours after returning from Delhi, India where officials prevented him from boarding a plane to attend the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.

It’s too early to know what police intend or how long they will detain him but we should be on the ready for a defense campaign demanding his immediate release if that becomes necessary.

The story of Rasel by Gmb Akash

Rasel (by Gmb Akash) Sept 15 2016

On those days when the suffering of humanity feels overwhelming & it seems a pipe dream we will ever marshal the political energy & forces required for social transformation, we need to remember just two things: We only need play our part, & it needn’t be a large part, in building human solidarity & ending war. Then we need remember why & the answer always is for children.

Gmb Akash is an extraordinary Bangladeshi photographer whose photos of the human face, especially children, capture why we care. This is his photo & the story of Rasel:

“My name is Rasel & I do not know who gave me this name. I am an orphan. I am living in street for four years. When I arrived in Dhaka I was injured & hungry, but no one cared about street people. I cried so many days because I wanted someone to care for me or talk to me with a smile. But people have no time for love. So, I started loving everyone. I share my food & take care of my street friends. Meet with my new friend, Kutum. it means guest, & she is my guest. I cured her injury with my love & now taking care of her. I will look after her, as long as she will not leave me. But I will never leave Kutum. I know how it feels to be alone & being unloved.”

Rebuild the international antiwar movement. Solidarity is the iron law of social transformation.

The monstrous military siege in Kashmir has now gone on for 10 weeks. It kicks the crap out of those just following & reporting about it. I would say that it must be a ‘living hell’ for Kashmiris but the metaphor seems inadequate.

These horrors are also going on in Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan & so many other places.

Humanity has the capacity to organize, mobilize, & put an end to this reign of military terror & that remains our historic mission which no generation & no battle fatigue can exempt us from.

Rebuild the international antiwar movement. Solidarity is the iron law of social transformation.

Today a nationalist professor made this comment on one of my posts about Indian prime minister Modi & Kashmir:  “Reporting by scully is one sided totally biased does she knows pain of Pandora who were driven out.”

The poor fellow was of course referring to Pandits & the scurrilous nationalist claims about a pogrom against them in Kashmir. If you’re going to defend the occupation of Kashmir & hold up Modi as a paragon of nationalism you ought at least get the lies & sob stories down straight.

Day 70 of brutal Indian military siege in Kashmir

From Kashmir Spring on Twitter

This is day 70 of the brutal military siege in Kashmir. The number of fatalities differs from one source to the next but estimates are between 84 & 90 as of today. Up to 11,000 have been injured, nearly 500 of them by live ammunition, many with head & spinal cord injuries from bullets, pellets, & grenades, many are disfigured & disabled by pellet guns. Over 800 have been treated for eye injuries leaving many disfigured & partially or totally blind.

Kashmir is still under curfew & with restrictions on assembly which Kashmiris continue to defy with large funeral cortege/protests & daily street demonstrations. India is now deploying helicopters & drones (supplied by Israel) for aerial surveillance & is also beefing up their ground forces. You can see how cowed Kashmiris are by the Indian arsenal from this photo of an unarmed Kashmiri woman taunting soldiers.

India has one of the largest military forces in the world. The number of its active military personnel is only superseded by the US & China. It’s even larger than the Russian military. But over half of India’s soldiers are deployed in Kashmir with a ratio of one soldier to seven Kashmiris. How many more ground troops can they deploy, especially when they’re busy beating on their own population?

India, which is a member of the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, blocked Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez, from boarding a plane in Delhi to attend that Council meeting & report on India’s human rights crimes. Instead they made a foolish spectacle of themselves by attacking Pakistan for human rights violations in Balochistan.

Pakistan is hardly a model of human rights & does need to be investigated for massive violations, including against Afghan refugees & Pakistani military operations as part of the US war in Afghanistan. But India with its brutal military occupation of Kashmir & violent repression of Muslims, oppressed castes, & tribal peoples makes a mockery of human rights just by being a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo from Kashmir Spring on Twitter)

Israel’s phony-assed multicultural programs with Palestinian kids living in Israel

Palestinian kids at beach in Tel Aviv (Menahem Kahana:AFP:Getty Images) Sept 15 2016

Just when you think you’re inured to the cynical photojournalist coverage of Palestinians by the Guardian-UK, the editors outdo themselves. It’s now impossible to distinguish their coverage from the rubbish coming out of the Israeli propaganda ministry.

A lot of the coverage shows Israeli & “Israeli-Arab” children partying & on outings together to showcase the multiculturalism of Israel. Wouldn’t such a political campaign begin by calling the children by their proper & preferred name–which is Palestinian? Wouldn’t it include ending rampant discrimination against all Palestinian residents of Israel?

Israel & several Zionist organizations around the world trying to present a sanitized image of Israeli apartheid focus on these so-called multicultural programs for children. There’s a lot of bogus money invested in them solely for propaganda purposes.

The caption to this photo said “Muslim Israeli-Arab children play on the beach in Tel Aviv during the three-day Eid al-Adha holiday.” For Palestinians & their supporters, the image of Palestinian kids at the beach evokes the memory of July 16th, 2014 when Israeli bombers killed four little boys playing on the beach in Gaza City. Israel, with its high-tech electronic aerial systems said they thought the boys were “Hamas terrorist operatives.” But of course now we know that Israel targeted children during that entire 7-week carpet bombing siege of Gaza.

Build & honor the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel.

(Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

US hands over $38 billion to Israel for military aid against Palestinians

Israel & US signing #38 bn agreement (Gary Cameron:Reuters) Sept 15 2016

These two jamokes are a US State Department official & the Israeli National Security Advisor at the signing ceremony handing over $38 billion in military aid over the next ten years to Israel. The US called it the biggest package of military aid in US history.

About $5 billion of that largesse is for a missile defense system to detect, track, intercept, & destroy attacking missiles. Isn’t Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system working? Or is that the cost of maintenance on it? Can US tax payers get some reliable evidence from the State Department that mortars & rockets from Gaza are getting past the Iron Dome system & are actually a peril to Israel? Because we really begrudge taking money from the food stamp program, education, Medicare, & Social Security to bankroll a country that has its own armaments industry.

One of the conditions in the new agreement is that Israel can no longer spend a quarter of US military aid on buying weaponry from its own manufacturers but must spend the full amount on US-made weaponry.

There are over 150 Israeli companies producing armaments & weapons systems with annual revenues in the several billions. Their weapons industry is the 6th largest arms exporter in the world. Most of Israel’s fighter jets, used to bomb Gaza, are obtained from the US. But Israeli weapons factories produce ammunition, a wide range of rifles & submachine guns, tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) & is in fact the world’s biggest exporter of drones.

Israel sells weapons systems to regimes with notorious human rights records like South Africa during apartheid; Guatemala during the civil war/genocide where an estimated 200,000 people were murdered or disappeared; Iran during the reign of the Shah; El Salvador for its death squads; India to use against Kashmiris & its own dissidents; & several other repressive regimes including Ethiopia, Columbia, Mexico, Turkey, Chile, & South Sudan. Of all these regimes, India is Israel’s largest arms market.

No US military aid to Israel.

Build the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel.

(Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Anybody else hoping that competitive eating contests will someday go extinct? When they do it at the county fair it’s not more edifying than watching Roman emperors or feudal monarchs stuff their faces.

Mean-spirited speculation about Hillary Clinton’s health

Don’t know if Hillary Clinton is seriously sick but I do know there’s some real mean-spirited speculating about it. I have no feelings about her health one way or the other but wishing ill on someone, even a war criminal, isn’t part of working for social change in my world.

If she were prosecuted in a war tribunal that would be justice. But hoping she has some incapacitating illness would be lowlife.

When my mother quoted the Bible verse, “Revenge is mine. I will repay sayeth the Lord,” I always asked her in return “But why should God have all the fun?” In politics, justice isn’t personal revenge or an Old Testament kind of thing of inflicting someone with ulcers, flesh-eating locusts & 40 years of famine. It’s facing one’s victims in a court of law. That’s the way civilized societies do it.