Almost every damn time I criticize Russian bombing of civilians in Syria, an Assad supporter chides me for ignoring the human rights & war crimes of the US. Let me safely speculate that in my close to seven years on FB, not a day has passed when I haven’t criticized US foreign & domestic policies & in the sharpest terms.

The objection behind the reproach is that I criticize Assad & Putin, not that I ignore US crimes. I don’t do hero worship. I consider it unseemly & sniveling. It’s been a long time since feudalism & no matter how much neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, resembles it, I am not moving backwards in history to kiss some dictator’s ass.

More important, I am a socialist who sees little virtue in any modern capitalist regime–especially the regimes of those shooting down or bombing unarmed civilians.

It doesn’t matter how many times you call me out for criticizing Assad, Putin, Duterte, Suu Kyi, Rousseff, Maduro, I don’t bend the knee to bullshit. So you might as well knock it off.

Tribute to the stone-throwers of Palestinian & Kashmiri Intifada

Kashmiri boy & Faris Odeh

Reposting this from October 29, 2015, as we stand in awe of the beleaguered but undaunted spirit of Palestinian & Kashmiri resistance to occupation & colonialism:
Kashmiri photojournalist, Showkat Nanda, took the photo (on left) of a small Kashmiri boy facing off with stones against an Indian army tank in 2009. In a very moving account, Nanda tells how Indian paramilitary forces were shooting at unarmed protesters in the town of Baramulla. Young boys carried the body of an injured boy shot in the chest away from the scene & handed him to Nanda as he died.

As gunfire cleared the scene of protesters, this small boy came running “as if from nowhere” toward the paramilitaries to stand defiant & fearless against an Indian armored vehicle. When Nanda took the photo, he remembered the iconic image of 15-year-old Palestinian, Faris Odeh, defying an Israeli tank with just a rock in his hand. The photo (on right) of Odeh was taken October 29th, 2000. Ten days later (on Nov 8th), young Odeh was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in another stone throwing incident.

Stone-throwers in both Kashmir & Palestine standing unarmed against brutal military occupation is no longer iconic but the routine of opposition.

We should take a moment to honor Faris Odeh, this Kashmiri boy, & all those who have lost so much & stand so fearlessly against military barbarism–particularly those enduring the Israeli pogrom & the Kashmiri military siege right now..

Our fullest respect & solidarity.

(Photo on left of Kashmiri boy by Showkat Nanda; photo on right of Faris Odeh from AP)

Victim of Duterte’s death squads with her Barbie doll

17-year-old Filipino girl killed (REUTERS:Damir Sagolj) Oct 29 2016

This is a 17-year-old girl lying next to her Barbie doll after she & her friend were assassinated by drive-by vigilantes in a Manila alley as part of Philippine president Duterte’s war on drugs.

According to police, a cardboard sign found on the body of her friend read, “You are a drug pusher, you are an animal.” Not to her family & not to us, she wasn’t.

They were human beings & had nothing to do with drug trafficking in the Philippines, which is a multi-trillion dollar international operation run by bankers, criminal cartels, military forces, & governments.

Those who can overlook these human rights crimes orchestrated & incited by Duterte just because he blows smoke up their asses about US militarism have no right to call themselves progressives.

Our deepest condolences to the families of these young girls. May they Rest In Peace.

(Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Do you think that by reporting on the genocide against Rohingya in Myanmar, the media is trying to demonize Aung San Suu Kyi in preparation for a regime-change operation? Just like they’re doing against Duterte & Putin, according to Assad supporters?

Why is Duterte sending riot police after antiwar protesters!? Doesn’t he agree with them!?


Riot police at antiwar march in Manila ( (Romeo Ranoco:Reuters) Oct 29 2016

Now here’s a curious thing: riot police are positioning themselves against an antiwar protest near the US embassy in Manila demanding the withdrawal of US troops from the Philippines & “in support of President Duterte’s foreign policy.”

Actually, Duterte’s foreign policy toward the US hasn’t altered an iota except in grandstanding & blowing hot air at the US Pentagon. Some people just don’t know how capitalism operates. It doesn’t leave its immense resources in the hands of loudmouthed psychotic thugs; it just uses them for its own purposes.

If in any way, Duterte threatens the multi-billion dollar economic, political, & military associations between the US & the Philippines, he’ll be out on his ass–& Filipino oligarchs won’t need US special forces or CIA operatives to accomplish that. The presence of riot police against an antiwar protest represents the views of Filipino capitalists–& Duterte, for that matter.

Duterte is not being demonized, as simple-minded Assad supporters claim about him & Putin. He’s a monster who shoots down poor people in the streets. Their dismissal of his human rights crimes tells you everything you need to know about their deranged perspectives.

US our of the Philippines. Down with Duterte!

(Photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)

Rohingya exiles in Malaysia protest genocidal military crackdown in Arakan State, Myanmar

Rohingya protest at UN (Mohd Samsul Mohd Said:Getty Images) Oct 29 2016

These are Rohingya refugees & human rights activists protesting at the UN offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia against the genocidal military crackdown in Arakan State, Myanmar.

Media is repeating the military’s claim that it has killed 30 people in the last 20 days but human rights activists in Arakan State claim several times that have been summarily executed, women have been raped by soldiers, villagers have been evicted & their homes torched, at least 15,000 Rohingya are in flight for their lives.

Media also reports that the crackdown is the army’s response to fatal attacks on border police by “jihadists” on October 9th. Maybe some Rohingya organized a paramilitary group armed only with slingshots & knives; maybe they didn’t. Maybe it was 300 Rohingya partisans as is claimed; maybe it was agents provocateurs. The “jihadist” accusation is only a way for the military junta to curry favor in international media for escalating genocide. It’s the all-purpose slander against Muslims who resist oppression.

Truth is, Rohingya are sustaining persecution & genocide & they can damn well organize themselves for self-defense by any means necessary. The crackdown is not because of the attacks on border guards but–whoever shot the guards–is being used as a pretext for driving more Rohingya into exile.

Rohingya in exile are now calling on the battalions of international solidarity to stand with them. Some commentators claim these are the end-times for Rohingya, that Myanmar’s “final solution” is not far off. Now that the world knows what Myanmar is engaged in against Rohingya, it is our responsibility as brothers & sisters to take up their defense, to demand the end of genocide, to politically protest governments investing in Myanmar.

End the genocide against Rohingya. Fullest solidarity with their struggle.

(Photo by Mohd Samsul Mohd Said/Getty Images)

For the life of me, I don’t understand why Russia lost its seat on the UN Human Rights Council. It fit right in there with China, India, the UK, France, Mexico, Germany, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the US.

Russia can sell human rights down the river just as well as the best of them. It has years of experience. It wrote the book on gulags.

The dead-end of Bassam Haddad’s politics

For those who like nuanced analyses of the war in Syria, this writer is your man. I’ve read his piece three times, suffering severe bouts of indigestion with every reading.

Recently I was sent a long theoretical defense of Assad’s regime & Russian intervention which in several pages never actually talked about Syria but applied a formula strapped together by quotes about colonialism & imperialism. It was a mockery of political analysis because the writer never bothered to inform himself about what is going on in Syria.

The writer of this screed, a prominent American academic, is supposed to be an authority on Syria & has in the past written articles that are even coherent on the question of Assad’s dictatorship. Unlike this nuanced piece of rubbish.

This article typifies the theoretical degeneration of progressives which is debilitating the socialist, antiwar, & Palestine Solidarity movements.
Its incoherence problem isn’t the academic-speak but the political retreat it’s trying to mask in double-talk. Activists & academic apologists don’t want to say outright that they support Assad’s dictatorship or cheer on Russian bombing or have shamelessly caved to Muslim-hating war propaganda about “head choppers, child decapitators, & eaters of human organs.”

So they write this kind of crap which when boiled down is not what it claims; it is not an attempt to reconcile what he calls conflicting narratives. It is not an attempt to have it both ways. He is calling on activists not just to equivocate or be neutral but to capitulate to Assad’s dictatorship & betray the popular revolution against him. He doesn’t say that outright because then he’d face sharp criticism. So he writes in gibberish.

Our man is over his head here. He apparently doesn’t understand the titanic clash of social forces in Syria. He doesn’t understand revolution against dictatorship or the character of militarism. There can be no reconciliation between Assad & the revolution. Assad will either be defeated or he will unleash a counterrevolution. That is what is going on in Syria.

The only principled position to build a movement around is the immediate cessation of Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians & the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all military forces, overt & covert, air & land. The responsibility of solidarity activists is to clear the field so that Syrians can settle their differences with Assad & his supporters because for all the contending forces neutrality is not an option. Not after 400,000 killed & 4 million refugees.

Those who want a more nuanced review of this article can write it themselves. I’m still suffering indigestion.

The political derangement of Assad & Russian supporters

Syrian politics may be difficult to unravel but there are discordancies in the writings & postings of Assad & Russian supporters that stand out like a sore thumb & reek of political derangement:

–defending Syrian & Russian use of barrel bombs by saying they aren’t a worse way to die than regular munitions.

–being outraged by the killing of Syrian Army soldiers but indifferent to Syrian & Russian bombing of cities & civilians & referring to them all as “jihadists.”

–claiming baby Omran, rescued from a building bombed by Russia, was a fraud.

–writing elaborate exposes of rescue workers but refusing to denounce Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians.

–referring to all Assad opponents as “jihadists” in the language of Muslim-hating propaganda.

–admiration for Duterte, despite his vigilante violence against the poor, because he “stands up” (i.e., talks trash) to the US.

–ignoring the human rights & war crimes of Putin & having some weird kind of hero worship of him.

–sending florid birthday wishes to Assad & expressing love for Asma Assad.

In my political experience, the only other place I’ve seen this kind of crap is in the adulations of Stalin & Mao or in the servility of nationalists.

Getting damn tired of those friend requests from retired generals. They come two or three a day. Do they think their lavish pension plans could induce me to go all rah-rah for their rotten wars?

Never underestimate the pride of older women. Or the fury, after 50 years of marching.