Some people are still hoping for a deus ex machina operation to oust Trump as president. Miracles like that only happen in Cecil B. DeMille movies about the Bible. The Electoral College hasn’t got a single one to its credit.

Nobody can believe the vulgarian is really gonna be president. But just give him time. He’ll get himself impeached. That won’t take a miracle.

The lists of fake news sites are so long now that the only things left to read are billboards. It’s kind of like reading the headlines on Facebook but not the articles.

If we keep feeding this right-wing folly we’ll end up without any freedom of speech at all.

“Justin Trudeau cries as he meets a family of Syrian refugees.”

Justin Trudean cries as he meets a family of Syrian refugees (Dec 8 2016)

“Justin Trudeau cries as he meets a family of Syrian refugees.”

No one plays the public in quite the same style as Justin Trudeau. Not even Obama cries on cue as well as his Canadian cohort.

There’s something about him that makes you want to slap the crap out of him–especially when you know he has warships in the Aegean Sea to thwart Syrian & other refugees trying to get from Turkey to Greece & when he defends Canada’s $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia which has been bombing Yemen to smithereens for going on two years.

Dry your tears pretty boy Trudeau cause only the most credulous buy your maudlin act. Bombs speak louder than tears.

(Thanks to Henry Lowi for this nauseating image & for his scathing comments about Trudeau.)

Interesting that some who objected to my views on Syria because ‘the situation is too complicated & confusing to understand’ are now cheering on the ‘liberation’ of east Aleppo by Syrian & Russian bombers. What is it about carpet bombing civilians that cleared up all the complications & confusions?

The obscenities of Assadist war-mongering against civilians in east Aleppo

Injured woman in east Aleppo (REUTERS:Abdalrhman Ismail) Dec 8 2016

The Syrian army, with the help of Syrian & Russian carpet bombing, has taken over 75-percent of east Aleppo. There are still 62,000 civilians in the part not yet bombed & terrorized into submission.
This woman, injured in an airstrike in the part not taken over, must be one of those “head-chopping organ-eating jihadists” that Assad supporters are always ranting about.

The obscenities of Assadist war-mongering against civilians in east Aleppo betray their protestations of standing for freedom against oppression. They try to mask their profound Islamophobia & hatred for working people & their sycophancy to Syrian & Russian state power by posting feverishly about Yemen & Standing Rock. But the chilling intemperance of their language is unmistakeable.

The hell with the hateful war-mongering about liberating Aleppo. If you are cheering on the carnage wrought by bombing civilians, you cannot call yourself antiwar–even if your enthusiasm is based on ignorance.

The only principled antiwar demands are:
–end Syrian & Russian bombing in Aleppo;
–immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US, Russian, Iranian, & every other foreign military out of Syria, including covert operations.

(Photo by Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters)

Temperatures here are going down to 50°F (10°C) tonight. Some homeless shelters, including the Salvation Army, require identification which seems outright criminal in an area with thousands of undocumented immigrants.

It’s not state law since a new shelter just publicly announced that papers were not required. What do those who require IDs do when someone with little kids shows up? Or when unaccompanied minors show up? Turn them away?

Rohingya solidarity actions around world

Rohingya solidarity Dec 7 2016 Calcutta, India

From the Facebook walls of Rohingya friends I’m learning there have been protest rallies in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims & against the Myanmar government in Malaysia, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Norway, India, South Africa, Indonesia, London, & at the UN headquarters in NYC.

Most rallies appear to be initiated by Rohingya refugees. That sure isn’t what the Myanmar government had in mind when they forced tens of thousands to flee for their lives.

It’s likely there have been rallies elsewhere & it would be really useful to list them here so we can see the emergence & spread of international solidarity which is decades overdue but never too late.

Photo is Rohingya solidarity rally in Calcutta, India.

Hooding: a war crime against Afghan prisoners of war

Hooded Afghan POWs (Noorullah Shirzada:AFP:Getty Images) Dec 7 2016

Media reports that these hooded prisoners of war captured in Jalalabad, Afghanistan are “suspected ISIS & Taliban fighters” being paraded to media at a press conference by Afghan security forces. The photo accompanies articles on the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan.

Hooding as a torture technique began under the Gestapo in WWII. It was refined in secret CIA research between 1950 & 1962 which experimented with sensory deprivation like hooding, hallucinogenic drugs, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, & sexual humiliation. Out of this program, the CIA developed its interrogation manual to which it has added other techniques like waterboarding. Alfred McCoy has written an important book on this program titled “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.”

When torture of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers & CIA operatives at Abu Ghraib prison was exposed in 2004, McCoy explained that the techniques used were not due to psychological perversities of the soldiers involved (at least not solely) but were straight out of the CIA manual. The soldiers were not acting out psycho derangement but were instructed in the techniques.

After the public became aware & outraged at these monstrous practices, which are classified as war crimes, both at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq & at Guantanamo Bay, the US military drafted a new field manual for interrogation procedures which it issued in 2006 under the Bush regime. It was mostly a dog & pony show to appease public outrage since what happens in US torture prisons stays in US torture prisons.

The manual–which is only for the US military & does not alter the CIA manual or practices–lays out what is not allowed in torture: waterboarding, military dogs to terrify or attack prisoners, deprivation of food or water, beatings, electric shock, burns or other forms of physical pain, forcing prisoners to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner, & hooding.

Afghan security forces are trained & armed by the US Pentagon. The only reason Afghan soldiers rather than US soldiers are parading these prisoners in hoods is because the US could be prosecuted for doing so under its own torture guidelines in the 2006 manual.

The US is entirely implicated in this incident which is a war crime. Because of “jihadist” war-mongering language, they think it can be justified for ISIS & Taliban prisoners. Wrong! The humane treatment of prisoners of war is international law from which neither the US nor Afghan military under US direction are exempt.

US out of Afghanistan!

(Photo by Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images)

Burqa is focus on attacks on Muslim women, refugees, & for war-mongering

Bahrain burqa (Photo by Mohammed Al-Shaikh:AFP) Dec7 2016

One of the most contentious issues on my Facebook wall is always the burqa. The number of times I’ve been called racist & patronizing for defending it as an issue of religious freedom & women’s rights is in triple digits now.

Feminism within Islam has a long, rich political history so Muslim women do not need others to straighten them out on the question of what to wear.

This exchange on the burqa between Samina Faiz & Muheeb Arbil says it about as directly & cogently as it can be said:

Samina Faiz: “It’s striking how so many anti-burka/niqab comments boil down to nothing more than ‘I don’t like it’ & ‘it makes me uncomfortable’ followed by an attempt to describe a wider social problem that doesn’t actually exist. Veiled women in the West aren’t harming anyone or impacting society negatively – there aren’t enough of them to do so even if they wanted to. In my experience they’re a tiny minority who live quiet blameless lives that revolve around their families. Hardly an existential threat to civilisation.

Wealthy hermits live their lives in secluded privacy without censure. Michael Jackson & his kids covered their faces in public for privacy, nuns wear antiquated religious garb… But the only beef politicians have is with veiled Muslim women who they want to save from themselves. It’s classic dog-whistle politics.”

Muheeb Arbil: “Everyone wants to save the Muslim woman. Some want to put the hijab on me and save me; some want to take hijab off me and save me; some want to bomb us and save me. Just give me a break man! I can save myself! I don’t need Western imperialism to save me or Western feminism riding on the coattails of Western imperialism to save me. I can save myself.”
Muheeb was quoting Uzma Shakir (Activist)
This portrait is of a woman activist in Bahrain during the 2011-2012 uprising led by women in burqas. If eyes are the window to the soul, you are looking at the soul of revolution.

(Photo by Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP)

Muslim women targeted by xenophobes & war-mongers

Women beaten in Tahrir Square (Reuters) Dec 7 2016

Angela Merkel’s proposed burqa ban in Germany is first & foremost an attack on refugee rights to asylum. In the US, criticisms of the burqa & hijab & of Islam in general as “jihadist” are used to justify war–most prominently now in Syria.

This post was written in January 2013, eight months before Morsi was ousted & the military junta again ruled directly without the pretense of democracy. Hopefully it won’t generate a debate about Morsi–& whether he was ousted by a coup or a revolution–but will address the issues of violence against women in the Egyptian uprising. Egyptian women’s rights activists & male democracy activists addressed the violence against women in Tahrir Square but western media continued to portray it as the character of Islam & used it to discredit the democracy movement.
Public protest in Egypt has crescendoed over the past several months in response to the allocation of dictatorial powers by the Morsi regime, the exclusion of human & democratic rights in the new constitution, the continuing dominance of the Egyptian military, & continuing police brutality against protestors. Hundreds of thousands of people are defying martial law & reasserting the demands of the January 25, 2011 uprising that bounced the dictator Mubarak. As of Sunday, over 40 people had been killed & 500 injured in police assaults on the protestors. This is a political resurgence of the greatest consequence to those struggling against tyranny around the world.

One of the most reported stories coming from the massive resurgence is about the violent sexual assaults on women in Tahrir Square, Cairo. In a typical attack, a mob of men surround an isolated woman, collectively grope, manhandle, & strip the woman, endanger her, & in some instances rape her–regardless of whether her attire is secular or Islamic. Over the past months, activist men & women have formed groups & squads to intervene, rescue the victims & provide services to them in safe houses. One of the most prominent groups is Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment (OpAntiSH), set up last November.

This is all very disturbing news which could lend credence to the Morsi regime claim that the protestors are thugs trying to bring down the new democracy. It could even make credible the Islamophobic claim that rampant sexual harassment is endemic to Arab & Egyptian culture. Some media report these assaults as spontaneous outbursts of mob violence akin to the everyday street harassment women face in Egypt. There is no question that sexual aggression & violence is a problem in Egypt. As we know from assault & rape rates from the US to India to Egypt, sexual violence & harassment is a massive social problem in every country.

OpAntiSH & other activist groups are cogent & unambiguous in their statements that the attacks on women do not appear to be hordes of spontaneously combusting misogynists but rather paid & armed assailants targeting women to deter them from participating in the protests–in other words, most likely police agents. From the beginning of the Egyptian uprising, women have played a central role & terrorizing them by making Tahrir Square dangerous not only weakens the power of the movement but discredits it before the world.

OpAntiSH activists are not simply engaging in conspiracy thinking. In monitoring the attacks they have observed a pattern–in terms of location, encirclement of isolated women, method of assault, & the use of weapons–that bear a remarkable resemblance to attacks by police agents under both the Mubarak & Morsi regimes. That would explain the complete inaction by the state despite appeals from the UN & groups like Human Rights Watch. It is certainly not irrelevant that along with this inaction, the new Egyptian constitution explicitly excludes rights for women.

But we don’t have to rely just on the judgement of OpAntiSH or other political & women’s rights activists in Egypt. For several days in the fall of 2011, the entire world witnessed aghast as the Egyptian military & police physically & sexually assaulted women protestors–stripping, beating, manhandling, & dragging them through the streets by their hair. There are numerous photos but the one here (from Nov 2011) is among the most outrageous & memorable.

Most of the media accounts cite the authority of OpAntiSH on the assaults but many neglect to include their judgement that the attacks on women are most likely organized by undercover agents.You can bet your bottom dollar this omission is in the service of Islamophobia in order to discredit & undermine support for the Egyptian uprising.

To such rubbish our response is fullest solidarity with our Egyptian sisters & with the Egyptian uprising against tyranny. End all US aid to the Morsi regime!

(Photo: Reuters)