Assadists claim people of east Aleppo are dancing in the streets; in reality they are standing in the bitter cold waiting for buses to forcibly relocate them

West Aleppo on Dec 21st (Dec 25 2016

A Russia Today video with the message “Aleppo locals celebrate Christmas after city liberated from jihadists” is circulating like wildfire among Assad supporters along with photo albums of plump, jubilant children around giant well-lit Christmas trees from Vanessa Beeley who claims to be in east Aleppo. They proclaim this is the first Christmas celebration in Aleppo since 2012.

The cynicism of this deception is as contemptible as war propaganda gets. The photos are all from west Aleppo, the government-controlled area & the festivities have certainly been orchestrated for propaganda purposes. There is a children’s choir, musicians dressed as Santa Claus, banners in support of Russian bombers, The flags in this photo have images of Assad, Putin, & Hezbollah leader Hassan Nazrallah (media caption says third person is Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani).

There are no celebrations in east Aleppo which is overrun with the Syrian Army, Iranian & Russian special forces hunting down opponents of Assad & remaining militia fighters. The temperatures in the past few days have gone from -3C (26F) to 6C (43F) while thousands of civilians being evacuated at gunpoint have been forced to stay outside in a snowstorm waiting for the buses to arrive. Women, children, elderly had to light fires to keep warm as they waited.

The civilians of east Aleppo have endured nearly six years of daily bombing for standing against the dictatorship of Assad; they are war-traumatized & starving. They are terrified because many of their men & boys have already been rounded up by the Syrian Army & their fate remains unknown: will they be executed outright, tortured first, or disappeared into Assad’s gulag? They are terrified because those being forcibly evacuated are being moved to another area under aerial assault by Syrian & Russian bombers. They don’t know what will happen to them & their beloved & have no control over their fate.

What kind of person witnesses this devastation & terror with stone-cold equanimity & has the unspeakable treachery to claim the people of east Aleppo are dancing in the streets? What kind of monster is Vanessa Beeley & is the Assad regime paying her & Bartlett enough to expose their criminality & venality to the entire human race? They better wallow in those likes & shares on FB now because history will not be fooled so easily as the Muslim-haters, anti-Semites & war-mongers who make up the ignorant stooges who follow them.

As a postscript: the narrative on the Russia Today video is all about the liberation of Christianity from “jihadist terrorists.” What prevented Christmas celebrations in west Aleppo after 2012 since it was under government control? It should be noted that during the several years of Syrian & Russian carpet bombing of east Aleppo, the Muslim high holidays could only be celebrated if there was a temporary halt in bombing.

(Photo is of celebrations on December 21st in west Aleppo from Ruptly)

The photo below is reality of east Aleppo now:

east Aleppo after fall (REUTERS:Omar Sanadiki) Dec 24 2016

There’s been no time for a Betty Windsor update but of course they’re still mooching off the body politic. In an interview with Trump, he said his Scottish mother adored English royalty & couldn’t have been more monarchical. The roots of his derangement go all the way to the bone. He never stood a chance.

On the Rohingya genocide by activist Mohammed Imran

Noor Begum

Myanmar Military’s Brutality on the Rohingya.

Mohammed Imran
Kutupalong, Ukhiya, 24 December 2016:

Recently in Arakan, the Myanmar government continued its incredible atrocities — arson, rape, arbitrary arrest and mass killing of the Rohingya. Not even women and children are left.

Noor Begum, a 30-year-old Rohingya widow, took shelter in the Kutupalong makeshift refugee camp with her three-year-old baby. She fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh one week ago. Her husband Anis Ullah (35) was dragged away by the Myanmar army and killed in the paddy field. She herself was beaten until unconscious. Her house was looted. She found herself in Bangladesh without food and clothes. “As a mother, it breaks my heart when my baby cries for his father and for food and I am unable to afford food,” she said. “In this unbearably cold winter, we have had to stay under the open sky without a blanket.”

The Myanmar military started to crack down intensively on the Rohingya minority again after some miscreants attacked a police post where nine policemen were killed. According to human rights organizations, the Rohingya are one of most persecuted minorities in the world. Despite the fact that the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for years and years, the government does not acknowledge them as citizens.

(Mohammed Imran is an elected refugee representative in an official refugee camp in Bangladesh)

(Photo is Noor Begum & her baby)

I remember many Assad supporters before they agreed with Syrian Girl

I remember many Assad supporters before they agreed with Syrian Girl; before they said Russian bombing was righteous because Assad invited Putin to bomb civilians; before they toured & promoted lying-assed propagandists like Bartlett & Beeley instead of Syrian revolutionists. I remember when they could distinguish reality from farce & lies.

Regrettably, I always watched as they retreated to sectarianism from internationalism & would only organize antiwar events if they were the honchos who called the shots; as they ignored working people & took up currying favor with union officials; as they started doing hero worship of Castro & Hugo Chavez instead of hard-headed political analyses; as they became cultists around some alpha-male guru.

It’s a shameful thing to start youth as a rebel, as a fighter against racism & war, only to end up in your senior years operating from obedience training like a whipped puppy & spouting Muslim-hating & anti-Semitic rubbish to oppose a popular revolution against dictatorship & support Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians.

One only hopes there’s a spark left of that old rebellion to shake them out of the torpor. Otherwise there’s a special place in hell just waiting.

Trump presidency ushers in the night of the living dead

It’s now clear: Trump will stay orange with raccoon eyes, bleached hair, & that look of smug contempt you just want to slap silly. No matter how many times you pinch yourself to awaken from a nightmare, he will still be Twittering inanities & bravado & will remain US president for four years–or until he’s impeached for improprieties even beyond that office–& we will still have to tolerate his insufferable snotty kids.

We’re in for a bumpy ride.

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas to all my friends, including those who do not celebrate it as a religious holiday. We should think of it as a celebration of our common humanity, not as a doctrinal difference that divides us.

We sustained a rough year in 2016 but I am blessed by friends around the world who share a common vision that in unity human beings can create a world free of inequality, war, & detestable social hatreds of every kind. Our only chance is to never give up on the human race because all our children deserve a world filled with love & laughter.

I receive so many blessings throughout the year from you & cherish every one of them. I’m a great believer in their power & call on them often. Thank you so much.

My wish for all of you & your beloved is the same generous blessings you send me. For so many friends on the front lines of struggle against war, occupation, genocide, we wish also that your relentless efforts to educate us about your struggle will at last bring out the big battalions of international solidarity to stand with you & face the oppressors down.

May you all be blessed. Thank you so much for your friendship which educates & inspires me in so many ways.

Whitewashing Assad & his propagandists must be challenged

Reuters photo from AJ of Assad mural

This article from Al Jazeera by Malak Chabkoun discusses the necessity of polemically challenging Assad propagandists like Eva Bartlett & Vanessa Beeley.

This isn’t a mean-spirited personal disagreement with either of them; on their own, propagandists don’t merit it but they speak for the Assad regime & the most reactionary political forces in the world. Nor is this a platonic dispute that can be handled in an Oxford Forum collegial kind of way.

This is a battle to defend the Syrian revolution involving millions of people against dictatorship & foreign military intervention. It is a historic battle that will decisively impact the Palestinian struggle against apartheid & colonialism, the future of democracy in the Middle East & reverberate around the world, strengthening or weakening struggles against war & crimes against humanity. That’s how important it is & is not an overstatement.

This is a political fight for the soul & integrity of the antiwar movement which leading activists are compromising by supporting dictatorship & abandoning the foundational principles of international solidarity so they can support Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians. No one gets to hijack the antiwar movement without a fight.

Some may find the polemics tedious & too tendentious. But not those who understand what is at stake.

Where did they plug in the Christmas trees in east Aleppo?: Vanessa Beeley caught lying again

An overview of the war-damaged Old City of Aleppo on December 13, 2016 #  Omar Sanadiki : Reuters

It’s hard to keep up with Vanessa Beeley in Syria: on Dacember 12th dining with Fares Shehabi, the Assad official for Aleppo, & fellow propagandists Pierre Le Corf, Andrew Ashdown, & Jan Oberg; on December 13th riding in with the Syrian Army to capture east Aleppo; then a day interrogating civilians trying to get them to finger the White Helmets. Singing for your supper keeps you busy in a war zone.

Next we know she’s in Damascus for a week where she spent an hour talking with Texas right-wing libertarian Ron Paul on his TV show. And then? No interviews, photos, audience with the great poobah Assad? Any meetings with regime officials we’d like to know about?

There were big doings in Damascus last week. Beeley was there on December 15th when Syrian authorities withdrew the journalist visa of Cecilia Uddén, the Swedish Radio Middle East correspondent, & forced her to leave the country for circulating ’false information.’ That would have concerned an independent journalist since Syria is ranked 177 out of 180 countries in the Reporters without Borders’ annual press freedom index. Beeley’s silence on this would suggest less independence & more propagandist hustler, especially when coupled with the photos of her with Assad & the over-the-top birthday wishes she sent him on social media.

Before she headed back to Aleppo she posted this about her day of interrogations in east Aleppo:

“The testimonies we filmed testified to starvation, wholesale deprivation of humanitarian aid, summary executions, torture & the use of civilians as human shields. Nusra Front were the overlord of the district, controlling an estimated 22 militant brigades funded, equipped & armed by NATO & Gulf states & condemning the Syrian civilians to a life of fear & imprisonment in their own homes.

“Women were married, raped & discarded en masse, children were imprisoned & anyone caught supporting the Syrian Government could be executed or imprisoned & tortured.”

She learned quite a lot in three days but of course she was embedded up the ass of the Syrian army. Beeley called her gruesome report the “very antithesis of the narrative being run by the corporate media” which she thinks favors the “jihadists.” It must have been the antithesis of what Cecilia Uddén reported too before Assad bounced her out of the country. The world looks forward to viewing those testimonies but we know it will take time for Assad’s propaganda factory to produce them.

Yesterday, Beeley traveled back to Aleppo accompanied by a Syrian army tank because she claimed there was increased ISIS activity along the road. Today she’s posting entire albums of well-dressed, well-fed jubilant children in east Aleppo celebrating their “liberation” around well-lit Christmas trees.

A week ago they were starving, war-traumatized & there was no electricity. Today that’s all behind them? In a chagrined tone she asks: “Why is western media painting the liberation of Aleppo as a grim doomsday scenario as the liberated citizens dance & celebrate in the street?” Must we remind her that for the first time western media & Beeley’s propaganda agreed on the doomsday scenario in east Aleppo?

There is a subtext to Beeley’s scenario that simply reeks of Muslim-hatred. Under the “jihadists,” children were human shields & women were “married, raped & discarded en masse.” Under the Christian Christmas tree, they were dancing in the streets. Pointing that out is hardly a defense of violent militias but only to suggest the sophistication & rancidity of Beeley’s methods of “journalism.”

This photo of east Aleppo was taken on December 13th. We’re wondering where they plugged in the Christmas trees.

(Photo by Omar Sanadi/Reuters)

Going over to the dark side to support Assad dictatorship

It’s one thing that so many journalists went over to the dark side about Syria. They seem to have a peculiar obsession with head-chopping or maybe they got lost in distinctions between journalism & propaganda or thought the latter provided a more lucrative career. They’ll end up writing hack for Global Research, Mint Press, & Sputnik News. Inglorious but penny-ante.

It’s quite another when progressive & antiwar forces get lost in all that stuff & use discredited journalists writing for Global Research & Russian media for political direction about Syria. Worse than inglorious. It may not rise to the level of tragic since many have been politically lost for a long time. But it is surely a historic betrayal of antiwar principles to support Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians to defend “Syrian national sovereignty” against a popular revolution to end dictatorship. That would be more criminal than tragic. It means a new antiwar movement must be built on the old principles.