East Aleppo: “liberation” or military occupation?

Russian armored vehicles east Aleppo (REUTERS:Omar Sanadiki) Feb 3 2017

Russian foot patrols east Aleppo (REUTERS:Ali Hashisho) Feb 3 2017
Propagandists Eva Bartlett & Vanessa Beeley are touring the globe to speak about Syria. Bartlett is in Canada denouncing fake news like a broken record, & with her fingers always on the pulse of substantive avant-garde politics, taking time out to campaign against the “The White Helmets” movie getting an Academy Award for best short documentary.

Oddball socialist groups (& anybody who knows socialist groups knows just how oddball they can be) in Finland & the UK are sponsoring Beeley speaking & presenting her slideshow of the “liberation” of east Aleppo. She has albums of herself surrounded by jubilant children celebrating the Syrian army & speaks of residents dancing in the streets after 6 years of carpet bombing by Syrian & Russian warplanes. You wouldn’t think war-traumatized children would be up to boogying & jubilation but that’s what our “independent” journalist reports.

Though Beeley & Bartlerr are escorted by Assad officials & protected by Syrian soldiers in Syria & most journalists are banned from entering the country, they continuously taunt media for not being in east Aleppo. Well apparently Reuters photojournalists were recently issued visas & traveled to “liberated” east Aleppo, of course without military protection though not without regime surveillance.

What they found in east Aleppo is quite at odds with Beeley & Bartlett’s liberation narrative. The two of them better hotfoot back to Damascus to find out how they’re supposed to explain what Reuters is turning up because it doesn’t look at all like liberation.
Reuters didn’t record any street dances nor any jubilant kids. They found the streets heavily patrolled by Russian armored vehicles & heavily-armed Russian soldiers on foot patrols. Pardon our confusion, but that looks like a military occupation & nothing like a liberation. Why would Russian troops have to heavily patrol a city where the residents think of them as emancipators from terrorists?

Does this look like occupation or liberation? Will we be given another round of fake news accusations to explain all this?

(Photo of armored vehicles by Omar Sanadiki & photo of foot patrols by Ali Hashisho via Reuters)

On the color revolutions & libertarians

Let it never be said libertarians have not made theoretical contributions to politics & when they are again the marginal, lunatic fringe, they will be recognized for their contributions to comedy.

Their inventive minds have elaborated the concept of color revolutions–or at least extended the shelf life of such foolishness. More than a concept, it is an accusation, a real low-blow condemnation. If you don’t like what’s going on, like the anti-Trump protests or Women’s Marches, you dismiss them as a color revolution. The women’s color revolution is of course pink, The Trump color revolution could only be orange (even though the color’s already been claimed) with a bleached mop attached.

A color revolution is a “good old-fashioned regime change operation” which libertarians claim is going on any time a dictator is opposed or gets called out for criminality. There’s so many of the damn things they’ve run out of primary colors to name the regime change operations & are now working from a more creative color palette. A very extraterrestrial palette, like their thinking.

So go ahead, Color us pink. Color us orange. It makes no difference cause regime change is exactly what we’re after.

The monumental political contributions of Muslims to social transformation

A Facebook friend claimed there are no Muslim-led progressive movements in the world, including anti-racism, women’s rights, environmental, pro-Palestinian, anti-Islamophobia, animal rights.
Although a Muslim, he said Muslims had stopped organizing “around good,” that the best they accomplished was charity, “putting a plaster on the injustice” rather than stop it at its root.

But what about the Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, & reverberations in other countries like occupied Iraq? What about the intransigence of the Palestinian & Kashmiri struggles against insuperable odds & for so many decades completely isolated? Those are/were social revolutions that challenge the very foundations of power. What about the extremes of violence & repression used to destroy them? And still they rise. And still they resist.

Keeping in mind that even massive protests are not revolutions, is there anything comparable to the Arab Spring, Palestine, Kashmir anywhere else in the world? We only wish.

The idiocies & racism of Trump cannot tarnish the dignity of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass is one of the most outstanding & inspiring figures in US history. An escaped slave who became a leader of the abolitionist movement, writer & orator, he was committed to Black, women’s, Native American, & immigrant rights. He said “I would unite with anybody to do right & with nobody to do wrong.”
He traveled & lectured in Ireland & Britain, including during the Irish “potato famine” (actually a genocide), & collaborated with abolitionists & freedom fighters in both countries.

In the 1872 elections, he ran as vice president with presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull for the People’s (Equal Rights) Party. He’s one of those political leaders & fighters that we can learn the most from theoretically & in practical movement building.

The memory of this remarkable man & his contributions cannot be debased by the idiocies & racism of Trump. In an era when so many have lost their way in cynicism & misanthropy, Frederick Douglass stands as one of our great teachers, a man whose vision of social transformation & dignity of character show us what is required of activists. No attitude, no chip on the shoulder toward others, no disdain or contempt for any, but steadfast determination to do right not for the human race but with us.

We should aspire to follow in his footsteps fighting for the same things & honor him as teacher.

(Photo is Frederick Douglass)

Today is only the 14th day of Pumpkin Head’s presidency. It’s seemed an eternity in the 9th circle of hell for crimes we have not committed.

Who is arming ISIS?

ISIS mortar shells at Mosul zoo (REUTERS:Muhammad Hamed) Feb 2 2017

These are mortar shells left behind by ISIS fighters in a freezer at a Mosul, Iraq zoo. When it’s asked who is arming ISIS, the answer is usually that weapons were seized from Iraqi military stocks because the Iraqi military had poor management over their weapons. That explanation worked for a year or so but ISIS has been engaged in military operations in Syria & Iraq for at least four years.

Just exactly what did they seize? A few agencies, including Amnesty International, have reported that ISIS small arms, light weapons, & ammunition come from 25 countries, including Russia, China, Germany, & the US. Where do the armored vehicles & antitank weapons come from?

Given the scale of military operations in Iraq & Syria, not to mention the nine other countries it’s allegedly operating in, that Iraqi munitions heist is long since exhausted. So who continues to arm & finance ISIS? If the US wants to destroy ISIS, why don’t they find out where the weapons are coming from, the routes & methods of their delivery to ISIS on the battlefield, & then cut them off at the pass rather than bombing cities with millions of civilians to smithereens?

US out of Iraq & Syria. Russia & Iran out of Syria.

(Photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

I was asked to give a brief presentation about Kashmir at an event in Chicago but couldn’t go without getting a loving, affordable caretaker for my birds & dogs. A wonderful dog rescue friend of mine suggested the young woman who cares for her dogs who agreed to do it. She came over today to meet the menagerie & within an hour had all of them enthralled, even my little teacup Chihuahua pissy Miss Penny who snarls at everyone.

But not just the dogs. As she told me with unguarded candor about her life, her love for animals & for her family & the difficulties of making her way in life when they’re all working minimum wage, I was enthralled like one of my puppy dogs. Sometimes you listen to people tell about themselves, you think you’re in the presence of the sacred.

It turns out they couldn’t find an affordable last minute airline ticket so I won’t be going to Chicago but next time I know who to ask to care for my pets.

Those who jeopardize refugee rights are moving in the wrong direction fast

African refugees at Granada Spain ( Paquet:EPA) Feb 2 2017

A lot of oped writers & bloggers are sneering at the Muslim ban as a “shock event,” a mock crisis, a fake-out to create chaos, divide society & destabilize the US government.

That dissociation from reality is what happens when you look at society as an epic conspiracy & become too paranoid to read mainstream media. Isn’t wondering if the world is all a staged event a phase one passes through in early childhood when you still think your belly button is the center of the universe?

What about the 67,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh? Are they a divisive fiction? What about the tens of thousands of Middle East refugees freezing their asses off because the European Union has locked them out? Are they just dreaming hypothermia? What about the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the US southern border & ending up in detention centers? Are they paid to make that treacherous two thousand mile trip to create chaos & disruption for the Trump administration? What about the tens of thousands of African refugees in the Mediterranean? Are thousands of them willingly drowning to play out a refugee crisis & destabilize the Trump regime?

The political imperative today is to stand steadfast with refugees, to oppose the Muslim ban & all restrictions on refugee asylum. Those who do anything to undercut that solidarity or discredit the massive protests around the world in defense of refugees are heading in the wrong direction fast.

Open the borders. Immigration is a human right. Asylum for refugees is a principle of civilized society.

Photo is rescued African refugees in Granada, Spain. Talk to them about that shock event crap.

(Photo by Paquet/EPA)