Trump be damned! No human being is illegal.
An Israeli soldier convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a military court in the shooting of a Palestinian was sentenced today to 18 months in prison. On March 24, 2016, Elor Azaria was deployed to Hebron, in the occupied West Bank. In an encounter between two Palestinians & Israeli soldiers, one Palestinian was shot dead & an Israeli soldier & the other Palestinian, 21-year-old Abd Elfatah Ashareef, were wounded. There is no need to play stupid & accept the accusation that the injured soldier was stabbed & wounded by the two Palestinians.
As several soldiers stood around watching the wounded soldier be put into an ambulance, Abd Elfatah Ashareef laid motionless on the ground nearby for several minutes, completely unattended by medics although obviously wounded. Out of the blue, Azaria walked up & shot him in the head, saying to a nearby soldier “He deserves to die.” That is called extrajudicial execution.
Despite giving Azaria such a lenient sentence the court said he had taken upon himself to be both judge & executioner. That is called impunity. They also said he had not expressed regret for his crime. That is called sociopathology, the psychological disorder derived from impunity.
The solidarity response to this monstrous miscarriage of justice is first to tell the world about the character of Israeli justice for Palestinians, because although Palestinians are not taught to hate, they have every reason to do so, & second to build the hell out of the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement (BDS). Buy nothing with the barcode beginning 729.
On the left is Elor Azaria with his mother at the sentencing hearing in Tel Aviv where he is already showing the symptoms of impunity.
On the right is Abd Elfatah Ashareef. May he Rest In Peace.
(Photo of Azaria by Jim Hollander/Pool/Reuters)
Thursday, February 23rd, is commemorated as Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day, a now annual event which is part of the campaign demanding justice from the Indian government for the 1991 mass rape & torture by occupying soldiers in the villages of Kunan & Poshpora, Kashmir. It was not a case of undisciplined troops on a rampage but an orchestrated, calculated military operation.
Kashmiris have long endured extreme, unimaginable violence in their struggle against occupation. For so long they stood alone, vilified by the Indian government as terrorists, because there was almost no reporting about their struggle in international media. Kashmiri activists on social media have changed all that by campaigning to have their story told.
It’s an extraordinary testimony to humanity’s demand for freedom that Kashmiris, like Palestinians, have fought so long against such insuperable odds with so little support. Now that we know the violence they endure & the justice of their cause, it is imperative to begin forming the battalions of solidarity by participating with them in these events & telling others far & wide about the importance of their freedom struggle.
It’s a simple act of solidarity to like & share this page for an event commemorating Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day. It doesn’t matter that you can’t be there but that you let others know about it.
MSNBC is openly campaigning to dump Trump under Article 25 of the Constitution on the grounds of mental instability. What happened to the treason charges?
The Texas attorney general filed a friend of the court brief for Trump’s Muslim-ban court case against Minnesota & Washington. He said those two states are indifferent to immigration problems because they aren’t border states.
Putting aside that immigrants are fleeing the US to Canada to avoid persecution they expect under Trump, what the attorney general means is that Minnesota & Washington aren’t bordering a country where the refugees are brown or black. Either that or he’s too stupid to be attorney general.
Morning news reported that the southern border will be a focus of Trump’s new executive order which may explain why every right-wing politician has been or is scheduled to tour here. There are thousands of refugees from Central America, Haiti, Africa, South Asia encamped all along the border from Texas to California.
These young men are Indian refugees in Mexico hoping to cross to the US. They traveled via the Brazil route taken by tens of thousands of refugees.
(Photo from Reuters)
Some don’t like when I single out individuals for criticism, usually for promoting the Hands Off Syria Coalition or that political perspective. They think it personal, even insulting. If one takes a public stand in support of Assad’s dictatorship & vilifies the Syrian revolution as head choppers, don’t think for one moment the criticism is to offend personally. The sole purpose is to discredit politically. This is a battle for the integrity of international solidarity.
So in that regard, it’s regrettable to point out that the retired FBI & CIA agents, retired military officers & diplomats who became cause célèbres for opposing the Iraq War are almost to the person falling apart over Syria. Most are in the Hands Off Syria Coalition along with Assad propagandists & other compromised political forces. They were more famous for opposing the Iraq War than for their careers in the nefarious institutions of the “Deep State” they now claim run the world.
The whole shebang of them are promoting Tulsi Gabbard & that makes sense. Her support for General Sisi & military dictatorship in Egypt, Modi & casteism in India, Assad & counter-revolution in Syria, & her unabashed Muslim-hating are of a piece. That’s too bad but they probably never did belong in the progressive movement, at least as spokespersons. They never spoke for activists like me.
Alternative media is touted as a reliable source of investigative journalism compared to lying-assed fake MSM. That belief is so strong that RT, Russia’s very own MSM, tries to position itself as alternative media.
Actually, alternative media often, if not usually, has corporate or questionable funding sources. It is also loaded less with sound investigative reporting & more with tendentious propaganda & shoddy journalism. Assad & Putin supporters have an entire industry of this so-called alternative rubbish.
The alternative to fake news is knowing how to use the internet.
Last week, the head of the Indian army threatened Kashmiris who pour into the streets, often in the middle of the night, to interfere with counter-insurgency operations where military forces cordon off an area & begin aggressive home invasions & search operations to find & execute alleged militants.
The army is facing such fearless resistance from Kashmiris in the areas of the operations that he equated unarmed protesters, including women, & stone throwers with “jihadis” & terrorists & said they would be treated as such, including being fired on. The protesters have hampered operations so badly that contingents of paramilitary personnel will be deployed just to keep protesters away from the operation.
Shooting at unarmed protesters is hardly an innovation in the occupation of Kashmir. Thousands have been killed or permanently disabled by live ammunition, pellet guns, tear gas & the threat is unlikely to prevent Kashmiris from coming by the thousands to the defense of their youth. In fact, at a counter-insurgency operation after his threats, protesters showed up & in one instance the military called off the operation due to the resistance.
This is the powerful response of Kashmiri Wasim Khalid to the general’s threats:
“We should be thankful to the Indian Army Chief. He has accepted that people are coming out to protect the rebels. He accepted the current political movement is run by the public who are fighting for right to self determination. He accepted there is no difference between the man with a gun and the man without a gun. Both are same. He accepted Indian army is at war with Kashmir. The only new thing today was that he offically announced a war on Kashmiris. We have been waiting for this announcement from past 70 years. Till now, this war was under wraps of democracy, of “normalcy and peace,” of imposed leaders who were mere puppets of tourism, of sadhbhavna, of “development and progress” and so on. Today, he lifted the veil. We are at war with the India.
It happened only because of peoples movement on the ground. What Indian army cheif did actually was that he vented his frustration in the public. He has realized his clutches on the ground are not firm. He knows he has utilized all options. First time, I believe, the world’s third largest army is under pressure and helpless before the tiny oppressed people of Kashmir.
So if people tell you what 2016 uprising gave you; ask them we have defeated the morale of the third largest army of the world. They have realised that they are unwanted in Kashmir.”
Indian media reporting on the general’s threats only showed file photos of small groups of young stone-throwers when the protests terrifying the Indian army are large & also filled with women & men, not just youth.
(Photo from files is Kashmiri youth protesters from The Telegraph)
These are photos of the severe flooding in Gaza which is compounding problems caused by over a decade of Israeli bombing assaults. Many photos show people knee-deep in water in the middle of bomb-damaged living quarters like the little girl here. The other overview photo shows the number of living quarters without roofs. According to the UN, just in the 7-week Israeli bombing offensive in 2014, over 171,000 homes suffered damage; 19,000 of them were either completely destroyed or severely damaged. Schools, businesses, hospitals & clinics, water & sanitation facilities, Gaza’s only power plant, communication networks were also damaged or reduced to rubble.
Over one year later, 100,000 people still remained displaced living in prefabricated units, tents, makeshift shelters, or in the rubble of their homes. The UN reported that construction work had begun on half of the 19,000 completely destroyed or heavily damaged but by the end of 2015 only one had been completed. As of July 2016, only 3,000 homes were made habitable & 75,000 people were still without permanent shelter. Most have been unable to rebuild their homes because of the labyrinth of impediments put up by the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Under the blockade, Israel monitors & controls all building materials (as well as medicines, foods, etc.) entering Gaza. Israel disallows many materials necessary for reconstruction, claiming they could be used by Hamas for military purposes or to rebuild the tunnels (which Israel destroyed in 2014) used to smuggle goods into Gaza which are banned under the blockade.
The World Bank monitors the international pledges to rebuild Gaza made at the Cairo conference in October 2014, the contributions are channeled through the Palestinian Authority & from there dispersed to the UN refugee agency, apparently to Israel for fuel, & elsewhere. It cannot be said the process has much transparency or accountability. But the World Bank reports that of the USD $3.5 billion pledged to reconstruction in Gaza, only about half has been received from the countries pledging–about $1.4 billion. How much, to which agencies, or even if that has been expended on reconstruction is not well accounted for. It’s likely grand larceny at the expense of the Palestinians is involved just like in such programs elsewhere, most egregiously in Afghanistan & Haiti.
The biggest problem according to the World Bank & UN is the defaults on pledges. One UN official claimed the resolution to reconstruction problems was reconciliation between the Palestinian factions of Hamas & Fatah & for the Palestinian Authority to resume control of Gaza. It’s beyond dispute that the biggest problem is Israeli carpet bombing of Gaza & the continuing blockade which denies necessities of life, including housing, & according to the UN will make Gaza uninhabitable in 2020.
(Photos by Mohammed Salem/Reuters)