The reluctant Assadist: from equivocation to falling in love with Assad

Most Assad supporters used to say they were uncomfortable with his human rights crimes but ISIS & the US-backed militias were much worse. They outright said “Wahhabi/Salafi head chopping jihadis” were much worse than gulags & lynching thousands of dissidents. They must think it’s more humane to be hung by the neck than have your head cut off. That’s the derangement of Assadism.

Paid propagandists like Beeley & Bartlett denied Assad was anything but a stellar fellow maligned to justify US intervention. But they get paid big bucks to talk rubbish.

Then the reluctant Assadists moved into defending him against charges of gassing civilians at Khan Sheikhoun & became aligned, if not indistinguishable, from the paid propagandists.

Now the reluctant ones have gone over full monty to the dark side & are circulating a misanthropic apologetic, complete with an interview with Beeley & that 24-second exposé by John Pilger. It’s titled “You Only Hate Assad Because Your TV Told You To” by Caitlin Johnstone.

It’s a slippery slope from feigning equivocation to falling in love with a dictator.

We need no longer ask “whither goest Tariq Ali?” To hell in a hand basket is the answer. He posted a defense of Assad’s dictatorship partially using an interview of Assad himself. That’s like taking Stalin or Hitler’s word about their reigns of terror.

Then he posted an article from Vanessa Beeley, Assad’s own Leni Riefenstahl, with the title “John Pilger Exposes White Helmets as Propaganda Construct in Syria.” It was a 24-second clip of Pilger on RT. Pilger is a windbag so his rare moment of brevity is to be lauded but if a 24-second exposé is sufficient to satisfy the investigative skills of Ali, we think he isn’t just going to hell in a hand basket. He has his head stuck in the nether regions.

“Priyanka Chopra cannot contain her excitement that she got a chance to meet “Narendra Modi sir” in Berlin. And, guess who is her all time biggest celebrity crush: Tupac Shakur. Irony just died a thousand deaths. Tupac, a voice that was never afraid to speak up and show the world the cruel faces of poverty, discrimination, crime, despair, violence; you just cannot detach his music from that. One wonders, what exactly was she drawn toward in Tupac?”

–Ibn Raziya

Rachel Macy & Michael Kennedy among the unsung heroes in Portland, Oregon racist assault

Macy and Kennedy

Let’s just say right up front, given the prejudices against heavily made-up working class women, that no one would expect this woman to be a giant among us. But so much for prejudice.

Rachel Macy is a 45-year-old single mother of five children who takes the train three times a week to community college in Portland. She was on the train & witnessed the incident from its beginning when racist supremacist Jeremy Christian boarded the train & began shouting racist taunts at a Black teenage girl & her Muslim friend in a hijab. She said she was afraid to look because as a person of Native American ancestry, as “a woman of color, I didn’t want him to notice me.” She watched as three men came to the aid of the girls & tried to come between them & the assailant. She witnessed the death threats against the men & the stabbing attacks on them.

After the attack, the assailant fled the train at the next stop & most of the passengers fled behind him. When Michael Kennedy commuting home from work in the next car heard the commotion his first thought was of the Spanish train & London Tube bombings. “We’re sitting ducks here,” he thought. But when he saw Ricky Best collapsed on the floor, he ran to help & administered CPR to Ricky, saying “Stay with us. You are strong. Stay with us.” Kennedy said “It never occurred to me to do otherwise.”

Macy said Taliesin Namkai-Meche stumbled down the aisle holding his neck & saying “I’m going to die.” She told him “We can handle this. Lay down,” & pulled off her shirt which he pressed to his fatal wound. According to her, another unidentified man helped her console Namkai-Meche to keep him from panicking. “I just kept telling him, ‘You’re not alone. We’re here,” Macy said. “What you did was total kindness. You’re such a beautiful man. I’m sorry the world is so cruel.”

Macy remained on the train until police & medics arrived. Probably partially in shock, she didn’t leave until a police officer said to her “You did what you could, it’s time to come off the train.”

Kennedy said he hasn’t slept since the attack. He wants the Best family to know that Ricky was “surrounded by people who were soothing him & caring for him. He did not die alone.” He also said he wants the incident labeled what it is: a terrorist attack. “I want that to be clear,” he said.

Best’s son said the family wants people to know what his dad said often in his life: “I can’t stand by & do nothing.”

(Photo is Rachel Macy on left; Michael Kennedy on right from KGW)

Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao to fight ISIS? Smell a stinking rat.

Philippines displaced woman ( REUTERS:Erik De Castro.) May 30 2017

If we are to believe media reports, ISIS & al-Qaeda fighters are replacing US & European military hegemony all over the planet. If they keep expanding at the reported rate, they’ll soon have more military bases than the 800 to 1,000 US Pentagon bases. Of course, if they weren’t being supplied arms from Israel, Russia, the US, & other countries, ISIS & al-Qaeda would cease to exist.

The latest eruptions? Modi reports ISIS forces in Kashmir; Suu Kyi reports them among Rohingya in Arakan state; Duterte just imposed martial law to fight ISIS in Mindanao, the largest & southernmost island in the Philippines. The largest city on Mindanao is Davao City where the Duterte family is part of the ruling elite & where Duterte, as the mayor, became notorious for orchestrating death squad campaigns against alleged drug users & street criminals.

Because it was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898, including during the era of the Spanish Inquisition which compelled conversion of Jews & Muslims, the Philippines are a predominantly Christian country. But Muslims have been in the Philippines, centered in Mindanao, since the 13th century when Muslim traders settled there. After the Spanish conquest of the Philippines, which followed the expulsion of Muslim rule over the Iberian peninsula by only 30 years (1492), Muslims in the Philippines had to feign conversion to Catholicism or be killed. Those who remained Muslim were called Moro by the Spanish conquerers, which is a derogatory name derived from Moors, originally the Berber & Arab people from North Africa who ruled the Iberian peninsula for almost 800 years, ending in 1492. And it might be added, who ruled with considerably more tolerance than the Catholic monarchy.

Since then, Muslims in Mindanao & surrounding parts of the archipelago have fought against the Spanish, the US military (more than once), against the Japanese occupation in WWII, & successive Filipino regimes. They have sustained persecution, massacres (including being slaughtered while praying at a mosque), mass rapes, & repeated military assaults. Anyone who accepts the word of the Duterte regime that the insurgency in Mindanao is by ISIS-linked forces needs to have their head examined.

This bereft woman was displaced by fighting in Marawi City between government forces & allegedly the Maute group, a militia founded in 2013. The Duterte calls the Maute group a “radical Islamist” group & has accused them of beheadings. It is wise to suspend damnations until more reliable sources can elaborate the politics of the group which is likely quite small & does not require the imposition of martial law to defeat.

(Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Mosul Apocalypse: emancipation US-style

A man holds the hand of an elderly woman as they flee from clashes in western Mosul, Iraq. REUTERS:Alkis Konstantinidis

Mosul Apocalypse, emancipation US-style: this man & elderly woman are fleeing from a new Iraqi-US coalition offensive in Mosul during Ramadan.

Thousands of civilians remain in Mosul, likely many unable to leave. A good share of the city is reduced to rubble. How did such carnage come to be the concept of liberation from ISIS?

Now we know from the Amnesty International report that over $1 billion of assault rifles, mortars, & armored vehicles went from the US Pentagon to ISIS fighters.

The only principled antiwar demand is the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US & foreign military forces from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen. No to war. Out now.

(Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters)

Lot of talk in media about “changing the conversation.” Not a bad concept for a media that harps on news like a broken record & beats to death every damn utterance or tweet out of the orange meathead-in-chief in the White House.

Tribute to Ricky Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, & Micah Fletcher

Best, Myrddin, Fletcher May 30 2017

We should take a moment to honor the two men who lost their lives last Friday on a train in Portland, Oregon when they came to the rescue of two teenage girls, one Black & one wearing a hijab, being attacked by a rabid anti-Muslim & white supremacist hater. Ricky Best, a 53-year-old army veteran & city worker left a widow & four young children. Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, a 23-year-old recent graduate from Reed College, was lauded by his friends & family as modest, thoughtful, & compassionate.

We should also honor Micah Fletcher, a 21-year-old poet who came to the rescue of the young girls. He is now home from the hospital recovering from injuries. All three men were stabbed in the neck.

Misanthropy is not an appropriate response to the rising Islamophobia incited by the Trump regime. It is the refuge of the elitist & cynic. Tens of thousands protested all over the US to oppose the Muslim ban, indifferent to the cynics & elitists who mocked them as mere liberals. Ricky, Taliesin, & Micah are the America most of us know; not the America of Jeremy Christian, the white supremacist assailant.

The Portland Muslim community has raised nearly a million dollars for the families of the three men & for the young girls who will require counseling to deal with the trauma of the assault–not just being attacked but witnessing the attacks on the three rescuers & murders of two of them. There are 14 mosques in Portland who are working together to raise funds & who organized a vigil for the murdered men.

These photos left to right are Taliesin, Ricky, & Micah. May Taliesin & Ricky Rest In Peace. Speedy recovery to Micah.