Category Archives: News

The media narrative on police violence in Baltimore

While the state of Maryland marches in 2,000 National Guard to help the 1,000 riot cops in Baltimore, media is marching out the pieties to justify repression. Nearly 60 years of listening to this horse manure merits a place in the highest levels of heaven, a halo & the title of Saint Mary of Choler to boot.

So the media homily goes: if Black kids just complied with cops & didn’t run there’d be no need to shoot them. If they trusted cops who stop them, they wouldn’t die. Nary a reporter who thought to ask if they had reason to be scared or more importantly to report that many of them were standing completely still–& unarmed?

40th commemoration of Fall of Saigon

Vietnam War child killed (Horst Faas:AP) Apr 28 2015

This week, on the eve of the 40th commemoration of the Fall of Saigon marking the rout of the US military by the Vietnamese & the end of the war, the Guardian-UK newspaper ran two retrospective photo albums. Both favorably–or at least, uncritically–portray US & South Vietnamese troops in action. There are GI rock & roll jam sessions & even a photo of Bob Hope with one of the starlets he used to sexually titillate soldiers. There are photos of both armies rescuing wounded comrades & recovering bodies or engaged in heroics. In some photos the bodies are piled on top of each other.

There’s no way in hell media can clean up the image of the Vietnam War. Millions of people around this globe know the truth & it will forever stand condemned–as should every other murderous US military intervention. There is no such thing as a “humanitarian intervention.”

Due process is no part of war. So there are many photos of South Vietnamese soldiers threatening “Việt Cộng suspects” with weapons; there is the famous photo of a South Vietnamese general assassinating a “suspected Việt Cộng official” in Saigon; & images of US & South Vietnamese soldiers torching whole villages & evicting residents to rout “suspected Việt Cộng guerrillas”.

There is also a 1966 photo of women & children crouching in a canal to “take cover from intense Việt Cộng fire”. We’re told the US military rescued them to safety from the US assault on a Việt Cộng stronghold. Of course there wouldn’t have been any Việt Cộng fire if the US army weren’t assaulting the village.
There’s a 1969 photo of a woman crying over a body bag with the remains of her husband “found in a mass grave containing civilians killed by Việt Cộng during the Tet offensive of 1968.” No alleged here? Couldn’t that mass grave have been dug by US soldiers? Thousands of Vietnam veterans don’t have PTSD for nothing.

Then there is the famous 1972 photo of screaming children severely burned in a US aerial napalm attack who are running down a highway followed by South Vietnamese soldiers. The caption informs us “A South Vietnamese plane seeking Việt Cộng hiding places accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on civilians & government troops instead.” Maybe a South Vietnamese plane dropped the napalm; maybe it didn’t. It’s the US military that pioneered the use of napalm in war, including WWII & the Korean War. In Vietnam, the US dropped almost 400,000 tons of napalm bombs just between 1963 & 1973. Napalm is particularly barbaric because it causes fifth-degree burns which go down to the bone.

The US also sprayed 43 million liters (11.4 million gallons) of Agent Orange on thousands of villages in Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia to kill off crops & defoliate & expose Việt Cộng guerrillas. The poisonous ingredient in Agent Orange is dioxin which had long been banned in most countries because it remains toxic for at least 100 years & was known to cause at least 24 symptoms in those exposed & in their offspring. The Vietnamese government estimated 400,000 people died from Agent Orange poisoning & over a half million were born with incapacitating disabilities. Decades later it remains a problem in the underground aquifer system of Vietnam. Thousands of US soldiers & their children also died or sustained the symptoms.

This 1964 photo is a grieving father holding the body of his small child before a tank of South Vietnamese rangers. The child was killed when South Vietnamese troops pursued Việt Cộng guerrillas into a village near the Cambodian border. Another accident by the South Vietnamese army? Are we to believe the savagery of the Vietnam War all just a series of mishaps & South Vietnamese military incompetence?

The most important political responsibility of this generation is to rebuild the international antiwar movement. Media is now embedded up the ass of the Pentagon. If the truth is to be known about the barbarisms still going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, & elsewhere, it will be by activists committed to ending war & to making this world suitable for human beings to live & love in.

(Photo by Horst Faas/AP)

Solidarity with the Black community in Baltimore

Baltimore pepper spray (Shannon Stapleton:Reuters) Apr 28 2015

Media is in its element now–going after the Black community in Baltimore with articles denouncing the riots & photos of young Blacks demolishing police cars & pummeling riot cops with rocks. Black lawlessness on a rampage! Meanwhile 25-year-old Freddie Gray was laid to rest. And media quotes politicians & even his grieving family denouncing the riots.

Are we expected to join the chorus of denunciation & separate out the 10,000 peaceful protesters from the handful of rioters? If there are peaceful protesters it only means the cops haven’t yet taken their military arsenal after them, like in Ferguson. It just means they haven’t yet thrown out the Bill of Rights in Baltimore like they did in Ferguson. But they’re getting around to it beginning with that curfew. Then all 10,000 will be declared rioters & they’ll move in the National Guard.

There’ll be no denunciations here of Black youth who have endured decades of police harassment, seen Black teens around this country murdered by cops with impunity, saw the assassins of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, & countless others walk away scot-free from justice. There’ll be no attempts to talk around the riots or portray the youth involved as the criminal element.

It’s very dangerous to be young & Black these days. If you wear your pants too low, if you lip off to the science teacher, if you smoke a joint, if you walk too fast or too slow, or loiter on a corner, you’re at risk of being harassed or assaulted. Or murdered for no good reason.

The problem is police violence, as part of the US war on Black youth, which has gone on for several decades without the media clamoring for justice but portraying the Black community as a war zone of lawless drug peddlers. The problem for youth is the compromised old guard of Black leadership who operate within the Democratic Party to silence Black protest against tyranny.

We leave the denunciations to others. We stand with the protesters in Baltimore. All of them. Without distinction. A new civil rights & Black power movement is emerging. A new leadership is emerging who will not truck with compromise. And that’s a glorious development we have no intention of parsing or denouncing.

Our fullest solidarity with the protesters in Baltimore. May Freddie Gray RIP. And may the unspeakable crime against him marshal in a new era of resistance to racism & tyranny.

This is a young man hit by pepper spray from riot cops. Is he a peaceful protester or a rioter?

(Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests continue in Afghanistan against murder of Farkhunda

Kabul Farkhunda protest (Reuters:Omar Sobhani) Apr 27 2015

Street protests continue in Kabul, Afghanistan over the March 19 beating death of Farkhunda, a young woman who was attacked by a mob while police stood idly by. Male & female protesters are demanding justice & the prosecution of those involved, including the police who did nothing.

These demonstrations suggest US-NATO have bombed the misogyny right out of the Afghans just like the Pentagon promised when they occupied the country & started bombing everything in sight. That must be what the US is trying to do in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq too.

But now with men & women standing up together against misogynist violence–along with that nail salon in downtown Kabul–surely the Pentagon can announce “Mission accomplished” & get the hell out of there.

Of course the emancipation of women is only reason number umpteen for the war which began nearly fourteen years ago under the guise of hunting down Osama bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan. The US has no intention of leaving or closing down its torture centers.

The women of Afghanistan do not need US marines to liberate them. For heavens sake, there isn’t a woman in the US who would request military occupation against misogyny here. We’ve taken a look at the rape statistics within the US military & we know something about US war crimes in Afghanistan.

The international antiwar movement must be rebuilt demanding US-NATO close down those torture prisons & get out of Afghanistan & Iraq–lock, stock, & barrel. Our fullest solidarity with the men & women of Afghanistan who have stood nearly alone against the mighty military force of US-NATO. Our deepest regrets we have been unable to stay the hand of US aggression but don’t give up on us yet.

(Photo is from April 8th march in Kabul by Omar Sobhani/Reuters. There were also protests today.)

Millionaire philanthropy: picking the pockets of working people

You can be goo-goo eyed about celebrity philanthropy all you like but there’s something unseemly about millionaires shilling donations for UNICEF. Salma Hayek is visiting Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon to raise money. Ah she’s a saint & likable indeed. But she alone is worth millions from film earnings & is married to a guy worth over US $15 billion.

Who is UNICEF trying to get the dough from? Corporations? Other billionaires? Or working people? Hayek & her husband could hand over their petty cash purse & it would dwarf anything most of us could give.

Ashkenazi Jews and pseudo-science

Have been so content lately not having to fend off antisemitic posts about the illuminati & Rothschilds. I actually thought I was weeding them out & sending them packing. Then today I was tagged on Facebook in a video by Henry Makow, a Canadian libertarian who campaigns against Zionism (for antisemitic reasons), freemasons, homosexuality, the New World Order, Satanism, aliens, & feminism. Makow believes the ruling elite have been taken over by a cabal of all of these. Shades of David Icke’s reptilian overlords & it goes without saying, just as whacked.

When I checked the tagger’s wall I found that article circulating from Haaretz about Israeli scientists discovering a gene that predisposes Ashkenazi Jews to schizophrenia. To my mind, genetic research is a deeply flawed, probably mostly pseudo-science. The researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem studied Ashkenazi Jews from Israel where mental health problems could just as well be related to the political psychosis of Zionism & militarism. And we know (at least those of us influenced by natural modalities like Chinese medicine & homeopathy) that emotional & intellectual habits have profound affects on human physiology.

The Haaretz article circulates to demonstrate a tendency toward mental illness among Ashkenazi & I would consider that not just an apolitical approach to Zionism but the very essence of antisemitism. If in fact they’re genetically prone to mental illness, that is deeply regrettable & not something to be flaunted. They are after all human beings.

The answer to Zionism is not vilifying & goof-ball conspiracy theories complete with devils & reptiles. It is in building the economic & cultural boycott of Israel to create possibilities for a democratic secular state suitable for both Jews & Palestinians to live in.

The invented political traditions of Israel

Israel Independence Day (Ronen Zvulun:Reuters) Apr 26 2015

The state of Israel is an illegal construct (no matter how many UN resolutions attempt to legitimize it) & the Israeli people an invented people comprised of dozens of other nationalities. So political & religious traditions need to be manufactured for social cohesion & war propaganda.

Last Wednesday they celebrated the “Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel & Victims of Terrorism” (an ancient tradition by Israeli standards going back to 1963) & Thursday they celebrated Independence Day (a historic tradition going back to 1948 when Zionist paramilitary squads using terrorism & massacres thought they had decisively routed tens of thousands of indigenous Palestinians).

Since its inception as an illegitimate state, the high-flown rhetoric on “Independence Day” is a study in propaganda. In 1948, David Ben-Gurion (the Polish terrorist, Zionist leader, leading architect of Zionist aggression against Palestinians, founder of the Israeli state & military, & first prime minister) said: “A people which had been exiled from its homeland two thousand years before…was returning home as sovereign citizens in their own independent state.”

Ben-Gurion was a great champion of the Bible. We don’t know if he was a religious guy but he fully grasped the utility of a theocracy in Israel–especially for appeals to the Torah as a land grand from Yahweh. In the 1950s he said “I will never agree to the separation of religion from the State. I want the State to hold religion in the palm of its hand.” A real man of the Enlightenment! And the US which bankrolls this theocratic state is mobilizing against Islamic states!?

He was also a champion of “Hebrew culture” which existed only as German, Polish, US, Ukrainian, etc. Jewish culture & not as a universal culture. Israel had to create an Israeli culture because they are an invented people without a common culture & no history in Palestine that has any meaning except in the Bible & fevered Zionist imaginations.

Recent demographic studies of Israel indicate that a majority are not religious so it isn’t Judaism holding them together anymore. It’s the right-wing nationalism of Zionism along with evocations of past pogroms, persecutions, & the WWII holocaust. Only someone steeped in social hatred of Jews would minimize or trivialize the trauma of centuries of persecution. But Zionism is a rejection of the broader struggle against racism & colonialism involving millions of black & brown peoples across the planet; it is instead an attempt to cash in on the gestalt of colonialism.

Zionism isn’t working out as a social vision since after 67 years Israel, even backed by the US & Europe, is an armed military fortress with almost universal conscription. This little boy from a West Bank Zionist settlement is celebrating “Independence Day” playing soldier at a weapons display with the Israeli military. He’s practicing how to dehumanize & shoot Palestinians fighting against Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing. Raising small children in social hatred for Palestinians stands as the singular indictment of Zionism.

Build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel to tear down this fortress & replace it with a democratic secular state where Jews & Palestinians can stand united against racism & colonialism & live in peace as brothers & sisters. That’s the only social vision with a future.

(Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

#84 is a human being with a name and some dreams that the European Union wants to drown

African immigrant (AP Photo:Alessandra Tarantino) Apr 24 2015

We aren’t told anything about this African immigrant, now identified as #84. It’s not certain we can even imagine what he’s just been through–from feeling compelled to leave family & town, the arduous trek to the Mediterranean coast, wrangling to find passage across the sea, & then surviving drowning. His very poignant face gives some insight into his trauma, fear, & griefs. Though not to his dreams & possibilities.

It isn’t clear what came out of the European Union summit on Thursday (vagueness serves criminality) except proposals for “surgical military strikes” to capture & destroy boats before they’re used by traffickers. Wow isn’t it a relief to know they won’t be bombing dinghies on the open sea when they’re jam-packed with men, women, & children!?

It’s also reported that Frontex, the EU naval goon squad, will send ships further into the Mediterranean to address the crisis. They now patrol within 30 miles of the European coast. Will they be sending ships 50 miles out or 100 miles out or just to Lampedusa? Because it’s over 200 miles to Libya from Sicily & that’s a lot of sea to drown in. Will they be leasing a lot more boats or wing it with a few patrol boats?

The EU mocks our intelligence when they promise to seek long-term solutions to the poverty & war in the Middle East & Africa compelling such massive immigration. What are they going to do? Pull out the multinational mining corporations? Stop sending private mercenaries to protect their investments? Close down their agribusiness plantations? Stop funding Israel, Egypt, paramilitary terrorists? Stop stealing national resources? Yank the IMF & World Bank out of the continent by their short hairs? Yeah, right!

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) criticized the EU for declaring war on traffickers like they did Somali “pirates” instead of allocating resources to search & rescue. They pointed out the obvious that it will not stop immigration but only change the routes to possibly more dangerous ones.

It’s not that the EU officials are too stupid to recognize all that but that they are conscienceless, amoral people administering a predatory system. Nothing speaks more powerfully to the need to sink the EU than their callous & criminal indifference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by plunder.

This man, who has a name, is disembarked from an Italian coast guard ship in Sicily. He will be processed as #84 & likely deported back to where he came from.

Immigration is a human right! Open the damn borders!

(Photo by Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Where Black kids wear their pants is a civil rights issue not a matter of public indecency

Many people get bent out of shape about Black teens wearing their jeans low on their butts. Mini skirts & cleavage don’t distress them but seeing a kid’s BVDs send school boards & city officials into paroxysms of indignation. There are all sorts of school & municipal ordinances banning them. Parents don’t have to like the practice & can wrangle with their kids but that’s a very different issue from legal bans.

So let’s be frank. It’s a civil rights issue & very likely an act of defiance on the part of kids who are sick of being targeted. Black kids should be able to wear their jeans as low as they want because there’s no public indecency involved at all; they’re not exposing their butts. The ordinances are only a means of legal harassment & are part of the war on Black youth.

To show where this kind of crap leads, a newly released video of a November 2013 incident in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana shows Erwin Edwards, a 38-year-old Black man arrested for wearing sagging pants (which are banned in the city), was tasered to death by six cops in a holding cell. The coroner ruled the cause of death as “undetermined” & a result of “acute cocaine & phencyclidine (PCP) intoxication in association with restraint by law enforcement.”

A police department review of the incident found no criminal wrongdoing but the video testifies otherwise. The sheriff’s office has turned over the findings to the US Department of Justice which has already let the murderers of Michael Brown & Trayvon Martin get off scot-free.

This is a video of the assault so you can judge for yourself if there was any criminal wrongdoing. May Mr. Edwards RIP.