Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Rand Paul on Corona: "we need more optimism!"

During a Senate committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Paul told Fauci it is a "fatal conceit that central planners have enough knowledge to tell a nation of 33 million people what they can and can't do."

Nothing was ever achieved by telling millions of American people what TO DO! We can see how brilliantly this principle has worked out in the Corona virus crisis, amirite?

"We need to not be so presumptuous that we know everything," Paul continued. "But my question to you is: Can't you give us a little bit more on schools so that we can get back to school?"

True. Rand Paul e.g. knows basically nothing. Which hasn't stopped G-d only knows how many know-nothings to vote for him.

And here comes the clincher:

Paul responded by saying, "We just need more optimism — there is good news out there."
Paul, who recovered from the coronavirus in April and incited controversy last month by not wearing a face mask in public, had confronted Fauci during a hearing once before. Back in May, he told the public health expert "you're not the end-all" when it comes to giving advice.

Yes, Rand, optimism - and faith. And maybe moar gunz! It's not been tried to kill the virus with gunz, amirite? Maybe that untested method could have been tried on Rand himself. Even saucier: maybe Rand could have tried it on Ron!

And the 'good news' appears to be that the new cases daily count could reach 100,000 per day.


USA Today.

Latvia's Media Watchdog Bans Broadcasting of 7 RT Channels

RIGA (Sputnik) - The Latvian National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP) said Tuesday that it was banning seven RT channels, suggesting that they are owned by Dmitry Kiselev, who is under EU sanctions, although he has nothing to do with RT and is head of another media, Rossiya Segodnya international information agency.

The NEPLP banned RT, RT HD, RT Arabic, RT Spanish, RT Documentary HD, RT Documentary, RT TV.

The Latvian watchdog intends to urge media regulators in other EU countries to also ban RT, the watchdog chair, Ivars Abolins, said.

Latvia's Ban on Rossiya Segodnya's Baltnews.lv Website Attempt to Get Rid of Independent Media - Moscow Kiselev is the director-general of Rossiya Segodnya, while RT's editor-in-chief is Margarita Simonyan, who is not under any EU sanctions. These companies are two different legal entities. The information about their legal status is open to the public.

Methinks I can see an olde grievance playing out here before mine eyes...


Monday, 29 June 2020

Nutzies will be Nutzies!

UK Jewish activists ['Zionist activists' would be a more accurate term here - Ed.] have lashed out at the British chapter of Black Lives Matter over its pro-Palestinian tweets. They say the anti-racist movement's criticism had anti-Semitic undertones.
BLM UK posted a series of tweets on Sunday, criticizing Israel over its plans to annex occupied Palestinian territories and calling for solidarity with the Palestinian cause. One of the earlier posts stated that “mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits”.
That particular part prompted a furious backlash from the British NGO Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA).
Zionism is the movement for the self-determination of Jews,” CAA tweeted in response. “So-called ‘anti-Zionism’ exclusively denies Jews that universal right and is therefore anti-Semitic.
Educate yourselves. You cannot fight prejudice with prejudice,” it added.

Nutzies do as nutzies are, of course...

RT.com UK.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

In Trump's Murrica, Covid-19 is still on the move!

Friday, 26 June 2020

Leaked documents reveal right-wing oligarch plot to overthrow Mexico’s AMLO

Mexico’s oligarchs and establishment political parties have united in a secret alliance to try to remove left-wing President López Obrador from power, with help from the media, Washington, and Wall Street. Leaked documents lay out their devious strategy.

By Ben Norton

Some of the most powerful forces in Mexico are uniting in a campaign to try to topple the country’s first left-wing president in decades, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. And they apparently have support in Washington and on Wall Street.

Known popularly as AMLO, the Mexican leader is a progressive nationalist who campaigned on the promise to “end the dark night of neoliberalism.” He has since implemented a revolutionary vision he calls the “Fourth Transformation,” vowing to fight poverty, corruption, and drug violence — and has increasingly butted heads with his nation’s wealthy elites.

López Obrador has also posed a challenge to the US foreign-policy consensus. His government provided refuge to Bolivia’s elected socialist President Evo Morales and to members of Evo’s political party who were exiled after a Trump administration-backed military coup.

AMLO also held a historic meeting with Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and even stated Mexico would be willing to break the unilateral US blockade of Venezuela and sell the besieged Chavista government gasoline.

These policies have earned AMLO the wrath of oligarchs both inside and outside of his country. On June 18, the US government ratcheted up its pressure on Mexico, targeting companies and individuals with sanctions for allegedly providing water to Venezuela, as part of an oil-for-food humanitarian agreement.

The value of the Mexican peso immediately dropped by 2 percent following the Trump administration’s imposition of sanctions.

These opening salvos of Washington’s economic war on its southern neighbor came just days after López Obrador delivered a bombshell press conference, in which he revealed that the political parties that had dominated Mexican politics for the decades before him have secretly unified in a plot to try to oust the president, years before his democratic mandate ends in 2024.

The forces trying to remove AMLO from power include major media networks, massive corporations, sitting governors and mayors, former presidents, and influential business leaders. According to a leaked document, they call themselves the Broad Opposition Bloc (Bloque Opositor Amplio, or BOA).

And they say they have lobbyists in Washington, financial investors on Wall Street, and major news publications and journalists from both domestic and foreign media outlets on their team.

More @The Grayzone.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

RT, Peter Tatchell on Julian Assange, Anne Sacoolas...

Let's start a new country up (Cuyahoga!)

Let's put our heads together

And start a new country up

Our father's father's father tried

Erased the parts he didn't like

Let's try to fill it in

Bank the quarry river, swim

We knee-skinned it you and me

We knee-skinned that river red


This is where we walked

This is where we swam

Take a picture here

Take a souvenir


This land is the land of ours

This river runs red over it

We knee-skinned it you and me

We knee-skinned that river red

And we gathered up our friends

Bank the quarry river, swim

We knee-skinned it you and me

Up underneath the river bed


This is where we walked

This is where we swam

Take a picture here

Take a souvenir


Cuyahoga, gone


Let's put our heads together

And start a new country up

Up underneath the river bed

We'll burn the river down

This is…

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Moron Does as Moron Is (Pepe Farage)

A US congressman who chairs the Committee on Homeland Security has launched an investigation into Nigel Farage after the Brexit Party leader apparently flew to America to attend a Donald Trump rally during the Covid-19 pandemic. US Democrat representative Bennie G Thompson sent a letter to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, on Monday, requesting “all relevant documents” on the decision to “waive the travel ban for Mr Farage,” saying it raised “troubling questions” at a time of strict restrictions being enforced.

Thompson highlighted media reports that Farage had initially been “denied boarding while trying to fly from the UK to the US on Friday,” but was subsequently given the green light by the Trump administration to make the trip.

The Brexit Party leader tweeted a photo of himself on Saturday looking very cheery, with the caption: “In the USA, only twenty four hours from Tulsa” – the location of the US president’s rally over the weekend. Images later emerged on Saturday night appearing to show the 56-year-old backstage at the ‘Team Trump on Tour’ as part of the rally.

Moar words!

Ozzie Gubmint basically says No to Vaping!

The yokels in charge of management 'down under' have seen fit to make it near impossible to cut out the cancer sticks by means of ecigs:
On Friday 19 June 2020, the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) announced a crackdown on the importation of vaping products for personal use. If an individual orders nicotine vape liquid or nicotine-containing e-cigarettes from abroad, they will face fines up to $220, 000 — regardless of whether they have a valid prescription. From 1 July 2020, the Australian Border Force will be enforcing this new regulation and will seize any nicotine vape liquid they find entering Australia.
If a smoker wishes to vape nicotine for the purpose of quitting smoking, they must first attempt every other method because nicotine vaping is considered an “unapproved method.” They then must receive a prescription from an authorised physician.
So while actual cancer inducing cigarettes and cigars remain for sale in Ozzie, eliquid based nicotine harm reduction products have just been made a lot harder to obtain!

Planet of the vapes.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Israelizing the American police, Palestinianizing the American people

Israel has not influenced U.S. law enforcement by training it to be more violent, but rather has served as a model in creating the American Security State.


A lot of attention has been directed recently at the “training” American police receive from Israel. It’s extensive and pervasive. The point, however, is not that Israel has made US police more violent. They were violent and repressive a century or more before Israel was even established. It isn’t even that Israel has helped militarize the US police. It has, of course, but in response to fundamental shifts in the American political and economic scene.

The “Israelization” of the American police begins in the wake of 9/11, but three key developments in the US explain why. First, by 9/11 the debilitating effects of neoliberalism, starting in the Reagan Administration but already creating huge social and income disparities in the Bush and Clinton years. They began calling for “law and order,” domestic wars (on drugs, on crime, on “radicals”) and a need to control and pacify an ever-growing precariat, under-employed, under-paid middle-class people, the “working poor, and the largely racialized actually poor. Capitalism’s enforcers are the police.

Second, by 9/11 the US had lost the Soviet Union and communism as an external/internal threat that could be exploited to justify repressive, anti-democratic policies at home. While the threat of “terrorists” had become a minor issue in Clinton’s time, it was not tied strongly to the domestic arena. That tie-in, the third source of police “Israelization,” came with 9/11. The Patriot Act, which until today fundamentally curtails American civil rights and due process, was enacted less than two months later. Clearly it was in the drawer waiting for its opportunity. And again, policing becomes the vehicle for a wholly new para-military task: “homeland security.”

This was the backdrop. It was not an Israeli creation. But Israel been a Security State since its founding in 1948 – I would even put its roots as a highly-militarized society back to the start of the twentieth century. It has been over the past 125 years of settler colonialism that the Israeli Security State emerged. Israel’s ongoing war against the internal/external Palestinian people/enemy, with all the inherent insecurity and preoccupation with security that engenders, placed it just where post-9/11 America wanted to be. Israel provided the US – and particularly the US police and security agencies – with ready-made policies, doctrines, para-military structures, and weaponry they lacked but needed in order to construct an American Security State. Israel provided the model and the hardware.

But what was the problem? Why couldn’t the US just enact the policies, create the structure and produce the weapons conducive to a Security State, especially now that it has the “homeland security” justification? The answer is akin to the notion of color-blindness. In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander describes the dilemma of enforcing policies of racial repression at a time (from the 1960s and ‘70s) when outright expressions of racism were no longer acceptable. She documents how the War on Drugs co-opted the racial agenda but under the rubric of fighting drugs, which few could argue with. The US had the same problem in its transition to a Security State. How could it subordinate civil liberties in favor of policing while retaining its image as a democracy?

Specifically, the “problem” facing the US in empowering its police to engage in homeland security was the wall erected by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. Like similar laws and regulations in other European states, the Posse Act strictly separates domestic law enforcement (internal security) from the deployment of the military (external security). It looks something like this:

Click to enlarge.

This doesn’t mean that the military cannot be deployed domestically. The National Guard plays that role occasionally. But for the real military to be called out, as Trump tried to do in Washington, DC, an obscure 1807 Insurrection Act had to be invoked, and the Pentagon refused.

So even though US companies have the capability of producing military weapons, the “wall” has placed constraints on them from developing military-style police arms. This opens a huge market for Israel, not only custom-tailoring military weapons for law enforcement, but for the civilian market as well. The Israeli Weapons Industry (IWI) has opened a manufacturing plant in Middletown, PA, where it produces, for example, a pistol-sized Uzi submachine gun or police. That plant produces a wide variety of militarized weapons for law enforcement, including lines of Galil and Tavor assault rifles and a tactical rifle called the Zion-15. (Take a look at the IWI US website.) Israel is also the world’s leader in drones, producing 60% of the global market. Drones are becoming staples of US police departments, but here, too, the “wall” poses a challenge: drones are commonly used for surveillance, but weaponized drones are still forbidden to US police.

Moar words!

Friday, 19 June 2020

Harry Dunn: Empire's Long Reach and Exceptional Hypocrisy

An application by Harry Dunn's parents for the Foreign Office to disclose evidence relating to a "secret agreement" between the UK and US governments has been rejected.

The Dunns said the agreement had given diplomatic immunity to their son's alleged killer, Anne Sacoolas.

The 19-year-old was killed in a crash in Northamptonshire.

At the High Court, Lord Justice Flaux [Supreme coward and arse-licker] said disclosure was not necessary for the "just determination" of the case.

Mr Dunn died when his motorbike was involved in a crash outside RAF Croughton in August last year.

Despite being charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December, an extradition request was refused by the US.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn are bringing legal action against Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Northamptonshire Police, claiming they acted unlawfully over Mrs Sacoolas' departure.

At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, conducted by video call, the Dunns argued the Foreign Office "acted unlawfully by proceeding as if Anne Sacoolas conclusively had immunity".

They said that action prevented Northamptonshire Police "from reaching an informed view" on immunity.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, representing the Dunns, told the court the Foreign Office had "obstructed a criminal investigation, under pressure from the United States".

Mr Robertson said the case "turns on the interpretation of a secret agreement made in 1995 between America and the UK, as a result of a US request to add up to 200 technical officers as diplomatic agents at RAF Croughton".

He said at the time the UK had been "deeply concerned" about the request and the danger of media interest if crimes - particularly road traffic-related crimes - were committed.

Sir James Eadie QC, for the Foreign Office, said Mr Raab "has acted lawfully at all times".

He argued the Foreign Office had "given extensive disclosure, well in excess of what is strictly required".

Mr Robertson asked the court to order the Foreign Office to disclose documents about the 1995 agreement, as well as notes of phone calls and messages about Mr Dunn's death involving Foreign Office officials.

The application was rejected by Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Saini.

A full hearing will take place in October or November.

Auntie Beeb.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Old New Labour: neoliberal and pro-Zionist

What’s Left of Labour? Come and hear Professor David Miller who has just been forced out of the Labour Party by Racist Zionists

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

How the GOP brought antisemitism from the margins to the White House

[Essay contains tons of useful links, not reproduced here - Ed.]

On March 25, 2019, a month and a half after the U.S. Senate acquitted President Trump in his impeachment trial, Republican Representative Mo Brooks took to the floor of Congress and read aloud a passage from “Mein Kampf.” Brooks, who represents Alabama’s 5th District, claimed that by initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump, the Democrats were perpetrating the “Big Lie” — a propaganda technique Hitler accused German Jews of using, which involves creating a fiction so massive no one could believe it was an invention. Throughout his speech, Brooks repeatedly referred to Hitler and the Nazi party as “socialists” in an effort to imply political proximity to the Democrats.

A few days later, Donald Trump, Jr. gave an interview to TruNews, a far-right racist website that most recently drew attention for referring to Trump’s impeachment as a “Jew Coup.” Just over a week later, on April 6, President Trump told an audience at a Republican Jewish event that Benjamin Netanyahu was their prime minister, invoking the antisemitic “dual loyalty” trope, which holds that Jews are more loyal to the Jewish community worldwide (or, more recently, to Israel) than they are to their own countries.

As much as observers were shocked by these incidents, this was a fairly typical fortnight in contemporary U.S. politics. As a new website, How to Fight Antisemitism, shows, rarely a week goes by without the GOP engaging in antisemitic rhetoric or actions, or enabling the wider ecosystem of white nationalism it has emboldened in recent years.

The website — which is part of a broader campaign against white nationalism launched earlier this year by progressive Jewish group Bend the Arc — aims to educate the wider public on the explosion in far-right antisemitic incidents since Trump became the Republican presidential nominee.

The timeline, which stretches from May 2016 to the present, reveals what Sophie Ellman-Golan, an independent strategist who created the website for Bend the Arc, calls a “staggering” track record of antisemitism directly or indirectly linked to the Republican Party.

With more than 150 entries on the timeline, the list of incidents is too widespread and diverse to summarize. But picking months at random is instructive. A look at August 2019, for example, shows that Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer claimed Jewish billionaires have “bought Congress.” Trump called American Jews disloyal if they voted for Democrats.

October 2019? Trump called Jewish Democratic Congressman and head of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff “shifty,” using an antisemitic dog whistle about dishonest Jews. Donald Jr. tweeted that a White House whistleblower was a “puppet” of Hungarian-Jewish financier George Soros — joining far-right populists around the world in suggesting Soros is behind whatever their present government’s enemy of the day is, and thus invoking a longstanding conspiracy claiming shadowy global Jewish control.

And just last month, Republican Representative Ben Carpenter of Alaska argued that Hitler was not a white supremacist, but rather “fearful of the Jewish nation.” Trump, while delivering a speech at a Ford factory, declared that Henry Ford, an inveterate antisemite and purveyor of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” had “good bloodlines.”

In addition to the litany of antisemitic rhetoric, the website also lists an extensive array of connections between high-profile white nationalists and Republican politicians, candidates, and strategists. One example Ellman-Golan cites is the posed photograph featuring Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior advisor to the Trump campaign and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, and Jovi Val, a notorious neo-Nazi, taken at a Women’s National Republican Club event in New York in January 2019.

In a more recent example, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is running for his old Senate seat, sent out a fundraising email in May penned by white nationalist Michelle Malkin. Malkin, who has dabbled in Holocaust denial, assured potential supporters that “Jeff understands the dangers of globalism” (as the How to Fight Antisemitism website points out, “globalists” is antisemitic code for “Jews”).

Ties between white nationalists, the GOP, and the Trump orbit are nothing new, of course — they have been in place since at least May 2016, according to the first entry on the timeline, when the Trump campaign selected a white nationalist delegate for California. Yet the How to Fight Antisemitism website makes clear that this state of affairs, as with antisemitic rhetoric, is not the exception but the rule.

Although it is plausible, as Ellman-Golan acknowledges, that some of these Republican figures may not always be aware of the politics of everyone they fraternize with, there should be at least one question on people’s minds: “Why do so many Nazis flock to the Republican Party?”

Mainstreaming far-right conspiracy theories

Despite the extensive evidence of widespread far-right antisemitism, much of the public discourse has focused on antisemitism on the left, or on antisemitism by non-white individuals who are inaccurately characterized as acting on a left-wing political agenda. A 2018-19 study by Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog, shows that in the 11 months following the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in October 2018, mainstream media discussed antisemitic rhetoric on the left more than antisemitic violence on the right.

Part of the reason for this, Ellman-Golan says, is a well-coordinated right-wing campaign to paint the Democrats as the “party of antisemitism.” On March 10, 2019 — two weeks before Brooks quoted from Mein Kampf in Congress — Wyoming Republican Senator Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican House member, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that since regaining control of the House in the November 2018 midterms, the Democrats had become “the party of antisemitism, the party of infanticide, the party of socialism.”

Two days later, Cheney repeated these exact terms during a press conference on Capitol Hill, stating that the House GOP’s “big, overall message” would be to connect the Democrats to this trifecta of accusations as part of its 2020 election strategy.

The fact that this strategy has met some success is down to a range of factors. One, says Bend the Arc Executive Director Stosh Cotler, is that many Americans — including progressives — are less familiar with what antisemitism is and how it manifests than with other forms of oppression. “Antisemitism can be difficult for all people to recognize, including Jews,” Cotler explains. “So when the general public is being told through a very well-funded, right-wing message machine that antisemitism is most dangerous coming from the left, we need to be actively refuting it while lifting up a more accurate reflection of what is really true.”

There is a historical component to the right’s success in claiming that antisemitism is more prevalent on the left. As Cotler notes, the political right has “essentially owned the definition of antisemitism” since the 1960s, with the emergence of what was termed the “new antisemitism.” The theorists behind this strand of thought pointed to the radical left, the Soviet Union, and Muslim countries as the major contemporary proponents of Jew-hatred, while conflating anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

Moreover, says Bend the Arc Senior Strategist Dove Kent, there is a legacy of right-wing messaging that blames antisemitism on anyone but white Christians.

“The people on the left who Republicans have accused of antisemitism are Black women, Muslim women, and Arab women, and we have a long story that says that Black people, Arab people, and Muslims are more antisemitic than other communities,” says Kent. Although, she adds, the data in fact shows that white Christians are the most antisemitic group in the United States, “there’s a story that’s been told to us by white supremacy which says that those [non-white groups] are the groups that hate Jews. So it then becomes very believable to audiences receiving this message that these women would be virulent antisemites.”

Another part of the campaign aimed at obfuscating the sources of antisemitism, Kent continues, involves relying on the other side of the story told by white supremacy — that white Christian men, who form “the grand majority” of antisemitic actors on the far right, “are neutral and safe.”

The efficacy of this strategy is made clear by remarks made by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, who in October 2018 became the first person to mainstream the antisemitic conspiracy theory that George Soros was “paying” the migrant caravan making its way into the United States from South America. Gaetz’s theory, which originated in obscure corners of far-right social media, was rapidly picked up by Trump, Fox News, and other far-right commentators.

By October 22, the conspiracy theory had reached up to 370 million people, according to a study undertaken by Bend the Arc and Political Research Associates, a think tank that focuses on the far right. That was also the day a property manager at Soros’ New York home found a pipe bomb addressed to Soros in the mailbox, sent by Cesar Sayoc, a hardcore Trump supporter who mailed similar devices to a string of other prominent critics of the president. During Sayoc’s trial, his defense lawyer told the court that Sayoc saw Trump as a “father figure” and that “the president’s rhetoric” contributed to the defendant’s behavior.

By October 27, the day that a white nationalist shot and killed 11 worshipers in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the lie about the migrant caravan and Soros had reached up to 670 million people on Facebook and Twitter alone. The shooter, who had previously posted about the migrant caravan conspiracy theory, targeted the temple at least in part because it had hosted a special event for refugees earlier that year.

The origins of this conspiracy theory’s induction into the mainstream have, as Kent notes, largely slipped out of view — an omission she calls “extremely concerning.” “A member of the U.S. Congress is moving conspiracy theories from extremist sites into the mainstream, which within a few weeks are leading American Jews to be killed, and yet no one is mentioning the name Matt Gaetz in any connection to the Pittsburgh shooting,” she says.

The relatively low level of censure directed at Gaetz for his tweet is comparable to that directed at then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who in between the pipe bombs and the shooting sent out a now-deleted tweet suggesting that wealthy Jews were stealing the midterm elections. Both sets of responses pale in comparison to the reaction that Ilhan Omar, the Democratic Representative of Minnesota, received after she tweeted about AIPAC in early 2019. Her tweets, which some felt invoked an antisemitic trope about Jews buying political influence, received prolonged, wall-to-wall media coverage, prompted a condemnatory House resolution, and are still regularly cited by those striving to paint the Democrats as “the party of antisemitism.”

For Kent, this disparity is stark evidence of a two-pronged Republican campaign that at once inflates and suppresses information in order to misrepresent where the real threat to Jews is coming from. “People assume they’re always hearing about major events, but what they’re hearing are the results of campaigns people are waging in one direction or the other,” she says. “There’s been no campaign to expose antisemitism on the right, so people haven’t heard about it.”

Connecting antisemitism to surge in overall hate crimes Key to redirecting the focus on antisemitism back to the GOP, says Cotler, is connecting it to the overall rise in bigotry and hate crimes that accompanied Trump’s ascendance to the presidency. To that end, the “We Rise As One” campaign, which the How to Fight Antisemitism website is part of, has both Trump and white nationalism in its sight. A core part of pushing white nationalists back out of power, Cotler emphasizes, is a narrative fight that pushes back on Republican efforts to divide Jews and their natural allies, who are also endangered by the current administration.

Kent concurs, noting that attacks on all minority communities have increased “astronomically” since Trump took power. Yet, she says, “there’s a campaign to ensure that the increase in antisemitic attacks is not connected to the increase in attacks on Black and brown people, immigrants, trans people, Asian-Americans, Native people.”

It’s therefore crucial, Cotler stresses, that American Jews recognize that “when the political right weaponizes antisemitism, it’s a deliberate attempt to deflect from their own antisemitism and to create wedges between us that none of us can afford to have.”

The surge in American-Jewish progressive activism over the past few years suggests that this message has already embedded itself in significant parts of the community. “Jews are not fooled by Republicans’ attempts to demonize the Democratic Party as the party of antisemitism,” Cotler says. Despite GOP efforts to “actively create disinformation” about where antisemitism is most concentrated, most American Jews are clear that while antisemitism is found in all areas of society, “it is the political right that is organizing, mobilizing, and leveraging antisemitism, particularly in its most physically violent forms,” she adds.

Nonetheless, there is a persistent mismatch between the consistent, vocal stance that progressive Jewish groups such as Bend the Arc, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and IfNotNow have taken on the issue of right-wing antisemitism and that taken by large parts of the American-Jewish establishment, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress. While these organizations and their leaders have at times voiced criticism of Trump, they have generally refrained from drawing direct connections between rising antisemitism and the current government.

For Cotler, this phenomenon reflects these organizations’ claim to be, and desire to be seen as, “apolitical” — a stance they believe would be jeopardized by holding the right responsible for antisemitism when the Republican Party is in power. But, she continues, “everything is political. Everything is about power, who has it, the abuse of it, who’s using it to transform society toward a positive, equitable place, and who’s using it to do the opposite.” In this vein, “silence is also political, and in their silence they are being political, whether they would say that about themselves or not.”

Equally, says Ellman-Golan, many mainstream American-Jewish institutions are thrown off course in their assessment of the Trump administration due to the “reorientation of viewing antisemitism through the lens of support for or opposition to the State of Israel and its government and policies.

“That’s the primary framework, and when that’s your primary framework, there’s not a lot [of antisemitism] that comes from the Republican Party because you have so many Christian evangelicals professing how much they love Israel, while also being pretty antisemitic,” Ellman-Golan explains. Kent also sounds the alarm about this status quo, calling it “a dangerous misunderstanding for who it leads us to be in political partnership with.” Ellman-Golan believes this dynamic is morally and politically untenable. “The American-Jewish community votes 70-80 percent Democratic,” she says. “For a lot of institutional leaders there’s a desire to overcompensate to appeal to that other 20-30 percent, rather than meeting the majority where they’re at. But when one party is actively working toward fascism, and the other one is not, that’s no longer possible.”

Antisemitism in the age of coronavirus

George Soros’ name has been doing the far-right rounds again over the past few months — first in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, and then in connection with the nationwide protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Bill Mitchell, an ultra-conservative commentator and Trump supporter, has repeatedly demanded authorities arrest Soros over the current unrest. (Mitchell made the same demand just before and just after the pipe bomb was discovered at Soros’ home.)

The conspiracy theory on both fronts is largely the same — that Soros is somehow fomenting, funding, and benefiting from the chaos of the U.S.’s worst public health crisis in living memory, as well as the historic protests against racist policing and police brutality.

Beyond the invocation of Soros and “globalists” more broadly, the most visible surge in antisemitism during the pandemic era has been at the anti-lockdown protests that proliferated throughout April and May. From Ohio to California to Michigan, far-right protesters brandished signs variously calling Jews “the real plague,” comparing stay-at-home orders to Nazism and the responsible governors to Hitler, replete with giant swastikas. At the same time, says Ellman-Golan, “there’s a lot of red-baiting going on, lumping together the Nazis with communists, socialists, and the USSR,” much as Brooks did on the floor of Congress over two years ago.

Ultimately, the renewed spike in antisemitism since the COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the many existing crises highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic — an unveiling further accelerated by the ongoing protests against police violence and systemic racism. Antisemitism has historically swelled in periods of political and social instability, and it is no different in 2020 — a year in which, Cotler says, Americans face the “real possibility of moving into a period in which we see democracy completely eviscerated.” The other option, she continues, is “building an inclusive, multiracial democracy — which is something we’ve never actually seen in the United States.”

Which path is taken will be partly dictated by overcoming what Kent calls a “degree of denial… that we have an extremist movement in this country on the rise, which has antisemitism at its core and that has a clear path to power.” The How To Fight Antisemitism project has set itself the task of challenging that denial — even as the timeline continues to grow.

Natasha Roth-Rowland is a History PhD student at the University of Virginia, where she researches and writes about the Jewish far-right in Israel-Palestine and the U.S. She previously spent several years as a writer, editor, and translator in Israel-Palestine, and her work has appeared in The Daily Beast, the London Review of Books Blog, Haaretz, The Forward, and Protocols. She writes under her family's true last name in memory of her grandfather, Kurt, who was forced to change his last name to 'Rowland' when seeking refuge in the UK during WW2.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Paradise Lost: Skid Row - Homeless in Los Angeles

Homelessness USA: the statistics.

How John Wilkes Booth is responsible for America's, erm... 'Negroe problem'!

The following comment was made by Blogger blogger 'Free Thinke' (the dropping of the 'r' appears deliberate - edgy, no?) aka 'Franco Aragosta, il pescatore saggio' (there's nothing Italian, fisherman or wise about 'Free Thinke', as we shall see) Here it is in full (brace yourselves!):
It was Lincoln's fond hope that the Negroes would all EMIGRATE to the newly founded African nation of LIBERIA, which was prepared to accept the newly freed Negroes, who had an awful time trying to sustain themselves once they were no longer fed, clothed, housed and given useful occupation by the Southen [sic] Planters aristoracy [sic] –– however undesirable those living conditions must have been
I believe we have the hotheaded fool John Wilkes Boothe to thank for our present plight.
I feel deeply sorry for the Negroes. They were sold into slavery –– BY THEIR FLLOW NEGROES –– brought here under duress, and treated more like cattle than human beings. It was a MORTAL SIN to have brought them here to live in bondage from the word "GO!"
The corrosive effects of SIN never die; they only FESTER and COMPOUND with each passing generation, UNLESS we humbly turn our lives over to GOD, which very few have ever seemed able to do.

On his own blog, 'Franco/Free Thinke' shows how deeply he feels for African Americans more graphically:

And they say racism is dead in the USA, died when Obama was elected!

Did I mention Free Thinke is a great fan of President Duterte, ooops, I meant Trump?

FREE Maria Ressa!

FREE Maria Ressa!

Independent journalism is an essential component of a functioning democracy, but reporters in the U.S. and across the globe have come under attack for doing their jobs.

The story of Maria Ressa, one of the most prominent journalists in the world, is a case in point.

The co-founder of the independent Philippine news site Rappler.com, Maria was named a TIME Person of the Year for Rappler’s tough reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte, his brutal war on drugs, and his weaponization of social media to spread disinformation and target critics.

That coverage has been met with an escalating government crackdown — and this Monday, Maria expects to learn whether she’ll be sentenced to prison time on cyber libel charges.

As she awaits the verdict, I spoke with Maria from her home in the Philippines about her ongoing commitment to accountability journalism, Duterte’s crackdown on the press, and how she’s preparing for what happens next.

“You know, I gave a commencement speech at Princeton University for the class of 2020. And one of the three things I told them was, ‘whatever it is, you have to embrace your fear,’” Maria tells me in today’s special episode of our FRONTLINE Dispatch podcast. “And that’s what I’ve spent the last few days doing.”

We’ve just announced that we’ll be featuring Maria’s story in a new documentary, A Thousand Cuts, that will see a summer theatrical release and a fall FRONTLINE broadcast.

And tomorrow morning at 8/7c, you can join me, Maria, the film’s director Ramona Diaz, and Dr. Julie Posetti of the International Center for Journalists for an exclusive virtual conversation about reporting, truth, power and democracy.

Maria’s conviction about what she does is undaunted. “All it has done is to make us stronger in our intent to continue to hold government to account,” she told me about what she’s faced.

You can listen to “Maria Ressa, Duterte & the Fight for the Free Press” from the FRONTLINE Dispatch on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

I hope you find her words and her story as important and timely as I do.


Sunday, 14 June 2020

The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files

Watch it here.

Theresa May’s hostile environment was a full 70 years in the making, argues this damning, devastating documentary

As the Empire Windrush made its way from the Caribbean to Britain in 1948, politicians in Westminster were frantically scheming about how they could prevent a ship carrying hundreds of black immigrants from docking in the UK. The Labour prime minister Clement Attlee described it as an “incursion”. A meeting of the government’s economic policy committee discussed whether it might be possible to divert the ship to east Africa, and make its passengers (a well-qualified group of electricians, mechanics, welders and carpenters) take work there, picking peanuts. Eleven Labour MPs delivered a letter to Attlee warning that “an influx of coloured people” would “impair the harmony, strength and cohesion of our public and social life and cause discord and unhappiness among all concerned”.

Anyone who thought that the introduction of the hostile environment was one of Theresa May’s few clear, tangible accomplishments will need to reconsider. It turns out that even this unpleasant creation is not something she can claim as her core legacy, since it had already been 70 years in the making.

Although the postwar government estimated Britain needed 1.3 million extra workers to help rebuild a country shattered by five years of war, officials turned out to be more welcoming to ex-SS soldiers from Germany than British subjects from the Caribbean. In his powerful film, The Unwanted: the Secret Windrush Files (BBC Two), the historian David Olusoga manages to explain complex immigration law and decode dense documents from the government archives in an arresting way. He pulls out devastating passages from forgotten files to showcase the hostility of successive governments to non-white settlers.

Everything begins with the British Nationality Act of 1948, which confirmed the right of all British subjects to move freely and live anywhere they liked within the newly created Commonwealth. But the act, Olusoga argues, was intended to ensure frictionless travel for the large white populations of Canada and Australia. “No one imagined that black and brown people from Asia, Africa and the West Indies would use their rights under this act to come and settle in Britain.”

Incriminating archival material reveals the scale of official panic about immigration and the underhand measures taken to discourage residents of Britain’s colonies from settling. Crucially, politicians wanted to restrict access without actually appearing to be racist. The film exposes their shameful contortions as they scrabbled around to justify their prejudices.

We learn how ministers in the 1950s commissioned researchers to come up with reasons for concluding that non-white immigration was problematic, with senior civil servants instructing dole officers to conduct secret race surveys to see if there was any truth in the assumption that migrants were coming to live off the welfare state, and asking police chiefs around the country leading questions such as: “Is it true that they are generally idle?”, “Do they have low standards of living?”, and “Are they addicted to drug trafficking and other types of crime?” Winston Churchill was obsessed by the “considerable” number of “coloured workers” employed by the Post Office, and, by 1955, was suggesting to ministers that they should fight the next election on the slogan “Keep England White”.

This gradual tightening of immigration legislation exploded in the hands of Theresa May’s government last April, with the Windrush scandal – when thousands of Caribbean-born citizens, legally settled here since childhood, found that they had been silently transformed into illegal immigrants, and threatened with deportation, detained, sacked from their jobs or made homeless.

Olusoga shows how the roots of the scandal lie in a single line from the 1971 Immigration Act, which put the onus on individuals to prove that they are here legally – something so many people were unable to do, with devastating consequences. “Who keeps receipts from the 1970s?” Anthony Bryan asks, explaining how he was detained for five weeks and booked on a flight back to Jamaica. A letter from the Home Office to his lawyer demands more proof: “Your client has stated that he has been resident in the UK since 1965. As such, the evidence submitted must be continuous, and cover the entirety of the 51 years that your client has claimed to reside in the UK.”

The most moving parts of this film are the interviews with three Windrush victims (all of whom helped expose the scandal in the Guardian). “It was a country I was proud of, but now I don’t think I feel proud of it,” Sarah O’Connor says, after being wrongly classified as an illegal immigrant, despite her 51 years in the UK. “At times I got so low I wanted my life to end.” Sarah died before the film was finished. No one could feel proud of Britain after watching it.

The Grauniad Review.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Potatohead Pompeo: 'US is Exceptional'(ly hypocritical)

Pompeo: Americanism means recognizing America as 'an exceptional nation'

Irrepressible giggling starts now!

“To foster and perpetuate a 100-percent Americanism” is one of the missions stated in the Preamble to The American Legion Constitution. It also was the subject of much of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s address to the organization’s 101st National Convention on Aug. 27 in Indianapolis.
Pompeo – a U.S. Army veteran, former Central Intelligence Agency director and a member of Thomas Hopkins Post 4 in Wichita, Kan. – said Americanism starts internally and expands worldwide. “Americanism means recognizing that America is an exceptional nation,” he said. “We’re the first nation founded on an idea that government’s proper purpose is to protect unalienable rights for each and every human being. And Americanism means our love of individual liberty and human dignity sets us apart. It’s not that these principles are unique to us, but we’ve shown a singular determination and courage in realizing them.
"Americanism, in your founding and our founding, means pride in our recipe to create human flourishing – the rule of law, representative government, property rights. Things that we sometimes take for granted; as I travel around the world, I know that we should not. Americanism, too, means confidence in America’s unique role in the world. I see that as America’s most senior diplomat. It’s guided by our founders’ vision. So I’m honored to come before an audience that isn’t going to get squeamish when I tell you that Americanism is something we must be proud of each and every day."
Pompeo said Americanism is at the center of U.S. foreign policy. “At its core, it means honoring principles and returning to a foreign policy that had the vision of our founders at its very center,” he said. “George Washington had it right. He counseled us against ‘inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments’ to ‘others.’ He wanted us to look at the world dispassionately, for us to see it as it is, for what it really is.”
legion.org (who??)

Sensa parole, really...

Potatohead is like that braggart by the poolside, claiming strenuously he's the sexiest and best lover in the entire neighborhood, while everyone around him is falling into the pool with uncontrollable laughter.

But the leadership of a soon to be $ 1 T military budget superpower with such views is no laughing matter...

Even the State Department knows what drives Palestinian Violence!

The US State Department’s annual terror report offers a surprising amount of criticism of Israel, uncharacteristic for the Trump Administration, which has made a point of being outspokenly favorable toward the Israeli government from day one.

The report detailed several lone-offender attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, as it does every year. But the report went a lot further, saying that Israeli government policy toward the Palestinians was in no small part driving the violence.

They identified the “continued drivers of violence” as settlement expansion within the occupied West Bank, overly aggressive Israeli military tactics, and a growing “lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood.” All of these are long-standing criticisms toward All of these are long-standing criticisms toward Israel but rarely articulated by the US government, let alone Trump’s Administration.

On top of that, the State Department reported credited the Palestinian Authority for its efforts to prohibit “incitement” and for making serious efforts to prevent terrorism.

Such a recognition is also uncharacteristic for the US, and is likely to anger Congressional Republicans, who’ve been pushing for a US crackdown on the Palestinians as a way to show support for Israel.

Read the report @MintPress.

Inside antifa's domestic terrorist Seattle headquarters!

Friday, 12 June 2020

Winston Churchill statue: The Abstract Version

Considering WC wasn't just a genocidal racist but also an ugly bastard, this new version is far more fetching.

Is Bojo in there somewhere as well?

Parallels between Minneapolis and Jerusalem are more than skin deep

In a world of depleting resources and contracting economies, states are preparing for future uprisings by a growing underclass

Jonathan Cook (H/T Harry Feldman via facebook)

It is hard to ignore the striking parallels between the recent scenes of police brutality in cities across the United States and decades of violence from Israel’s security forces against Palestinians.

A video that went viral late last month of a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, killing a black man, George Floyd, by pressing a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes has triggered a fortnight of mass protests across the US – and beyond.

The footage was the latest disturbing visual evidence of a US police culture that appears to treat Black Americans as an enemy – and a reminder that rogue police officers are all too rarely punished.

Floyd’s lynching by Chauvin as three other officers either looked on, or participated, has echoes of troubling scenes familiar from the occupied territories. Videos of Israeli soldiers, police and armed settlers beating, shooting and abusing Palestinian men, women and children have long been a staple of social media.

The dehumanisation that enabled Floyd’s murder has been regularly on view in the occupied Palestinian territories. In early 2018 Israeli snipers began using Palestinians, including children, nurses, journalists and the disabled, as little more than target practice during weekly protests at a perimeter fence around Gaza imprisoning them.

Widespread impunity And just as in the US, the use of violence by Israeli police and soldiers against Palestinians rarely leads to prosecutions, let alone convictions.

A few days after Floyd’s killing, an autistic Palestinian man, Iyad Hallaq – who had a mental age of six, according to his family – was shot seven times by police in Jerusalem. None of the officers has been arrested.

Faced with embarrassing international attention in the wake of Floyd’s murder, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare statement on the killing of a Palestinian by the security services. He called Hallaq’s murder “a tragedy” and promised an investigation.

The two killings, days apart, have underscored why the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Palestinian Lives Matter” sit naturally alongside each other, whether at protests or in social media posts.

There are differences between the two cases, of course. Nowadays Black Americans have citizenship, most can vote (if they can reach a polling station), laws are no longer explicitly racist, and they have access to the same courts – if not always the same justice – as the white population.

That is not the situation for most Palestinians under Israeli rule. They live under occupation by a foreign army, arbitrary military orders govern their lives, and they have very limited access to any kind of meaningful legal redress.

And there is another obvious difference. Floyd’s murder has shocked many white Americans into joining the protests. Hallaq’s murder, by contrast, has been ignored by the vast majority of Israelis, apparently accepted once again as the price of maintaining the occupation.

Treated like an enemy

Nonetheless, comparisons between the two racist policing cultures are worth highlighting. Both spring from a worldview shaped by settler-colonial societies founded on dispossession, segregation and exploitation.

Israel still largely views Palestinians as an enemy that needs to be either expelled or made to submit. Black Americans, meanwhile, live with the legacy of a racist white culture that until not so long ago justified slavery and apartheid.

Palestinians and Black Americans have long had their dignity looted; their lives too often are considered cheap.

Sadly, most Israeli Jews are in deep denial about the racist ideology that underpins their major institutions, including the security services. Tiny numbers protest in solidarity with Palestinians, and those that do are widely seen by the rest of the Israeli public as traitors.

Many white Americans, on the other hand, have been shocked to see how quickly US police forces – faced with widespread protests – have resorted to aggressive crowd-control methods of the kind only too familiar to Palestinians.

Those methods include the declaration of curfews and closed areas in major cities; the deployment of sniper squads against civilians; the use of riot teams wearing unmarked uniforms or balaclavas; arrests of, and physical assaults on, journalists who are clearly identifiable; and the indiscriminate use of tear gasand rubber-coated steel bullets to wound protesters and terrify them off the streets.

It does not end there.

President Donald Trump has described demonstrators as “terrorists”, echoing Israel’s characterisation of all Palestinian protest, and threatened to send in the US army, which would replicate even more precisely the situation faced by Palestinians.

Like Palestinians, the US black community – and now the protesters – have been recording examples of their abuse on their phones and posting the videos on social media to highlight the deceptions of police statements and media reporting of what has been taking place.

Tested on Palestinians None of these parallels should surprise us. For years US police forces, along with many others around the world, have been queueing at Israel’s door to learn from its decades of experience in crushing Palestinian resistance.

Israel has capitalised on the need among western states, in a world of depleting resources and the long-term contraction of the global economy, to prepare for future internal uprisings by a growing underclass.

With readymade laboratories in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has long been able to develop and field-test on captive Palestinians new methods of surveillance and subordination. As the largest underclass in the US, urban black communities were always likely to find themselves on the front line as US police forces adopted a more militarised approach to policing.

These changes finally struck home during the protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 after a black man, Michael Brown, was killed by police. Dressed in military-style fatigues and body armour, and backed by armoured personnel carriers, local police looked more like they were entering a war zone than there to “serve and protect”.

Trained in Israel It was then that human rights groups and others started to highlight the extent to which US police forces were being influenced by Israel’s methods of subjugating Palestinians. Many forces had been trained in Israel or involved in exchange programmes.

Israel’s notorious paramilitary Border Police, in particular, has become a model for other countries. It was the Border Police that shot dead Hallaq in Jerusalem shortly after Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The Border Police carry out the hybrid functions of a police force and an army, operating against Palestinians in the occupied territories and inside Israel, where a large Palestinian minority live with a very degraded citizenship.

The institutional premise of the Border Police is that all Palestinians, including those who are formally Israeli citizens, should be dealt with as an enemy. It is at the heart of a racist Israeli policing culture identified 17 years ago by the Or Report, the country’s only serious review of its police forces.

The Border Police increasingly look like the model US police forces are emulating in cities with large black populations.

Many dozens of Minneapolis police officers were trained by Israeli experts in “counter-terrorism” and “restraint” techniques at a conference in Chicago in 2012.

Derek Chauvin’s chokehold, using his knee to press down on Floyd’s neck, is an “immobilisation” procedure familiar to Palestinians. Troublingly, Chauvin was training two rookie officers at the time he killed Floyd, passing on the department’s institutional knowledge to the next generation of officers.

Monopoly of violence These similarities should be expected. States inevitably borrow and learn from each other on matters most important to them, such as repressing internal dissent. The job of a state is to ensure it maintains a monopoly of violence inside its territory.

It is the reason why the Israeli scholar Jeff Halper warned several years ago in his book War Against the Peoplethat Israel had been pivotal in developing what he called a “global pacification” industry. The hard walls between the military and the police have crumbled, creating what he termed “warrior cops”.

The danger, according to Halper, is that in the long run, as the police become more militarised, we are all likely to find ourselves being treated like Palestinians. Which is why a further comparison between the US strategy towards the black community and Israel’s towards Palestinians needs highlighting.

The two countries are not just sharing tactics and policing methods against protests once they break out. They have also jointly developed longer-term strategies in the hope of dismantling the ability of the black and Palestinian communities they oppress to organise effectively and forge solidarity with other groups.

Loss of historic direction

If one lesson is clear, it is that oppression can best be challenged through organised resistance by a mass movement with clear demands and a coherent vision of a better future.

In the past that depended on charismatic leaders with a fully developed and well-articulated ideology capable of inspiring and mobilising followers. It also relied on networks of solidarity between oppressed groups around the world sharing their wisdom and experience.

The Palestinians were once led by figures who commanded national support and respect, from Yasser Arafat to George Habash and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The struggle they led was capable of galvanising supporters around the world.

These leaders were not necessarily united. There were debates over whether Israeli settler colonialism would best be undermined through secular struggle or religious fortitude, through finding allies among the oppressor nation or defeating it using its own violent methods.

These debates and disagreements educated the wider Palestinian public, clarified the stakes for them, and provided a sense of a historic direction and purpose. And these leaders became figureheads for international solidarity and revolutionary fervour.

That has all long since disappeared. Israel pursued a relentless policy of jailing and assassinating Palestinian leaders. In Arafat’s case, he was confined by Israeli tanks to a compound in Ramallah before he was poisoned to death in highly suspicious circumstances. Ever since, Palestinian society has found itself orphaned, adrift, divided and disorganised.

International solidarity has been largely sidelined too. The publics of Arab states, already preoccupied with their own struggles, appear increasingly tired of the divided and seemingly hopeless Palestinian cause. And in a sign of our times, western solidarity today is invested chiefly in a boycott movement, which has had to wage its fight on the enemy’s battlefield of consumption and finance.

From confrontation to solace

The black community in the US has undergone parallel processes, even if it is harder to indict quite so directly the US security services for the loss decades ago of a black national leadership. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the Black Panther movement were hounded by the US security services. They were jailed or felled by assassins, despite their very different approaches to the civil rights struggle.

Today, none are around to make inspiring speeches and mobilise the wider public – either black or white Americans – to take action on the national stage.

Denied a vigorous national leadership, the organised black community at times appeared to have retreated into the safer but more confining space of the churches – at least until the latest protests. A politics of solace appeared to have replaced the politics of confrontation.

A focus on identity These changes cannot be attributed solely to the loss of national leaders. In recent decades the global political context has been transformed too. After the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, the US not only became the world’s sole superpower but it crushed the physical and ideological space in which political opposition could flourish.

Class analysis and revolutionary ideologies – a politics of justice – were shunted off the streets and increasingly into the margins of academia.

Instead, western political activists were encouraged to dedicate their energies not to anti-imperialism and class struggle but to a much narrower identity politics. Political activism became a competition between social groups for attention and privilege.

As with Palestinian solidarity activism, identity politics in the US has waged its battles on the terrain of a consumption-obsessed society. Hashtags and virtue-signalling on social media have often appeared to serve as a stand-in for social protest and activism.

A moment of transition

The question posed by the current US protests is whether this timid, individualised, acquisitive kind of politics is starting to seem inadequate. The US protesters are still largely leaderless, their struggle in danger of being atomised, their demands implicit and largely shapeless – it is clearer what the protesters don’t want than what they do.

That reflects a current mood in which the challenges facing us all – from permanent economic crisis and the new threat of pandemics to impending climate catastrophe – appear too big, too momentous to make sense of. We are caught in a moment of transition, it seems, destined for a new era – good or bad – we cannot discern clearly yet.

In August, millions are expected to head to Washington in a march to echo the one led by Martin Luther King in 1963. The heavy burden of this historic moment is expected to be carried on the ageing shoulders of the Rev Al Sharpton.

That symbolism may be fitting. It is more than 50 years since western states were last gripped with revolutionary fervour. But the hunger for change that reached its climax in 1968 – for an end to imperialism, endless war and rampant inequality – was never sated.

Oppressed communities around the globe are still hungry for a fairer world. In Palestine and elsewhere, those who suffer brutality, misery, exploitation and indignity still need a champion. They look to Minneapolis and the struggle it launched for a seed of hope.

Jonathan Cook.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Wanna see two idiots?

Two very old kids (Chris Arthur and Matthew Trott) standing guard by the statue of their long departed slightly fascisty Dear Leader.

Life's minor blessings: Rep. Peter King (R) is retiring

Peter King, generally terrible arsehole and worst-in-class semblance of a human being will not be running for re-election in 2020.

A resounding electoral defeat would have been more satisfying but we'll settle for what we've been dealt here.

O.A.S.: Caught lying for Empire again (NYT admits!)

A close look at Bolivian election data suggests an initial analysis by the O.A.S. that raised questions of vote-rigging — and helped force out a president — was flawed.

The election was the most tightly contested in decades: Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, was running for a fourth term, facing an opposition that saw him as authoritarian and unwilling to relinquish power.

As the preliminary vote count began, on Oct. 20, 2019, tensions ran high. When the tallying stopped — suddenly and without explanation — then resumed again a full day later, it showed Mr. Morales had just enough votes to eke out a victory.

Amid suspicions of fraud, protests broke out across the country, and the international community turned to the Organization of American States, which had been invited to observe the elections, for its assessment.

The organization’s statement, which cited “an inexplicable change” that “drastically modifies the fate of the election,” heightened doubts about the fairness of the vote and fueled a chain of events that changed the South American nation’s history. The opposition seized on the claim to escalate protests, gather international support, and push Mr. Morales from power with military support weeks later.

Now, a study by independent researchers, using data obtained by The New York Times from the Bolivian electoral authorities, has found that the Organization of American States’ statistical analysis was itself flawed.

The conclusion that Mr. Morales’s share of the vote jumped inexplicably in the final ballots relied on incorrect data and inappropriate statistical techniques, the researchers found.

Source: NYT.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Alternative History: Tearing Down Hitler's Statues

DUSM - 05/06/2021 - London

Barely a month after the Great British Resistance was finally victorious over the Nazi Wehrmacht Occupying Forces, and after 76 years of German occupation, jubilant British crowds have started tearing down statues of Hitler, Himmler and Göring in London and other major cities.
Remarked the British Prime Minister: 'History is truly being written here today!'

Meet the Boojahideen (Boogaloo Bois)

DONALD TRUMP IS right. The anti-racism protests that have convulsed cities across the United States are also being used as cover, to quote the president, for “acts of domestic terror.”

In late May, for example, three Nevada men were “arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas,” reported the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors say the men had molotov cocktails in glass bottles and were headed downtown, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by AP.

“People have a right to peacefully protest,” said Nicholas Trutanich, the U.S. attorney in Nevada. “These men are agitators and instigators. Their point was to hijack the protests into violence.”

But here’s the thing: None of these three men were members of antifa, the left-wing, anti-fascist protest movement that has been blamed both by the president and his attorney-general Bill Barr for recent violence. They were all self-identified members of the so-called boogaloo movement, aka “boogaloo bois” aka “boojahideen” — perhaps the most dangerous group that, until the past week or so, most Americans had never heard of.

The complaint filed in Nevada last month described “boogaloo” as “a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war and/or fall of civilization.” According to Cynthia Miller-Idris, an expert on domestic extremist groups at American University, members of the boogaloo movement “are all united by the idea that they are fighting against government ‘tyranny’ and want to launch a violent insurrection against the government and bring about a second civil war.”

Their weird name comes from — I kid you not! — the much-mocked 1984 movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” a sequel to, and near-copy of, the original “Breakin’.” starring Ice T. “Boogaloo boys style the forthcoming war as a repeat of the American civil war,” explained the Economist in May. “The Hawaiian shirts that dot the crowds are a reference to ‘the big luau’, another name for the ‘boogaloo’, which celebrates pig (police) roasts.”

Name and dress sense aside, though, there’s nothing silly or funny about them. The Anti-Defamation League, while documenting how white supremacists have “adopted the boogaloo concept,” also referred to the boogaloo movement’s “casual acceptance of future mass violence” as “disturbing.”

Remember: These are heavily armed men, many of them with military training, looking for new and greater opportunities for violent protest. Miller-Idris told me that the boogaloo bois have mobilized “over the past six months in three separate waves of protests” — against attempts by state legislatures to reform gun laws; against the coronavirus lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders; and now as part of the demonstrations and marches against police brutality and racism, in the wake of the George Floyd killing.

Worryingly, their movement is growing online at breakneck speed. As Reuters reported last week, citing a study from the Tech Transparency Project, “tens of thousands of people joined boogaloo-related Facebook groups over a 30-day period in March and April as stay-at-home orders took effect across the United States. … Project researchers found discussions about tactical strategies, weapons and creating explosives in some boogaloo Facebook groups.”

In March, Timothy Wilson, a 36-year-old Missouri man with neo-Nazi ties, was shot and killed by the FBI after plotting to bomb a hospital in the Kansas City area on the first day of the lockdown. Wilson had told an undercover FBI agent that he had wanted “to create enough chaos to kick start a revolution” and referred to his planned attack as “operation boogaloo.”

In April, Aaron Swenson, a 36-year-old Arkansas man, was arrested after he threatened to kill a police officer on a Facebook Live video. “I feel like hunting the hunters,” he wrote on Facebook, where he also made “boogaloo” references, according to the police.

THE BOOGALOO BOIS don’t operate in a vacuum. Their goals, methods, and personnel overlap with a number of far-right, anti-government groups that also pose a significant threat to law, order, and race relations, from the Proud Boys, to the Oath Keepers, to the Three Percenters, to the Sovereign Citizens. Don’t forget the Ku Klux Klan either: The Virginia man arrested for driving his truck into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters over the weekend is head of a local KKK chapter.

Some of us have been trying to sound the alarm for several years now. In 2015, a survey of law enforcement agencies found the vast majority of respondents ranked “the threat of violence from anti-government extremists higher than the threat from radicalized Muslims.” In February, prior to both the coronavirus lockdowns and the George Floyd protests, Trump’s handpicked FBI director Christopher Wray told Congress that the bureau had raised its assessment of the threat posed by racially motivated violent extremists in the U.S. to a “national threat priority,” and revealed how extremists motivated by racial or religious hatred made up a “huge chunk” of the FBI’s domestic terrorism investigations.

Yet Trump, of course, isn’t interested in terrorists of the far-right variety — no matter how many Americans they kill or maim. He refused to apply the label of “domestic terrorism” to the white supremacists who murdered Jews at synagogues in Pennsylvania and California. He refused to apply it to a supporter of his who sent pipe bombs to a number of high-profile Democratic politicians and donors. After a Coast Guard lieutenant was arrested on suspicion of plotting to commit an act of white nationalist terrorism, Trump simply said it was a “shame” and a “very sad thing.” After the massacre of 51 Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand, Trump denied white nationalist terrorists were a growing problem and dismissed them as “a small group of people.”

But antifa, on the other hand? “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” declaimed the president on Twitter on May 31 — despite the glaring lack of evidence connecting antifa elements to any of the recent violence or looting.

You know who has been linked to it? The armed guys in the Hawaiian shirts. And not just the trio with molotov cocktails in Nevada. In South Carolina, a 22-year-old man, who the local sheriff’s department accused of being a supporter of boogaloo, was charged “with inciting a riot and aggravated breach of peace.” In Denver, police seized assault rifles and gas masks from a 20-year-old protester who “identifies with the ‘boogaloo’ movement.” In Georgia, “self-identified” boogaloo supporters “armed with rifles and handguns” were spotted among protesters in downtown Athens. In a memo, the Athens police chief called the boogaloo movement an “extremist organization” that aims in part “to instigate race wars across America.”

Let’s be clear: Far-right extremists are hijacking nationwide protests against racism to push for … a race war! While the boogaloo “might have elements that are closer to libertarians … 90 percent of the boogaloo material is racist,” Mia Bloom, an expert on online extremism at Georgia State University, told me. According to Bloom, therefore, “we can expect a lot more violence in the lead up to the 2020 election.” Miller-Idris of American University agrees. “I think we should be very concerned about the violent potential of these groups,” she told me. “There have always been fringe seditionist and anti-government militia groups but this phenomenon represents a more rapid growth in both online and offline space than we have seen before.”

The president and his attorney general, then, have stumbled on an undeniable truth: There is a domestic terror threat in the United States. We need to recognize it in order to protect against it. But here’s what Trump and Barr won’t say: That terror threat comes not from anti-fascists in black masks, but from actual fascists in Hawaiian shirts.

Mehdi Hasan @TI.

The Holocaust Industry

Why is the Nazi holocaust more important than the Slave Trade and the Death of 10 million Africans in the Belgian Congo?

If you Google ‘books on genocide in Belgian Congo’ you come up with just one book. Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. If you type in ‘Nazi holocaust’ then you have an endless selection.

There are literally thousands of books, from every conceivable angle, on aspects of the Holocaust. Most are worthless but nonetheless no respectable library is without a shelf (at least).

How is it that the Jewish Holocaust (because there are few books on the other victims – the Disabled, Gypsies, Russian POWs, Political Prisoners, Jehova Witnesses) has received such attention yet the genocide of Black Africans has not?

In these days of Black Lives Matter there is one, obvious, answer. White lives matter more. Yet this is not the whole answer, indeed it is not even half an answer. The Irish Famine is also not top of the book lists. Admittedly the British killed ‘only’ one million but the accepted figure of Jewish dead in the Holocaust is 6 million. The estimated number of dead in the Belgian Congo is 10 million. The estimated death from the Slave Trade is about 14 million.

Of course the industrial extermination of the Jews of Europe was, by any stretch of the imagination, horrific. But was death by gas or shooting worse than castration, chopping off of limbs, burning and skinning alive. It took minutes to expire from bullets or cyanide gas, whereas the tortures of the Belgian colonial sadists are unimaginable.

One thing is for certain. It isn’t about the special place of Jews before the anti-Semites get their heartbeats racing. Indeed for a long time after the Holocaust there were very few books about the Holocaust written, albeit they were the best. Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of European Jewry, Gerald Reitlinger’s The Final Solution and Gerald Fleming’s Hitler and the Final Solution. Today there are more good histories such as Richard Evan’s trilogy on the Third Reich and Christopher Browning’s The Origins of the Final Solution.

In post-war America the Holocaust was played down to the point of non-existence. During the McCarthy era emphasising the Holocaust was likely to incur accusations of being a Communist. At the funeral for the executed Rosenbergs the Song of the Warsaw Ghetto was sung.

Nor was the Israeli state any different. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the Holocaust was barely mentioned in Israel. In a 220 page Israeli history textbook published in 1948, just one page was devoted to the Holocaust compared to 10 pages on the Napoleonic wars. [Idith Zertal, Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood, p. 94]

Why the change and when did it start to come about? Both Peter Novick [the Holocaust in American Life] and Norman Finkelstein [the Holocaust Industry] agree that the change began after Israel’s victory in the 6 Day War in 1967. By defeating Egypt’s President Nasser and slaying the dragon of Arab nationalism, Israel had proved its utility to US imperialism. It represented a dagger at the heart of the Arab East.

In Israel itself attitudes began to change with the show trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. Eichmann was, of course, guilty of all that he was accused of and deserved to hang but that wasn’t the point of the trial. It wasn’t to reveal information so much as to begin the process of using the Holocaust as a source of Israel’s legitimation. Israel claimed the Holocaust as its inheritance, as well as a source of financial reparations.

Previously Holocaust victims had been seen as a source of shame in Israel. Unlike the brave Israelis, who slaughtered Arabs without mercy, yea even the suckling on a mother’s breast, the Jews who went to the gas chambers were seen as cowards.

Hayyim Nahman Bialik, the national Zionist poet, spoke of the ‘disgraceful shame and cowardice’ of the Jewish victims of the 1903 Kishinev pogrom. Yitzhak Greenbaum, of the Jewish Agency Executive Committee, spoke of ‘unparalleled feelings of burning shame.’ ‘Sheep to the slaughter’ in the words of Eichmann’s prosecutor Gideon Hausner.

The first Holocaust survivors to arrive in Palestine were called sapon (soap) after the myth that the bodies of victims were made into soap.

Hanzi Brand wrote of how, when she settled on Kibbutz Gvata Haim, the other members ‘talked about their war to avoid hearing about hers. They were ashamed of the Holocaust.’ [Tom Segev, The 7th Million, p. 471]

Peter Novick spoke of the prevailing view in the Yishuv that holocaust survivors represented the ‘survival of the worst.’ In Ben Gurion’s view they were

‘hard, evil and selfish people and their experiences destroyed what good qualities they had left.’
Ben Gurion went on to add that they were
‘A mob and human dust, without language, without education, without roots and without being absorbed in tradition and the nation’s vision.’

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister had already demonstrated during the war his indifference to the genocide of Europe’s Jews. His only concern was that the extermination of Europe’s Jews would render the establishment of a Jewish state irrelevant and reduc the number of immigrants to Israel.

Ben Gurion’s official biographer, Shabtai Teveth quoted Ben Gurion as saying that

‘where there was a conflict of interest between saving individual Jews and the good of the Zionist enterprise, we shall say that the enterprise comes first.’ (The Burning Ground, p. 855)

It is therefore clear that the obsession, because it is an obsession, with the Jewish holocaust and the almost complete ignoring of, for example, the British genocide in Bengal which killed an estimated 32 million people, has nothing to do with genuine horror.

We can see that quite clearly with Holocaust Memorial Day which excludes all genocide before the Nazi Holocaust. So there is no mention of the Armenian Holocaust, the Slave Trade or what happened in the Belgian Congo. Why? What possible logic is there for time limiting which Holocausts are deserving of attention?

The only conclusion is that the Nazi holocaust of the Jews serves a major ideological and propaganda purpose in terms of legitimising western imperialism and capitalism. The Nazi Holocaust makes western capitalism seem anti-racist whereas in fact the way it is used is to reinforce its racism and imperialism. There simply is no other explanation.

If you go to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s web page on the Holocaust it tells you that ‘The Holocaust (The Shoah in Hebrew) was the attempt by the Nazis and their collaborators to murder all the Jews in Europe.’ The page on the Holocaust deals exclusively with the Jews. It says nothing about the Euthenasia campaign between 1939-1941 when about 100,000 mentally and physically handicapped Germans were murdered, mainly by carbon monoxide poisoning.

As Henry Friedlander’s excellent The Origins of Nazi Genocide argues, the Holocaust began in 1939 not 1941/2. The very same gas trucks used to murder the disabled, and German Jewish disabled were singled out in particular, made their way to Chelmno, near Lodz in Poland and there they established the first extermination camp in December 1941.

This prioritisation of the Jewish holocaust is not only racist but it’s also bad history. It treats the Holocaust, in the words of Tom Segev, as a ‘bizarre cult of memory, death and kitsch’ in which false memory is used to bolster the Zionist narrative of eternal anti-Semitism.

Moar words by Tony Greenstein.