Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Flight Attendent gets the axe

Max is worthless.  HBO really screwed up their streaming platform and they don't seem to grasp that cable is a thing of the past.  They've cancelled another show and I actually say yea to that, "The Max series starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco has been canceled after two seasons at the Warner Bros. Discovery streamer. The latter of those two seasons streamed in the spring of 2022."


I have a friend who loves the show and one who hates it.  I watched to contribute to the conversation.


I felt it was an awful show and that Kaley Cuoco was out of her depth and then some -- and badly repeating what Jane Fonda already did so well in The Morning After.  T.R. Knight was interesting as the brother of Kaley's character and the only thing I really liked about the series so, of course,they reduced his role in season two.


Then there's Rosie Perez issue.  I thought she was great in Untamed Heart.  I love that movie.  I love her, I love Marisa and Christian.  She's done many other good projects and delivered strong performances.  But I felt she got the shaft here.  Not only did the writing not deliver for her but the appearance was underwhelming.  Is Kaley unable to take an another attractive woman in the show?  I felt like Rosie looked like she was rushed through wardrobe and hair and make up each episode.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, January 19, 2024.  Jeffrey St. Clair provides context (the thing that always escapes Glenneth's propaganda), Iraq's prime minister says US troops need to leave Iraq,  the slaughter in Gaza continues, Israel's War Criminal and prime minister makes clear Palestinians are not wanted, and much more.

Let's start with Jeffrey St. Clair's "Roaming Charges: It’s in the Bag:"

+ Only 14% of registered Republicans (99% of whom are white) turned out to vote in the Iowa caucuses. Trump captured 51% of them or a little more than 7% of the state’s Republicans. Yet, some, like Glenn Greenwald are interpreting this as a massive rebuke of the NatSec/deep police state…

+ Yet, only 11% of the 100,000 Iowa GOP voters even cited “foreign policy” as their top issue, while 40% want a harsh crackdown on immigrants and presumably support Trump’s vow to bomb Mexico. Iowa isn’t a border state, though even some of its voters (& GG) may not realize this.

+ None of Iowa’s arch-conservative cohort of voters seems to have cited the threat of gays, trans people or “dirty” books in the library as among their most pressing concerns.

Over and over, if you know the facts, Glenneth Greenwald's analysis is never impressive.  He never knows what he's talking about.  

Before we get to Gaza, let's also note Jeffrey on Junior;

+ RFK, Jr.’s MLK Day message was a defense of the FBI’s wiretapping of the civil rights leader: “My father gave permission to Hoover to wiretap them so he could prove that his suspicions about King were either right or wrong. I think, politically, they had to do it.” Who’s still supporting this reprobate?

Ruth's already covered this topic in "Who killed RFK Junior's repuation?" but a friend at ESSENCE asked me to note Rayna Reid Rayford's (ESSENCE) report:

IAtlanta on Saturday evening, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK Jr.hosted a “roundtable with Black women to discuss pressing issues impacting the Black community.” A day later, on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Kennedy defended his family's surveillance of the civil rights icon, saying there was "good reason" to wiretap King.

Robert F. Kennedy served as the Attorney General while his brother, John F. Kennedy, presided in the White House. As AG, Robert Kennedy authorized J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI to surveil King and other leaders of the Black freedom struggle in the 1960s.

"In the following months, Hoover deployed agents to find subversive material on King, and Robert Kennedy authorized wiretaps on King’s home and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) offices in October 1963," as Stanford University reports.

“There was good reason for them doing that at the time,” Kennedy, Jr. told POLITICO on Sunday, “because J. Edgar Hoover was out to destroy Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement and Hoover said to them that Martin Luther King’s chief was a communist."

Kennedy's remarks to POLITICO followed an evening where the Independent candidate was joined by a group of Black women panelists– political spokesperson Angela Stanton King, WNBA forward Angel McCoughtry, reality star Alexia Adams, influencer Tatiana Davenport, and on-air personality Shay McCray– for a roundtable to court the Black vote. The roundtable was moderated by Christal Jordan, an Atlanta-based author and journalist, served as the moderator.

He's gone  around insisting that we need to be protected from government surveillance -- that's been one of his key talking points in this campaign -- because he's just a liar.  He's against -- as we all should be -- except when he's not.

In the video below Kyle nails how embarrassing Junior and his daddy fixation is for "a grown ass man" -- a 70-year-old man.

In the video below, Junior expounds on this theme and looks fetching in his oversize sweater.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began monitoring Martin Luther King, Jr., in December 1955, during his involvement with the Montgomery bus boycott, and engaged in covert operations against him throughout the 1960s. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was personally hostile toward King, believing that the civil rights leader was influenced by Communists. This animosity increased after April 1964, when King called the FBI “completely ineffectual in resolving the continued mayhem and brutality inflicted upon the Negro in the deep South” (King, 23 April 1964). Under the FBI’s domestic counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) King was subjected to various kinds of FBI surveillance that produced alleged evidence of extramarital affairs, though no evidence of Communist influence.

The FBI was created in 1909 as the Justice Department’s unit to investigate federal crimes. Hoover became FBI director in 1924 and served until his death in 1972. Throughout the 1930s the FBI’s role expanded when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the FBI to research “subversives” in the United States, and Congress passed a series of laws increasing the types of federal crimes falling under the FBI’s jurisdiction. During World War II, the FBI was further authorized to investigate threats to national security. This loosely defined mission formed the heading under which the FBI began to investigate the civil rights movement.

The FBI initially monitored King under its Racial Matters Program, which focused on individuals and organizations involved in racial politics. Although the FBI raised concerns as early as March 1956, that King was associating with card-carrying members of the Communist Party, King’s alleged ties with communism did not become the focus of FBI investigations under the existing Communist Infiltration Program, designed to investigate groups and individuals subject to Communist infiltration, until 1962. In February 1962, Hoover told Attorney General Robert Kennedy that Stanley Levison, one of King’s closest advisors, was “a secret member of the Communist Party” (Hoover, 14 February 1962). In the following months, Hoover deployed agents to find subversive material on King, and Robert Kennedy authorized wiretaps on King’s home and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) offices in October 1963.

Hoover responded to King’s criticisms of the Bureau’s performance in civil rights cases by announcing at a press conference in November 1964, that King was the “most notorious liar in the country” (Herbers, “Dr. King Rebuts Hoover”). Surprised by the accusation, King replied that he could only have sympathy for Hoover as he must be “under extreme pressure” to make such a statement (Herbers, “Dr. King Rebuts Hoover”). King asked an intermediary to set up a meeting between himself and Hoover to understand what had led to the comment. Andrew Young, a King aide who was present at the meeting, recalled that there was “not even an attitude of hostility” between the two, but at about this same time, the FBI anonymously sent King a compromising tape recording of him carousing in a Washington, D.C., hotel room, along with an anonymous letter that SCLC staff interpreted as encouraging King to commit suicide to avoid public embarrassment (Senate Select Committee, 167).

Hoover continued to approve investigations of King and covert operations to discredit King’s standing among financial supporters, church leaders, government officials, and the media. When King condemned the Vietnam War in a speech at Riverside Church on 4 April 1967, the FBI “interpreted this position as proof he ‘has been influenced by Communist advisers’” and stepped up their covert operations against him (Senate Select Committee, 180). The FBI considered initiating another formal COINTELPRO against King and fellow anti-war activist Dr. Benjamin Spock in 1967, when the two were rumored to be contemplating a run for the presidency, but ruled it out on the grounds that such a program would be more effective after the pair had officially announced their candidacy.

In August 1967, the FBI created a COINTELPRO against “Black Nationalist–Hate Groups,” which targeted SCLC, King, and other civil rights leaders. King was identified as a target because the FBI believed that he could become a “messiah” who could unify black nationalists “should he abandon his supposed ‘obedience’ to ‘white liberal doctrines’ (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism” (Senate Select Committee, 180). In the last few months of King’s life, the FBI intensified its efforts to discredit him and to “neutralize” SCLC (Senate Select Committee, 180).

According to a U.S. Senate Committee convened in the 1970s to investigate the FBI’s domestic intelligence operations, the impact of the FBI’s efforts to discredit SCLC and King on the civil rights movement “is unquestionable” (Senate Select Committee, 183). The committee determined that: “Rather than trying to discredit the alleged Communists it believed were attempting to influence Dr. King, the Bureau adopted the curious tactic of trying to discredit the supposed target of Communist Party interest—Dr. King himself” (Senate Select Committee, 85).

Iraq’s prime minister said the U.S.-led military coalition that has been helping his country fight Islamic State militants is no longer needed, though he still wants strong ties with Washington.
“We believe the justifications for the international coalition have ended,” Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani told The Wall Street Journal, as the war in Gaza frays Iraqi relations with Washington.

Sudani didn’t set a deadline for the departure of the coalition, which was formed in 2014 to mentor and support Iraqi forces in regaining control of their country after Islamic State militants seized swaths of northern and western Iraq.

Nor did Sudani close the door to a role for U.S. troops advising Iraqi forces to remain in the country under a new bilateral relationship that he said should follow.

But in an interview Tuesday during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sudani expressed broad dissatisfaction with American policy on the Gaza conflict. The West had turned a blind eye toward the plight of the Palestinians before Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, he said, calling for increased pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end what he described as genocide.

So bring the US troops home.  They have a target on their backs right now and every time Joe Biden orders an attack on the Iraqi military (the militias became part of the official Iraqi military seven years ago), it puts the US troops on the ground there more at risk.

That's before you even factor in Gaza..  And the Iraqi people overwhelming reject the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.  That is the feeling around the world.  ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, to show their support for Palestinians.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed al-Attab, reporting from the scene of protests, said many in the crowd accused the US of supporting Israel’s war and promised to continue standing by their “brothers in Palestine”.

“They are now saying that, ‘We don’t care about your rage, we don’t care about whatever you do to us, we will continue our support and resilience with Palestinians until Israel stops its war on Palestine’,” he said.

Instead of demanding a cease-fire, Joe Biden has supported the slaughter and it has inflamed the Middle East.  Keith Jones (WSWS) observes:

Nuclear-armed Pakistan carried out air-launched rocket and drone-missile strikes on at least seven separate locations inside neighbouring Iran on Thursday, targeting what it said were bases of Balochi secessionist insurgents.

Iran, which vehemently condemned the strikes as a violation of its state sovereignty, said they had killed nine foreign nationals, including four children. The Baloch Liberation Army—which has waged a decades-long cross-border insurgency in Pakistani Balochistan, the country’s poorest, sparsely-populated westernmost province—confirmed that its forces had come under attack.

Although Pakistan did not say so explicitly, Thursday’s strikes were in part retaliation for an attack Iran had mounted some 48 hours before inside Pakistan.

According to Iran, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) used missile and drone strikes to hit camps of the Jaish al-Adl, a Balochi armed secessionist group that has carried out attacks in Iran’s predominantly Balochi south-east. Following that action, Tehran emphasized it did not want to disrupt “brotherly” relations with Pakistan. But in a message clearly intended for Washington and Israel, Iran said that it reserves the right to take all necessary measures to defend itself.

The tit-for tat attacks between Iran and Pakistan add further combustion in a region already set ablaze by US imperialism and its allies, which are using Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinians of Gaza to prepare and provoke a wider war with Iran.

On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, the US carried out its fourth and fifth waves of missile strikes on Yemen in a week, hitting what it claimed were Iranian-backed Houthi positions in disparate areas across the country. Speaking to reporters earlier Thursday, US President Joe Biden had vowed the US-British campaign of air strikes against the Houthis would continue.

With the support of broad sections of the Yemeni people, Houthi fighters have disrupted Red Sea shipping to press for an end to Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.

Also on Wednesday, the Biden administration labeled the Houthis a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist group,” opening the door to the imposition of sweeping sanctions. Aid groups immediately responded with warnings that the designation threatens to greatly intensify Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. As a result of the almost decade-long war the Saudi regime has waged on Yemen with US arms and logistical support, more than half of the country’s population—over 18 million people—need food and other assistance.

The European Union, meanwhile, is in the advanced planning stage for its own naval operation in the Red Sea that would support the US/British attacks on Yemen, while asserting its own role as a regional policeman. The German government is leading the charge in launching the mission, which it will support by dispatching a frigate to the region in early February, according to a report in the Welt am Sontag newspaper. Underscoring German imperialism’s major military expansion into the Middle East, Berlin is readying a shipment of 10,000 artillery shells to back Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

Emboldened by the to-the-hilt support Israel is receiving from the North American and European imperialist powers, Israel’s fascist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu baldly reasserted his goal of a Greater Israel in perpetuity Thursday, saying his government would never agree to ceding sovereignty over any part of the West Bank.   

Yes, Netanyahu does not believe in peace or in a two-state solution or anything but expelling Palestinians from their own lands.  AP reported yesterday:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he has told the United States that he opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of any postwar scenario, underscoring the deep divisions between the close allies three months into Israel’s assault on Gaza aiming to eliminate its Hamas rulers.

The U.S. has called on Israel to scale back its offensive and said that the establishment of a Palestinian state should be part of the “day after.”

But in a nationally broadcast news conference, Netanyahu vowed to press ahead with the offensive until Israel realizes a “decisive victory over Hamas.” He also rejected the idea of Palestinian statehood. He said he had relayed his positions to the Americans.

“In any future arrangement … Israel needs security control all territory west of the Jordan,” Netanyahu told a nationally broadcast news conference. “This collides with the idea of sovereignty. What can you do?”

“The prime minister needs to be capable of saying no to our friends,” he added.

  Following Netanyahu's comments, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Thursday that "there is no way to solve [the region's] long-term challenges to provide lasting security and there is no way to solve the short-term challenges of rebuilding Gaza and establishing governance in Gaza and providing security for Gaza without the establishment of a Palestinian state."

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres responded to Netanyahu's comments in a statement reiterating his stance that "the only way to stem the suffering" in the region is "an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza and a process that leads to sustained peace for Israelis and Palestinians, based on a two-state solution."

Unnamed sources have told reporters that U.S. frustration with Netanyahu's far-right government has been increasing along with the casualty count in Gaza—which Palestinian officials and international groups say is over 100,000, mostly innocent men, women, and children.

President Joe Biden has accused Israel of "indiscriminate bombing" of civilians in Gaza but continues to back Netanyahu's policy unconditionally and the U.S. has supplied Israel with billions of dollars in military aid and diplomatic support at the United Nations and beyond.

Gaza remains under assault.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher. YENI SAFAK notes, "The Palestinian death toll from the ongoing Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 has climbed to 24,762, the Health Ministry in the territory said Friday.  In a statement, the ministry added that 62,108 other people had been injured in the offensive."  ALJAZEERA notes, "The number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israel’s attacks on October 7 has risen to 24,285, Gaza’s health ministry says. At least 61,154 others have been wounded."   In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

Jacob Crosse (WSWS) notes a rare corporate media moment took place this week:

On January 17, NBC News aired a rare prime-time interview featuring Palestinian-Americans Kinnan Abdalhamid and Hisam Awartani, two of the three college students who were shot last November in Burlington, Vermont by a right-wing gunman, while walking down the street. Abdalhamid, Awartani and Tasheen Ali Ahmad were hospitalized following the shooting, with Awartani suffering a spinal injury that has confined him to a wheelchair. 
At the time of last November’s shooting, two of the three students were wearing keffiyehs and all of them were speaking a mix of Arabic and English. The day after the shooting, across the street from where it occurred, federal agents arrested 48-year-old Jason J. Eaton in his apartment. Eaton allegedly told ATF agents when they knocked on his door, “I have been waiting for you.”
According to police, Eaton allegedly shot the students with a pistol he had legally purchased earlier that year. An anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist and libertarian, Eaton has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges. During a search of the former financial advisor’s apartment, police recovered multiple firearms.  

CNN's Mick Krever, Sana Noor Haq, Eyad Kourdi and Celine Alkhaldi report, "A near-total communications blackout in Gaza, the longest of the war, has now lasted one week with no signs of abating, preventing humanitarian and emergency services from operating effectively in the territory. It is the ninth such outage since Israel’s war on Hamas began following the group’s attacks in Israel on October 7, according to the Internet monitoring site Netblocks."  When not censoring and silencing via internet crackdown, you get people doing the same by cancelling events.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: Samia Halaby, we want to bring in another Palestinian American artist into this discussion, the artist and filmmaker Emily Jacir. She was scheduled to speak at any event in Berlin, Germany, in October, but her appearance was canceled. She’s the recipient of prestigious awards, including a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, a Prince Claus Award from the Prince Claus Fund in The Hague, the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, and most recently she won an American Academy of Arts and Letters prize and received an honorary doctorate from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland. She is the founding director of Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research in Bethlehem, where she was born.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Emily. It’s very good to have you with us. Can you talk about what’s happened to you, actually, not here in the United States, but in Berlin, Germany?

EMILY JACIR: Thank you, Amy, for having me on your show. It’s really a pleasure to be here. I also just would like to begin by expressing my solidarity for Samia and the loss of her show, but also for the curator, Elliot, because he was in Bethlehem last summer and spoke to me at length about this exhibition, so I was quite excited about it.

I was slated to speak in Berlin as part of a workshop at Potsdam University. And when they canceled the talk, they wrote to me and said they were going to postpone it to a more peaceful time — or, to a more peaceful point in time, which, now listening to Samia speaking about the idea of being a lightning rod, this really resonated with me. And this is one of the methodologies that is being used to actually stop us from being able to speak publicly and share our words and share our work. This is another way of doing it, is by saying, “Oh, we’ll just do this in another peaceful time.” But this is the time. This is the time when we should be speaking and having discourse, across the board, around the world. So I don’t buy that that was the real reason.

Again, we have to also take the curator into consideration and try to imagine what kind of pressure, particularly being in Germany, they must have been under. The situation in Germany, as we all know, is one of the most extreme cases of silencing Palestinians. But it’s part of a larger war effort targeting Palestinian voices and intellectuals, using various methodologies, including harassment, baseless smear campaigns, canceling shows, canceling talks. So, it’s very much part of a coordinated movement.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Emily Jacir, could you talk about some of the — there have been numerous incidents in Germany where people have been canceled, for one reason or another having to do with Gaza. If you could just go through some of those people, in particular, the Palestinian artists and writers?

EMILY JACIR: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the first incidents was Adania Shibli, who was slated to receive an award in Germany. That was within the first week of October, if I remember correctly. The list is quite extensive. My sister’s film, Annemarie Jacir, was canceled within weeks also, I think. Her film was canceled. It’s a film about a wedding, and it was deemed too controversial to show on German television. Candice Breitz, as we all know, is another person. There are so many. The list is endless.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, we want to go now to a writer, a highly acclaimed writer and author, the award-winning Masha Gessen, who was also canceled, or her award. She was to receive the Hannah Arendt Award in Bremen. We spoke to her in December, shortly after the publication of their New Yorker piece headlined “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: How the politics of memory in Europe obscures what we see in Israel and Gaza today.”

In the essay, Gessen wrote, quote, “For the last seventeen years, Gaza has been a hyperdensely populated, impoverished, walled-in compound where only a small fraction of the population had the right to leave for even a short amount of time — in other words, a ghetto. Not like the Jewish ghetto in Venice or an inner-city ghetto in America but like a Jewish ghetto in an Eastern European country occupied by Nazi Germany,” they wrote.

Gessen went on to explain why the term “ghetto” is not commonly used to describe Gaza. Gessen said, quote, “Presumably, the more fitting term 'ghetto' would have drawn fire for comparing the predicament of besieged Gazans to that of ghettoized Jews. It also would have given us the language to describe what is happening in Gaza now. The ghetto is being liquidated,” Gessen wrote.

They had been scheduled to receive the prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize in Germany, but the ceremony had to be postponed after one of the award’s sponsors, the left-leaning Heinrich Böll Foundation, withdrew its support.

Gessen discussed the New Yorker piece and the controversy that followed on Democracy Now! on the very day they had been originally scheduled to receive the award in Bremen.

MASHA GESSEN: A large part of the article is devoted to, in fact, memory politics in Germany and the vast anti-antisemitism machine, which largely targets people who are critical of Israel and, in fact, are often Jewish. This happens to be a description that fits me, as well. I am Jewish. I come from a family that includes Holocaust survivors. I grew up in the Soviet Union very much in the shadow of the Holocaust. That’s where the phrase in the headline came from, is from the passage in the article itself. And I am critical of Israel.

Now, the part that really offended the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the city of Bremen — and, I would imagine, some German public — is the part that you read out loud, which is where I make the comparison between the besieged Gaza, so Gaza before October 7th, and a Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe. I made that comparison intentionally. It was not what they call here a provocation. It was very much the point of the piece, because I think that the way that memory politics function now in Europe and in the United States, but particularly in Germany, is that their cornerstone is that you can’t compare the Holocaust to anything. It is a singular event that stands outside of history.

My argument is that in order to learn from history, we have to compare. Like, that actually has to be a constant exercise. We are not better people or smarter people or more educated people than the people who lived 90 years ago. The only thing that makes us different from those people is that in their imagination the Holocaust didn’t yet exist and in ours it does. We know that it’s possible. And the way to prevent it is to be vigilant, in the way that Hannah Arendt, in fact, and other Jewish thinkers who survived the Holocaust were vigilant and were — there was an entire conversation, especially in the first two decades after World War II, in which they really talked about how to recognize the signs of sliding into the darkness.

And I think that we need to — oh, and one other thing that I want to say is that our entire framework of international humanitarian law is essentially based — it all comes out of the Holocaust, as does the concept of genocide. And I argue that that framework is based on the assumption that you’re always looking at war, at conflict, at violence through the prism of the Holocaust. You always have to be asking the question of whether crimes against humanity, the definitions of which came out of the Holocaust, are occurring. And Israel has waged an incredibly successful campaign at setting — not only setting the Holocaust outside of history, but setting itself aside from the optics of international humanitarian law, in part by weaponizing the politics of memory and the politics of the Holocaust.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Masha Gessen. Masha Gessen was speaking to us from Bremen, Germany. The award ceremony went from an auditorium of hundreds — they ultimately got the award in someone’s backyard.

Meanwhile, more than 500 global artists, filmmakers and writers and cultural workers have announced a push against Germany’s stance on Israel’s war on Gaza, calling on artists to step back from collaborating with German state-funded associations. The campaign is backed by the French author, Nobel Prize for Literature winner Annie Ernaux and the Palestinian poet and activist Mohammed el-Kurd. It alleges Germany has adopted, quote, “McCarthyist policies that suppress freedom of expression, specifically expressions of solidarity with Palestine,” unquote.

We’re speaking with Emily Jacir, whose speech was just canceled in Berlin, Germany. And as we wrap up with you, Emily, I wanted to know if you could comment on what’s happening in your birthplace, in Bethlehem. The last time we went to Bethlehem, we were interviewing two pastors there, one of them who set up Christ in the rubble, a crèche scene that showed the baby Jesus in rubble, signifying Gaza. If you can talk about that and the importance of your art, as you continue?

EMILY JACIR: Yeah, I will talk about that, but just to relate back to what everyone else was talking about and how you started, I think it’s really important to consider the way this attempt at creating a culture of fear amongst the arts community globally and internationally is happening through these baseless smear campaigns and defamation, threatening people’s jobs. And I mention this just because, you know, one of the things that happened to me was that there was a letter-writing campaign in which every university I’ve ever taught at internationally, anyone that’s ever given me an award received literally a five-page PDF claiming that I was an ISIS terrorist that supports the rape of women and the killing of babies. People who signed that Artforum letter, and many, many, many of whom are Jewish and Israeli allies that I have worked with for 25 years, also received that letter. In my case, because people know me — they’ve worked with me for 25 years — the letters come off as just absolutely absurd and ridiculous. But if that is happening to me, it begs the question of what is happening to younger artists, people who don’t — people in museums don’t know receiving letters like that. And it’s very targeted and very systematic, and it’s something to consider also in relationship with the targeted destruction of culture in Gaza, art centers being bombed. Why would an art center be bombed? Because part of genocide is precisely silencing artists and silencing a culture’s cultural production. And I feel that that was very important to say that.

In Bethlehem, the situation is quite difficult — nothing compared to Gaza, of course. But we are witnessing incursions every night. It’s been — you know, Bethlehem is a town that very, very much relies on visitors and tourists for its economy, so that, economically, it’s been a disaster. As an art center, our art center in Bethlehem promotes dance and music and art practices and making and residencies of local artists and international artists. We’re doing our very best to both deal with the situation at hand but also provide a kind of way of working with the children now who live in our neighborhood who are trying to handle the situation, both on the ground in Bethlehem but also witnessing what’s happening to Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: Emily Jacir, we want to thank you for being with us, acclaimed artist and filmmaker, born in Bethlehem, goes back and forth between Bethlehem and New York, was scheduled to speak in Berlin, Germany, her talk canceled. And Samia Halaby, renowned Palestinian visual artist, activist, educator and scholar, whose first U.S. retrospective was abruptly canceled by Indiana University’s Eskenazi Museum of Art over her support for Palestinians and criticism of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

When we come back, we’ll be joined by a German American Jewish Holocaust survivor. Samia is 87. Marione Ingram is 88. She’s been standing outside the White House for months calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Her talks in her native Hamburg, which she fled from in the Holocaust, have been canceled. Stay with us.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Ayatollah Ackman back again

Again on the topic of "Ayatollah Ackman." At The Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik writes:

Ackman's public conniptions on Twitter don't make him, Oxman, MIT, or the MIT Media Lab, where Oxman used to be a professor, look good. And none of it would have happened if Ackman had kept his mouth shut.

That brings us to what has reemerged into public awareness as a result. Oxman's reputation as a public intellectual, such as it was, doesn't seem to have been enhanced by the more recent scrutiny of her work. Not that doubts about her output are entirely new: In 2018, Rachelle Hampton of memorably, and accurately, described Oxman's Twitter feed as "a stream of majestic gobbledygook."

The Streisand Effect demonstrated its potency as recently as Monday, when Ackman posted a fantastically lengthy tweet responding to a report in Business Insider about Oxman's dealings with the late sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who had been a big contributor to the MIT Media Lab. Who knew? Today, plenty of people.

Ackman objected to Business Insider's assertion that he "pressured" MIT in emails to keep Oxman's name out of the developing Epstein scandal. (Business Insider attributed the "pressure" claim to the Boston Globe, but the Globe didn't use that term and merely reported the emails.)

In his own defense, Ackman posted the key email in question and urged his Twitter followers to read it "carefully so you can see for yourself."

Ackman must have been bluffing, on the assumption that no one would bother actually reading the email. Those who do will discover that it reads unmistakably as a threat to do damage to MIT's reputation if Oxman's name is mentioned in connection with the Epstein matter.

Here's the money quote, from a message from Ackman to Joi Ito, then the Media Lab's director:

"It is very important that you don’t mention Neri’s name or otherwise get her involved or she will have to issue her own statement to protect her reputation explaining why it was sent and at whose request, who else received similar gifts, how she met Epstein, who else at MIT received funding from Epstein...This will of course blow this up even more which we would certainly not like to see happen."

Ayatollah Ackman.  He thinks money has made him intelligent and a leader.  He's a cheap hustler and  a thug.  Market Watch notes:

Some have accused him of racism over his efforts that led to the resignation of Harvard’s first Black president, Claudine Gay, partly due to accusations of plagiarism. Others have said he is a hypocrite for calling similar allegations leveled against his wife, former Massachusetts Institute of Technology design professor Neri Oxman, unfair. 

Ackman has denied being motivated by racism in his campaign against Gay, but has said he believes that diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in workplaces and at schools  — which he argues are the only reason she had the job — discriminate against white people.

He is a racist.  It takes a racist to think you can distort MLK's words and deeds just because you're rich.  MLK doesn't work for you Ayatollah Ackman.  Curtis Bunn (NBC NEWS) reports:

Chris Metzler, an expert on diversity, equity and inclusion, said he did not flinch when he learned that billionaire Bill Ackman had said that Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life was committed to civil and equal rights, would have “opposed” the ideology of DEI. 
Metzler, who created certification courses in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at Georgetown and Cornell universities, called the remarks “just ridiculous, but not surprising. He and they — because he’s not alone in this — want to take the ‘content of your character’ part of that historic speech out of context, to fit their narrative. It’s wrong.”

Metzler said it is an “inherent contradiction” for Ackman, who is white, to say “diversity is a good thing,” while also opposing DEI. 

“Here’s the thing: The diversity that they want to focus on is white male,” said Metzler, who is Black and is writing a comprehensive book on DEI. “That’s it. Everything else really, really doesn’t matter to them. They want to talk about diversity of thought, which I think is important. The problem, however, is they want to style it as diversity of their thought, which is not inclusive.”

Ackman’s comments are similar to sentiments expressed by other wealthy conservatives who have evoked King’s name in their thoughts about DEI. Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican businessman who dropped out of the presidential race on Monday, said last week: “I think it desecrates the legacy of our civil rights movement, desecrated the legacy of Martin Luther King, that right when we get closest to of having racial equality ... to then obsess over systemic racism. To then obsess over white guilt and otherwise.”

Bernice King, MLK’s youngest daughter, has also previously called out individuals for misinterpreting her father's famous speech.

“People using “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” to deter discussion of, teaching about, and protest against racism are not students of the comprehensive,” King tweeted in August. “My father’s dream and work included eradicating racism, not ignoring it."

Ayatollah Ackman needs to sit his tired and entitled butt down.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday January 17, 2024.  The slaughter continues as the lies continue -- or maybe because the lies continue.

Employees at over two dozen U.S. departments and federal agencies as well as congressional staffers participated in a "Day of Mourning" on Tuesday, declining to work in the wake of the 100th day of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders in his administration have faced mounting outrage from government employees, the American public, and the international community for supporting the Israeli bombardment and siege that has killed over 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

It's now been 102 days since the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel sparked a retaliatory war that a growing number of experts and groups are calling "genocidal." In addition to the rising death toll, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been wounded, about 90% of Gaza's 2.3 million residents are displaced, and children are dying of starvation.

Feds United for Peace, which organized Tuesday's initiative, explained in an email to Common Dreams that "this Day of Mourning was not just for government employees in Washington but for federal employees across the country."

"Despite the closure of federal offices in Washington because of the weather, many employees eligible for telework still participated," the group said. "We do not have a final figure to share, but the number of agencies represented speaks for itself."

"We feel a responsibility and a moral obligation to speak up when our country's leaders are choosing to pursue policies that are hurting America."

There were participants across the departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, State, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Office of the President, Federal Aviation Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Internal Revenue Service, according to organizers.

Others joined from the National Labor Relations Board, National Park Service, National Security Agency, National Science Foundation, Naval Research Laboratory, Patent and Trademark Office, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Personnel Management, Social Security Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, United States Agency for International Development, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Day of Mourning—exclusively previewed by Al-Monitor—went ahead despite a threat from far-right U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who said Sunday that "any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired."

A group of Senate Democrats voted Tuesday in favor of advancing a resolution sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to potentially freeze U.S. military aid to Israel, sending a pointed message to President Biden that the war in Gaza is becoming a major problem for his party.  

The Senate voted 72 to 11 to table the matter, but the number of Democrats who supported the measure reflects rising dissatisfaction among progressives over the civilian casualties in Gaza, which are now said to exceed 24,000. 

[. . .]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who voted to advance the resolution, said she wanted to send a message. 

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has to understand that he does not get a blank check from the United States Congress,” she said. “We have a responsibility to stand up now and say that given how Netanyahu and his right-wing war Cabinet have prosecuted this war, we have serious questions that we are obligated to ask before we go further in our support.” 

She said while the Biden administration is “pushing” the Netanyahu regime to reduce civilian deaths and ratchet down the intensity of the fighting, “Congress [has] a role here to play as well to make sure that Mr. Netanyahu understands we’re not writing blank checks.”  

Those opposed to the resolution probably celebrated as another hospital was attacked in Gaza.  RTE reports:

The Jordanian army has said its military field hospital in the city of Khan Younis in Gaza was badly damaged as a result of Israeli shelling in the vicinity.

In a statement, the army said it held Israel responsible for a "flagrant breach of international law."

It said that the hospital "was subjected to severe material damage as a result of the continuous Israeli bombing in its surroundings from yesterday until this morning," adding that it "will continue to perform its medical and humanitarian duty towards the people in Gaza".

The Palestinian Wafa news agency is reporting that one member of staff and a Palestinian patient in the intensive care unit were inured in the Jordanian field hospital in Khan Younis.

Earlier the Jordanian army said its military field hospital was badly damaged as a result of Israeli shelling in the vicinity. The army said it held Israel responsible for a “flagrant breach of international law”.

Citing a military source from the Jordanian armed forces, Wafa reports the injuries were sustained “in clashes near the hospital in the past few hours”.

Wafa reports that the staff member has “moderate injuries” and will be airlifted to Jordan for medical attention. The patient was reported to be “injured by shrapnel and a bullet”.

The news agency reported that “Despite significant material damage due to the ongoing Israeli bombardment in the vicinity, which started yesterday and continued into Wednesday morning, the hospital remains committed to fulfilling its medical and humanitarian duties to the residents of the Gaza Strip.”

It shouldn't be that difficult to stand against the destruction of hospitals -- the illegal destruction -- and the harming of medical staff and patients.  But there are a lot of cowards and whores in the US Congress.  Saturday, around the world, the people showed  solidarity with Palestinians and calls for a cease-fire.  DC in the video below.

The city of London in the video below.

At COMMON DREAMS, Jon Queally reports:

Major coordinated demonstrations took place across the world on Saturday to mark the 100th day of Israel's bombardment and military assault on the people of the Gaza Strip that have now claimed the lives of nearly 24,000 Palestinians, a large majority of them innocent men, women, and children who had nothing to do with the attacks orchestrated by Hamas on October 7 of last year.

In London, as many as 500,000 people marched on Parliament Square to demand an immediate cease-fire Gaza, condemn their own U.K. government's support of Israel's disproportionate and "genocidal" onslaught, and warn against a wider regional war that experts warn is creeping closer by the day.

"This Global Day of Action, from Australia through to Asia, Europe and the Americas, is the first coordinated, international movement against the war being waged by Israel on the Palestinian people," said Gaza Global Day of Action organizers ahead of the demonstration. "It will send a powerful message not just to the Israelis but to the Western powers who are backing them that the public say 'not in our name.'"

In Dublin, organizers of a march that saw more than 100,000 march through city streets called it the largest rally for Palestinian rights in Irish history.

As the Irish Timesreports:

The crowd was filled with Palestinian flags, posters calling for an "End to the Gaza genocide" as well as makeshift washing lines, with baby clothes hanging from it, representing the many young lives lost in the conflict.

At the front of the march, four people held mock corpses in bloody body bags to represent the growing number of civilian casualties.

In the United States, tens of thousands marched in Washington, D.C. to denounce the Israeli onslaught—which has claimed over 23,000 lives, including more than 10,000 children—as well as their own government's complicity in the carnage. President Joe Biden was on the tip of many demonstrators' tongues and polls in the U.S. have shown very little support across the political spectrum for how he is handling the situation.

Jake and Ida Braford, a young couple from Richmond, Virginia, who brought their two small children to the protest, told the Associated Press the situation in Gaza has made them unsure of their support for Biden come this year's election.

"We're pretty disheartened," Ida told the news agency. "Seeing what is happening in Gaza, and the government's actions makes me wonder what is our vote worth?"

Following the march, demonstrators left a pile of bloodied baby dolls, including severe parts, in a pile outside the White House as a message to Biden. "The blood of the over 10,000 murdered children in Gaza is on his hands," said CodePink co-founder Jodie Evans.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, thousands gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta to condemn the ongoing "genocide" in Gaza perpetrated by Israel with the backing of the U.S. government and other Western allies.

NPR has a photo essay on the DC protest.  

The DC rally went well as long as you didn't zoom in or actually listen to the empty statements being made.  Joseph Kishore (WSWS) calls that nonsense out:

The rally in the United States was organized by a coalition of Muslim groups along with ANSWER, which is associated with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

A request sent to the organizers by the World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party to speak at the demonstration was rejected. While a number of Palestinian speakers spoke movingly about the catastrophe in Gaza, the political line was provided by a handful of Democrats who could be found to criticize Israel’s actions, along with presidential candidates Jill Stein (Green Party) and Cornel West.

Interrupting to correct Kishore here.  Jill Stein is running to become the Green Party's presidential candidate.  She is NOT the candidate.  They will select their candidate at their national convention this summer.  It is a sign of how weak and pathetic the Green Party is becoming that 73-year-old Jill Stein is even running for the nomination having already been the party's nominee in 2012 and 2016.  No, this is not a sign of progress.  This suggests a still-born political party which is unable to advance or to represent the people.  Back to Kishore.

Among the Democrats was Congressman Andre Carson (Indiana), who declared that he saw in the demonstration “what it means to leverage our voting bloc.” Carson is among those Democrats (along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others) who signed a letter addressed to the White House last year which, while expressing some criticism of Israel’s actions, concluded by thanking the Biden administration for what it “is doing to respond to this crisis, provide support to our ally Israel, and bring American citizens home safely.”

Carson avoided any reference in his remarks to the Biden administration or its support for the genocide, while concluding with a call for “re-electing those who represent us”—presumably himself and other Democrats.

The remarks of Stein, ostensibly running independently of the Democrats as a member of the Green Party, were entirely oriented to pressuring the political establishment, while not referring to either the Democratic Party or President Biden by name. “We have the power to say to the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] White House and to the AIPAC Congress, that you are accountable to us, to we the people… We have the power to be instructing our elected officials what they need to do.”

The experience of the past three months, however, has demonstrated that the “elected officials” in both the Democratic and Republican parties respond to mass opposition not by being “instructed,” but by denouncing protests against genocide as antisemitic and seeking to criminalize them. The Biden administration, moreover, has responded to growing opposition by carrying out a major expansion of the war in the Middle East through the bombing of Yemen, threatening war with Iran.

Cornel West addressed the rally toward its conclusion. West specializes in a type of speaking that acts more on the nerves than on the brain, full of sound and fury that, if one gives it a moment of thought, signifies nothing. As typical in all his remarks, West shouted about “love warriors,” the need for “love in freedom and freedom in love,” “truth across the world rising again,” and other moralistic generalities.

West referred to Biden and other officials in the administration as war criminals, though again he made no reference to the Democratic Party itself, with which he has a long association. West concluded his remarks by declaring, “We are calling for more than ceasefire, we are calling for an end of the siege, an end of the occupation, and for Palestinians to live a life of dignity.” How is this to be achieved? Through what means and based on what perspective? West offered nothing, except the hope that Biden and Secretary of State Blinken would change their ways.

Excluded from the demonstration was any reference to the essential issues in the development of a movement against the genocide. Nothing was said of the history of Israel and Zionism or its role as a bulwark for imperialism in the Middle East. No one referred to the interests motivating imperialist support for the genocide, the three decades of unending war, the preparations for war against Iran, the relationship of this to the ongoing US-NATO war against Russia or the developing conflict with China. There was no reference to the working class or the growth of the class struggle throughout the world. The words “imperialism” and “capitalism,” let alone “socialism,” were not uttered.

The organizers wanted no references to any of this because it would cut across their orientation to the Democratic Party. This of course is why they refused to allow a speaker from the World Socialist Web Site to address the rally.

For masses of workers and youth, including those who have participated in the demonstrations, the urgent question is the development of a movement of the working class, on a world scale, in the US and internationally, including through mass strikes and other actions to stop the flow of weaponry to Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Major rallies calling for a ceasefire in Gaza were held worldwide this weekend, marking 100 days of the Israeli assault on Gaza. Those rallies included one in Washington, D.C., where organizers say 400,000 people protested U.S. complicity in what they called one of the deadliest and most destructive military assaults in recent history. Palestinian health officials say Israeli attacks have killed 158 civilians in Gaza over the last 24 hours alone, bringing the death toll since October 7th to 24,000, though this likely an undercount — the majority of those killed women and children. It’s believed more than 10,000 children have died.

On Sunday, President Biden put a statement marking 100 days since the October 7th Hamas attack and condemned Hamas for continuing to hold more than 100 hostages. But he made no mention of the tens of thousands of Palestinians killed, injured or displaced during Israel’s bombardment.

On Monday, United Nations humanitarian leaders issued a joint demand for dramatically increasing the flow of aid into Gaza. This is the World Food Programme’s Palestine country director, Samer AbdelJaber.

SAMER ABDELJABER: Everyone in Gaza is hungry. We are exploring all possible solutions, but none are sufficient in the face of obstacles. There are people starving in areas, and we are not able to give basic food for. … The needs are rising faster than we are able to respond. We need to be able to bring in more supplies, and we need safe access to reach people everywhere in Gaza, not just those who are close to the borders. We need a long-lasting ceasefire to stop the suffering.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, pediatric neurologist, co-founder of Gaza Medic Voices and Health Workers for Palestine, in constant touch with his colleagues in Gaza, joining us from London.

Doctor, thanks so much for being with us. The assault this weekend, especially in the central and south part, in Khan Younis, is intense, with well over a hundred Palestinians killed just in the last 24 hours. Can you talk about the desperation of people there and what you think could lead to a ceasefire, as millions around the world demanded one this weekend?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: Thank you so much for having me on the program.

So, the situation is spiraling out of control. Many of our colleagues, British doctors who have just come out of Gaza in the last few days, led by Medical Aid for Palestinians, have come out and said the scenes inside the hospitals are apocalyptic, to say the least. They describe scenes inside Al-Aqsa Hospital, which is no longer functioning and has been completely taken over and besieged by the Israeli occupation forces. They described scenes of 500 admissions in a night, many of whom were serious casualties from air raids, the majority of whom were children, children with double above-the-knee amputations of their lower limbs, children with burns down to the bone that are so horrific that they are disfigured for life, and also women and men also being killed and targeted. What we are seeing is a systematic targeting of healthcare facilities, healthcare workers, 370 at least at the last count of whom have been killed, being either killed, maimed, abducted, or even, more so, tortured when they’ve been held captive, as Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah mentioned on the rally in London on Saturday. These are the reports coming outside from there.

What we are seeing is not a war on children. This is a genocidal, uncontrollable massacre of Palestinians at large and en masse. The Israeli occupation forces and the Israeli government has made it very clear that they are now in a situation where they want to either exterminate Palestinians or force them and displace them out of their ancestral home after 75 years of occupation.

And what would lead to a ceasefire? Well, the simple answer is the American government. President Biden, when he comes out and says, on a national address a hundred days of the 7th of October, he feels for the hostages and the families, we all feel terrible about the situation on the 7th of October. But to completely nullify and ignore the tens of thousands — at least 24,000 — Gazans who have been killed in cold blood by an Israeli war machine is, frankly, outrageous. Frankly, the U.S. government and the U.K. government and other Western leaders are complicit in this, because they are arming the same Israeli bombs that are raining hellfire on Palestinian hospitals, Palestinian schools, Palestinian bakeries and water sanitation plans. Make no mistake: This is an attempt to completely wipe out an infrastructure and a public health system for people in Gaza.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But, Doctor, I wanted to ask you — there have been about an estimated 15,000 children born in Gaza since the assault began. Could you talk about the impact on pregnant women with the collapse of all of these medical facilities?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: So, we had an obstetrician that was with this WHO team that just came out of Al-Aqsa. What she described to us, in speaking to colleagues on the ground, is women giving birth in the shelters, in the rubble, in the streets, with no maternal — maternity care for women who are pregnant in the north and central regions of Gaza. That is at least a million people with no access to maternity care. That means women having to go through high-risk pregnancies, having to go through deliveries with no hospital or pre-hospital care, with no midwives, no doctors to help. What that has led to is many, many women dying in childbirth or after from the normal complications that often happen after a high-risk pregnancy. That includes hemorrhage, where they would not be able to have a blood transfusion because of the lack of supplies. That includes women fitting, having seizures, and no medication being given to them to stop these seizures. This is medieval-style medicine that we are seeing, and this is 100% man-made. Again, this could stop right now if there was a permanent and lasting ceasefire. And unfortunately, as I said, the U.K., the U.S. has continued to warmonger and to actually allow Israel to continue in its genocidal tactics.

And the Global South has started to mobilize. And there has been a great awakening for people who were before not aware of the situation in Palestine. But 70 years of occupation now fast-forwarded and sped up at double speed with this genocidal attacks has led to people protesting in the hundreds of thousands across London, Washington, D.C., and other major cities. And as healthcare workers, myself included, speaking on behalf of Health Workers for Palestine and Gaza Medic Voices, we do not accept this. We will not remain silent. We have escalated and will continue to do so. And as a concerned citizen of the world, what we are seeing is a lack of humanity, a lack of response from our leaders, who are impotent, frankly. And now it is the duty of citizens like us to stand up, to protest, to approach our members of Parliament, to put pressure on our governments to act. And if that doesn’t happen, then the next step, which should be happening now, is to boycott, to boycott any Israeli product that is funding a state that is destroying people and killing human beings in their homes, to apply pressure for academic sanctions, for cultural boycott, academic boycott, and sanctions on the Israeli state. And this is the next step, and this is what I’m calling for as a concerned citizen to my fellow colleagues, health workers, and general citizen professionals and nonprofessionals across the world, to start standing up and start speaking up, because we have had enough. We are sick and tired of seeing our own colleagues being killed and maimed en masse.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Doctor, could you talk about your work trying to bring children to the U.K. for medical care from Gaza and the obstacles you’ve faced?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: So, this is work that is being done by colleagues of ours. There are numerous projects that are attempting to bring children to European cities, to European hospitals, to provide care, similar to what the PCRF, the Palestinian Child Relief Society, has been doing so well to the United States previous to the 7th of October. We are in discussions with the relevant bodies to try and make this happen. Many of these children are children who have had complex injuries as a result of direct bombardment and bombing, who need years of reconstructive plastic surgical work. And these will be specific cases that we will try to help, where the need is not met in Egypt, in Jordan or in neighboring countries. But this is, you know, under — this is happening, but watch this space, essentially.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, you have Israel talking about this going on for more than a year. They are saying that Hamas has to release the hostages. Meanwhile, Hamas released a hostage video where one of the hostages is shown saying that two other hostages were killed in an Israeli strike. You have the mass protest of hostage families that took place over the weekend, demanding that it be the first priority to release the hostages. What is your response to the Israeli government, to Netanyahu and to the others in the war cabinet saying first Hamas has to release all the hostages?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: We’ve seen this narrative time and time again. At every interlude in this continued bombardment, we have seen the excuse of hostages, the excuses of human shields, the excuses of Hamas tunnels under hospitals, and many of these have been debunked by mainstream media. The Washington Post, BBC News found that many of these tunnels underneath the hospitals were, in fact, you know, previously used for as ventilation shafts. They’re not even Hamas tunnels. So, this idea of the hostages being released, as you have correctly said, we are seeing the Israelis shooting at their own people. They shot two or three hostages waving white flags, who were Israeli hostages running and fleeing from their captives, and they were shot dead at point-blank range. So, frankly, to me and to all of us who have seen the demasking of the Israeli government’s intentions, these are just purely excuses.

And unfortunately, the mainstream media, many of whom are in the U.K. and the U.S., are complicit in this. They are allowing these narratives. When I go on every TV show and I get asked the first question, “Do you condemn Hamas?” or “Do you know about the tunnels underneath the hospitals?” this is pushing that narrative forward. And frankly, investigations so far, you know, in what remains of Gaza, has shown that these — many of these stories, a majority of whom are not true, simply not true. So, that would be my response.

And again, I am not, and we are not, you know, going to be taken for a ride by the Israeli government’s narrative. We know exactly what is happening here. And the West and the U.K. and the U.S. and other governments, as I said, are complicit in continuing this narrative. And until there is a permanent ceasefire, until there is proper humanitarian aid entering through aid corridors, until there is the end of the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and the continuing atrocities happening in the West Bank with settlers attacking Palestinians, then we will not stop. And we will continue, and we will mobilize, in the hundreds of thousands, in the millions, against this genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, we want to thank you for being with us, pediatric neurologist and co-founder of Gaza Medic Voices and Health Workers for Palestine, speaking to us from London.

On the topic of DEMOCRACY NOW!, last night a video briefly posted here.  I posted it.  I didn't stream it.  A friend called and said, "You didn't watch it, did you?"  No, I didn't.  If I had, I would've known John Nichols was in it.  Liars -- known liars -- do not get posted here.  At the end of 2003, John's lie was that Wesley Clark was not really seeking the 2004 Democratic Party's presidential nomination but was going to hold the spot so that, at the convention, the party could give it to Hillary Clinton.  In 2008, his big lie?  There were so many.  But his biggest lie was that Barack and his campaign were not telling Canada that his anti-NAFTA talk was just to get voters.  No, it was -- John insisted -- Hillary in secret talks with Canada and he would have that expose in days.  He never had it because it never existed.  He just lied like the whore he is to take pressure off Barack after AP reported the truth -- Barack was not going to overturn NAFTA, this was just lies told on the campaign trail.  When the BBC NEWS reported -- excuse me, when they aired the remarks Samantha Power made on air saying that Barack's promise to end the Iraq War within ten months of being sworn in was not, in fact, a promise.  And he wouldn't be held to if elected.  When that happened, John lied and distracted to cover up the real truth because that would have exposed Barack as just another lying candidate.  He's a whore.  He's a liar.  This is not one time, this is not even three times.  I could list every election cycle he's covered and multiple lies he made each cycle.  I don't have time for that.  He's a liar and people need to stop platforming him -- especially Amy Goodman since she's broadcast his lies repeatedly on DEMOCRACY NOW!  For one example, see Ava and my  "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past" from March 2008.

Gaza remains under assault.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows closer to 30,000.  CNN notes,  "The overall death toll of 24,285 also includes 7,200 women and 1,049 elderly people, the ministry said."  ALJAZEERA notes, "The number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israel’s attacks on October 7 has risen to 24,285, Gaza’s health ministry says. At least 61,154 others have been wounded."   In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

ALJAZEERA reports this morning:

Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh is in Qatar for medical treatment after being wounded in an Israeli attack while reporting on the conflict.

Dahdouh – who has been the face of Al Jazeera Arabic’s coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza – arrived in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Tuesday night, via Egypt.

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Dahdouh, who left the besieged enclave for the first time since the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict started in October, lost his wife Amna, son Mahmoud, daughter Sham and grandson Adam in October after an Israeli air raid hit the home they were sheltering in at the Nuseirat refugee camp, after being displaced from their house in Gaza City.

Earlier this month, the 53-year-old veteran journalist’s eldest son, Hamza, also an Al Jazeera journalist, was killed by an Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

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