Sunday, April 30, 2017

"DOJ News Conference on Threats to @WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange by Attorney General Jeff Sessions"



Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Israeli forces Injure, Detain Several Palestinians in Clashes across West Bank"


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A number of Palestinians were injured, some with live fire, while others were detained by Israeli forces as clashes erupted across the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the 11th day of the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike. 
The clashes came one day before what is supposed to be a Day of Rage on April 28, called for by the Fatah movement, during which Palestinians are expected to clash with Israeli forces in order to show their solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ movement.
Hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have been participating in the hunger strike led by senior Fatah official Marwan Barghouthi since April 17 to protest the torture, ill treatment, and medical neglect of prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.
Ramallah district 
Nine Palestinians were injured, including six with live fire and three with rubber-coated steel bullets, during clashes that erupted near the Beit El military checkpoint at the northern entrance of al-Bireh city in the central occupied West Bank.
Locals told Ma’an that one youth was injured with live fire in the stomach and foot, another was injured with two live bullets in the back and leg, while four others with injured with live fire in the legs.
Three youths were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, including one youth with an injury to the face.
Clashes erupted at the checkpoint, located next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces. Palestinian youths threw rocks as soldiers opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas on the youth. 
Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians, including an injured youth, on during clashes near the Ofer prison in western Ramallah.
Clashes erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces following a march in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners. 
Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs while youths threw rocks at armed forces. 
Five unidentified Palestinians, one of whom locals said was an injured youth, were assaulted by Israeli forces and taken into Ofer detention center.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of the clashes and detentions. 
Bethlehem district
In the town of Tuqu, located southeast of Bethlehem city in the southern West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians marched in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners.
The march, led by masked youths, went through the streets of the town, with protesters holding signs of support prisoners.
Speeches delivered during the march by town leaders stressed on supporting prisoners and Palestinian national unity.
Youths set fire to tires when the march arrived to the Tuqu municipality and threw rocks at Israeli soldiers deployed in the area.
Clashes erupted in several sites across the town afterwards, with Israeli soldiers opening live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs onto protesters. 
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

Wilkerson: Trump Admin's Iran Talk Sounds Like Bush's Pre-Iraq War [MORE WAR COMING????]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

‘On Contact With Chris Hedges’: Putting the War in Syria in Full Context

It’s been more than a week since the Trump administration abruptly switched out of “America first” mode and into intervention mode by dropping 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield. As Chris Hedges and Alternet journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton argue in this episode of “On Contact With Chris Hedges,” the American public has been lacking something very important before—and after—that strike.

Simply put, that would be context. More specifically, it comes down to crucial questions that are not being addressed publicly by members of the U.S. government or the mainstream media. 

Take these questions, for example: What’s the relationship between the regime change in Libya, encouraged and enabled by the Obama administration in 2011, and the ongoing refugee crisis? Or between that crisis and Brexit? Who are the White Helmets? How are all these questions related to the current conflict in Syria, and the role of the U.S. in that conflict? What role do Iran and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Russia, play in Washington’s stance toward Syrian President Bashar Assad?
Hedges opens the discussion by pointing to the contextual vacuum that American media outlets and government officials aren’t in a hurry to fill. He notes how U.S.-backed campaigns for regime change “have a long history.”  

Norton, who reports for Alternet’s Grayzone project with Blumenthal, remarks that there has been “no independent international corroboration” of the official Western account that the Syrian government was behind the alleged lethal gassing of Syrian civilians on April 4, which spurred Trump to order military action.

Blumenthal is blunt as he warns, “If Syria is finally smashed apart, we will see the release of the monster of all monsters.” 

Below, watch Hedges and his guests connect the dots about “The Uncivil War,” as the episode is titled: 

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

White House claims on Syria chemical attack ‘obviously false’ - Prof. Theodor Postol of MIT

"Trump has just given jihadis a thousand reasons to stage fake flag operations"

Even Raging Grannies Can’t Convince Council to Do the Right Thing in Downtown Seattle/South Lake Union Rezone

I'm proud to be one of the Grans in the video here.  

Original article here:

Guest Column by Susanna Lin
It’s a disappointing day for Seattle when the City Council can’t raise the affordable housing requirements for Downtown/South Lake Union developers from 2 to 5%, when other cities with “Mandatory Incentive Zoning” programs set aside 10-30% of their units as affordable. In a time when a record number of people are sleeping on the streets, most of our City Council voted on Monday to give corporate developers, the wealthiest of all city developers and rich enough to build in these areas, a virtual free pass on affordable housing requirements.
The recently enacted incentive zoning program in Seattle is called Mandatory Housing Affordability or MHA.  It gives developers an “incentive” (more potential profit) in the form of extra developable height in exchange for a mandatory requirement that developers set aside some of their units as affordable or pay an in-lieu fee towards affordable housing.  This mandatory requirement only is applied in areas affected by the rezone.  (Lots of technical speak, I know, but keep reading!)Screenshot 2017-04-11 at 10.58.13 PM
During the Full City Council meeting on Monday regarding the Downtown/South Lake Union rezone, Councilmember Lisa Herbold introduced an amendment to try and increase the minimum affordable housing requirement from 2 to 5% of units that developers would have to set aside as affordable.  Still far below other cities with similar programs.  Her amendment would have applied the same formula to the Downtown/SLU rezone as is being applied to the rest of the city.  But only Councilmember Kshama Sawant supported Herbold’s amendment. Once this was disposed of, the full Council then voted 9-0 to approve the upzones.
The crowd that gathered in the City Council chambers on Monday to testify was roughly 50/50 split on asking the Council to pass the rezone without amendments versus urging the Council to support Herbold’s amendment because a 2% affordable housing requirement is not enough! The Raging Grannies were one of the first testifiers and put to song their support for Herbold’s amendment. I recommend you watch it…
Also testifying was City Councilmember candidate Jon Grant.  Grant was also a member of the Mayor’s original Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) advisory committee.  He reminded us that the “Grand Bargain,” which concedes lucrative upzones to developers in exchange for these meager affordable housing requirements, was not a public process and the formula was never truly scrutinized.  
Grant was the one member of the HALA advisory committee who abstained from a vote because he felt the proposal did not go far enough.  Grant is campaigning on a platform of 25% affordable housing, a far cry from the 2% minimum that was passed earlier this week.  Seriously, even as I’m writing this I still cannot believe that we had to beg City Council to raise the affordable housing “set-aside” to 5% and yet most of the Council still voted to maintain the outrageously low 2% minimum.  (I’m kinda embarrassed for the other big cities to hear about this one.)
The other half of the room supporting the plan with its feebly low housing requirement wore “Seattle For Everyone” stickers.  I understand that many of these testifiers may believe HALA’s promise to make Seattle more affordable and I do commend them for their activism.  But I’m skeptical of the powers behind Seattle For Everyone – a group funded by Vulcan and Vulcan is listed as a supporter on its website.  Vulcan, founded by Paul Allen, just happens to own over a third of South Lake Union properties and some downtown properties, all within the area benefiting from these upzones.
Allen certainly has a few extra dollars lying around that he could devote to affordable housing.  However he (and other downtown developers) would rather put them into a group like Seattle for Everyone.  But of course, he’s just doing this out of his sense of civic duty.  Why he would never support such a group just because they are pushing forward policies that also happen to increase his profits (while keeping his housing requirement and the public’s benefit as low as possible).  I’m sure that is just a coincidence.  
And just to add to the irony of the day, at the end of the meeting president Bruce Harrell and the rest of the Council heard from a group of people who were living in a homeless encampment under the West Seattle bridge which was scheduled to be swept the next day. Sadly, as is often the case, most of these human beings were given no other place to go (please for a moment imagine what this must be like).  Maybe Paul Allen will offer them a spot on his $250 million dollar yacht, it’s named Octopus.  Or maybe I’ll just go throw up now because I’m so disgusted with the wealthy in this city and the majority of our City Councilmembers who have sold out to them.
Susanna Lin is a neighborhood activist, blogger, volunteer, mom, wife, and physical therapist.  All opinions expressed here are her own.  Her writing can also be found on WallyhoodSeattle Fair Growth and Rumblecrash blogs.  In addition to her land use interests, she has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northwestern University and practices in Seattle.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Victory! Maryland's Anti-Boycott Bill is Dead!" #BDS #BDS

Original post at:

Last Monday was Sine Die, the final day of the Maryland General Assembly’s annual legislative session. We are pleased to announce that the Anti-Boycott Bill SB739/HB949 has officially diedThe legislation never even received a single vote in any committee. For the third consecutive year, legislative attacks on supporters of Palestinian human rights failed decisively.

This outcome was not due to any back-door negotiation from insiders in the legislature or because of lobbyist efforts. It was mainly due to legislators (especially Democratic legislators) being convinced that this bill was unconstitutional or they simply disagreed with it's intent. This convincing was largely done by a grassroots statewide movement -- including YOU.

Here are some highlights of our collective actions to defeat SB739/HB949:
  • Legislative Contact: State legislators from all across Maryland collectively received hundreds of emails, calls and visits from their constituents urging them to oppose the Anti-Boycott Bill. Some legislators were even faced with irate voters at their offices or town-hall meetings complaining about their support for this unconstitutional legislation.
  • Lobby Night in Annapolis: While we scheduled a lobby day on very short notice, we were still able to get over a dozen people to drive out to Annapolis to meet with their legislators. We dropped off literature packets to all members of the committees of jurisdiction. These packets explained clearly the goals of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement and explained why a rapidly growing community supports it.
  • Testimony in Committees: We had nearly 20 activists testify at each bill hearing (February 28th in the House of Delegates, March 1st in the Senate). We were parents students, faith leaders of all religious backgrounds. Two constituents shared very personal tragedies caused by Israel's occupation. With each person getting three minutes to testify, we had ample time to deliver a robust “Occupation 101 teach-in” which was an opportunity that we couldn’t have otherwise had with our legislators.
  • Media: Not only did we get media coverage, but it was favorable coverage. We had this from the Baltimore Sun.Baltimore Jewish Times ran a story which featured our ally Jodie Zisow-McClean. And we had at least ten letters to the editor published. We are anticipating articles soon in the Huffington Post and about our efforts.
  • Legislators: We had a number of legislator friends who worked on preventing this legislation from getting a vote. Our greatest gratitude goes to Delegate Jimmy Tarlau who was outspoken about his opposition to the Anti-Boycott Bill. Delegate Tarlau powerfully rebutted Delegate Ben Kramer during a radio debate on the Marc Steiner Radio Show.
  • We Became a Community: Some of us Freedom2Boycott activists had been working on this issue over the past three years, while others joined this year. Some spent hours in Annapolis giving testimony while others posted Facebook, made calls or sent money to pay for our website. It all made a difference. And we have evolved into an engaged an highly effective community.

With so many challenges to social justice today, it is important to acknowledge and take time to celebrate those victories in which we have made a difference.

But we also know that a lot of resources will continue to be invested towards attacking the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights. We will continue to remain in touch if there are other threats to our right to boycott. Meanwhile, please know that your contributions are immensely appreciated!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Phil Monsour featuring Rafeef Ziadah - "Ghosts Of Deir Yassin"

"You see that we are rising
Our day is shortly coming"

"Palestine Revolutionary Poet Ahmed Dahbour Passes Away Aged 72"

A commenter on Youtube described the above song as "Palestine calling the Arab World"

from the Palestine Chronicle:
The Palestinian Ministry of Culture said in a statement, “with the passing of Dahbour, Palestine has lost not only one of the giants of literature and Palestinian creativity, but rather a landmark that has always been directed to Palestine.”

"Tulsi Gabbard: This destructive war in Syria, like Iraq & Libya, aims at the regime change..." via @Jimmy_Dore

Tom Hayes - Challenges in Working Against the Israel Lobby -- EXCELLENT! 25 Minutes of Truth

"Syrian Gas Attack is a Lie - 'Stop Your Governments!' - Russia"--Dispute This If You Can (You Can't)"