Sunday, December 29, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem--Banksy

A manger scene juxtaposed against concrete blocks seemingly pierced by a mortar shell: with Christmas looming, Banksy reveals his latest art piece.

India's freedom struggle 2.0, this time it's against fascists

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Worst Cruelty is Our Indifference--@NilsMelzer

Nils Melzer is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Today, we observe Human Rights Day. On this day, we remember that human dignity is universal and the prohibition of torture is absolute. At the same time, we know that torture, cruelty, and humiliation is still practiced with impunity throughout the world.

Today, I am particularly concerned about the unspeakable suffering of people on the move, those millions of women, men and children who have left their homes to seek safety and opportunity elsewhere, but who all too often get trapped in border-zones, detention centers, deserts or at sea, exposed not only to deliberate abuse, but also to the worst cruelty of all: our own indifference.

We know these people are exploited by smugglers, traffickers and corrupt officials, we know they are being tortured, raped, enslaved, and butchered for their organs. We know they have nowhere else to go. And yet, no one feels responsible. Instead, we erect physical and mental barriers, we think and speak of hostile invasion and send the military to defend our borders. But today I ask: against whom? Against this ragtag “army” of emaciated bodies, carrying their belongings in plastic bags and babies in their arms?

Have we shrunk so far from our own humanity that we can no longer recognize theirs? Or are we simply too comfortable to recognize that much of our own prosperity grows on the ashes of other peoples’ lives, on the swamps of inhumane working conditions, on the blood spilt by conflicts fought with our weapons, on the smoldering remnants of an environment destroyed by our extractive companies? After we have taken their resources, exploited their labor, ransacked their environment, colluded with their dictators and fueled conflict that turned their lands into battlefields – are we really surprised they come knocking on our doors saying they would rather live at our place now?

Human Rights Day also makes me remember the countless prisoners I have visited over the years, in wars from the Balkans to the Middle East and, more recently, in Turkey, Serbia and Kosovo, Argentina and Ukraine. Some were hungry, others were cold. Some were sick and others depressed. Some had been threatened, abused and humiliated. Some had no space to sleep or even sit, and many suffered from bedbugs, rats and lice. But the first question they asked was never about themselves. “Sir, do you have news of my family? Can you take a letter for them? Please tell them I love them!” This taught me that, whoever and wherever we are and whatever we have done, we always remain members not only of our own families, but also of the global human family.

As we mark Human Rights Day, we also approach the festive seasons being celebrated worldwide. And as we gather with our loved ones around Christmas trees, dining tables and living rooms, do we ever ask ourselves what it feels like to be stuck in a rubber dinghy that day, facing the choice between drowning in the freezing sea or going back to torture and abuse?

Do we ever ask ourselves what it feels like to be stuck in an overcrowded cell, wondering whether you will be raped that day? Do we ever ask ourselves what it feels like to be a child stuck in a coal mine that day, your lungs burning from the dust? And do we ever ask ourselves who is being most deeply dehumanized in a world tolerating such abuse: Is it the victims, ripped apart by pain and humiliation? Is it the perpetrators, lowering themselves below the most ferocious of beasts? Or is it all of us, wining and dining in the bubbles of our cozy homes while our siblings are being broken, crushed and annihilated on our front steps?

Arising from the ashes of World War II, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed nothing less than a global human family based on peace, justice and human dignity. Today, 70 years later, we still have not delivered on that promise, and we still have to look in the mirror and face the truth that, if we don’t change our ways, step up and take responsibility, no one ever will.

The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

Christmas in the Trenches

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Update on the Julian Assange extradition hearing 19 December 2019

Newsweek reporter quits after editors block coverage of OPCW Syria scandal

Citizenship law protests shut down India capital | ASIA TIMES

Asia Times | Citizenship law protests shut down India capital | Article:

India’s national capital, New Delhi, faced a lockdown unprecedented
in history Thursday as protests over the religion-based Citizenship
Amendment Act (CAA) broke out all across the country.

The Act allows refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to
become Indian citizens but bars Muslims. This, many have complained,
violates the constitution of India – a country whose population includes
200 million Indian Muslim.

Anger against the amended law had spread across India after students
were beaten up in Delhi on Sunday and more protests were planned.

The federal government got wind of those plans. Determined to crack
down on protests, it invoked section 144 of the criminal procedure code,
a colonial-era law that prohibits more than five people from gathering
in a public space.

On Thursday morning as protesters began to gather at pre-determined
locations in Delhi in defiance of section 144, the police sent out an
urgent order to all telecom companies to suspend mobile connections
including internet and voice communications at specific locations.

Nearly 16 metro stations at last count were closed Thursday to
prevent protesters from arriving at the locations. The police action
also led to massive traffic jams in Delhi and its neighboring city
Gurgaon and Noida, with people trapped for hours on the road.

Meanwhile, spontaneous protests were reported from Mumbai, India’s
financial capital, and from Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Vadgaon,
Ahemedabad, Calcutta and many other prominent cities as more people
joined the ongoing agitation.

In the southern city of Bangalore, known as India’s information
technology hub, police commissioner Bhaskar Rao announced the imposition
of section 144 on Wednesday night.

By then disparate groups of citizens across the country, including in Bangalore, had already started planning their protests.

Prominence was no insurance against arrest when the crunch came.
Noted historian and scholar Ramchandra Guha, known globally for his
books on India’s post-independence history and specifically on Mohandas
K  “Mahatma” Gandhi, was picked up by the Bangalore police while he was
speaking to the media at a protest site.

“I have been detained by the police for holding a poster of Gandhi
and speaking about the constitution to the press,” Guha told TV news
channel NDTV, whose journalists were interviewing him when he was
dragged away.

Videos that surfaced on Twitter show a couple of policemen trying to punch Guha as he was being dragged away.

“The police are working under directions from the central
government,” Guha said. “We are protesting non-violently against a
discriminatory act, in a disciplined way.”

Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka, a state that is currently
ruled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

The central government has instructed all BJP-ruled states to strike
down any protest against the citizenship act, according to high-ranking
government sources.

Targeting Muslims

The amended citizenship law specifically bars Muslims from Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Afghanistan from seeking Indian citizenship through the
special route. They can still apply under other sections of the existing
laws, but takes a lot of documentation and time for approval. While
that in itself is a major provocation, the nub of the anger aroused by
the changed law stems from what the federal Home Minister Amit Shah has
stated will follow.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC), a controversial
classification process that was started in 2013 in the state of Assam
and ended this year, forced all citizens in the border state to file
elaborate documents to prove they were Indian citizens.

The exercise found 1.1 million people who have not been able to prove
their Indian citizenship. They are being moved into detention camps
before they are either deported or manage to prove their citizenship
through an elaborate appeals process.

The newly amended law blatantly gives immediate relief to those found
“illegal” under the NRC only if they are not Muslims. That means that a
nationwide NRC will give a free pass to everyone other than Muslims.

This has created anger, fear and uncertainty across the country.
Article 14 of the Indian constitution prohibits discrimination on any
basis including faith. This applies to non-citizens, as well, thus
covering refugees and expatriates working in India.

Internet suspension

While the suspension of the internet is a first in the national
capital, the tactic has been widely used so extensively elsewhere
recently that India has been mentioned as being in contention for being
named the country with the most internet shutdowns in the world.

Kashmir, which was stripped of its constitutional special status on
August 5 this year, has been without the internet for over 130 days.
Reports suggest that the internet shutdown there has severely curtailed
banking operations across the region, and also led to losses worth
millions of dollars.

The internet was also suspended in the state of Assam and other
states of India’s Northeast that have become the epicenter of the anti
citizenship law protests. The Axomiyas, who dominate the state have
opposed the settling of illegal migrants, Hindu or Muslim, in the state
for decades. The neighboring states with large tribal populations have
also opposed the new law.

Combative Modi

The BJP seems unwilling to back down even in the face of large-scale
protests. The federal government has ignored warnings and criticism from
the international community – including some comparisons of the
discriminatory act to Nazi Germany’s race-based Nuremberg laws. The US
state department and the United Nations have expressed deep concern.

Modi has been combative, blaming Muslims and the opposition parties
for fomenting the protests. At an election rally in the eastern state of
Jharkhand he said the protesters could be identified by their clothes –
an apparent reference to Muslims in skull caps. His deputy Shah has
done a round of combative interviews saying that a nationwide-NRC will
follow the amended citizenship law.

However, among the BJP’s allies, some who voted in favor of the new
law have now backed down. They now say they will refuse to allow a NRC
and they have criticized the new law, calling it discriminatory against

The opposition-ruled states of West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and Punjab
have already announced that they will not allow the NRC in their
states. However, in the western state of Maharashtra, where the BJP was
ousted from power recently, several detention centers were already under
construction – places where illegal immigrants can be identified by the


Critics suggest that the government is trying to divert attention from the fact that India’s economy is slowing down alarmingly.

“The economic slowdown is a major challenge right now,” Delhi’s Chief
Minister Arvind Kejriwal noted. “So what was the need to do the
citizenship law, if at all?’ Those being naturalized as Indians under
the new law will have to be fed, clothed and housed. Who will do that?
Will they end up talking scarce jobs in India?”

According to the International Monetary Fund India’s slowdown came as
a “surprise” and is likely to get much worse next year. However, prime
minister Modi has so far not commented on the state of the economy.

More protests are being planned for the weekend.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

For the sake of press freedom, Julian Assange must be defended - Committee to Protect Journalists

For the sake of press freedom, Julian Assange must be defended - Committee to Protect Journalists:

Nine years ago this month, the Committee to Protect Journalists took a
stand on one of the most polarizing figures in journalism. We wrote President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, urging them not to prosecute Julian Assange.

The Australian hacker and WikiLeaks founder was in the
administration’s crosshairs for publishing classified ‘war logs’ from
the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with diplomatic cables.

The leaks unnerved the Washington political and security establishment. Then Vice-President Joe Biden branded Assange a “high-tech terrorist” and Holder said he was considering prosecuting WikiLeaks and Assange under the 1917 Espionage Act.

We argued that wielding a blunt World War I-era legal weapon against
WikiLeaks would undermine the right to gather, receive, or publish
information of important public interest.

After all, if Obama prosecuted Assange, would he not also have to prosecute The New York Times, The Guardian,
and other newspapers that published some of the WikiLeaks documents?
That would deal a body blow to the First Amendment's protections of free
speech and the press in the United States. It would also be a gift to
authoritarian leaders overseas who could cite Washington’s example the
next time they wanted to jail an irksome journalist or publisher.

It was also important to defend WikiLeaks because the Department of
Justice (DOJ) had already tried to accuse reporters of encouraging
leaks. This happened in 2010, when the DOJ named Fox News reporter James
Rosen in a search warrant as a "co-conspirator" and tracked his movements and communications.

Amid the pushback from journalists and legal scholars, no charges publicly emerged during Obama’s time in office.

But in May this year, President Donald Trump’s administration disclosed a superseding indictment against Assange under the Espionage Act and began proceedings to have him extradited from the U.K.

Assange has long been aware of the possibility of extradition. He
cited fear of being taken on to the United States if he traveled to
Stockholm for questioning over alleged rape and other sex crimes after
accusations by two former WikiLeaks volunteers in 2010. (Assange denies
the allegations). When he lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden
in 2012 he jumped bail and sought sanctuary in Ecuador’s London embassy,
where he remained for seven years. He was evicted in April after a
change of government in Ecuador and arrested by British police. His jail
term for skipping bail ended in September but he has been kept behind
bars pending the U.S. extradition application. A Swedish prosecutor dropped the investigation into the rape charge this year, saying too much time had elapsed.

The charges for which Assange is now facing U.S. extradition go back at least to 2010 when Assange, working with The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel,
published the “war logs.” Among a trove of stories was U.S. helicopter
video showing the Apache aircraft shooting Iraqi civilians, including
two Reuters journalists.

He had begun collaborating with The Guardian as far
back as 2007, but it was the dump of information to WikiLeaks from
Private Chelsea Manning about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well
as a quarter of a million State Department cables, that put Assange and
his site on the map.

The sheer volume of material was a challenge for the three partner
publications working to edit the logs and cables and redact information
that could harm people mentioned in them. Assange widened the circle of
editors by bringing in the newspapers Le Monde and El País.

But he grew impatient with the time it took to publish stories and
dissatisfied that only a narrow range of the information he held was
being made public.

In apparent frustration, he began releasing material that had not
been through this journalistic process. CPJ was made aware of the
dangers of this in 2011 when WikiLeaks published un-redacted diplomatic
cables that endangered the life of the Ethiopian reporter Argaw Ashine.

More generally, WikiLeaks’s practice of dumping huge loads of data on
the public without examining the motivations of the leakers can leave
it open to manipulation, as CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon has written.

Collaboration with the newspapers over the Manning leaks became bumpy and eventually Assange fell out with the then editors of The Guardian and the Times, Alan Rusbridger and Bill Keller, respectively.

Both, however, defend him against this prosecution and believe he should be protected by the First Amendment.

“The indictment is a mish mash of accusations, including the risk of
penalizing any reporter who does more than sit back and passively wait
for material to be leaked to them,” Rusbridger told CPJ. (Rusbridger,
now the principal of Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford,
became a member of CPJ’s board in 2014.)

“Assange is not my idea of a journalistic role model,” Keller, the Times’ former
executive editor, told CPJ. “But he has taken no oath to protect U.S.
government secrets, and I'm not aware of any evidence that he is an
enemy agent, in the traditional legal meaning of the term. He gathers
information (albeit sometimes by questionable methods), packages it
(albeit selectively and with malice) and publishes it (albeit with no
sense of responsibility for the consequences, including collateral
damage of innocents.) The First Amendment doesn't just protect people
who keep honest company, uphold standards of fairness and publish

Trump has stopped short of prosecuting the mainstream news
organizations that worked with Assange. Indeed, during the 2016
presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said he “loved” WikiLeaks, which
had published thousands of private emails that damaged his rival,
Hillary Clinton. She accused Assange of colluding with Moscow. U.S.
intelligence blamed Russia for the leaks.

Yet within a year, Trump’s love affair with WikiLeaks was over. In March 2017, the site published documents known as Vault 7,
which showed the government’s enormous capacity to hack electronic
communications. Then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, who is now secretary of
state, branded WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

Assange’s U.K. defense lawyers could well use the argument that this
prosecution is selective and political at the extradition hearings, a
process that in any case could take years, according to some legal
experts. The U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty provides for an exception of political offenses. Assange can also argue he is protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.

Assange’s first hearing is set for February 25, 2020. Meanwhile,
Assange is apparently in such bad health in Belmarsh Prison that some 60
doctors have written to the U.K. government to urge his release.

Besides the 17 charges under the Espionage Act, Assange has also been
hit with a separate indictment under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Prosecutors argue that Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack
U.S. government computers. If successful, such a prosecution could
criminalize established investigative journalistic interaction with a
source, as my colleague Avi Asher-Shapiro has reported.

To some, Julian Assange is a warrior for truth and transparency. To others, he is an information bomb-thrower.

The question with which CPJ has had to grapple is whether his actions
make him a journalist. Each year, we compile a list of journalists
imprisoned around the world, based on a set of criteria that have
evolved as technology has upended publishing and the news business.

After extensive research and consideration, CPJ chose not to list
Assange as a journalist, in part because his role has just as often been
as a source and because WikiLeaks does not generally perform as a news
outlet with an editorial process.

No matter what label people put on Assange, his prosecution is a threat to journalists worldwide.

Taken together, the 18 counts in the DOJ indictment criminalize key
reporting practices and the publication of information obtained through
them. And the extraterritorial application of the U.S. Espionage Act
means that any journalist anywhere in the world could potentially be prosecuted for publishing classified information.

A successful prosecution would chill whistleblowers and investigative reporting. This is why CPJ opposes Assange’s extradition.

Obama/Bush/Trump Lied Repeatedly About Afghan War-- Documents Reveal

Jeremy Corbyn faces Russiagate smear campaign before UK vote

Direct Action To Stop a War--STOP KILLING YEMEN!

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Joe Biden's Insane thoughts on Hairy Legs, Roaches, and kids

Profiles in Courage: ENN's Middle East reporter Gertrude Bellinger

Is it time to put the Baby Trump blimp to bed? - Waging Nonviolence

Is it time to put the Baby Trump blimp to bed? - Waging Nonviolence | Waging Nonviolence:

Criticism of Trump and vigorous efforts to remove him are vitally necessary, but piling on personal insults adds unnecessary fuel to the fire.

It began as an irreverent stunt during Donald Trump’s 2018 visit to
London, a helium-filled swirl of yellow hair atop an obese, orange,
diaper-clad Trump, his small hands clutching a phone. After a brief nap,
Baby Trump has been pressed into service as the unofficial mascot of
the anti-Trump resistance, with at least nine appearances in the United
States so far.

It’s easy and gratifying to insult Trump. He offers a daily smorgasbord of contemptible
flaws to feast upon. And he dishes out as good as he gets, his Twitter feed a
virtual firing range of baseless, crude and bigoted put-downs. Mocking him as a
fat, tantruming baby may seem a fitting and well-deserved counterattack, one
that is orders of magnitude less terrible than the many acts of cruelty Trump
has perpetrated.

The Baby Trump blimp, however, is emblematic of the counterproductive manner in which
the left too often registers our very justified outrage. 

To start with, there’s the body shaming. Hardly a day goes by without
Trump’s body size, shape and color being ridiculed as grotesque. Body
shaming is a form of bullying that isn’t any less cruel when done to
people we don’t like. Even though Trump is the target, the blimp
stigmatizes every person with bodies deemed too fat by our
thinness-obsessed culture, much like the atrociously cruel and classist —
yet wildly popular — People of Walmart website, which lampoon unsuspecting shoppers with
shabby clothes, fat asses and other “white trash” offenses. Sizeism is
one of the few forms of bigotry still tolerated by mainstream society.
Why do we perpetuate it?

Spectacles of leftist schadenfreude paint us into a hypocritical
corner, as was pointed out to me by a conservative woman I met at a
cross-partisan dialogue. To put it in crass, realpolitik terms, cruelty
damages our brand. It prompts the public to fixate on our
ugliness instead of the dastardly policies of the Trump administration.
Furthermore, it perpetuates the us-versus-them divisiveness that adult
Trump so masterfully leverages to his advantage. (One of his supporters recently slashed a Baby Trump balloon with a razor blade in a self-proclaimed act of “good versus evil.”

Like any skillful demagogue, Trump has forged a counterfeit bond with his base, a bond
premised on a shared victimhood narrative of lost honor and wounded pride. What
I’ve learned from conservatives over the past two years is that Trump supporters
perceive an attack on him as an attack on themselves — those high and mighty
liberal elites are not only smugly self-righteous, they’re mean, they hate
us, we are under siege and must protect our tribe and our
leader Trump.

Conservative journalist Rod Dreher has written that, when Trump goes off the rails, his voters justify
their support by saying to themselves, “He may be a fool, but he’s our
fool.” Liberal mockery of Trump’s copious flaws only serves to entrench
their loyalty and bolster Trump’s persecution narrative.

As has been amply documented, partisan (some call it “tribal”) polarization has reached a
deleterious extreme in the United States, leading people to form knee-jerk
partisan opinions instead of reflecting on the merits of contentious issues.
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt told National Affairs that, when
we attempt to rationalize our partisan bias, we get rewarded with a highly
pleasurable hit of dopamine. It feels good to belong to our team, our party,
our tribe, and if tribal membership requires that we denigrate the “other”
tribe and publicly humiliate their leader, we do it, and we do it gleefully. And
when we do so, we prompt the right to hate and fear us back. For this reason,
humiliating Trump plays into Trump’s us-versus-them strategy of rousing his
supporters to battle against the common enemy: us.

There is, to be sure, a long tradition of satire aimed at undermining the authority and
respectability of the powerful. The question is, what, if anything, does the
public learn from it? Literary critic Tim
Parks distinguishes effective satire, which points
toward positive change, from failed satire. “[W]itty mockery of a
political enemy can be hilarious and gratifying and can intensify our sense of being morally superior. But as satire it has failed,” he writes in the New York Review
of Book
. “The worst case is when satire reinforces the state of mind it purports to undercut, polarizes

prejudices, and provokes the very behavior it condemns.”

Baby Trump falls short of Park’s standard, for it is no more
enlightening than playground taunts — such as “you’re a baby,” “no you
are” and “I know you are but what am I?” The overarching problem with
Trump isn’t that he’s immature (or fat), it’s that he’s created what
Ralph Nader calls a “cocoon of falsity”
in which he smashes and breaks democratic and cultural norms and
governmental functions that keep people safe, healthy, fully included
and respected.

Poking fun at a degenerate figurehead is not automatically effective. If mocking Trump
turned fence-sitters against him, late night comedians would have successfully
blocked Trump’s candidacy before it ever gathered steam. For all the ridicule
Trump’s endured, it doesn’t seem to have undermined his brazen abuse of power.

Perhaps if our national culture were one of reverence for politicians, then the mere act
of mocking one would have some shock value and jolt us into seeing them in a
new and unflattering light. Perhaps if Trump attempted to present himself as a
dignified head of state, we would need Baby Trump to expose the contradiction
between his pretend and actual disposition. At this point, anyone who doesn’t
already see that the emperor has no clothes is not likely to be enlightened
upon seeing him in diapers. It’s simply meanness for meanness sake.

The creators of Baby Trump said they wanted to boost the morale of Trump’s foes and to “get under his skin.” As one of the organizers wrote in the Independent,
“Trump has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t respond to reason, to facts
or to science. What he does respond to is humiliation.” Yes, he sure
does, and that’s precisely the problem.

Evelin Lindner, a psychologist and founder of Human Dignity and
Humiliation Studies, or Human DHS, has documented cycles of humiliation
met by violent reprisals met by more humiliation, until the society
spirals into genocidal violence. “Humiliation,” she writes,
“is the nuclear bomb of the emotions, perhaps the most toxic social
dynamic of our age.” It reinforces the tyrant’s self-serving
rationalization that they are valiantly fighting the evildoers who are
attacking them.

Linda Hartling, a community psychologist and director of
Human DHS, emphasizes the boomerang nature of humiliation. “If you use
humiliation as a shortcut to attack an opponent, it will come back in some way,
if not at you then at someone more vulnerable,” she said. Hartling sees Trump
as a “humiliation entrepreneur” who is constantly retaliating against those who
pierce his thin skin.

Trump has already been ratcheting up his incitement of violence,
calling for his persecutors to be tried and executed for treason and
warning that civil war could break out if he’s impeached. Dozens of
preeminent psychiatrists have raised red flag warnings about Trump’s
anti-social, narcissistic, sadistic and sociopathic behavior. “Trump’s
sociopathic characteristics … create a profound danger for America’s
democracy and safety,” retired Harvard psychiatry professor Lance Dodes told the Washington Post.
“Over time these characteristics will only become worse, either because
Mr. Trump will succeed in gaining more power and more grandiosity with
less grasp on reality, or because he will engender more criticism
producing more paranoia, more lies and more enraged destruction.”

Ridiculing Trump achieves nothing and risks provoking him to even more outrageous attacks
and counterattacks. That’s what narcissists and demagogues do when their
fragile egos are threatened. Psychiatrists warn that someone with Trump’s malignant
narcissism and anti-social personality is vulnerable to a total psychotic
breakdown and that, by the time the warning signs are evident, it may already
be too late.

Criticism of Trump and vigorous efforts to remove him are vitally necessary, no matter
what the risk of further destabilizing his mental health. But piling on
personal insults adds unnecessary fuel to the fire. A deranged Trump is
incredibly dangerous.

For all the grievous harm Trump has done, I cannot and do not respect him. But withholding
respect and diminishing his humanity are two different things. At a minimum, I
feel obliged to treat Trump with the basic decency I extend to every human
being, no matter how awful I find them. To do otherwise, to dehumanize them as
the “enemy other,” is to set in motion a vindictive spiral that cannot end
well. Human dignity is sacred and, when it’s violated, our ability to negotiate
and tolerate discord erodes, and hate and violence reign.

“Humiliation is the most destructive force on the planet,” Hartling said. “It leaves a wake
of destruction, disrupting relationships in ways that are extremely difficult
to repair.” Why risk so much collateral damage just for the sake of inflicting
suffering on a man who is already seemingly one of the unhappiest on earth, his
inner life its own perpetual torment?

“Speak the truth but not to punish,” Buddhist monk and peace activist
Thich Nhat Hanh counsels. What that means to me is that, when I
criticize Trump’s rampant misconduct, I focus on the actions, not the
person, and contextualize the actions in systems and structures of white
supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, militarism and the resource
extraction mindset. I also want to contrast Trump’s nihilism with my
vision for an equitable and sustainable future, a beautiful,
inclusively-interconnected sacred place where humans and all living
creatures bow to each other in the great dance of life.

During the Sept. 25 Climate Strike in San Francisco, artists and activists from 10
environmental justice and human rights groups transformed two downtown blocks
into a series of street murals representing “community-oriented and earth-based
to the climate crisis. Taken together, the murals invited viewers to envision a more

beautiful future that celebrates the interconnected lives of people, plants and
wildlife. To me, honoring what’s sacred is worlds more inspiring than
denigrating what we already know is awful.

Diné (Navajo) land and water protector
and poet Lyla June Johnston suggests that the struggle of resistance against
Trump and fossil fuels shouldn’t be one of hate-driven revenge against
but, rather, a movement for life in all its sacred beauty. It’s not
about winning, Johnston said in an interview with the podcast “For the Wild,”
it’s about sustaining, diversifying, protecting and, above all, loving life.

So long as I attempt to implement my vision by denigrating those evil people who stand in my
way, I am taking one step forward and two back. Aggressors usually rationalize
their behavior as serving some higher purpose; seldom is that the case.

Trump must be held accountable but accountability need not take a
vindictive cast. I don’t believe murderers should be executed or rapists
raped. I don’t want Trump hung in effigy or body shamed, I simply want
him gone and, potentially, imprisoned where he can do no further damage.
And I want his supporters to feel that they have a rightful place in a
post-Trump America, a place where they are treated with the same basic
decency and respect as everyone else. If they don’t feel this way, brace
yourself for President Donald Trump, Jr. or whatever other humiliation
entrepreneur is waiting in the wings.

Hating on Trump incessantly isn’t going to be any more effective in
2020 than it was in 2016. The more we hate and humiliate him, the more
his supporters will be inclined to defend him. Even if we win, we’ll be
sowing the seeds of a vicious backlash. And our hatred could trigger an
adult Trump tantrum of existential dimensions. Our desperately sick
culture needs to heal, and more poison isn’t what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

White Helmets Whitewash: founder's death, OPCW scandal lift mask on al-Qaida. [YOUTUBE SCARED OF THIS VIDEO! :)

Leonard Peltier on The Meaning of Thanksgiving (2019)

The year of 2019 is coming to a close and with it, comes the day most Americans set aside as a day for Thanksgiving. As I let my mind wander beyond the steel bars and concrete walls, I try to imagine what the people who live outside the prison gates are doing, and what they are thinking. Do they ever think of the Indigenous people who were forced from their homelands? Do they understand that with every step they take, no matter the direction, that they are walking on stolen land? Can they imagine, even for one minute, what it was like to watch the suffering of the women, the children and babies and yes, the sick and elderly, as they were made to keep pushing west in freezing temperatures, with little or no food? These were my people and this was our land. There was a time when we enjoyed freedom and were able to hunt buffalo and gather the foods and sacred medicines. We were able to fish and we enjoyed the clean clear water! My people were generous, we shared everything we had, including the knowledge of how to survive the long harsh winters or the hot humid summers. We were appreciative of the gifts from our Creator and remembered to give thanks on a daily basis. We had ceremonies and special dances that were a celebration of life.

With the coming of foreigners to our shores, life as we knew it would change drastically. Individual ownership was foreign to my people. Fences?? Unheard of, back then. We were a communal people and we took care of each other. Our grandparents weren’t isolated from us! They were the wisdom keepers and story tellers and were an important link in our families. The babies? They were and are our future! Look at the brilliant young people who put themselves at risk, fighting to keep our water and environment clean and safe for the generations yet to come. They are willing to confront the giant, multi-national corporations by educating the general public of the devastation being caused. I smile with hope when I think of them. They are fearless and ready to speak the truth to all who are willing to listen. We also remember our brothers and sisters of Bolivia, who are rioting, in support of the first Indigenous President, Evo Morales. His commitment to the people, the land, their resources and protection against corruption is commendable. We recognize and identify with that struggle so well.

So today, I thank all of the people who are willing to have an open mind, those who are willing to accept the responsibility of planning for seven generations ahead, those who remember the sacrifices made by our ancestors so we can continue to speak our own language, practice our own way of thankfulness in our own skin, and that we always acknowledge and respect the Indigenous linage that we carry.

For those of you who are thankful that you have enough food to feed your families, please give to those who aren’t as fortunate. If you are warm and have a comfortable shelter to live in, please give to those who are cold and homeless, if you see someone hurting and in need of a kind word or two, be that person who steps forward and lends a hand. And especially, when you see injustice anywhere, please be brave enough to speak up to confront it.

I want to thank all who are kind enough to remember me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for continuing to support and believe in me. There isn’t a minute in any day that passes without me hoping that this will be the day I will be granted freedom. I long for the day when I can smell clean fresh air, when I can feel a gentle breeze in my hair, witness the clouds as their movement hides the sun and when the moon shines the light on the path to the sacred Inipi. That would truly be a day I could call a day of Thanksgiving.

Thank you for listening to whomever is voicing my words. My Spirit is there with you.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Cells (official video) -- They Might Be Giants

Lessons Learned From Moving To Palestine | Mazin Qumsiyeh -- PopularResistance.Org

Lessons Learned From Moving To Palestine | PopularResistance.Org:

It has been ten years since I returned to Palestine after
living in the US for nearly three decades. Those ten years in Palestine
have been truly phenomenal and inspirational despite the pain and agony
associated with them. For example, they are bracketed by an attack on
Gaza in 2008 when we saw hundreds of Palestinian civilians murdered and
by the attacks on Gaza and on the freedom flotilla trying to break the
siege on Gaza in 2018. In between much pain that I relayed in my weekly
email messages including losing 19 of my personal friends killed by the
Israeli colonization army. But also in between we have much to be proud
of in Palestinian community achievement with help of others. Personally I
am proud of publishing over 50 articles, books, building a museum and
an institute for biodiversity ( I took time to
update the lessons I learned from life especially from those ten years
(but also from >40 years of human rights activism):

-Being surrounded by friends, family, and volunteers and
working for causes larger than our-selves is the key to happiness.
Having family members (wife, children, brothers, sisters etc) who are
also friends and confidants are gifts but I know many people who lead a
beautiful and meaningful life without a family, only friends.  We can
all make friends and the best friends are created as we work together
for good causes that serve fellow human beings.

-Diversity is good and a sign of health. This is true in nature
(Biodiversity) and in people (languages, cultures, backgrounds,
religions). Societies and ecosystems dominated by one or two forms are
instrinsically unstable and about to crash. So our taks is to maintain
and strengthen diversity.

-The only forms of successful colonization and occupation are
those that occur in our own minds. What determines things is how we
react to adversity and to goodness.  Our free will gives us the ability
to react in different ways and choose to internalize or resist
repression, to appreciate or ignore kindness, to be engaged or be
apathetic. Real freedom is the one that no one can take away from us.
Some people can take away our jobs, our family members, our friends, our
homes, our lands, our belongings and much more but as long as we do not
get infected with their hate and fear, we will continue to love and be
content and hopeful. In this lies the fact told by many philosophers
that secrets of our happiness is WITHIN US not in those ephemeral things
that happen TO us. You can think those who do evil things are guided by
evil forces (Satan) or you can think they are guided by their own
upbringing and circumstances.  In either case if you reflect rationally
on the causes of their actions and cannot convince them of the errors of
their ways then what can justify hating them or fearing them. Isn’t
that the only real way they can harm you and rattle your
tranquility.  Corollary: things and events and people cannot make me
lose tranquility or happiness.. only I can do that! (I have a chapter on
mental colonization and happy to share that if you are interested).

-When I came back to Palestine, I thought I could help liberate
Palestine. I learned that there is so much great work and so much
injustice that we each do what we can to help but we are small drops in
this very large ocean. We do have roles and things we can do. Finding
those out and doing our small parts is important.  So we must carry on
our duty with energy and humility.

-Watch carefully these things that happen in your presence and
take mental and physical notes of everything. This I regret not doing
much of in my youth. This is immersing yourself in life to the
fullest.  It is also sometimes the prepared mind that captures the
opportunities that are presented to us. I cannot count the times (in the
thousands) where I found success by paying attention and following the
clues left for us (by God or fate or mere chance).

-The journey itself and how we conduct ourselves along the road
are far more important than the destination. We may arrive at the
destination (freedom and return and self-determination) but at least
three generations passed before us who helped propel us along the
way.  We may or may not live to see the end of this colonial system but
it is inevitably coming and our personal victories is that we contribute
in small ways. As the Buddhists say: let us work to “have joyful
participation in the Sorrows of this world”.  Doing our duties and
expecting nothing in return other than the privilege of participation IS
our path to joy.

-Change is good. Life is good. The two are the same.  

-No person is worth more than any other. Some people are more
fun and far more worth hanging around with (to me) but this is due to my
own circumstances and life. You can sometimes learn far more from
someone “uneducated” (e.g. Bill Hill who drove the Wheels of Justice bus
tour or a farmer in Al-Walaja) than from a president of a university or
a governor or a professor.

-Just like if you have food and do not share with those who
could use it, it is also with having “wisdom”. But it is wise to
remember to be humble and that the old teachers taught us well only when
we wanted to learn.

-Palestinian politicians are just as corrupt as Israeli or US
politicians. Do not look for leadership from supposed “leaders”. Look to
yourself and fellow activists for change. Organize.. ORGANIZE

-There are really very few people who know how to live with
love. Love makes them act in courage and speak truth to power. These are
the teachers we should learn from.

-Some people can eat a tortured lamb while treating their cats
and dogs better than children are treated. Others go pray in a church to
the prince of peace (Jesus who asked us to love our enemies) and then
drop a 1000 pound bomb on a city obliterating hundreds of lives. We
could cite hundreds of other such things that make good material for
stand-up comedy (or drama). But my responsibility is to reflect on my
own behavior and change and help.

-Strive to live life free from hypocricy, envy, self-indulgence, jeolousy, vanity, and frivolty.

-As the sages wrote “eveyone dies but not everyone lives” so live life to the fullest.

When given a chance to eat good food- do it

When given a chance to drink good drinks- do it

When given a chance to dance- do it

When given a chance to have fun- do it

When given a chance to help others- do it

when given a chance to do all the other things that life gives us to do (love, share, laugh, etc), do it!


-Activism is the best antidote to despair. I learned through
participation and close work with activists that popular resistance as
practiced is rather different from popular resistance “as projected”. I
summarized some of these issues in my book on “Popular Resistance in
Palestine.” When I lived in the US and came to visit and participate in
actions, I had certain impressions about things and people. But being
here gives you a very different take. I discover major weaknesses and
even corruption among local Palestinians I used to admire (based on
superficial contact). Those were highly visible abroad. By contrast I
discovered people who I never knew existed and who do amazing and
inspiring work. Some of them suffered, some were killed, some in jail
now. All are true inspiration.

-We need to start with a change in the way we educate children.
We need critical thinking, questioning, and much less rogue
memorizations. The museum we started (see aims to
create environment to foster more RESPECT: respect for ourselves,
respect for others, respect for nature.

-A million dollars can make some men feel poor while a few
essential belongings or a good meal can make another feel rich. Thus it
is not what I have but how I feel about what I have. No one and no
comfort or pain can make me feel as happy or as unhappy as I can make
yourself. It is all under my ultimate control.

-Correct your errors, repent (and if harmed others provide
correct recompense and apology) and then forgive yourself. If you are
able to do that and understand your circumstances then why would you
ever think ill of anyone else.

-To quote Howard Zinn “To be hopeful in bad times is not just
foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a
history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage,
kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will
determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity
to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are
so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the
energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top
of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small
a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future
is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human
beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself
a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn (You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving
Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208)

-Don’t take yourself too seriously 🙂

-There is evil and goodness in all human traditions and strains
of thought (e.g. Judaism, Christianity, Western Civilization,
socialism, capitalism). If we learn to look honestly at each thing on
its own and not on the box it was contained in at one time, we will not
be in the least bit harmed but be enriched by the knowledge.

-An old saying in the fight against segregation in the South
was “free your mind and your ass will follow”. Shakespeare wrote: “assay
the power within you, our fears make traistors of us all”. Martin
Luther King, Jr. wrote: “Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question –
is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe,
nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”

-The highest purposes in life is doing our duty as human
beings, part of this social network of human beings.  That is why doing
something good for another should n=be its own reward.  Looking for and
receiving thanks and recognition actually diminishes the goodness of the
act. When tempted by our petty egos to do that, it is best to remember
that these things do not add one thing to what you gave.  When death
comes and afterwards, all these things will be forgotten only the ripple
effect of the actual action might persist.

-First do no harm, second, third.. and last do no harm. In between do some good.

-A touch, a tear, a smile, and a facial expression are far more
powerful than any words in expressing ourselves. Do not thus be afraid
to let your emotion express itself in these higher forms of expression.

-Most of us are more scared of our abilities than disabilities.
We are scared of success more than of possible failure.  Failure is
used an excuse but it is only a lesson. We can do far more than what we
even imagine if have courage (in its true decent sense).

-I learned that I am able to evolve my writing and speaking
skills much more than I can my managerial skills. I learned that it is
OK not to be good at everything and to admit limitations and
failures.  In the issue of writing, I now know what Edward Said meant
when he stated that: “I think an author should continuously attempt
something new, centering on all that he has, to prevent a reduction of
his works. Knowledge of all an author�s different writings leads to
understanding the developments in their thinking and research from one
area to another. It is important to me that people read my books, but my
major interest centers on writing rather than revising what I have
written. I mean, I want to continue my journey a little bit further.”
Edward Said

-Making many mistakes is the price of learning so we should not fear making them.  Just m,ake sure we learn from them.

-It is for a good reason that many religions and traditions
hold patience and hope as the highest virtues (ofcourse when accompanied
with doing what you are able to do). For the alternative vices of
impatience and dispair only lead to destruction. Further, patience and
hope are virtues associated with freedom because the outside world can
enslave us only if we internalize our external difficulties and exude
the negative.  Negative waves can only be countered with positive

-Those who support racism (though think of themselves as not
racist) and those who support war crimes (though they justify it in
their mind) need to be challenged with facts and figures but if they
chose to remain where they are then we should neither assign blame to
them or to us for failing to convince them.  They are like patients who
refuse to recognize their illness or its treatment, they are only to be
looked it with compassion.  This is true even when those people try all
sorts of techniques to cause us harm.  For again, they can only alter
the circumstances external to us and if we are well grounded, they
cannot cause us any harm (a real harm is one that I can only inflict on
myself by accepting that which I claim to reject).

-Others may hate me, despise me, be jeolous of me but these
things should only concern me if they are based on a real defect in my
behavior. In that case, that should not distress me since I could/should
correct such defects. If they are not based on real defects, then that
also should not cause me distress.  Similarly, some may love me and
admire me. If that is based on real good characters in me then why
should that please me. Isn’t having good character a reward in
itself.  And if they are mistaken then also why should that please me?

-Do not seek the convoluted explanations. Sometimes the simple
ones and the first ones are more correct. This is called parsimpny and
follows Occam’s razor. It applies also to your thinking about others and
their behavior.

-Let us contemplate our lives and always strive for maximum
humility. What I do not like about others, they may not like about me.
As a scientist, I believe there is no certainty in anything.  In fact,
the definition of scientific hypothesis (e.g. that there is gravity,
that the earth is spherical, that speciation by evolution occurs) is
that it is FALSIFIABLE.  So if someone asks me if I have considered that
what I think of this or that matter today may be entirely wrong, the
answer is: yes! Maximum objectivity is not equivalent to maximum
certainty. The only people absolutely certain of their positions are
actually those who lead us to wars, oppression and destruction. Make
sure to increase your love and diminish your hate. Increase your
kindness and diminish your selfishness. Increase your hope and decrease
your scepticism. This will make you live better.

-Real change and the one that is most significant is what
happens within us.  Change in our circumstances is of far less
importance.  Because of this it is also true that people can change
circumstances of other people but only people themselves can affect the
more important change within ourselves. For those who were there along
our path and whose actions helped us reach the correct internal change,
our debt is great.

-Many of these lessons were available to me as child if I chose
to see (e.g. how my grandfather lived). It is the nature of things that
we absorb things with age and only fully understand them when the
ripeness of time and with other experiences they come to to the forth
and become clearer.

Pramila Jayapal Takes On Medicare for All’s Critics | Portside

Pramila Jayapal Takes On Medicare for All’s Critics | Portside:

I wrote the damn bill,” Bernie Sanders frequently says. But on Medicare
for All, he’s not the only one. Pramila Jayapal, a second-term
Representative from Seattle who has rapidly ascended as a progressive
congressional leader, wrote the House version of single-payer. The
co-chair of the Progressive Caucus has been touring the country to talk
about it. She feels Medicare for All has been unfairly maligned during
the presidential primary cycle.

“It is very frustrating to have your own party making the arguments of Republicans and insurance companies.” Jayapal told the Prospect in an interview after a health care town hall in Los Angeles. “And they’re not accurate in their representations.”

Jayapal’s bill, H.R. 1384, has 119 co-sponsors in the House, and was
the subject of historic hearings in the Budget, Rules, and Ways and
Means Committees, the first time Medicare for All has been formally
debated in Congress. Jayapal said that Energy and Commerce, another
committee with jurisdiction over health care, would hold hearings soon.
But as Elizabeth Warren hunkers down to determine the financing for a
national health care program, and as Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg attack the concept, the benefits of getting everyone in the nation covered have been pushed to the side.

For Jayapal, the debate comes down to two things: coverage and
cost—but not government costs. “It is absolutely absurd to subject
Medicare for All to a different standard of scrutiny,” she says.
“Instead of saying, ‘Wow, Medicare for All costs too much, how are you
going to pay for it,’ the question to every candidate should be, ‘What
is your plan to bring down health care costs over the next ten years?
And what is your plan to universally cover everybody, because none of
the other plans do that.’”

H.R. 1384 takes direct aim at lowering health care costs, more than
the Affordable Care Act or even Bernie Sanders’s companion bill in the
Senate, by setting a global budget for
health care providers. Instead of Medicare paying individually for each
service, providers would get a set budget for the year to work within.
Bonuses for employees, marketing expenses, and political donations would
be strictly disallowed, and special funds for new equipment or managing
an epidemic would be segregated. Hospitals would have to manage costs
better, perhaps by reducing re-admissions, eliminating unnecessary
treatments, purchasing supplies more cheaply, or maybe even cutting
salaries for administrators.

Rare among politicians,
Jayapal has been willing to cite the hospital industry’s role in
unsustainable price increases. But she has also attempted to drive a
wedge within the wall of opposition to health care reform among hospital
industry leaders. “I’ve been meeting with a number of major hospital
CEOs, in community-based care [and] state hospital systems,” Jayapal
says. “They are getting upset with the American Hospital Association’s
opposition and the money they are putting in. So I’m working to try to
build a little coalition that will feel brave enough to come out.” Some
hospital CEOs have cited the high cost of securing care for their own
employees as a reason to transform the system.

The U.S. pays more for health care than any other industrialized
nation, which is why a mechanism like global budgeting is so critical.
Yet the only costs being discussed in the national debate involve the
taxes to pay for the government’s assumption of insurance. Overlooked in
that discussion is the fact that the federal and state governments
already pay for two-thirds of the system through Medicare, Medicaid, and
private-insurance subsidies.

Jayapal argues that reducing costs to international norms is
one way for Medicare for All to pay for itself. “You can’t legitimately
say that you’re going to fix the health care crisis we have if you
don’t bring down the costs,” she says.

By driving down costs through global budgeting, negotiating
prescription drug prices, busting up health care monopolies, and other
measures, you end up with significantly lower financing needs. Cutting
out such middlemen as for-profit insurers gets you part of the way
there, but only part. “You do have to have a mechanism to directly
address that for the future,” Jayapal says.

Jayapal’s ideas for reducing costs were borne out recently by an
analysis of the effects of H.R. 3, a modest bill that allows the
government to negotiate prices on 25 high-cost drugs per year. Despite
that small number, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that
such negotiations would save the government $345 billion over a
ten-year period. “Imagine if it was 250 drugs,” Jayapal says. “Some
members feel strongly about lifting the entire ban on negotiations.”

Moreover, it’s hard to know if these kinds of savings will be fully
accounted for in the budgeting process. Moving from curative to
preventive care, for instance, could save trillions, and while the
Affordable Care Act went part of the way on that, Jayapal’s bill would
go a lot further, particularly as those currently uninsured get regular
treatments and thereby avoid more costly procedures. Medicare for All
also eliminates the passed-on costs of uncompensated care.

Currently, Warren is working with outside experts to
craft funding for her own Medicare for All plan. Jayapal’s and Warren’s
teams have discussed the funding issue with each other. I asked Jayapal
if she thought it was worth it for Warren to counter the somewhat disingenuous debate around costs, where it’s only the supporters of Medicare for All who have to justify them.

“The way [Warren] talks about it in terms of overall costs instead of
taxes is actually the right way to talk about it,” Jayapal answers. “I
think some of this is also for her to be comfortable with how to respond
on this. Because this was Bernie’s original bill that she sort of
signed onto, I think she has been less engaged on some of the details.
If she wants to come up with two or three things, that will give her
that muscle to say, ‘I’ve looked at this, and this is how I’m proposing
to pay for it.’ What I hope is that it gets that question off the table,
because I think it’s a red herring.”

The constant talk about financing crowds out the benefits of Medicare
for All. Jayapal highlights the angle of personal freedom. “I have so
many people who write to me with these unbelievable stories about how
they have these dreams and they were lost, because they have to work for
a company that they totally don’t believe in because they need the
health care,” she explains. “People who have gotten divorced because
that’s the only way to get care. I do think a part of this health care
debate is about the freedom to dream and be. And we don’t talk about
that nearly enough.”

Ultimately, Jayapal finds the Democratic infighting over Medicare for
All to be unnecessary and dangerous. “We have to be united in the end
of whatever comes out of this presidential debate,” she says. “I have
not said anything bad about the Affordable Care Act: We can’t wait for
the perfect system, we’ve got to do what we can to shore it up. However,
to criticize a plan that is in-depth and thoughtful, and actually
addresses the very issues we need to address, and has the support of
enormous numbers of Americans, is a big mistake.”

Jayapal says that one of her biggest fears is that a Democratic
president wins in 2020 and doesn’t follow through on alleviating the
health care crisis. “For 2024, if we don’t have this addressed, and
Americans don’t see substantial improvements in these broad structural
issues, we’re not going to win,” she says. “That is what gave rise to
Trump. I have said that Trump is both a symptom and a cause. Those
entrenched interests that have stopped us from making these structural
changes, like with the Affordable Care Act, have to be taken on.”

David Dayen is the executive editor of The
American Prospect. His work has appeared in The Intercept, The New
Republic, HuffPost, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Israel's relentless violence on Gaza met by global silence

New Israeli war crime: 8 Members of the Same Family Killed in Dier Al-Balah, including 2 Women and 5 Children, 48 Hours of Israeli Aggression on the Gaza Strip: 33 Palestinians Killed, including 14 Civilians among them are 3 Women and 8 Children | Palestinian Center for Human Rights

New Israeli war crime: 8 Members of the Same Family Killed in Dier Al-Balah, including 2 Women and 5 Children, 48 Hours of Israeli Aggression on the Gaza Strip: 33 Palestinians Killed, including 14 Civilians among them are 3 Women and 8 Children | Palestinian Center for Human Rights 

In the latest Israeli war crimes, on
Thursday, 14 November 2019, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed 8
members of one family, including 2 women and 5 children, and wounded 13
others, including 11 children, after bombing their houses in Dier
al-Balah City in the central Gaza Strip. This attack occurred before the
declaration of ceasefire and after two bloody days of military

According to investigations
conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR),  at
approximately 00:25, IOF warplanes launched 4 missiles at 2 tin-plate
houses belonging to Rasmi Salem ‘Ouda al-Sawarkah (45) and his brother
Mohammed (40) in al-Berkah area in Deir al-Balah. According to PCHR’s
investigations, at approximately 00:25 on Thursday, Israeli warplanes
launched 4 missiles at 2 houses in al-Berkah area in Deir al-Balah,
belonging to Rasmi Salem ‘Ouda al-Sawarkah (45) and his brother Mohammed
(40). As a result, both houses were destroyed while both families were
inside. Rasmi, his wife and 3 of their children were killed; Mohammed
was critically wounded but his wife and 2 of his children were killed.
Moreover, 13 others were injured, including 11 children. Ten minutes
later, an ambulance arrived at the area while the neighborhood residents
gathered and started searching for the residents under the rubble. Six
dead bodies and 13 wounded were recovered. The wounded were transferred
to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. At approximately 07:00, the area
residents recovered the dead bodies of 2 children from under the rubble.
IOF officially announced later that they targeted al-Sawarkah claiming
that he was the head of the rockets division at al-Quds Brigades in the
central Gaza Strip. The killed civilians were identified as:
  1. Rasmi Salem ‘Ouda al-Sawarkah (45);
  2. Mariam Salem Nasser al-Sawarkah (33);
  3. Yusra Mohammed ‘Awad al-Sawarkah (39);
  4. Wasim Mohammed Salem al-Sawarkah (13);
  5. Mohanned Rasmi Salem al-Sawarkah (12);
  6. Mo’ath Mohammed Salem al-Sawarkah (7);
  7. Feras Rasmi Salem al-Sawarkah (2); and
  8. Salem Rasmi Salem al-Sawarkah (3).
This crime took place within the
2-day Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip which caused
many civilian causalities as IOF warplanes launched dozens of airstrikes
on civilian targets and Palestinian armed groups’ sites, some located
within densely populated areas. This reflects the highest degree of
Israeli recklessness with Palestinian civilians’ lives.  Up to the
release of this document, IOF killed 33 Palestinians; 14 of them were
civilians, including 3 women and 8 children. Furthermore, 46 Palestinian
civilians, including 16 children and 6 women, were injured.
Additionally, seven residential buildings as well as civilian objects
and properties were destroyed.

PCHR condemns the Israeli crimes,
stressing that these crimes are new evidence that Palestinian civilians
always pay the price for Israeli attacks and military escalations.
Furthermore, PCHR stresses that the
continued IOF attacks at densely populated areas and the use of weapons
based in a manner of collective punishment are in violation of the 1949
Fourth Geneva Convention and amount to war crimes.

PCHR reiterates its call upon the High
Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill
their obligations under Article 1 to respect and ensure respect for the
Convention in all circumstances, and their obligations under Article 146
to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the
Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147
of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva
Conventions on the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to
protection in the occupied territory.