Archive | May 7th, 2015



Zio-Wahhabi Saudi plane landed at Ben-Gurion airport in illegally occupied Tel Aviv, this Wednesday.

The rumor mill went wild. Many initially thought that the plane was landed  due to sign of closer relations between the two, but now Zionist regime is claiming that it was actually part of routine, scheduled checks for the aircraft.

Zio-Wahhabi Airlines denied reports that the event occurred and is now looking to see if the carrier violated the terms of their contract.

According to Zionist regime, the plane, an Airbus A330-300, belonged to a European airline who was leasing it to Zio-Wahhabi Airlines, Wahhabi family-owned national airline of Saudi Arabia.

The Airbus had no passengers on board when it landed and was scheduled to land for routine check-ups by Bedek, Zionist company contracted by Zionist Aircraft Industries.

An IAI spokesperson confirmed the plane’s arrival to The Times of Israel and said that the “ongoing and routine maintenance” that the company provided for the European airline.

Zionist puppet regime Royal Jordanian and Zionist puppet Ordogan Turkish Airlines are the only flagship Middle Eastern arilines who operate to and from Ben Gurion Airport.





Image result for Pamela Geller PHOTO

ISIS Vows to Kill Pam Geller Over Muhammad Drawing Contest


ISIS has vowed to avenge the two Islamic extremists who were killed trying to kill lovers of free speech in Garland, Texas.  They now say they are targeting Pamela Geller who organized the event and who has run an anti Islamic blog for the past few years.  This seems altogether possible since Obama has let so many ISIS fighters and radical extremist sympathizers into the United States.  He even allowed 40 ISIS terrorists 5to return to the United States.    There is an ISIS camp (Actually 2) just across the border in Mexico and those fighters can easily cross the porous borders Obama has created.   And to top it off, Obama has given green cards to tens of thousands of Muslims every year since taking office.  

ISIS claims they have 71 trained fighters in 15 different states and it’s likely that they do.  Geller is on her own because Obama certainly won’t want to do anything to interfere in her death.  We know what side this guy is on.  The question then becomes, how can Pam Geller protect herself?  She could hire armed guards but Islamists think nothing of dying to complete a mission and that makes them a very dangerous and deadly adversary.  Or she could stay in Texas where even traffic cops are too much for terrorists.  (I’d probably go with the Texas plan)

The Obama administration is still insisting that there is no credible evidence that the shooting in Texas were ISIS inspired even though ABC has revealed that Simpson was in direct communications with an ISIS recruiter who suggested he take action against the contest a mere 8 days before the shooting.

Geller was asked if she is taking extra precautions because of the threat and she said of course but refused to say what those measures are for the sake of her security.

Evan Sayet, the comedian talked about his favorite drawing at the contest in Garland, Texas:

“My favorite drawings at the Muhammad cartoon festival in Texas were the two chalk outlines out front.”


Palestine: A Case of Eternal Love



Palestinian children from Gaza © Abed Allah Alostaz

It is a clear-cut case…. it doesn’t need political or social or military “analysts”, it doesn’t need “middle east experts” or experts on the “Palestinian Israeli conflict”…. it is a clear-cut case, a case of eternal love; a pure love that defies time, a love that is inherited, that is transferred from one generation to the next, a love that moves in our veins, feeds the mind and enriches the soul, a love that keeps the heart pumping, a love that keeps us alive, a love that is life itself… it is the love of Palestine.

When you travel along Palestinian villages, you hear the houses whispering; beautiful houses, with their white stone darkened with the years, old houses with their green yards, arched balconies and domed roofs, with the jasmine flowers climbing the staircase and the poppies and the daisies decorating the threshold…. Beautiful houses, old houses, new houses, mixing the traditional with the modern, with their black water tanks, solar panels and satellite dishes, gathered in clusters, hugging one another, protecting one another, extending over hilltops and across valleys…. when you pass by these beautiful houses, you hear them whispering words of love to the olive field in the distance, and to the cactus walls defining the road to Safad and Bisan.

When you pass the men and women; young and strong, old and wise, working in the land, caring for the trees, digging water canals, planting seedlings, harvesting the fields…. some playing the flute over the hilltop while the sheep graze the pastures, some singing of love, of parting and yearning…. others telling tales of monsters roaming the land and heroes protecting the land; when you pass the men and women, you hear songs of love to the apple tree in the front yard that awaits the day of return, you hear love songs to the olive tree uprooted from its home and waiting to rise again, you hear tales of an ancient people watering the land with their blood, defeating the monsters and keeping the land alive.

When you pass the women and men harvesting the olive trees, a woman stands up; the colours of Palestine decorating her thob, the tales of the land imprinted in her eyes, tired but bright, smiles and waves at you, invites you to share their breakfast of olives, olive oil, taboun bread and hot mint tea… When you pass the green hilltops, an elderly man lying beneath an ancient olive tree, the kuffiyeh embracing him, taking in the scent of the land with every breath, watching his grandson running behind the goats…. he waves at you and invites you to join him, to watch the sunset over Al-Jalil in the horizon, and to hear the tale of a courageous warrior buried beneath the olive tree…

When you walk along the narrow streets of a refugee camp, you hear the joyous voices of children rising loud with revolutionary songs, familiar to the mind and close to the soul… you watch elderly women sitting on the threshold in front of their houses, lamenting the old days, discussing the celebration of return… stop near a window, any window in the refugee camp, lean on the rough wall and listen to a woman singing about her lover who sold her golden bracelet and bought a gun to fight the occupiers, join them in a verse or two…. pass a grandfather clutching the hands of his grandchildren as they walk along the narrow alleys of the refugee camp, listen carefully to his words of love and wisdom, listen carefully to his promise of return, listen to him say the land is dignity and dignity is life….

When you take a walk in Palestine; be it in a village in Bisan, along the beach in Gaza, up the hill in Hebron, or in the forest in Jerusalem; the stone speaks to you, the tree speaks to you, the wind speaks to you, the wave speaks to you, the bird speaks to you… they speak to you about the hands that plant the trees, about the souls that sing to the sea, about the hearts that build the houses, about the blood that waters the land and keeps her alive… they narrate to you the words of a lover, they sing you a love song; about a land that is alive, a land that never dies, a land where every stone has a tale and every tree has a tale, a land where life is precious, where life is sacred, where land is as sacred as life itself, and where the land is protected with lives and blood….

It is a clear-cut case….
It is a love the Zionists will never comprehend… a love they will never know….
It is the beautiful villages, with their houses, yards and cactus barriers, reminiscent of Jrash, Lubia and Saforia… it is the green hills overlooking the olive fields and the vineyards…. it is the 3ala dal3ona, Mejana and 3ataba…. it is Mish3al, Jafra and Zarif Il-Toul … it is Lina, Dalal and Ghassan… it is every Palestinian elderly safekeeping the culture of the land… it is every Palestinian man and woman walking the path of resistance towards the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine … it is every Palestinian child carrying Palestine in their hearts and the key of Return in their hands.

The Zionists might think, they and their loyal slaves in the region, that they have killed us, broken our spirit, killed our will to resist. They might think, they and the heads of the “village leagues” appointed by them under invented names and titles, that they have shackled and enslaved us with the monthly salaries and with bank credits. They might think, they and their new “Lahd forces”, that they have extinguished the flame of resistance within us. They might think, together with their loyal slaves and servants, that they have created a “new Palestinian”, a new “species” that believes Palestine is Al-Muqata’a, that believes treason is a matter of opinion, that believes negotiations are a way of life, that believes that resistance is lighting a candle and handing a flower to an occupation soldier. They might think they have erased Palestine, buried its villages and towns under Zionist colonies, subdued the Palestinian people and wiped out their collective memory and national identity…

But Zionists and co don’t comprehend that it is a hopeless case of eternal love. They don’t comprehend that with every Palestinian they murder, a million Palestinians are born. They don’t comprehend that with every resistance fighter they bury alive in their death dungeons, a million fighters carry the gun to continue on the path of liberation. They don’t comprehend that with every house they demolish, a million Shaja’iya, Deir Yasin, and Lifta arise. They don’t comprehend that with every tree they uproot, a million olive, almond, carob and apple trees blossom. They don’t comprehend that with every tunnel they bomb, a million tunnels connect Rafah with Al-Naqurah, and connect Al-Nuseirat with Jerusalem. They don’t comprehend that with every inch of Palestinian land they steal, our roots clutch harder and deeper into the land and we become one with Palestine.

They don’t comprehend what Palestine is, who Palestine is; she is not a “piece of land” or a “lump of stones” or a “mere place”. Palestine is our mother, our father, our beginning, our end, our protector, our sanctuary, our all and everything. Palestine is our dignity, our soul, our existence. How could they understand? They who live on stolen land, erect colonies with stolen names, claim for themselves a stolen culture and existence, they who live a stolen time. How could they understand? They who kill the olive tree and the poppies, poison the land, strangle the sky and besiege the sea. How could they understand? They who kill the very same land they claim as their “promised land”.

No, they don’t comprehend …. They will never comprehend….
It is a clear-cut case, a hopeless case: it is a case of eternal love, of an unbreakable bond…. It is a case of a people, a land, an identity… it is a case of Palestine, her culture and her people…. It is a case of being Palestinian.

It is a case of being Palestinian… a case of being born Palestinian, growing up witnessing daily zionist crimes committed against Palestine and her children, growing up yearning for justice and return, growing up fighting for a free Palestine; free from zionist colonization, free from the river to the sea.
Palestinian children grow up seeing their houses bombed, their parents killed, their siblings maimed…. they lie on makeshift beds in over-crowded hospitals, wrapped in home-made bandages that have become red with blood, they search in vain for a familiar face to tell them that it is all nothing but a nightmare and that everything is going to be fine…. they stand outside the hospital mortuary, one carrying his baby sister while tears running down his cheeks, another sitting on the ground, clothes torn, speechless and staring at a world only he can see, a third clutching the hands of her younger sister and brother, holding back the tears and watching her father standing in the corner, trying to hide his tears…. They stand outside the door to the mortuary, and know that behind that cold iron door lies a mother whose body was ripped apart by an Israeli shell, behind that door lies a baby sister hugging her mother, behind that door lie parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, comrades, friends and classmates….. and when they find refuge at a school or at a hospital before the next round of shelling begins, they play in the over-crowded rooms, they play mothers singing for their children before they sleep, they play fathers taking their children to the zoo, they play a grandfather gathering the children around him to tell them a story, they play the neighbour running after them with a stick for climbing his almond tree…. they imitate family members that have long gone, they recall days empty of bombs and F16s’ and navy bombardment, they play an endless spring with birds, flowers and sunshine… they play their mothers coming back to hug them, to tell them that it was all but a nightmare…

Their villages are raided, their homes demolished, they are kidnapped in the middle of the night, they are beaten by armed soldiers, left alone in dark interrogation cells, they are threatened with death… but in the darkened cells, they dream of running after the goats on the hilltops of Palestine…. and during interrogation, they close their eyes and smell the almond blossoms in the spring… and when they are beaten, the taste of blood in their mouths changes to the taste of zaatar and zeit… and when they are left standing for hours in the cold, shivering, they think of their mother making bread, their father sipping mint tea after a hard day’s work, their siblings playing in front of the houses, running and shouting in the alleys… and when they are free, they run to their siblings and friends, and they play their heroes; they cover their faces with their blouses and pretend they are freedom fighters, they carry tree twigs and pretend they are guns, and they run and jump and pretend they are carrying out a resistance operation against the occupation soldiers.

Their schools are bombed, they feel the classroom walls shaking around them, they feel the stings of the shattered glass as it cuts throw their young flesh, they try to breath amidst the suffocating clouds of smoke and burning books and desks, they see their classmates scattered across the classrooms, some bleeding, some crying faintly, others sleeping the eternal sleep… and when they return to school, they place poppies and daisies where martyred comrades once sat, they sing to them songs about Palestine, love and longing, they write them short letters of pride, and honour, they tell them about the sun shining over Jerusalem, about the rain drops over Nazareth, about the olive harvest in Nablus, about fishing in Gaza… and when they play, they fight amongst themselves who will be the “martyr”, they re-enact the funeral of their friends and classmates, they who win play the heroes, and they who lose play the terrorist soldiers… they carry the “martyr” on their shoulders, they promise him never to forget him, never to forget his killers, never to forget and never to forgive, and to fight till Palestine is liberated, to fight till no more Palestinian children are killed, till all Palestinian children can play in safety, till all Palestinian children are free, till all Palestinian mothers can laugh again, till all Palestine is free.

From Shaja’iya to Shu’fat, from Al-Khalil to Yafa, from Dheisheh refugee camp to Jrash, from Silwad to Al-‘Araqeeb, from Wadi Fuqin to Lifta, from Al-Quds to Safad, from Ras il Naqura to Im Il-Rishrash…. they run in the streets, in the narrow alleys, in the fields, along the beach, masked with their torn blouses, red, black, green and white… they wave their plastic toy guns and their home-made twig guns… they remember their martyred friends… they imitate their heroes; the heroes of resistance, the heroes of Palestine. It is not the love of death, as Zionists portray it to justify killing them… it is not the lack of parental care, as Zionists often describe it to give themselves a higher moral standard… zionists and co will never comprehend that it is the love of life that drives these children, drives every Palestinian… it is the yearn for freedom that makes them rise more determined after every Israeli aggression, it is the love of the land that makes them water the olive tree with their blood so future generation can sit under these trees, and enjoy a free Palestine

Zionists and co will never comprehend….
They will never comprehend that it’s a clear-cut case, a hopeless case: it is a case of eternal love, of an unbreakable bond…. It is a case of a people, a land, an identity… it is a case of Palestine, her culture and people…. It is a case of being Palestinian. zionists and co will never comprehend that it is a hopeless case of eternal love because Palestine is us and we are Palestine.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: A Case of Eternal Love

White America, That Is: America’s God Complex



American presidents reverently end their speeches with the audience-approving Benediction, “God bless America.” What they are really communicating is that God favors America. That, today, America is God’s chosen people. Even more! They are equating America with God. Which— in the magical twinkle of a rationalizing mind’s eye—means that America is God—white America, that is. As political leaders like to assert: America is today’s embodiment of Jesus’ teaching that “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” and by inference, his followers, “are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5: 14-16) With a “manifest destiny” that swept our white forefathers across the American continent, over the bones of indigenous people and on the backs of black persons forced into slavery—today’s continuation of which includes a trail of bodies, citizens killed by police “while being black.”

America also sees itself as “the leader of the free world,” possessing the gold standard of morality, and thus determining which countries need to be liberated and which are state sponsors of terrorism.  America’s unmatched military force allows it to live in a parallel universe, and assume the role of judge, jury and executioner over much of the world with its economic power, sanctions and “kill lists.” A dominant majority of its citizens are conditioned to believe that they are the “good guys” and those who resist America’s policies “the bad guys.” All of which means that other people worship lesser gods, and therefore don’t count, and are disposable.

A classic example of America’s God complex is the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. An unnecessary, horribly destructive pre-emptive war against the Iraqi people, which author, political commentator and social justice activist Noam Chomsky calls, “The major crime of this millennium.” (“’Any reader of Orwell would be perfectly familiar’ with US maneuvers—Chomsky to RT,”,April 17, 2015)

A “Christ changed my heart”-President George W. Bush said, at a March 2003 news conference on Iraq, “I pray daily . . . for peace.” Two weeks later, America was hell-bent for war against Iraq. A war based on trumped-up lies accusing President Saddam Hussein of possessing mushroom-cloud”-threatening weapons of mass destruction and ties to the 9/11 attacks against America. And “God” was reverently woven into these manipulating falsehoods.

In his 2003 State of the Union address, a preying President Bush declared, “We seek peace. . . . And sometimes peace must be defended. . . . If war is forced upon us (italics added), we will fight in a just cause and by just means.” The “just cause?” “If Saddam does not fully disarm, for
the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him,” Bush declared to applause. And that “coalition” included a divine Partner. “We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence,” Bush asserted, “yet we can trust them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history.” (“State of the Union-President George W. Bush,” The White House, Jan. 28, 2003)

The “ways of Providence” led to the horrible war crime against Iraq, which was marketed for American consumption as “Project Iraqi Freedom.” And a devout President Bush continued to remind red-blooded, white evangelical Christians especially and other believers that, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world; freedom is almighty God’s gift to every man and woman in the world.” (“Text: President Bush’s Acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention,” FDCH E-Media, Inc., The Washington Post, Sept. 2, 2004)

Many God complex-motivated white evangelical Christians got the message. Their faith leaders were reported to have preached “war sermons” with a “common theme,” which was, “Our president is a real brother in Christ, and because he has discerned (italics added) that God’s will is for our nation to be at war against Iraq, we shall gloriously comply.” (“Wayward Christian Soldiers,” By Charles Marsh, The NewYork Times, Jan. 20, 2006)

Besides, supporting the pre-emptive war against Iraq had other faith-based benefits. While American-led multinational corporations were coveting the enormous reservoir of oil under Iraq’s ground, evangelical Christians, with their God complex, saw the invasion as a “unique opportunity” to convert Muslims fortunate enough to survive above ground.

Not that all faiths accommodated President Bush’s criminal war against Iraq. Numerous faith groups and their leaders protested early on. Some strongly. But, in time, with American boots on Iraqi ground, and most of mainstream media cheer-leading the war, the prophetic voices of faith lessened in intensity, and then became silent. The United Methodist Church, the country’s second largest Protestant denomination) is a classic case in point—especially with President Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, being United Methodists.

On November 8, 2005, over two-and-a-half years after the invasion of Iraq, the United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops released a “Statement of Conscience” against the Iraq war. The 94 Bishops began by “repent[ing] of our complicity in what we believe to be the unjust and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq.” Then vagueness took over. “In the face of the United States Administration’s (italics added) rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent.” The Bishops committed themselves “to


peacemaking . . . without being so cautious in confronting evil(italics added) that we lose our moral authority.” They issued a call to “all United Methodists to “object with boldness whengoverning powers (italics added) offer solutions of war that conflict with the gospel message of self-emptying love.” (“94 Methodist Bishops Sign Statement of Conscience Repenting Complicity with the Iraq War,”www.worldcan’, Nov. 8, 2005) (For a fuller discussion of the Bishops’ “Statement of Conscience , see Alberts, “Jesus, the Theological Prisoner of Christianity: Time to Stop Evangelizing and Start Liberating,Counterpunch, Aug. 25/26, 2007)

“The United States administration?” “Without being so cautious in confronting evil?” “Governing powers?” The 94 United Methodist Bishops could not even bring themselves to name the two “governing powers” most responsible for the horribly “evil” deaths and destruction unleashed upon the people of Iraq—and America—their own church members: President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

No problem. Today, The United Methodist Church has created the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University. Here is seen the rationalizing power of the God complex: a Christian denomination creating a noble monument to the war criminal most responsible for “the major crime of this millennium.”

Here is also seen the moral bar for the selection of United Methodist Bishops: most clergy-candidates for bishop have demonstrated their creativity serving as chaplains of the status quo, rather than confronting political and corporate power with reality and moral truth. Which means that more prophetic United Methodist ministers are often passed over for bishop, or their candidacy undermined.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum needs to be viewed in the light of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies’ “gruesome” findings on Iraq. In “looking back on ten years of war, trauma, death and displacement,” the Center qualified its findings with, “These are the results of the war that we know. And the overall figures are stunning. The findings: “4.5 million displaced, 1-2 million widows, 5 million orphans, about one million dead—in one way or another, affecting nearly one in every two people in Iraq with tragic life-altering (or ending) impacts.” (‘IN THE BUSH PRESIDENCY; HOW MANY DIED,’ Iraq: the Human Cost, And the Bush administration’s “major crime of this millennium,” with its horrible brutality, has fathered the birth of the brutally vengeful Islamic State, or ISIS.

Those possessed with the God complex, or the related ethnocentric disease of American exceptionalism, need to hear the message of MIT’s study: “The American public still for the most part has no idea what the United States did to that country, and until we Americans take responsibility for the harm we do to others with our perpetual wars, we can never recover from our war sickness, which drives us to resort to violence in international affairs in a way no other democracy routinely does.”   MIT’s message continues: “The news media rarely describes the ruinous consequences of U.S. policy and war-making for Afghanis and Iraqis. Few, if any, novels, films or other cultural expressions attempt to capture the suffering either.” (Ibid)

But the suffering of American victims of our government’s “perpetual wars” is greatly lauded and publicized as a noble sacrifice in defense of our country’s freedom. An American soldier is killed in Iraq, or Afghanistan, and the media carry stories of people lining the streets as the hearse passes slowly by, carrying his or her body to the house of worship, where he or she is lovingly eulogized. A tragic ritual repeated countless times in cities, towns and villages across the country—of precious American lives needlessly sacrificed in our government’s immoral “perpetual wars.” Immoral wars masked by political leaders, and accompanying mainstream media, as defensive, to protect Americans, but, in reality, are launched to control other countries and their energy resources—for the benefit of America’s military, industrial, energy, intelligence complex.

In a like manner, blow back violence against Americans is reinterpreted to accommodate our country’s God complex. The massive publicity surrounding the victims of the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon bombings illustrates just how sacred America lives are portrayed in relation to the unknown, nameless millions killed and maimed and widowed and orphaned by their government– in their name.

The heart-wrenching stories of Boston Marathon victims, presented at the recent penalty phase of the trial of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, made headlines. Like, “Jurors hear of lives torn apart by bombings.” (By Milton J. Valencia and Patricia Wen, The Boston Globe, April 21, 2015). And, “In Boston courtroom, a procession of heartbreaking loss in Tsarnaev sentencing,” (By CNN Wire Service,, April 22, 2015) Heart-wrenching testimony of victims’ families that led several jurors to “wipe away tears.” “She was the light of my life,” said the father of Krystle Marie Campbell, one of three victims who died in the bombings. (By Milton J. Valencia and Patricia Wren,Ibid) The courtroom testimonies greatly humanized all of the victims, portraying their loss and injury and aspirations—and “the light” they provided for their loved ones lives. As prosecuting attorney Nadine Pellegrini “told jurors in her opening statement . . . ‘you know how Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean died. . . . Now you need t know how they lived. You need to know and understand why their lives mattered.’” (Ibid)

Along with deeply moving stories of loss and injury, there are much publicized stories of courage and perseverance. Like ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost part of one leg in the bombings. At Dshokhar Tsarnaev’s trial, “she testified that she thought she was dead when the second bomb exploded because she couldn’t hear herself scream.” Last year, she told the Huffington Post, “I absolutely want to dance again and I also want to run the marathon next year.” She did both this year, telling “the news outlet that it was an ‘incredible cathartic’ experience.” (Boston Marathon Survivor with Prosthetic Leg Dances the Foxtrot at the Finish Line,” By Caitlin Keating,, 4/29/2015)

And, now, Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, originally from Dorchester, Massachusetts, is planning to produce a movie on the Boston Marathon bombings, called “Patriots’ Day.” Our bipartisan political leaders could not ask for a more favorable script for its “perpetual wars.” Tony Press,CBS Film President, put the movie this way: “There is nothing more compelling than a real story populated by real heroes . . . . The team that we have assembled for this project is determined to give audiences a very personal look at what occurred during the days when the eyes of the world were on the city of Boston and how a group of contemporary patriots faced this crisis.” (“Mark Wahlberg to produce Boston Marathon bombing movie,“ By Jessica Derschowitz, CBS News, April 1, 2015)

Those “patriots” include Boston area faith leaders, whose voices and visibility were sought after the Marathon bombings and given much coverage by the dominant press. The same voices that are rarely heard confronting bipartisan political leaders with reality and moral truth for needlessly creating enemies and causing such blowback violence with their “perpetual wars.”

The references to Boston Marathon bombing victims is not intended, in any way, to minimize their suffering and courage and perseverance. The intent is to focus on the immorality of bipartisan political leaders’ “perpetual wars,” which are a primary cause of the blow back violence against the Marathon bombing victims and other Americans. Blowback violence that will continue with more victims, if we allow our bipartisan leaders and dominant media to continue justifying their “perpetual wars” by glorifying American lives and negating the humanity and existence of the wars’ countless victims.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald goes to the heart of America’s God and exceptionalism complexes, writing, “American and Western victims of violence by Muslims are endlessly mourned, while Muslim victims of American and Western violence are completely disappeared.” He continues, “When there is an attack by a Muslim on Westerners in Paris, Sydney, Ottawa, Fort Hood or Boston, we are deluged with grief-inducing accounts of the victims. We learn their names,” he goes on, “and their extinguished life aspirations, see their pictures, hear from their grieving relatives, watch ceremonies honoring their lives and mourning their deaths, launch campaigns to memorialize them.”   Greenwald has a name for it: “the ugliest propaganda tactic on which the War on Terror centrally depends . . . toxic tribalism that repeats itself over and over throughout the West. Western victims are mourned and humanized, while victims of Western violence are invisible and thus dehumanized.” (‘THE KEY WAR ON TERROR PROPAGANDA TOOL: ONLY WESTERN VICTIMS ARE ACKNOWLEDGED,’, 4/24/2015)

Glenn Greenwald applies the God complex mentality to President Obama, who recently said that he “profoundly regretted” and “took full responsibility” for the drone strike deaths of two Al Qaeda hostages: American veteran aid worker Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto. “We all bleed when we lose an American life, Obama stated. “We all grieve when any innocent life is taken.” (“Hostage Deaths Show Risk of Drone Strikes,” By Peter Baker and Julie Hirschfeld Davis,The New York Times, April 25, 2015)

In response to President Bush’s apology, Glen Greenwald quotes “Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who represents 150 victims of American drones and was twice denied entry to the U.S. to speak about them.” Akbar told Greenwald’s ”Intercept colleague Ryan Devereaux how two of his child clients would likely react to Obama’s ‘apology’ yesterday:

Today, if Nabila or Zubair or many of the civilian victims, if they are watching on TV the president being so remorseful over the killing of a Westerner, what message is that taking? The answer, he argued is “that you do not matter, you are children of a  lesser God, and I’m only going to mourn if a Westerner is killed.” (‘THE KEY WAR ON TERROR PROPAGANDA TOOL: ONLY WESTERN VICTIMS ARE ACKNOWLEDGED,’ Ibid)

Prosecutors and mainstream media made much of the “incendiary photo” of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev giving the finger to a security camera in his cell “three months after the bombing.” (“After Jury Sees Gesture by Marathon Bomber, Defense Tries to Blunt Its Meaning, By Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times, April 23, 20015) With their “perpetual wars” creating endless enemies and blowback violence. Their investment of America’s resources in destroying countless lives for the profit of those making money and maintaining political power off the wars. At the expense of countless citizens of color in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, New York, North Charleston and elsewhere in America. Citizens whose own neighborhoods are occupied, rather than protected, by the police. It is far past time for far more Americans to see that, while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may appear to be giving America the finger, our bipartisan political leaders are giving Americathe shaft with their “perpetual wars.”

I was privileged to work as a hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center for 22 years, over 18 full-time. With its diversity of patients, BMC is like a global neighborhood. And the sacred worth of every patient is seen with the sounding of Code Blue, signaling that one is in distress. When that alarm sounds, doctors and nurses and supporting staff rush to the bedside of the patient in crisis. Whatever the patient’s religion, race, nationality, economic status, or sexual orientation , his or her life matters. All deserve “exceptional care, without exception,” which is Boston Medical Center’s mission statement, and the commitment of other hospitals as well. America desperately needs revelations from the faith community of a global neighborhood god who cares for everyone—without exception.

Posted in USAComments Off on White America, That Is: America’s God Complex

Turning Civilians Into Legitimate Targets


The IOF’s New Tactics

Several months ago, a young woman working in Kibbutz Dorot’s carrot fields noticed a piece of paper lying on the ground with a short inscription in Arabic. It looked like a treasure map. She put it in her pocket. Some time later, she gave it to her friend Avihai, who works for Breaking the Silence, an organisation of military veterans who collect testimony from Israeli soldiers to provide a record of everyday life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Avihai was in the middle of interviewing soldiers about their experiences during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip last summer. He recognised the piece of paper as a leaflet that had been dropped by an Israeli plane above Palestinian neighbourhoods in the northern part of the Strip; the wind had blown it six miles from its intended landing point.

The leaflet helps explain why 70 per cent of the 2220 Palestinians killed during the war were civilians. The red line on the map traces a route from a bright blue area labelled Beit Lahia, a Palestinian town of 60,000 inhabitants at the north edge of the Strip, and moves south through Muaskar Jabalia to Jabalia city. The text reads:

Military Notification to the Residents of Beit Lahia

The IDF will be undertaking forceful and assertive air operations against terrorist elements and infrastructure in the locations from which they launch their missiles at the State of Israel. These locations include:

From east Atatra to Salatin Street. From west [unclear] to Jabalia Camp.

You must evacuate your homes immediately and head toward southern Jabalia town along the following road:

Falluja Road, until 12 noon, Sunday 13 July 2014.

The IDF does not intend to harm you or your families. These operations are temporary and will be of short duration. Any person, however, who violates these instructions and does not evacuate his home immediately puts his own life as well as the lives of his household in danger. Those who take heed will be spared.

‘The significance of this leaflet,’ Yehuda Shaul, the founder of Breaking the Silence, told me, ‘cannot be appreciated fully without reading our new report.’ The report is made up of 111 testimonies, provided by around seventy soldiers who participated in the fighting.

One thing is immediately clear from the interviews: the IDF’s working assumption was that once the leaflets were dropped, anyone who refused to move was a legitimate target:

Q: You said earlier that you knew the neighbourhood was supposed to be empty of civilians?

A: Yes. That’s what they told us … they told us that the civilians had been informed via leaflets scattered in the area, and that it was supposed to be devoid of civilians, and civilians who remained there were civilians who apparently chose to be there.

Q: Who told you that?

A: The commanders, in off-the-record type conversations, or during all kinds of briefings.

The IDF has the technology to tell whether people had actually left, but the claim that ‘no civilians should be in the area’ is a recurring refrain.

The land invasion began on 17 July and was generally limited to within a mile of the border. An infantry soldier deployed either in or near Beit Lahia described a typical incident:

There was one time when I looked at some place and was sure I saw someone moving. Maybe I imagined it, some curtain blowing, I don’t know. So I said: ‘I see something moving.’ I asked [permission] to open fire toward that spot, and I opened fire and [the other soldiers] hit it with a barrage …

Q: What were the rules of engagement?

A: There weren’t really any rules of engagement … They told us: ‘There aren’t supposed to be any civilians there. If you spot someone, shoot.’ Whether the person posed a threat or not wasn’t a question; and that makes sense to me. If you shoot someone in Gaza it’s cool, no big deal. First of all because it’s Gaza, and second because that’s warfare. That, too, was made clear to us – they told us, ‘Don’t be afraid to shoot,’ and they made it clear that there were no uninvolved civilians.

It seems safe to assume, however, that most of the civilians who died weren’t killed by infantry troops. One of the IDF’s basic doctrines is to try to guarantee zero risk for its troops. The region was ‘softened’ by artillery fire for nine days before the ground forces were scheduled to invade. Planes, helicopters and drones (though the IDF does not admit to using killer drones) bombarded the region from the air, and there was heavy artillery fire from inside Israel. As one soldier put it,

We knew that by the time we got there on Friday there were not supposed to be any people in the area, since leaflets were dispersed and also because there wasn’t very much left of the place. The artillery corps and the air force really cleaned that place up.

The Israeli zero risk doctrine was developed with the help of Asa Kasher, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University and one of the authors of the IDF’s ethical code. Kasher interprets just war theory and international humanitarian law as stipulating a hierarchy of protection: Israeli civilians must be protected at all costs, then come IDF soldiers, and only then do the enemy’s civilian population enter into the equation. ‘When it is impossible to accomplish a military mission without endangering the lives of a terrorist’s non-terrorist neighbours,’ Kasher writes in ‘The Ethics of Protective Edge’, ‘as much compassion as possible under the circumstances must be shown without aborting the mission or raising the risk to Israeli soldiers.’

As the troops prepared to enter Gaza, artillery and intelligence officers determined which targets should be eliminated before the ground invasion: tall buildings overlooking the incursion route, for example, and places from which rockets had been launched at Israel. One soldier describes a high-ranking officer looking at an aerial photo on which targets had been circled, and then pointing at several other Palestinian houses and instructing the artillery officer to eliminate them too.

The Israeli military fired 34,000 artillery rounds during the war: 12,000 smoke, 3000 illumination and 19,000 explosive. With an American-made Howitzer 155-millimetre cannon, a strike is considered precise when the round falls anywhere within 100 metres of the target. Howitzer shells can kill anyone within 50 metres and injure anyone within 100 metres.

There is this perception that we know how to do everything super accurately, as if it doesn’t matter which weapon is being used … But no, these weapons are statistical, and they hit 50 metres to the right or 100 metres to the left, and it’s unpleasant. What happens is, for seven straight days it’s non-stop bombardment, that’s what happens in practice.

The artillery officer has to ensure the target is a certain distance from sensitive sites, such as UN facilities, schools, clinics and hospitals. These distances are not set in stone, but determined by what the IDF terms ‘activity levels’. If, for example, the activity level is one, then the target of a 155-millimetre projectile can’t be within 500 metres of a school. But if the activity level is changed to three, then the safety range is decreased dramatically. An officer explains:

First level means you can fire artillery up to a certain distance from civilians, or from a place where you think it’s likely there’ll be civilians … For fighter jets and the bigger bombs of one ton, half a ton, it’s defined verbally … as ‘Low level of damage expected to civilians.’ Next is the second level. The mortar ranges stay the same, and for artillery the distance from civilians decreases. For jets, it says, ‘Moderate harm to civilians’ or ‘Moderate harm to civilians is expected,’ or ‘Moderate collateral damage’, something like that. This means something undefined, something that’s according to the way the commander sees things and the mood he’s in: ‘Let’s decide ourselves what “moderate” means.’ In the third level, the artillery’s [safety range from civilians] gets cut by about half. I’m not talking about jets, where there’s already significant damage and it’s considered acceptable, that’s the definition. We expect a high level of harm to civilians. Like, it’s OK from our perspective, because we’re in the third level. They aren’t given a specific, defined number, this is something I remember clearly. That’s left to the commander.

Another soldier adds that the activity levels reflect ‘the degree of collateral damage you’re allowed to cause. [They] reflect the means that you’re permitted to use, and the distance you need to maintain from sensitive locations when you shoot. They reflect a whole lot of parameters concerning the activation of fire.’

There can be many reasons for changing the activity level. Some have to do with the intensity of the fighting. When Hamas blew up an armoured personnel carrier in Shuja’iyya and killed seven Israeli soldiers, the activity level immediately changed:

There were many, many targets that [weren’t attacked] because they didn’t qualify under the firing policy, and then after Shuja’iyya for example, suddenly some of those targets did get approved. The sort of problematic targets that were at a certain distance from some school – suddenly stuff like that did get approved.

The activity level may also change due to specific intelligence, or simply because the only remaining targets are not within the range permitted by level one, ‘because the “target bank” had been depleted.’

‘Hamas is pushing for a display of victory,’ that’s always the expression used … this sweeping expression that’s used at the end of every round [of fighting]. [There is talk that] the delegations are in Cairo, or on their way to Cairo, or will soon be arriving in Cairo. But the fighting keeps going on, and even if you think it’s about to end – you have to keep acting like nothing’s about to end. So that’s why you go up a level, to turn the threat around and also as a show of force. And so it’s possible that the target will be approved if it’s justified, if there’s a good reason, if it’s a valuable target, or if there’s a good chance to hit it in a way that’ll look good to the Israeli audience, and look bad for the Palestinian audience. That’ll hurt the military rocket-firing capabilities of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, or of other organisations …

Q: Collateral damage means only bodily harm, or also damage to property?

A: Bodily harm.

Q: Property isn’t counted at all?

A: Not as far as the levels – the levels are practically binary. These are the levels of collateral damage, and the grading is based solely on human lives.

After the 2006 Lebanon war, the IDF realised that its strictly hierarchical command structure had hindered the war effort. The idea, which is now common in the US military as well, is to create a network of interconnected decentralised cells with significant autonomy to make executive decisions. In the words of General Stanley McChrystal, who headed the US Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, ‘to defeat a networked enemy, we had to become a network ourselves.’ Each cell is made up of officers from different branches – infantry, artillery, air force, military intelligence, secret service agencies – who work together on the basis of shared information and shared strategy. The way the IDF cells function is classified, but it seems likely there are two main kinds: ‘attack cells’ and ‘assistance cells’. Attack cells would include ‘hunting cells’ whose goal is to hunt down Palestinian militants and assassinate them. There are also thought to be ‘fishing cells’, whose task is to monitor a particular area to determine who the ‘big fish’ in it are; and ‘real estate cells’, which identify and monitor strategic buildings and facilities so that they can be destroyed at the right moment if necessary.

One soldier, who was very likely a member of an ‘attack cell’, was asked what happens when the target bank is depleted, i.e. whether the IDF attacks the houses of lower ranking Hamas activists when most higher ranking targets have already been eliminated. The soldier replied:

Absolutely. See, you start the fighting with a very clear ‘target list’ that has been assembled over a long period of time, and there are also units whose objective is to mark new targets in real time. When we start running out [of targets], then we begin hitting targets that are higher on collateral damage levels, and pay less and less attention to this. But there are also all sorts of efforts aimed at gathering intelligence that’s specifically for establishing new targets like, for example, which areas are being used to launch [missiles or mortars toward Israel], statistics on where rockets are being fired from, where mortars are being fired from. [The co-ordinates] are calculated in a pretty precise way, and are used to try and figure out where it’s likely that there is a rocket-launching infrastructure. And you say: ‘OK, I’ll strike that piece of land, because every morning at 7 a.m., ten mortar shells are fired from there.’

After the nine-day artillery assault on the Gaza Strip, the troops marched in. The testimonies suggest that every infantry brigade was accompanied by a tank battalion, an engineering battalion and several D9 bulldozers, and had back-up artillery at its disposal as well as constant reconnaissance that was communicated to the officers on the ground through an assistance cell. The soldiers say that the ground troops had instructions to kill any person within range. Before they entered Palestinian houses, a tank would shoot a shell to create a way in or soldiers would use hand-held missile launchers. Anyone inside would be incapacitated and so unable to surprise the troops. Once they were in, any movement outside was considered suspicious.

Several soldiers said that at first there were arguments about how they should behave in the Palestinian houses they occupied. In briefings, soldiers were instructed not to loot or plunder, and some argued that they shouldn’t sleep on the mattresses or make coffee on the stove. Others disagreed:

The way I saw it, I pictured this family returning to their house and seeing it totally wrecked: the windows all broken, the floors torn up and the walls messed up by grenades; and they say: ‘The sons of bitches ate my cornflakes, I can’t believe it.’ No chance. They wouldn’t care if you used their cooking gas, if you used their kitchen. That’s total bullshit in my opinion. I don’t think that type of quandary is complex at all.

Many others began to understand that the ethical dilemmas raised in the briefings were a farce:

We knew that we were entering a house and that we could be good kids, on our best behaviour, but even then a D9 [armoured bulldozer] would show up and flatten the house. We figured out pretty quickly that every house we left, a D9 would show up and raze it. The neighbourhood we were in, what characterised it operationally was that it commanded a view of the entire area of the [Israel-Gaza border fence] and also some of the [Israeli] border towns. In the southern and some of the eastern parts of Juhar ad-Dik, we understood pretty quickly that the houses would not be left standing … At a certain point we understood it was a pattern: you leave a house and the house is gone; after two or three houses you figure out that there’s a pattern. The D9 comes and flattens it.

This is the Dahiya doctrine in action, named after the Beirut neighbourhood which Israel turned into rubble in 2006. According to Gabi Siboni from the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, the IDF needs

to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritise damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher.

According to the 2009 Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the essence of the doctrine was ‘widespread destruction as a means of deterrence’. Soldiers talk of the ‘day after’ effect:

Part of the [military] engineering rationale, of what’s called ‘the day after’ – I don’t know if that’s the term that’s published – is that when we blow up and flatten the area, we can in effect sterilise it. Throughout the period of combat, one keeps in mind that there is this thing called ‘the day after’, which is: the day we leave [the Gaza Strip], the more [areas] left wide open and as ‘clean’ as possible the better. One decides on a certain line – during the days after Operation Cast Lead it was 300 metres from the fence – and this area is levelled, flattened. Doesn’t matter if there are groves there, doesn’t matter if there are houses, doesn’t matter if there is a gas station – it’s all flattened because we are at war, so we are allowed to. You can justify anything you do during wartime … Everything suddenly sounds reasonable even though it isn’t really reasonable. We had a few D9s in our battalion and I can attest that the D9s alone destroyed hundreds of structures. It was in the debriefing. There were a few more structures that we blew up in the end. Obviously there were all kinds of other things, but the D9 was the main tool, it doesn’t stop working. Anything that looks suspicious, whether it’s just in order to clear a path, whether it’s some other thing, it takes it down. That’s the mission.

Another soldier describes the last hour before a ceasefire:

There was a humanitarian ceasefire that went into effect at 6 a.m. I remember they told us at 5.15: ‘Look, we’re going to put on a show.’ It was amazing, the air force’s precision. The first shell struck at exactly quarter past five and the last one struck at 5.59 and 59 seconds. It was crazy. Fire, non-stop shelling of [a] neighbourhood [east of Beit Hanoun] … Non-stop. Just non-stop. The entire Beit Hanoun compound in ruins.

Q: When you saw this neighbourhood on your way out, what did you see?

A: When we left it was still intact. We were sent out of Beit Hanoun ahead of the ceasefire, ahead of the air force strikes.

Q: And when you went back in [after the air strikes], what did you see of that neighbourhood?

A: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nothing. Like the opening scene in The Pianist. There’s that famous photo that they always show on trips to Poland that shows Warsaw before the war and Warsaw after the Second World War. The photo shows the heart of Warsaw and it’s this classy European city, and then they show it at the end of the war. They show the exact same neighbourhood, only it has just one house left standing, and the rest is just ruins. That’s what it looked like.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Turning Civilians Into Legitimate Targets

The Logic of Rebellion

Violent Conditions Generate Violent Revolts

My eyes were glued to my television set as I watched civil unrest unfold in Baltimore. Yet, as a historian who has studied urban rebellions, I was not surprised. Since last August, the question for me has not been why, but when.

I watched CNN’s and MSNBC’s coverage. What I noticed was not surprising, but vexing, nonetheless. Commentators like Al Sharpton, Dr. Jamal Bryant, and others resorted to condemning and condescending participants and denying the uprising’s political significance. The assumption that violence is senseless and apolitical was embedded in their sanctimony.

Now, I do not aim to advocate for the use of collective violence, but I believe it is imperative that we analyze its political significance. In yesterday’s press conference, President Obama argued that the “riot” distracted us from the pursuit of reform. I argue otherwise, the Baltimore rebellion not only highlights the problem of policing, it opens a space for analysis and conversation of all of the structural problems that President Obama mentioned in his reactions yesterday. Rebellions historically have also created political opportunities for reform. Dismissing collective violence as senseless, criminal, and apolitical narrows our frame for understanding the history of interconnected problems plaguing cities and municipalities like Baltimore and Ferguson such as racial and economic segregation and redlining, deindustrialization, overpolicing, the emergence of mass incarceration, and even criminal activity. I argue that collective violence is protest politics. Violent protest does contain a logic, even if it appears chaotic.

The pressing question underlying live analyses of the Baltimore uprising was: Why do African Americans rebel?

The mainstream explanation: The Baltimore uprising was a product of criminal opportunism, youthful energy, boredom, and, mostly notably, family breakdown. These explanations allow for political officials and commentators to demonize rebels with racially coded language. Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and President Obama led the chorus of critics, calling violent protesters “lawless gangs…,”“thugs” and, “criminals.”

State officials demonize those who engage in violent protests for several reasons: to deter further participation, to maintain order, and to retain the state’s monopoly over “legitimate” collective violence. State actors (loosely defined here as those who work in the military, police, elected governance, or even social services) risk threatening America’s social order if they publicly validate the participation in collective violence of those who find themselves at the bottom of the nation’s social, economic, and racial hierarchy.

Maintaining the state’s control over who gets to participate in “legitimate” violence also explains local, state, and national political leaders’ desperation to untangle a historical relationship between violence, politics and protest, and social change. This is why political leaders were hyperventilating about how Baltimoreans need to be nonviolent and why violence does not constitute a form of protest. As Ta-Nehisi Coates eloquently reasoned, appeals to nonviolence allow public officials to avoid accountability. Conjuring the mythical spirits of nonviolent protest in America’s recent past enables public officials and other Americans to evade discussions about the deep causes for rebellion. What is missing from analyses of the rhetoric of nonviolence is that these exhortations may serve as an implicit admission of the crisis of legitimacy that police departments, post-1970s municipal governments, and black elected officials are confronting in the wake of police killings and rising inequality. Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Governor Hagan, and President Obama cannot promise to employ all of the participants or to fully rebuild their neighborhoods. The only tools many executives have left are the police and, in the case of Baltimore, appeals to nonviolence.

Of course, the irony surrounding their efforts to appeal to nonviolent political change lay in denying this America’s history of political violence. Historian Paul Gilje argues “The United State of America was born amid a wave of rioting in his book, Rioting in America. He proceeds to point to the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party as prominent examples. I should expand that observation: The U.S. was founded in not just violent protest against persons and property, but also in plunder and looting — enslavement, land dispossession, and violent rebellion against the British Empire. We will always remember the Boston Tea Party fondly while we erase any traces of black and brown rebellion.

The problem with the mainstream view of rebellion is that it relies on pathological, behavioral, and individual explanations. These explanations are often superficial and they appear simple and commonsensical. Senator Rand Paul and potential presidential candidate, Ben Carson, for example, echo Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s explanation for black poverty. They point to weak parenting and the lack of “strong fathers” in black homes as the fundamental causes for participation. These analyses elide the persistence of structural racism, economic exploitation, and violent oppression in potentially rebellious spaces. Does this mean that there are not opportunists who seek to take advantage of the revolt? No. But focusing on “opportunists” undermines efforts to understand thoroughly the necessary and sufficient causes for rebellion. And, if we do not consider the conditions fully, we foreclose the chance of constructing just policies that could address structural racism, economic exploitation, police oppression, or even inner-city violence.

As a Master’s student, my advisor and I often discussed what constituted necessary and sufficient causes for urban rebellion. They are the key to comprehending the generation of insurgency. Necessary conditions are factors needed to generate discontent, frustration, and opportunity among potential rebels. Necessary causes are often simultaneously contemporaneous and historical in nature — residential segregation, the flight of industry and high paying jobs, decline in education system and social services, draining of tax base, gentrification, persistent racialized poverty, lack of adequate transportation, exploitation of local consumers, overpolicing, inner city violence and the emergence of underground economies. Of course, this does not make Ferguson and Baltimore identical. These developments affect particular areas differently. But, for social scientists especially, it is possible to identify the deadly mix of disinvestment, inequality, exploitation, and oppression that ignites rebellion.

Sufficient conditions constitute the spark for rebellion. And according to most social science literature and official reports, most rebellions stem from police brutality.

Enter Freddie Gray.

On April 12, Baltimore police approached, pursued, and arrested 25-year-old Freddie Gray for mostly unknown reasons. The police dragged him before placing him in the van. The police likely took him for a“rough ride” where officers would place suspects into vehicles unsecured with the intent to harm and subdue them. He sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. The department suspended the six officers involved. Yet, the authorities could not explained how Gray sustained his fatal injury. They have yet to provide an answer.

Gray’s killing reflects the continued degradation of black life. The spate of black deaths over the last several years animates troubling political trends such as conservatives’ assault on voting rights, welfare and other social services, and even the reproductive freedoms of women of color. Decades of job loss and disinvestment of social services have left black bodies vulnerable. Social rights often serve to protect one’s personal liberty. People of color who live in areas characterized by chronic poverty are subject to stigmatization and expulsion. What historian Khalil Gilbran Muhammad calls the condemnation of blackness justifies the killing and jailing of black and brown bodies. The absence of civil and economic rights and the presence of oppressive policing and surveillance leaves black and brown bodies vulnerable.

So people rebel.

Rebellions contain physical battles between police and protesters and rhetorical clashes in the media. Rebellions contain two offensives — one by the people, another by the authorities and elected officials. While we have not seen the type of militarized offensive akin to Ferguson, we watched as Rawlings-Blake, Hagan, and Batts launched a rhetorical offensive, referring to participants as thugs and criminals. Participants and allies continue to utilize social media to frame the unrest.

Living in the “Box”

While I have not been impressed with Dr. Jamal Bryant’s analysis of the rebellion, he offered a great metaphor for what it means to live as a black person in unequal cities during Gray’s funeral service:

“At 8:40, your son began running from the police. He began running. At 8:41, according to the timeline, he stopped. He stopped not because he was out of breath…He stopped because somewhere within the inner recesses of his own mind. He made up in his own mind ‘I’m tired of living in a box.’ And so he stopped running…”

Freddie Gray was not the only one who was frustrated with containment. I surmise that man black Baltimoreans revolted against this condition. This is why African Americans “burn down their own neighborhood.”

The question — Why are black people destroying their own communities? — implies irrationality on the part of violent protesters and the absence of logic of this form of collective action. There is a logic to rebellion. Participants often strike at symbols of authority and exploitation and spaces of consumption — police, liquor stores, and check-cashing establishments. Historian Gerald Horne reports how rebels in Watts burned credit receipts before ransacking particular stores in Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s. Two days ago, we watched scores of Baltimoreans rush a check cashing establishment. Even the looting of luxury goods is representative of America’s obsession with the possession of plenty.

I also argue that many of these spaces are not necessarily ones of community. Impoverished spaces often serve to contain undesirables. I may not agree with much of what Dr. Bryant says, but his “box” metaphor is apt. Prison authorities may put you in the box if they view you as a problem. So, think of it this way: If you were a prisoner, would you not burn down the cell and the whole jail if you had the chance? This may not be the case for all, but many certainly would.

The unfolding of urban rebellion generates further questions and observations about community. Are you a part of a community in the U.S. if you do not own any valuable property? What kind of community contains few affordable stores, few jobs, declining wages, and few social services in a consumer-based society? You need to be mobile, but you cannot get around. People are trapped. Now African Americans are confronted with the constant violation of personal liberty due to private and state surveillance, overpolicing, and the threat of death. Many live in a space that may be best described as a jail cell. This is the case even if one lives in the midst of vacant lots. The resident’s mobility remains restricted and their life chances remain low. And the police, of course, serve as guards to protect the haves from the have nots.

Someone living in Baltimore’s depressed areas may feel the historical weight of politicians, land developers, urban planners, real estate agents, business and corporate leaders manipulating law, space, wages, and policy for their benefit. Meanwhile a politician tells a Black Baltimorean to vote knowing that civil rights does not always ensure economic security. She watches police shoot and kill other black folks with little consequence. He wakes up every morning wondering whether or not they will be the next hashtag. Her march to protest Gray’s death does not garner attention while The Baltimore Sun plasters her friend’s face on the front page if the police suspects him of criminal activity.

Eventually the police kills a black person and then someone lights that spark — whether or not the person participates in criminal mischief is beside the point. We ignore the numerous studies illustrating how rebellions are the products of inequality and exploitation. In response to rebellion, many Americans seek to attack the rock thrower with the desperate hope of obscuring the underlying message — this country must finally reckon with its legacy of segregation, the effects of urban disinvestment, and the construction of a criminal justice system that“disappears” African American men and stigmatizes and violates black women and trans folks.

There is a logic to urban rebellion, but many of us remain unaware because of our lack of familiarity with the feeling and condition of entrapment. Of course, not everyone would respond to these circumstances the same way. If all we did, then either we would toil in poverty in perpetuity or we would have burned the country down to the ground a long time ago. All of us have to get to know that feeling and acquire a better sense of the history of racism and rebellion in this country before throwing our metaphorical stones. Rebellions are a product of a long train of abuses against the poor and people of color.

James Baldwin knew it. He warned us at the end of The Fire Next Time.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew it as well. Dr. King reflected upon his move to Chicago in 1966:

“Riots grow out of intolerable conditions. Violent revolts are generated by revolting conditions and there is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people who feel they have no stake in it, who feel they have nothing to lose. To the young victims of the slums, this society has so limited the alternatives of his life that the expression of his manhood is reduced to the ability to defend himself physically. No wonder it appears logical to him to strike out, resorting to violence against oppression.”

Posted in USAComments Off on The Logic of Rebellion

Is ISIS Really on the Run?

Why the US portrayal is Very Far from the Truth

A graphic illustration of Western wishful thinking about the decline of Islamic State (IS) is a well-publicised map issued by the Pentagon to prove that the self-declared caliphate has lost 25 per cent of its territory since its big advances last year.


Unfortunately for the Pentagon, sharp-eyed American journalists soon noticed something strange about its map identifying areas of IS strength. While it shows towns and villages where IS fighters have lost control around Baghdad, it simply omits western Syria where they have been advancing in and around Damascus.

The Pentagon displayed some embarrassment about its dodgy map, but it largely succeeded in its purpose of convincing people that IS is in retreat. Many news outlets across the world republished the map as evidence of the success of air strikes by the United States and its allies in support of the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. The capture of Tikrit after a month-long siege is cited as a further sign that a re-energised Iraqi state is winning and one day in the not too distant future will be able to recapture Mosul in the north and Anbar province in the west.

How much of this comforting news is true? Recall that the loss or retention of territory is not a good measure of a force such as IS using quasi-guerrilla tactics. Good news from the point of view of Baghdad is that its forces finally retook the small city of Tikrit, though its recapture was primarily the work of 20,000 Shia militia and not the Iraqi army, which only had some 3,000 soldiers involved in the battle. It was not a fight to the finish and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said IS only committed a few hundred fighters to holding the city.

Success at Tikrit was trumpeted at home and abroad and was to be followed by an Iraqi army offensive in Anbar province and possibly an assault on Mosul later in the year. But, just as this was supposed to begin, IS fighters attacked Baiji oil refinery, the largest in Iraq, and Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, showing that they retain their offensive capability. As of last Thursday, IS fighters had seized most of the 36-square-kilometre refinery compound with only a few pockets of Iraqi federal police and soldiers still holding out. “We have very little food and ammunition, and we can’t withstand the suicide bombers, snipers and rockets,” said a federal police officer reached by phone by the Iraq Oil Report. “All of us are thinking of committing suicide.”

What emerges from the latest round of fighting is not only that IS retains the ability to launch offensives over a wide area, but that the Iraqi army very much depends on rushing a small number of elite combat units like so many fire brigades to cope with successive crises. One source in Baghdad told me that the number of troops useable for these purposes was about five brigades or some 15,000 soldiers. Other published reports suggest the number may be even smaller at 5,000 men drawn from the so-called Golden Brigade, an Interior Ministry Swat team and a unit known as the Scorpions. When these small but effective forces succeed in repelling an IS attack there is nobody in the regular army to hold the positions they have defended.

A key question since IS captured much of northern and western Iraq last year concerns the ability of the Iraqi army to reconstitute itself after such a defeat. Going by recent fighting this is simply not happening, and failure here has important political consequences for Iraq and the region as a whole. It means that IS is not being beaten back by the regular army in its most important strongholds in Iraq. As a result the Baghdad government is this weekend poised to send Shia militias into overwhelmingly Sunni Anbar province to reinforce the army. “We are under tremendous pressure,” an army officer fighting in Anbar was quoted as saying. “We are in the midst of a war of attrition, which I am afraid will play into the hands of Islamic State.” He described their fighters as being “everywhere”.

The move of Shia militiamen, organised and in part directed by Iranian officers, into western Sunni Iraq creates a dilemma for the US. The Americans have been insisting that the militias be under the military control of Baghdad, though how you prove this is another matter. Washington had been hoping to repeat, if only in miniature, its success in using anti-al-Qaeda tribes and communities against the jihadis in 2006-08. Today this is almost impossible because there are no longer 150,000 US troops in Iraq, IS has shown it will kill anybody opposing it, and Sunni-Shia sectarian fear and hatred is deeper than ever. The 90,000 Sunni refugees who fled Ramadi for Baghdad when the fighting started found it difficult or impossible to enter the capital because they were suspected of being IS infiltrators. Their fate is a grim illustration of the degree to which Iraq no longer exists as a unified country.

At the heart of the failure of the US and its allies to defeat IS over the last 10 months is the problem that what makes military sense is politically toxic and vice versa. The strongest military force opposing IS in Iraq is the Iranian-backed Shia militias, but the US imperative to limit Iranian influence in Iraq means that it does not want to support the militias with air strikes. In Syria, there is a somewhat similar situation since the Syrian army is the most powerful military force in the country, but it does not receive US tactical air support when fighting IS or Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate, because a US priority remains to displace President Bashar al-Assad. As a result IS is not under serious military pressure in Syria and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has recently issued orders for fighters to transfer from Aleppo to Iraq.

Wishful thinking about the strength of IS and other al-Qaeda-type movements is not confined to foreign powers. Baghdad governments are always inclined to believe their own propaganda or see themselves as victims of conspiracies. Last summer the Shia leaders in Baghdad had convinced themselves that they were the victims of a conspiracy in which the Kurds were in league with IS. It came as a shock to them when the Kurds were the next victims of an IS offensive last August. In Baghdad last week the Interior Minister, Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, summoned dozens of journalists to meet him so he could blame them for creating the conditions for IS successes.

The Pentagon’s misleading map shows the degree to which false optimism dominates the thoughts and actions of the outside powers in Iraq, Syria and rest of the Middle East. It reminds me of the situation early last year when President Obama, in receipt of the best information US intelligence could give him, dismissed IS as being the equivalent of a small-time basketball team whose actions were of no importance.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Is ISIS Really on the Run?

Ab-A$$ to Resign as PA President, Will Relocate to International Space Station


Image result for ABBAS CARTOON

Mahmoud Ab-A$$ shocked the world early Wednesday morning by announcing his intention to step down as Palestinian Authority President in six weeks’ time and join the International Space Station (ISS) habitable artificial satellite.

“My prostate’s the size of a melon. Zero gravity will help with the swelling,” the Palestinian statesman said after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution on ending the Israeli occupation earlier in the week.

While other crew members are conducting experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy and meteorology, Ab-A$$ plans to “close my eyes and imagine that I’m floating weightless in the Dead Sea, a body of water currently occupied by a certain genocidal regime.”

At 89, the Palestinian leader’s age was a key factor in his decision to leave Ramallah for the tranquility of low Earth orbit. “I’m tired of the grind, son. I can’t even doze off in the middle of an emergency meeting anymore without people freaking out, thinking that I’m dead. Saeb Erekat [Chief PLO Negotiator with Israel] once even gave me sloppy mouth-to-mouth…tasted like stale salmon.”

Asked if he will continue to battle for Palestinian independence from outer space, Ab-A$$ responded enthusiastically: “Damn straight. To protest the decades of settlement activities and displacement, I will be pulling down my pants and flashing my ass at Israel every time it passes by my window.”


Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Ab-A$$ to Resign as PA President, Will Relocate to International Space Station

Zionist Military Currently Training Zio-Wahhabi


Image result for CAMEL  PHOTOS

ZiO-Wahhabi Air Force

Zio-Wahhabi-led coalition continues its fight against Houthis in Yemen, and its not going great for either side. According to one Zio-Wahhabi commander, “Let’s face it, while the Houthis are really not top-notch fighters, it turns out we’re also not as good as we thougt

Zio-Wahhabi commander told The Israeli Daily that special units from both militaries are working together so the Zio-Wahhabi can better learn how to engage in what is unofficially known as Whack-A-Mole or ‘targeted killing’ as they are commonly referred to. “We’re trying to locate these pain-in-the-ass Houthi leaders and the shit’s difficult. They all look the same! The Israelis are masters at it. Seriously, these Zionists have the memory of an elephant. If you’ve pissed them off, they don’t let anything slide. So, when some dipshit from Hamas pops his head above ground to check the Israeli weather…whack. If members from Islamic Jihad and Fatah do the same…whack, whack. Game over. And here we thought Jews were just good with money or controlling the world or both.”

“We’re definitely learning but we’re taking things slowly. The last thing we need to do is turn half of Yemen into rubble…not that anyone would notice.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Zionist Military Currently Training Zio-Wahhabi

UN Condemns Zio-Nazi regime for Occupation of Nepal


Image result for NEPAL earthquake PHOTO

Following reports that more than 250 Israelis have made their way to Nepal in order to assist in recovery efforts following a devastating earthquake, the UN has issued its latest condemnation of the Jewish State for its sudden occupation of the South-Asian nation.

“We are dismayed to learn that Israeli forces are currently using the chaos in Nepal to colonize the country, and we order all these Israeli settlers to leave at once,” the UN Human Rights Council said in a statement over the weekend. “The people of Nepal are authorized to use all means available to repel the Zionist invaders.”

The UN condemnation was followed by a letter, written by Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, and signed by Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem, as well as self-declared revolutionist Russell Brand, condemning Israel for committing genocide and apartheid in Nepal, a statement from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling the Israeli presence in the country “unsustainable” and a host of celebrities tweeting #FreeNepalfromZionism. Hamas, meanwhile, fired a series of rockets towards Nepal, though most landed somewhere in the Jordanian desert.

RELATED: The Israeli Daily has been heard!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the UN’s claims and said the government had not approved any settlement construction in Nepal, but added, “If we wanted to we totally could, because God said so.” Israeli officials were said to be working to keep news of the UN resolution away from Economy Minister Naftali Bennett so that the right-wing leader “wouldn’t get any ideas.”

Posted in Far EastComments Off on UN Condemns Zio-Nazi regime for Occupation of Nepal

Shoah’s pages