Archive | December 29th, 2019

Ilhan Omar under attack: Where is the outrage?

Image result for ilhan omar CARTOON

Dear Editor,

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is under attack again. Last Friday, West Virginia Republicans has displayed an anti-Muslim poster of Rep. Omar in W.V. State House equating her to al-CIA-da and blaming her for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That display has led to a confrontation between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

The day after, the Republican Party Chairwoman said the display was not affiliated with the party in any way adding, “The West Virginian Republican Party does not condone or support hate speech. Hmm! Does that apply to Muslim hate or say Islamophobia also?! Apparently, not!
The ugly truth, Rep. Omar has been under attack long before she was elected. The reasons, you may ask? The answer is: She supports BDS, challenged AIPAC, is a Muslim woman, and wears a hijab.

Last month, the world came to a halt after Congresswoman Omar tweeted that AIPAC the pro-Israeli lobby had bought off some members of Congress. Rep. Omar was immediately and viciously attacked by Israel’s 3 Stooges (the White House and both houses of Congress) and she was forced to apologize. Now, Congresswoman Omar is the victim of slander and smear campaign. Where is the outrage?

Chelsea Clinton, who was quick to rebuke Ilhan Omar last month and told the Congresswoman what she can and can not say, has now gone back to her shell. 

Finally, Trump, who shamefully called for Omar’s resignation, has not made a peep. Too bad Ivanka Trump, the administration’s moral compass, who once said “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children” has chosen to remain silent about Republicans ganging against a Muslim lawmaker.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph 

Retired USAF Veteran

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Yemen:The Saudi Zio-Wahhabi aggression did not stop killing

Sanaa News - The aggression forces intensified their violations of the ceasefire agreement in Al-Hodeidah governorate and the targeting of Saada governorate, which led to martyrdom and injury

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr
The Saudi Zio-Wahhabi aggression forces intensified their violations of the ceasefire agreement in Al-Hodeidah Governorate, targeting Saada Governorate, which resulted in the death and injury of six citizens, including two children, and a number of Africans during the past 24 hours.

A military source confirmed to (Saba) the death of a citizen and another injury by artillery shelling of the invaders and mercenaries on the addict area in the district of Al-Tahita in Hodeidah Governorate.

The source said that a woman and two of her children were injured as a result of artillery shelling of the invaders targeting their house in Al-Jah district, Beit Al-Faqih District.

The source stated that the forces of aggression fired four Katyusha rockets at the Al-Faza area of ​​Al-Tahita district and bombarded more than 27 artillery shells on the mountainous area, and also intensively combed with machine-guns at the two areas.

The source pointed out that the forces of aggression bombed a number of artillery shells east of the Hayes district, and a tank of the forces of aggression bombed the village of Al-Shujan, on the outskirts of the besieged city of Al-Deraihemi.

The source pointed to the burning of a number of houses of citizens in the Al-Duraimi district and its west as a result of being targeted by various machineguns by the mercenaries of the aggression, and they also shelled more than 14 mortar shells in the villages of Al-Shujan and Al-Kwai in the district, and they intermittently targeted the machine guns in the streets of Sanaa and the fifty in the city of Hodeidah and kilo 16.

The source added that three African immigrants were killed and others wounded by the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi border guards’ fire in the Al-Raqou market in the Al-Munbah border district in Saada governorate.

The source pointed out that a citizen was killed by Saudi Zio-Wahhabi border guards fire in the border district of Shada, while Saudi Zio-Wahhabi missile and artillery shelling targeted separate areas of the border administration of Razih.

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Indian Crackdown on Dissent Over Bill Stripping Naturalized Citizenship From Muslims ‘An Affront to Democratic Values’

“Is this democracy? Where are we living?”

by: Eoin Higgins,

A protest against a controversial citizenship amendment bill turned violent when Delhi Police shot tear gas and beat students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, India on December 13, 2019.

A protest against a controversial citizenship amendment bill turned violent when Delhi Police shot tear gas and beat students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, India on December 13, 2019. (Photo: Javed Sultan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A brutal police crackdown on student protests in India over the latest legislation aimed at curtailing the rights of the country’s 200 million-strong Muslim majority have observers concerned over a possible escalation in state repression in the world’s largest democracy.

The police response to the protests reportedly claimed the lives of at least five demonstrators around the country in the past week.

“We are faced with the biggest challenge since independence,” Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy said. “Stand up. Please. Stand up.”

John Cusack@johncusack

Fascists in India trying to set students against each other –
To cover for the economic collapse of demonetization
but they are standing together in solidarity with their Muslim brothers & sisters –
This is fascism everywhere- them or us

View image on Twitter

As Common Dreams reported on December 10, the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill on December 9 is just the latest move by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extremist right-wing government to codify Hindu supremacy across the nominally secular nation of 1.3 billion people. 

Modi, whose ruling government has already set up internment camps for religious minorities in the northeastern state of Assam, is being blamed for the violence against protesters.

“Modi’s use of violence against minorities and dissenters in India is an affront to democratic values,” tweeted journalist Ash Sarkar. “It is fascistic.”

Police assaulted demonstrators New Delhi’s Muslim-majority Jamia Millia Islamia University Sunday, The New York Times reported:

Videos widely circulated on social media show officers beating students with wooden sticks, smashing some on their heads even after they had been knocked down. In one video, a group of female students tries to rescue a young man from the grasp of the police. A squad of officers in riot gear tears him away and knocks him down with heavy blows. Even after the women form a protective circle around the downed student, officers can be seen trying to jab the young man with their wooden poles.

“Students were running around to save their lives,” one woman at the protest told the press. “Is this democracy? Where are we living?”

Video from the demonstrations showed in stark relief the level of brutality of the police response to the student protest. 

Pieter Friedrich@FriedrichPieter

Reportedly 3 #JamiaMilia students have been killed by #Delhi police in #CABProtests. As Muslim students march against #CABBill2019, reports claim police burned buses to create an excuse to enter the campus & are savagely beating students & using tear gas. #CAB2019

Shweta Bajaj@ShwetaBajaj

Students of MCRC, #JamiaMilia -Srijan Chawla and Bhumika Saraswati describe what they saw last evening. Both the girls say students did not indulge in violence. Spoke to them just now at the ongoing protests against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct #CABProtests

Rana Ayyub@RanaAyyub

Students in Delhi holding pictures of Gandhi and Ambedkar. These are the protestors who have rattled the Indian democracy. These are the students being brutalised for fighting communalism in India

View image on Twitter

4,8176:16 PM – Dec 15, 2019

Sociology student Mohammad Faisal, in comment to The Guardiandescribed a violent scene.

“The policemen entered the library and mosque inside our campus and beat up the students mercilessly who were studying or offering prayer and in no way were connected to the protests yesterday,” Faisal said. “Police fired teargas shells inside the library. There was a blind student in the library then. He started crying loudly. Police even beat up that student.”

The student demonstrations, and state crackdown, were of concern to journalist Rana Ayyub, who on Sunday posted a picture from the demonstrations to show the bravery of the young protesters. 

“These are the protestors who have rattled the Indian democracy,” said Ayyub. “These are the students being brutalised for fighting communalism in India.”

In a statement, Amnesty International India executive director Avinash Kumar called for security forces to show restraint.

“Amnesty India urges the government of India and state governments to respect the right to dissent by peaceful protesters and review their approach in policing the protests in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent more lives being put at risk,” said Kumar. “Police should only use lethal force in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and only as a last resort.”

Al Jazeera journalist Sana Saeed on Twitter asked why the protests and state response were not receiving more coverage in western media.

“Thousands have been protesting but where is the media coverage?” wondered Saeed. “The shouts of solidarity from impressed media pundits?”

“Next time,” she said, “people in countries which are close U.S. allies should protest in Hong Kong instead.”

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Top Global Scientists Call for ‘Profound Food System Transformation’ to Combat Extreme Malnutrition

Unless radical changes are made, warns the lead author of a new WHO report, “the growth and development of individuals and societies for decades to come” are at risk.

by: Jessica Corbett,

cover photo for WHO report

A new multi-paper World Health Organization report published Monday in The Lancet details the need to overhaul global food systems to address mass malnutrition. (Photo: Bartosz Hadyniak/Getty Images)

A multi-part World Health Organization report published Monday in the British medical journal The Lancet detailed the need to urgently transform the world’s failing food systems to combat the coexistence of undernourishment and obesity—or the “double burden of malnutrition.”

“Without a profound food system transformation, the economic, social, and environmental costs of inaction will hinder the growth and development of individuals and societies for decades to come.”
—Francesco Branca, WHO

Based on global data from recent decades, the WHO report estimated that more than 150 million children are stunted worldwide while nearly 2.3 billion children and adults—about 30% of the planet’s human population—are overweight.

Dr. Francesco Branca, the report’s lead author and director of the WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, said that “we can no longer characterize countries as low-income and undernourished, or high-income and only concerned with obesity.”

As he put it: “We are facing a new nutrition reality.”

This new reality “is driven by changes to the food system, which have increased availability of ultra-processed foods that are linked to increased weight gain, while also adversely affecting infant and pre-schooler diets,” said co-author and University of North Carolina professor Barry Popkin. “These changes include disappearing fresh food markets, increasing supermarkets, and the control of the food chain by supermarkets, and global food, catering and agriculture companies in many countries.”

Considering these changes, Branca explained that “all forms of malnutrition have a common denominator—food systems that fail to provide all people with healthy, safe, affordable, and sustainable diets.”

“Changing this will require action across food systems—from production and processing, through trade and distribution, pricing, marketing, and labeling, to consumption and waste,” he added. “All relevant policies and investments must be radically re-examined.”

This is especially true for the more than a third of low- and middle-income countries that face “the two extremes of malnutrition.” A WHO statement highlighted the following regions: sub-Saharan Africa, south and east Asia, and the Pacific.

The Lancet@TheLancetReplying to @TheLancet and 6 others

More than one in three low-income and middle-income countries face both extremes of #malnutrition. NEW Series with @WHO calls for a new global #foodsystems approach to help reduce #undernutrition and #obesity at the same time https://hubs.ly/H0mfY8f0

View image on Twitter

Authors of the WHO report urged world governments, the United Nations, civil society, academics, the media, donors, the private sector, and economic platforms to pursue fundamental changes to global food systems with the aim of ending mass malnutrition. Doing so, according to the authors, means seeking assistance from grassroots groups, farmers and their unions, faith-based leaders, advocates for planetary health, leaders of green companies, local politicians, and consumer associations.

“Given the political economy of food, the commodification of food systems, and growing patterns of inequality worldwide, the new nutrition reality calls for a broadened community of actors who work in mutually reinforcing and interconnected ways on a global scale,” said Branca. “Without a profound food system transformation, the economic, social, and environmental costs of inaction will hinder the growth and development of individuals and societies for decades to come.”

The report acknowledged that fighting malnutrition requires successfully promoting healthier diets, which WHO defines as: optimal breastfeeding practices in the first two years; a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fiber, nuts, and seeds; and limited amounts of animal products—particularly processed meats—as well as foods and beverages high in sugar, saturated fat, trans fat, and salt.

World Health Organization (WHO)✔@WHOReplying to @WHO

View image on Twitter

Healthy diets means:
-optimal practices in the first 2 years
-a diversity & abundance of , wholegrains, fibre, nuts, seeds
-modest amounts of animal products
-min. processed meat
-min. foods & beverages high in energy & added amounts of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat,

“Today’s publication of the WHO Series on the Double Burden of Malnutrition comes after 12 months of Lancet articles exploring nutrition in all its forms,” wrote The Lancet editor-in-chief Dr. Richard Horton in an editorial accompanying the report.

“With these and other articles across Lancet journals throughout 2019, it has become clear that nutrition and malnutrition need to be approached from multiple perspectives,” Horton continued, “and although findings have sometimes converged, there is still work to be done to understand malnutrition’s multiple manifestations.”

In January, as Common Dreams reported, more than three dozen experts with the EAT-Lancet Commission called for a “global agricultural revolution” and people worldwide to adopt a “planetary health diet” to tackle the harmful nutritional and environmental impacts of the world’s unhealthy, unsustainable food system.

Co-lead commissioner Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University explained at the time that “to be healthy, diets must have an appropriate calorie intake and consist of a variety of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-based foods, unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and few refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars.”

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“Stop What You’re Doing and Watch This”: Intense Praise for Apocalypse-Themed Climate 2020 Campaign Ad

“It’s a catastrophe of our own creation—but it doesn’t have to end this way,” says Andrew Romanoff, a Democratic hopeful for U.S. Senate running in Colorado.

by: Andrea Germanos,

A screengrab from Andrew Romanoff's first campaign ad entitled "Home."

A screengrab from Andrew Romanoff’s first campaign ad entitled “Home.” In the campaign video, Romanoff says of bold climate action that “those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are already doing it.” (Photo: Romanoff for Senate)

“Stop what you’re doing and watch this—all the way through.”

That was the reaction Monday from youth-led climate group Sunrise Movement to a gripping new apocalypse-themed campaign ad rolled out by Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who’s running in Colorado’s 2020 primary race for U.S. Senate.

“I have never ever seen anything like this before.” —journalist Eric HolthausEntitled “Home,” the four-minute video opens with an apocalyptic scene in Colorado Springs in “the not-so-distant future” in which a family appears to be taking shelter from the ravages of the climate crisis.

“I just hope we can see the sunshine again one day,” a young girl says.

Watch:

The ad—the first of Romanoff’s primary campaign—also features a clip of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Romanoff’s strongest opponent in the Democratic contest. Hickenlooper is seen testifying before the U.S. Senate in 2013 when he sat down beside representatives of Halliburton to assure fracking’s safety. In addition to footage of recent climate disasters, the ad also features clips of Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg as well as Green New Deal champions like Sunrise and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Romanoff, a former state legislator, urges voters to seize this “once or perhaps last in a lifetime chance to rescue the world we know” and act on the climate crisis, which he calls “a catastrophe of our own making.”

“We can choose a different path,” says Romanoff.

Sunrise was just part of a large chorus of progressives singing the new ad’s praises Monday.

“Those who say it cannot be done, should not interupt those who are already doing it.” —Andrew Romanoff, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate

Journalist Shaun King said it “may be the most powerful campaign ad of 2019.”

Climate activist Anna Jane Joyner declared it the “most powerful political ad I’ve ever seen.”

This “is the most powerful political ad about climate change I’ve ever seen,” said EndClimateSilence.org founder Dr. Genevieve Guenther. A “new world is emerging, it just is.”

“I have never ever seen anything like this before,” said meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus.

Romanoff’s platform includes addressing the climate crisis by banning fracking and switching to renewables to meet all electricity needs by 2035. His platform also calls for raising the minimum wage and supports Medicare for All.

Hickenlooper and Romanoff are vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican. Gardner, for his part, called Romanoff’s ad “insane.”

David Sirota@davidsirota

GOP Sen. @CoryGardner is a climate change denier — so he’s now responding to @Romanoff2020’s new ad with a personal insult.

It’s a VERY good sign that the ad is extremely effective. #copolitics #cosen https://twitter.com/CoryGardner/status/1206593084584157185 …Cory Gardner@CoryGardnerThis ad is insane. Can someone check on Andrew Romanoff? #copolitics #cosen https://twitter.com/Romanoff2020/status/1206574705110597632 …

In the ad, Romanoff directly confronts those standing in the way of the Green New Deal and other calls for bold action by saying, “Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are already doing it.”

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Five Years After Obama’s Cuba Opening, Cubans Are Reeling From the “Trump Effect”

Trump’s policies are making life harder for Cuba’s 10 million people.

by: Medea Benjamin

Cuba Delegation in Havana. (Photo:CODEPINK)

Cuba Delegation in Havana. (Photo:CODEPINK)

December 17, 2019, Havana, Cuba:

Gloria Minor had been preparing her AirBnB in Havana for years, investing every penny her sister sent her from Miami in repairing and refurbishing her apartment.  With President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro re-establishing relations five years ago, Minor was sure the expected flood of U.S. visitors would make her business flourish. It did—until Donald Trump came along. Now her business is down 50 percent. “I feel like the bride who prepared everything for the wedding, but the groom ran away and stiffed me,” she said. Our CODEPINK 50-person delegation to Cuba, staying in private homes, is hearing similar stories over and over again.

While the U.S. sanctions imposed on Cuba following the 1959 revolution can only be lifted by Congress, Obama had used his executive power to renew diplomatic relations and relax restrictions on travel and trade. The Obamas visited the island to great fanfare, and Cubans were jubilant with the anticipated economic boon. The government opened new hotels and upgraded airports and sea ports, gearing up for a “tsunami” of American visitors coming on newly authorized commercial flights and cruise ships.

Donald Trump came in like a bull in a china shop, rolling back Obama’s openings and imposing new punitive measures.

The Obama opening coincided with a new Cuban policy of allowing Cubans to leave their low-paid state jobs and obtain licenses to start their own small businesses. Hundreds of thousands became entrepreneurs, many catering to tourists so that they could earn hard currency. Cuba became the fastest growing site for AirBnB. Others invested their life savings, or borrowed money from relatives abroad, to open small restaurants in their homes called paladares.

Donald Trump came in like a bull in a china shop, rolling back Obama’s openings and imposing new punitive measures. While his administration justifies the rollback by citing Cuban human rights violations and Cuba’s support for the Venezuela government, a more likely explanation is that Trump is catering to the conservative Cuban-Americans in Florida, a state that could be decisive in the 2020 election.

Individual travel is now restricted to certain permitted categories. Cruise ships are prohibited from docking in Cuban ports. Commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuban cities other than Havana are banned. The Trump administration has sanctioned nearly 200 Cuban government-run companies and hotels, as well as any company or vessel involved with shipping Venezuelan oil to Cuba. Tougher U.S. sanctions against Cuba have led international banks to avoid transactions involving the island.

In April, Trump also activated Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which allows Americans to sue U.S. and international companies profiting from property that was nationalized or confiscated after Cuba’s 1959 Revolution. Previously, every administration had waived this provision, knowing the chaos it would cause. The companies now being sued range from American Airlines to the Spanish Melia Hotel chain. Between Helms-Burton lawsuits and increased U.S. enforcement of sanctions, prospective overseas investors have put plans on hold.

The Trump administration has also targeted another key source of income for Cuba—the doctors it sends to work overseas in poor rural areas that are in dire need of healthcare. The program is a voluntary one for the doctors, but the Cuban government keeps the majority of the salaries paid by the host country, investing the money in Cuba’s education and health care systems. The Trump administration has ferociously attacked this program, encouraging doctors to defect and pushing U.S.-friendly governments not to contract them. When Brazil and Bolivia switched to rightwing governments, they immediately expelled the Cuban doctors, severely cutting into Cuba’s revenues.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the Trump administration does not conceal its intention, which is to “suffocate Cuba economically and to increase damage, scarcities and hardships on our people.”

Indeed, Trump’s policies are making life harder for Cuba’s 10 million people. “The ‘Trump effect’ has touched every aspect of our lives,” high school teacher Roberta Mejia told me. “Transportation is devastated, as we are functioning on a fraction of the oil we used to have. There is less food and medicines; the hospitals are experiencing all kinds of shortages. And psychologically, we are feeling a tremendous sense of uncertainty, since we don’t know if things will get worse. Our only hope is that the American people will vote for a new president.”

Cubans are angry, resentful and most of all, defiant. “We’ve lived with one form or another of U.S. sanctions since 1960,” a university professor Teresa Oroza told our delegation. “The current crisis is not nearly as severe as the crisis of the 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving us with horrible shortages of food, gasoline—everything. It was a nightmare but we lived through it. This, too, shall pass.”

One way to show support for the Cuban people is by traveling to Cuba. While the Trump administration has restricted travel, it is still quite easy to go under the category called “support for the Cuban people.” This requires an itinerary that allows for “meaningful interaction with the Cuban people,” in the majority of cases put together by an approved travel agency, organization or university.

For more information, contact info@codepink.org.

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The plot to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power

Corbyn clinched fist
Jonathan Cook writes:

In the latest of the interminable media “furores” about Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed unfitness to lead Britain’s Labour party – let alone become prime minister – it is easy to forget where we were shortly before he won the support of an overwhelming majority of Labour members to head the party.

In the preceding two years, it was hard to avoid on TV the figure of Russell Brand, a comedian and minor film star who had reinvented himself, after years of battling addiction, as a spiritual guru-cum-political revolutionary.

Brand’s fast-talking, plain-speaking criticism of the existing political order, calling it discredited, unaccountable and unrepresentative, was greeted with smirking condescension by the political and media establishment. Nonetheless, in an era before Donald Trump had become president of the United States, the British media were happy to indulge Brand for a while, seemingly believing he or his ideas might prove a ratings winner with younger audiences.

But Brand started to look rather more impressive than anyone could have imagined. He took on supposed media heavyweights like the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman and Channel 4’s Jon Snow and charmed and shamed them into submission – both with his compassion and his thoughtful radicalism. Even in the gladiatorial-style battle of wits so beloved of modern TV, he made these titans of the political interview look mediocre, shallow and out of touch. Videos of these head-to-heads went viral, and Brand won hundreds of thousands of new followers.

Then he overstepped the mark.

Democracy as charade

Instead of simply criticising the political system, Brand argued that it was in fact so rigged by the powerful, by corporate interests, that western democracy had become a charade. Elections were pointless. Our votes were simply a fig-leaf, concealing the fact that our political leaders were there to represent not us but the interests of globe-spanning corporations. Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant.

Brand didn’t just talk the talk. He started committing to direct action. He shamed our do-nothing politicians and corporate media – the devastating Grenfell Tower fire had yet to happen – by helping to gain attention for a group of poor tenants in London who were taking on the might of a corporation that had become their landlord and wanted to evict them to develop their homes for a much richer clientele. Brand’s revolutionary words had turned into revolutionary action.

But just as Brand’s rejection of the old politics began to articulate a wider mood, it was stopped in its tracks. After Corbyn was unexpectedly elected Labour leader, offering for the first time in living memory a politics that listened to people before money, Brand’s style of rejectionism looked a little too cynical, or at least premature.

While Corbyn’s victory marked a sea-change, it is worth recalling, however, that it occurred only because of a mistake. Or perhaps two.

The Corbyn accident

First, a handful of Labour MPs agreed to nominate Corbyn for the leadership contest, scraping him past the threshold needed to get on the ballot paper. Most backed him only because they wanted to give the impression of an election that was fair and open. After his victory, some loudly regretted having assisted him. None had thought a representative of the tiny and besieged left wing of the parliamentary party stood a chance of winning – not after Tony Blair and his acolytes had spent more than two decades remaking Labour, using their own version of entryism to eradicate any vestiges of socialism in the party. These “New Labour” MPs were there, just as Brand had noted, to represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people.

Corbyn had very different ideas from most of his colleagues. Over the years he had broken with the consensus of the dominant Blairite faction time and again in parliamentary votes, consistently taking a minority view that later proved to be on the right side of history. He alone among the leadership contenders spoke unequivocally against austerity, regarding it as a way to leech away more public money to enrich the corporations and banks that had already pocketed vast sums from the public coffers – so much so that by 2008 they had nearly bankrupted the entire western economic system.

And second, Corbyn won because of a recent change in the party’s rulebook – one now much regretted by party managers. A new internal balloting system gave more weight to the votes of ordinary members than the parliamentary party. The members, unlike the party machine, wanted Corbyn.

Corbyn’s success didn’t really prove Brand wrong. Even the best designed systems have flaws, especially when the maintenance of the system’s image as benevolent is considered vitally important. It wasn’t that Corbyn’s election had shown Britain’s political system was representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was that accident.

“Brainwashing under freedom”

Corbyn’s success also wasn’t evidence that the power structure he challenged had weakened. The system was still in place and it still had a chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous “accident”, such as his becoming prime minister.

Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this kind of “brainwashing under freedom” since birth.

The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist, unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless, unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired – not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the party the largest in Europe.

As the establishment’s need to keep him away from power has grown more urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks.

Redefining anti-Semitism

Corbyn was extremely unusual in many ways as the leader of a western party within sight of power. Personally he was self-effacing and lived modestly. Ideologically he was resolutely against the thrust of four decades of a turbo-charged neoliberal capitalism unleashed by Thatcher and Reagan in the early 1980s; and he opposed foreign wars for empire, fashionable “humanitarian interventions” whose real goal was to attack other sovereign states either to control their resources, usually oil, or line the pockets of the military-industrial complex.

It was difficult to attack Corbyn directly for these positions. There was the danger that they might prove popular with voters. But Corbyn was seen to have an Achilles’ heel. He was a life-long anti-racism activist and well known for his support for the rights of the long-suffering Palestinians. The political and media establishments quickly learnt that they could recharacterise his support for the Palestinians and criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism. He was soon being presented as a leader happy to preside over an “institutionally” anti-Semitic party.

Under pressure of these attacks, Labour was forced to adopt a new and highly controversial definition of anti-Semitism – one rejected by leading jurists and later repudiated by the lawyer who devised it – that expressly conflates criticism of Israel, and anti-Zionism, with Jew hatred. One by one Corbyn’s few ideological allies in the party – those outside the Blairite consensus – have been picked off as anti-Semites. They have either fallen foul of this conflation or, as with Labour MP Chris Williamson, they have been tarred and feathered for trying to defend Labour’s record against the accusations of a supposed endemic anti-Semitism in its ranks.

The bad faith of the anti-Semitism smears were particularly clear in relation to Williamson. The comment that plunged him into so much trouble – now leading twice to his suspension – was videoed. In it he can be heard calling anti-Semitism a “scourge” that must be confronted. But also, in line with all evidence, Williamson denied that Labour had any particular anti-Semitism problem. In part he blamed the party for being too ready to concede unwarranted ground to critics, further stoking the attacks and smears. He noted that Labour had been “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”, adding: “Our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion … we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic.”

The Guardian has been typical in mischaracterising Williamson’s remarks not once but each time it has covered developments in his case. Every Guardian report has stated, against the audible evidence, that Williamson said Labour was “too apologetic about anti-Semitism”. In short, the Guardian and the rest of the media have insinuated that Williamson approves of anti-Semitism. But what he actually said was that Labour was “too apologetic” when dealing with unfair or unreasonable allegations of anti-Semitism, that it had too willingly accepted the unfounded premise of its critics that the party condoned racism.

Like the Salem witch-hunts

The McCarthyite nature of this process of misrepresentation and guilt by association was underscored when Jewish Voice for Labour, a group of Jewish party members who have defended Corbyn against the anti-Semitism smears, voiced their support for Williamson. Jon Lansman, a founder of the Momentum group originally close to Corbyn, turned on the JVL calling them “part of the problem and not part of the solution to antisemitism in the Labour Party”. In an additional, ugly but increasingly normalised remark, he added: “Neither the vast majority of individual members of JVL nor the organisation itself can really be said to be part of the Jewish community.”

In this febrile atmosphere, Corbyn’s allies have been required to confess that the party is institutionally anti-semitic, to distance themselves from Corbyn and often to submit to anti-Semitism training. To do otherwise, to deny the accusation is, as in the Salem witch-hunts, treated as proof of guilt.

The anti-Semitism claims have been regurgitated almost daily across the narrow corporate media “spectrum”, even though they are unsupported by any actual evidence of an anti-Semitism problem in Labour beyond a marginal one representative of wider British society. The allegations have reached such fever-pitch, stoked into a hysteria by the media, that the party is now under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the only party apart from the neo-Nazi British National Party ever to face such an investigation.

These attacks have transformed the whole discursive landscape on Israel, the Palestinians, Zionism and anti-Semitism in ways unimaginable 20 years ago, when I first started reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then the claim that anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel as a state privileging Jews over non-Jews – was the same as anti-Semitism sounded patently ridiculous. It was an idea promoted only by the most unhinged apologists for Israel.

Now, however, we have leading liberal commentators such as the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland claiming not only that Israel is integral to their Jewish identity but that they speak for all other Jews in making such an identification. To criticise Israel is to attack them as Jews, and by implication to attack all Jews. And therefore any Jew dissenting from this consensus, any Jew identifying as anti-Zionist, any Jew in Labour who supports Corbyn – and there are many, even if they are largely ignored – are denounced, in line wth Lansman, as the “wrong kind of Jews”. It may be absurd logic, but such ideas are now so commonplace as to be unremarkable.

In fact, the weaponisation of anti-Semitism against Corbyn has become so normal that, even while I was writing this post, a new nadir was reached. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary who hopes to defeat Boris Johnson in the upcoming Tory leadership race, as good as accused Corbyn of being a new Hitler, a man who as prime minister might allow Jews to be exterminated, just as occurred in the Nazi death camps.

Too “frail” to be prime minister

Although anti-Semitism has become the favoured stick with which to beat Corbyn, other forms of attack regularly surface. The latest are comments by unnamed “senior civil servants” reported in the Times alleging that Corbyn is too physically frail and mentally ill-equipped to grasp the details necessary to serve as prime minister. It barely matters whether the comment was actually made by a senior official or simply concocted by the Times. It is yet further evidence of the political and media establishments’ anti-democratic efforts to discredit Corbyn as a general election looms.

One of the ironies is that media critics of Corbyn regularly accuse him of failing to make any political capital from the shambolic disarray of the ruling Conservative party, which is eating itself alive over the terms of Brexit, Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union. But it is the corporate media – which serves both as society’s main forum of debate and as a supposed watchdog on power – that is starkly failing to hold the Tories to account. While the media obsess about Corbyn’s supposed mental deficiencies, they have smoothed the path of Boris Johnson, a man who personifies the word “buffoon” like no one else in political life, to become the new leader of the Conservative party and therefore by default – and without an election – the next prime minister.

An indication of how the relentless character assassination of Corbyn is being coordinated was hinted at early on, months after his election as Labour leader in 2015. A British military general told the Times, again anonymously, that there would be “direct action” – what he also termed a “mutiny” – by the armed forces should Corbyn ever get in sight of power. The generals, he said, regarded Corbyn as a national security threat and would use any means, “fair or foul”, to prevent him implementing his political programme.

Running the gauntlet

But this campaign of domestic attacks on Corbyn needs to be understood in a still wider framework, which relates to Britain’s abiding Transatlantic “special relationship”, one that in reality means that the UK serves as Robin to the United States’ Batman, or as a very junior partner to the global hegemon.

Last month a private conversation concerning Corbyn between the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the heads of a handful of rightwing American Jewish organisations was leaked. Contrary to the refrain of the UK corporate media that Corbyn is so absurd a figure that he could never win an election, the fear expressed on both sides of that Washington conversation was that the Labour leader might soon become Britain’s prime minister.

Framing Corbyn yet again as an anti-semite, a US Jewish leader could be heard asking Pompeo if he would be “willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK”. Pompeo responded that it was possible “Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected” – a telling phrase that attracted remarkably little attention, as did the story itself, given that it revealed one of the most senior Trump administration officials explicitly talking about meddling directly in the outcome of a UK election.

Here is the dictionary definition of “run the gauntlet”: to take part in a form of corporal punishment in which the party judged guilty is forced to run between two rows of soldiers, who strike out and attack him.

So Pompeo was suggesting that there already is a gauntlet – systematic and organised blows and strikes against Corbyn – that he is being made to run through. In fact, “running the gauntlet” precisely describes the experience Corbyn has faced since he was elected Labour leader – from the corporate media, from the dominant Blairite faction of his own party, from rightwing, pro-Israel Jewish organisations like the Board of Deputies, and from anonymous generals and senior civil servants.

“We cheated, we stole”

Pompeo continued: “You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

So, Washington’s view is that action must be taken before Corbyn reaches a position of power. To avoid any danger he might become the UK’s next prime minister, the US will do its “level best” to “push back”. Assuming that this hasn’t suddenly become the US administration’s priority, how much time does the US think it has before Corbyn might win power? How close is a UK election?

As everyone in Washington is only too keenly aware, a UK election has been a distinct possiblity since the Conservatives set up a minority goverment two years ago with the help of fickle, hardline Ulster loyalists. Elections have been looming ever since, as the UK ruling party has torn itself apart over Brexit, its MPs regularly defeating their own leader, prime minister Theresa May, in parliamentary votes.

So if Pompeo is saying, as he appears to be, that the US will do whatever it can to make sure Corbyn doesn’t win an election well before that election takes place, it means the US is already deeply mired in anti-Corbyn activity. Pompeo is not only saying that the US is ready to meddle in the UK’s election, which is bad enough; he is hinting that it is already meddling in UK politics to make sure the will of the British people does not bring to power the wrong leader.

Remember that Pompeo, a former CIA director, once effectively America’s spy chief, was unusually frank about what his agency got up to when he was in charge. He observed: “I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses.”

One would have to be remarkably naive to think that Pompeo changed the CIA’s culture during his short tenure. He simply became the figurehead of the world’s most powerful spying outfit, one that had spent decades developing the principles of US exceptionalism, that had lied its way to recent wars in Iraq and Libya, as it had done earlier in Vietnam and in justifying the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, and much more. Black ops and psyops were not invented by Pompeo. They have long been a mainstay of US foreign policy.

An eroding consensus

It takes a determined refusal to join the dots not to see a clear pattern here.

Brand was right that the system is rigged, that our political and media elites are captured, and that the power structure of our societies will defend itself by all means possible, “fair or foul”. Corbyn is far from alone in this treatment. The system is similarly rigged to stop a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders – though not a rich businessman like Donald Trump – winning the nomination for the US presidential race. It is also rigged to silence real journalists like Julian Assange who are trying to overturn the access journalism prized by the corporate media – with its reliance on official sources and insiders for stories – to divulge the secrets of the national security states we live in.

There is a conspiracy at work here, though it is not of the kind lampooned by critics: a small cabal of the rich secretly pullng the strings of our societies. The conspiracy operates at an institutional level, one that has evolved over time to create structures and refine and entrench values that keep power and wealth in the hands of the few. In that sense we are all part of the conspiracy. It is a conspiracy that embraces us every time we unquestioningly accept the “consensual” narratives laid out for us by our education systems, politicians and media. Our minds have been occupied with myths, fears and narratives that turned us into the turkeys that keep voting for Christmas.

That system is not impregnable, however. The consensus so carefully constructed over many decades is rapidly breaking down as the power structure that underpins it is forced to grapple with real-world problems it is entirely unsuited to resolve, such as the gradual collapse of western economies premised on infinite growth and a climate that is fighting back against our insatiable appetite for the planet’s resources.

As long as we colluded in the manufactured consensus of western societies, the system operated without challenge or meaningful dissent. A deeply ideological system destroying the planet was treated as if it was natural, immutable, the summit of human progress, the end of history. Those times are over. Accidents like Corbyn will happen more frequently, as will extreme climate events and economic crises. The power structures in place to prevent such accidents will by necessity grow more ham-fisted, more belligerent, less concealed to get their way. And we might finally understand that a system designed to pacify us while a few grow rich at the expense of our children’s future and our own does not have to continue. That we can raise our voices and loudly say: “No!”

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Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on The plot to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power

To the Turks and tourists … Leprosy are rampant in Istanbul, so beware!

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The coordination of the health professions rooms in Istanbul confirmed that there is a significant increase in the incidence of LEPROSY in Istanbul, calling on the people of the city to be careful.

The coordination published a written statement, to warn the people of Istanbul of the widening circle of the disease, noting that it is getting more widespread in the winter and can be passed from person to person.

The statement warned that the disease can be transmitted through contact with the hand or using the bed itself during a period ranging between 15-20 minutes, explaining that the symptoms of the disease appear within 3-6 weeks after infection

The Turkish Ministry of Health warned on December 16 of the spread of LEPROSY in a number of Turkish cities, and called on citizens, if symptoms of the disease appeared on them, to go to hospitals immediately.

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on To the Turks and tourists … Leprosy are rampant in Istanbul, so beware!

Hebron: Nazi Occupation arrests a Palestinian’s

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Arrest

Nazi Occupied Hebron: The Nazi occupation army arrested a Palestinian from the town of Tarqumiya, west of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank.

The official agency stated that the Nazi occupation forces arrested Raed Ibrahim Jamil Taninah today, Saturday, after his house was searched and searched.

The Nazi occupation army stormed Palestinian homes on a daily basis during the hours of dawn, under the pretext of searching for “wanted persons” by the “Shin Bet”.

4 Palestinians were arrested in Al-Issawiya after attacking them

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The Nazi occupation forces arrested four Palestinians, after they were severely beaten, in the town of Issawiya, north of Nazi occupied Jerusalem.

According to local sources in the town, the Nazi occupation police arrested Ahmad Muhammad Derbas, Basil Obaid, Muhammad Abu Riyala and Robin Jaber, after they beat them, when they were at the entrance to the town.

The Nazi occupation forces also arrested this morning a Palestinian from the town of Tarqumiya, west of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank.

Local sources said that the Nazi occupation forces arrested Raed Ibrahim Jamil Tanina, after his house was searched and searched.Occupation# Arrest

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Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on Hebron: Nazi Occupation arrests a Palestinian’s

Turkish-backed Zio-Wahhabi militants will be deployed to Libya

By: Sammi Ibrahem,SR

Members of the so-called Free Syrian Army near the town of Bizaah, northeast of the city of al-Bab, some 30 kilometres from the Syrian city of Aleppo, on February 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Turkish-backed Zio-Wahhabi militants will be redeployed to Libya in order to assist the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Ragıp Soylu@ragipsoylu

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels will be deployed to Libya, according to a senior official from UN-backed Libyan govt – Bloomberg27311:00 AM – Dec 27, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy305 people are talking about thisDiabetics: Here’s How To Lower Blood Sugar (It’s Genius!)Blood Sugar UltraAds by RevcontentFind Out More >

Prior to this report, investigative journalist Lindsey Snell tweeted information about Turkey offering fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) a $2,000/month salary to deploy to Libya.

Lindsey Snell@LindseySnell

TFSA source told me Turkey will be offering fighters from all TFSA factions $2,000/month to go to Libya.3646:18 PM – Dec 24, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy321 people are talking about this

While the Turkish authorities have not commented on these claims, there have been rumors for years about Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) and other jihadists traveling from Syria, via Turkey, to Libya or vice-versa.

Turkey has managed to secure their place in Syria by building observation posts across the northern region of the country; however, their allied militants have been unable to achieve any real success on the ground, outside of their short-lived Operation Peace Spring.

The Syrian National Army (SNA), which is comprised of Free Syrian Army and other rebel factions, has underwent rigorous training, which is why Turkey could use their forces in Libya.

Furthermore, the most powerful militant factions in northern Syria are likely the jihadist-led groups like Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), who have proven to be some of the best fighters for the opposition forces.

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