Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Israel's recent terrorist war crimes

The most recent iteration of Israel’s recurrent destruction in the occupied territories was initiated when Israeli forces, in a grotesquely provocative act, raided Al-Aqsa Mosque a couple of times while Muslims were there worshipping Eid al-Fitr which celebrates the end of the Ramadan fast; in effect simultaneously desecrating one of the holiest sites in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, during one of the holiest celebrations in Islam, Eid al-Fitr.  Israeli forces shot rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, sound bombs and possibly stun grenades at unarmed, nonviolent Palestinian worshipers inside one of the holiest Mosques in the Islamic-world.  Israeli forces then blocked medical professionals from reaching the injured to treat them. 

The raid happened only hours before Israeli nationalists were planning the annual march through occupied East Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s military capture of the area in combination with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war.  Tensions had been percolating prior as an Israeli court ordered the evictions of Palestinian families from their ancestral homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and as extreme right-wing Israelis had been marching through the area chanting “Death to Arabs” and “May your village burn” before and while they harassed and assaulted Palestinian families, vehicles, and homes.  The right-wing Israeli march is more than sufficient context to clearly illustrate which side in this most recent conflagration is the aggressor.  Israel is the occupying power and, as such, cannot pretend to a “right to defense."  As an occupying power Israel has one right, really the obligation to withdraw occupation.  In fact, given that Israeli settlers have been occupying Palestinian territories in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, constructing settlements, literally evicting the residents and stealing their homes in some instances, the Israeli state and the Israeli settlers are in flagrant violation of international law, i.e. the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and are, by definition, the aggressors.  Even beyond this the Israeli forces in a grotesquely provocative act without provocation assaulted unarmed, nonviolent worshippers inside of a Mosque, all of this while an Israeli court ruled for the further illegal annexations of occupied territories and the removal of the indigenous residents.     

It must also be kept in mind that not only are East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza illegally occupied territories by Israel, but they are also completely administered and separated by Israel, in violation of the Oslo Agreements.  Palestinians do not even have the ability to free movement between the occupied territories and, far worse than that, Israel has condemned all of Gaza to a blockade, a medieval siege that sees to recurrent electricity blackouts and a criminally inadequate flow of essential supplies (food, medical, etc.) into Gaza.  The siege was initiated after Hamas ousted Fatah in the 2006 elections and the siege was greatly escalated a year later after Hamas successfully prevented a coup attempt.  It's further illustrative of Israeli statecraft in the region that during the First Intifada Israel was working with Hamas to undermine secular organizations loyal to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that has been definitively proved with Wikileaks' cable leaks, but was fairly well known among observers at the time.  While Israel has led nations globally in vaccinating its own population and while it is responsible for the Palestinians, being the occupying force, it not only has not vaccinated Palestinians, but during these past weeks’ bombing has actually murdered several doctors and bombed Gaza’s only Covid-19 testing laboratory.  This, of course, after Israel had already bombed and demolished one of the main media buildings in Gaza housing media offices for outlets such as the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. 

Israel is therefore not only committing egregious war crimes , but crimes against humanity, occurring as they are in essentially an open-air prison, the largest concentration camp in the world, absolutely strangled on all sides by the sieging Israeli forces.  The illegal Israeli settlers further stealing Palestinian lands, more Palestinians being evicted from their ancestral homes, and the wonton slaughter of civilians inside of the open-air prison of Gaza is not only heinously illegal, but clearly a willful act of ethnic cleansing and genocide.  Hundreds of Gazans have been murdered, 14 complete families, the grandparents, the parents, and all of the children but for a single two-month old infant.  14 families have been utterly removed from the civil record, but for one infant and what sort of life can a two-month old infant possibly be looking forward to after his/her entire extended family was murdered in a wonton missile strike? 

Israel’s siege of Gaza and wonton missile strikes must be ended immediately.  An immediate ceasefire must be recognized and the United States must stop blocking the U.N. Security Council’s recommendation urging an immediate ceasefire.  It would also be cogent were the Biden administration to not proceed with the weapons sale to Israel that includes precisely the precision-guided and other munitions that Israel is currently devastating Gaza with.  It would further be cogent to heed the will of the region's population and most of the global population's will in working towards a nuclear free zone in the middle east.  Most unfortunately the U.S. recurrently rejects the proposal in the United Nations because that would require inspections of Israel's large nuclear arsenal which the U.S. doesn't even acknowledge exists, for were it to do so all of the military aid to Israel, a nuclear armed state, would be illegal according to U.S. law itself.  

The Trump inspired anti-Asian racist violence and the legislation to defuse it

The lingering, percolating, and horrifically lethal anti-Asian racism and hatred that the Trump administration (the worst in the last century), Trump being the worst President in all of U.S. history, has inspired, encouraged, and promoted the worst nativist, racist, white Christian supremacist, and xenophobic elements in U.S. culture (the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 being a notorious precursor).  Trump pejoratively calling Covid-19 the “kung flu” was beyond obscenely racist, it was recklessly dangerous as the spate of anti-Asian hate crimes and killings have demonstrated. 

That at least in one instance of assault the perpetrator was a person of color, a parolee who was imprisoned for murdering his mother, only illustrates the pernicious ways in which the legacies of white Christian supremacy have at different times and in different forms manifested themselves in those who are historically the victims.  That the dying embers of Trump’s MAGAt white Christian supremacism should bleed into other demographics is the same counterintuitive phenomenon evident in other neofascist tendencies such as the Proud Boys and boogaloo bois which elicits support from across the fascistic-ethnic spectrum, although obviously always heavily dominant among white Christian supremacists.

The House has just passed the anti-Asian hate crimes bill, also referred to as the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, sending it to the White House for Biden’s signature.  The bill must be signed into law immediately.   

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Trump's Fascist Insurrection

From Trump’s escalator descent to announce his Presidential campaign in 2015 amid a flurry of nativist, racist, xenophobic, and bigoted accusations, to the white Christian supremacist riot and murder in Charlottesville, with Trump’s response being to claim that there were “very fine people” among the white Christian supremacist rioters, to the entirety of Trump’s sole term in the executive, the violent insurrection that began as a Trump rally and culminated in the storming and terrorizing of the Capitol by the white Christian supremacist mob that he whipped up into a frenzy and that has resulted in five deaths is certainly shocking and shameful, yet not entirely unpredictable.

Nothing better illustrates the problems of systemic racism in U.S. society generally and within law enforcement specifically than social current events setting up as near a controlled experiment as can be achieved outside of experimental conditions by comparing and contrasting the police response to unarmed, peaceful activists of the Black Lives Matter movement protesting the recent spate of racist and police murders of unarmed black citizens to the woefully severe lack of police response to white Christian domestic terrorists rampaging through the Capitol which D.C. residents furiously noted as it occurred. 

The unpreparedness of the Capitol police is at least inexcusably negligent and at worst criminal.  The white Christian supremacists, far-right Trump supporters, Proud Boys, etc., had been publicly planning their assault on the Capitol well in advance and the FBI has been investigating and calling white supremacists the greatest domestic terror threats in the United States since 2007 and in an FBI counterterrorism policy guide in 2015 identified white supremacist and other domestic extremists within U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies.  Which is why it comes as no surprise that authorities are now concerned about the number of police officers and active-duty soldiers and veterans who took part in the insurrection, that Capitol Police Chief Sund has stepped down, two Capitol Hill police officers have been suspended and approximately a dozen others are currently under investigation. 

All of the white Christian terrorists who stormed the Capitol, destroyed and stole Capitol property, initiating so much violent mayhem that a Capital Hill police officer, who was himself a Trump supporter, experienced seizures and died must be identified, arrested and prosecuted.  That the terrorists wrecking so much violent mayhem led to the death of a Capitol police officer exposes the fact that right-wing support for police and "blue lives" are patently disingenuous and only express racist ideologies that support police racially profiling people of color and the police lynching of them, for as soon as officers get in their way to enforce the law they not only toss aside their support for police, but actually violently assault them.   

A couple dozen arrests have already been made and there is an ongoing federal murder investigation.  Most of the insurrectionists already arrested and charged are facing charges such as knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, theft of government property, assault on a federal law enforcement officer, unlawful possession of a destructive device (Molotov cocktail), transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, and the investigation of the death of the Capitol Hill police officer may well result in murder charges, yet it is clear that these investigations, arrests and charges ought to revolve around criminal conspiracy and terrorism.  That they do not is further illustrative of the systemic racism in the United States. 

An American sixteen-year-old son of a radical Muslim Imam, Abdulrahman Awlaki, was killed two weeks after his father was similarly killed in Yemen by Predator drone Hellfire missiles without being charged for any crime and without any attempt to arrest him for any trial by a jury of his peers.  It appears that if you happen to be the child of a radical Muslim Imam you are not entitled to due process of law and may be remotely murdered by a drone strike.  Or, as the Black Lives Matter movement has stressed, if you happen to be a person of color you may be killed before you are even cuffed, perhaps in your own home.  Yet a criminal conspiracy of white Christian supremacists committing the literal textbook definition of terrorism after being organized and emboldened by a lame-duck President may only face the lesser charges already cited, if any at all.

That the white Christian supremacists were willfully engaged in domestic terrorism is uncontroversial.  Trump told them that they had to “fight much harder” and “walk down to the Capitol,” be “tougher” and “take back our country.”  If that weren’t enough, Trump’s lawyer Giuliani then exhorted that they needed to have “trial by combat.”  The US Code defines domestic terrorism as activities that “involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State” that “appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion…”  The white Christian terrorists who stormed the Capitol following Trump’s telling them to fight harder and take the country back and Giuliani telling them the need for trial by combat in an attempt to overturn the results of the democratic election were explicitly and uncontroversially engaged in domestic terrorism as defined by the US Code itself.   

That this Trump inspired and called for insurrection has fascist elements is equally noticeable.  Former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, noted the similarities between the Trump endorsed white Christian supremacist insurrection in the Capitol and the Nazi Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when the “Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys” spent “a night of rampage against the Jews.”  Walden Bello notes the similarities between the Capitol insurrectionists and the right-wing gangs in Chile and the chaos that they fomented that resulted in the military coup against President Allende in 1973.  Bellow further notes the similarities to the fascist squadristi of Mussolini that used violence to control the streets and that the bourgeoisie then supported in opposition to the socialists who were gaining electoral victories.  Bellow also notes along with Schwarzenegger the similarities to the Nazi fascist street gangs that began violent street actions in the last years of the Weimar Republic.  Many of the insurrectionists were themselves making sure the similarities were visible. 

For all of those who have objected to criticisms of Trump and his base as having clearly discernable neofascist elements, they must now reflect on their premises and reassess them in light of the overwhelming historical evidence of Trump’s term in office and most explicitly in light of the insurrection against the Capitol.  This is what fascism looks like.  

Along with the ongoing investigations into the Capitol insurrectionists and police failures, Trump must be impeached and removed from office as he is a clear and present danger and must not be allowed to run for office again.  The members of Congress who lent support for the insurrection must also face consequences and be expelled from Congress.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Police-racist murders and the protests against them: this is what a police state looks like


           The Police murder of George Floyd and of Breonna Taylor, the negligence of not immediately investigating the racist murder of Ahmaud Arbery and arresting the three murderers, in concomitance with the violently excessive police and national guard response to the protests against these documented murders (even shooting paint rounds at people on their own property not participating in any protests, assaulting members of the press clearly identifying themselves as such as well as government officials), along with the fact that the police have more personal protective equipment (ppe) than the nurses and doctors treating the patients sick with Covid-19 during the global pandemic illustrates all too clearly what a police state looks like.   

            The multiple documented videos of police vehicles recklessly driving directly into protestors, in New York, Los Angeles, etc., which is precisely what the white Christian terrorist did to murder Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, is yet more evidence that none of the more recently touted police reforms have actually reformed police brutality and violence as it so clearly and painfully hasn't.  In Louisville (where police murdered Breonna Taylor in her own home) police shot into a crowd which witnesses state were not protesting when the police arrived, and witness testimony is all the evidence there is as the officers hadn’t turned on their body cameras in violation of policy, and by indiscriminately firing into a peaceful crowd not even protesting they murdered David McAtee and left his body where it fell for twelve hours.  This past weekend witnessed a national police riot.  This is what a police state looks like.  

            As the human rights organization Amnesty International stressed Sunday, the police response to the protests across the United States must end its excessive force and militarized police response as heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons are more fit for a battlefield than public areas, such as the use of a Predator drone to surveil Minneapolis, and are more probable to prime the officers’ minds for inevitable conflict and appallingly too frequent in the video documented evidence officers can be visibly seen and audibly heard priming themselves for violence which they then initiate and perpetrate.      

            That police departments in many of the cities experiencing protests and solidarity protests in response to the recent murders committed by police are both better equipped with ppe (ever more military grade ever since the W. Bush administration’s Patriot Act and reframing of the Cold War propaganda to the “war on terrorism” hysteria) than the hospital staff across the states and enjoy fully a third of public funding while educational and medical programs have been defunded illustrates painfully vividly where the ruling class establishment’s priorities are.  These are the deadly realities one would expect to find in a third-rate banana republic police state rather than the richest superpower in the world now sliding ever deeper towards catastrophic failed state

            Protests and solidarity protests will continue as they must and the demilitarization and defunding of the police across the country must be realized immediately.  There is no reason in the world why doctors and nurses are expected to provide their own ppe and to reuse them well past moderately safe use-by timelines during the worst global pandemic within our lifetimes while the police departments across the nation continue to gorge themselves on a full third of public funding and military hand-me-downs.  

            All of the criminal police officers must be arrested and charged, not only Derek Chauvin who killed George Floyd with his knee on his neck, but the other officers who held the rest of Floyd’s body down while Chauvin strangled him to death for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.  They were just as responsible for Floyd’s death as was Chauvin and after being fired can easily move a couple of cities away, reemploy themselves in police work and that is absolutely unacceptable.  This holds not only for the officer accomplices in Floyd’s murder but also for Taylor’s murder as Bakari Sellers explains.  Sellers further observes that the federal civil rights standard ought to be lowered such that it’s not so disgracefully difficult to bring criminal charges against police officers for murdering citizens of color and to limit qualified immunity.  Sellers' fourth suggested reform is to establish a national database for police officers who perpetrate terrible behavior in order to prevent officers being fired in one city for heinous acts only to move somewhere else and be rehired.
           
            The 1% ruling class clearly hopes to completely loot the entire country during the pandemic and continue to exploit foreign states with its imperial hegemony which is marked by 800 military units deployed around the world, and clearly clings in trembling fear to its dogma of white Christian supremacy that Trump, less the commander in chief so much as the racist in chief, has at every moment made shamefully obvious, from referring to the white Christian supremacists who rampaged through Charlottesville and murdered Heather Heyer as "very fine people" to tweeting a southern segregationist phrase from the sixties that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," and calling the protesters "THUGS," transparently displaying his vulgar and impeachable racism.  It was only last fall when the head of the Minneapolis police union, Bob Kroll, thanked Trump for ending "Obama's oppression" of the police, a white Christian supremacist foot soldier saluting the racist in chief.  

           The empowerment of such white Christian supremacy must be completely dismantled.  Every racist murderer police officer must be fired and arrested and all of the systemic racist policies that allowed their operating in the very first place must be thoroughly exposed and expelled.         

             


Friday, April 03, 2020

Covid-19 and disaster capitalism: this is what the class war looks like


            The Covid-19 global pandemic is a window into the looming ecological catastrophes being driven by the global financialized market political economy that may well result in the unviability of global human civilization.  

            The United States’ response to the pandemic is also a transparent window into the class war being waged by the 1% being ratcheted up to further enrich themselves and further impoverish and imperil the precariat as is the modus operandi of the shock doctrine of disaster capitalism.  The coronavirus-corporate bailout is a giant gift to the financial market and myriad corporations while shafting the general populace, yet another iteration of socialism for the rich and market discipline for everyone else.  

            Even the medical workers on the literal front-lines of the response to the pandemic are forced to continue to go to work without the absolutely necessary personal protective equipment (ppe) required to mitigate the continued spread of the virus.  Ludicrously U.S. Customs and Border protection vessel manifests indicate that as recently as mid-late March businesses were shipping medical equipment needed for the pandemic response from the United States to foreign purchasers, profiting themselves while depriving their fellow citizens of protective equipment that the United States is now running out of.  

            While most nonessential businesses remain closed during the pandemic, many “essential” workers remain working, particularly within the massive delivery corporations of Amazon, FedEx, UPS, etc.  These corporations continue business as usual without providing ppe for their workers, means to maintain sanitation and sanitized work-spaces and, even worse, disrupting and firing their employees who have called for safer, sanitized working environments and organized to demand them.  Jeff Bezos is one of the richest persons on the planet and it is more than only correlational that Amazon employees’ working conditions are rather hostile and that the employees’ organizing and calling for better conditions and protections elicited racist and classist assaults rather than improved conditions.  This is what the class war looks like.  

            The United States' foreign policy involving sanction regimes, against Venezuela and Iran for instance, is already under normal circumstances vicious for the populations, but within the pandemic are a tool of mass murder as the sanctions on Iraq of the 90s more than demonstrated.  Alternatively Cuba has sent doctors and medical help to Europe which is in sharp contrast to Germany's inability to help Greece and Washington's decision to enforce the civilian deaths of its sanctioned states.    

            Labor organizing and collective actions are required for the safety of the entire nation’s and, consequently, world’s populace.  The proven means by which to empower the workers and people is to organize and to strike.  The gravity of the pandemic crisis demands mass strike action, wildcat and solidarity strikes, and sit-down (shop occupation) strikes.  The people united will never be defeated.