Moral Opposition to the Occupation: It’s Stories From Israel Like This That Shape My Stance

Not much to say on this topic, that’s a lie. I have a lot to say, but my emotions get the best of me to be honest. The hypocrisy of an occupation, complete with racist settlers and ghettos, being perpetrated by members of THE traumatized ethnic group of the last century (and the militate support for their actions) on another population is really too much to discuss calmly. So, what I like to do is set the scene. There have been books written, documentaries made, whole websites dedicated to covering the unbelievable situation that has unfolded over the past 50 years.

Below is just a small section of an article I came across today from Haaretz, an left-leaning Israeli news organization. The article is about a group of conservative, American Rabbis, who took a trip to Hebron, West Bank, in the Occupied Territories to see for themselves what is taking place there. For some it was a return trip, for others it was their first time. The full article is worth a read, the section below describes what can be seen there:

Hebron is the only Palestinian city in the West Bank that has an Israeli settlement located within it. A total of about 850 Israelis (including about 200 yeshiva students, who are not full-time residents) live here among 200,000 Palestinians – among them, some of the most radical and violent settlers to have emerged during a half-century of occupation. To make sure that the city’s tiny Jewish population is protected, hundreds of Israeli soldiers patrol the streets here.

But even this very conspicuous military presence is not enough, as the rabbis on the tour soon learn. To avoid friction between the two hostile populations, Israel has imposed heavy restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in what used to be bustling downtown Hebron.

Bubis opens a map filled with a maze of different colored lines to illustrate her point. On roads delineated in purple, she points out, Palestinians cannot drive vehicles. On those marked with purple-and-gold stripes, not only are Palestinians prohibited from driving – they are not allowed to open businesses. On roads delineated in red, not only can they not drive or open businesses, they are not even permitted to walk. These red roads, the guide explains, are known in army jargon as “sterile.”

The situation for Palestinians has improved, Bubis acknowledges. Until just a few years ago, on streets where pedestrian movement was allowed, Palestinians were forced to walk down very narrow paths sealed off by barricades. Those barricades have since been removed. And until just a few years ago, along one of the city’s main streets, they were not allowed to exit their homes through the front door. Rather, they were forced to climb up onto their roofs and jump along the roofs of their neighbors to exit through a back way. Those restrictions are no longer enforced either.

This isn’t a political situation. This is a moral one. This is not a right or left issue or agenda, it is a human one. The groups involved make it a “third-rail” within polite political discussion. This I guess I understand, but I do not accept. The only thing rude is pretending this can be explained away.

Episode: 4th of July Check-In

Promised myself I would be getting another episode up over this long week. The episode can be found here.

20 minute check in. Venting about healthcare media coverage, Chris Christie’s fat ass, and big government on the 4th of July.

NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard – Robert Parry

Rand Paul Teaches Reporter How Capitalism Works – YouTube

Infant Sentenced To Death By European Human Rights Court

CBO: No, seriously, the Senate bill cuts Medicaid spending

Iranian – Funded Terrorist Group (ISIS) Attacks Iranian Parliament 

ISIS raids Iranian parliament, and the US media and Saudi Arabia tries to sell Americans on Iran being the world’s largest supporter of terror. 

Anyone with a Wikipedia-level understanding of the Middle East knows that ISIS and Iran are enemies, and the US has been fighting WITH Iran in Iraq against ISIS.
Sorry FOX News, John McCain and Bill Kristol. 

The Attacks Won’t Stop. Pt. 2 – Blowback Edition 

The attacks won’t stop by changing profile photos and wishing it away. Realize your politicians have signed you up for this heartache by violently occupying the Middle East for over a century.

The response has been the growth of understandable revenge-seeking over the deaths of their children & families, and lose of their society, homes and country.
The outlet that is offered to radical religious terrorism which help fill that void and give purpose to their revenge.
The attacks won’t stop just because us Westerners want them too. Face the facts that your low price gas and ability to travel freely is built off the backbone of a violent imperialism.
So either put your foot down and refuse to go along with it anymore. Or don’t, and continue to pretend the “mean bad people” will eventually stop after enough bombs are dropped on their world.

The Podcast: Yemen

I have returned. Today I uploaded my first podcast episode since Donald Trump took office. However, this episode is all about Obama (and Hillary). In it, I try to break down the history of not only the conflict in Yemen, but the United States direct support for the Yemeni government and the Saudi Arabia bombing & blockade campaign.

For all the talk about how Russia is guilty for Assad’s crimes. The media is very quick to ignore America’s guilt in the crimes of Saleh, Hadi and Riyadh.

The podcast can be found here.

*EPISODE NOTE: I keep sourcing Patrick Cockburn as the author of an article I quote. The author is actually his brother, Andrew Cockburn. Both amazing journalists.

Links to some of my sources are below:

The Obama Doctrine

https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/12/04/crimes-in-yemen-militancy-regime-attacks-and-us-drones/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE31/010/2012/en/5c85d728-a9ab-4693-afe9-edecc2b8670e/mde310102012en.pdf/

Acceptable Losses

Next Stop: Yemen

The Saudis, Hillary, and the Destruction of Yemen

Wikileaks’ ‘Yemen Files’ Reveal Scope of US Involvement in Yemen War

Yemen: America’s Shame

Business As Usually for the US Empire Under Trump

Now I know it is shocking to read an article title such as this with a Republican in the White House. With all of Trump’s talk of trying not to get bogged down in Middle East conflicts and business of empire, he is doing a terrible job so far.

Save maybe his stance toward Russia, Trump’s administration is continuing to signal that not much is going to change in the next four years.

Starting with his first week in office, Mr. Trump signed off on the raid in Yemen without any intelligence which left civilians dead, including the young daughter of previously slain Anwar Al-Awlaki. This raid was a sloppy mess, producing no usable intel and included even a US casualty; the US Navy Seal Trump attempted to use as a political chess piece at his first speech to Congress.The target of the raid was not even killed, as in early March he released audio taunting the president.

Trump’s next Clinton-like idea came in the form of “safe zones” in Syria. An idea which much like Clinton’s “no-fly zone” would need to be administered over sovereign Syrian terrorist. All to help destabilize the hold the government has on it’s own country there.

Moving to this week, we see the rest of the policy coming into form. I previously wrote about the US airstrikes in Mosul that killed dozens of civilians. Well, that number is now in the HUNDREDS and has been confirmed by coalition forces. Any idea that Trump would be shifting policy in Iraq seemed to go out the window when the man that Trump defers to on all things military, General Mattis, stated that US troops will need to stay in Iraq “for years”. This will not be nation-building Mattis says, but just “stabilization”. We don’t know to pull out like that wimp Obama and create another vacuum for ISIS to fill…

As we move to the African continent, we are introduced to the great military mind US African Commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser. This genius is petitioning the president to keep US forces in Libya to help combat ISIS, which has a presence of 200 total men in a country the size of the Northeast. This is to help “stabilize” the nation, and also to keep Russia from influencing the government there. Something that is supposed to the job of the United States.

Commander Walhauser also wants expanded presence in Somalia. Doubling down on the Syria-type engagement strategy here. Arming rebels, embedding US Special Forces, airstrikes and drones. This keeps the Marines off the ground and allows for some PR space back home.

As you can see from the laundry list of bad ideas, not much is going to change under Trump. Not that this is shocking to anyone. If anything, it helps to highlight how the empire works. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, the policy stays the same.

The only saving grace with Trump was supposed to be his views on Russia and NATO. But even that seems to just be window dressing. Yes, he is annoying our NATO and EU allies with his brash behavior during his meeting with German Chancellor Merkel and his applause for Brexit. But this isn’t keeping his underlings from moving the status quo forward.

Newly confirmed Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley can be found on video threatening sanctions on Russia unless they “give back” Crimea and “leave” Ukraine:

Lets not forget about the rouge-element within Congress in the form of John McCain. Sen. McCain has been cheer-leading for more NATO expansion in eastern Europe, including the welcoming of Montenegro into the alliance. A move that will surely be approved by Congress and the president, no matter what Rand Paul’s feelings are on the subject.

Sen. McCain has become the leading voice for Neo-Conservative, Liberal-Internationalist wing of Washington with Trump in office. Just this Friday, McCain spoke out in Brussels repeating his support for more EU and NATO cooperation in the region. Going as far as to say that the world “cries out for American and European leadership” and that “The New World Order is under enormous strain”. Music to my ears but disaster in McCain’s eyes.

As the Trump presidency continues to unfold, focus at least some of your attention away from the dumpster-fire which is domestic politics, and watch to see if there is any change in the foreign policy of the Empire.

The Reason Attacks Like London Will Not End Anytime Soon – 33 Civilians Dead in US Airstrike in Syira

My reaction to the attack in London today is sure to come with the comments I usually receive: “How can you blame the victim?!” “This is about their religion!” “So you are blaming the US (Britain)!?” Of course, that is not what I am doing. I have become a bit numb to the complete horror of these attacks. I do go directly to the idea of “Blowback” that was introduced by the CIA, and further introduced to me by Ron Paul.

While the mainstream media and extreme left will cover this attack as if it is an irrational attack by an individual from a small minority of an otherwise peaceful culture or religion, the radical viewpoint on this that will come both from the right and left will be to directly attribute this attack to he religion of Islam.

I reject both of these as stated earlier. As I wrote in my previous post, the rational explanation of why these types of attacks take place can be found in the daily news coming out of the Middle East.

I went over to Antiwar.com and read the following article posted today: “US Airstrike Kills 33 Civilians Sheltering in Syrian School“. The article covers the most recent idiotic military operation by the US in Syria. Ready for this? The US airdropped Kurdish fighters into ISIS-controlled Raqqa in an attempt to “liberate” the city. To clear the are for the airdrop, the US first provided airstrikes. One airstrike struck a school housing refugees, killing 33 people according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The indifference in which we treat these massacres carried out by our governments lead to the lashing out of the violently oppressed. I won’t get into who the refugee crisis in Europe is directly related to the destruction of the refugees’ countries. A six year old can figure that out on their own.

On the surface this is a tragedy in its own right. But the response and reaction by the US military, media and Westerners alike is the real story. Responsibility is not taken for the airstrike, even denial is in the cards. CNN, FOX or MSNBC won’t touch this story.

Because of this, the everyday Westerner won’t have any reaction. There will be no hashtags or profile picture changes.

They will say that this is “the price of empire” or that this is just what happens in that part of world. Well, I can sadly say that attacks like the one in London is the real price of empire, and it too is just what happens in THAT part of the world.

Random Thoughts – Perception vs Rationality

As I sit here reading an article about Israeli airstrikes in the Golan Heights, a common thought enters my mind. All around me I find that perception out weighs rationality. Take this story for instance. On Friday, Israeli bombers entered sovereign Syrian airspace and bombed Syrian military positions. Israel responded by warning the Syrians that any more attempts to shoot down Israeli jets (over Syria) would be met with aggression. Israeli Defense Minster Avigdor Lieberman went as far as to say that the anti-aircraft weapons would be bombed “without the slightest hesitation“.

This post isn’t about Syria. And it’s surely not some anti-Israeli rant. I’m taking this example of a news story to demonstrate my earlier observation. See, when I read this story, I look at it without bias. Or at least I try not too. Do I have strong opinions? Sure. But those are set aside. All I see here is one gang with a white & blue flag deciding to attack the property of one of it’s neighboring gangs. I see an aggressor and a defender. That’s as far as a I take it. In a world that is so obviously gray, things like this are black and white.

When deciding what to feel about this piece of news I flesh out these simple truths. In this instance the government of Israeli violated the sovereign airspace of the government of Syria, dropping fire from the sky with no declaration of war. That’s it. Israeli is in the wrong. No matter what other information or past events lead up to this point.

Let’s back up. I say all this to make my point. This is a huge story in my little world. This story influences my day, my politics, my view on the world. I ignore any editorializing that may be done by the author (it is Antiwar.com after-all). This is how I’ve formed by opinions and viewpoints since before I can remember. “Think for yourself” has always been a freedom I’ve relished in exercising.

With the never-ending stream of stories and information coming at people on a daily basis, I see so many around me settling for others to do the deep thinking for them. They have viewpoints of their own. Their own emotions too. I’m not sitting here saying I’m special. Just that with the access to information, and a little critical thinking tools, I believe the world should be becoming more sober in its perceptive. More rational.

This story will be received differently by individuals all over the world. Are they Jewish? Are they Arab? Are they Zionist? Are they from the US? Do they watch CNN? Have they glanced over enough news headlines that they believe that “Syria = bad, Israel = good”? Why does this matter to them? These are questions I ask when I see the reactions of so many. Because I don’t understand where they are coming from.

In a world that is most definitely gray, when something can be stamped black or white..it should be. And we should feel relief in that.

Trust the New York Times & It’s Stable of Repeated Liars

Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com debunks the recent article by Michael Gordon at the NYT about the Russians violating a treaty with a 2008 cruise missile test:

“The missile tests took place in 2008, and at the time the Bush Administration did not make them an issue. It was only in 2014, when the Obama Administration was ratcheting up tensions with Russia, that the tests were raised as a “possible violation.” Media outlets took the reclassification of the missile by the Pentagon, removing their “experimental” label, to claim they must be deployed now, and that must be a violation too.”

So, the United States reclassifies a missile type, and now the Russians violate a treaty. Not only does Michael Gordon know this, he admits it in the bottom of the article. Of course, the article is posted, and is immediately shared and retweeted because it fits the Russia hysteria narrative.

This is the same Michael Gordon that somehow still has a job after helping to lie the US in war in Iraq in 2002-2003, by posting the same type of half-ass journalism.