Sunday, April 21, 2024

Idiot of the week . . .

We'll have idiot of the week but I've got to note three videos first.


Let's start with BURN IT DOWN WITH KIM BROWN.


That's self-explanatory, I try to note her all the time.  This is Karen Hunter.


And that's because she's talking about Alan Ritchson who was great as Hawk on TITANS and is great as the main character on REACHER.  

 

Finally, just saw this at THE COMMON ILLS.


That's Chris Houseman's "Guilty As Sin."


In Friday's snapshot (in full in a moment), C.I. rightly calls out Fatima Bhutto for her idiotic column.  Others are calling her out for it as well.



















That's a small sample.  Fatima Bhutto is a joke.  She's a moron.  But that's not enough to be idiot of the week.  You have to have a little more agency and power.


Mehdi Hasan come grab your prize!  You are idiot of the week.  You've spent weeks blathering away about how you were creating a new media honest and truthful and yet here you are doing, as C.I. notes -- "First thing any feminist learns is: Don't count on the media to reflect us honestly." -- the same thing media always does.


Mehdi, you not only hired this bad writer, you paid her, you posted her and you e-mailed people to highlight her very bad article.


You are idiot of the week.





Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, April 19, 2024.  Protests, deaths and more take a back seat as the media wets itself in excitement over the prospect of war on Iran.



More than 100 students have been arrested after police cleared a camp of pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University in New York.

The university's president said that the "extraordinary step" came after multiple warnings and was necessary to provide a safe environment.

Among the participants in the protest was Minnesota politician Ilhan Omar's daughter, who has been suspended.

Protests have rocked US campuses since the Israel-Gaza war began last year. 



Isra Hirsi, the daughter of American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, said she has been suspended from New York's Columbia University and its associate institution, Barnard College, after participating in a pro-Palestine protest on Thursday.

Writing on X, Hirsi said she is "one of three students suspended for standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a genocide".

Hirsi said that despite being an organiser with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, she had never been reprimanded or received any disciplinary warnings in her three years at the college. The organisation advocates for the university to divest from "companies complicit in genocide".





AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. As Columbia University President Shafik testified before Congress about accusations of antisemitism at the school, Democracy Now! spoke to Columbia and Barnard College students yesterday who set up a Gaza Solidarity Encampment early Wednesday morning with dozens of tents, occupying the South Lawn of the campus outside the main library. As we broadcast, students have been threatened with suspension and discipline action but are still refusing to leave until their demands are met. They spoke about what they’re calling for.

PROTESTERS: Down, down with occupation! Down, down with occupation! Up, up with liberation! Up, up with liberation!

MARYAM ALWAN: My name is Maryam Alwan, and I’m with Columbia SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine. And we are here today to demand that Columbia divest immediately from all stakes in Israeli apartheid. Over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed. And as we speak, our president is testifying in front of the House in a game of political theater that is conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. We want to focus the attention on what’s going on in Gaza and tell Columbia that we are not going anywhere. No matter how much government suppression we face, we will keep fighting until they divest.

They have been completely repressive. I mean, we’ve faced police brutality. We have faced countless policy changes. I mean, my group, along with Jewish Voice for Peace, was suspended in the fall semester completely illegitimately. And I filed a lawsuit to counter that action. And it seems like the repression is only getting worse and worse and worse. But the more they repress us, the more we rise up. And that’s why we’ve escalated — that’s also why we’ve escalated here today.

Not only are they not listening to us when we peacefully protest, when we attempt to just pass referendums for student voices to even be heard, they don’t even want to listen to the students. They don’t want to know what the students think. And so, we’re here to tell them that we will take up space and presence on this campus, and they’re not going to be able to erase our support for Palestine.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! If Gaza doesn’t get it, shut it down!

SOPH: My name is Soph. I am with Jewish Voice for Peace at Columbia. And I am here today because I will not stand by while thousands and thousands of people are dying because of our tax dollars in this country, as Columbia’s money is going towards a genocide. The money that should be funding our education is going to the bombs that are dropping on Gaza right now. Columbia is a majority share — has massive amounts of shares in various organizations, like Lockheed Martin, that are supplying Israel with bombs right now, and we will no longer be complicit.

In a campus like this that is filled with repression, that is — every day we wake up, and the administration tries to silence us more and more. We are here to say, “The more you try to silence us, the louder we will be.” We will not be complicit. We will stand in solidarity, because we know that we keep us safe.

We refuse to believe that Israel is in any part related to our Judaism. In fact, our Jewish values inform why we’re here, why we’re standing in here — Jewish values of tikkun olam, of love, of appreciation, of respect, of mutual liberation. And so, as Jews, we are here to say that we will always support the liberation of Palestine, because that is what historically Jews have done. We have stood up for other oppressed peoples, because we know that there can be no freedom until we are all free.

PROTESTERS: Free, free Palestine! Free, free Palestine! Free, free, free Palestine! Free, free, free Palestine!

SARAH BORUS: My name is Sarah Borus. I’m a student at Barnard College. And I’m here because I was raised as an anti-Zionist Jew. It is important for me to stand with Palestine. I go to a university that is actively profiting off of the genocide of Palestinians and then is hiding behind Jewish students by saying that they want to crack down on us because of antisemitism. But as an anti-Zionist Jew, I know that that is the farthest thing from the truth. They are doing that because they know that we are on the right side of history, that they are doing something that is profoundly wrong. And it is our job during this genocide to come out and resist.

There were Jews protesting against this genocide who were harassed and then attacked with a chemical weapon. That is not being addressed. This is — quite frankly, we’re seeing McCarthyism once again. And our administrators need to be aware of the experience of anti-Zionist Jews, the way that antisemitism is being weaponized in order to crack down on this movement.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the South Lawn of Columbia University, where students have set up a Gaza Solidarity Encampment. Special thanks to Democracy Now!’s Hana Elias and Tey-Marie Astudillo and Eric Halvarson for that report.

When we come back, we go to Tel Aviv, Israel, to speak with a senior Israel analyst for the International Crisis Group about why Israel-Iran war is a lifeline for Prime Minister Netanyahu. Back in 20 seconds.




Columbia students were right in 1968. History proved it. Columbia students are right today. The university has no good answers to their demands that the school stop investing in genocide. Calling in the NYPD proves it.

+ Abbie Hoffman: “The only reason you should be in college is to destroy it.” In Columbia’s case, the administration is doing the job for the students.

+ Columbia Professor Rebecca Jordan-Young: “The faculty who are supporting the students do not all agree on the issue of Israel and Palestine, [but] we are astonished and disgusted with the way the university has cracked down on the students.”

+ From Wednesday’s House interrogation of Columbia University’s President, Minouche Shafik…

+ God also wanted Abraham to slit his son Isaac’s throat, which is pretty much what Shafik did when she called the NYPD goon squad on the kids in her care. Giordano Bruno she’s not…In fact, Shafik is a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, and also enjoys a life peerage in the House of Lords.




Antony Blinken has been asked why he's refusing to comment on the apparent Israeli attack on Iran in the early hours of this morning. 

He responds: "I am going to be incredibly boring and not make your day by saying again I am not going to speak on what's been reported."

He also reiterates the line he's been saying throughout the conference: "The United States has not been involved in any offensive operations." 


I am not Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  But I'm also not going to spend time this morning on Israeli's attack on Iran.  Sunday, as we noted Sunday, you couldn't find news of Gaza -- protests over it, deaths caused by the Israeli government, not even a death toll -- because the media was foaming over the thought of a bigger war.  We're there again today and it's not just western media, it's the Arab media as well.

We cover Gaza, we cover Iraq, we cover feminism, we have a scope here.  The world doesn't need more wars -- or actually any wars.  

World leaders reacted to Friday’s strike with calls to avoid further escalation. Egypt expressed its “deep concern about the continuing escalation between Israel and Iran,” calling for “the highest levels” of restraint and warning against expanding “conflict and instability in the region.”

 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “It is absolutely necessary that the region stays stable and that all sides refrain from further action.” China’s Foreign Ministry also said it opposed any actions that escalated tensions, Reuters reported.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry in a statement also called for restraint from “all parties,” but it pointed the finger at Israel. “It is becoming increasingly evident that the tensions that were initially caused by Israel’s illegal attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus risk turning into a permanent conflict,” the ministry said.


  As the United Nations Security Council prepares to vote Thursday on Palestine's bid to become a full U.N. member, the Biden administration—which claims to support Palestinian statehood—is lobbying UNSC nations in an effort to wrangle enough "no" votes so that the United States can avoid resorting to a veto.

Leaked cables obtained by The Intercept show U.S. pressure on Security Council members including Malta—which currently presides over the body—and Ecuador.

  While claiming that President Joe Biden backs "Palestinian aspirations for statehood," one of the cables asserts that "it remains the U.S. view that the most expeditious path toward a political horizon for the Palestinian people is in the context of a normalization agreement between Israel and its neighbors."

"We therefore urge you not to support any potential Security Council resolution recommending the admission of 'Palestine' as a U.N. member state, should such a resolution be presented to the Security Council for a decision in the coming days and weeks," the document advises.

The U.S. argument essentially is that the U.N. should not create an independent Palestinian state by fiat—even though that's precisely how the world body voted in 1947 to establish the modern state of Israel.

The renewed push for Palestine's U.N. membership comes as Israel wages a genocidal war on the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority, which hasn't controlled Gaza for nearly two decades, rejected the Biden administration's requests to hold off on seeking full membership.

"We wanted the U.S. to provide a substantive alternative to U.N. recognition. They didn't," one unnamed Palestinian official toldAxios on Wednesday. "We believe full membership in the U.N. for Palestine is way overdue. We have waited more than 12 years since our initial request."

As The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein and Daniel Boguslaw noted:

Since 2011, the U.N. Security Council has rejected the Palestinian Authority's request for full member status. On April 2, the Palestinian Observer Mission to the U.N. requested that the council once again take up consideration of its membership application. According to the first State Department cable, U.N. meetings since the beginning of April suggest that Algeria, China, Guyana, Mozambique, Russia, Slovenia, Sierra Leone, and Malta support granting Palestine full membership to the U.N. It also says that France, Japan, and Korea are undecided, while the United Kingdom will likely abstain from a vote.

Along with the United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom are permanent members of the UNSC, so they also have veto power.


 Read Brett in full. 


Gaza remains under assault. Day 196 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." Yesterday, THE NATIONAL noted "The death toll in Gaza rose to 33,970 on Thursday after Israel killed 71 Palestinians in the previous 24 hours, the health ministry announced. More than 100 others were wounded, taking the total number of injured to 76,770 since the war began on October 7."  Again, no one has a death toll today, they're all frothing in delight over the prospect of war on Iran. Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:






April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "n addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."
 

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

Since everyone else appears to be is in war mode -- with no concern for the victims of war -- let's go to a different topic.



I thought Medhi Hasan was trying to do something different.  Thought he was building something different, a media that was going to be real.  Now it appears he's just built another media that attacks women and hides behind a forty-something female with Mommy issues to attack women.  Before we get to that special prize let's review some headlines to provide the context that Mehdi apparently doesn't believe in despite giving one interview after another in recent weeks talking about the importance context. 

Let's start.  October 7th, Hamas carried out an attack in Israel.  

Not content to deal with what took place, liars had to invent claims of beheaded babies.  Claims of gang-rapes soon followed.

No women did.  

And as I've said repeatedly here and at THIRD, it doesn't play.  If you bought a ticket to a film and some bad guy got a woman alone and raped her?  You would buy it.  If the bad guy raped her in front of her family, you'd even buy that.  But the rapist has invaded and is taking time out from the assault -- and risking it being stopped as a result -- so that he and his accomplices can indulge in gang-rape?

It doesn't play.  You hit the targets, you get out.

Could it have happened?  Many believe it or not moments do happen.

But this didn't happen.  

I'm a survivor.  I do not buy that another woman -- let alone many women -- would be raped on October 7th and be so fragile that they couldn't come forward.  It's April 19th.  

So what did Mehdi do?  He published the gadfly Fatima Bhutto.  And her awful column "Gaza Has Exposed The Shameful Hypocrisy Of Western Feminism."

From the title, some may think it belongs to other recent literary fictions such as:


THE TIMES OF ISRAEL, November 23rd, Amelie Botbol, "Global women’s rights groups silent as Israeli women testify about rapes by Hamas"

NBC NEWS,  November 25th, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, "How feminists have failed Israeli victims of sexual violence: The skepticism that met Israeli women’s claims perpetuates traditions of dehumanizing Jews."

SLATE, November 30th, Dahlia Lithwick, Mimi Rocah, Tamara Sepper, Jennifer Taub, Joyce White Vance, and Julie Zebrak, "The World’s Feminists Need to Show Up for Israeli Victims: Solidarity for victims of sexual assault should trump other politics."


THE FORWARD, December 13th, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, "Jew-hating is not a new feminist phenomenon: I refuse to let Hamas’ brutal assault on Israeli women and girls be forgotten in the fog of war"

THE NATION, December 15th, Katha Pollitt "Why Have Feminists Been So Slow to Condemn the Hamas Rapes?" 

THE JERUSALEM POST, January 19th, Carly Pildis, "Why are feminists silent on Hamas's use of rape as a weapon of war?"


WINNEPEG FREE PRESS, January 26th, Jen Zoratti, "The battlefield between feminism and rapes of war"


  
We could include about forty more articles but hopefully you get the point.  The articles in bold are trashing western feminists for not rushing to endorse and support these mythical rape victims.  

We're such mean western feminists, we don't care about these fictional women. That's what we've endured for months and along with columns there have been speeches and remarks and we've been attacked over and over and over.


I can't support women who are fiction.  Created solely as propaganda to promote war?  Can't support them.  Didn't buy the lie about Iraq tossing babies out of incubators in the 90s either.  Or the WMD lie leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  

And I don't buy that women were gang-raped on October 7th and all these months later can't come forward.  Again, I'm a survivor.  That doesn't mean everyone raped has the same experience I do.  I doubt, for example, they repeatedly stabbed their rapist once he fell asleep.  I doubt that they were in the single-digit years as I was.  But there I was a small child, just raped, and I had the sense to wait for him to fall asleep and then to ensure that he couldn't come back after me and then to figure out where he had taken me and how the hell I got to safety.

So spare me the lie that grown ass women are raped six months ago and are still too traumatized to come forward.

Fatima Bhutto does a list twist though.  She wants to blame western feminists -- remember, we've already been attacked for months for not taking up the cause of these mystical and mythical women -- Fatima wants to blame us for -- well her entire pathetic life, actually, let's be honest.  Her Daddy love for a father who was a failure, her hatred for her aunt that she claims killed her father, her mother who just wasn't there for her and the entire world which really didn't ever want her bad fiction and still doesn't want any novels from her as evidenced by poor sales.  Oh, if only she could 'date' George Clooney again, life might be good for her.

We, western feminists, just aren't doing enough for Fatima or, for that matter, anything. 


This week, I mentioned Matilda Joslyn Gage in a snapshot and noted that, if you didn't know the name, your media was failing you.  I then noted how so few women are guests -- even on left and 'left' public affairs programs and YOUTUBE programs, et al.  I stand by that and I feel the need to repeat it now due to Medhi Hashan's new outlet publishing Fatima Bhutto's "Gaza Has Exposed the Shameful Hypocrisy of Western Feminism."

No, dear, what it's exposed is your shameful ignorance.

I'm a feminist -- a western one.  I've called out the attack on Gaza since it started.  We have largely skipped Iraq coverage to cover this and to cover it daily.  Susan Sarandon spoke out and got dropped by her talent agency.  She's a feminist as well.  Melissa Barrera will not be silenced.  She's a feminist as well.  


Your media is failing you.

I'm also getting damn tired of feminism being stolen from us.

Gloria Steinem?

People still don't get it.

I was Gloria's friend and her friend for years.  I believed her lie about the CIA.  It wasn't until the '00s that I found out differently.  And Ava and I wrote about it repeatedly at THIRD.  Excuse me but people just say "Oh, she was CIA!"  That's Max Blumenthal and all the other lazy asses.  Uh-uh.  She was CIA who ratted out leftists from other countries.  That's why she went overseas.  She was to document dissidents and turn that over to the CIA which then used it to 'barter' with other governments.  She is responsible for deaths so stop saying, "Oh, she was CIA!" and thinking you've said something.  You've said nothing unless your noting that she harmed European activists -- some of whom ended up tortured and some of whom were killed.  Gloria hates it when Ava and I write about this.  And some friends say to me, "Can't you just leave it alone?"  No.  I cannot.  First off, I'm guilty and feel guilty because I believed her lies.  She looked me in the face and told me she was not a part of the CIA.  She'd just, in college, done some work on an international festival.  She lied.  And what's appalling is how long the lie held.  Thanks to YOUTUBE, we can now all see her bragging about being in the CIA because, before she was a feminist, she gave on camera interviews bragging on it.  But I believed her and I defended her.  

I can't be silent now that I know I was wrong.  It's not something I need to bring up every day, no, but when it's appropriate it needs to be brought up and that's why Ava and I have written about it repeatedly.  And done more than that, we've also lobbied -- since we discovered Gloria was lying -- corporate media to stop providing cover for her and you can now go to any mainstream media outlet and find that, yes, she was CIA.  (And that's why it's nothing for Max Blumenthal to tweet that obvious reality.)

Feminism in the west has always railed against media figureheads -- including Gloria and I agreed with that long before I discovered she was lying.

Bhutto knows nothing about Western feminism other than what the corporate media has told her.  First thing any feminist learns is: Don't count on the media to reflect us honestly.

I love how we're ignored by the media over and over.

But Gaza's under assault and suddenly we're the cause and we're the reason and everybody attack us.  

Western feminists have been speaking out against that slaughter in Gaza for months now.  Maybe Fatima doesn't know it because she doesn't understand the real world.

Reading her bad column, I had to drop back two paragraphs to see who Carrie Bradshaw was.  I couldn't find her in the previous paragraphs and then I realized, "Oh, she means Sarah Jessica Parker's character in SEX AND THE CITY."  And that may be SEX IN THE CITY.  If I write of it, I have to look it up because it was not my show and Carrie was not my touchstone.  

Fatima fumes over the 90s TV character.  Way to utilize your space to deal with reality, Fatima.

And we get BARBIE trashed because Fatima hates women.  Mommy issues.  BARBIE is a movie mainly aimed at young children -- girls and boys who love Barbie.  If the scorn and hate that so many of you have aimed at the movie was ever aimed at a GI Joe movie, we might actually be able to end wars.  But you only trash a film, rip it apart, if it's aimed primarily at females.  Then it can be mocked and held accountability for every crime in the world.  But target children with a movie where everyone's shooting each other and it just passed by without comment -- even as school shooting continue to multiply in the US.



Stop it.

We're not all powerful.  If feminists were all powerful, why would we have to constantly point out how we're not given equal seating at the table?

The mainstream media has spent the last six months ripping apart everyone who calls for a cease-fire or just ignoring them outright.  How nice of Mehdi's new outlet to render those of us in the west who are feminists and are calling for a ceasefire invisible.  

At the same time, the biggest nobodies in the world have been treated as voices to listen to.  Julianna Margulies?  No one likes her.  She can't get work because of her image that she made on the set of THE GOOD WIFE.  She was a freak show and a nightmare to work with which is why so many people left that show.  After that? She went slumming to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC because that's all she could get.  Do you not realize how awful that is?  She starred in a network TV show but is such a nightmare to work with that no one -- no one -- wanted to work with her and she had to go to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.


Now she's on APPLE!

Uh, now she's like the eleventh billed in an APPLE show, let's not pretend she's a star because she isn't.


And where are we getting this idea that she's a feminist?  What has she ever done?

Don't give me when the cameras are around and recording her 'good' moments.  What did she do for women?  In season one of THE GOOD WIFE, women directed five episodes.  In season two, they directed six episodes.  That was embarrassing low.  In season three, she becomes a producer.  And the number of women directing episodes increases, right?  Women direct at least 11 of the episodes now each season because Julianna is a woman, right?

Wrong.

The number directed stays the same or dropped.  (It dropped to only four out of 22 episodes directed by a woman in the final season.)  She's not a feminist.


Mayim Bialik?  She was producer of her show CALL ME KAT.  Third season had 22 episodes.  How many women got hired to direct?  Two.  Well one woman, she got to direct two episodes.  

That's not a feminist producing a TV show.  A feminist would be creating equal opportunities.

Stop calling these people feminists when they aren't.

Hillary Clinton is not a feminist.  She's a Me-ist.  It only matters if effects her.  If she's not impacted, she's not there.  Which is why she could and did betray Iraqi women when she was Secretary of State -- as we documented here repeatedly including when her last remaining real friend called her out for it.  Julianna's a Me-ist.  


Stop mistaking these women who give lip service to feminism to advance themselves as feminists.  Just stop it.

There are many different strands of feminism in the west.  And I don't think the term's elastic nor should it be treated as such.  "Oh, it's good because the more women that use it, the better."

No.  

Because misusing it means we get blamed as in the Bhutto column.  

If you're not willing to help other women -- I mean real women, not mythical women who supposedly were raped over six months ago but can't come forward and have no evidence or proof -- I guess they're all taking the rest cure, maybe dealing with some YELLOW WALLPAPER (don't get it, then your media has failed you).


The same media that trashes those of us demanding a ceasefire is not your go-to -- or shouldn't be -- for the pulse of the feminist movement.  


The only people who think Julianna is a feminist are the same idiots who didn't realize two decades ago that you weren't seeing her real hair, that it was a wig.  You have to be that stupid to think she's a feminist.

Stop calling those women feminists.  They're false representations and you're ignoring the voices and actions of so many women in the west who actually are feminists.

I don't want to hear any whining about how this or that is distorted when you've got Mehdi's outlet distorting feminism.
 

When you start calling those genocide apologists "feminists," you silence those of us who are feminists --  just like the corporate media silences all of us calling for a ceasefire.


Mehdi, do better.  And do it quickly.




The following sites updated:


Friday, April 19, 2024

Kicking a paraplegic out of his home, Cotton Capital series wins an award, TV antennas

What a horrible story.



You expect some form of compassion to kick in but it just doesn't.  The man's paralyzed and they just want to get him out of his home.  Doesn't matter where because, it's obvious, he's not supposed to matter.  That's really sad and disgusting.


You just have to shake your head and wonder how they live with themselves.


Next topic, Charlie Moloney (GUARDIAN) reports:

The Guardian has won a diversity award at the prestigious Press Awards after its exposĂ© on its founders’ links to transatlantic slavery, as one of its reporters took home the award for news reporter of the year.

Judges at the Press Awards called the Guardian’s cross-platform Cotton Capital series, encompassing news articles, long-form essays, podcasts, video, a magazine, a 15-part newsletter and social media content, a “breathtakingly honest mea culpa”.

They added that it was “a hugely thoughtful and comprehensive project that provides a groundbreaking example of how an organisation addresses historical links to slavery”.

 

Saw this and found it interesting:

"In-home antennas are the fastest-growing way Americans are accessing television today," according to CivicScience. However, the group that has led the push are millennials - those between ages 25-44.

The research company found that nearly one-third (30 percent, to be exact) of U.S. adults have a digital or traditional TV antenna, which allows a household to receive signals from local broadcast stations for free. Of that general population, 17 percent use their digital antenna often - the other 13 percent, not so much. Additionally, 15 percent of the respondents to CivicScience's survey who do not own a digital antenna are interested in getting one.

While Americans aged 45-54 - let's call them young Gen X-ers - are the biggest over-the-air users (23 percent use an antenna), millennials (25-44) tie the 45-to-54-year-olds as the group most likely to own an antenna. Both are at 35 percent.

Gen Z is the most interested in converting (17 percent) to an antenna; adults 55+ are the least interested. Less than a quarter of the 55-and-older crowd have antennas, even though they're the group that are the most likely to have grown up with one. Perhaps bad experiences from the past have turned them off to the idea. (Of course, theirs were on-roof monstrosities; modern-day TV antennas are predominantly digital and stay indoors.)


It's late, I'm just going to let the above be it.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, April 18, 2024.  Iraq's prime minister continues visit to the US, The Met returns stolen property to Iraq, a new revelation on Abu Ghraib goes under-reported (either outlets run the AP report or they're silent), the Israeli government kills five more children in Gaza, and much more.

This week, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, has been making his first visit to the United States where he has met with US President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and various business leaders -- among others. The visit coincides with the return of stolen property.  Adam Schrader (ART NET) reports:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has returned an ancient Sumerian sculpture to Iraq following an internal review by the institution, which recently appointed a head of provenance research.

The restitution of the Sumerian sculpture happened at a ceremony in Washington D.C., the Met said in a statement. The return takes place just weeks before Lucian Simmons, the former head of Sotheby’s restitution department, is expected to head up the museum’s provenance research team in May. Simmons has worked on restitution and provenance matters since 1997 but will now lead a team of researchers working across many of the museum’s 19 collecting areas.

The copper alloy figure dates to 2900–2600 B.C.E. and depicts a nude man carrying a box on his head, according to the museum’s listing of the work—which now notes that it has been returned. The museum called it a “fine example” of Sumerian sculpture in metal.



  Last year, the museum responded to renewed attention from restitution advocates by launching a landmark effort to review its collections for evidence of looting, such as suspicious gaps in ownership records. An internal provenance research team was formed and Lucian Simmons, who previously oversaw restitution disputes at Sotheby’s, was appointed head of the museum’s provenance research in May.

The Met’s efforts follow a rise in inquiries from the Manhattan district attorney’s office into private antiquity collections assembled between the 1970s and 1990s and their links to looted sites; the museum has since returned items acquired from private collections and linked to countries including Turkey, Egypt and Italy.  






The museum’s director, Max Hollein, said in a statement that the museum is dedicated to the shared preservation of the global cultural legacy as well as the ethical acquisition of artifacts.

The study that resulted in the repatriation of the sculpture made of copper alloy and labeled ‘Man Carrying a Box, Possibly for Offerings’ was not discussed by museum officials.

The artifact, according to the museum, was acquired in 1955 and has been a part of its collection ever since. It is believed to date from between 2900 and 2600 B.C.


RUDAW reminds, "Iraq’s artifacts have been subjected to frequent looting and vandalism since the invasion by the United States in 2003, with the theft worsening after the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group swept through large swathes of the country in 2014. The country has in recent years taken strides to return the lost antiquities."

The Iraqi prime minister's visit also coincides with a  US District Court in Alexandria trial. The trial's focus?  One of the great crimes of the US government in the 21st century, the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal.  Prisoners in the Iraqi prison were tortured by Americans.  Matthew Barakat (AP) reports a new revelation has emerged in the trial: 



A civilian contractor sent to work as an interrogator at Iraq’s infamous Abu Ghraib prison resigned within two weeks of his arrival and told his corporate bosses that mistreatment of detainees was likely to continue. 
Jurors saw the October 2003 email from Rich Arant, who worked for military contractor CACI, during testimony Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by three Abu Ghraib survivors. The former prisoners are suing CACI, alleging that the Reston-Virginia based company shares responsibility for the mistreatment they endured. CACI had a contract to supply interrogators to the Army after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and scrambled to supply the needed personnel. 
The first CACI interrogators arrived at Abu Ghraib on Sept. 28 of that year. Arant sent his resignation letter to CACI on Oct. 14. He informed his bosses about his concerns over the handling of prisoners, including what he described as an unauthorized interview of a female inmate by male interrogators. He wrote that “violations of the well-written rules of engagement will likely continue to occur.”




Excerpt.

Geoff Bennett:

  • Your visit comes at a sensitive time for U.S. relations in the Middle East, following Iran's unprecedented strike on Israel over the weekend.

    The attack has inflamed concerns of a wider regional war. President Biden, whom you met with earlier this week, says Iraq has a role to play in maintaining the peace. How do you view your role?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    The region is witnessing turmoil in the Red Sea, Lebanon, Syria, and recently this escalation, which happened after the attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, which is a dangerous development and a violation of international law.

    Iraq has tried after the Damascus event to de-escalate, and we urge the Iranian side not to respond to that. The attention of the Netanyahu government is for these regional tensions to continue. And, unfortunately, when these wars continue in our region, that impacts the security and the stability of those who live there.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    The U.S. helped block Iran's attack on Israel last weekend by using Iraqi airspace to shoot down drones and shoot down an Iranian missile over Iraq, but your military did not participate in that effort.

    Why not?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    Our security capabilities are still developing, so they can protect our airspace. Iraq and its security policy aims to keep the country away from any conflict or attack on other nations, because the ultimate goal is the security and stability of Iraq, especially in these difficult times.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    If there is an Israeli attack on Iran that uses Iraqi airspace, what will you do?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    Iraq rejects the use of its airspace from any country. We don't want Iraq to be engaged in the area of conflict. And I reiterate and stress that this escalation will engage the region in dangerous calculations, that nobody will control the reactions.

    This is why part of our talks with Mr. Biden were to urge the parties to de-escalate and to end these developments. From our side, we will exert efforts in order to achieve this objective.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Let's talk about the U.S. security arrangement in Iraq. The U.S. has some 2,500 troops in Iraq largely advising and assisting local forces to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

    The Iraqi Parliament declared that U.S. advisers should leave. Is that departure based on a timetable, or is it based on the security situation on the ground?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    Our Parliament's decision in 2020 and the October 2022 government program called for the end of the global coalition's mission, which was done in coordination with the United States.

    This coalition emerged upon the invitation of the Iraqi government in 2014. We are speaking about 10 years ago. Now there is a noticeable stability in the region. There is preparedness of the Iraqi security forces. And ISIS now is no longer a threat to the safety and security of Iraq.

    This led the Parliament and political forces to end the mission and to transition into a security bilateral relationship with the United States and the rest of the countries of the global coalition.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    I hear you say ISIS is not a threat, but, this week, the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, while standing next to you, said ISIS remains a threat to your citizens and to ours.

    How is ISIS no longer a threat?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    ISIS inside Iraq doesn't represent a threat to the security of Iraq. The elements of ISIS are in Syria, and we are working with the global coalition to secure our borders with the Syrians in order to prevent any infiltrations.

    The cells of ISIS are there. We are not speaking about armed people. We are speaking about ideology, extremist ideology that believes in killing and violence. We are tracking the recruitment and financing cells, and we are working on limiting them, controlling them. This is one of our concerns. What happened in Gaza will lead to a double escalation and violence and maybe we will regenerate a new [. . .], ISIS.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    The last time the U.S. withdrew from Iraq, ISIS took over a good deal of the country, and the U.S. military had to come back into Iraq to fight against them.

    What's to prevent that from happening again? Are the Iraqi security forces that have been trained by American troops, are they now capable of fending off a resurgent, potentially resurgent ISIS?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    This is an important question.

    Certainly, the situation in Iraq is different radically now than in 2014. Now ISIS does not have popular domestic incubators everywhere in the region, especially the liberated area. Also, the Iraqi security forces have gained unique experience at the advanced level, the top levels among forces in the region, in counterterrorism.

    Another thing is the political stability. My government is supported by 280 members of a broad coalition of 329 members that include all the components of the Iraqis. This is a factor of strength, and there is the economic development. In Iraq, we are not speaking about ISIS anymore. Only here, when I speak with the media, do we talk about ISIS. In Iraq, we're speaking about development, about investment in companies, universities, culture.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    I do want to talk about economic development, but, first, do you expect any U.S. advisers to leave Iraq this year, in 2024?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    We have agreed on a framework in the joint security dialogue and then also issued a joint statement with President Biden and committed to the outcome of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Military Commission, which will assess the capabilities and operational conditions.

    According to that, we will have a timetable about how to end this mission.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Iranian-backed militia groups continue to operate from Iraq, and this is even after they killed three U.S. troops on the border with Syria.

    You say you won't allow Iraqi territory to be used by any nonstate actor, but the fact is, they still operate on Iraqi soil. Why is that?

  • Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani (through interpreter):

    The government has repeatedly stated its commitment to not allow any one side to play an outsized role in any operations that will lead to destabilization and lack of security.

    We have made that clear and we have taken practical measures against all those groups attacking diplomatic missions and military bases in Iraq. And we will not hesitate to take legal measures against anyone who wants to tamper with our security.



  • Turning to Gaza where the Israeli government has killed at least another five children -- already, close to 14,000 children have been killed in Gaza in the last six months (13,800 per Save The Children and UNICEF).  ALJAZEERA reports on the latest murder of children in the video below.




    The head of the UN's main relief agency in Gaza (UNRWA) has said that an “insidious campaign” is underway to end its operations, warning of "serious implications for international peace and security.”

    UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the agency was being “denied permission to deliver this aid and save lives."

    UNRWA has been under fire since Israel alleged that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack. Israel has long campaigned for UNRWA, the main distributor of aid in Gaza, to be disbanded. Israel has also banned UNRWA from operating in Gaza’s north.

    More than a dozen countries pulled funding for UNRWA after the allegations, some of which have resumed donations.

    “Dismantling UNRWA will have lasting repercussions. In the short-term, it will deepen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and accelerate the onset of famine,” Lazzarini said.
    “In the longer-term, it will jeopardize the transition from ceasefire to ‘day after’ by depriving a traumatized population of essential services.”

    Lazzarini said children were "bearing the brunt of this war," with more than 17,000 separated from their families and "left to face the horror of Gaza alone."

    He also warned that "a man-made famine is tightening its grip" across Gaza.


    In his statement on Thursday, Lazzarini warned that dismantling Unrwa would have “lasting repercussions”. He said:

    In the short-term, it will deepen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and accelerate the onset of famine.

    In the longer-term, it will jeopardise the transition from ceasefire to ‘day after’ by depriving a traumatized population of essential services.

    It will make nearly impossible the formidable task of bringing half a million deeply distressed girls and boys back to learning.

    Failing to deliver on education will condemn an entire generation to despair – fuelling anger, resentment, and endless cycles of violence.

    A political solution cannot succeed in such a scenario.

    Lazzarini called on the security council’s members to “safeguard Unrwa’s critical role both now and within the framework of a transition”.


    Gaza remains under assault. Day 195 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL notes, "The death toll in Gaza rose to 33,970 on Thursday after Israel killed 71 Palestinians in the previous 24 hours, the health ministry announced. More than 100 others were wounded, taking the total number of injured to 76,770 since the war began on October 7."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:






    April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "n addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."
     

    As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."





    AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman in New York, with Juan GonzĂĄlez in Chicago.

    Several Google employees, at least nine, were arrested Tuesday evening after staging sit-ins at the company’s offices in New York and in California to protest the tech giant’s work with the Israeli government. The sit-ins, organized by the activist group No Tech for Apartheid, took place at Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s office in Sunnyvale, California, and the 10th floor commons of Google’s New York office, which is right around the corner from Democracy Now!

    Protesters are calling for Google to withdraw from a $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud computing services to the Israeli government, known as Project Nimbus. Last week, Time magazine reported Google’s work on the project involves providing direct services to the Israeli military.

    The sit-ins were accompanied by outdoor protests at the Google offices here in New York and in Sunnyvale, San Francisco and Seattle, Washington. Workers and outside activists have opposed the contract since it was signed in 2021, but protests have ramped up over the past several months since Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza.

    No Tech for Apartheid says Google is enabling and profiting from Israel’s use of artificial intelligence to develop a “kill list” to target Palestinians in Gaza for assassination with little human oversight. The Israeli military is also using Google Photos for facial recognition across Gaza and the West Bank to identify and detain Palestinians en masse.

    No Tech for Apartheid has published an open letter, co-signed by 18 other groups, that demands Google and Amazon immediately cancel their work on Project Nimbus. The letter has gathered more than 94,000 signatures from the general public.

    For more, we’re joined by two of the arrested Google workers. Ray Westrick is with us. She’s a Google worker-organizer with the No Tech for Apartheid campaign, among the workers who occupied Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s office in Sunnyvale, California. She’s joining us from Sunnyvale. And here in New York, we’re joined by Mohammad Khatami, a Google software engineer who was arrested at the sit-in at Google’s office in New York. He’s joining us along with Gabriel Schubiner, a former software engineer at Google Research and an organizer with the No Tech for Apartheid campaign. And before that, he was with Jewish Diaspora in Tech.

    We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Mohammad, let’s begin with you. You were, just hours ago, in the jail — 

    MOHAMMAD KHATAMI: That’s right.

    AMY GOODMAN: — in the local police precinct. Talk about why you were willing to get arrested.

    MOHAMMAD KHATAMI: Yeah. Well, rather than, you know, consider the demands that we’ve been raising for years now and listening to workers and considering the things that we’ve been raising, Thomas Kurian and Google execs basically chose to arrest workers for speaking out against the use of our technology to power the first AI-powered genocide. So, we were willing to get arrested for that, because at this point we aren’t willing to be lied to by our higher-ups anymore. We aren’t willing to be disrespected by our higher-ups anymore. And we wanted to take that to the offices and make sure it was understood by them, yeah.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: How do you sense is the support that you have among other Google workers, the degree of the dissatisfaction with the policies of Google?

    MOHAMMAD KHATAMI: Yeah. I mean, Google has done a really good job at creating a culture of fear and retaliation against workers in general. But what we noticed was beautiful. So many people came up to our sit-in and basically showed support and felt that they were inspired by the work that we were doing, and felt inspired to speak out, which is exactly what we were going for. We want workers to feel like we have the power to choose where our technology is going and who we’re contributing to. So I felt really happy to see that, yeah.

    AMY GOODMAN: Ray Westrick, you’re on the West Coast. You were arrested in California. Talk about this Project Nimbus and why you were willing to get arrested, and what the response — were you in the offices of the Google Cloud CEO?

    RAY WESTRICK: Yes, we sat in at the office of Thomas Kurian, the Google Cloud CEO, to protest Project Nimbus, which is a $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government and military between Google and Amazon. We also were demanding the protection of our co-workers, especially our Palestinian, Arab and Muslim co-workers, who have been consistently retaliated against, harassed and doxxed for speaking out about Project Nimbus and, you know, the humanity of Palestinians. So, we were there in solidarity with them. We were there to protest the contract, which is being directly sold — providing technology directly to the Israeli military as it inflicts a genocide on Palestinians in Gaza. And yeah, that is why we chose to sit in Thomas Kurian’s office.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Ray, could you — was there any response from the CEO or his office? And are you concerned about losing your job? Why — when did you decide to take this action?

    RAY WESTRICK: Yeah. We did not receive any response from the CEO. And I think it’s really telling that they would rather let us sit there for over 10 hours and arrest us for peacefully sitting in his office than have leadership engage in our demands in any way at all. So, we’ve received no response from the CEO, and we were forcibly removed by the police.

    And I — working at Google has been, you know, an honor. I really love my team. I love the work I do. But I can’t in good conscience not do anything while Google is a part of this contract, while Google is selling technology to the Israeli military, or any military. And so, it was a risk I was willing to take, and I think it’s a risk a lot of my co-workers are willing to take, because a lot of people are really agitated about this and have consistently made their demands clear and have faced retaliation for it. So, I chose to sit in, knowing the risks, out of care for the use of our technology, out of care for the impact of our technology and care for my co-workers.

    AMY GOODMAN: For our radio audience, I wanted to let people know that Ray is wearing a T-shirt that says “Googler against genocide,” with “genocide” in the famous multicolor of “Google,” that it’s so well known for. I wanted to bring Gabriel Schubiner into this conversation, a former software engineer at Google Research, an organizer with the No Tech for Apartheid campaign, and ask you — you know, we had you on more than a year ago — this is before Israel’s latest attack on Gaza — talking about exactly this. And you were with a Jewish organization of Google workers at that time speaking out. Talk about the whole history of Project Nimbus.

    GABRIEL SCHUBINER: Yeah.

    AMY GOODMAN: And the resistance against it.

    GABRIEL SCHUBINER: Yeah. Thank you so much.

    So, Project Nimbus was signed in May of 2021 while bombs were being dropped on Gaza, while Palestinians were being evicted from Sheikh Jarrah and beaten at Al-Aqsa Mosque. That was really a point — when we found out about Project Nimbus, personally, for me, it was a turning point, where I no longer felt able to continue doing my work without engaging and organizing. There was a group of people that felt very similarly, so we started a petition. We were connected, got connected with Amazon workers, with community organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace and MPower Change, and spun a campaign out of that.

    I want to be clear: Like, the campaign really is driven by worker concerns and worker needs around the ethical use of our labor, as well as the direct workplace concerns of the, like, health and safety concerns around working at a company that is facilitating genocide. We’ve known for a long time that this project was directly targeted at the military. It’s been reported in press that Google was giving trainings directly to the IOF. We know that Google gave trainings directly to Mossad. We know that the IOF

    AMY GOODMAN: When you say ”IOF,” explain the term.

    GABRIEL SCHUBINER: I’m sorry, the — yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: Because people are used to hearing ”IDF,” Israeli Defense Forces.

    GABRIEL SCHUBINER: Right, yes. Yeah, it’s Israeli occupation forces, just to indicate, so we’re not repeating their messaging that their really aggressive repression of Palestinians is an act of defense. We know that it’s an act of occupation, so we say ”IOF.”

    And so, we’ve known for a long time that this project was directly targeted at the Israeli military. But it was only recently, through this last contract that Google signed directly with the IOF, that we recognized that Google was really doubling down, that this contract is directly intended to facilitate military use. And we know that Google was chosen over other companies because of the advanced AI technology that they’re able to offer. So, given that we’ve learned how the IOF is using AI in this war, we really see this as like a really critical campaign for Palestinian liberation.

    To speak to your point about the resistance against the project, we’ve been working against this project as workers for — since it was signed three years ago. We have been doing organizing. We have been doing, you know, base building and labor organizing. We’ve had protests externally and internally. We’ve had signed petitions. We’ve done outreach to our executives through internal forums, through chatrooms, through every available means, because, I think — you know, understanding, like, this contract really is — like, it really is an incredible issue for our work, like, all workers’ labor at Google. So many workers’ labor is contributing directly to this project, because all of the technology at Google is like deeply intertwined with each other. So, yeah, so we see this as really important, yeah.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Gabe, I wanted to ask you — the average person, who’s not a Google worker, who might support your stand and who uses Google multiple times a day around the world, what are you calling for them to do?

    GABRIEL SCHUBINER: Right. So, I mean, we’re calling for everyone around the world to really, like, help us with awareness, like, help us make it known that Google is a war profiteer. I think Google is so deeply embedded in people’s lives — right? — that it’s hard to ask for a boycott. But I think we’re calling specifically on people in the tech industry to divest from Google and Amazon. Google Cloud services and Amazon Web Services underlie a vast majority of the internet, but there are other options. So, technology workers actually have a lot of power to shift this paradigm and to, like, remove technology from this deep complicity with Israeli occupation.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mohammad Khatami, can you talk about your own family background and why you so particularly care right now about what’s going on in Gaza?

    MOHAMMAD KHATAMI: Yeah, yes. So, I come from a Muslim family. I was raised Muslim. And it’s really hard to wake up seeing the images of children slaughtered and know that your — you know, the work you’re doing is contributing to this. I’ve lost sleep. It’s just been extremely difficult to focus on work and think that you’re working for something that is contributing to the mass slaughter that’s taking place. And for speaking out against that, I’ve literally been called a supporter of terrorism, which is something that —

    AMY GOODMAN: Called by?

    MOHAMMAD KHATAMI: You know, by co-workers and HR and people in the company, a supporter of terrorism, which is, you know, something — it’s like a schoolyard insult. It’s something I haven’t heard since middle school. And that’s just an example of the retaliation and the harassment and the hatred that we face just for speaking up against our work being used in this way.

    AMY GOODMAN: Are you concerned about losing your job?

    MOHAMMAD KHATAMI: Absolutely. But it doesn’t — it’s not even important to me at all compared to working for something that is meaningful and having a good impact on the planet. I don’t want to have any association with this genocide. And I would hope that Google would change their mind about it, as well.

    AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Ray Westrick, where do you see this movement going from here? And can you talk more about the Jewish-Muslim alliance around this among Google workers and former Google workers?

    RAY WESTRICK: Yeah. I only see this movement growing and continuing to apply pressure. We received so much support during the sit-in. I’ve received so many personal messages from people, you know, thanking me for being vocal, and asking how they can be more vocal and get more involved. So I think this is absolutely growing. I think Google knows that this will continue, that, you know, workers are very agitated about this and will continue to speak up and apply pressure. And I think that’s why it was important for them to silence us. But this movement is growing, and more people are finding out about this, and more people are willing to organize and risk their jobs in order to take a stand against complicity in genocide.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank —

    RAY WESTRICK: And yeah, I think this has been a really unifying campaign for people of all backgrounds. And I know, specifically, a lot of us came together because we were specifically concerned about how Google has treated and retaliated against our Palestinian, Arab and Muslim colleagues, especially, like Mohammad mentioned, a lot of them have experienced harassment and doxxing for speaking out in like the appropriate channels at Google and have been consistently ignored and harassed and retaliated against. And so, we had to come together to say that we can’t let this happen anymore. We have to come together in protection of our co-workers and each other and in protection of, you know, the ethical use of our technology, to make sure that we’re not building technology that’s being used for harm. So, I think it’s been a really unifying campaign that is really grounded in taking care of each other and really grounded in making a positive impact and not facilitating more harm with technology.

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you all for being with us. Ray Westrick and Mohammad Khatami are both Google workers who were arrested yesterday, Ray in the offices of the Google Cloud CEO in Sunnyvale, California, and Mohammad here in New York. Also Gabriel Schubiner, a former software engineer at Google Research and an organizer with the No Tech for Apartheid campaign, before that, with Jewish Diaspora in Tech.


    Two of the above who spoke to Amy and Juan above have since been fired.  Caroline O'Donovan

    Google fired 28 employees on Wednesday who were involved in a protest against a contract with the Israeli government the cloud-computing giant shares with its competitor, Amazon.

    The firings came after nine employees were arrested Tuesday while participating in sit-in protests at Google offices in Sunnyvale, Calif., and New York City. The workers were held for a few hours before being released, employees said.

    The employees, part of a group called No Tech for Apartheid, have been writing letters and staging protests against Google’s deal to sell technology to Israel since 2021. The tension over the cloud-computing contract, known as Nimbus, among employees at Google and Amazon has increased since the Israel-Gaza war began in October. The project’s critics say it will bolster the Israeli government’s surveillance of Palestinians and lead to further displacement and discrimination.


    This morning, THE NATIONAL reports:

    UN experts have raised alarm over what they described as Israel’s systemic destruction of the Palestinian education system as it wages its war on Gaza. 

    “With more than 80 per cent of schools in Gaza damaged or destroyed, it may be reasonable to ask if there is an intentional effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system.

    More than 5,479 pupils, 261 teachers and 95 university professors have been killed since the war began. At least 625,000 children have no access to education. 

    “The persistent, callous attacks on educational infrastructure in Gaza have a devastating long-term impact on the fundamental rights of people to learn and freely express themselves, depriving yet another generation of Palestinians of their future,” the experts said.

    “When schools are destroyed, so too are hopes and dreams.” 

    Women and girls kept from education are also at greater risk of gender-based violence, it said. 






    The following sites updated