Friday, June 14, 2024

Crooked Clarence Thomas can't stop lying

We just finished the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and are all scrambling to pull together a post.  Betty saw something "easy" she wanted to cover so I told her I could grab Crooked Clarence Thomas.  Ann's grabbing Fetty-crap (John Fetterman) for me. 


So Crooked Clarence Thomas continues to serve on and degrade the name of the Supreme Court.  He can't follow the rules because he's so crooked.  What's his latest problem?  Melissa Quinn (CBS NEWS) reports


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took three undisclosed trips aboard a private jet provided by Republican megadonor Harlan Crow between 2017 and 2021, according to documents obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee and released Thursday.

The records, which Crow turned over to the committee, show that Thomas traveled aboard Crow's private jet in May 2017 on a flight from St. Louis, Missouri, to Kalispell, Montana, with a return flight to Dallas two days later.

The second newly revealed trip on the plane took place in March 2019, from Washington, D.C., to Savannah, Georgia, and back. The third, in June 2021, included roundtrip flights between Washington and San Jose, California.

The committee said the documents were obtained as a result of its vote to authorize a subpoena for Crow in November. In addition to Crow, the panel's Democrats voted to issue a subpoena to conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo, who refused to comply with their demand for information. Crow's office said in April he had not received a subpoena from the committee.

A release from the committee noted that Thomas did not include the private jet travel in his most recent financial disclosure statement, which was released last week. The Supreme Court did not immediately return a request for comment.


Over and over, he takes these bribes and tries to hide them.  He is a disgrace and a functioning Congress would have removed him from the bench immediately.  Al Weaver (THE HILL) adds:


Also included in the trove of Crow’s documents was information about the 2019 trips to Indonesia and California, which included private jet travel for both and an eight-day yacht excursion in Bali. The committee noted that a recent report totaled the gifts Thomas has received at nearly $4.2 million, far exceeding the totals of other justices. 

“Nearly $4.2 million in gifts and even that wasn’t enough for Justice Thomas, with at least three additional trips the Committee found that he has failed to disclose to date,” Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Supreme Court’s ethical crisis is producing new information — like what we’ve revealed today — and makes it crystal clear that the highest court needs an enforceable code of conduct, because its members continue to choose not to meet the moment.” 


He just lies and lies some more.  He's shameless.  He's unethical.  He's not fit to sit on the bench.  THE GUARDIAN notes:


Thomas has previously come under criticism for failing to disclose gifts from Crow. Most recently, Thomas last week belatedly revised his 2019 financial disclosure form to acknowledge that Crow had paid for his “food and lodging” at a hotel in Bali, Indonesia, and at a California club.

But the recent filing by Thomas failed to disclose that Crow had paid for his travel by private jet related to the Bali and California trips, and an eight-day excursion on a yacht in Indonesia, omissions that were revealed on Thursday in a redacted document that Durbin’s office said contained travel itineraries where Crow had provided the justice with transportation.

The document shows private jet travel in May 2017 between St Louis in Missouri, the state of Montana, and Dallas. It also shows private jet travel in March 2019 between Washington DC and Savannah, Georgia, and private jet travel in June 2021 between Washington DC and San Jose, California.


Impeach him.  The Dems should be running on the promise to remove Clarence from the bench.

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


Thursday, June 13, 2024.  Fred Kaplan demonstrates all that's wrong with US journalism, a US soldier apparently took part in War Crimes alongside Israeli forces, children continue to starve, and much more.



Another cease-fire proposal appears to be going down in flames.  If you want to see why, ignore Antony Blinken's flapping gums.  He should have been replaced by the White House long ago.  Instead, let's zoom in on Fred Kaplan's writing for SLATE.  Kaplan blathers on as he blamed the media -- didn't report it accurately -- and others and then gets to his conclusion:


The problem at the moment is that the leaders of both Israel and Hamas think they have a chance of winning. In a speech leaked to the Wall Street Journal, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, said the deaths of Palestinian civilians work to Hamas’ favor—they are “necessary sacrifices” to defeating Israel, if not on the battlefield, then in the arena of world opinion. On the other side of the conflict, the more Israel alienates world opinion, the more many Israelis are determined to ignore that opinion. (“If they can’t sympathize with us after the attack of Oct. 7,” this line of thinking goes, “then screw ’em.” The recent pro-Palestinian protests in the U.S. and Canada that included masked radicals waving Hezbollah flags and chanting Hamas slogans probably harden both Sinwar and the Israelis in their views.)


And that's why it may fail.  It's one-sided, just like Fred's supposed 'analysis.'  So Hamas says deaths work in their favor.  And Israel's just upset about the way the world sees them and needs a big old hug.  Fred, you lying whore, there are repeated remarks by Israeli officials about the deaths of Palestinians.  Owen Jones has done dozen of commentaries about these remarks -- Owen, among others, has noted these comments.

But they elude your mind?  Maybe you're the wrong person to comment on this issue professionally since you are so biased and everything in your too long career -- shouldn't SLATE being paying someone else to write -- someone who needs a check and isn't on Social Security -- has made that case over and over.  


Fighting “human animals.” Making Gaza a “slaughterhouse.” “Erasing the Gaza Strip from the face of the earth.”

Such inflammatory rhetoric is a key component of South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide at the U.N. world court, a charge that Israel denies. South Africa says the language — in comments by Israeli leaders, soldiers and entertainers about Palestinians in Gaza since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack sparked war — is proof of Israel’s intent to commit genocide. 


And that's from a January 18th report.  It's only gotten worse in the many months since.  SLATE needs to fire Fred Kaplan.  He's a bad writer and he always has been. But he hits seventy next month and in this economy there are working age people who need jobs.  He can set up his own site, do his own blog, whatever.  But it's time for people like him to retire.  He should be out of the work world now and there are plenty of unemployed people in this country under the age of 65 who need jobs.  

While corrupt and biased voices like Fred Kaplan minimize the words and actions of the Israeli government, Palestinian civilians continue to die.  And though liars like Fred want to pretend it's only bombings doing the killing, it's much more vile than that. 

Hanan Al-Zaanin was eight-years-old.  Was -- she's dead now.  


She didn't die from a bomb, she died from starvation.  That is the goal of the Israeli government, to starve as many Palestinians as they can.  But elderly Fred Kaplan's not concerned with children starving to death, he's more interested in spinning for a genocidal government.  He hits 70 next month.  She died at eight-years-old.  It really is time for trash like Kaplan to be shown the door.

ALJAZEERA notes, "Thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza have been diagnosed with malnutrition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, as Israel continues to severely restrict supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel to the territory." And they quote Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO stating, "A significant proportion of Gaza’s population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions."  Ruth Michaelson and Kaamil Ahmed (GUARDIAN) report

The UN’s relief agency for Palestinians, the largest aid organisation operating in Gaza, has said Israeli authorities are frequently preventing it from delivering aid and hampering its operations in the territory.

“We are getting very few positive responses to our requests for aid delivery and permits to move around Gaza,” said Tamara Alrifai, the director of external relations for Unrwa.

Alrifai said the organisation maintained contact with Cogat, the Israeli body that oversees the Palestinian territories and coordinates with aid groups, but “this contact doesn’t always bring positive results – as we can see, from the obstructions to delivery, to our ability to receive [aid] trucks”.



Thousands of starving Palestinian children in southern Gaza are at risk of “dying before their families’ eyes,” according to the United Nations — a stark warning as Israel’s continued assault on Rafah cuts off access to the region’s health care facilities and life-saving treatment for malnutrition.

The nearly 3,000 affected children make up about three-quarters of the Palestinian youth in southern Gaza who were estimated to have been receiving care for moderate to severe acute malnutrition before Israel expanded its military offensive into Rafah, according to reporting from nutrition partners working with the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF.


Do you get it?  Because Fred Kaplan doesn't.  A month away from 70, he doesn't care about children.  He just wants to stuff his bank and hold onto a job he never deserved and he especially doesn't deserve when journalists are being laid off left and right.  But he thinks he's a Supreme Court judge and that his post is a lifetime appointment.


The Israeli government has lied nonstop over the last months -- another detail Freddy Kaplan doesn't want to recognize.  

Kaplan's far from the only liar.  At FAIR, Robin Andersen explores how many in the press worked to lie about the massacre of refugees in Rafah:

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Israel bombed starving Gazan refugees crowded in tents in Rafah, where Israel had told them to go. As Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch, 5/31/24) wrote, leaflets dropped in Rafah a few days before told them to go to “Tel al-Sultan through Beach Road,” an area set up by the UNRWA refugee agency and designated a UN humanitarian safe zone. The leaflet added, “Don’t blame us after we warned you.”

Nevertheless, without warning, Israel hit the camp with at least eight  missiles  spreading fire though the encampment of plastic tents (Quds News, 5/26/24). Some refugees burned to death, mostly women and children, leaving them dismembered and charred.

The world saw the terror of the massacre on international and social media. Images showed the area of the strike engulfed in flames as Palestinians screamed, cried, ran for safety and sought to help the injured. “They told people to move there then killed them,” Richard Medhurst (5/28/24) posted.

A boy cries in horror and fear as he watches his father’s tent burn with him inside. A man holds up the body of his charred, now-headless baby, wandering around, not knowing what to do or where to go. An injured, starving child convulses in pain as a medic struggles to find a vein for an IV in her emaciated arm (Al Jazeera, 5/27/24).

Al Jazeera (cited by Quds News, 5/26/24) quoted a Civil Defense source: “We believe that the occupation army used internationally prohibited weapons to target the displaced in Rafah, judging by the size of the fires that erupted at the targeted site.”

US news media reported the tent massacre, some more truthfully than others. But most establishment media repeated Israel’s false claims that it was an accident, weaving disinformation messaging into toned-down descriptions of the scene. With confused syntax, they omitted words like “genocide,” “massacre” and “starvation.” Most left out the language of international law that is best able to explain the unprecedented crimes against humanity that Israel is committing. Corporate reporting left the tent massacre devoid of context and empathy, ignored actions that need to be taken, and ultimately facilitated the ongoing Israeli genocide of Palestinians.

When NBC News (5/28/24) reported from Gaza that “Israeli tanks reached the city center for the first time, according to NBC News‘ crew on the ground,” it failed to say that the NBC crew was embedded with Israel’s invading force.

The same sentence continued that Israel was “defying international pressure to halt an offensive that has sent nearly 1 million people fleeing Rafah.” But Israel was not just “defying…pressure”; it was in violation of a direct order from the International Court of Justice ICJ to halt its attack on Rafah. Yet NBC reporters rode into Rafah with an army that was ignoring international law to commit further genocide in Gaza.

Compare NBC’s words to those used by Ramy Abdu (5/26/24), chair of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, who posted: “In the deadliest response to the International Court of Justice’s decision, the Israeli army targeted a group of displaced persons’ tents in Rafah, killing approximately 60 innocent civilians so far.”

In a post, Francesca Albanese (5/26/24), UN special rapporteur for human rights in Palestine, included International actions that needed to be implemented:

The #GazaGenocide‌ will not easily end without external pressure: Israel must face sanctions, justice, suspension of agreements, trade, partnership and investments, as well as participation in int’l forums.

Such sanctions are rarely discussed in establishment media, but are becoming more urgent, given the New York Times report (5/29/24) that Israel intends to extend the genocide through the remainder of 2024. Though the Times reported on the global outrage and demonstrations against the Rafah massacre, the words “genocide” and “massacre” were not used, nor was there any mention of the possibility of sanctions against Israel.


Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!



AMY GOODMAN: An independent United Nations panel has concluded Israel and Hamas have committed war crimes since October 7th. In a new report, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry outlined a number of war crimes committed by Israel, including using starvation as a method of warfare and intentionally directing attacks against civilians. Part of the report details how Israel has also committed crimes against humanity for its, quote, “widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population in Gaza.” The report goes on to accuse Israel of committing numerous crimes against humanity, including, quote, “extermination; murder; gender persecution targeting Palestinian men and boys; forcible transfer; and torture,” unquote.

The U.N. commission accused Hamas of also committing numerous war crimes, including “intentionally directing attacks against civilians,” as well as torture and, quote, “indiscriminately firing projectiles towards populated areas in Israel,” unquote. The U.N. accused both sides of committing sexual violence.

The United Nations’ top human rights office also accused Israel of committing war crimes on Saturday, when Israeli forces killed at least 274 Palestinians in the Nuseirat refugee camp during an operation to free four Israeli hostages. This is Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

JEREMY LAURENCE: We are profoundly shocked at the impact on civilians of the Israeli forces’ operation in al-Nuseirat at the weekend to secure the release of four hostages. Hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, were reportedly killed and injured. The manner in which the raid was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question whether the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, as set out under the laws of war, were respected by the Israeli forces.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.N.’s top human rights office also accused Palestinian armed groups of committing war crimes for holding hostages in densely populated areas.

This comes as Israel and Hamas are being urged to accept the three-phase ceasefire and hostage deal outlined by President Biden, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. On Tuesday, Hamas submitted its response to mediators from Qatar. The U.S. claims Israel has already agreed to the plan, but numerous Israeli officials have publicly attacked the deal.

Israel is continuing to bombard Gaza, where the official death toll is 37,100, but that’s believed to be an undercount since thousands of bodies remain under the rubble.

We’re joined right now by Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN, a group working to reform U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Sarah, welcome back to Democracy Now! Sarah Leah, start off by responding to the ceasefire deal and where you think it stands. This is the one proposed by President Biden almost two weeks ago, the first time the U.S. didn’t veto a ceasefire deal at the U.N. Security Council but actually sponsored it.

SARAH LEAH WHITSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s a welcome proposal, if only eight months and 40,000 dead Palestinians too late. Absolutely nothing of value has been achieved in this eight months of carnage in Gaza. And the Biden administration is basically trying to pressure Israel into accepting a ceasefire proposal by pretending it’s an Israeli ceasefire proposal. While Hamas has accepted this, Israel has not yet accepted this ceasefire proposal, and, in fact, has communicated its unwillingness to abide by a ceasefire by continuing its heinous military incursions into Gaza.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, and this specific issue of whether Israel supported it or not, we’ve heard Secretary of State Blinken repeatedly say that they were just waiting for Hamas to respond. What do you sense is the situation here between the U.S. government and Israel on the ceasefire?

SARAH LEAH WHITSON: I think that the United States is trying to — has been trying to push Israel to halt its operations, begged Israel for several months not to make an incursion into Rafah, all of which Israel has repeatedly ignored. I don’t know whether the attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp, that was part of a so-called rescue operation, is something that the United States offered up its acquiescence and participation in, in exchange for Israel agreeing to a ceasefire. I imagine that the timing of this raid, certainly after the ceasefire proposal had been made, raises questions about that. But what we repeatedly hear from Israeli officials — not American officials purporting to speak on their behalf — is that they will not accept a ceasefire proposal until they achieve their mission of destroying all of Hamas.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in relationship to this weekend raid, your perspective on the reports that the United States provided intelligence and logistics support to the operation?

SARAH LEAH WHITSON: Well, it has been widely reported, and confirmed by a number of U.S. government sources, that the United States has been involved in the planning of this raid for several months and specifically provided intelligence as well as logistical support for this operation, which, of course, resulted in the murder of over 270 Palestinians — entirely predictable, when you randomly drop bombs all over a refugee camp, that many, many people will die.

Not only is it a grotesque, indiscriminate attack on civilians, the Israelis deployed perfidy to carry it out. They dressed themselves up as civilians, in a broad daylight attack. They used an aid truck, that was videotaped approaching the area, as well as a civilian vehicle, pretending to be refugees fleeing with a mattress on their car, in order to trick Hamas forces and to allow the operation to go forward.

There’s also been a report by Hamas, which has not been verified, that the operation also resulted in Israel killing three other hostages, including a U.S. citizen, but we’ve not yet been able to confirm that.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a clip of Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. He was on CNN, and he was being questioned by Dana Bash about what took place in al-Nuseirat. He was being questioned while in Paris.

JAKE SULLIVAN: The United States has been providing support to Israel for several months in its efforts to help identify the locations of hostages in Gaza and to support efforts to try to secure their rescue or recovery. I’m not going to get into the specific operational or intelligence-related matters associated with that, because we need to protect those. I can only just say that we have generally provided support to the IDF so that we can try to get all of the hostages home, including the American hostages who are still being held.

DANA BASH:* So, I understand that intelligence, U.S. intelligence, assisted. But will you say anything about U.S. personnel, U.S. weapons?

JAKE SULLIVAN: Well, the one thing I can say is that there were no U.S. forces, no U.S. boots on the ground involved in this operation. We did not participate militarily in this operation.

AMY GOODMAN: So, if you can talk about that distinction that he’s making, and then go on, Sarah Leah Whitson, to respond to these two U.N. reports?

SARAH LEAH WHITSON: Well, as I’m sure Jake Sullivan actually knows, military participation is not defined by boots on the ground. And his rebutting or refuting that there were American boots on the ground, and therefore America was not militarily participating in the attack, is absolutely false and wrong under international law. During the Yemen war, for example — and this is why Mr. Sullivan should know this — U.S. lawyers advised the White House that American intelligence and logistical support for the Saudi war in Yemen would make the United States and makes the United States a party to that war. Similarly, American logistical and intelligence support for an active military operation means that the United States has actively participated in the conflict and is a party to the war.

Why this is particularly bad, bad policymaking, is that not only does it make the United States liable and complicit for prosecution for war crimes, including the war crimes that took place in the attack on the refugee camp, but also opens up U.S. forces to reprisal attacks and counterattacks as a party to the conflict, as a legitimate military target. If the Biden administration has not sought a war powers resolution to enter the United States into such active participation in military operations, that is obviously a violation of our own Constitution and yet another example of the Biden administration entangling us in military conflicts in the Middle East without congressional approval and ratification.

With respect to the U.N. reports that have just been issued, they conclude what everybody else who is an expert in law and has observed, which is that the — number one, the attack on Nuseirat refugee camp was itself a war crime, and it involved deliberate targeting of civilians, as well as indiscriminate targeting of civilians. Sadly, this is just piling up on top of ceaseless, relentless war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been underway in Gaza for the past eight months. And that is the conclusion that the Commission of Inquiry’s report released today reveals. We now have mountains of U.N. reports, U.N. experts, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court shouting from the rafters that Israel is carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, and yet all of this is showing us, sadly, that Israel has no interest in international law, and the United States has no interest in demanding that Israel actually comply with the international law, besides rhetorical flourishes added in statements to the press in the United States. The continued military support to Israel is really not just a savage attack on the Palestinian people, it is a savage attack on international law itself. And it will come to haunt and hurt America for decades to come.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I wanted to ask you, Sarah Leah Whitson, in a related issue in terms of the attacks on Gaza — on May 15th, your organization DAWN sent the State Department a dossier documenting how a group has been attempting to disrupt and prevent aid reaching the people of Palestine, the Palestinians in Gaza. Could you talk about that group and others that support it?

SARAH LEAH WHITSON: That’s right. The Israeli group — I don’t to mangle the pronunciation — Tzav 9 is an organized group of settlers in the West Bank that have deliberately and repeatedly attacked humanitarian aid convoys headed to Gaza. This has been an organized effort, coordinated on WhatsApp and other social media, to announce exactly when and where the attacks would take place.

We are urging the Biden administration to sanction this group, but not only to sanction this group, but to sanction the Israeli companies and NGOs, nonprofit organizations, that have been actively fundraising to pay for these attacks on humanitarian aid convoys. I mean, it just boggles the mind that we have vigilante groups who are deliberately attacking food and medicine trucks meant for civilians. I think it raises a tremendous concern and question about the psychology of Israelis who would do such a thing. But more significantly, we want the Biden administration to exercise its sanctions, that it has announced for violence in the West Bank, not only against these individuals, not only against this group. They are not just rogue, lone-wolf operators. They are supported by an infrastructure and network of companies and businesses and nonprofit organizations that are funding their efforts. It’s particularly appalling that an American NGO has been involved, as well, in fundraising for these really disgusting attacks on humanitarian aid convoys. And we think that the IRS should closely examine whether these contributions violate their rules under the IRS as charitable donations.

AMY GOODMAN: We spoke to an Israeli human rights lawyer who tried to interrupt the settlers who were trying to stop the aid convoys, that group, Tsav 9. “Tsav” in Hebrew means “command.” Sarah Leah Whitson, we want to thank you so much for being with us, executive director of DAWN, an organization working to reform U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Next up, we turn to the conviction of President Biden’s son Hunter Biden on all three felonies in that gun trial for buying a gun at a time when he was using illegal drugs. Stay with us.

 

Gaza remains under assault. Day 251 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, "At least 37,232 Palestinians have been killed and 85,037 injured in the Israeli operation in Gaza since October 7, the enclave's Health Ministry said on Thursday.  This includes 30 people killed and 150 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.."   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, "In 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."

The world watches as the ongoing assault coninues.  THE NATIONAL's Sinan Mahmoud reports:

Iraq and Iran discussed on Thursday “dangerous signs” of Israel attacking Lebanon, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said after meeting with visiting Iranian Acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani.

“If there is an attack on southern Lebanon, God forbid, it will affect the whole region,” Mr Hussein said during a press conference in Baghdad.

He warned that “expanding the war is not only a danger to Lebanon but to the entire region".

For his part, Mr Bagheri Kani said: “The Zionists, due to their failure in Gaza, might make another mistake and expand their aggression”.

Both countries called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.


And 'an American' has apparently embarrassed us all on the world stage.  Dual loyalties and dual citizenship.  It really does need to end.  CAIR notes:

Muslim civil rights group calls on Pentagon to ban U.S. soldiers from participating in Gaza genocide

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called on the Biden administration to investigate reports that an American soldier is taking part in the far right Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza and reportedly posted an image of herself and a destroyed mosque defaced with insults targeting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

[NOTE: More than 23,000 American citizens currently serve in the Israeli military.]

Israel has slaughtered more than 37,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children.

In a statement, CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:

“These disgusting and despicable images of an American soldier in Rafah celebrating desecration of a mosque and the slandering of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) are an example of why the Pentagon should not allow any U.S. servicemembers to serve in the Israeli military, much less participate in its Gaza genocide. 

“We call on the Biden administration to investigate this incident, take appropriate action against this reported U.S. soldier, and ban all American servicemembers from taking part in the Israeli government’s war on the people of Gaza.”

Yesterday, CAIR called on the Biden administration to act after UNICEF reported that almost 3,000 children have been cut off from treatment for malnutrition in southern Gaza by Israel’s ongoing offensive, which President Biden previously called a “red line.”

Previously, welcomed a United Nations Security Council resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza. CAIR also commended Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) after he announced that he would not attend Netanyahu’s speech.

CAIR urged all Americans to use its click-and-send action alert to call on members of Congress to follow suit and boycott or protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress on July 24th due to his openly racist views, genocidal war crimes, disrespect for the United States, and opposition to a Palestinian state.

TAKE ACTION: URGE CONGRESS TO BOYCOTT OR PROTEST WAR CRIMINAL NETANYAHU’S SPEECH TO CONGRESS

Over the weekend, CAIR condemned the “horrific massacre” of almost 300 Palestinians at the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.             

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.            

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook         

http://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational

Subscribe to CAIR’s Email List         

https://action.cair.com/a/newsletters

Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed         

http://twitter.com/cairnational

Subscribe to CAIR’s YouTube Channel         

http://www.youtube.com/cairtv

Follow CAIR on Instagram         

https://www.instagram.com/cair_national

Donate to CAIR         

https://action.cair.com/a/donate 

Social media identifies the woman as Yael Sendler.  If that is her name, if she did what she's accused of and if she is an American citizen she should be arrested the minute she sets foot on US soil.


The following sites updated:





Thursday, June 13, 2024

Paul Rudnick, SECULAR TALK, DEMOCRACY NOW!

Paul Rudnick Tweeting about Lauren Boebert.


Now here's Kyle's SECULAR TALK.



Entertainment news?  THE BOYS season four starts tomorrow on AMAZON. News news?  How about this from DEMOCRACY NOW!

The Biden administration has lifted a ban on arms shipments to the Ukrainian military unit known as the Azov Brigade, a former militia with ties to far-right hate groups. The State Department said Tuesday a thorough review turned up no evidence the brigade’s members have committed human rights abuses. The Azov Brigade was founded in 2014 by a self-avowed neo-Nazi and white supremacist. Meanwhile, delegates from 90 nations are set to gather in Switzerland this weekend for a Ukraine peace summit, though Russia and key nations, including China, will not be participating. Swiss President Viola Amherd on Monday outlined the summit’s goals.

President Viola Amherd: “We want to discuss ways for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine based on international law and the U.N. Charter. We want to develop a common understanding for a possible framework to reach this goal. And we want to decide on a schedule together how both parties can be tied into a future peace process.”



And let me also include this from Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS):

  Three leading groups representing the interests of senior citizens made clear Wednesday they believe that Democratic President Joe Biden is the far superior choice to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump when it comes to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and other policies concerning older Americans.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare (NCPSSM), National United Committee to Protect Pensions (NUCPP), and Social Security Works Political Action Committee (PAC) all backed Biden over the presumed Republican nominee.

"The Biden-Harris administration's record on senior issues is impeccable," said Social Security Works PAC president Jon "Bowzer" Bauman. "In sharp contrast, Donald Trump is an existential threat to our earned benefits. Despite his lies that he will not cut Social Security, all of his budgets as president proposed deep cuts."

"Allowing Donald Trump back in the White House along with a potential Republican House majority where three-fourths of its members want to cut Social Security by $1.5 trillion, including raising the retirement age to 69, is unacceptable," he argued. "The choice in November couldn't be clearer." 

It's one more reason Donald Trump must not be re-elected.

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


Wednesday, June 12, 2024.  ALJAZEERA broadcasts War Crimes carried out by the Israeli government, this as the UN issues a report on War Crimes and as a G& summit starts in Italy.


This morning, ALJAZEERA broadcasts War Crimes carried out against Palestinians.




Of the above video, ALJAZEERA notes:

Al Jazeera has obtained footage from Gaza that appears to show Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian people.

The videos were captured around al-Rashid Street, a coastal road connecting north and south Gaza. Israel had designated it a safe zone for Palestinians wanting to move between those areas.

Footage from June 1 shows a person walking along the beach before Israeli soldiers appear to have stopped them. Moments later, the person is shot.

Another video appears to show a group of Palestinians walking north on May 17. One of them steps out of the group and raises their hands in the air, apparently showing they are unarmed. They are shot within minutes. Soldiers are then seen coming in to take the person’s body away.


How important is the video?  Important enough to result in the news aggregator GOOGLE NEWS pulling ALJAZEERA from their feed this morning. 

You have to go back 10 hours to find any Gaza news on GOOGLE NEWS from ALJAZEERA.

Remember when GOOGLE's motto was "Don't do evil"?  Those days are long gone.


Google provides cloud computing services to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and the tech giant has negotiated deepening its partnership during Israel’s war in Gaza, a company document viewed by TIME shows.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, according to the document, has its own “landing zone” into Google Cloud—a secure entry point to Google-provided computing infrastructure, which would allow the ministry to store and process data, and access AI services.

The ministry sought consulting assistance from Google to expand its Google Cloud access, seeking to allow “multiple units” to access automation technologies, according to a draft contract dated March 27, 2024. The contract shows Google billing the Israeli Ministry of Defense over $1 million for the consulting service. 

The version of the contract viewed by TIME was not signed by Google or the Ministry of Defense. But a March 27 comment on the document, by a Google employee requesting an executable copy of the contract, said the signatures would be “completed offline as it’s an Israel/Nimbus deal.” Google also gave the ministry a 15% discount on the original price of consulting fees as a result of the “Nimbus framework,” the document says.


April 23rd, Kelvin Chan and Wyatte Grantham-Philips (AP) reported, "Google fired at least 20 more workers in the aftermath of protests over technology the company is supplying the Israeli government amid the Gaza war, bringing the total number of terminated staff to more than 50, a group representing the workers said."

On the issue of War Crimes, the United Nations issued the following this morning:


Human Rights

Palestinian armed groups and Israeli authorities have both committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the attack on 7 October and the subsequent military operations, according to a new report by a UN independent human rights body.

This was among the conclusions listed in the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, released on Wednesday.

“Amid months of losses and despair, retribution and atrocities, the only tangible result has been compounding the immense suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis, with civilians, yet again, bearing the brunt of decisions by those in power,” the Commission said, stressing the impact on women and children.

Clear turning point

The brutal attack of 7 October by Hamas on communities in southern Israel marked a “clear turning point” for both Israelis and Palestinians and presents a “watershed moment” that can change the direction of the conflict, with a real risk of further solidifying and expanding the occupation, the Commission said.

For Israelis, the attack was unprecedented in scale in its modern history, when in one single day hundreds of people were killed and abducted, invoking painful trauma of past persecution not only for Israeli Jews but for Jewish people everywhere.

For Palestinians, Israel’s military operation and attack in Gaza have been the longest, largest and bloodiest since 1948, causing immense damage and loss of life and triggered for many Palestinians traumatic memories of the Nakba and other Israeli incursions.

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Stop recurring cycles of violence

The Commission emphasized that both the attack in Israel and Israel’s subsequent military operation in Gaza should not be seen in isolation.

“The only way to stop the recurring cycles of violence, including aggression and retribution by both sides, is to ensure strict adherence to international law,” it stressed.

“That includes ending the unlawful Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory; discrimination, oppression and the denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and guaranteeing peace and security for Jews and Palestinians.”

Deliberate targeting by Hamas

The Commission further noted that in relation to the attack of 7 October in Israel, members of the military wings of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, as well as Palestinian civilians who were directly participating in the hostilities, deliberately killed, injured, mistreated, took hostages and committed sexual and gender-based against civilians, including Israeli citizens and foreign nationals.

Such acts were also committed against members of the Israeli Security Forces (ISF), including soldiers considered hors de combat – such as injured soldiers.

“These actions constitute war crimes and violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” it said.

The Commission also identified patterns indicative of sexual violence in several locations and concluded that Israeli women were disproportionally subjected to these crimes.

Failure to protect civilians

It also noted that Israeli authorities “failed to protect civilians in southern Israel on almost every front”, including failing to swiftly deploy sufficient security forces to protect civilians and evacuate them from civilian locations on 7 October.

In several locations, ISF applied the so-called ‘Hannibal Directive’ and killed at least 14 Israeli civilians. That Directive is reportedly a procedure to prevent capture of ISF members by enemy forces and was alleged to have been directed against Israeli civilians on 7 October.

“Israeli authorities also failed to ensure that forensic evidence was systematically collected by concerned authorities and first responders, particularly in relation to allegations of sexual violence, undermining the possibility of future judicial proceedings, accountability and justice,” the Commission added.

Violations by Israeli military

The independent Commission, established by the UN Human Rights Council, also concluded that, in relation to Israel’s military operations in Gaza, Israel committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws.

The Commission further concluded that the immense numbers of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of civilian objects and vital civilian infrastructure were the “inevitable results of Israel’s chosen strategy for the use of force” during these hostilities, undertaken with intent to cause maximum damage, disregarding distinction, proportionality and adequate precautions, and thus unlawful.

“ISF’s intentional use of heavy weapons with large destructive capacity in densely populated areas constitutes an intentional and direct attack on the civilian population, particularly affecting women and children,” the Commission said, adding that this was confirmed by the substantial and increasing numbers of casualties, over weeks and months, with “no change in Israeli policies or military strategies”.

Recommendations

Among its recommendations, the Commission report called on the Government of Israel to immediately end attacks resulting in the killing and maiming of civilians in Gaza, end the siege on Gaza, implement a ceasefire, ensure that those whose property has been unlawfully destroyed receive reparations, and ensure that necessities crucial for the health and well-being of the civilian population immediately reach those in need.

It also called on the Government of the State of Palestine and the de-facto authorities in Gaza to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held in the enclave; ensure their protection, including from sexual and gender-based violence; report on their state of health and wellbeing; allow visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), contact with families and medical attention, and ensure their treatment in compliance with international humanitarian and human rights laws.

“Stop all indiscriminate firing of rockets, mortars and other munitions towards civilian populations,” it added.


Australia's ABC notes, "Sometimes, the evidence gathered by such UN mandated bodies has formed the basis for war crimes prosecutions and could be drawn on by the International Criminal Court."  Will the report have any impact on the Israeli government?  Probably not.  At TRUTHOUT, Sharon Zhang observes:

As the UN Security Council passed a binding U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on Monday, Israel continued to slaughter Palestinians in Gaza — despite U.S. officials’ insistence that the ceasefire is backed by Israeli officials.

The resolution passed 14 to 0. Russia abstained from the vote because its representative said it is unclear whether or not Israel has actually signed on to the resolution, with conflicting accounts from U.S. and Israeli officials on Israel’s stance.

The proposal is similar to previous ones introduced by the U.S., with the first phase consisting of “immediate, full, and complete ceasefire” with the exchange of some Palestinians who are being imprisoned by Israel and some Israeli hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, according to a UN report on the vote. 


Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!





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

In Gaza, the healthcare system is barely functioning, eight months into Israel’s devastating assault. In a statement Monday, Gaza’s Health Ministry warned the few remaining hospitals still partially functioning could completely shut down if diesel generators needed for electricity are not replaced or maintained soon. The ministry said it expected a number of generators at hospitals to fail because Israel is preventing the entry of necessary spare parts. Health facilities that supply things like oxygen and refrigeration for medicine are facing a complete shutdown, which the Health Ministry said in a statement, quote, “means certain death for the sick and injured and the complete end of health services,” end-quote.

In addition to severe shortages of electricity, medical supplies and equipment as a result of the Israeli blockade, Gaza’s hospitals have been hit by Israeli airstrikes repeatedly over the last eight months. The World Health Organization said this week, since October 7th there have been more than 460 Israeli attacks on Gaza’s healthcare system, affecting over 100 health facilities.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza, with thousands more missing under the rubble and presumed dead. A staggering 85,000 people have been wounded.

For more, we’re joined by Dr. James Smith, emergency medical doctor just back from Gaza, spent nearly two months there treating patients at trauma stabilization points in al-Mawasi and Rafah, also worked in the emergency rooms of Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah and Al-Awda Hospital in Nuseirat. He left Gaza Friday. He joins us today.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! If you can start off, Dr. Smith, by talking about the situation that you’re hearing from the doctors even in the few days since you have left, particularly after the attack on Nuseirat, which was considered the worst killing in six months, over 270 Palestinians killed this weekend, so many of them were brought to — so many others who were injured, it’s believed something like 700, brought to the hospital where you worked, to Al-Aqsa?

DR. JAMES SMITH: Thanks, Amy.

The situation in Gaza, and certainly in the middle area of Gaza, where I was working up until the 5th of June, remains catastrophic. The intensity of violence that Israel has meted out against the Palestinian people, the barbarity of it all, continues to — you know, you feel that you’ve seen the absolute worst, and the very next day it gets worse again. The massacre in Nuseirat on Saturday was certainly the worst of the violence that those neighborhoods have seen since the start of the genocide back in the beginning of October, 274 dead — killed, rather, as you’ve mentioned, approximately 700 injured. I would expect that in the coming days we will hear of more people who have died, who have succumbed to injuries that were sustained as a result of Israeli airstrikes and the Israeli ground incursion in that area, as a result of the collapsed healthcare system. As you mentioned, there are no fully functional hospitals any longer in Gaza and no health facilities that are able to absorb the sheer scale of need now.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Dr. Smith, your second trip now to Gaza, this one lasted nearly two months. Could you talk about how conditions changed over that period of time? Has there been any improvement in the arrival of supplies to these hospitals or the food situation? Give us a sense of what you saw.

DR. JAMES SMITH: So, to be absolutely clear, the situation deteriorates day on day. This is the sort of fallacy of humanitarian access, or the veneer of a humanitarian system. There is no improvement in any conditions in Gaza. This overfixation on the number of trucks that are entering into Gaza — or, rather, the number of trucks that the Israeli state has permitted to enter into Gaza — is a distraction from the violence and its many manifestations. We have almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip now forcibly displaced. The majority of those people no longer have homes to return to; entire cities — and I have seen them myself — Khan Younis, Gaza City, other neighborhoods, parts of Rafah now — that have been completely destroyed; homes, schools, clinics that have been vaporized to dust, concrete and sand. There has been absolutely no improvement in any of the basic conditions that are required to sustain human life in Gaza at the present time.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And how are you able to even administer, especially for those who require emergency surgery, of the wounded who come in? Talk to us about your direct experience with these kinds of — this kind of medical support.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Perhaps if I speak to you about my last day in Gaza at Al-Aqsa Hospital on the 5th of June. So, I was working in the emergency room that day. We had several electricity blackouts during that time. We were treating patients on the floor of the emergency room by torchlight. We had one young boy who came into the ER with an open femoral facture, bleeding profusely from his left upper leg, very, very severe injury. He had been injured as a result of an Israeli airstrike. The orthopedic surgeon, a junior doctor, very competent, but nevertheless still a junior doctor, came down to treat him, and without any anesthesia, because there wasn’t any, had to pull and splint his leg in order to stabilize him and to sustain his life long enough to get him into the OR.

The hospital now has five ORs, but you have a surgical team or several surgical teams that are working 24/7. There is no rest for the surgeons in these hospitals, and the scrub nurses working alongside them, phenomenally difficult conditions. We have an emergency team that are, frankly, the most dedicated doctors, nurses and allied health professionals that I have ever had the privilege of working with. But the conditions in which they are working were unsustainable eight months ago. Now it is just a testament to the sheer determination of the Palestinian people and the desire of Palestinian healthcare workers to administer care to the Palestinian people that these hospitals are able to function in any way whatsoever.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Smith, you’ve been talking about the effects of the bombing of people who survived and been brought into the hospital. What about the issue of hunger? UNICEF just came out with a report saying nine out of 10 children in the Gaza Strip are experiencing severe food shortages. If you can talk about what that means and how that affects them long-term, if they survive, and also the lack of clean water and drinking sewage water, leading to diseases like, for example, cholera?

DR. JAMES SMITH: So, hunger is rife across the Gaza Strip. There is a fixation of sorts among epidemiologists and distant public health experts in the terms of malnutrition. But hunger is rife. As I’ve mentioned already, Israel maintains complete control over what and who enters into and out of Gaza. They are able to manufacture the conditions of life — or, rather, of death in Gaza. And they have complete control over how much food aid or how much food enters into Gaza.

In my final weeks in Gaza, I was struck that commercial trucks from Israel were given precedence of access over the humanitarian aid trucks. So, in the south of Gaza, we saw several markets in which there were several fresh fruit and fresh vegetable commodities bearing the slogans of Israeli companies, but very limited food aid that was able to enter into Gaza. On several occasions, the big U.N. agencies said that they would have to stop food aid distributions. It was incredible to me that the very state that was starving people and inflicting such violence upon them was then bringing in food that, of course, people can’t afford to buy anymore, and that people, those who could, were having to pay for food from, as I say, the very state, the very economy that is trying to strangle the Palestinian people.

To your other point about access to clean water and sanitary conditions, the smell of sewage was rife throughout every camp that I passed through in Gaza, from Rafah to Khan Younis and into Gaza City, several instances of sewage overflowing onto the streets. In all of the locations I worked across Gaza and all of the hospitals I visited, including in the north of Gaza, in Gaza City, we saw patients who were suffering from very severe bouts of acute watery diarrhea, a major outbreak of hepatitis A, which is spread as a result of poor sanitary conditions. And, of course, all of those things together — hunger, lack of access to nutritious food, the impact of a lack of clean, drinkable water on physical health — is catastrophic. It will certainly have a major impact on all those people who are suffering as a result other health or trauma-related problems, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Juan, we’re not able to hear you.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Dr. Smith, can you hear me?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, we can.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Yes, I can hear you.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, you mentioned that you traveled all around the different parts of Gaza. Did you have any interactions at all with the Israeli Defense Forces? Did they enter into the hospitals? Or did you have any interactions with them at checkpoints?

DR. JAMES SMITH: We had to pass via the checkpoints that the Israelis have constructed, that have now severed across the north and south of Gaza from the east to the west. We interacted with the Israeli occupation forces during those movements. They were incredibly frightening experiences. During one of those convoy movements, one of the Palestinian drivers that was working for a U.N. agency was detained, stripped naked and taken away by the Israeli occupation forces. Very, very frightening, very unpleasant. And, yes, I saw and have heard stories of incredibly horrific encounters between the Israeli ground forces at those checkpoints and the Palestinian people, some of whom are still trying to move from north to south.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, doctors who have died. We interviewed Dr. Hammam Alloh months ago, who was — when I asked him why he didn’t leave, as he talked about the intense bombing, he said he didn’t get his medical degree to desert his patients. He went home to help his family, and his house was bombed. You then have Dr. Adnan al-Bursh, head of orthopedics at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, who was arrested and died in an Israeli prison. As we wrap up, Dr. Smith, as you leave Gaza after two months, what about the doctors being imprisoned, doctors and nurses and staff being killed?

DR. JAMES SMITH: These are all the most egregious and horrific war crimes. And as I’ve mentioned, it was phenomenal to see the determination of my Palestinian colleagues, who will not abandon the Palestinian people or Palestine at this most horrific moment in their history. It’s tragic, beyond tragic, that so many Palestinian healthcare workers, that so many Palestinians have been killed during the course of this ongoing genocide. And it’s even more horrific that this violence is allowed to continue.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. James Smith, we thank you for being with us. In 20 seconds, the U.N. Security Council has just passed a resolution put forward by the U.S. for a ceasefire. Hamas has just accepted. U.S. said Israel was accepting, though Netanyahu has said other things about that. Your message to the world?

DR. JAMES SMITH: I think I said this back in January when I spoke to you, Amy. The violence must end. And once the violence has ended, the real work of the pursuit of peace and justice for the Palestinian people must continue.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. James Smith, emergency room doctor, just out of Gaza, spent nearly two months in Gaza treating patients at trauma stabilization points in al-Mawasi and Rafah, also worked in emergency rooms at Al-Aqsa Hospital and Al-Awda Hospital in Nuseirat. He was speaking to us from Istanbul, Turkey.

We’ll be joined next by a Jewish American Army major named Harrison Mann. He’s the first military and intelligence officer to publicly resign over President Biden’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza. Back in 20 seconds.


Today, a 3-day  G7 summit started in Italy.  Friday, Pope Francis is scheduled to address the G7 -- he will be the first pope to do so.   The G7 is made up of  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Italy holds the presidency (through the end of this calendar year) and the G7 website notes:


In line with previous G7 fora, representatives of a number of States and International Organizations will take part in the sessions, invited by the Nation that holds the Presidency.

Nations and International organizations

·       African Development Bank – Akinwumi Adesina, President

·       Algeria – Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President

·       Argentina – Javier Milei, President

·       Brazil – Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, President (G20 Presidency)

·       Holy See – Pope Francis

·       India – Narendra Modi, Prime Minister

·       International Monetary Fund – Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Operating Officer

·       Jordan – Abdallah II, King

·       Kenya – William Ruto, President

·       Mauritania – Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President (Chair of the African Union)

·       OECD – Mathias Cormann, Secretary General

·       Tunisia – Kaïs Saïed, President

·       Türkiye – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President

·       United Nations – Antònio Guterres, Secretary General

·       United Arab Emirates – Mohammed bin Zayed, President

·       World Bank – Ajay Banga, President



Virginia Pietromarchi (ALJAZEERA) notes:

  • On June 13, discussions will kick off at 11am (09:00 GMT) with a session on Africa, climate change and development.
  • This will be followed by a session on the Middle East, where Israel’s war on Gaza is expected to dominate discussions.
  • A lunch break follows — visiting leaders might want to try Apulia’s famous le orecchiette pasta while they’re in the region. Right after lunch, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to arrive for two sessions on Ukraine.
  • On June 14, key topics of discussion will include migration, Asia Pacific and economic security. Sessions on artificial intelligence, energy and the Mediterranean are also on the agenda. At 6:45pm (16:45 GMT) there will be the closing session with the adoption of the G7 Summit Communique.
  • On June 15, the host, Italy, will hold a news conference.



Gaza remains under assault. Day 250 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, "Gaza death toll reaches 37,202 with 84,932 injured."   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, "In 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."

We'll wind down with this from Nada AlTaher's report for THE NATIONAL:

After 21 years working at the UN Development Programme in Gaza, Basel Nasser now faces the task of assisting his birthplace on a scale unlike anything he has ever experienced before.

Eight months into Israel's military offensive in the Palestinian enclave, more than 37,000 residents have been killed, nearly 85,000 injured and most of its population of more than two million displaced by strikes and a ground offensive that have destroyed more than half of its buildings.

“The numbers don't even remotely reflect the reality,” Mr Nasser told The National before taking part in the UN emergency conference on Gaza's humanitarian needs, hosted by Jordan at the Dead Sea on Tuesday.

As Minister of Relief Affairs in the Palestinian Authority's newly appointed government – a position created in light of the war in Gaza – Mr Nasser is already planning for the rehabilitation of Gaza and its people once the war ends.

Unlike previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas in the coastal strip, “virtually the entire population of Gaza will require aid” this time, he said.

He pointed out that the death toll provided by Gaza's health authorities does not include those who have died from hunger or from the lack of proper medical care in the Strip.

Gaza's residents have faced acute food shortages created by strict Israeli controls on the delivery of aid since the war began, with UN and aid groups warning that the territory faces the risk of famine.

There are no fully functioning hospitals after most were destroyed in raids and bombardments by the Israeli military, while the few that are still in partial service struggle with shortages of medical supplies and fuel to run their generators.

Israel dropped about 70,000 tonnes of explosives on the Gaza Strip between the start of the war on October 7 and April 24, according to the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.


 The following sites updated: