Friday, January 19, 2024

Some things end strong, some things end weak

REACHER wrapped up the season.  I hope there will be a season three.  I also hope -- my only season two complaint -- that they will go straight forward with the storyline and not keep going back and forth.   I don't like flash back, flash forward, flash back -- I didn't like it on ARROW.  It was cheesy then and it's cheesy now.  Tell me a story from start to finish. 

It was a really great ending episode for season two and the tension on the helicopter was really intense.  (I won't spoil what happens on the helicopter.)

So it was a good season and a it ended strong.  

Unlike Doo-Doo DeSantis whose political campaign just peters out.  Shane Goldmacher, Kellen Browning, Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Nehamas  (NEW YORK TIMES) note:

Straining to recover after a bruising defeat in Iowa, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and his allies moved on Wednesday to shake up his operation yet again, with his super PAC carrying out layoffs and the campaign signaling that it would largely bypass New Hampshire’s primary election next week in favor of competing in South Carolina.

Shake up?  He's been trying to reboot that campaign since it kicked off with the bad Twitter interview roll out.  Every few weeks, Doo-Doo tries to reboot (revive) his terminal campaign. 

I love this from the article, "Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Ms. Haley, responded to Mr. DeSantis’s move with a quip: 'South Carolina is a great state. We hope they enjoy their vacation time here'."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis campaigned across all 99 Iowa counties to much fanfare, repeatedly touting the feat and holding a rally to celebrate its completion.
Yet in the end he didn’t win a single county. Former President Donald Trump romped to victory in the Iowa Caucuses, relegating DeSantis to a distant second place.
Trump won 98 Iowa counties Monday. Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley won the other county, and that was by just one vote.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2024.  Robert F. Kennedy Junior proudly brags of his intent to carry out fraud, another journalist killed by the Israeli government, and much more.

We're going to run though a few topics quickly before Gaza.  Starting with criminality.  Bart Jansen (USA TODAY) notes:

A former Internal Revenue Service contractor, who leaked tax information about Donald Trump and other wealthy individuals to news organizations, got his job to intentionally to spread the confidential records, according to Justice Department prosecutors.

Charles Edward Littlejohn, 38, of Washington, pleaded guilty in October to unauthorized disclosure of tax return and return information. U.S. District Judge Ana Reye scheduled sentencing for Jan. 29. Prosecutors recommended Tuesday he receive the maximum sentence of five years in prison.

[. . .]

The New York Times reported in 2020 Trump paid $750 in federal income tax the year he entered the White House and no income tax at all some years thanks to colossal losses. Six years of his returns were later released by the House Ways and Means Committee, when it was controlled by Democrats.

Why are we bringing it up?  Because I'm tired of the useless.  Weeks ahead of the 2020 election, news of Hunter Biden's laptop broke.  While we noted here that it was not stolen -- and went through the reality that the computer store owner became the laptop owner when the laptop was not picked up and the bill not paid for -- a lot of 'legal' minds wasted everyone's time by not stressing the points we made.  We made those points repeatedly and did so because I knew the media outlets were arguing privately -- and would get public about it really quickly -- that it was 'stolen' so they could not touch the story.

It was not stolen and maybe if our 'legal' minds -- especially those living overseas in tropical climates -- actually knew the law, they could have helped push back on this but they were too busy with their Tweets and their whines and their stupidity.  I'm not in the damn mood and I wasn't back then.

And, notice, when it did come to something stolen (tax returns), they were more than happy to run with. 

Hunter's laptop.

Hunter Biden posed a threat to public safety and cannot rely on his constitutional right to a firearm to avoid prosecution for federal gun charges, the US Department of Justice said in a court filing on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the son of the president are currently attempting to have three felony gun charges against him thrown out after he was indicted in Delaware in September over a gun purchase in October 2018 when he was in the grips of drug addiction.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Biden unlawfully possessed a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver for 11 days after he falsely claimed on a gun purchase form that he didn’t use drugs. Under federal law, an unlawful drug user cannot legally possess a firearm.

If Republicans really gave a damn about the issue -- they don't -- they would've gone after witnesses long ago.  Specifically, they would seek testimony from the Secret Service which has been involved in this case all along.  They have acted as Hunter's private bodyguards which is not their job.  Nor is their job to cover up crimes -- so their knowledge and looking the other way when he was stoned out of his mind?  I don't think taxpayer money should be used to protect people doing drugs -- I mean protect them from arrest, etc.  The Secret Service repeatedly intimidated citizens to keep Hunter from being arrested and his actions from being known.

Uh-huh.  That's not what they're paid for.  They're paid to physically protect someone from violence or the threat of violence.  It's disgusting that Hunter's crimes -- prostitution and drug use -- took place with the Secret Service doing mop-up for Hunter -- disgusting and illegal.

The GOP doesn't care about that.  But it is exactly that which a functioning government would address. Our tax dollars should not be spent to carry out crimes.  Physically protecting Hunter or anyone from violence is one thing, protecting from arrest is another.  The Secret Service was way too involved and a functioning government would be investigating that.  You can't impeach Joe Biden on that so the GOP's not interested.  

Fraud.  I told you we were moving quickly.  Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Junior is struggling, even with millions Junior is struggling.  It's as though America's waking up and realizing that -- to steal from HEATHERS -- all Junior has to offer now "is date rapes and AIDS jokes."  Tellingly, those aren't AIDS jokes that he keeps delivering, he's honestly that ignorant that he thinks poppers causes AIDS -- somewhere former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is rolling over in his grave. 

For those who've forgotten, after a life with little to show for it other than a heroin addiction, Junior was going to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.  But no one wanted a freak show so he then announced he was going to be an independent candidate.  But looks like that's too hard for Junior too.  What is it about this man -- this elderly, 70-year-old man -- that refuses to ever do the work required to accomplish anything?  

Now campaign law is not an area I know much about.

But even to me, that smacks of fraud.  

You're saying that you don't think you can get on the ballot as an independent candidate, you don't think you can get enough signatures.  So your 'workaround' for that is to create a new political party so you can get on the ballot.

That sounds like fraud and it sounds like you've publicly admitted to it.

No state should allow him on the ballot in that manner.  That is election fraud.

There is no political party.  It's just you pretending so that you can meet a lower legal requirement to be on a ballot. 

That's fraud.  

If he wants to, for example, accept The People's Party's nomination and be on the ballot where ever they might have access, that's one thing.  

But to announce that you're not able to meet the requirements (or unwilling to do the work required to meet the requirements) to run as an independent so you're instead going to invent some new political party to make the ballots?  That's fraud.

It is willfully and knowingly breaking the laws of various states regarding ballot access.  Fraud.

Now for Gaza, this morning ALJAZERA is reporting:

Wael Fanouneh, news director of al-Quds TV, was killed as a result of Israeli bombing in Gaza City.

Fanouneh is the ninth employee of the channel to be killed in Israeli attacks. The other journalists are: Ahmed Khair El Din, Jabr Abu Hadros, Hassan Farajallah, Mohammad Nabil al-Zaq, Mohammad al-Thalathini, Hamada al-Yaziji, Mohammad Abu Huwaidi, and Mahmoud Mushtaha.

More than 100 Palestinian journalists have been killed over the past three and a half months – an unprecedented rate in modern warfare history.

The latest in a long list of journalists killed by the Israeli government.  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush joined a vigil in Washington, D.C. late Wednesday to mourn and demand justice for the Palestinian journalists who were killed by the Israeli military during the first 100 days of its U.S.-backed assault on the Gaza Strip.

"The Israeli government's brutal attacks have made Gaza the most dangerous place in the world for journalists and their families," Tlaib (D-Mich.), currently the only Palestinian American member of Congress, said in her remarks at the vigil. "Despite Netanyahu's ongoing genocidal campaign, Palestinian journalists have continued reporting for Gaza under extremely dangerous circumstances to continue showing the world the truth about these atrocities."

"We call on the international community: Please come together to investigate the Israeli government's war crimes for its repeated attacks on journalists," said Tlaib. 

  More than 100 Gaza journalists and media workers have been killed by the Israeli military since early October, according to the territory's media office. Palestinian reporters say they are being deliberately targeted as part of an Israeli government campaign to "shut down the coverage" of its ongoing atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to being killed by Israeli bombs, Gaza journalists have faced arbitrary detention, harassment, assault, and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. The International Criminal Court said last week that it is investigating attacks on Gaza journalists as part of its broader probe of war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

Bush (D-Mo.), the lead sponsor of a Gaza cease-fire resolution in the U.S. House, used her speech during Wednesday's vigil to call out the Biden administration's complicity in Israel's attacks on journalists—and the lack of condemnation from members of the American press as their peers "are being slaughtered for doing the very jobs they do."

"Palestinian voices are being intentionally silenced by the Israeli government and by our own government," Bush said. "This makes uncovering the truth of what's happening in Palestine not only difficult and dangerous, but essential."

"The Israeli government's silencing of and violence against journalists began long before October 7," Bush continued. "In fact, for decades, as Palestinians have lived under their illegal occupation, the silencing of their voices and stories has been a tactic to maintain control and maintain support from the West. After all, it's much easier to ignore and cover up injustice if it goes untold."

The vigil was sponsored by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which led a coalition of advocacy groups last week in imploring the Biden administration to immediately "promote the conditions for safe and unrestricted reporting on the hostilities."

From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: Israel’s bombardment of Gaza from the land, air and sea continued today, much of it in the southern part of the territory in the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah. At least 163 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the last 24 hours, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Some of the worst shelling hit the western side of Khan Younis, which was designated in the early stages of Israel’s assault on Gaza as a so-called safe zone by Israel. There’s also been intense Israeli bombardment in the vicinity of Nasser Hospital, the main hospital in the city, and tanks and armored vehicles are on the main road leading to the area. Among the places hit in Khan Younis was a school sheltering displaced Palestinians. An eyewitness described the attack.

EYEWITNESS: We saw death with all colors. The tanks entered. We saw everything vividly. It was horrible — random shelling, random fire, random killing. They are coming just to kill and go back home. This is a Nakba. They are just coming to kill children, women, elderly, in the bathroom, in the school, in the hospital, in the street, anywhere. They killed us. They are just coming to kill only. Just that. Just killing.

AMY GOODMAN: The interruption of communications and internet services in Gaza, for days, has continued for the fifth consecutive day, the longest telecommunications blackout of the war so far. This has caused delays for emergency workers to respond to airstrikes and has hampered media coverage from Palestinian journalists in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh left Gaza on Tuesday, crossing into Egypt, then flying to Qatar to receive medical treatment. Dahdouh has come to symbolize both the suffering and resilience of Palestinian journalists in Gaza. In October, four members of his family were killed, including his wife, his 15-year-old son, his 7-year-old daughter and his grandson, in an Israeli strike on a refugee camp where they were seeking shelter after their home was bombed. Last week, his eldest son, 27-year-old-Hamza, also a journalist, was killed along with another journalist in an Israeli airstrike on their car in Khan Younis. Dahdouh will receive medical treatment in Doha for a wound he received when Israel bombed the area he was in that ended up killing his cameraperson Samer Abudaqa.

By some counts, over 110 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. The Committee to Protect Journalists has found more journalists have been killed in the first 10 weeks of Israel’s war on Gaza than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year.

For more, we’re joined by two guests. Sharif Abdel Kouddous is an independent journalist and a Democracy Now! correspondent. His latest piece for The Intercept investigates the killing of Abudaqa. It’s headlined “Israel Bombed an Al Jazeera Cameraman — and Blocked Evacuation Efforts as He Bled to Death.” He’s joining us from here in New York. In Washington, D.C., we’re joined by Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Before we talk to Sharif about the cameraman, the Al Jazeera cameraman who bled to death over five hours, can we put this in a broader context, Sherif Mansour? Talk about the astounding number, the horrific number, of journalists who have died in Gaza.

SHERIF MANSOUR: Well, thank you for having me again, Amy. I’ve already talked to you about this at least twice, and the number only goes higher. The deadly pattern we discussed become more deadly. And we have since talked, talked about the apparent pattern of targeting against journalists, their families. And specifically when we discuss Al Jazeera and al-Dahdouh’s family, they really are rewriting what it means to be a journalist today, with immense, brave and never-seen-before sacrifices. The Palestinian journalists, local journalists — so far, 76 out of 83 we’ve counted since the start of the war are Palestinians. The overwhelming majority are killed by the Israeli army. The Israeli army has killed more journalists in the span of those three months than any other entity or army have done over a course of one year since 1992. This is the most dangerous and the most — we’ve never seen any assignment like this before.

Of course, what we called on is independent and transparent and thorough investigation. We want to see the case of al-Dahdouh, his son, Al Jazeera and others that show a culpability of the Israeli army to be put to public scrutiny by allowing immediate entry to international media and international investigators into Gaza without censorship by the Israeli army. The killing must stop. And for that to happen, the record must be made public, and U.S., European and other allies of Israel need to call Israel on that record and ensure those investigations are made immediately public.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Sherif Mansour, what has been the response of the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces, given the enormous number of journalists killed? Have they accepted any culpability at all for any of these killings?

SHERIF MANSOUR: The cases of precise attacks by drones against Al Jazeera, which happened at least twice in the last four weeks, included for the first time the Israeli army taking responsibility of doing those attacks, but also doing as they’ve done in the past, when they are held responsible because the case of a journalist is someone who was behind an international news organization. They said they will investigate, but they also push false narratives, claims that they are terrorists or that they were part of an ongoing crossfire, and, as we’ve seen in past incidents before this war, this time around three narratives pushed by the Israeli army, correcting and changing and providing nothing more than a questionable document, with English for the first time, coming from what they said was a terrorist group, but providing no other evidence that support their claim, and have — so far, the outlets, eyewitnesses, and the families of the journalists have denied the Israeli army narratives and showed to the contrary that, for example, Hamza, an Al Jazeera journalist, was approved to travel — before his father, Wael Dahdouh, did yesterday — after Israel vetted him. And if he was wanted by any chance, he wouldn’t have had this approval before he was killed. And other testimony and accounts that we and others are showing the contradicting nature of these narratives, this is also the same narrative we said happened before this war started, in our “Deadly Pattern” report. And it is a pattern of responses designed to evade responsibilities by throwing the word “terrorists,” by also pushing out those narratives until the world look away.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, and Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are both calling for Israel to be officially investigated for war crimes and its targeting of journalists, not only in Gaza, but outside of Gaza, because an internal Reuters investigation found that one of its journalists, Issam Abdallah, was killed by an Israeli tank shell fired on him and a group of six other journalists in southern Lebanon on October 13th. Could you talk about these attacks outside of Gaza?

SHERIF MANSOUR: So, we saw the same pattern of disregard for press insignia that we reported before this war, 13 out of 20 journalists killed by IDF fire over 21 years who wore press signs and press insignia showing that they are media personnel. And like those cases, the case of Issam Abdallah show, with independent investigation, physical proof, forensic proof from the scene, in addition to mapping, audio and visual analysis by international human rights groups and international media organizations, that show that those journalists did not pose any threat to Israeli government positions, that they have been seen by an Israeli drone at least an hour, that they were visibly expressing or showing press signs and only their cameras, and the position that they have taken was a high-vantage hill that did not obscure their location with being close to any camera or house that justified that they would have any threat. And all of this and other evidence have shown that what we show in the past, in the cases of at least three journalists that we categorized as murdered before this course, including Shireen Abu Akleh and Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hassin, who were killed in Gaza, that there was no justification for the use of lethal force by the Israeli army. And those and other cases [inaudible] that we call for independent investigation as war crimes, because the Israeli army did not live up to their commitments and obligation under international law.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, Shireen Abu Akleh was killed May 11, 2022, outside the Jenin refugee camp. Sharif Abdel Kouddous did a George Polk Award-winning documentary on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. He’s joining us, as well.

[The video above includes the following segment but click here for it at the DEMOCRACY NOW! website.]

AMY GOODMAN: Sharif, I wanted to ask you about this latest piece you did for The Intercept that’s headlined “Israel Bombed an Al Jazeera Cameraman — and Blocked Evacuation Efforts as He Bled to Death.” Give us the tick-tock, the chronology on what happened on that horrific day, when he and Wael al-Dahdouh, who is the Gaza bureau chief for Al Jazeera, went to the school that was bombed. Tell us exactly what happened.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Right, Amy. And when we talk about the killing of Palestinian journalists in Gaza, this was an incident on December 15th where much of the world watched as hours ticked by as Samer Abudaqa was wounded and prevented from getting medical care by Israel and eventually died. And so, that timeline of what happened, I think, is extremely important.

But, basically, Wael al-Dahdouh, who is Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza, went with Samer Abudaqa, who’s a 20-year veteran journalist, a cameraman — they went to this school in Khan Younis which had been bombed earlier in the day, and they were accompanied by a team of Civil Defense workers. That team had received — had requested and received approval by the Israeli military through the Red Cross to be in the area. They got there around noon. They spent about two-and-a-half hours in the area. This is according to Wael al-Dahdouh. And as they were wrapping up their coverage, there were these — he said there were hardly anyone in the area. There were drones buzzing overhead. They were just about to leave and go back to the ambulance that had brought them there, when a strike hit them, at about 2:30 p.m.

Wael al-Dahdouh was thrown to the ground. He said when he got up and kind of regained awareness, he realized he was bleeding quite profusely from his arm and that he would bleed to death if he didn’t get medical attention. He looked over and saw the three Civil Defense workers who were accompanying them had been killed instantly. And then, at a small distance away, he saw his colleague, Samer Abudaqa, on the ground. He had been wounded in the lower part of his body. Wael said that he seemed like he was screaming — Wael at that point had lost much of his hearing from the blast — and that Samer couldn’t get up. Wael realized the only chance that both of them had was for him to get to medical attention and get help to bring Samer out, because he couldn’t get up. So Wael somehow stumbled across about 800 meters to the ambulance that was waiting. He begged them to go in and get Samer, but they insisted on evacuating him first to a hospital in Khan Younis and that another ambulance would go retrieve him. There are videos of Wael al-Dahdouh receiving treatment, wincing in pain, calling on people to go get Samer, telling them to coordinate with the Red Cross.

What we understand from Wael and others is that an ambulance did go immediately to try and retrieve Samer from the area, but that they were fired on, or in their area, in their proximity, by Israeli forces. At the same time, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Ramallah, Walid al-Omari, was making calls to the Red Cross — this is around 3:00, 3:30 p.m. — and asking the Red Cross to liaise with the Israeli military to allow for emergency crews to reach Samer Abudaqa in Khan Younis. So the Israeli military knew, at least by 3:00 or 3:30, that there was a wounded journalist who lay helpless that needed evacuation.

And at the same time, news was spreading of Samer Abudaqa’s plight, and there’s a group called the Foreign Press Association, which is a Jerusalem-based nonprofit representing reporters, mostly foreign reporters from over 30 countries, and there’s a WhatsApp group, which has about 140 of these journalists on it. One of the journalists, a freelance reporter and producer based in Jerusalem named Orly Halpern, posted just after 3 p.m. about the Samer’s plight and told the journalists, or called on them, to call Israeli military spokespeople and to demand that Samer be evacuated. And so, the FPA was getting involved. Senior members of the FPA, the Foreign Press Association, were getting involved, calling Israeli military officials, Israeli military spokespeople, senior ones, repeatedly asking for passage for Samer.

And from what we understand, at The Intercept we obtained screenshots of this WhatsApp group from multiple journalists in the group, and also from speaking with people involved in these efforts, that for hours Israel did not give approval to these ambulances. Finally, after about five hours after Samer was initially wounded, a bulldozer was finally approved to go through to reach Samer. But by then, he had already died. He had bled out. He was found with — he had seemed to have removed his flak jacket and had tried to crawl and had died. And it was incredibly tragic. He had lain there. Al Jazeera had posted a live counter of the hours and minutes since he was wounded on its broadcast, and people were just watching. And he eventually died.

And the next day, Al Jazeera announced it was preparing a legal file to submit to the International Criminal Court over what it called the assassination of Samer Abudaqa. And so did Reporters Without Borders, also included his killing in a filing with the ICC, war crimes against journalists killed in Gaza. So, you know, the world should be outraged about this killing, about all the killings that are happening to Palestinians, Palestinian journalists in Gaza.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, Sharif, in this particular case, there is no doubt that the highest echelons of the Israeli Defense Forces were aware that this journalist was wounded and in need of medical attention.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Yes, we have multiple journalists who told — we have screenshots of a WhatsApp group where they’re discussing having spoken to Israeli military spokespeople in those hours and saying, “No approval yet. Ambulances not cleared. Bulldozers not cleared yet.” So, this took hours. And, you know, the Israeli military must have known very early on what the situation is. They’re the ones who had repeatedly bombed the area. They knew there was rubble in the streets. There’s constant — near-constant drone surveillance of Gaza. The Red Cross, we know, was liaising with the Israeli military to try and get approval. And yet they left, or they just didn’t allow — by some accounts, firstly, ambulances were fired on that tried to reach Samer Abudaqa. They returned back — this is the Palestinian Red Crescent and Civil Defense — and they were waiting then for approval. They also asked for Red Cross teams to accompany them to the area as a form of protection. And all of this is happening while Samer Abudaqa is lying helpless. The Israeli military is not giving permission. And he eventually died.

AMY GOODMAN: And then, again, that was Wael al-Dahdouh’s cameraperson and dear colleague, who bleeds to death over five hours. And then, in the last weeks, his son, Hamza al-Dahdouh, also an Al Jazeera journalist, is killed in this Israeli airstrike, along with the AFP stringer Mustafa Thuraya, in an airstrike, a drone strike on a car. Sharif, final comments?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Yeah, I think, look, in this country, the journalistic community should be outraged, should be vocal in their outrage, at Israel’s killing of their colleagues in Gaza. And we haven’t seen that.

And let me just end by saying, you know, in 2022, the Pulitzer Board awarded a special citation to journalists of Ukraine for their coverage of the Russian invasion and of the war. And the citation reads, quote, “Despite bombardment, abductions, occupation, and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality,” end-quote. This is the case many times over for the journalists of Gaza, for the Palestinian journalists of Gaza. I doubt they will be receiving any such accolades. And that’s where the problem lies.

AMY GOODMAN: Sharif Abdel Kouddous, independent journalist, wrote this piece for The Intercept, “Israel Bombed an Al Jazeera Cameraman — and Blocked Evacuation Efforts as He Bled to Death.” We’ll link to it at The Intercept at And Sherif Mansour, Committee to Protect Journalists’ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, speaking to us from D.C.

Next up, we look at what Israelis see on television. Stay with us.

Journalists are being killed.  The silence is appalling.  

Gaza remains under assault.  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 closer to 30,000.  CNN notes,  "The overall death toll of 24,285 also includes 7,200 women and 1,049 elderly people, the ministry said."  ALJAZEERA notes, "The number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israel’s attacks on October 7 has risen to 24,285, Gaza’s health ministry says. At least 61,154 others have been wounded."   In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And 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."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

19 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in the early hours of the morning, staff at Al Najjer hospital in the southern Gaza city of Rafah told an NBC News crew.

The hospital shared a list of the dead with names of 16 members of the Al Zamili family — 8 of them were children and 5 were women, including one who was pregnant. Three people were unidentifiable, according to the staff.

Dr. Talat Barhoum at Al Najjar Hospital also confirmed the death toll from the strike in Rafah and said dozens more were wounded, in comments to the Associated Press. 

Joe Biden marked 100 days of his no-holds-barred support for Israel’s genocidal war against the people of Gaza by pretending that the killing, maiming, and displacement of the Palestinians were an apparition. “No one should have to endure even one day of what they have gone through, much less 100,” Biden wrote on January 14. But his statementOpens in a new tab, which emphasized the Israeli deaths on October 7 and the hostages who remain in Hamas’s custody, made no mention of the 10,000 dead Palestinian children and what they never should have gone through. His only reference to the plight of Palestinian civilians was an oblique one: Biden praised himself for presiding over a brief “surge [in] additional vital humanitarian aid into Gaza” when there was a temporary truce to allow the exchange of hostages and prisoners in November.

Biden’s statement is emblematic of the lip service the president has paid to “humanitarian” needs while at the same time facilitating Israel’s every move. The White House knew from the beginning exactly how gratuitous and barbaric Israel’s war of annihilation would be in Gaza, yet Biden made sure that his “great, great friend” Benjamin Netanyahu would have U.S. weapons to carry it out, would enjoy the full support of America’s extensive intelligence and targeting capabilities, and receive the political backing of Washington with no “red lines.” Biden and company ensured that Israel’s lies, no matter how grand or obscene, would be embraced and promoted from the podium at the State Department and White House every single day. Over the past 100 days, the administration has watched the carnage wrought on the people of Gaza, yet officials admitOpens in a new tab they have “taken great pains to avoid calling for a ceasefire.”

The attempts by the administration over the past months to plant stories in the media — about how Biden is “losing patienceOpens in a new tab” with Netanyahu, how Antony Blinken is concerned about the mounting pile of Palestinian corpses, how the White House seeks no wider regional war — indicates a cynical amorality that permeates the souls of those in power. “At every juncture, Netanyahu has given Biden the finger,” Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen told Axios, characterizing what he hears from senior administration officials. “They are pleading with the Netanyahu coalition, but getting slapped in the face over and over again.” 

“What we’re seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching,” Blinken told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman at an event in Davos, SwitzerlandOpens in a new tab, as though he has not been one of the premiere enablers of the destruction of Gaza. “The suffering we are seeing among innocent men, women, and children breaks my heart.” He then adopted the tone of an analyst at a think tank, not the top U.S. diplomat: “The question is, what is to be done?”

These sentiments, expressed as part of a barely concealed political spin campaign, are not being promoted because they are sincerely held reservations or concerns; rather they are the linchpin of a crass effort to scatter bread crumbs the White House can later point to, including during the 2024 election, in an effort to make it seem as though they were powerless observers who just wanted to help the Israelis defend themselves but that dastardly Netanyahu took it too far. The actual scandal, in this narrative, will not be the mass murder of the Palestinians of Gaza in a genocidal campaign armed by the White House, but how Bibi and his band of rogues, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, used the just war to push their “extremist” agendas. 

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Doo-Doo makes skidmarks as he flees New Hampshire

Bad news for Doo-Doo DeSantis.  James Bickerton (NEWSWEEK) reports:

Florida Democrat Tom Keen flipped District 35 in the state house on Tuesday, beating Republican rival Erika Booth by 11,390 votes to 10,800.
Booth conceded defeat in the special election which was caused by Fred Hawkins, formerly the Republican representative for District 35, stepping down from the seat in order to become president of South Florida State College.
The victory is a major boost for Florida Democrats who suffered a dramatic blow during the November 2022 midterm elections, which left Republicans with a supermajority in both the state house and senate. Heather Williams, president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, branded the win an "earthquake," noting the GOP had won the seat in 2022.

So Doo-Doo being in Iowa and all over the place harmed his GOP.  And, hopefully, harmed himself too. Wonder how Florida's going to feel about the legal bills he stiffed them with when they all grasp he is not going to be president?

Loser is not going to be the nominee but he managed to waste everyone's time, didn't he?  FORBES notes:

The Wall Street Journal editorial board Tuesday argued DeSantis “faces no clear path to the nomination” and that he should end his candidacy to give Haley a shot at competing with Trump, calling the former president a “quasi-incumbent in the eyes of his supporters.”

Haley should stay in the race for now, the Wall Street Journal noted, because “Republican voters deserve a debate” over his first term as president, his legal woes and his second-term agenda.

DeSantis should “graciously drop out” and “help Trump win,” former Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday in a Fox News Radio interview—she added she does not believe Haley has a path to the nomination, but stopped short of explicitly calling on her to shut down her campaign.

Trump’s allies in Congress, including Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have also put pressure on DeSantis and Haley to let Trump run away with the nomination.

Poor Doo-Doo.  POLITICO notes:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ big New Hampshire strategy: Don’t bother.

Stuck in the single-digits in New Hampshire polls even after a distant second-place finish in Iowa, DeSantis is decamping to what he hopes will be a warmer political climate — throwing himself into campaign events in South Carolina on Saturday and Sunday, a campaign official confirmed. 

Largely bypassing New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Tuesday, is a clear acknowledgment that DeSantis will get thumped by Donald Trump and Nikki Haley here. DeSantis had sunk most of his resources into Iowa and had been criticized for all but ignoring the Granite State for weeks at a time. 

“It’s a big comedown for somebody who a year ago looked like he was going to be the one to take on Trump,” said Jon McHenry, a vice president at North Star Opinion Research Group whose firm worked on DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

“That’s the sort of thing a campaign does when they say, ‘We are going to get destroyed here so let’s act like we didn’t contest the state,’” he added.

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

Wednesday January 17, 2024.  The slaughter continues as the lies continue -- or maybe because the lies continue.

Employees at over two dozen U.S. departments and federal agencies as well as congressional staffers participated in a "Day of Mourning" on Tuesday, declining to work in the wake of the 100th day of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders in his administration have faced mounting outrage from government employees, the American public, and the international community for supporting the Israeli bombardment and siege that has killed over 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

It's now been 102 days since the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel sparked a retaliatory war that a growing number of experts and groups are calling "genocidal." In addition to the rising death toll, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been wounded, about 90% of Gaza's 2.3 million residents are displaced, and children are dying of starvation.

Feds United for Peace, which organized Tuesday's initiative, explained in an email to Common Dreams that "this Day of Mourning was not just for government employees in Washington but for federal employees across the country."

"Despite the closure of federal offices in Washington because of the weather, many employees eligible for telework still participated," the group said. "We do not have a final figure to share, but the number of agencies represented speaks for itself."

"We feel a responsibility and a moral obligation to speak up when our country's leaders are choosing to pursue policies that are hurting America."

There were participants across the departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, State, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Office of the President, Federal Aviation Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Internal Revenue Service, according to organizers.

Others joined from the National Labor Relations Board, National Park Service, National Security Agency, National Science Foundation, Naval Research Laboratory, Patent and Trademark Office, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Personnel Management, Social Security Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, United States Agency for International Development, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Day of Mourning—exclusively previewed by Al-Monitor—went ahead despite a threat from far-right U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who said Sunday that "any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired."

A group of Senate Democrats voted Tuesday in favor of advancing a resolution sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to potentially freeze U.S. military aid to Israel, sending a pointed message to President Biden that the war in Gaza is becoming a major problem for his party.  

The Senate voted 72 to 11 to table the matter, but the number of Democrats who supported the measure reflects rising dissatisfaction among progressives over the civilian casualties in Gaza, which are now said to exceed 24,000. 

[. . .]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who voted to advance the resolution, said she wanted to send a message. 

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has to understand that he does not get a blank check from the United States Congress,” she said. “We have a responsibility to stand up now and say that given how Netanyahu and his right-wing war Cabinet have prosecuted this war, we have serious questions that we are obligated to ask before we go further in our support.” 

She said while the Biden administration is “pushing” the Netanyahu regime to reduce civilian deaths and ratchet down the intensity of the fighting, “Congress [has] a role here to play as well to make sure that Mr. Netanyahu understands we’re not writing blank checks.”  

Those opposed to the resolution probably celebrated as another hospital was attacked in Gaza.  RTE reports:

The Jordanian army has said its military field hospital in the city of Khan Younis in Gaza was badly damaged as a result of Israeli shelling in the vicinity.

In a statement, the army said it held Israel responsible for a "flagrant breach of international law."

It said that the hospital "was subjected to severe material damage as a result of the continuous Israeli bombing in its surroundings from yesterday until this morning," adding that it "will continue to perform its medical and humanitarian duty towards the people in Gaza".

The Palestinian Wafa news agency is reporting that one member of staff and a Palestinian patient in the intensive care unit were inured in the Jordanian field hospital in Khan Younis.

Earlier the Jordanian army said its military field hospital was badly damaged as a result of Israeli shelling in the vicinity. The army said it held Israel responsible for a “flagrant breach of international law”.

Citing a military source from the Jordanian armed forces, Wafa reports the injuries were sustained “in clashes near the hospital in the past few hours”.

Wafa reports that the staff member has “moderate injuries” and will be airlifted to Jordan for medical attention. The patient was reported to be “injured by shrapnel and a bullet”.

The news agency reported that “Despite significant material damage due to the ongoing Israeli bombardment in the vicinity, which started yesterday and continued into Wednesday morning, the hospital remains committed to fulfilling its medical and humanitarian duties to the residents of the Gaza Strip.”

It shouldn't be that difficult to stand against the destruction of hospitals -- the illegal destruction -- and the harming of medical staff and patients.  But there are a lot of cowards and whores in the US Congress.  Saturday, around the world, the people showed  solidarity with Palestinians and calls for a cease-fire.  DC in the video below.

The city of London in the video below.

At COMMON DREAMS, Jon Queally reports:

Major coordinated demonstrations took place across the world on Saturday to mark the 100th day of Israel's bombardment and military assault on the people of the Gaza Strip that have now claimed the lives of nearly 24,000 Palestinians, a large majority of them innocent men, women, and children who had nothing to do with the attacks orchestrated by Hamas on October 7 of last year.

In London, as many as 500,000 people marched on Parliament Square to demand an immediate cease-fire Gaza, condemn their own U.K. government's support of Israel's disproportionate and "genocidal" onslaught, and warn against a wider regional war that experts warn is creeping closer by the day.

"This Global Day of Action, from Australia through to Asia, Europe and the Americas, is the first coordinated, international movement against the war being waged by Israel on the Palestinian people," said Gaza Global Day of Action organizers ahead of the demonstration. "It will send a powerful message not just to the Israelis but to the Western powers who are backing them that the public say 'not in our name.'"

In Dublin, organizers of a march that saw more than 100,000 march through city streets called it the largest rally for Palestinian rights in Irish history.

As the Irish Timesreports:

The crowd was filled with Palestinian flags, posters calling for an "End to the Gaza genocide" as well as makeshift washing lines, with baby clothes hanging from it, representing the many young lives lost in the conflict.

At the front of the march, four people held mock corpses in bloody body bags to represent the growing number of civilian casualties.

In the United States, tens of thousands marched in Washington, D.C. to denounce the Israeli onslaught—which has claimed over 23,000 lives, including more than 10,000 children—as well as their own government's complicity in the carnage. President Joe Biden was on the tip of many demonstrators' tongues and polls in the U.S. have shown very little support across the political spectrum for how he is handling the situation.

Jake and Ida Braford, a young couple from Richmond, Virginia, who brought their two small children to the protest, told the Associated Press the situation in Gaza has made them unsure of their support for Biden come this year's election.

"We're pretty disheartened," Ida told the news agency. "Seeing what is happening in Gaza, and the government's actions makes me wonder what is our vote worth?"

Following the march, demonstrators left a pile of bloodied baby dolls, including severe parts, in a pile outside the White House as a message to Biden. "The blood of the over 10,000 murdered children in Gaza is on his hands," said CodePink co-founder Jodie Evans.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, thousands gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta to condemn the ongoing "genocide" in Gaza perpetrated by Israel with the backing of the U.S. government and other Western allies.

NPR has a photo essay on the DC protest.  

The DC rally went well as long as you didn't zoom in or actually listen to the empty statements being made.  Joseph Kishore (WSWS) calls that nonsense out:

The rally in the United States was organized by a coalition of Muslim groups along with ANSWER, which is associated with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

A request sent to the organizers by the World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party to speak at the demonstration was rejected. While a number of Palestinian speakers spoke movingly about the catastrophe in Gaza, the political line was provided by a handful of Democrats who could be found to criticize Israel’s actions, along with presidential candidates Jill Stein (Green Party) and Cornel West.

Interrupting to correct Kishore here.  Jill Stein is running to become the Green Party's presidential candidate.  She is NOT the candidate.  They will select their candidate at their national convention this summer.  It is a sign of how weak and pathetic the Green Party is becoming that 73-year-old Jill Stein is even running for the nomination having already been the party's nominee in 2012 and 2016.  No, this is not a sign of progress.  This suggests a still-born political party which is unable to advance or to represent the people.  Back to Kishore.

Among the Democrats was Congressman Andre Carson (Indiana), who declared that he saw in the demonstration “what it means to leverage our voting bloc.” Carson is among those Democrats (along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others) who signed a letter addressed to the White House last year which, while expressing some criticism of Israel’s actions, concluded by thanking the Biden administration for what it “is doing to respond to this crisis, provide support to our ally Israel, and bring American citizens home safely.”

Carson avoided any reference in his remarks to the Biden administration or its support for the genocide, while concluding with a call for “re-electing those who represent us”—presumably himself and other Democrats.

The remarks of Stein, ostensibly running independently of the Democrats as a member of the Green Party, were entirely oriented to pressuring the political establishment, while not referring to either the Democratic Party or President Biden by name. “We have the power to say to the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] White House and to the AIPAC Congress, that you are accountable to us, to we the people… We have the power to be instructing our elected officials what they need to do.”

The experience of the past three months, however, has demonstrated that the “elected officials” in both the Democratic and Republican parties respond to mass opposition not by being “instructed,” but by denouncing protests against genocide as antisemitic and seeking to criminalize them. The Biden administration, moreover, has responded to growing opposition by carrying out a major expansion of the war in the Middle East through the bombing of Yemen, threatening war with Iran.

Cornel West addressed the rally toward its conclusion. West specializes in a type of speaking that acts more on the nerves than on the brain, full of sound and fury that, if one gives it a moment of thought, signifies nothing. As typical in all his remarks, West shouted about “love warriors,” the need for “love in freedom and freedom in love,” “truth across the world rising again,” and other moralistic generalities.

West referred to Biden and other officials in the administration as war criminals, though again he made no reference to the Democratic Party itself, with which he has a long association. West concluded his remarks by declaring, “We are calling for more than ceasefire, we are calling for an end of the siege, an end of the occupation, and for Palestinians to live a life of dignity.” How is this to be achieved? Through what means and based on what perspective? West offered nothing, except the hope that Biden and Secretary of State Blinken would change their ways.

Excluded from the demonstration was any reference to the essential issues in the development of a movement against the genocide. Nothing was said of the history of Israel and Zionism or its role as a bulwark for imperialism in the Middle East. No one referred to the interests motivating imperialist support for the genocide, the three decades of unending war, the preparations for war against Iran, the relationship of this to the ongoing US-NATO war against Russia or the developing conflict with China. There was no reference to the working class or the growth of the class struggle throughout the world. The words “imperialism” and “capitalism,” let alone “socialism,” were not uttered.

The organizers wanted no references to any of this because it would cut across their orientation to the Democratic Party. This of course is why they refused to allow a speaker from the World Socialist Web Site to address the rally.

For masses of workers and youth, including those who have participated in the demonstrations, the urgent question is the development of a movement of the working class, on a world scale, in the US and internationally, including through mass strikes and other actions to stop the flow of weaponry to Israel.

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

Major rallies calling for a ceasefire in Gaza were held worldwide this weekend, marking 100 days of the Israeli assault on Gaza. Those rallies included one in Washington, D.C., where organizers say 400,000 people protested U.S. complicity in what they called one of the deadliest and most destructive military assaults in recent history. Palestinian health officials say Israeli attacks have killed 158 civilians in Gaza over the last 24 hours alone, bringing the death toll since October 7th to 24,000, though this likely an undercount — the majority of those killed women and children. It’s believed more than 10,000 children have died.

On Sunday, President Biden put a statement marking 100 days since the October 7th Hamas attack and condemned Hamas for continuing to hold more than 100 hostages. But he made no mention of the tens of thousands of Palestinians killed, injured or displaced during Israel’s bombardment.

On Monday, United Nations humanitarian leaders issued a joint demand for dramatically increasing the flow of aid into Gaza. This is the World Food Programme’s Palestine country director, Samer AbdelJaber.

SAMER ABDELJABER: Everyone in Gaza is hungry. We are exploring all possible solutions, but none are sufficient in the face of obstacles. There are people starving in areas, and we are not able to give basic food for. … The needs are rising faster than we are able to respond. We need to be able to bring in more supplies, and we need safe access to reach people everywhere in Gaza, not just those who are close to the borders. We need a long-lasting ceasefire to stop the suffering.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, pediatric neurologist, co-founder of Gaza Medic Voices and Health Workers for Palestine, in constant touch with his colleagues in Gaza, joining us from London.

Doctor, thanks so much for being with us. The assault this weekend, especially in the central and south part, in Khan Younis, is intense, with well over a hundred Palestinians killed just in the last 24 hours. Can you talk about the desperation of people there and what you think could lead to a ceasefire, as millions around the world demanded one this weekend?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: Thank you so much for having me on the program.

So, the situation is spiraling out of control. Many of our colleagues, British doctors who have just come out of Gaza in the last few days, led by Medical Aid for Palestinians, have come out and said the scenes inside the hospitals are apocalyptic, to say the least. They describe scenes inside Al-Aqsa Hospital, which is no longer functioning and has been completely taken over and besieged by the Israeli occupation forces. They described scenes of 500 admissions in a night, many of whom were serious casualties from air raids, the majority of whom were children, children with double above-the-knee amputations of their lower limbs, children with burns down to the bone that are so horrific that they are disfigured for life, and also women and men also being killed and targeted. What we are seeing is a systematic targeting of healthcare facilities, healthcare workers, 370 at least at the last count of whom have been killed, being either killed, maimed, abducted, or even, more so, tortured when they’ve been held captive, as Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah mentioned on the rally in London on Saturday. These are the reports coming outside from there.

What we are seeing is not a war on children. This is a genocidal, uncontrollable massacre of Palestinians at large and en masse. The Israeli occupation forces and the Israeli government has made it very clear that they are now in a situation where they want to either exterminate Palestinians or force them and displace them out of their ancestral home after 75 years of occupation.

And what would lead to a ceasefire? Well, the simple answer is the American government. President Biden, when he comes out and says, on a national address a hundred days of the 7th of October, he feels for the hostages and the families, we all feel terrible about the situation on the 7th of October. But to completely nullify and ignore the tens of thousands — at least 24,000 — Gazans who have been killed in cold blood by an Israeli war machine is, frankly, outrageous. Frankly, the U.S. government and the U.K. government and other Western leaders are complicit in this, because they are arming the same Israeli bombs that are raining hellfire on Palestinian hospitals, Palestinian schools, Palestinian bakeries and water sanitation plans. Make no mistake: This is an attempt to completely wipe out an infrastructure and a public health system for people in Gaza.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But, Doctor, I wanted to ask you — there have been about an estimated 15,000 children born in Gaza since the assault began. Could you talk about the impact on pregnant women with the collapse of all of these medical facilities?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: So, we had an obstetrician that was with this WHO team that just came out of Al-Aqsa. What she described to us, in speaking to colleagues on the ground, is women giving birth in the shelters, in the rubble, in the streets, with no maternal — maternity care for women who are pregnant in the north and central regions of Gaza. That is at least a million people with no access to maternity care. That means women having to go through high-risk pregnancies, having to go through deliveries with no hospital or pre-hospital care, with no midwives, no doctors to help. What that has led to is many, many women dying in childbirth or after from the normal complications that often happen after a high-risk pregnancy. That includes hemorrhage, where they would not be able to have a blood transfusion because of the lack of supplies. That includes women fitting, having seizures, and no medication being given to them to stop these seizures. This is medieval-style medicine that we are seeing, and this is 100% man-made. Again, this could stop right now if there was a permanent and lasting ceasefire. And unfortunately, as I said, the U.K., the U.S. has continued to warmonger and to actually allow Israel to continue in its genocidal tactics.

And the Global South has started to mobilize. And there has been a great awakening for people who were before not aware of the situation in Palestine. But 70 years of occupation now fast-forwarded and sped up at double speed with this genocidal attacks has led to people protesting in the hundreds of thousands across London, Washington, D.C., and other major cities. And as healthcare workers, myself included, speaking on behalf of Health Workers for Palestine and Gaza Medic Voices, we do not accept this. We will not remain silent. We have escalated and will continue to do so. And as a concerned citizen of the world, what we are seeing is a lack of humanity, a lack of response from our leaders, who are impotent, frankly. And now it is the duty of citizens like us to stand up, to protest, to approach our members of Parliament, to put pressure on our governments to act. And if that doesn’t happen, then the next step, which should be happening now, is to boycott, to boycott any Israeli product that is funding a state that is destroying people and killing human beings in their homes, to apply pressure for academic sanctions, for cultural boycott, academic boycott, and sanctions on the Israeli state. And this is the next step, and this is what I’m calling for as a concerned citizen to my fellow colleagues, health workers, and general citizen professionals and nonprofessionals across the world, to start standing up and start speaking up, because we have had enough. We are sick and tired of seeing our own colleagues being killed and maimed en masse.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Doctor, could you talk about your work trying to bring children to the U.K. for medical care from Gaza and the obstacles you’ve faced?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: So, this is work that is being done by colleagues of ours. There are numerous projects that are attempting to bring children to European cities, to European hospitals, to provide care, similar to what the PCRF, the Palestinian Child Relief Society, has been doing so well to the United States previous to the 7th of October. We are in discussions with the relevant bodies to try and make this happen. Many of these children are children who have had complex injuries as a result of direct bombardment and bombing, who need years of reconstructive plastic surgical work. And these will be specific cases that we will try to help, where the need is not met in Egypt, in Jordan or in neighboring countries. But this is, you know, under — this is happening, but watch this space, essentially.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, you have Israel talking about this going on for more than a year. They are saying that Hamas has to release the hostages. Meanwhile, Hamas released a hostage video where one of the hostages is shown saying that two other hostages were killed in an Israeli strike. You have the mass protest of hostage families that took place over the weekend, demanding that it be the first priority to release the hostages. What is your response to the Israeli government, to Netanyahu and to the others in the war cabinet saying first Hamas has to release all the hostages?

DR. OMAR ABDEL-MANNAN: We’ve seen this narrative time and time again. At every interlude in this continued bombardment, we have seen the excuse of hostages, the excuses of human shields, the excuses of Hamas tunnels under hospitals, and many of these have been debunked by mainstream media. The Washington Post, BBC News found that many of these tunnels underneath the hospitals were, in fact, you know, previously used for as ventilation shafts. They’re not even Hamas tunnels. So, this idea of the hostages being released, as you have correctly said, we are seeing the Israelis shooting at their own people. They shot two or three hostages waving white flags, who were Israeli hostages running and fleeing from their captives, and they were shot dead at point-blank range. So, frankly, to me and to all of us who have seen the demasking of the Israeli government’s intentions, these are just purely excuses.

And unfortunately, the mainstream media, many of whom are in the U.K. and the U.S., are complicit in this. They are allowing these narratives. When I go on every TV show and I get asked the first question, “Do you condemn Hamas?” or “Do you know about the tunnels underneath the hospitals?” this is pushing that narrative forward. And frankly, investigations so far, you know, in what remains of Gaza, has shown that these — many of these stories, a majority of whom are not true, simply not true. So, that would be my response.

And again, I am not, and we are not, you know, going to be taken for a ride by the Israeli government’s narrative. We know exactly what is happening here. And the West and the U.K. and the U.S. and other governments, as I said, are complicit in continuing this narrative. And until there is a permanent ceasefire, until there is proper humanitarian aid entering through aid corridors, until there is the end of the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and the continuing atrocities happening in the West Bank with settlers attacking Palestinians, then we will not stop. And we will continue, and we will mobilize, in the hundreds of thousands, in the millions, against this genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, we want to thank you for being with us, pediatric neurologist and co-founder of Gaza Medic Voices and Health Workers for Palestine, speaking to us from London.

On the topic of DEMOCRACY NOW!, last night a video briefly posted here.  I posted it.  I didn't stream it.  A friend called and said, "You didn't watch it, did you?"  No, I didn't.  If I had, I would've known John Nichols was in it.  Liars -- known liars -- do not get posted here.  At the end of 2003, John's lie was that Wesley Clark was not really seeking the 2004 Democratic Party's presidential nomination but was going to hold the spot so that, at the convention, the party could give it to Hillary Clinton.  In 2008, his big lie?  There were so many.  But his biggest lie was that Barack and his campaign were not telling Canada that his anti-NAFTA talk was just to get voters.  No, it was -- John insisted -- Hillary in secret talks with Canada and he would have that expose in days.  He never had it because it never existed.  He just lied like the whore he is to take pressure off Barack after AP reported the truth -- Barack was not going to overturn NAFTA, this was just lies told on the campaign trail.  When the BBC NEWS reported -- excuse me, when they aired the remarks Samantha Power made on air saying that Barack's promise to end the Iraq War within ten months of being sworn in was not, in fact, a promise.  And he wouldn't be held to if elected.  When that happened, John lied and distracted to cover up the real truth because that would have exposed Barack as just another lying candidate.  He's a whore.  He's a liar.  This is not one time, this is not even three times.  I could list every election cycle he's covered and multiple lies he made each cycle.  I don't have time for that.  He's a liar and people need to stop platforming him -- especially Amy Goodman since she's broadcast his lies repeatedly on DEMOCRACY NOW!  For one example, see Ava and my  "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past" from March 2008.

Gaza remains under assault.  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 closer to 30,000.  CNN notes,  "The overall death toll of 24,285 also includes 7,200 women and 1,049 elderly people, the ministry said."  ALJAZEERA notes, "The number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israel’s attacks on October 7 has risen to 24,285, Gaza’s health ministry says. At least 61,154 others have been wounded."   In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And 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."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."

ALJAZEERA reports this morning:

Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh is in Qatar for medical treatment after being wounded in an Israeli attack while reporting on the conflict.

Dahdouh – who has been the face of Al Jazeera Arabic’s coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza – arrived in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Tuesday night, via Egypt.

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Dahdouh, who left the besieged enclave for the first time since the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict started in October, lost his wife Amna, son Mahmoud, daughter Sham and grandson Adam in October after an Israeli air raid hit the home they were sheltering in at the Nuseirat refugee camp, after being displaced from their house in Gaza City.

Earlier this month, the 53-year-old veteran journalist’s eldest son, Hamza, also an Al Jazeera journalist, was killed by an Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

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