Friday, May 10, 2024

Iraq snapshot

Friday, May 10, 2024.  War Criminal Netanyahu insists he'll go it alone on War Crimes if he has to, Robert Kennedy Junior loses it on MSNBC, protests continue and multiply, and much more.

What a loon Junior is.  And he looks more troll like each week.  In fact, Dan Hedaya.  Maybe he and Cheryl can star in a reboot of THE TORTELLIS?

The clip's illuminating because it goes to how undeveloped his worm-infested brain actually is and how little time he put into the thought of being a president as opposed to running for the office.

But mainly, if you pay attention, he sounds like one of those loons who has a meltdown over the Israeli government.   Junior and those loons are like the infamous video below.

To criticize Donald is too much for Little Junior.  He gets mad and pouty.  He appears to think -- as much as he can think -- that what he's done is treated them both equally.  But he kicked off last month with the statement that Joe was a bigger threat to democracy than Donald.  

There is no logical basis for that claim.  

Donald encouraged violence and refused to accept the election results.  As we now know from evidence in various court cases, the whole January 6th insurrection was planned and was intended to sew fear and chaos so that he could steal a second term after losing it.

Junior's never respected election results.  We should allow for that.  In January 2005, Bully Boy Bush got sworn in, not John Kerry.  And Junior and his buddy Pap-Smear (he hated that name) were all upset about the outcome.  As were many of us.  But many of us weren't talking plots to overturn and all this other garbage. 

Junior and Mike Papantonio were all over how they were going to take care of this -- big strong man Pap-Smear.  Remember when Lizz Winstead and Rachel Maddow jokingly called Mike "Pap Smear" on air during AIR AMERICA's UNFILTERED as Mike was thundering on about getting a plane and going to DC and blah blah blah.

Pap Smear and Junior don't have a lot respect for voters and never have.

There are elections and there are results.

And for democracy to work, we have to accept those results.

Someone who refuses to step down should not be allowed to ever run again for a public office. 

If we're not going to follow the rules, then there's a problem.

And I include Hillary Clinton in that too.  She lost.

She wouldn't go away. 

She didn't help the country move along.  She one crazy theory after another of this defeated her and that defeated her.  The press should have called her out and told to sit her tired ass down.  But they didn't like Donald so they encouraged her bitter sour grapes.

The country shouldn't have had to suffer through that nonsense either.  Both of them degraded the 2016 election.

But as much as her whining irritated, she is not worse than Donald or equal to Donald because she didn't try to overthrow election results.  She made clear over and over that she would whine about them, but she didn't try to overthrow them.

Forget everything else that Donald has said this year that can be seen as threatening, the reality is, he tried to halt the peaceful transition of power that a democracy depends upon.  For that reason alone, he shouldn't be allowed to run.  And that's before we get into the reality that the insurrection was an attempted coup -- it failed, thankfully -- and the legal penalty for that can include execution.  

He's not fit and clearly Junior isn't either if he's going to look at Donald Trump and not grasp that.

And to him, to Junior, any criticism of Donald is just too much and he screams "Leave Britney alone!"

Just like the loons who scream "antisemitism!" anytime reality about the Israeli government is discussed, exposed, what have you.

Let's note this from Jeffrey St. Clair's "Medicide in Gaza: the Killing of Dr. Adnan al-Bursh" (COUNTERPUNCH):

More than two weeks after Israel announced his death, it still has not released the body of one of Gaza’s most celebrated doctors, Adnan al-Bursh. Israel hasn’t said how this 50-year-old man in good health died, even though he died in one of its darkest places, Oter Prison, a place where very bad things are done at the hands of Israeli prison guards and Shin Bet interrogators. It hasn’t explained why al-Bursh was detained in December, then stripped, bound and carried away from the hospital where he was treating the sick and wounded. And it hasn’t offered any reason for why he was held for four months without any contact with his family or a lawyer. 

Adnan al-Bursh was one of Gaza’s leading surgeons. More than that he was one of the Strip’s leading humanitarians, who had repeatedly sacrificed his own safety to provide life-saving medical treatment to people under bombardment. As the head of the head of orthopedics at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, al-Bursh helped pioneer the limb reconstruction unit, which opened after the 2014 Israeli military attacks on Gaza. But in December he’d gone at great personal risk to treat patients at Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

By the time al-Bursh arrived at Al-Awda in early December, the hospital had already come under repeated attacks by the IDF. Less than a week after the Hamas attacks of October 7, the Israelis ordered the evacuation of all hospitals in northern Gaza, including Al-Awda, which has the largest maternity ward in the district. The World Health Organization warned any raid on Al-Awda would be a death sentence for the hospital’s sick and wounded. 

On November 10, an Israeli airstrike hit an ambulance on route to the hospital. Ten days later, two doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières were killed in an Israeli airstrike at the Al-Adwa. On December 1, the hospital was again hit and damaged by Israeli bombs.

By December 12, the hospital was effectively under siege, surrounded by Israeli troops and tanks and under nearly constant gunfire from snipers. At least one pregnant woman had been shot at and one nurse had been shot through a hospital window and killed by an Israel sniper, while she tended patients on the fourth floor of the building. Supplies of fresh water had been cut off and people inside the hospital, including patients, were being nourished by only one meal of bread or rice each day. 

It was into this slaughter zone that Adnan al-Bursh rushed to help the flood of wounded civilians being admitted to the understaffed hospital. Al-Bursh, one of Gaza’s most acclaimed surgeons, had received his medical training in Romania and later in England. In a sense, al-Bursh was coming home. He’d been born and raised in the Jalabia refugee camp on the northern end of the Gaza Strip and got his early education there.

Al-Bursh fully understood the kind of dire situation he was entering. In November, Al-Shifa Hospital came under Israeli attack and he was stranded inside along with his nephew, Abdallah al Bursh, for 10 days. When Israeli troops entered the hospital, they told Al-Bursh to move to the South. He refused and stayed to treat his patients until being forced out. 

“After the Israeli forces besieged us at Al Shifa Hospital for 10 days and asked us to move to the south [of the Gaza Strip], they refused to allow food and drink to enter the hospital,” said Abdallah. “They forced us to relocate to the south, but Dr Adnan refused to comply and decided to take the risk by moving to the north to continue serving people at the Indonesian Hospital.”

Three Israeli whistleblowers have spoken to CNN about abusive practices inside a remote prison camp towards dozens of Palestinian inmates.

The unnamed officials said Palestinian prisoners are subjected to regular “horror” at the Sde Teiman camp in Israel’s Negev desert, including arbitrary beatings, extreme physical restraint, forced stress positions, and medical neglect.

Some prisoners are handcuffed so tightly and persistently that their injured limbs have to be amputated. Others within the facility’s field hospital are left strapped to their beds, forced to wear diapers and eat through straws, according to the whistleblowers.

The assaults on the prisoners, one whistleblower told CNN, are not to gather intelligence but for “revenge”.

“It was punishment for what they [the Palestinians] did on October 7 and punishment for behaviour in the camp,” said the whistleblower.

Completely tracks.  Torture in Israeli prisons is no shocker.  And that country the biggest producers of torture porn -- something we've called out at THIRD repeatedly.  You can't deal with a 'gritty' drama based on an Israeli program that doesn't traffic in torture.  

What happened to Dr. Adnan al-Bursh?

No answers.  Only lies.  And if pressed on a how-did-this-happen, the Israeli government will quickly create new lies.  Like when the international court was hearing about possible genocide in Gaza and the Israeli government put forward the lie that the UN was working with terrorists.  The lie resulted in the US and other government pulling their support for UNRWA -- the UN aid agency for Palestine.  And all these months later?  The Israeli government has moved on to other lies.  They learned early on by lying that they weren't attacking hospitals -- when they were -- that their lie would go out over the airwaves unchecked and become a talking point lacking any reality or evidence to back it up.  

One lie after another but these lies don't conceal the murder of children (over 14,000) or the murders of aid workers, the murders of journalists, the murders of medical workers, the murders . . .

It's been seven months now and the Israeli government just keeps killing civilians and when this pointed out, a group of loons start insisting that this is like Nazi Germany!!!!!  This is what led to concentration camps!!!!

The truth didn't lead to concentration camps.  Lies did that. Lies and whipped up fear which is exactly what's being served up today to justify the continued killings.

President Biden’s striking admission this week that American weapons are killing civilians in the Gaza Strip appeared to mark a turning point in U.S. policy toward Israel — coming days after the Israeli military made its first move on Rafah and before a highly anticipated government report on Israel’s adherence to the laws of war.

While the Biden administration has repeatedly expressed alarm over civilian casualties in Gaza, some former officials say it has drawn out the implementation of laws and policies intended to prevent American weaponry from being used in violation of international humanitarian law.

The breaking point for Biden came Monday, when Israel’s military ordered the immediate evacuation of 100,000 civilians from the southern city of Rafah and seized the border crossing with Egypt, warning it would use “extreme force” against militants in the heavily populated area

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah … I’m not supplying the weapons,” Biden told CNN on Wednesday.


And the response?  THE WASHINGTON POST notes:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to “stand alone” against its enemies, after President Biden warned that he would halt the flow of certain weapons should Israel invade the city of Rafah. Cease-fire talks aimed at pausing the fighting and freeing hostages still held by Hamas have stalled, as the latest round of negotiations in Cairo ended without a breakthrough.

The killing continues.  Among those killed this week, ALJAZEERA notes, "Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says a World Health Organization (WHO) staff member, his wife and one child were wounded in an air raid that destroyed his home in Rafah on Wednesday.  The staff member’s seven-year-old niece was killed, the WHO head wrote on X."  CNN's Kareem Khadder notes:

Israeli airstrikes targeting a residential building in the Jabalya camp in northern Gaza killed four people overnight, according to Gaza's Civil Defense.

The Israeli strike hit the "Ghuneim" family home, killing Mahmoud Ghuneim and his three children, according to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

Footage of the aftermath shows civil defense teams rushing to remove people from under the rubble and transporting a number of wounded people from the scene.

Nagham Mohanna (THE NATIONAL) notes diplomacy has collapsed again as the violence continues:

Israel intensified its assault on Gaza as truce talks in Cairo failed to secure a deal.

Heavy shelling continued across the besieged enclave while the southern Gaza city of Rafah was hit with artillery strikes. Several deaths were reported, including children.

Witnesses also reported air strikes and fighting in Jabalia, in northern Gaza.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have held talks and agreed on "the importance of urging the parties to show flexibility and make all the necessary efforts to achieve a ceasefire agreement and put an end to the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza", Egypt's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Hamas said its delegation has departed ceasefire talks in Cairo and travelled to Doha, saying Israel "rejected the proposal submitted by the mediators and raised objections to it".

Let's drop back to yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians are fleeing Rafah as Israeli airstrikes and shelling hammer the eastern part of the city. Fuel, food, medicine and other supplies have been cut off following Israel’s seizure and closure of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. The main hospital in the area has also been shut down. The World Food Programme cannot reach its food warehouse near the Rafah crossing, and aid groups are warning they have only a few days of fuel remaining before humanitarian operations and all hospitals in Gaza begin to shut down.

Since Monday, the U.N. estimates some 80,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah, where over 1.4 million people have sought refuge. Families uprooted multiple times over the past seven months have nowhere to go. Tent camps in some parts of Rafah have now vanished, springing up again further north along main roads in Deir al-Balah and Khan Younis. Over the past 24 hours, more than 60 Palestinians were killed across Gaza, many of them in Rafah. The death toll in Gaza over the past seven months is nearly 35,000, with more than 78,500 wounded.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to Rafah, where we’re joined by Dorotea Gucciardo. She’s the director of development of Glia Project, currently on a medical mission in Gaza, joining us via video stream instead of at a live shot outside the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah, because there’s bombing and gunfire in the area, making it dangerous to move.

We thank you so much, Dorotea, for joining us. Can you explain what’s happening in Rafah right now? I think there is the misconception that unless a full-scale ground invasion happens, there’s very little going on. But over the last, what, 24 hours, about 60 people in Gaza have died, overwhelmingly in Rafah.

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: Hi, Amy. Thank you for having me. I’m sorry, you cut out just a little bit there. The internet here is not so good.

The situation on the ground is dire. Everyone here is quite afraid. To say that there’s not an incursion in Rafah right now is patently false. Throughout this entire day, I have heard bombs, explosions, I have heard heavy machine gun fire, and it seems to be creeping closer and closer to where we are in central Rafah.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Dorotea, if you could describe what the situation is in hospitals? You were earlier this week in the last maternity hospital in Gaza, Emirati Hospital. What did you see? If you could describe the situation, the health situation for people in Rafah?

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: Yeah, the situation in the hospitals is tense. People are really anxious. Patients are worried about where they’re going to be able to access healthcare, because as the incursion becomes closer and the threat of the Israeli army approaching the hospitals becomes more real, patients are afraid to go to the hospitals. Doctors themselves are —

AMY GOODMAN: Dorretea Gucciardo has —


AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead. Go ahead, Dorotea.


AMY GOODMAN: Occasionally you freeze, but just keep going.


AMY GOODMAN: I mean, this is incredible that we’re able to speak to you there.

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: Thank you. The healthcare providers are afraid to come into work. They are moving their families from east Rafah to west Rafah, to the coast. So, access to healthcare providers is lessening as the threat of invasion looms. Twenty years of blockade in the Gaza Strip means that the healthcare sector was already low-resourced. This is exacerbated by this depraved war that Palestinians have been living through for the past seven months.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And what are the medical supplies that people are working with? I mean, we’ve just heard that there’s very little fuel remaining and there isn’t much time before all hospitals in Gaza, of course, including in Rafah, begin to shut down. And I assume the situation in Rafah is worse. If you could explain what you know of what’s happening in hospitals elsewhere and what the threats to hospitals in Rafah in particular are now? For how long can they continue to operate even minimally?

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: Even minimally, if no fuel comes in, we’re looking at a maximum of three days, three days of fuel to supply these hospitals to maintain any level of healthcare. The situation is beyond dire. There were plans — there are ongoing plans to try to bring Nasser Hospital back into working condition. You’ll recall that Nasser was besieged by the Israelis a few times. This is where the mass graves were uncovered. It is not ready yet. So, if we take a look at the NICU in particular, it has five incubators, and it has no staff. There’s no capacity to bring any children that are in the hospital, in Emirati in Rafah, to Nasser for any kind of care. It’s just not functional yet. So, it’s devastating.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re talking about fuel. There’s also, of course, medical equipment, food that’s not getting in. And what about workers, healthcare workers — we’ve interviewed so many doctors who’ve gone into Gaza to help — if the border area is closed, with the Israeli military moving in and seizing control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border?

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: So, we have been entering through the Rafah border since early January, all of the medical teams that were coming in to work in the hospitals. Those delegations brought with them medical supplies, medicine, equipment, anything that they would need to perform their duties, anything that we could do to plug the holes in the sinking ship. It was the most reliable way to get anything inside of Gaza, and that has been completely cut off. No humanitarian workers can come in. No additional aid is coming in. And, in fact, no humanitarian workers can go out. And that’s also problematic, because people are burning out, and we need to be able to replenish our support.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Dorotea, as we mentioned earlier, you were to join us outside the Kuwaiti Hospital, where we had an AP live shot set up, but you weren’t able to get there because of bombing and gunfire. What’s the situation outside other hospitals? And is Kuwaiti Hospital functioning at all? And if so, at what level? How are people able to — medical personnel able to get in and out, if that’s the situation, if it’s so risky and dangerous in that area?

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: So, you did cut out just a little bit, but I’m assuming you’re asking how we’re moving when the situation is so volatile. We are moving on an emergent need basis. So, the hospitals absolutely require assistance in terms of staffing. We’ve made the decision to continue staffing these hospitals that we are — that we have been working with, because our presence there gives them some measure of encouragement and some measure of hope. And so we’re continuing to supply whatever services we can, while we can, while at the same time monitoring the situation. So, we’re literally taking it hour by hour.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And is it at all possible now, Dorotea, for wounded patients to go anywhere, wounded patients in Rafah to go anywhere for better, I suppose, medical treatment?

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: Their only options are to go up toward Khan Younis, where Nasser Hospital, European Hospital and Al-Aqsa Hospital are located. These are understaffed, overwhelmed. Nasser is nonfunctional.

And let’s not forget the patients that are requiring lifesaving surgeries that would require them to be evacuated out of Gaza. They cannot leave. Two days ago, I watched a baby die that had swelling around its brain. It required a particular kind of surgery that simply could not be done here in Gaza. And the request couldn’t be fulfilled because the Israelis have taken the Rafah crossing.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about the stream of humanity, Palestinians who are being told they have to leave areas of Rafah right now? Where are they going? Do you see people on the move for, what, the first, the second, the third, the fourth time, as they already came to Rafah and are already displaced?

DOROTEA GUCCIARDO: Sorry, you cut out just a little bit there. Yes, we’re seeing a mass displacement of people. This is a population that has been, on average, displaced at least three times. And to my knowledge, that’s the first time this has ever happened anywhere in the world. The people in east Rafah are trying to move, but do consider that many of them can’t — they can’t afford it. With fuel being so expensive, it’s difficult for them to afford a vehicle to even bring their belongings. So, you’re seeing some in donkey carts. You’re seeing people moving with things in hand, because they just have no other way of shifting from where they are into a supposed safe zone, because, let’s make it very clear, there is no safe zone in Gaza. Every single area of Gaza is subject to attack.

AMY GOODMAN: Dorotea Gucciardo, we thank you so much for being with us. We are just very relieved we could speak to you and that you’re OK, director of development of Glia Project, currently on a medical mission in Gaza, speaking to us from Rafah.

Coming up, we’ll be joined by, well, the now Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nathan Thrall. His book, A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy. He’s usually in Jerusalem. Today he’ll join us from Berlin, Germany. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “Fortunately Gone” by The Breeders, engineered by Steve Albini. The seminal musician and recording engineer died Tuesday at the age of 61 of a heart attack.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 217 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 34,904, with 78,514 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."

Campus protests continue around the world.  THE NATIONAL reports:

Protesters demanding Harvard University disclose and divest from companies linked to Israel said they would “stay in our tents” and continue an encampment in Harvard Yard. 

The Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine group published a post on Instagram on Friday saying that interim Harvard president Alan Garber rejected a proposal that aimed to move the university forward "on transparency and ethical investment” in exchange for taking down the encampment. 

Mr Garber this week warned students involved in the protest that they could face suspension if they did not leave their tents.

 [. . .]

Spanish universities expressed willingness on Thursday to suspend ties with any Israeli educational institution that failed to express "a clear commitment to peace" as the war rages in Gaza.

The university chancellors' governing board denounced the violence in a statement and threw its support behind the protests that have recently appeared on Spanish campuses.

They demanded an immediate end to Israel's actions in Gaza.

The governors pledged "to review ties and, if necessary, suspend collaboration with Israeli universities and research centres that haven't expressed a firm commitment to peace and respect for international humanitarian law".

But the statement did not go far enough to appease students at several protest camps across Spain, which have so far been peaceful.

"What we really want is for the government and the university rectors to meet our demands and cut ties with Israel," Sebastian Gonzalez, 28, a law and political science student told AFP at Madrid's Complutense University.

The following sites updated: