Thursday, May 02, 2024

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, May 2, 2024.  The attacks on students in the US continue and are cheered on by the likes of Donald Trump and MORNING JOE.

We have to start with the political crazy first since US politicians and their insanity are at the heart of so many problems around the world..  Robert Kennedy Junior is back in the news as he makes a fool of himself yet again.  The presidential election is in November. And Junior wants to play LET'S MAKE A DEAL: CELEBRITY EDITION with Joe Biden.   USA TODAY's Rachel Barber reports that Junior has a plan.  So, right away, we all know it's crackpot and insane.  Barber explains:

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. proposed to take a "no-spoiler" pledge with President Joe Biden at a campaign event in New York Wednesday, as he feuds with former President Donald Trump.

The pledge, as he laid out, would have Kennedy and Biden co-fund a 50-state poll of more than 30,000 people in mid-October that would pit each of them against Trump in a two-man race and agreeing to drop out of the presidential race if they lose.
After presenting results from a campaign-commissioned poll that showed scenarios where he could win against both Biden and Trump in separate head-to-head races, Kennedy alleged Biden is the "spoiler" in the race, not him.

There is so much that is wrong with that.  It's difficult to know where to start.  

Let's say Joe was as crazy as Junior and agreed to that, okay?

Legally, Joe could announce he was out if he came in second to Junior.

That would not drop to a two-person race -- Junior versus Donald.  The Democratic Party would find another nominee.  The same is true if Joe dropped dead tomorrow or next week decided he was finally sick of politics and dropped out.  Joe can leave at anytime he wants; however, the Democratic Party retains a spot on the ballot.  Remember that, they retain a spot on the ballot.  And, yes, the party would fill that spot.

This is not complex.  We're not getting into the weeds of Constitutional law with this.  It's basic.  And Junior's an attorney, remember that.  So we might be wasting our time on another cheap publicity stunt from an aged carny barker.  But let's just continue this for a bit more.  In the nutso world Junior lives in, if Joe were to accept this challenge and the Democratic Party were to waive any objections, the deal would still make no sense.

Junior's claiming voters will turn out for him.  He can claim that all he wants.  But there's no proof of that.  Even in the polling, he's not ahead of Joe Biden.  But more to the point, he's never been in an election.  Well the Libertarian Party's California primary.  I guess we can count that.  96 votes were cast and he was the big high profile name.  How many votes did he get?  

45?  That would have been a good showing.  But, no, he didn't get forty-five or forty or thirty-five or . . .

One.  Out of 96 votes cast, he got one vote.


People say a lot -- especially months ahead of an election.  Doesn't translate into actual votes all the time.  He has never faced an election before so this notion that Joe's his spoiler is laughable.

Equally true, ballot access.  Joe Biden cannot give Junior's his own ballot access.  That's not Joe's to give.  The Democratic Party appears on those ballots because they met all the requirements.  


The only thing tinier than his penis may be his ballot access.   According to his campaign, he has qualified for ballot access in the states of . . . New Hampshire, Michigan and California.   That would be great . . . if the United States only had 3 states.  Yesterday, there was an article about Junior's efforts to get on the ballot in Texas and how time was running out.  Time may not be his only problem.  For example?  I hope the people mentioned did not sign the petition because more than one is not registered to vote.  That's not registered in Montgomery County or Harris County,  I'll forward the names to a friend at the DNC.  Oh well, he doesn't need valid signatures from registered voters to be a write-in.  His name won't be on the ballot but he can be a write-in.  As long as he gets that paperwork filed and accepted by the end of August.

The joke that is Junior.

 Remember how at the start of April, Junior was insisting that Joe was a bigger threat to democracy than Donald?  Yet now, he's insisting he wants some sort of dance-off between himself and Joe?

Crazy men and crazy women -- as Stevie Nicks sings.  And you can't talk crazy for very long before the name Donald Trump pops up.  This will actually lead us into Gaza.  Jacob Miller (TRENDY DIGEST) reports:

Donald Trump has recently drawn a provocative comparison between Columbia University student protests and the violent January 6 Capitol riot, suggesting a disparity in the treatment of left-wing versus right-wing demonstrators. His remarks arrive while he navigates multiple felony charges and amid his pursuit to recapture the presidency, amplifying his long-standing narrative of political victimization.

Speaking outside a Manhattan courtroom, Trump emphasized the scale of the campus unrest, stating, “They took over a building. That is a big deal.” He then pondered whether the students would “be anything comparable to what happened to J6,” referring to the Capitol riot perpetrators as victims of an unfair justice system. This juxtaposition comes despite the Columbia protests—centered on pro-Palestinian sentiments and demanding a ceasefire and university divestment from Israel—not posing the same threat to democracy as the Capitol riot, which aimed to overturn the 2020 election results.

There is a world of difference between peaceful protests and the attempted insurrection on January 6, 2021.  

And for any drive-by whiners, I'm not in the mood.

I don't like Donald Trump.  I have never liked him.  (I don't think he likes me either -- yet if we were in the same room, I'd have to walk away from him because, based on previous experiences, he would attempt to talk to me and I don't talk to people like that.)  That was known online years and years before he ran for president.  Because I don't like him, I try to make very sure I'm fair to him.

What this has to do with insurrection?

I didn't rush to screaming the t-word (that carries the death penalty) or rush to judgement.  I did not label it an insurrection at the start.  I said it was a rebellion for sure but that further evidence would be required to call it an insurrection.  I think Congress did a horrible job in their impeachment.  They were too worried about selling and marketing and not at all bothered by the actual laws -- some of which they didn't even cite -- that Donald Trump broke.  It was not until the cases in various states resulted in prosecutors making arguments and presenting evidence that I was comfortable using the term insurrection.

That's what it was.  It was an attempted insurrection, an attempt to overthrow the government.  And I waited until I had something more than the word of Adam Schiff (who I'll apparently be voting for since mafia queen Nancy Pelosi gave him her stamp of approval) was presented as evidence.

The mob was supposed to attack the halls of Congress.  It did.  Shame on everyone of them and they should all face lengthy prison sentences and be thankful for those sentences because they could have been put to death.  

The attack was supposed to create a panic among the public.  

This might be confusing to some.  It's not hard to instill a panic in the American people.  FOX "NEWS" instills a panic in their viewers pretty much daily.  But if you can remember 2000, think back to the election that year.  There was more than enough time for a real recount.  But the media began the hysteria -- that's the corporate media and not just FOX "NEWS" -- some of that was due to the need for drama because without drama you don't have a newscast.  

But they were hoping for something similar. 

Which is another reason I didn't join in on all the "OMG!!!!  The country is falling apart!!!!" Or because I'm cold person, you can say that.  As I noted and stressed during that, the system held.  That's the message you need to put out repeatedly during times of crisis.  And you'll rarely ever hear propagandists who use fear to influence people make that statement.

But the hysteria was supposed to build -- ideally on that same day -- and this would force 'action.'  Which means this would force compromise and, I'm sorry, maybe you're new to this country but when they say "compromise" they really mean: Democrats fold.

The hysteria was supposed to result in Donald getting a second term as president.

Of course, it's a criminal offense.  No, there is no immunity from it and that will be true even if the crooks on the Supreme Court break the law again to give Donald what he wants.  There is no immunity for anyone -- let alone a sitting president -- attempting a coup against the nation.


There's not.

The students across America have not launched a coup against the United States.  And if some idiot's screaming "insurrectionist!" at them, I'm worried not only about the idiot's grasp of reality but also about their loyalty because Israel is not our government in the US.  Now maybe you've got some divided loyalties like Dana Bash on CNN (as evidenced by her participation in roundtables where she fails to disclose as required and where she repeats obvious lies).  Could be.  But students in the US protesting Israel are not attempting an insurrection.

Possibly all those years of bad hair dye have resulted in chemical damage to Donald Trump's brain.  Or are we all pretending that 77-year-old man has naturally strawberry blond hair at his age?  

They were peaceful protests and they were not attempting to destroy democracy.  They were an example of a living democracy.  Do not confuse nor conflate them with the attempt to overturn an election and carry out a coup against the United States.   

And as Kyle noted on yesterday's SECULAR TALK, the MORNING JOE squad was echoing Donald.

Oh, look, it's the raccoon eyed Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski Scarborough.  You know, who looks at you and asks, "What the hell is going on?" Mika?  The whole educated world knows your trash bag father started the Afghanistan War with the ha-ha of dragging Russia into it and we all know how that ended in the 21st century.  Your trash bag father who was a joke and an idiot and Jody Powell used to laugh about him -- as did pretty much anyone who ever encountered him.  Cigar bombs!!!! His freatk out over that was especially a source of mockery.

So between that and the fact that your face is packing on pounds, you might be a little hesitant in the future before stepping on camera to slam the students with one of your lies comparing them to the insurrectionists.

And we should all remember that when Donald Trump made fun of Mika and her plastic surgery, Joe and Mika turned on him.  However, prior to that point MORNING JOE was pretty much campaign central for Donald Trump and, more than any other talk show, is responsible for getting Donald into the White House.

So that moral ground that you think you're standing on, Mika, it doesn't exist.

But if you need to feel better, Jody told me all about the hookers your dad went through during the Carter administration and I will be happy to go through all of his kinks if that'll help you feel less trashy yourself -- knowing dad was a bigger whore than you are might make you sleep better.  We can even talk about the women who weren't hookers that he abused.  Would that help you?  Daughter of a political Harvey Weinstein?

Oh, Harvey.  E-mails on that so since I brought him up . . . 

He's guilty as sin.  He's getting a retrial in NY.  E-mails want me sounding off about that.  Are you new to this site?  No, I'm not going to argue that if misconduct took place we ignore it.  It's always been the position that better one guilty person go free than a prosecutorial misconduct be tolerated.  This is not a new opinion at this site, this an opinion instilled in me decades ago in Constitutional law courses.  

He's guilty as sin.  That doesn't justify a prosecutor overstepping.  If that happened a retrial takes place.  It's a core belief of the law.

Am I dancing in the streets over it?  No.  I'm also not tearing my hair out over it. And his California conviction remains.  Since we're mentioning him, a recent book tells you that Harvey exhausted the entertainment community.  Interesting.  I'm not promoting the book because I don't like liars.  The book wants act like this was known and discussed in the media in real time.  

No, it was not.  We did discuss it here.  We discussed it here repeatedly.  And had to in 2013 when certain 'leftists' were part of one of his attack campaigns.  Blood sport.  That's what I repeatedly said here.  He'd turned the Academy Awards into a blood sport.  He'd angered too many people.  I'm glad a new book can talk about some of that -- all these years later -- I just don't care for the pretense that this was being discussed in the press before his downfall when it wasn't and when 2013 saw a lot of 'lefties' take his money to clear the field for him in the Academy Awards.

Let's get back on track.  From DEMOCRACY NOW!'s headlines yesterday.

AMY GOODMAN:  New York police in riot gear raided the campuses of Columbia University and the City College of New York Tuesday night, arresting more than 200 student protesters in the latest crackdown on peaceful Palestine solidarity protests on U.S campuses. Over the past two weeks, police in the United States have arrested more than 1,200 protesters on college campuses as students set up encampments calling on schools to divest from Israel. The raid on Columbia came less than 24 hours after students occupied Hamilton Hall. It was 56 years to the day after police stormed the same hall during the historic 1968 protests at Columbia. On Tuesday night, police climbed into the barricaded building using a ladder attached to a police vehicle.

Protesters: “Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you! Let the students go! Let the students go! We hear you! We love you and support you! Free, free Palestine!”

During the raid on the Columbia campus, the New York police also broke up the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, which had inspired similar encampments across the country. Columbia President Minouche Shafik has asked the NYPD to “retain a presence on campus through at least May 17, 2024” — two days after graduation. On Tuesday, faculty at Barnard College, which is part of Columbia, overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence for President Laura Rosenbury.

In California, pro-Israel counterprotesters armed with sticks and metal rods attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus of UCLA shortly after UCLA’s chancellor ruled the encampment was unlawful. Pro-Israel counterprotesters launched fireworks at the encampment, which they tried to tear down.

In Richmond, Virginia, police deployed pepper spray on student protesters at Virginia Commonwealth University. At least 13 arrests were reported.

In Louisiana, a police SWAT team raided an encampment at Tulane University early this morning, arresting at least 14 students. The raid came hours after the school suspended five students and the school’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.

In Missouri, a history professor was hospitalized Saturday after police violently threw him to the pavement. Steve Tamari, who teaches at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, was filming a protest at Washington University on his phone when he was attacked. His wife, Sandra Tamari, who is Palestinian American, was arrested during the same protest.

Meanwhile, at Brown University, student protesters have voluntarily ended their encampment after school officials agreed to hold a vote on divesting from Israel.

On Tuesday, the United Nations criticized the police crackdown on student protests. This is Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Marta Hurtado: “We are troubled by a series of heavy-handed steps taken to disperse and dismantle protests across university campuses in the United States of America. Freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly are fundamental to society, particularly when there is a sharp disagreement on major issues, as there are in relation to the conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel.”

This is the violence that Mika is justifying, the violence she won't see, while she whines about peaceful protests being allowed in this country.  

Body camera footage published by the New York Police Department and exclusive footage obtained by CNN shows the use of stun grenades—colloquially known as “flashbangs”—against protesters and provides insight into scenes inside occupied Hamilton Hall during the Tuesday police sweep that resulted in 109 arrests.

The CNN footage depicts the NYPD officers’ use of roughly nine stun grenades—which flash blinding light and make a loud explosive noise to disorient individuals—on their way into the barricaded building preceded by one officer saying “let’s deploy a flash bang.” The footage also appears to show an officer shoving a protester to the ground upon entry.

CNN reported that it took officers six minutes and 40 seconds to breach the barricades during the sweep.

The NYPD footage shows officers strategizing in advance of the sweep, looking at images of campus and Hamilton Hall on a television screen. Officers broke a window and used an electric saw to enter the building. Once inside, police pried open doors to classrooms that appeared to have been locked, where demonstrators had set up sleeping bags and stockpiled supplies, while holding shields and drawing their guns.

Isha Banerjee (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) notes officials reaction and we'll include this section:

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who both visited the encampment on Friday, condemned the “guns being drawn on peaceful protesters at Columbia University.”

“And for what? Simply exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble as they protest the collective punishment and murder of civilians in Gaza,” Brown said in a speech on the House floor that was posted to X on Wednesday. “Are we in a police state or is this a democracy? We must stand with our young people.”

Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a post on X on Tuesday that if “any kid is hurt tonight” the responsibility will fall on the Mayor and university presidents.

“Other leaders and schools have found a safe, de-escalatory path. This is the opposite of leadership and endangers public safety. A nightmare in the making,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “I urge the Mayor to reverse course.”

And let's get an expert opinion in here because there is an expert, Juan Gonzalez.  An award winning journalist (two-time George Polk Award winner, among other accolades) and someone involved in the 1968 Columbia action as a student.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. And it’s Juan we’re going to turn to next.

The massive police raid on Columbia University last night came 56 years to the day after a similar raid by police quashing an occupation, or attempting to, of Hamilton Hall by students protesting racism and the Vietnam War. A week into the historic 1968 student strike, on April 30th, New York City police stormed the campus. Hundreds of students were injured, 700 arrested. The campus newspaper the Columbia Spectator’s headline read, in part, “Violent Solution Follows Failure at Negotiations.”

Juan, you were there. Juan González, you were a leader of the Columbia revolt. You were one of the founders of the New York chapter of Young Lords. Yesterday we played archival clips of you and the other students taking over Hamilton Hall. What were your thoughts as you watched what happened with the student takeover and then the police raid?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Amy, I think the similarities are really amazing in terms of the persistence of these students, the issues around which they were fighting, this opposition to a genocidal war occurring in Gaza.

And, you know, I was struck especially by the stands of these university presidents, not only at Columbia and Barnard, but also across the country. You know, the great Chris Hedges, I think, said it best, when he talked recently about the moral bankruptcy of these presidents of these universities who are condemning disruptions of the business as usual at the universities, while every single president of an American university has been silent about the massive destruction of universities in Gaza and of high schools and schools in Gaza by the Israeli army. They are silent about what is occurring in education in another country, another part of the world, financed by the United States.

So, I think that the importance to me in terms of the similarities are the students understand that at times you must disrupt business as usual to focus the attention of the public on a glaring injustice. And I think that’s exactly what they’ve been able to do. The entire country today knows what divestment means, what divestment means from the Israeli government and the Israeli military, whereas, before, this issue was on the margins of political debate. No commencement in America will occur in the next month where the war in Gaza is not a burning issue, either outside with the protesters or inside in the speeches and presentations. So I think that the students have managed to focus the entire attention of the country on an unjust war.

I don’t see how President Shafik survives. Many of these presidents across the country are going to be known not for whatever they accomplished previously, but they are going to be known throughout the rest of their lives as being the people who brought the police in to crush students who were maintaining a moral position of opposition to genocide.

So, I think the students are going to carry — those who were arrested are going to carry this badge of courage, as opposed to this profile of cowardice of the university presidents that dare to try to suspend or expel them. And the students’ lives have been changed forever — and, I think, for the best — in terms of the importance of dissent and opposition to injustice.

AMY GOODMAN: Juan, I wanted to go back to 1968, the student strike, students occupying five buildings, including the president’s office in Low Library, barricading themselves inside for days, students protesting Columbia’s ties to military research and plans to build a university gymnasium in a public park in Harlem. They called it Gym — G-Y-M — Crow. I want to go to a clip of you from the Pacifica Radio Archives, then a Columbia student, speaking right — it was before the raid, during the strike.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now we want to go into the dorms with all of you, with some of you who may not — who may not agree with a lot of what we’ve been saying here, who have questions, who support us, who want to know more. Let’s go to the dorms. Let’s talk quietly, in small groups. We’ll be there, and everyone in Livingston — in Livingston lobby, in Furnald lobby, in Carman lobby. We’ll be there, and we’ll talk about the issues involved, and we’ll talk about where this country is going and where this university is going and what it’s doing in the society and what we would like it to do and what we would — and how we would like to exchange with you our ideas over it. Come join us now.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that is Democracy Now! co-host Juan González when he was a student at Columbia University in 1968. It was before the police raid. Juan, tell us what happened after the police raid of Hamilton Hall, as they did last night of Hamilton Hall, 700 arrests. In fact, Juan, you only recently graduated from Columbia. This is the 56th anniversary. What was it, 50 years later, a dean at Columbia said, “Please, we need you as a graduate”?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: No, actually, it was 30 years later they gave me my degree, because I was a senior then. I was supposed to graduate that year. And, you know, amazingly, being suspended from college is not a big deal. You know, it only delays your career a little bit, and I think you gain more sometimes if you were suspended for the right reason. So I don’t think that that’s a big issue.

But I want to raise something else about these protests that I think people — I’ve seen little attention to. Back in the '60s, most of the student protests were led either by Black students who were in Black student organizations or white students. I was one of the few Latinos at Columbia at the time. And today, these student protests are multiracial and largely led by Palestinian and Muslim and Arab students. This is a marked change in the actual composition of the American university that we're seeing in terms of the leadership of these movements. And I think the willingness of these administrations to crack down so fiercely against this protest is, to some degree, they find it easier to crack down on Black and Brown and multiracial students than they did back then, when it was largely a white student population. And they always figured out a way to rescind the suspensions or get the students their degrees, because they saw them as part of them. Now, I think, they’re seeing these student protests as part of the other, and they are much more willing to crack down than they have been in the past. And I think it’s important to raise that and to understand what is going on in terms of the changing demographics of the American college student population.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan, thanks so much for being with us today and co-hosting. Juan González, student leader of the 1968 Columbia revolt, one of the leading journalists today in the United States.

Coming up, it’s May Day. We go to the University of Southern California, what is the labor union and worker movement, how it links to Gaza solidarity. Back in 20 seconds.

It began with ear-piercing screams of wailing babies loudly emitting from speakers.

Counter-protesters tearing down the barricades. Laser pointers flashing into the encampment. People in masks waving strobe lights. 

Tear gas. Pepper spray. Violent beatings.

Fireworks sparked at the border of the encampment, raining down on tents and the individuals inside.

At around 5 p.m. yesterday, Chancellor Gene Block sent an email to the UCLA student body claiming that security presence in the area had been increased. That was not visible in the midst of escalating violence. And even with the security present, there was no mediation far into the night.

UC President Michael Drake expressed support for Block’s decision to declare the encampment “unlawful” Tuesday evening, adding that action was needed when the safety of students was being threatened. And yet, in spite of official statements from the university and the UC, we witness little being done on the university’s part to ensure the protection of students who exercise their rights.


The grassy expanse of the University of Queensland’s Great Court has long been the center of student life at the Australian state’s biggest university.

Now it’s a gathering point for rival camps pitched around 100 meters (328 feet) from each other – one populated by supporters of the Students for Palestine UQ, and another smaller cluster of tents with the Israeli flag among others strung between trees.

These camps are among protest sites at seven universities around Australia – from Melbourne and Sydney in the country’s southeast, to Adelaide in its center, and Perth along the western coast.     

Mary Osako, vice chancellor of UCLA Strategic Communications, released a statement at 12:40 a.m. acknowledging the violence, adding that the fire department and medical personnel were involved.

“We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end,” Osako said.

This came after a source in the encampment told the Daily Bruin that at least five protestors have been injured.

But for hours, UCLA administration stood by and watched as the violence escalated. LAPD did not arrive on the scene until slightly after 1 a.m. – once Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass sent them in for assistance at Block’s request.

Daily Bruin reporters on the scene were slapped and indirectly sprayed with irritants. Despite also being students, they were offered no protection.

The world is watching. As helicopters fly over Royce Hall, we have a question.

Will someone have to die on our campus tonight for you to intervene, Gene Block? 

The blood would be on your hands.

Exactly.  And these students are standing up for the people of Gaza, civilians being injured and killed.  Over 14,000 children so far being killed.  And the US government does nothing and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is working on the same 'cease-fire' he worked on throughout April with no results.  The Israeli government is chomping at the bit to attack Rafah fully -- they're already attacking Rafah and have been but the White House and the media pretend it's not happening yet.  ALJAZEERA reports this morning:

  • After several hours of standoff, police have moved in on the UCLA campus to clear a pro-Palestine encampment.
  • Officers in riot gear have used flashbangs, removed barricades and arrested a number of protesters.
  • Protesters have chanted slogans such as “This is a peaceful protest” and “Shame on you” as police advanced.
  • A few dozen protesters remain currently at the campus, out of an initial 400, a witness has told Al Jazeera.

Follow our live coverage of the protests here.

So they go after the people who call for  peace while excusing and ignoring the ones who terrorize civilians and pursue the illegal collective punishment?

Today marks a week since pro-Palestine protesters first began a sit-in in McCosh courtyard, citing an array of demands, including that the University divest its endowment from companies with ties to Israel. Fifteen students — two on April 25, when tents were briefly set up in McCosh courtyard, and 13 on Monday during a short occupation of Clio Hall — have been arrested and barred from campus. The University has since condemned the Clio Hall occupation and publicly reiterated its position on time, place, and manner restrictions on student speech, but has not commented on the demands since the sit-in’s beginning.

Since Monday, conflicting accounts have emerged of interactions between protesters and staff in Clio. Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun called the treatment of staff “abusive” in a campus message on Tuesday, while Prof. Ruha Benjamin, who was present in the building as a faculty observer, said that students were calm and polite. Students also continued to react to these events, with over a number of cultural and affinity groups signing on to a letter speaking out against the University’s response to the sit-in.

On Wednesday, protesters on Cannon Green were briefly joined by a May Day march led by Resistencia en Acción NJ, a local migrant justice organization. The night ended with a film screening.
While encampments at Columbia, Yale, and Brown have been cleared, protests at other campuses have continued to escalate. Police in riot gear arrested 90 people at Dartmouth on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, including two student reporters from The Dartmouth. The situation at the University of California-Los Angeles continues to develop after police breached a pro-Palestine encampment early Thursday morning.

Tomorrow is World Press Freedom Day.  Ahead of that observation, the International Federation of Journalists has released the following:

Ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) spotlights Gaza, Palestine, and condemns the killing of more than one hundred journalists and media workers since the war started. This has been a prolonged onslaught on press freedom and the world’s ‘right to know’, as have the arbitrary arrests and intimidation. The Federation calls on governments across the world, and particularly the Israeli government, to protect the lives of journalists and press freedom in accordance with international obligations.  

The journalists’ death toll in Gaza is without precedent. At least 109 journalists and media workers have been killed in the Gaza war since 7 October: 102 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese, according to IFJ data. It is one of the deadliest conflicts ever for the media and yet, there is another critical casualty: press freedom. 

Since the Israeli government blocked civilian access to the Gaza Strip on 7 October, following the attack by Hamas, only Palestinian journalists based in the enclave and, to a very limited extent, international media crews embedded with the Israeli military under controlled conditions, have been able to report on the ground. The IFJ has several times called on Israel to let foreign press enter Gaza, and stop hindering journalists' work and the public’s right to freedom of expression. 

“It is a matter of global public interest that not only local but also international journalists bear witness and document the ongoing war in Gaza. Prolonging the ban on entering the enclave is denying the world a true picture of events in Gaza and it deliberately infringes freedom of the press. This is why on World Press Freedom Day, we call upon Israel to stop targeting journalists and infringing press freedom – actions that are unfitting of a democracy," said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. 

Despite suffering terrible losses or being injured themselves, local journalists have become the world’s eyes and ears and the sole source of information from Gaza to the world. 

The IFJ and its affiliate the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) have worked closely to raise solidarity funds to provide emergency support to Gaza’s journalists through the IFJ Safety Fund with the outstanding solidarity of journalists’ unions. 

Next joint efforts will be focusing on rebuilding the media landscape in Gaza. Thanks to the support of the IFJ’s Canadian affiliate Unifor and the Norwegian Union of Journalists, solidarity newsrooms will be established in the enclave

The PJS, which has a branch in Gaza, will clear safety concerns with the Israeli military to ensure that everyone allowed in the IFJ-PJS solidarity newsrooms is a professional journalist to avoid targeting by the IDF. 

As the war drags on, more funds are needed for rebuilding Gaza’s media landscape and supporting the work of Palestinian journalists, such as the IFJ-PJS newsrooms project. All donations count and can be made here

On World Press Freedom Day, the IFJ restates its calls for the urgent adoption of a binding international instrumentthat will strengthen press freedom by forcing governments to investigate and respond to attacks against the media. 

IFJ president Dominique Pradalié said: “Since the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration in 1991, little has been done to better safeguard journalists in international law or conventions. The freedom and security that journalists require to do their jobs is absent in many parts of the world. Today, Israel appears determined to silence Gaza’s journalists, including targeting them. Crimes against journalists must not go unpunished. We urge governments across the world to publicly acknowledge their support for a binding international instrument that protects journalists. By adopting such a Convention against impunity, the United Nations General Assembly will assert unequivocally that massacres against journalists, such as the one ongoing in Gaza, will not be repeated”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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Gaza remains under assault. Day 209 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL notes, "At least 34,596 Palestinians have been killed and 77,816 injured since Israel's war on Gaza began on October 7, health authorities in the enclave said. In the past 24 hours, 28 people were killed and 51 injured, the ministry added."    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."

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "From The River To The Sea No Student Shall Be Free" and "This is CNN?" went up yesterday.  The following sites updated: