Saturday, December 02, 2023

Diana Ross

Please read Ann's "Bald headed Karen Julianna Margulies is also a racist" and Mike's "Idiot of the week."  They cover Julianna Margulies' racist and homophobic and Islamophobic words.  I would just add, "Margulies, don't ever again accuse Black people of being colonizers of America when the bulk of us are here today because we were brought here in chains."  She really needs to go away.  I've read the 'apology' she issued and it's not an apology.  I-m-sorry-if-you-were-offended is not an apology.

Let's leave her hate with her and note some Diana Ross videos instead.

Here's Diana and the Supremes performing the Beatles' "Yesterday" live in Amserdam (1968).

Here's Diana's video for "I Still Believe" from her Grammy nominated album THANK YOU.

Here she is with her video for "Dirty Looks" from her 1987 album RED HOT RHYTHM AND BLUES.

The video for her 1982 hit "Muscles" (written by Michael Jackson).

I remember my brother and I watching the next one on NBC's FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS, "Workin' Overtime" from her 1989 album of the same name (when she returned to Motown).

Here she is from 1969, on a Dinah Shore TV special, performing two songs from HAIR.

And here she is in concert performing "No One Gets The Prize" from her 1979 album THE BOSS (songs on the album -- including "No One Gets The Prize" -- were all written by Ashford & Simpson).

Let's get a ballad to close this out with.  Diana performing her "If We Hold On" that she sang on the soundtrack to THE LAND BEFORE TIME.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, December 1, 2023.  The pause has ended, the resumption of War Crimes has begun.

The pause is apparently over.  THE WALL STREET JOURNAL notes, " Israel said it had restarted airstrikes in Gaza. Footage broadcast by Al Jazeera showed plumes of smoke in the enclave and carried the sound of gunfire."  CNN adds, "An earlier statement from the ministry said that strikes had landed in southern Gaza, in the areas of Khan Younis and Rafah. The ministry also noted earlier that Israeli military vehicles were firing in northwest Gaza minutes after the truce expired."  ALJAZEERA reports:

Yousri Alghoul, who lives in northern Gaza, said he heard “shelling and shooting” at the Shati refugee camp (also known as Beach camp) while he was fleeing with his 17-year-old son to the Jabalia refugee camp at 7am today.

“Unfortunately, we found dead bodies in the streets and roads. You cannot imagine how miserable the situation is when we just escape to another place searching for a secure place,” Alghoul told Al Jazeera.

“That is what’s happening right now, and just 15 minutes ago, we also heard a new explosion, which is next to us in Jabalia. It seems that Israeli occupation forces got legitimacy from the United States last night,” he added.

BBC and BLOOMBERGE NEWS video reports below.

As the horror continues and the world watches, Joshua Frank (COUNTERPUNCH) details some changes that need to be seen:

It’s time we flipped the script.

How about before one mentions Hamas, they must first oppose Israeli terror and the murder of children?

They must call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the occupation?

They must first voice disgust for Israel’s ongoing war crimes?

Only after this can we address how Hamas rose to power, how Israel propped them up, and the dehumanizing conditions that led to those horrific, indiscriminate murders on October 7th.

The analysis of Israel and Palestine must change.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed his deep regret at the resumption of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“I deeply regret that military operations have started again in Gaza. I still hope that it will be possible to renew the pause that was established. The return to hostilities only shows how important it is to have a true humanitarian ceasefire,” Guterres said in a post on X on Friday.

Separately, James Elder, a spokesperson for UNICEF, the UN's Children's Fund, decried what he called a "war on children" in a video message recorded inside one of Gaza's last functioning hospitals.

“We cannot see more children with the wounds of war. With the burns, with the shrapnel littering their body, with the broken bones. Inaction by those with influence is allowing the killing of children. This is a war on children,” he said.

Elder also said that bombing in the area could be heard from inside the hospital and that one strike had landed approximately 50 meters away.

When Israeli forces begin shooting and dropping bombs, what happens?  People get injured and killed.  Ibrahim Dahman (CNN) notes at least 32 people are dead from the bombings with  even more left injured.  Updating minutes ago, ALJAZEERA explained the death toll has already risen to a hundred.    Faris Tanyos and  Haley Ott (CBS NEWS) note:

After a strike in the southern Gaza city of RafaFaris Tanyos, Haley Ott h on Friday, CBS News' Marwan al-Ghoul found a boy at the scene in tears.  

"We were there collecting water to wash our clothes. The bombing started and the rocks came flying at us," the teen, Omar Hahrous, told CBS News. "I looked around me and I could not find anybody. Some were injured... some were martyred."

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, says medics are dealing with “large numbers” of wounded people seeking treatment in overcrowded hospitals following the resumption of Israeli air strikes.

“The wounded are lying on the floor in emergency departments and in front of operating rooms as a result of the accumulation of cases,” al-Qudra added.

THE WASHINGTON POST notes, "Several airstrikes were reported across Gaza on Friday morning; a Post photographer witnessed a strike 200 meters from a hospital in Khan Younis in the south."  For those who don't use the metric system, that's about six-hundred-and-fifty-six feet. They're targeting hospitals again.  Having destroyed so many hospitals in the north, the Israeli government is violating international law yet again to destroy the medical facilities in southern Gaza.  Yesterday, DEMOCRACY NOW! spoke with Avril Benoît, executive director of Doctors Without Borders.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Israel has agreed to extend its truce with Hamas for a seventh day to facilitate the exchange of captives. The extension was announced just minutes before it was set to expire on Thursday morning, prolonging a reprieve for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents after 47 days of relentless attacks by Israel spawned a massive humanitarian crisis. On Wednesday, Hamas released 16 hostages. In exchange, Israel released another 30 Palestinian women and child prisoners.

Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, two Palestinian children were shot dead by Israeli forces during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday. Fifteen-year-old Basil Suleiman Abu al-Wafa died in a hospital after he was shot in the chest. And 8-year-old Adam al-Ghoul was shot in the head as he ran from Israeli forces, in a killing captured on video. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Israeli soldiers blocked medics from reaching the camp to treat the wounded.

In Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza, Doctors Without Borders surgeon Dr. Hafez Abukhussa described how his hospital is overwhelmed.

DR. HAFEZ ABUKHUSSA: The patients that we see, the majority of patients, they are female and children. But what hurts me a lot, when I see a child, an innocent child, injured, and he need a major surgery. He lost his limb. And he’s the last child. He’s the only remnant of his family. And when he woke up from anesthesia, he asked to see his family. So, this is really a heartbreaking situation.

The difficulties that we face here is the lack of supplies, the lack of instruments. In the hospital on normal days here, there’s 300 patients. Now it’s more than 1,000 patients. The patients, they are homeless, because many of them are refugees within Gaza, and the other people, they have — their houses were destroyed. They don’t have the access to potable water, or there’s a lack of food, a lack of [electricity]. And some of them just get out from their houses with the clothes that they are wearing. We know that we are in danger, in danger anytime, but we will keep doing the same.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Avril Benoît, executive director of Doctors Without Borders.

Welcome back to Democracy Now! If you can talk about what is happening right now in Gaza? I mean, as we are broadcasting, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken is meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, and he just met with Netanyahu. There is a ceasefire, not clear it was going to be extended even one more day. Minutes before the end of that ceasefire, it was announced it would continue. What have you learned about the devastation?

AVRIL BENOÎT: Well, thanks for having me.

From the medical humanitarian perspective of what we have seen from the beginning, after the appalling attack on October 7th, has been a collective punishment of the people in Gaza. And that’s why you’ve seen such a disproportionate number of civilians killed. The devastation on the hospitals is near complete. There are a few hospitals in the north that are really not much more than shelters right now, with still medical personnel trying to stay with patients, but they have no more equipment, they have no electricity, they have no water. They’re holed up.

And it’s a very high-risk evacuation route. We know from our own experience of our team that was stuck there with their families, after having made the decision for the medical doctors to stay with some of the patients in the hospitals, that they came — they were subjected to crossfire. A couple of the members of the evacuation group, the family members were killed in that. Our vehicles were destroyed, the ones that we were intending to use to be able to evacuate these staff and families after they retreated from what seemed to be imminent risk of death, that proved to be fatal in the end.

And so, what we’re seeing is this surge of patients in the south. As you just heard, hospitals, from the beginning, have been completely overwhelmed, but now they’ve got patients who really require much more complex medical care. They require, really, referral — ideally, medical evacuation in a safe way to a third country, for example, where they can receive the level of care that will save their lives and prevent further damage.

Just to mention another thing, because of the lack of antibiotics, medicine, wound dressing equipment, we have a very high risk of high numbers of people dying of infections. And that is something that should never happen under international humanitarian law, the norms of war. People should have access to medical care in a conflict like this. And that is just not being guaranteed in terms of the way this war is being conducted.

AMY GOODMAN: Can I ask you if you’ve heard about this report of al-Nasr pediatric hospital in northern Gaza and the premature babies, five of them, discovered, the remains of the babies? The reports were that they were left to die after Israeli forces blocked access to the intensive care unit.

AVRIL BENOÎT: I don’t have the details on that, I’m sorry. What we do know is that it was a harrowing decision for the medical staff when ordered to evacuate, knowing that sometimes you’re only given a couple of hours, which is completely unacceptable. Even in the context of this pause, this truce — which we certainly hope will continue and become an actual ceasefire — it’s very complicated to transfer a patient that is in a vulnerable state, in a machine that no longer has any electricity — as you probably know, the lack of fuel has meant it’s near impossible to run ambulances — and because of the violence, all these checkpoints, where it seems that people are waiting for hours and hours. You can imagine you’ve got people who are transferred from an intensive care unit stuffed into an ambulance because it’s one of the only ones running, and then at the checkpoint they’re stopped for up to seven hours. And then there’s violence, and they feel they have to retreat. It’s a very harrowing, high-risk kind of thing to organize.

And that’s one of the reasons that we’re calling for this killing to stop, for there to be a proper ceasefire, and, furthermore, for there to be medical evacuations, so that people can receive the care they need in a safe way, with, of course, the right to return if they so wish, and then also for there to be unconditional humanitarian aid that is allowed to enter, because we know people are in places where the aid cannot reach, and they cannot reach the hospitals. They don’t feel it’s safe. And so they are at risk of dying and suffering lifelong consequences if they don’t receive the medical care right away.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Avril, could you speak about the — during this pause, how much medical equipment, supplies, medicine, as you were speaking about earlier, the acute shortage, which many people have mentioned — how much medication is coming in, medication and equipment is coming in, during this pause, into Gaza?

AVRIL BENOÎT: The specifics are unclear, to be perfectly honest. We see that every day there are a certain number of trucks. They move at a snail’s pace. What we would really like to see, of course, is for that to be faster and of greater volume. Before this conflict, before October 7th, there were 500 trucks that would cross daily into Gaza, and that was during a blockade, so not enough. The hospitals were already at a deficit of the equipment that they needed, of the replenishing supplies. All the stocks were always threadbare. And so, then compounded with the fact that we have an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 wounded people, not to mention those that are now coming in with fevers, gastrointestinal situations, acute watery diarrhea — maybe it’s cholera; we don’t know, because we don’t have the testing facilities and labs available to check — what we’re seeing with this truce is that there is no way to be able to support the hospitals that continue to stand. Of course, many of them have been damaged in the fighting. They have been attacked systematically. The World Health Organization has been tracking this.

And for us, this is such an obvious violation of international humanitarian law, to attack hospitals, to attack medical staff, to kill them while they’re at the bedside of patients — and our own colleagues have been killed — and to just go after these facilities as if there’s some excuse that is legitimate, when it’s not, and there’s no evidence that’s been offered to really prove that they should be targets, really nothing — nothing — to substantiate that at all. They are protected spaces.

And so, the truce has allowed perhaps some stocks to go in for us to facilitate to do some movements, to check on some hospitals and clinics to see what their stocks are like. But what you really needed was to pre-position everything, to have it already in place at the starting blocks, in a warehouse, ready to be distributed to the places that need it most, that still have medical staff. And that wasn’t done because of the total siege over the last many weeks.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Avril, I’m not sure — I’m sure you’ve heard that the World Health Organization earlier this week warned that more people in Gaza could die from disease than have already died from the bombing. If you could talk a little bit about that?

AVRIL BENOÎT: Yes. Well, certainly, I mentioned infections earlier. When you have children coming in who have more than 50% of their bodies burned from explosions, they are, in the best-case scenario, in the fully equipped hospital with all the means to control the infection, really it’s a life-or-death situation. So, now we have so many of these children that we cannot treat properly. We don’t even have the proper gauze in the stocks to be able to do it.

The other thing that the World Health Organization was pointing out, which is entirely plausible, is this whole question of dehydration. So, young children, infants are coming in severely dehydrated. And where is the water? Since the siege began, this is one of the things that this collective punishment has honed in on to say, “We’re not going to give you access to water or food or medicines” — all the things that are needed just to stay alive. So, that’s a huge problem right now.

Then you just think of the people with chronic illnesses. And this is always a concern for us. Somebody who’s on heart medication, or they have diabetes, they have any number of chronic illnesses — think of all the cancer patients — where are they supposed to go to replenish? The hospital system that is barely functioning at all in the south, for example, their focus is on the severely wounded that are coming in, trying to keep people alive, patch them up, do the amputations really quickly, not in the proper way even to allow for prosthetic devices after. They’re just trying to do the most triage very urgently. And the ones who need safe place to give birth, the ones who need their heart medication, the children who are severely dehydrated, and there’s nowhere really to look after them in a hospital like that, these are the ones that are likely to be the other casualties of this war, not only the ones who are killed by the direct violence that is seemingly affecting civilians so much more than anyone else.

AMY GOODMAN: Avril Benoît, if you can talk about Netanyahu’s threat to — in resuming the bombardment? You’ve got Blinken, who reportedly is urging more surgical strikes. But they’re talking about bombarding the south. This is where they forced — what is it? — a million Gazans, Palestinians, to go from the north. So, talk about what this would mean if this temporary ceasefire ends.

AVRIL BENOÎT: It’s a horror show for us. Just think about it. A third of the injured people already were injured in the south, which was the place that everyone was told to go. That was the place. You were supposed to leave the north, go to the south. And then they got killed there.

So, for us, this is the worst, because what we have is, on the one side, the talk of “We would like humanitarian law to be respected. We would like civilians to be considered. Limit the collateral damage of civilians,” and yet, what we have seen time and again is there are no consequences evident for not doing that. And so, we have, with the looming end of this truce — and, it seems, not enough political will to really have a ceasefire — what we would regard as a kind of talking one thing but no consequences. So we can tell the Israeli forces, the Netanyahu government, “Please try to limit the killing of civilians, start doing that,” but we’re not really seeing any consequences if they don’t.

And we do know that the United States is providing billions in aid, its military aid. And so, you know, it seems that that aid could well be used, with no consequences, to violate international norms, the Geneva Conventions, international humanitarian law. And for us, that’s just unacceptable.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And finally, Avril Benoît, MSF International President Christos Christou posted this update on Tuesday, that while he was visiting the MSF team at the Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin, the Israeli army conducted an incursion on the refugee camp.

AVRIL BENOÎT: Yes. And one of the most difficult things about that is that —

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to play a clip. We’re going to play a clip — 


AMY GOODMAN: — of Christou right now.

AVRIL BENOÎT: Sounds good.

CHRISTOS CHRISTOU: It’s been already two-and-a-half hours that we are trapped in our hospital here in Jenin, while the Israeli forces are operating in another incursion in Jenin camp. There is no way for any of the injured patients to reach the hospital, and there’s no way for us to reach these people. There’s nothing worse for a doctor to know that there are people there needing our care, and they cannot get it.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Avril Benoît, if you could comment on that and also the fact that two children were killed in Jenin just today?

AVRIL BENOÎT: Yes. Well, as Dr. Christou, our international president, said, if people cannot access a facility in the West Bank, already you can see the grave concern that we have. Under humanitarian law, anyone should be able to reach a hospital. And to have a hospital surrounded, blocked, so that no one can actually bring their injured children, bring their wounded to that hospital, for us, is a complete outrage. It’s been happening systematically in Gaza. And for us to now see it elsewhere is something that we, as the international community, should never accept.

And that is one of the reasons that we are speaking so loudly and in a united voice with the humanitarian aid agencies for a ceasefire, a proper ceasefire, to stop the killing, stop the siege, and allow aid to come in unconditionally and for the people to be helped, saved, and to be able to resume their lives in some shape or form.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you, Avril Benoît, for joining us. This ceasefire, we will see, goes day by day, those children in Jenin killed yesterday. Avril Benoît is executive director of Doctors Without Borders.

Coming up, we’ll be speaking with the acclaimed Gazan human rights attorney Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. He’s going to be joining us from Cairo, after his house was bombed in northern Gaza. We will find out about his journey south. Then we’ll speak with the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Greg Grandin about the death of Henry Kissinger. Stay with us.

  Robert Mardini, director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, toldAgence France-Presse that the resumption of bombing drags Gazans "back to the nightmarish situation they were in before the truce took place," with millions of people in desperate need of food, medicine, clean water, and sanitary living conditions.

"People are at a breaking point, hospitals are at a breaking point, the whole Gaza Strip is in a very precarious state," said Mardini. "There is nowhere safe to go for civilians. We have seen in the hospitals where our teams have been working, that over the past days, hundreds of severely injured people have arrived. The influx of severely wounded outpaced the real capacity of hospitals to absorb and treat the wounded, so there is a massive challenge." 

"Gaza Strip is in a very precarious state."  That's is exactly correct.  Zoe MageeSami Zayara, and Ruwaida Amer (ABC NEWS) report:

Winter is coming to the Gaza Strip and with it, fears that living conditions for the 1.8 million internally displaced people will get significantly worse.

It’s been nearly two months since a war broke out between Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas, and neighboring Israel. About 80% of Gaza’s population is now homeless, with many people forced to live in make-shift shelters, largely exposed to the elements, according to the United Nations.

Over a million people in Gaza have fled to United Nations Relief and Works Agency shelters set up there, the U.N. said. These shelters cannot cope with the influx, according to Dr. Adnan Abu Hasna, spokesperson at UNRWA in Gaza.

“The circumstances in our shelters is very tough actually,” Abu Hasna told ABC News. “People are suffering a lot. For example, there is one toilet for 125 persons and one shower for 700 people. There is a lack of cleaning water, a lack of drinkable water also, lack of food, lack of everything.”

There is no question that Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu is employing overwhelming military power to terrorize 2.3 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza in the name of defeating Hamas military forces.  This would be consistent with an Israeli policy that began in 1948 to use every military engagement with Arab states to displace as many Palestinians civilians as possible from their homes, and to never acknowledge a right of return for Palestinian refugees.  No U.S. administration has ever put pressure on Israel to allow the return of Palestinians to their homes in Israel.

Meanwhile, mainstream media support Israel’s contention that the Israel-Hamas War began on October 7th, which ignores Israel’s punishment of Palestinian civilians over the past 16 years.  Israeli policy has limited the usage of electricity in Gaza, which has created the need to dump sewage into the Mediterranean Sea, making the water undrinkable.  Israeli-imposed fuel shortages caused sanitation plants to be shut down.  Netanyahu, who once boasted that I “stopped the Oslo accords,” never indicated any interest in lessening these punishments, let alone pursuing a diplomatic or political solution to the Palestinian tragedy.

Sadly, U.S. administrations have paid lip service to the idea of a two-state solution, but have never pressed an Israeli government to move toward Palestinian statehood.  At the very least, the Biden administration should recognize Palestine as a member state in the United Nations, and press Israel to enter talks with Palestinians regarding borders, Jerusalem, and security from Israeli settlers on the West Bank.

From yesterday's DEMOCRACTY NOW!

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

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

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As we continue our coverage of Gaza, we’re joined by Raji Sourani, the award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights. He’s a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. We last spoke with Raji Sourani after Israel bombed his home in Gaza City. He joins us today from Cairo, Egypt.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Raji Sourani. If you could begin by talking about how you managed to leave Gaza and how you got to Cairo?

RAJI SOURANI: Well, it was very hard and very heartbreaking for me, I mean, to leave Gaza, I mean, the place I lived all my life, one-way ticket in it. And that was very hard and very tough. But really, I mean, after I was targeted for the second time, after we talked, I was advised very strongly, I mean, not to be at that place and to leave the northern of Gaza. And I left with my family, who didn’t want to leave me alone. I mean, so we left together to the south for a few days, and thanks for the help of great friends, I mean, who managed to get me there, because in two previous attempts it was mission impossible, when tens of people died either on the beach road or at Salah al-Din Street in front of our eyes, when the Israelis shot and bombed, I mean, people who were advised to leave to the safe haven in the south. But that wasn’t, I mean, the case. So I managed to leave to the south, finally, on my third attempt. And from there, I managed to move to Egypt.

There was, I mean, quite a lot of friends who wanted, in a way, the voice, I mean, of Gaza, the voice of the voiceless, about the horrendous genocide taking place at [inaudible] to be reported to the outside world. And there is quite a lot of things to do with the ICC, which greatly disappointing us, and there’s quite a lot of work to do with the ICJ. And there is quite a lot of work to talk, speak to power in European countries about this new Nakba, which is in process, and Israel creating it, and to stop their complicity, their absolute political, legal, military support for belligerent criminal occupation, who’s doing suicide — genocide at the daylight, who’s doing ethnic cleansing, war crimes, broadcasted there live at the real time. But it seems deep in their mind and hearts, the colonial, racist Western governments don’t want to see, don’t want to know, and they are insisting, I mean, in supporting blindly the Israeli belligerent occupation in the crimes they are doing in Gaza and the Occupied Territories at large.

AMY GOODMAN: Raji, if you could look straight into the camera lens as we speak to you now in Cairo? Thank God you’re OK. When we were speaking to you the day after your house was bombed, you described your son moving you and your beloved wife from one room, saying, “Let’s going into the hallway,” and then the place was destroyed. If you could say in more detail what it was like to make your way north to south, what you saw along the way? We also had reports that those who wanted to return to their homes north — so much of the bombing, it may surprise people, is happening actually in the south, where people are directed to go, before this ceasefire. Is it true that people were shot trying to go home in the north? The Israeli military had said, “Don’t do this.”

RAJI SOURANI: Well, we have to understand the context, the context of what the Israelis really want. In simple words, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the criminal Netanyahu, said in simple words, “Gazans should leave Gaza.” He said, “Gaza should be deserted.” And the Minister of Defense Gallant, in a clear, simple way, he said, “For Gazans, there will be no food, no electricity, no fuel.”

And so, what does that mean? I mean, if you say Gazans should leave Gaza, to go where to? It’s obvious and clear. If you are starving and cutting electricity, food, medicine, you are bombing shelters, hospitals, ambulances, if you are killing hundreds of entire families, I mean, being erased, if you are bombing bakeries, if you are bombing water infrastructure and desalination plants, if you are, you know, bluffing, I mean, the entire streets in the Gaza, if you are not allowing people even to reach hospital, if you bomb the civil defense system and the people who are working on it, what do you want from that? If you make no safe haven in entire Gaza, what’s the purpose of that?

They want to push the north to the south. This is the first stage. And they pushed many as a million people, I mean, to the south — Gaza already one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. And they push them while Gaza suffers 17 years of blockade, suffocated the life socioeconomically, passed through five wars against them, and in the eye of the storm the civilian and civilian targets. And now you are doing all that. You are killing almost 30,000 people, because many, many, Amy, still, I mean, under the rubbles, many still under their destroyed houses, and civil defense unable to recover. You are talking about thousands of people. You are talking about thousands of people in the streets in some areas nobody can get to.

The rationale, the behavior of the Israeli guidelines, the outcome of this pushing people to the south, and then from the south toward Sinai, that’s a new Nakba. As simple as that. They want us out, out of Palestine, out of Gaza, out of the West Bank. This is, I mean, the ultimate goal, Amy, for the Israeli government. And this coalition of Netanyahu and the right wing, the basis of their governmental agreement, the coalition agreement to do that, this was said at day one of this war, of this genocide war. And I think yet the Israelis so determined, so willing, and they want to do that. They want to do that.

They finished, I mean, the first stage, and now they want to go to the second stage. And after they finish up with Gaza, it won’t be a new brand of apartheid in East Jerusalem and West Bank. They will do the same, I mean, there. So, what was lack of their plan in 1948 in the Nakba, they want to implement it completely now, so Eretz Yisrael would be clean, and they will have the purity of the Jewish state. And by that, they will accomplish, I mean, their mission. This is simple, clear for any who want to see beyond the details. This is really what Israel want to do.

And that’s why we call it, from the second day, this is genocide, this is ethnic cleansing, and these are first-class war crimes. It’s against A, B, C of international law, international humanitarian law. And it’s against Geneva Convention. It’s against Rome Statute. And we see, from the wall to wall, support by many European countries, doing that willingly and giving full legal, political and military support for the state of Israel, plus U.S.

AMY GOODMAN: Raji, as you talk about international law, can you make that comparison between what happened in Ukraine, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, immediately the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opening an investigation, especially against children — I think there were something — against what happened to the children. Five hundred children have died in Ukraine over almost two years, up to a thousand dead or maimed. And you compare it to the few weeks of the bombardment of Gaza, 5,000 to 6000 children alone dead, over 15,000 people dead. What do you want Karim Khan to do? And finally — and we just have a few minutes — right now Blinken just met with Mahmoud Abbas. He just met with Herzog on his, like, fourth trip to the Middle East, the U.S. pushing hard to give more weapons aid to Israel. Your response to that? What do you want Biden to say to Netanyahu? And how much power does he have?

RAJI SOURANI: I don’t think yet there is decision by U.S. to stop what is going on. They can simply stop all these crimes. We are bombed with F-35, F-16s, the American tanks, the American artillery, the American ammunition. We are killed with that, with some small amount of European arms. Now, if U.S. want to stop that, they can do that. And they can do that simply. But they are supporting, Amy, really, what Israel is doing. And if we are talking about the next stage that — attends. Hello?

AMY GOODMAN: We can hear you fine. Just if you can just look up into the camera. We see you. Ah, we may have just lost Raji Sourani. Raji Sourani is the world-renowned, award-winning human rights attorney, won the RFK, Robert F. Kennedy Award, won the Right Livelihood Award, has lived in Gaza for decades, speaking to us from Cairo, Egypt. He just got out of Gaza. His home was bombed, with this wife and his son and him it.

Next up, we’re going to talk about Henry Kissinger. He has died at the age of 100. We’ll speak to the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Greg Grandin, author of Kissinger’s Shadow. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “The Right to Live in Peace” by Víctor Jara, the great Chilean musician who died in the days after the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet came to power, U.S.-backed, Nixon-backed, Kissinger-backed Pinochet, leading to the death of thousands.

The following sites updaed:

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Best singers of all time?

Matt Harris (CENT OF MONEY) has a piece naming 11 singers whom he says can claim to be the best ever.  His list is Whitney Houston, Ann Wilson (of Heart), Amy Winehouse, Adele, Ella Fitzgerald, Karen Carpenter, Stevie Nicks, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus and Aretha Franklin.  

I respond?

What was he smoking?

I can see Ann, Amy, Adele, Aretha, Whitney and Mariah.  I also have no problem making an argument for Stevie Nicks who is a one of kind original. 


Can Miley sing?  I don't mean that in a mean way.  I'm sure I'll be mean about someone else in a second.  But I'm sincere in that question.  I don't really know her songs other than "Flowers."  I like that song.  If she can sing, she's an original because she sounds like no one else.  Again, I don't know her singing. "Wrecking Ball"?  I know that because of Eli Loeb on YOUTUBE.  Another song that I know I didn't even know she sang.  I know it by Cher.  "I Hope You Find It."  

So I have no comment there.

Ella Fitzgerald?  Seriously, all time best?  She's not much of a singer.  She doesn't have the passion or feeling that other jazz greats -- Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday, for example -- bring to the singing.  She's got technique, no question.  But, seriously?  Best ever?

Then again, this is from the same man who seems to think that Celine Dion is amazing.  Celine's a big, long keyboard in that she's got a huge range of notes.  But she really can't seem to do anything with them.  Did Judy Garland even have six notes she could sing.  I don't mean at the end, I mean at the beginning.  She had a very limited range -- in fact, it was like a young child's range.  But guess what?  She knew how to use those notes, she knew how to deliver a song.  And that's why she's a great -- and should be on an all-time great list of singers.  But Celine's vocals have loud and soft but no passing.  They're sterile. 

Karen Carpenter?

I can remember when she was a non-stop joke.  She didn't deserve that.  At the same time, she doesn't deserve the 'rebirth' that happened in the 90s.  She's an okay pop singer.  That's it. She's not Mama Cass, she's not Judy Garland, she's not Aretha or Diana Ross.  Every song really could be her announcing she's on the top of the world looking down on creation because they all sound that distant and that removed.

Again, Miley remains a question mark because I'm unfamiliar with her singing.  She may be worthy of it.  (She can certainly write a song.)  Stevie, Ann, Adel, Aretha, Whitney, Amy and Mariah are on the list for sure.  But Ella, Karen and Celine?  Pass.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, November 30, 2023.  Reminder, even when War Criminals die, the suffering they created continues.

Let's start with the Pentagon yesterday where spokesperson Pat Ryder briefed the press:

BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER: Good afternoon, everyone. I hope you had a restful Thanksgiving holiday. I have just a few things to get to at the top and we'll get right to your questions. [. . .]  And with that, I'm happy to take your questions. We'll start with Associated Press, Tara Copp.

Q: Hi, General Ryder. Thanks for doing this. Just on that aid shipment, is that the first time that U.S. military aircraft has been used to fly aid to -- for Gazans?

GEN. RYDER: Yes, that is correct.

Q: OK. And...

GEN. RYDER: In terms of humanitarian...

Q: I'm sorry?

GEN. RYDER: In terms of humanitarian assistance, aid, correct.

Q: OK. And then secondly, with the ceasefire announcement, it seems like there have been no attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since last week. Have -- our facilities, have they been reaching out at all to groups in the area to make sure that that peace lasts or is there any communication at all?

GEN. RYDER: Yes, thanks, Tara. So, as you highlight, there have been no attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since November 23rd, since the operational pause began in Israel. Again, our forces are there for one reason and that's to stay focused on the Defeat ISIS mission. And so we will continue to focus on that mission, as well as ensuring that our forces are protected. Should there be any additional attacks, we would certainly hope that that's not the case, but we will be prepared to respond accordingly if there are any additional attacks on our forces.

It is unethical and inhumane to support the actions of the Israeli government against Gaza.  That is reason enough to demand a cease-fire.  But it is also not in the interests of the US to continue to support the assault on Gaza because of the impact and effect it is having in the Middle East.  REUTERS noted earlier this week, " Iraq sees a risk of regional conflict if the current truce in Gaza is not turned into a permanent cease-fire, the Iraqi prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser said, as mediators sought an extension of the temporary four-day Israel-Hamas truce."

Again, RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT is to the right of me.  I feel the need to point that out when they cite them.  Jason Brownlee has a new essay at the think tank's website which includes:

The regional reverberations of the Israel-Gaza war demonstrate why the White House should scrap, not reinforce, America’s outdated and unnecessarily provocative troop presence in Syria and Iraq.

President Joe Biden should redeploy these forces to a safer position offshore and leave it to self-interested Syrians and Iraqis to prevent ISIS from reemerging. As Biden’s own policy on Afghanistan demonstrated — and as I observed on the ground earlier this fall — withdrawing U.S. soldiers and Marines can bolster American security by turning the fight against Islamic State over to well-motivated local belligerents while freeing up U.S. personnel to serve in more vital areas.

Likewise, pivoting out of Syria and Iraq will not make Americans any less safe, but it will deny local militias, and their presumptive patrons in Iran, the chance to use unneeded outposts for leverage over our national strategy.

Since October 17, some 900 U.S. troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq have been taking fire from Iran-linked militias and, subsequently, drawing retaliatory air support, including an attack by a C-130 gunship that killed eight members of the Kataib Hezbollah group in Iraq last week. The U.S. service members are the lingering footprint of Operation Inherent Resolve, which began in 2015 to defeat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and succeeded in 2019 in eliminating the physical ISIS caliphate, thereby reducing ISIS to “a survival posturewithout territory.

Rather than taking the win and packing up, the Trump and Biden administrations kept in place some troops, who have become a recurring target of opportunity for Iran and its surrogates during moments of tension. In the past five weeks, the Iran-linked militants’ rockets and one-way attack drones have injured over sixty of these Americans.

The prolonged American deployment, driven by policy inertia more than strategic necessity, has added tinder to a potential U.S.-Iranian conflagration that would eclipse the Israel-Gaza War. One Pentagon official has remarked in defiance, “Iran’s objective… has been to force a withdrawal of the U.S. military from the region… What I would observe is that we’re still there [in Iraq and Syria].”

This reluctance to relinquish former ISIS territory to independently-minded governments recapitulates the mindset that made the Afghanistan and Iraq wars so unnecessarily costly. Rather than cutting its losses, the White House and Pentagon have doubled down, with two aircraft carrier groups in the Eastern Mediterranean, an airstrike on an Iran-linked weapons depot in Syria, and an additional 1,200 troops for staffing regional air defenses, and now strikes inside Iraq — over the objections of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, whose coalition is linked to Kataib Hezbollah.

When it comes to escalating or winding down U.S. military interventions, the deciding factor should not be what Iran’s leaders want in largely deserted corners of Iraq and Syria, but what policies best serve American interests. On this question, Biden’s controversial decision in 2021 to pull all U.S. forces from Afghanistan offers an important lesson. As I have seen firsthand, complete withdrawal can serve Washington’s counterterrorism and strategic goals, even if the policy cedes physical terrain to governments with which U.S. officials do not see eye to eye. 

As the essay makes clear, there is no justification for the continued US military ground presence in Iraq. 

Yesterday, things got heated at the United Nations.  Let's note this video from THE HINDUSTAN TIMES.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded a permanent cease-fire on Wednesday and said life in Gaza must prevail against those who seek to destroy it.

Al-Maliki thanked Qatar and Egypt for their efforts that led to a truce between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, as he addressed a UN Security Council session on the Gaza conflict.

"But the truce must become a cease-fire -- a permanent cease-fire. The massacres cannot be allowed to resume. This is not a war. This is a carnage that nothing and no one can justify. It must be brought to an end," he said.

Al-Maliki said the dire needs of residents in Gaza must be addressed throughout the enclave "without further delay and constraints."

He said residents must be allowed to go back to their homes and start rebuilding their lives, and the siege imposed by Israel must be lifted.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the meeting that the Palestinian people "are faced with an existential threat" amid the conflict.

"We are owed respect to our inherent dignity... Israel has no right to self-defense against a people that it occupies," he said.

The ongoing truce in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas is scheduled to expire early Thursday after a six-day pause in the fighting, which was sparked by deadly Hamas attacks on October 7 that prompted a devastating Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip in return.

The pause has been extended one more day -- set to expire now on Friday.  It may or may not be extended.   The United Nations published these highlights of the meeting:

  • “We need a true humanitarian ceasefire,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, describing a catastrophe on the ground in Gaza and underlining the need to release all hostages
  • Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, had “a message that resonates today as we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: There must be a new and different approach, or we are doomed to return to the path of managing a conflict that clearly cannot be managed”
  • Council members, including many ministers, roundly decried the unfolding humanitarian crisis and commended the ongoing pause in fighting, with some calling for the full implementation of its resolution 2712 on the crisis
  • “We cannot afford to lose more lives,” said the ambassador of Malta, penholder of resolution 2712, adopted in mid-November following several failed attempts
  • Non-Council members echoed those calls, with Qatar’s Prime Minister saying “it is high time to take real measures towards peace; the region will not enjoy peace and security without the establishment of a Palestinian State”
  • Israel’s ambassador said the Council has not addressed Hamas’s “central role in the ruin of the region”
  • “We are at a historic crossroad,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the observer State of Palestine
  • Read our explainer on international humanitarian law and other explainers here.

  • THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA wonders why the United Nations still can't use the term "genocide"?

    Throughout the pause, the Israeli government has continued to assault Palestinians in Gaza and they've expanded their assault on the West Bank.  Jordan Shilton (WSWS) reports on the latter:

    In what local residents described as the largest military raid since 7 October, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) killed two children and levelled an entire street in the West Bank city of Jenin Wednesday. The continuation of daily raids on the West Bank during the six-day truce in the bombardment of Gaza underscores the fact that the Israeli regime remains committed to a policy of genocide against the Palestinian people, for which it enjoys the support of the imperialist powers in North America and Europe.

    The two fatalities were identified as 8-year-old Adam Samer al-Ghoul and 15-year-old Basil Suleiman Abu al-Wafa. Both were shot by Israeli soldiers, one in the head and the other in the chest. The IDF claimed to have killed two senior commanders of armed resistance groups operating in Jenin and called in a drone air strike to demolish a house. Roads and water mains were also destroyed.

    In total, Israel detained 35 Palestinians in ''West Bank raids during the night into Wednesday, more than the 30 released in the latest exchange as part of the Gaza truce. Over 3,325 Palestinians have been detained by Israel in the West Bank since 7 October, adding to the more than 5,000 Palestinians already languishing in Israeli jails. Of the 300 Palestinians identified for possible release as part of the truce brokered by Qatar and the US, fully 80 percent have not been charged with any crime, let alone convicted.

    In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have surrounded three hospitals and are blocking medical teams as they conduct a major raid in the Jenin refugee camp. The head of Doctors Without Borders, Christos Christou, posted this video last night while trapped with staff at the Khalil Suleiman Hospital.

    Christos Christou: It’s been already two-and-a-half hours that we are trapped in our hospital here in Jenin, while the Israeli forces are operating in another incursion in Jenin camp. There is no way for any of the injured patients to reach the hospital, and there’s no way for us to reach these people.”

    Christou said at least two Palestinians died of their wounds while ambulances could not reach them during the siege. This comes amid reports a 9-year-old Palestinian boy was shot by Israeli soldiers in Jenin this morning.

    The IDF has also destroyed at least two homes in Jenin, as well as roads and water mains, and rounded up at least 20 people. Rights groups say Israel has arrested 35 Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank within the past 24 hours, including a 12-year-old child.

    Turning to the topic of released prisoners, Leila Sackur (NBC NEWS) reports:

    Prominent Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was one of those freed by Israel last night.

    Tamimi was one of hundreds arrested in the West Bank in November on charges of inciting terror. Tamimi’s mother has denied the charges against her daughter, saying they were based on fake social media posts.

    Tamimi, 22, has been a prominent activist for Palestinian land rights since childhood. In 2017, she was arrested and imprisoned for eight months for slapping an IDF soldier during a raid of her home village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank.

    NBC News visited Nabi Saleh in 2014 and interviewed Tamimi, then 14, who had recently become famous for biting and hitting an IDF soldier as he restrained her 12-year-old brother after a protest against the illegal expansion of the Jewish Halamish settlement near Ramallah, captured in viral images celebrated in the occupied territories and around the world as depicting the spirit of the Palestinian resistance.

    “We the Palestinians are not going to wait for Saladin to liberate us,” Tamimi said in an interview with NBC News at that time, referring to a 12th-century leader who united Middle Eastern armies to fight European crusaders. “We are going to make our own Saladin and liberate ourselves.”

    As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, the prisoners the Israeli government is releasing is not that significant in number when you factor in the Palestinians they continue to grab and imprison.   Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) explains: "Israeli media says renowned Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, who was arrested earlier this month, could be released in an upcoming captive swap. Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoner associations say that over the first four days of prisoner exchanges, Israel arrested 133 Palestinians, nearly as many as the 150 they released."

    The world watches as the assault continues and as the US fails to stand up to War Crimes.  ALJAZEERA notes:

    Jordan’s King Abdullah II has urged UN aid officials and international NGOs to pile pressure on Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, officials and aid workers have said.

    They said the monarch told an emergency meeting in Amman of UN officials, heads of Western non-governmental organisations and representatives of Arab donors it was unacceptable that Israel continued to hold back sufficient aid flows.

    “The monarch urged the international aid community to do their bit and save [Palestinians in Gaza] who have endured a brutal war that has turned their land into an unliveable place,” said one delegate who requested anonymity since deliberations were taking place confidentially.

    Before a frantic e-mail comes in, I do know King Abdullah II -- through his step mother.  It's not like I have him on speed dial.  THE GUARDIAN notes:

    The COP28 climate summit has opening in Dubai with a minute’s silence for the civilians killed in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

    Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, who served as president of COP27, opened the first session of the day by asking attendees to join him in remembering two officials involved in previous summits who had recently died of natural causes as well as “all civilians who have perished during the current conflict in Gaza”.

    Let's move over to the failing US government.  Jacob Crosse (WSWS) notes:

    Speaking from the floor of the US Senate Wednesday morning, Democratic Majority Leader Charles Schumer (New York) delivered a 40-minute warmongering tirade accusing young people and workers protesting the genocide in Gaza of “aiding and abetting” antisemites.

    “Antisemites are taking advantage of the pro-Palestinian movement to espouse hatred and bigotry towards Jewish people,” Schumer asserted, without providing evidence to back up the claim. “[W]e see so many of our friends and fellow citizens, particularly young people who yearn for justice, unknowingly aiding and abetting their cause.”

    After accusing students on college campuses and in high schools in the United States of being useful idiots for fascists and antisemites because they object to genocide, collective punishment and ethnic cleansing directed against the Palestinian people, Schumer lamented that following the armed incursion of Hamas on October 7, “some of our fellow citizens” justified a “brutal terrorist attack” because of “the actions of the Israeli government.”

    Schumer was similarly silent on “actions” taken by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) since October 7:

    • Saturation bombing and ground attacks on hospitals, mosques and schools that have killed an estimated 20,000 Palestinians, most children and women. According to figures from Iraq Body Count, more Palestinian civilians have been killed in less than two months in Gaza than during every year of the American occupation of Iraq, except 2006 (29,526), 2007 (26,112) and 2014 (20,218).

    • The killing of “at least 57 journalists” as of November 29, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). This compares to 10 journalist fatalities recorded by the organization in the 21 months since the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

    Schumer’s speech, billed as an “address on antisemitism,” was an incitement to more intense repression directed against anti-war protests on college campuses and in high schools.

    While Schumer repeatedly smeared students protesting the Israeli military campaign and the apartheid policies of Israel as promoters of antisemitism, he never criticized his “Republican colleagues,” many of whom regularly trade in antisemitic conspiracy theories and dog whistles, from tirades against the “globalist” George Soros to promotion of the “Great Replacement Theory.”

    Equally as disappointing as Chuck is Bernie Sanders.  Barry Grey (WSWS) notes:

    With the death toll in Gaza exceeding 15,000 and the horror of Israel’s war of annihilation made even more clear by on-the-spot reports during the temporary lull in the bombing, and worldwide protests against the genocide continuing unabated, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is seeking to present himself as an even-handed advocate for both the Israeli state and the Palestinians.

    One would expect nothing less from this pro-Zionist, pro-imperialist political imposter. On November 22, he published an op-ed in the New York Times headlined “Justice for the Palestinians and Security for Israel.”

    It is worth discussing this piece of political sophistry in some detail, but it must first be placed in its proper context.

    On Sunday, November 5, Sanders appeared on CNN to oppose mounting calls for a ceasefire in the Israeli slaughter. Parroting the line of the Netanyahu government as well as the Biden administration, Sanders cast Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing as a necessary act of self-defense following the armed breakout and incursion into southern Israel carried out by Hamas on October 7.

    “I don’t know how you can have a ceasefire, a permanent ceasefire, with an organization like Hamas, which is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the State of Israel,” he told “State of the Union” moderator Dana Bash. “I think what the Arab countries in the region understand is that Hamas has got to go.”

    This defense of the Israeli onslaught was welcomed by the war criminals and their accomplices. White House Deputy Communications Director Herbie Ziskind tweeted out quotes from Sanders’ interview. Within an hour of Sanders’ appearance, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) posted a clip of his remarks on X/Twitter. In a subsequent tweet, the Zionist lobby said, “Thank you @SenSanders for your clear and principled opposition to calls for a ceasefire with Hamas.”

    Sanders’ comments were praised by Israeli officials, and Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy shared a clip of the interview on X/Twitter.

    When Sanders made his public denunciation of calls to halt Israel’s mass bombing, the official death toll in Gaza had already reached 9,770, with children and women comprising a majority of the victims. Israel was systematically targeting hospitals, schools, UN facilities and other buildings where Palestinians whose homes had been destroyed sought refuge. This included the October 17 bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, which, according to Gazan officials, killed at least 471 people and wounded more than 300 others.

    On the topic of US government officials . . . You may have woken up this morning feeling you could breathe a little easier.  Yes, it's true, mass murdered and War Criminal Henry Kissinger has died.  Let the celebrations being.  We'll wind down by posting Elain's piece from last night on the death of the War Criminal:

    Somewhere in hell, a demon just got his horns

    I've been very busy today and had no idea what I was going to write about.  So I pull up GOOGLE NEWS and, goodness, someone died.

    War Criminal Henry Kissinger has died.  Proving Billy Joel right ("Only The Good Die Young"), Killer Kissinger was 100 years old.  

    Sadly, his many victims were not so fortunate.  

    Vietnam, Chile, East Timor . . .  He transformed the entire world into a killing field.

    By the way, sluts.  I will slut shame and I don't care if someone's offended.  Numerous sluts let Kissinger stick it in them -- Candy Bergan, I'm looking at you.  A lot of people were shocked how, in the early '00s, she started in with her b.s. of Dan Quayle was right.  Dan The Idiot was not right.  (He had attacked her fictional character Murphy Brown in the 90s.)  But that's Candy Bergen, pretending to be left and pretending to care and just driving Bert Schneider crazy with her her constant cavings.  A real fake ass.  That's what you had to be to bed down with Henry -- right, Gloria Steinem?  Don't ever pretend to care about the world if you've been underneath Henry Kissinger.  You're just a slut and a slut with really bad taste in men.  Need another example of that?  Failed actress Jill St. John.

    Not only did his judgments and policy manuevers leave children and adults dead across the world in real time but these evil actions had long term implications.  Let's note the Kurds.  This is from 2014, C.I.'s "Little ditty 'bout Iraq and Iran:"

    Meanwhile there is the matter of the oil deal between the Kurdish Regional Government and the central Iraqi government out of Baghdad.  The deal has received much praise, but David L. Phillips points out at CNBC:

      U.S. officials heralded the agreement as a victory for the unity of Iraq. It is a positive, but they should not rush to judgment. The agreement must be enshrined in Iraq's budget bill and passed by the Iraqi parliament. If the agreement is authorized, it must then be implemented—both sides must deliver.
    The Baghdad Agreement defers decisions on important issues. It is silent on "disputed internal boundaries." The central government stills claims Kirkuk and Khanaqin, where Kurds predominate. Successive Iraqi governments ignored article 140 of the constitution, which requires a referendum on Kirkuk's status.

    The agreement will be in force for just one year. Negotiations will resume before the ink is dry, pre-empting a period of confidence-building. 

    Those are very important points and everyone should have been more skeptical of the announcements regarding the deal.

    Everyone includes me.

    I should have been much more cautious in my remarks. That was my error.

    Here, we noted it in terms of the Kurds exercising their power.

    And certainly, they did that to get the deal announced; however, a deal means nothing until it's implemented.  Look at all the starts and stops to Nouri's weapons deal with Russia not all that long ago, for example.

    And this week, there has been muttering from Hadier al-Abadi's staff (to the Iraq press) about the deal which makes the question mark a little bolder.

    But the biggest lesson is and remains the Pike Report.  As that Congressional report documented, the US government (Nixon was President, Henry Kissinger was the go-to for the issue) deliberately encouraged the Kurds to stand, pledged support and much more only to then pull all support without a second thought since the whole thing had been a con and the Kurds were used as a pawn.

     For those late to the party, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers."  Latham explained:

    In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah.  Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program.  Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
    The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail.  They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq].  The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting.  Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
    During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
    Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds.  And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
    A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

    The arrogance, the disdain for human life and human rights.  That is the hallmark of Kissinger's work.  There's nothing to take pride in.  He damaged the world.  Millions are dead because of him.

    While the US refused to admit it, he was a War Criminal.  That is why, for the last decades, he wasn't able to travel freely.  He would have been arrested in certain countries.

    In 2014, The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights posted this by Wolfgang Kaleck:


    “Arrest Kissinger!” read the ads that ran in 2012 in the Tagesspiegel, Berliner Zeitung and taz, the three daily newspapers in Berlin. A collaborative art event by the Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar and us, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. Along with German and English versions, the ads also appeared in Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Portuguese and Timorese dialects, i.e. the languages of the people living in countries where the population endured great suffering under former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s realpolitik. And for these policies he is still lauded by many today.

    World renowned artist Jaar’s piece focuses primarily on his home country and the Pinochet dictatorship. It begins with a date: 11/9/1973, the day coup fighters began bombing the Moneda Palace in Santiago de Chile. A date that still carries a terrible significance for Chile, for Latin America as a whole and for the Left movement everywhere. It marks the moment when the states of the West made it clear that they were unwilling to accept a democratically elected socialist – Salvador Allende – as president of Chile.

    Since then, the 11th of September has been etched in the Latin American consciousness as a reminder of the USA’s ultimate act of dominion. After 11th of September 2001, the date has of course come to be associated with the Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. And so it is an aching example of imperialist language usage when people in Latin America now hear the 11th of September 1973 being referred to merely as Once de Septiembre chico: the little 11th of September.

    In “Searching For Mr. K” Jaar quotes from a recorded dialogue between Kissinger and President Richard Nixon on 16th of September 1973 about the putsch which had taken place in Chile five days earlier:

    P: Hi Henry.
    K: Mr. President.
    P: Where are you. In New York?
    K: No. I am in Washington. I am working. I may go to a football game this afternoon if I get through.
    P: Good. Good. Well it is the opener. It is better than television. Nothing new of any importance…?
    K: Nothing of very great consequence. The Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.
    P: Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something?
    K: I mean instead of celebrating, in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.

    The results of the military coup, which was supported by the calculated assistance of the USA: thousands dead, many, many thousands more tortured and exiled, the destruction for decades of democracy in Chile. “Nothing of very great consequence”, was the summary of events from Kissinger, a man who continues to be held in high regard, honored at countless gala events and most recently in Germany by Der Spiegel.

    The University of Bonn and the German Ministry of Defense have gone one step further. In March 2014 they named a university professorship after this war criminal. Yes, those are the words I use to describe this man, even if by law he has not been found guilty. Kissinger continues to go unpunished and largely free from any prosecution. The laws in place at the time his crimes were committed did not allow for universal jurisdiction in criminal cases, as would be possible today. No investigations into his criminal contributions were held anywhere. In the USA, criminal proceedings against powerful political figures remain largely off-limits.

    “Arrest Kissinger!” is thus more of a symbolic plea. But things are quite different for the Kissingers of today, as shown by the decision against former Liberian president Charles Taylor, whose active support of the rebel army in Sierra Leone saw him face charges at a UN tribunal for his role in human rights violations.

    He was a disgusting person.  He killed millions and should have rotted in jail.  Now he's most likely going to rot in hell and he more than deserves it.  Remember, America, every time a War Criminal dies, a demon in hell gets his horns.


    End of Elaine's piece.  The following sites updated: