Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Science post -- rivers, bees and a moose

"Let the river run," sings Carly Simon, "let all the dreamers wake the nation."

But, turns out, not all rivers are 'runable' since they've been polluted so badly.  Robyn White (NEWSWEEK) reports:

Alaska's rivers and streams are becoming toxic as a strange "milky orange" color stains their waters, a new study has found

The research from the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, the University of California, Davis, and others, found that dozens of streams and rivers in Alaska's remote locations have turned orange, when they were once a clear, crystal blue.

Scientists believe this could be down to melting permafrost, the study published in Communications Earth & Environment reported. This is because as the permafrost melts, it releases all the stored minerals inside. These minerals can contain metal ores, which could be causing the rusty orange color as it is exposed to water and oxygen.

The study aimed to find out more about what is causing these milky orange color, ever since lead author Jon O'Donnell, an ecologist for the NPS' Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network, noticed the problem in 2018.

"The more we flew around, we started noticing more and more orange rivers and streams," O'Donnell said in a summary of the findings. "There are certain sites that look almost like a milky orange juice. Those orange streams can be problematic both in terms of being toxic but might also prevent migration of fish to spawning areas."

If you're wondering how a crooked con artist like Donald Trump can win the presidential nomination of a major political party, the answer is:  We are so damn stupid.

We are.  Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis is loosening protection laws to allow more damage to our barely hanging in their planet.    Maybe idiots like Donald and Ronald didn't learn math?  Let me explain, in our solar system, there is only one planet that is currently inhabitable: The Earth.  There's the goal that some day people might be able to live on the Moon or on a planet like Mars.  Those are goals.  They are unmet goals, at that.  We have one and only Earth and we need to do a better job taking care of it.

Let's stay on water for a moment.  Yesterday, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued the following:

Today, May 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an enforcement alert outlining the urgent cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities to community drinking water systems and the steps these systems need to take to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The alert is part of a government-wide effort – led by the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – to reduce the nation’s infrastructure and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. EPA is issuing this alert because threats to, and attacks on, the nation’s water system have increased in frequency and severity to a point where additional action is critical.

“Protecting our nation’s drinking water is a cornerstone of EPA’s mission, and we are committed to using every tool, including our enforcement authorities, to ensure that our nation’s drinking water is protected from cyberattacks,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “EPA’s new enforcement alert is the latest step that the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to ensure communities understand the urgency and severity of cyberattacks and water systems are ready to address these serious threats to our nation’s public health.”

Recent EPA inspections have revealed that the majority of water systems inspected – over 70 percent – do not fully comply with requirements in the Safe Drinking Water Act and that some of those systems have critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities, such as default passwords that have not been updated and single logins that can easily be compromised. As EPA and its state and federal security and intelligence partners continue to identify vulnerabilities, informed by successful cyberattacks to water systems across the United States, the agency remains committed to working with state and sector organization partners to successfully protect drinking water for communities.

Today's alert emphasizes the importance of EPA’s ongoing inspection and enforcement activities under Safe Drinking Water Act section 1433. The agency will increase the number of planned inspections and, where appropriate, will take civil and criminal enforcement actions, including in response to a situation that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment. Inspections will ensure that water systems are meeting their requirements to regularly assess resilience vulnerabilities, including cybersecurity, and to develop emergency response plans. In addition, EPA, CISA, and the FBI strongly recommend system operators take steps outlined in Top Actions for Securing Water Systems:

  • Reduce exposure to public-facing internet.
  • Conduct regular cybersecurity assessments.
  • Change default passwords immediately.
  • Conduct an inventory of OT/IT assets.
  • Develop and exercise cybersecurity incident response and recovery plans.
  • Backup OT/IT systems.
  • Reduce exposure to vulnerabilities.
  • Conduct cybersecurity awareness training.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also recently sent a letter to the nation’s governors on the urgency of the threats and the importance of collaboration across federal and state partners to develop comprehensive strategies to close gaps in cyber-resilience. Following the meeting, the National Security Council encouraged each state to prepare an action plan presenting the state’s strategy to mitigate the most significant cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the states’ water and wastewater systems by late June. EPA is also moving forward with the Water Sector Coordinating Council and Water Government Coordinating Council to establish a Task Force to identify additional near-term actions and strategies to reduce the risk of water and wastewater systems nationwide to cyberattacks.

EPA is committed to providing cybersecurity technical assistance to the water sector, allowing direct access to subject matter experts who can assist systems better understand cybersecurity concepts. Additionally, EPA and CISA will continue to offer guidance, tools, training, resources, and technical assistance to help water systems execute these essential tasks. EPA will also continue to conduct cyber assessments for small water systems under our Cybersecurity Evaluation program.

For more information about how the EPA protects America’s waterways, please visit the SDWA compliance monitoring web page and learn about the National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives for FY 2024-2027. Also, find more information on Cybersecurity for the Water Sector.

Something to keep in mind. Let's move over to bees.  Susan Elizabeth Turek (THE COOL DOWN) reports:

Researchers have made a stunning discovery about the behavior of honeybees in hot weather, but concerns remain about the ability of the pollinator to adapt to changing temperatures. 
ASU News reported that a team led by former Arizona State University Ph.D. candidate Jordan Glass, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wyoming, discovered that honeybees alter their flying patterns in high temperatures. 

By flapping their wings at a more powerful but less frequent clip, they are able to keep cooler as they haul nectar back to their hives. 

Despite the remarkable discovery, Glass believes that honeybees may still be at risk in a warming world because of desiccation, a sweat-like process that bees also use to cool down. 

As he explained to ASU News, the "feisty" creatures can dry out if they lose too much moisture, and increasingly hot, dry conditions make it harder for the bees to regulate their temperatures, putting them in greater danger. 

"Temperature is the most influential abiotic factor that determines a lot of what [animals] do. Nothing can really escape its impact," he said

We depend upon bees for so much.  The government of Australia explains:

1. Do we need bees? Why?

That’s an easy question – yes. Put simply, bees pollinate our plants, which means they carry pollen between plants of different sexes to fertilise them, or even between different parts of the same plant, which help plants reproduce. Bees even help plants survive by preventing inbreeding.

2. What is the biggest difference between native bees and honey bees?

Australian native bees don’t store nectar and therefore they generally don’t produce honey, at least not in ample amounts. But European honey bees were introduced into Australia about 200 years ago for that exact reason – to produce honey.

Unfortunately though, European honey bees steal food from native birds and animals and take over their homes. But they do pollinate some of our crops and many of our native plants.

3. If native bees don’t produce honey, do we even need them?

Definitely. Native bees pollinate native plants, many of which can’t be pollinated by introduced bees. Some flowers need vibration to release pollen, which many of our native bees can do. This is called ‘buzz pollination’. Native bees can even pollinate some introduced plant species.

4. How many native bees do we have in Australia?

There’s about 1650 native bee species in Australia, with at least 200 of these species found in the Adelaide Hills. The count for bee species worldwide is still growing – there are 20,000 known species.

5. Do native bees build hives?

There are some exceptions but generally the answer is no. Native bees tend to live alone in wood, gaps between rocks, the stems of some plants, and homes they have dug for themselves underground.

This is different from European honey bees, which live in groups with thousands of worker bees ruled by a Queen.

Surprisingly, a honey bee probably only produces a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its whole life. So if you do the maths, it would take approximately 1202 bees to create 500 grams of honey.

6. How big are native bees?

Native bees can range from about 2 millimetres to just under 2.5 centimetres long, which is the size of the spectacular carpenter bee.

7. Do native bees sting?

It’s less likely you’ll be stung by a native bee than a European honey bee, as these bees are aggressive and defend their hive. Native bees generally don’t build hives, which means this isn’t much of a problem, and the native bees that do build hives are actually stingless. The best advice is to be careful anyway and keep your distance where you can.

8. What can I do to help native bees?

Make native bees feel welcome by helping them out with a home. This helps protect the species. Consider building a ‘hotel’ for bees by drilling holes into a piece of timber, or even create a whole bee wall.

For a more in-depth read, check out Discovery Circle’s guest blog by SA Museum researcher Remko Leijs.

Pretty important.  But too many just don't give a damn.  And, as you may be already noticing in this post, those are generally Republicans.  AP reports:

Vermont's Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill to severely restrict a type of pesticide that’s toxic to bees and other pollinators, saying the legislation “is more anti-farmer than it is pro-pollinator.”

The bill would have banned uses of neonicotinoids — commonly called neonics — as well as selling or distributing soybean and cereal grain seeds that are coated in the substance. The pesticides are neurotoxins and are the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, lawmakers have said.

The Democrat-controlled Vermont legislature may consider overriding the governor's veto during a special session next month.

“It’s hard to believe that the governor chose World Bee Day to veto this sensible legislation to protect bees and other pollinators from toxic pesticides while supporting farmers through a just transition to safer alternatives,” Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said a statement on Monday.

Vermont’s legislature passed the bill after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed what she described as a nation-leading bill last year to severely limit the use neonics in her state.

I'm not trying to play politics when covering science.  It's a shame that the GOP won't stop playing politics with our environment.  

A female moose attacked and killed a man who was attempting to photograph her calves, according to Alaskan officials.

The moose charged at two men who came too close to her offspring in Homer on Sunday morning, Alaska State Troopers said in a statement.

“As they were walking through the brush looking for the moose, that’s when the cow moose attacked,” Austin McDaniel, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, told the Associated Press on Monday, adding that the moose, who had recently given birth, attacked the men as they were fleeing.

They got too close.  It's on them.  Want photos?  Take them from a safe distance.  A moose doesn't know you're approaching to take photos or what your intent is for that matter.  I have very little  sympathy for grown men who are too stupid to be aware of how threatening they may come off to wildlife.

"Iraq snapshot"  (THE COMMON ILLS):

Tuesday, May 21, 2024.  US President Joe Biden -- who has always made time to defend and excuse away the criminal actions of his drug addicted son -- expresses no sympathy for the children killed in Gaza, the BBC reports on the Israeli government's mistreatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, and much more.

US President Joe Biden has declared "what is happening in Gaza is not genocide."

How do you respond?

How about: presidential candidate Joe Biden declared that wasn't Hunter Biden's laptop.

Now we could go into hundreds of times in his political career when Joe lied to the American people.  But let's stay with Hunter.  The White House and those who lied for Joe then don't want to get honest now but will begrudgingly offer excuses -- and have to me -- that 'you have to remember, that's his son.'  As if his lying is justified in that case because it was for his son.

The Palestinians have sons and daughter who are being killed in this genocide.  We're supposed to feel sorry for a 70 something year old man that his fifty something son is a crack head, paying prostitutes and breaking up his own marriage to sleep with his dead brother's wife?  But Joe's got no sympathy for the children of Palestine.  Actual innocent children who are breaking no laws, obtaining no guns illegally, just trying to live their lives.

Joe Biden has said "what is happening in Gaza is not genocide" following an arrest warrant request by the International Criminal Court prosecutor for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US president branded the warrant request as "outrageous," adding "whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence - none - between Israel and Hamas."

"What's happening in Gaza is not genocide. We reject that," Mr Biden said at a Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House.

He said American support for the safety and security of Israelis is "ironclad".

So was he play acting with his applause at Morehouse on Sunday when he applauded the class valedictorian DeAngelo Fletcher when he spoke (transcript vid DEMOCRACY NOW!):


DEANGELO FLETCHER: Dr. King was a global philanthropist of social justice, believing that injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere. His campaign and message reached far and wide. To follow in the footsteps of our great alumnus, it is only right for the class of 2024 to utilize any platform provided to stand in solidarity with peace and justice. The Israel-Gaza conflict has plagued the people of its region for generations. It is important to recognize that both sides have suffered heavy casualties in the wake of October 7th. From the comfort of our homes, we watch an unprecedented number of civilians mourn the loss of men, women and children, while calling for the release of all hostages. For the first time in our lives, we’ve heard the global community sing one harmonious song that transcends language and culture. It is my stance as a Morehouse man — nay, as a human being — to call for an immediate and a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. … Hear the people of this world sing the song of righteous justice. Thank you.

Did Joe just applaud because others were applauding?  Was he having a senior moment and not grasping what was being said?

A permanent cease-fire and not one after the Israeli government has destroyed every home, hospital, school and university in Gaza.

Joe was rushing to defend War Criminal Netanyahu because of the ICC.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!  

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

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has announced he’s seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders — the head of the group, Yahya Sinwar; the head of the political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh; and the head of Hamas’s militant wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Deif. ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan discussed the case in an interview today on CNN with Christiane Amanpour. He began by talking about the charges against Hamas.

KARIM KHAN: The charges are extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention. So, these are the key crimes that are alleged to have been committed by these three individuals. The world was shocked on the 7th of October when people were ripped from their bedrooms, from their homes, from the different kibbutzim in Israel, and people have suffered enormously. And we have a variety of evidence to support the applications that we’ve submitted to the judges.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You have also issued warrants against the top political and military leadership of the government of the state of Israel.

KARIM KHAN: We’ve applied for warrants. Of course, the judges must determine whether or not to issue them, but we’ve applied today. We’ll apply for warrants for Prime Minister Netanyahu and also Minister of Defense Gallant for the crimes of causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.

AMY GOODMAN: That was the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan on CNN this morning. Netanyahu responded to the possible ICC arrest warrants.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: [translated] This court has no authority over the state of Israel. The possibility that it will issue an arrest warrant for war crimes against IDF commanders and state leaders, this possibility is a scandal of a historic scale. Eighty years after the Holocaust, the international bodies that were founded to prevent another Holocaust are considering denying the Jewish state its right to defend itself. To defend itself against who? Against those who acted and are still working openly to commit genocide against us. What an absurdity. What a distortion of justice and of history. This will be the first time that a democratic country, which is fighting for its life, according to all the rules of international law, is accused of war crimes.

AMY GOODMAN: That clip of the prime minister was from April. For more, we’re joined by Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani. He is an editor of Jadaliyya and host of the Connections podcast. He’s contributor to the new book, Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm. He was previously a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, joining us from Montreal.

Mouin, thanks so much for being with us. This story broke just before we went to air. Can you talk about the significance of these charges, if the ICC court decides to bring them?

MOUIN RABBANI: I think they’re very significant, because it places Israel’s leaders of this genocidal onslaught on the Gaza Strip in the dock. And, of course, prosecutor Karim Khan is also seeking the arrest of three Hamas leaders. I think there’s also a lot that can be said about this.

For Karim Khan, once again, history begins on October 7th. Even though his investigation has, by his own account, been ongoing for a number of years and is supposed to take into account all crimes committed since 2014, he has yet to address any crimes between 2014 and 2023 — notably, the crime of apartheid, the crime of illegal settlements in occupied territories, Israel’s — and, for that matter, Hamas’s — conduct in the 2014 war and in 2021.

And the other thing that struck me is Khan’s attempt to, let’s say, place the onus primarily on Hamas. So, he’s indicted three Hamas leaders and two Israeli leaders. And what struck me is that he is seeking the arrest of Hamas’s titular leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who, according to most accounts, was not involved in the planning and execution of the Hamas attacks of October 7th — presumably, there is some element of command responsibility involved — but he has not sought the arrest of either Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, or the Israeli chief of staff or any of the commanding officers involved in Israel’s onslaught since October 7th, nor, for that matter, other key decision-makers in Israel’s war cabinet, like Benny Gantz, like Gadi Eisenkot and others.

AMY GOODMAN: So, can you talk about what this practically means, Mouin Rabbani?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, I think it will have more impact on — assuming, again, that the arrest warrants are indeed issued — it will have more effect on Israel, I think, than on Hamas. I mean, when is the last time you saw Hamas leaders going on a shopping trip in Paris or London? It’s Israeli leaders who will need to travel to Europe and elsewhere, where they would face the prospect of arrest. And I think this also puts other countries in the dock. Will they now — they now have to make a choice between Israeli impunity and their obligations under the Rome Statute, at least those who are members of the International Criminal Court.

And again, I think, in broader political terms, this is of massive significance, despite all the shortcomings that I’ve just been discussed. This means that Israel’s leaders are indicted war criminals. And we heard the clip of Netanyahu once again trying to hide behind the Holocaust and what he claims is Israeli democracy and so on. That’s no longer going to fly. That edifice has been peeled away. Israel will now be seen and judged on the basis of its actions in real time rather than on history in Europe.

AMY GOODMAN: What does this mean for the United States, for the U.S. main ally, Israel, its ally, indicted on war crimes?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, I think that’s another key issue. The U.S., of course, rejects the International Criminal Court and rejects its jurisdiction over this issue. But I think there’s another key point here, which is all the threats that are being made by the United States, particularly most recently by a group of Republican senators, threatening all kinds of reprisals and retaliations against the International Criminal Court if it were to proceed with this measure. And this is a crime in and of itself. So, it will be very interesting to see if the U.S. follows through on those threats and, if it does, how the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will react.

If I can just make one additional point, the reason we’ve gotten to this, to where we are today, is actually because of Hamas. About a decade ago, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was coming under increasing Palestinian criticism and condemnation for dragging his feet on the Palestinian application to ratify the Rome Statute and become a part of the International Criminal Court. He said he would only do so if he had the explicit endorsement to do so of the Hamas leadership. And it was only after he obtained that that Palestine sought to become a state party to the International Criminal Court. So, here you have a situation where it is the Palestinians who have been calling for an investigation of all crimes committed in what’s called the situation of Palestine, whether by themselves or anyone else, and Israel and the United States categorically rejecting the court’s jurisdiction and any measures that it may take.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, Israel and the United States are not signatories to the ICC.


AMY GOODMAN: But I’m just looking at this New York Times article from last July: “President Biden has quietly ordered the U.S. government to begin sharing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, according to officials familiar with the matter, signaling a major shift in American policy.” And, of course, Russia also wasn’t a signatory, and Putin was indicted. Talk about that kind of cooperation with the ICC in that case, but certainly not in this case.

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, that’s called the rules-based international order, where you apply international law and the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and so on to your enemies and adversaries, but you reject them for yourself and your allies, because, there, the rule is total impunity and to do as you please.

And I should say that Karim Khan himself played a rather nefarious role in this. Upon assuming his position of prosecutor, he briefed the Security Council and informed the Security Council that he would only pursue those cases referred to him by the council. And that was a clear signal that he was no longer going to pursue the cases in Afghanistan and Palestine. He did so before Russia invaded Ukraine. Once Russia did invade Ukraine, that principle went out the window, and he basically did the bidding of those who had supported his campaign to become prosecutor. And I think it’s also in that broader context that his continued ability to slow-foot and marginalize and ignore the situation in Palestine, particularly in the context of the current genocide, became untenable.

AMY GOODMAN: And can you, finally, tell us who Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh, who lives right in Doha, in Qatar, and Mohammed Deif are?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, I should add that Qatar is also not a signatory to the Rome Statute, and so, therefore, this should, in principle, not lead to Haniyeh’s extradition to The Hague. Ismail Haniyeh is the head of the Politburo of Hamas and, therefore, the titular leader of the organization. Yahya Sinwar is the leader of Hamas within the Gaza Strip and at the same time is seen as the most powerful leader within the movement as a whole. And Mohammed Deif is the head of the Martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. And Sinwar and Reif specifically are also seen as the main architects of the October 7th attacks in southern Israel and Hamas’s military strategy in the months since.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Mouin Rabbani, we want to thank you for being with us, Middle East analyst, co-editor of Jadaliyya and host of the Connections podcast, former senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, contributor to the book, Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm.

  Human rights defenders around the world on Monday accused U.S. President Joe Biden of double standards and worse after he condemned a decision by the International Criminal Court's top prosecutor to pursue arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders for alleged crimes committed during the October 7 attacks and subsequent obliteration of Gaza.

Karim Khan, the ICC's chief prosecutor, said the court has formally applied for arrest warrants targeting two Israeli and three Palestinian officials. Khan is seeking to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged "crimes of causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, [and] deliberately targeting civilians in conflict."

Khan said charges against Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohammed Deif include "extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape, and sexual assault in detention."

A panel of ICC judges will determine whether to issue arrest warrants for any of the suspects.

Biden blasted the effort to arrest Netanyahu and Gallant as "outrageous."

"Let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence—none—between Israel and Hamas," the president said in a statement. "We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he called the ICC's "shameful... equivalence of Israel with Hamas."

Critics were quick to pounce on what some called Biden's hypocritically disparate responses to the ICC's pursuit of arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and for Russian President Vladmir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

"What's outrageous is Biden's utter disregard for victims of war crimes," said Mark Kersten, an assistant professor of international law at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia. "But let's be clear: Biden will feel he must attack the ICC because it directly implicates his own decision-making to repeatedly defend atrocities and their authors."

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, said that "there's certainly no quantitative equivalence between Hamas and Israeli officials in terms of the sheer number of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including humans murdered, homes demolished, hospitals bombarded, journalists executed, aid workers snuffed, land stolen, children starved, men tortured... I could go on and on."

Furthermore, "'equivalence' between two actors has zero bearing on who should be arrested and prosecuted," Whitson added. "The ICC has prosecuted individuals for a single offense irrespective of how it compares to other crimes committed by other actors at the same time."

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis—who heads the leftist Democracy in Europe Movement 2025—said on social media that "Biden just declared the International Criminal Court null and void because it dared pursue Israel's war crimes which Biden is actively and enthusiastically enabling."

"In the tradition of George W. Bush, the U.S. president has declared the U.S. a rogue state," he added. 

For more on the topic of the US government backing War Crimes, see Marjorie Cohn's "US-Backed Philippine Government Committed War Crimes, People’s Tribunal Finds" (TRUTHOUT).  Lydia Chantler-Hicks (THE EVENING STANDARD) notes that Joe also declared, "The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous."

No, Joe, what's outrageous is over 14,000 children killed by the Israeli government.  The good thing for Joe about being 81 is that he won't have to live with guilt for many years to come over how his actions have led to the deaths of so many children.  While Joe rages against the ICC, THE WASHINGTON POST notes, "European countries including France and Germany issued statements affirming their support for the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court after its prosecutor sought arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas officials. President Biden criticized the prosecutor’s decision, saying there is 'no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas'."

Medical workers in Israel have told the BBC that Palestinian detainees from Gaza are routinely kept shackled to hospital beds, blindfolded, sometimes naked, and forced to wear nappies – a practice one medic said amounted to “torture”.

A whistle-blower detailed how procedures in one military hospital were “routinely” carried out without painkillers, causing “an unacceptable amount of pain” to detainees.

Another whistle-blower said painkillers were used “selectively” and “in a very limited way” during an invasive medical procedure on a Gazan detainee in a public hospital.

He also said critically ill patients being held in makeshift military facilities were being denied proper treatment because of a reluctance by public hospitals to transfer and treat them.

One detainee, taken from Gaza for questioning by the Israeli army and later released, told the BBC his leg had to be amputated because he was denied treatment for an infected wound.

A senior doctor working inside the military hospital at the centre of the allegations denied that any amputations were the direct result of conditions there, but described the shackles and other restraints used by guards as “dehumanisation”.

The Israeli army said detainees at the facility were treated “appropriately and carefully”.

The two whistle-blowers the BBC spoke to were both in positions to assess the medical treatment of detainees. Both asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue among their colleagues.

Their accounts are supported by a report, published in February by Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, which said that Israel’s civilian and military prisons had become “an apparatus of retribution and revenge” and that detainees’ human rights were being violated - in particular their right to health.

No doubt, Joe will find an excuse for that.  Or bore us all again with another tale of his root canal last June.  Another topic he'll avoid?  The reporting of THE GUARDIAN's Lorenzo Tondo and Quique Kierszenbaum:


Individual members of Israel’s security forces are tipping off far-right activists and settlers to the location of aid trucks delivering vital supplies to Gaza, enabling the groups to block and vandalise the convoys, according to multiple sources.

Settlers intercepting the vital humanitarian supplies to the strip are receiving information about the location of the aid trucks from members of the Israeli police and military, a spokesperson from the main Israeli activist group behind the blockades told the Guardian.

The claim of collusion by members of the security forces is supported by messages from internal internet chat groups reviewed by the Guardian as well as accounts from a number of witnesses and human rights activists.

Those blocking the vehicles say the aid they carry is being diverted by Hamas instead of being delivered to civilians in need a claim relief agencies reject.

Rachel Touitou, a spokesperson for the Israeli group Tzav 9, said the group had been blocking trucks as they made their way through Israel since January, on the grounds that the aid they carried was “hijacked” by Hamas once it reached Gaza.

They're criminals, these people attacking aid workers and stealing supplies are criminals.  But note that they have no fear of arrest.  Rachel Touitou is perfectly willing to speak on the record and defend her crimes because she knows the Israeli government will never punish her for these crimes, that, in fact, the Israeli government agrees with her actions and backs them.

Medical sources have told Al Jazeera that a drone attack has targeted a group of people in the Yibna refugee camp in Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least three children.

Footage obtained by Al Jazeera showed the first moments after the strike with the bodies of children lying on the ground.

The children were transferred by medical staff to the Kuwaiti Specialty Hospital in Rafah, sources say.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 228 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 35,647 Palestinians have been killed and 79,852 injured in Israel's war on Gaza since October 7, the enclave's Health Ministry said on Tuesday. In the past 24 hours, 85 people were killed and 200 others injured, the ministry said in a statement."   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:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

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."

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