Thursday, May 02, 2024

Science post - Orangutan Rakus does first aid and look at the amazing Blue Morpho

Yesterday, Isaiah's did two THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS  comics -- "From The River To The Sea No Student Shall Be Free" and "This is CNN?" -- that second one is below.



I was torn between science and the courts but science won out -- mainly for this report Jack Guy did for CNN:

Scientists working in Indonesia have observed an orangutan intentionally treating a wound on their face with a medicinal plant, the first time this behavior has been documented.
Rakus, a male Sumatran orangutan, treated a wound on his face by chewing leaves from a climbing plant named Akar Kuning and repeatedly applying the juice to it, according to a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday.
Rakus then covered the wound with the chewed up leaves, which are used in traditional medicine to treat illnesses like dysentery, diabetes and malaria, said scientists.

Is that not amazing?  

So did Rakus learn this recently or has he know this treatment for awhile?  They're not sure:

The orangutan may have touched his wound accidentally while feeding on the plant and felt immediate pain relief due to its analgesic – pain relieving – effects, making him repeat the behavior, she explained.

Another possible explanation is that Rakus learned how to treat a wound from other orangutans in the area where he was born, said Laumer.

That is so interesting.  That's the kind of story that I go looking for when I pull up a news feed.  Here's Will Dunham (REUTERS) on the same breakthrough:

Rakus, believed to have been born in 1989, is a flanged male, with large cheek pads on both sides of the face - secondary male sexual characteristics. Rakus was one of the area's dominant males.

The researchers said the orangutan's wound self-treatment did not appear to be happenstance.

"His behavior appeared to be intentional. He selectively treated his facial wound on his right flange with the plant juice, and no other body parts. The behavior was repeated several times, not only plant juice but later also more-solid plant material was applied until the wound was fully covered. The entire process took a considerable amount of time," Laumer said.

The wound never showed signs of infection and closed within five days, the researchers said.

"The observation suggests that the cognitive capacities that are needed for the behavior - active wound treatment with plants - may be as old as the last common ancestor of orangutans and humans," Schuppli said. "However, what these cognitive capacities exactly are remains to be investigated. Whereas this observation shows that orangutans are capable of treating their wounds with plants, we don't know to what extent they understand the process."

Wait.  There's more.  Nilima Marshall (INDEPENDENT) reports:

Dr Laumer said: “Analyses of plant chemical compounds show the presence of furanoditerpenoids and protoberberine alkaloids, which are known to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and other biological activities of relevance to wound healing.”

She said Rakus was also observed resting more than usual while being wounded.

Dr Laumer said: “Sleep positively affects wound healing as growth hormone release, protein synthesis and cell division are increased during sleep.”

In other science news, AMAZING ANIMALS has a slide show on the "20 Most Beautiful Butterflies in the World."  My favorite?  The blue morpho or the peacock butterfly which looks a little like -- coloring wise -- the Mantis shrimp we were noting yesterday.  Listen to this about the blue morpho:

The Blue Morpho butterfly is renowned for its dazzling blue wings that shimmer when exposed to sunlight. Native to the lush rainforests of Central and South America, it uses its brilliant wings to startle predators and communicate with mates. Despite its vivid coloration, the Blue Morpho’s wings are actually colorless. The blue appearance is due to microscopic scales that reflect light, creating a vivid iridescent effect.

Here's a video on the Blue Morpho -- isn't that just mind blowing?

If you're trying to plant something to attract hummingbirds, THE FAMILY HANDYMAN and LIFESTYLOGY both cover that.  I also saw "15 Facts You Should Know About Eggs" and wanted to note this from it:

Chicks are equipped with a temporary, sharp structure on their beak called an “egg tooth.” This tool helps them break through the eggshell from the inside when they are ready to hatch. The egg tooth falls off a few days after hatching, as it is no longer needed. This fascinating adaptation is critical for the survival of the chick, enabling it to emerge into the world.

I had never heard of the egg tooth before.  Don't worry, I'm never afraid or embarrassed to admit when I learn something new and I hope I learn new things every day until I die.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

The joke that is Junior.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What this has to do with insurrection?

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

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

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

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

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

But they were hoping for something similar. 

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

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

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

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


There's not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tear gas. Pepper spray. Violent beatings.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The blood would be on your hands.

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

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

Follow our live coverage of the protests here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News

Gaza remains under assault. Day 209 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL notes, "At least 34,596 Palestinians have been killed and 77,816 injured since Israel's war on Gaza began on October 7, health authorities in the enclave said. In the past 24 hours, 28 people were killed and 51 injured, the ministry added."    Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

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

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Science post: Doggerland, goblin shark, Mantis shrimp

 Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "From The River To The Sea No Student Shall Be Free" is a comic rightly calling out the genocide loving president of Columbia University.


I love that and I hate the woman in the comic.  I love how Isaiah cut her off before "free."  The media should either call that sicko out or just ignore her.  She turned the police loose on students and she will be remembered as pure evil when history is written.

Between the assault on the students and the corruption of the Supreme Court, I'm not in the mood for anything but science tonight, sorry.

And this is just going to be a quick grab bag of topics.

The more that time passes since the heyday of an ancient civilization, the more mysterious that civilization becomes. And while it's the life's work of archaeologists to unravel those mysteries, the ravages of time have a way of making that difficult. After all, archaeologists can only find the artifacts that managed to survive thousands of years of unpredictable natural processes. Nature has a way of destroying evidence.

This makes it especially exciting when an ancient civilization is discovered underwater, as finding ruins in the world's vast bodies of water is very much akin to finding a needle in a haystack. And that goes double when that discovery fundamentally changes people's understanding of the ancient world. Read on to learn more.

Although the lost city of Atlantis described by Plato only seems to exist in legends, that hasn't stopped people from holding out hope of its existence.

For many, the idea that an ancient civilization could still be thriving under the known world is an attractive proposition that inspires endless curiosity.

But while that thought remains attractive thousands of years after Plato's writings, it actually isn't unheard of for archaeologists to find deep-sea evidence of lost communities.

As is the case for this ancient Roman statue, these lost cities once stood on land but found themselves submerged amid changes in sea level and other natural forces.

But while it doesn't evoke the kind of sophisticated wonder that imaginings of Atlantis tend to suggest, one lost ancient civilization has been the subject of great archaeological interest in recent decades.

And that's partially because its existence fundamentally changes humanity's understanding of ancient Europe.

According to National Geographic, the British Isles have only been islands for the last 6,000 years.

Before that, they were connected to the rest of Europe by an area known as Doggerland.

Doggerland?  From WIKIPEDIA:

Doggerland was an area of land in Northern Europe, now submerged beneath the North Sea, that connected Britain to continental Europe. It was repeatedly exposed at various times during the Pleistocene epoch due to the lowering of sea levels during glacial periods. It was last flooded by rising sea levels around 6500–6200 BCE. The flooded land is known as the Dogger Littoral.[1] Geological surveys have suggested that it stretched from what is now the east coast of Great Britain to what is now the Netherlands, the western coast of Germany and the Danish peninsula of Jutland.[2] It was probably a rich habitat with human habitation in the Mesolithic period,[3] although rising sea levels gradually reduced it to low-lying islands before its final submergence, possibly following a tsunami caused by the Storegga Slide.[4] Doggerland was named after the Dogger Bank, which in turn was named after 17th-century Dutch fishing boats called doggers.[5]

The archaeological potential of the area was first identified in the early 20th century, and interest intensified in 1931 when a fishing trawler operating east of the Wash dragged up a barbed antler point that was subsequently dated to a time when the area was tundra. Vessels have since dragged up remains of mammothslions and other animals, and a few prehistoric tools and weapons.[6]

As of 2020 international teams are continuing a two-year investigation into the submerged landscape of Doggerland using new and traditional archaeo-geophysical techniques, computer simulation, and molecular biology. Evidence gathered allows study of past environments, ecological change, and human transition from hunter-gatherer to farming communities.[7]

The museum noted that the rock “must have been placed there for a reason, probably to keep the deceased in the grave and prevent him from coming back to life.”

Susanne Friederich, the archaeologist in charge of the excavations, told Newsweek: "We know that already in the Stone Age people were afraid of revenants. People wanted to prevent this with magic.

"Back then, people believed that dead people sometimes tried to free themselves from their graves.

“Sometimes, the dead were laid on their stomachs. If the dead lies on his stomach, he burrows deeper and deeper instead of reaching the surface," she explained.

Rock put on the body to keep it coming back from life?  Maybe.  Superstition is not limited to any historical period.  Today, getting coffee, I heard some idiot pontificating loudly about how Taylor Swift was actually Satan and that's why her albums sold.  Guess that means the reverse is true and therefore Justin Timberlake is an angel? (See Kat's "Justin Timberlake - the stale Pop Tart.") But when I read it, I thought, "Does the area flood?"  Think about New Orleans, for example, or any place where sometimes corpses float up to the surface. Per Sirin Kale (GUARDIAN):

When the waters rose, Meike and Dörte Näkel weren’t worried. People in this part of the world, the Ahr valley in Germany, are used to it. The river flooded in 2016, bursting its banks and rising almost four metres, and before that in 2013, 1910 and 1804. Many lives were lost in 1804 and 1910, in catastrophes remembered only in stories read from history books to bored schoolchildren. The sisters’ great-grandmother Anna Meyer lived through the 1910 flood, although she never spoke of it to Meike and Dörte.

They are the fifth generation of their family to make wine in the village of Dernau. Meike, 44, is blond, thoughtful and a little serious; Dörte, 42, who has dark hair that comes down to her waist, is quicker to laugh. Both have the same steady gaze. Their father, Werner Näkel, is a hero in the Ahr, widely credited with transforming it from a place where sugar was added routinely to cheap, bad wine into a region with award‑winning vintages.

[. . .]

There is a well-known term in hydrological circles: flood dementia. “Every couple of decades, people tend to forget about historical events,” says Stefan Greiving, a professor of spatial planning at the Technical University of Dortmund.

The Ahr has always flooded, sometimes with significant loss of life. In 1910, 200 people died in the valley. In a tunnel leading into Altenahr, plaques denote the high-water marks of historic floods. “In the immediate period after the event, there’s a small window of time for implementing and approving radical solutions,” says Greiving. “But this is probably limited to a couple of months after the event.” After the 1910 floods, officials considered building a reservoir near Rech, a small village in the Ahr, to collect water in case of flooding. Instead they built the Nürburgring racing track, to create jobs during a time of high unemployment.

[. . .]

The Romans knew to build away from the Ahr; the medieval church fathers, too. The churches in Altenahr and Dernau did not flood, because they were built on higher land. 

So I'd argue that it's just as likely that flooding was a reason someone might place a stone on a corpse.  Not denying that zombies might have been a fear, just saying that it seems a more likely explanation that there were flooding concerns.  BON VOYAGED has a slide show entitled "27 Most Mysterious Creatures Living In The Ocean."  Be sure to check out the goblin shark:

With its elongated snout and protruding jaws, the goblin shark is a deep-sea dweller that looks like a creature from a nightmare. This rarely seen shark is known for its unique ability to extend its jaw forward to snatch prey. Its pinkish skin and flabby appearance contribute to its eerie appearance, making it one of the strangest creatures of the deep.

And the winner for the cutest of the 27?  The mantis shrimp.  It's got a lot of color on it -- red, green, orange, blue, yellow . . . 

Despite its small size, the mantis shrimp packs a powerful punch with its club-like appendages, capable of breaking aquarium glass. Mantis shrimp have remarkable eyesight, with some species possessing up to 16 types of photoreceptor cells. They inhabit burrows in the seafloor and are voracious predators, using their powerful claws to catch prey.

Here's a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC videos of a Mantis shrimp.

You may think zombies are the preserve of Halloween and horror movies but, it turns out, our ancient ancestors also harboured fears of the undead.

Archaeologists in Germany have unearthed an Early Bronze Age burial ground which was designed to keep the deceased from returning to life.

The site is what is known as a “revenant”, or “zombie”, grave – with “revenant” referring to an individual who comes back from the dead, either as a spirit or revived corpse, often to torment the living.

Revenant graves, dating back thousands of years, have been discovered across Europe, and are characterised by evidence of precautions taken to keep the dead where they belong: firmly in the ground.

Strategies included piercing the corpses with a lance or placing large stones on their legs to pin them down, Newsweek reports.

Most of these graves date to the Middle Ages (from the 5th century BC to around the 14th Century AD), but some go as far back as prehistoric times.

The latest example, understood to be some 4,500 years old, was found near the village of Oppin in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt during excavations ahead of planned construction work.

The "extremely interesting" grave contained the remains of a man aged between 40 and 60 at the time of his death, the state’s Museum of Prehistory announced in a Facebook post.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, May 1, 2024.  Officials unleash the police on peaceful student protesters.

There are various versions going out to news consumers about what took place at Columbia University last night.  

Hundreds of New York Police Department officers entered campus on Tuesday night and cleared Hamilton Hall, which demonstrators occupied early Tuesday morning, arresting dozens of protesters. The sweep came after University President Minouche Shafik authorized the NYPD “to clear all individuals from Hamilton Hall and all campus encampments” on Tuesday.

Outside the admissions office entrance to Hamilton, officers pushed protesters to the ground and slammed them with metal barricades. Police began arresting protesters outside the main entrance of the building at around 9:30 p.m.

One protester lay on the ground in front of Hamilton unmoving as police officers stood over them. Three officers then carried the individual away from the building. Another protester was thrown down the stairs in front of Hamilton, according to videos reviewed by Spectator.

As they entered the building, officers threw down the metal and wooden tables barricading the doors and shattered the glass on the leftmost doors of Hamilton to enter with shields in hand. As they entered rooms in the building, several officers drew their guns, according to footage posted by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry.

The arrests came on the 56th anniversary of the 1968 police sweep of the Morningside campus, when the NYPD arrested hundreds of students occupying several buildings on campus, including Hamilton Hall.

That's sound and basic journalism.  Let's zoom in on a 'local' news report that was, in fact, aired nationally with a liar at each station pretending that they were the 'reporter' on the piece.

Who's a whore?  So many but let's go to a big market, let's not pick on someone already struggling in a small one.  So let's go to Los Angeles.

KTLA's Sandra Mitchell is a whore.  I get it, I do.  When you look like her in Chicago, viewers might just find you plain.  But for Los Angeles TV?  You're butt ugly.  You're the one they take up an office donations for cosmetic surgery.  So I get it, Sandra, you'll stoop to anything.  But your decision to pass someone else's report from New York off as your own on local Los Angeles television?

Well, whore, that means you have to answer for it.  

So she needs to answer for her report yesterday evening (which again she just narrated and pretended like she had done it herself) when you featured two people -- each billed solely as "Columbia student" -- praising the violent assault by the police.  Onscreen they were just "Columbia student."  And wasn't it, strange, Sandra, how "you" (reality: some reporter in New York) could only find two students to speak to and they weren't involved in the protest so they really weren't pat of the news.  But the two you provide for context both hate the protesters and these two are just students, just two students with no dog in the battle.  

No, they do have dogs in the battle.  Take bow wow Jessica Schwalb who is actually a journalist and is actually a Palestinian hater who has been Tweeting hatred at the protesters for as long as it's been going on and this Laura Loomer fan girl goes back even further on her Tweets attacking the Palestinians and attacking their supporters -- no links to trash.

She's not the only nightmare.  Playing a right-wing version of the Rupert Everett to her right-wing Julia Roberts, we get Jonas Du -- known as Jonas Doo-Doo to his friends?  This "Columbia student" who is also the only other student interviewed by "Sandra" also happens to be a right-winger. 

In fact, he and Jessica are working with the right-wing press as he noted before he and Jessica spoke to "Sandra" for "her" "report" -- he Tweeted:

It’s an honor to work with
in collaboration with
to cover the madness that has engulfed Columbia

Get it? 

It took me less than two minutes -- while walking on the treadmill to warm up -- to find the information that "Sandra" should have found herself before putting a name to a report that she didn't do and couldn't have done.  

But that is what happens thanks to media consolidation.  Like far too many channels in this country, KTLA is owned by NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP.  They own 197 TV stations throughout the country.

Shame on Sandra and KTLA and every other of the 196 that the garbage 'report' got aired on.  Sandra now resumes trying to pose her body seductively while doing hard hitting topics like dog safety.  Does she think this is the pose of a journalist or a sexpot?


Normal women don't angle themselves in a chair like that -- nor, and this goes for her co-host as well -- do they were Joan Crawford f**k-me heels for a mid-day segment.

They won't tell the truth about the protesters because the truth hurts their side.  The truth puts the blood on their hands.  So they lie about the protesters and NEXSTAR viewers were under the impression that they were watching a locally produced segment (how did their local TV favorite get to New York and back!!!!) with fairness and no distortions.  They didn't know that the students -- the only ones who got to speak on camera -- were both fright-wingers working with Bari The Transphobe Weiss.  Don't worry, Zac and Gavin will find a way to brag about Bari's ethics in yet another editon of THE VANGUARD.

Media consolidation hurts us all.  Might be something to remember as renewal licenses are sought.

WSWS continues its coverage of Columbia and the other universities where students are making their voices heard. 

From the report on Columbia University -- the first one listed above -- we'll note this:

In order to prevent objective documentation of their brutality, police forced legal observers, press and medics to leave the campus area, and even public streets nearby, before they began their assault. As of this writing it is unclear how many protesters have been arrested and the extent of their injuries. 

The police brutality witnessed at Columbia Tuesday night was replicated across the country. At the University of South Florida in Tampa, riot police were recorded firing tear gas and rubber bullets against unarmed and peaceful protesters. 

The coordinated and violent assaults on non-violent student encampments have been ordered from the White House. On Tuesday, the Biden administration issued a series of statements doubling down on the lie that anti-Gaza genocide protests continuing to spread across US university campuses are antisemitic, signaling its support for stepped-up police attacks and arrests of peaceful protesters. 

In response to the occupation of Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall by pro-Palestinian students in the early morning hours of Tuesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates declared:

President Biden has stood against repugnant, antisemitic smears and violent rhetoric his entire life. He condemns the use of the term “intifada,” as he has the other tragic and dangerous hate speech displayed in recent days. President Biden respects the right to free expression, but protests must be peaceful and lawful. Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful—it is wrong. And hate speech and hate symbols have no place in America.

Biden’s lead was taken up by New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former cop, who said “external actors” were behind the Columbia occupation and demanded that all protesters “leave the area now.” He added that the occupation “must end now.”

The occupation of the classroom building came in response to the university’s announcement that it had begun suspending students who defied its order that a protest encampment set up two weeks ago be disbanded. The administration effectively placed the entire campus on lockdown.

This followed the mobilization of New York City police to attack and arrest hundreds of protesters, who courageously refused to end their protest demanding that the university divest from Israel as part of the fight to stop the US/Israeli slaughter of Palestinians, which has already taken the lives of more than 34,000 defenseless civilians, mainly women and children.

Following the occupation of Hamilton Hall, the university announced that it would expel students who refused to leave the building.

The hypocrisy of the White House statement defies description. Biden and his accomplices in both parties and all branches of the government are supplying the fascistic government of Benjamin Netanyahu with the bullets, bombs, tanks, missiles and war planes that are being used to murder and starve Palestinians, while providing political cover for the murderous Zionist regime. Along with its imperialist and NATO allies around the world, the US is defying mass demonstrations all over the world demanding a halt to the greatest war crime since the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews during World War II.

Fireworks, tear gas and fights broke out just after 10:50 p.m. Tuesday night and continued early Wednesday morning as around 100 pro-Israel counter-protesters attempted to seize the barricade around and storm the ongoing Palestine solidarity encampment in Dickson Plaza.

The chaos comes as Chancellor Gene Block faces criticism for improper handling of the encampment and the same day the university deemed the encampment to be unlawful, threatening students inside with suspension and expulsion. Security and UCPD both retreated as pro-Israel counter-protesters and other groups attacked protesters in the encampment – led by Students for Justice in Palestine and UC Divest Coalition at UCLA – that followed similar ones across the country. 

There has been a minimal police presence on campus despite multiple events of counter-protesters antagonizing the encampment since Thursday.

UC President Michael Drake released a statement Tuesday evening supporting the university’s decision to label the encampment as unlawful, adding that “when it threatens the safety of students, or anyone else, we must act.” 

In an emailed statement sent at 12:40 a.m., Mary Osako – the vice chancellor of strategic communications – said the university had called law enforcement personnel for immediate support.

“Horrific acts of violence occurred at the encampment tonight,” she said in the statement. “The fire department and medical personnel are on the scene. We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end.”

At around 10:50 p.m., counter-protesters – who had been gathering around the encampment since that afternoon – began wrestling with protesters inside and CSC security hired by UCLA over the metal barricades surrounding the Gaza solidarity encampment. The barriers came down shortly afterward, and counter-protesters wearing masks then began shoving the wooden boards surrounding the encampment, attempting to topple them onto the protesters inside.

“If they can be there, so can we,” a counter-protester shouted through a megaphone as they tore down the metal barriers. Just before the barriers came down, another yelled, “You guys are going to want to get this. This is history being made.”

CSC security officers hired by the university retreated into Kaplan Hall shortly after, refusing to allow entrance into the building to anyone, including Daily Bruin reporters. The Daily Bruin had previously been pledged 24-hour access to Haines Hall by UCLA Media Relations to protect the safety of its staff, but when reporters attempted to access the building, they found it locked. No immediate remedy was provided, and Media Relations only said that they were working on providing a solution.

After the barricades came down, counter-protesters and protesters inside the encampment began to fight. Counter-protesters shot fireworks into the encampment just after 11 p.m., and irritant gasses were released from both sides. A Daily Bruin reporter was indirectly sprayed in the face.

That might shock you if you read the bulk of the coverage with one outlet after another attempting to pretend that both sides started it.  No, for hours it had been egged on by the pro-genocide activists.  Unlike many others, ALJAZEERA gets the reality correct;

The People’s City Council, a collective of different activist organizations, has published a statement on behalf of the UCLA Palestine Solidarity Encampment.

It said that the encampment was attacked with gas canisters, pepper spray, fireworks and bricks overnight.

According to the statement, the university’s external security watched and filmed the attack, while law enforcement did not intervene.

Even the use of police force to silence democracy will not work.  Protests continue to pop up.  Dallas; WFAA reports on Denton's University of North Texas:

  Hundreds of students marched Tuesday at the University of North Texas, demanding the school disclose any foundation investments that might benefit Israel’s military.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee, a student organization, coordinated the walkout. 

“Our youth is fighting a just cause for the liberation of Palestine,” Palestine Solidarity Committee member Talia Irsh told WFAA. “They are standing up to say that we are not okay with genocide. We are not okay with our institutions funding genocide and profiting off of genocide.”

[, , ,]

The demonstration was considerably larger than similar protests last week at UT Dallas and UT Arlington, which also finished without incident. UNT has more than 49,000 students enrolled, about 10,000 more than UT Arlington and about 20,000 more than UT Dallas.

A friend who's a college professor at UNT told me over the phone that UNT has not seen this kind of turnout and activity since 1994 when Pearl Jam played live on campus.


AMY GOODMAN: As police crack down on student protesters around the country, we begin today at Columbia University, where scores of students took over Hamilton Hall just after midnight last night after the school began suspending students who refused to leave the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, which began almost two weeks ago. Columbia’s Emergency Management Operations Team says it has now locked down the main campus following the occupation. Hamilton Hall was also the site of a historic student occupation in 1968. Students have renamed the building Hind’s Hall in honor of Hind Rajab, a 6-year-old Palestinian girl killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

PROTESTER: [echoed by the people’s mic] This building is liberated in honor of Hind, a 6-year-old Palestinian child murdered in Gaza!

AMY GOODMAN: Students are calling for Columbia University to divest from Israel. Democracy Now! was on campus Monday. We spoke to professors and students after a vote around noon to stay in the encampment despite being sanctioned with interim suspension.

PROTESTERS: Disclose! Divest! We will not stop! We will not rest! Disclose! Divest!

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! We’re on the Columbia University campus. Right behind us is the tent encampment. There are dozens of tents there. And then you see around me are people in orange fluorescent vests. They are the faculty. They are the professors at Columbia University who are here to protect their students. It’s just before 2:30, when a news conference will be held. We just passed a 2 p.m. deadline, when Columbia President Shafik said after this point that the students can be suspended. It’s not clear whether they will be moving in the police. On Friday, President Shafik said they would not send in the New York police. But as we were coming up from the subway, there were scores of police. And I now have heard that they’re standing there with plastic handcuffs. But these students are determined.

SUEDA POLAT: My name is Sueda Polat. I’m a student organizer. I’m a graduate student at Columbia University. I study human rights here. I’m also part of the negotiating team.

AMY GOODMAN: And if you could tell us what is it exactly you’re demanding?

SUEDA POLAT: Simple. We don’t want to trade in the blood of Palestinians. And that means divestment from all direct and indirect holding that this university has, whether that be weapons manufacturing, companies that operate illegally in occupied territory, companies that produce information technology for the occupation army. Complete divestment.

We’re also requesting disclosure. We don’t have transparency on this university’s investments. And we need that to be able to push the movement further.

We’re also requesting amnesty. Hundreds of our students have been disciplined over the past six months on unfair premises. We’re willing to put a lot on the line for this cause. My right to education shouldn’t come before the right to education of Gazans.

LINNEA NORTON: My name is Linnea Norton. I’m a Ph.D. student here.


LINNEA NORTON: In — I study ecology and climate science. I’m a second-year. And yeah, I’ve been part of the initial encampment and was one of the over a hundred students who were suspended and arrested, or first arrested and subsequently suspended.

We have our doctors in John Jay Hall, just there. And my shoulder was injured during the arrest because we were zip-tied for like seven hours straight. And I couldn’t go to the doctor. So I had to go to — because I wasn’t allowed to enter campus and be on campus property. So I had to go to urgent care.

AMY GOODMAN: So you had to pay for that.

LINNEA NORTON: Yeah, yeah.

PROTESTERS: Hey hey! Ho ho! The occupation has got to go!

SHANA REDMOND: My name is Shana Redmond. I am a professor of English and comparative literature and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. And I’m here today because this is leadership in action. These students have taken the worst of circumstances on a global scale and the worst of circumstances at a very localized university scale and turned it into something beautiful. The encampment here, complete with a library, complete with a deescalation team, complete with lessons and teach-ins, has modeled for this campus what open and free inquiry and debate actually looks like.

As the students say, we keep us safe. And so, we, as faculty, are here to assist in ensuring that that is made true.

NADIA ABU EL-HAJ: I’m Nadia Abu El-Haj. I’m an anthropologist, a professor of anthropology, and the co-director of the Center for Palestine Studies. The people behind me in the orange vests are mostly faculty, some staff, who have been mobilized since the last police raid, however long ago it was. We’ve mobilized faculty who would come out and stand sort of both guard but also mostly witness if the police came in again. The president has promised that the police would not come in. That was a promise made two days ago. But this morning, her email said that the encampment would be cleared after 2 p.m. if the students didn’t leave. So we’re not quite clear what that means, how they’re going to clear the encampment.

I mean, the core issue in the immediate is, of course, the genocide going on in Gaza. And the kind of depiction of the students as somehow Hamas supporters or antisemites and sort of dangerous rabble-rousers is a complete misrepresentation of these students. They’ve been calm. They’ve been incredibly well organized. And they’re taking a principled stance.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the fact that today a Jewish student sued the university, saying they don’t feel safe on campus?

NADIA ABU EL-HAJ: I think that there is a really important distinction to be made between feeling unsafe and being unsafe. So I would start with that. I am more than willing to engage any student in a conversation about feeling unsafe. And we’re hearing a lot of that from Muslim and Palestinian students, as well. But as I told the Palestinian students I met with about this months ago, I think it’s helpful to disentangle: When you say, “I feel unsafe,” what are you feeling? Are you uncomfortable? Are you offended? Are you angered? Or are you actually unsafe?

Being doxxed makes you unsafe. Being sprayed by chemicals makes you unsafe. Having the right-wing Christian nationalists on the outside trying to climb the fences into Columbia makes people unsafe. But a lot of what is being labeled as unsafe is being made uncomfortable. And if there are specific instances of physical threats and violence against Jewish students, of course they need to be dealt with. But the depiction of campus as a kind of hotbed of antisemitism that makes Jewish students unsafe is just not true. And there are lots of Jewish students in the encampment. JVP is a very powerful force on this campus, and they don’t think it’s an accurate description.

MAHMOUD KHALIL: Throughout the negotiations, the Shafik administration treated this movement as a matter of internal student discipline rather than a movement or rather than as one of the great moral and political questions of this generation.

ANURIMA BHARGAVA: Anurima Bhargava, civil rights lawyer and filmmaker. This is, you know, we’re into the second — third week of the encampment. Obviously, this morning, there was a statement by the president, very much sort of putting people on alert and trying to give herself the legal foundation that she didn’t have when she arrested students the first time.

And I think, in many ways, we continue to see a very — very much an encampment that has been peaceful. There are many, many students who came here when they heard about the fact that there’s action that has been promised to be taken today. And so we see a lot of people. A lot of students have come in support of the students who have been part of the encampment for all of these days. And I think this is somewhat of a situation of the university’s own creation, right? Because by suggesting that they’re going to take action today, there have been a lot more students who have come onto campus.

And in many ways — again, this is the last day of classes. This is a time where we’re going into study period. And if you can see around you, there’s a lot of efforts to get ready for commencement. And so, we’re at the end of the school year. And in many ways, this request to sort of remove students because of a safety concern — obviously, two weeks ago, when this happened, it was, you know, even the chief of police of the New York Police Department was saying that these students were peacefully protesting, and they were not resisting arrest, and they were peacefully here.

PROTESTERS: Disclose! Divest! We will not stop! We will not rest! Disclose! Divest!

AMY GOODMAN: Some of the voices of students, professors and their supporters at Columbia University, the Gaza Solidarity Encampment Monday, as many students refused to leave even as they faced suspension. Standing outside of Columbia University on the sidewalk, I then spotted civil rights activist Reverend Herbert Daughtry. I asked why he was there.

REV. HERBERT DAUGHTRY: My name is Herb Daughtry. My church is the House of the Lord Churches. And I’m standing out here today to support the students, the right to protest for what they believe is right. That’s our tradition. I’ve stood on many lines before, across the world, for Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland, for Jews here, for Palestinians. I just believe that somebody somewhere must be advocating for peace.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you: Did you know Dr. King? And when were you with him?

REV. HERBERT DAUGHTRY: Well, Dr. King, yes, we go back, 1958, ’59, something like that, particularly on the War in Vietnam, 1967. I was at the Riverside Church when he made his famous “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.” And —

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see this as a similar moment? Where people take a position that — even people in King’s inner circle said, “You shouldn’t take on the Vietnam War. It’s not your war. You are a civil rights leader.” And he said, “No, all of these issues are connected.”

REV. HERBERT DAUGHTRY: And I’m a follower of Dr. King. I believe our efforts are to save the planet, save the people. That’s what I believe that I’ve been called to do. And wherever there are oppression, exploitation, wherever there are people who — listen, Jesus said, told us, the least of these, to struggle for, speak for, work for, the least in society. And so we try to identify where are — where’s the pain, where’s the misery. And I’ve been to Sudan. I’ve been to Israel. I’ve been to Ireland, you name it, and Saigon. So, you know, I’m 93 now, so been —

AMY GOODMAN: So, you were here at Riverside Church, just down the road from Columbia University, on April 4th, 1967, a year to the day before Dr. King was assassinated, when he gave his speech here against the War in Vietnam. What was it like to be in there?

REV. HERBERT DAUGHTRY: Well, I had taken some young people. And it was an electric moment. Everybody was waiting for him and when he speaks, because he was mesmerizing. And when he speaks, his reasoning was compelling, persuasive, for anybody who had even a balanced mind. And it was an electric moment. And, well, it was an unforgettable moment.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see parallels to today?

REV. HERBERT DAUGHTRY: Yeah, where people are gathered to make these issues, to raise these issues, yes. What impressed me is when people are putting their lives on the line, their conveniences on the line. That impressed me. So, when you run across people who are willing to risk something precious, you take note. And so, if Dr. King were here, I believe he’d be here. And it was he who said, “If we haven’t found something to die for, we haven’t found something to live for.”

AMY GOODMAN: That’s the legendary civil rights activist Reverend Herbert Daughtry at 93. His daughter, Reverend Leah Daughtry, was the CEO of the Democratic National Conventions in 2008 and 2016. As her father proudly said, they were rated the best conventions ever.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we take a journey 56 years ago, to 1968, when Hamilton Hall was occupied. Stay with us.

This morning, THE NATIONAL reports:

Jordan has strongly condemned an attack it said was carried out by Israeli settlers on two Jordanian aid convoys.

The two convoys were on the way to Gaza, state news agency Petra reported.

The condemnation comes ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Jordan as part of a Middle East trip that included a visit to Israel.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 208 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "At least 34,568 Palestinians have been killed and 77,765 injured in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Wednesday.  In the past 24 hours, 33 people were killed and 57 injured, the ministry added."   Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

Foreign doctors returning from Gaza describe being left “speechless” by the overwhelming scenes of trauma in the enclave’s hospitals.

Shariq Sayeed, a vascular surgeon from Atlanta, Georgia, says his team treated 40 to 60 patients a day, most of them young people with shrapnel injuries he had never seen before.

“Most were patients 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 years of age,” Sayeed said. “… And unfortunately, there is a very high incidence of infection, … so once you have an amputation that doesn’t heal, you end of getting a higher amputation.”

Ismail Mehr, an anaesthesiologist from New York who led the medical mission, said the foreign doctors were “speechless” when they saw the number of injuries and warned that a looming Rafah offensive would push Gaza’s health sector beyond its capacity.

“I hope and I pray that Rafah is not attacked,” Mehr said. “The health system will not be able to take care of that. It will be a complete catastrophe.”

The following sites updated: