White Nationalists Are Still Not Dealt With As Terrorists

Charlottesville white nationalists, protests, policeThe warning signs were there in Charlottesville. The Virginia State Police gave warnings to local officials, including a warning that there might be a car attack.

WTOP reports:

According to the preliminary report, Charlottesville officials did not implement many recommendations after the Virginia Fusion Center concluded “that participants were planning to be aggressive/violent,” and despite state analysts’ “concerns of mass casualty event, including (a) car attack.”

Counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed when a car, allegedly driven by white nationalist James Alex Fields, plowed into people opposing the “Unite The Right” march. Fields is charged with second-degree-murder, hit and run, and several counts of malicious wounding.

A woman was killed.

Why was this ideologically-driven attack called terrorism?

Myanmar’s ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’

Wirathu Buddhist Bin Laden Myanmar
Wirathu, the ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’ of Myanmar.

Sharing this because I’ve heard it said that all of the world’s religions have some history of violence — except Buddhism.

Well, leave it to people.

Religion is a vehicle, like a car is a vehicle. The vehicle of religion is intended to help people arrive at a certain destination. But, like a car, the vehicle of religion can be misused.

Meet Wirathu, Myanmar’s ‘Buddhist Bin Laden,’ as he is called.

From The Star online:

Barbet Schroeder spent months with Ugandan dictator Idi Amin at the height of his power, when corpses would wash up every morning on the shores of Lake Victoria and Kampala was rife with rumours that he was eating his opponents.

But in his decades of documenting evil, the veteran Swiss filmmaker says he has never been as scared by anyone as he was by a Myanmar Buddhist monk named Wirathu.

“I am afraid to call him Wirathu because even his name scares me,” the highly acclaimed director told AFP. “I just call him W.”

“The Venerable W”, his chilling portrait of the monk who has been accused of preaching hate and inciting attacks on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, has been hailed by critics at the Cannes film festival as a “stirring documentary about ethnic cleansing in action”.

What dismays Schroeder is that Wirathu, whom Time magazine dubbed “The face of Buddhist terror” in a 2013 cover, is utterly unfazed by the chaos and suffering he has unleashed.

More here.

Trump Sells Out Israel To Impress Russians

Donald Trump smug smileThe secret intelligence Donald Trump boasted about in front of his Russian buddies?

It came from Israel.

Israel.

The lives that could be lost. The dangers we could face.

From the NYTimes:

The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information. The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.

Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Mr. Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East.

The potential for catastrophic fallout from the child in the White House, the child dying to impress others, is incredible.

I’m scared now.

Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump: Live Blogging

hillary clinton v. Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump. (Screenshot)

10:39 p.m.

And, it’s over. Handshakes.

10:37 p.m.

Trump goes after Rosie O’Donnell.

Rosie O’Donnell.

Says he was going to say something terrible about Hillary and her family, but decided not to.

10:34 p.m.

Trump said Clinton does not have a presidential look, Holt said. She’s the first female nominee of a major party.

“I don’t believe Hillary has the stamina. I said ‘the stamina.'”

As soon as he visits 128 countries or spends 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee, “then he can talk about stamina.

10:33 p.m.

Trump wanders again. “We are losing billions and billions of dollars.”

10:30 p.m.

“Words matter when you run for president and they really matter when you are president,” Clinton says. She acknowledges that this campaign has troubled many world leaders.

“Our word is good,” she reassures.

Says Trump never said what his alternative would be to deal with Iran.

10:28 p.m.

Holt: Do you support the current U.S. policy on first use [of nuclear weapons].

Trump says China should “go into” North Korea, Iran has power over North Korea.

10:27 p.m.

Trump: Saudi Arabia and others should be paying us money.

10:24 p.m.

Clinton speaks of Iran. Sanctions were not enough.

President Obama, John Kerry, she helped, shut down Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaks of Trump’s “cavalier attitude” about nuclear weapons.

“A man who can be provoked by a Tweet should not have his hand anywhere near the nuclear codes.”

10:22 p.m.

Trump keeps naming Sean Hannity as his source.

Trump says that he has much better judgment than Hillary Clinton.

“I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.”

10:19 p.m.

Trump: ISIS formed because of a vacuum formed  by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton.

10:18 p.m.

Trump: “NATO could be obsolete.” Says NATO does not focus on terror.

10:17 p.m.

Hillary speaks of cooperating with Muslims in America, not alienate Muslims and push them away like Trump has done.

10:16 p.m.

Clinton: George W. Bush made the agreement to leave Iraq. The only way we could have stayed would have been to have an agreement with the then-Iraqi government to protect American troops. That did not happen.

10:14 p.m.

Trump: “Had we taken the oil,” there would be no ISIS.

10:13 p.m.

Holt: “How will you prevent home-grown terrorism?”

Trump: Speaks of ISIS.

10:12 p.m.

Clinton: “I have put forth a plan to defeat ISIS.” It does entail going after them online. We must also intensify air attacks against ISIS. Take out their “claim of being a caliphate.”

“We’re hoping to push [ISIS] out of Iraq in a year.”

This would be awesome.

10:10 p.m.

Trump talks about his endorsements.

Now talking about ISIS.

10:08 p.m.

Clinton: We are not going to sit idly by and let state actors go after public and private information.

“I was so shocked when Donald invited Putin to hack into Americans.”

10:07 p.m.

Hillary Clinton speaks on cyber security. There are independent hackers. There also cyber attacks coming from states. “The most recent and troubling of them has been Russia.”

10:05 p.m.

Trump says Clinton treated Obama horribly.

“As far as the lawsuit,” admits he was sued, “we settled with no admission of guilt.”

That just means cash flowed and the other side was silenced.

10:03 p.m.

Clinton: [Trump] has started his race for president on this racist, birther lie.

Clinton: Trump was sued in 1973 because he would not rent to African Americans. “He actually was sued twice by the justice department.”

10:01 p.m.

Talking about a birth certificate. President Obama’s. “I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate.”

Lester Holt: “The birth certificate was produced in 2009. You continued to speak about it in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and January 2016.”

10:00 p.m.

“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. I did. You know what else I did? I’m preparing to be president.”

[APPLAUSE]

9:59 p.m.

Again, Lester Holt has lost control. Trump rambles on.

9:56 p.m.

Trump: “In New York City, we had 2,200 murders, and stop and frisk brought it down to 500.”

Hillary: Crime has continued to drop under the current mayor. We have to work with faith communities

9:54 p.m.

Clinton speaking of “implicit bias,” which is a problem for all of us, she says. Police now are having to handle a great deal of mental health problems on the street.

9:52 p.m.

“We’ve got to address the systemic racism in our justice system. We can’t just say ‘law and order.'”

Clinton is glad the federal government is ending private prisons. “I want to end them in the state systems.”

9:51 p.m.

Hillary Clinton bemoans the negative picture Trump paints of the Black community.

“Stop and frisk was found to be unconstitutional,” Hillary says.

9:50 p.m.

Trump bemoans Chicago, “I have property there.”

9:48 p.m.

Holt: “Stop and frisk has been ruled unconstitutional.”

Trump: “No, you’re wrong.” Blames the judge and current mayor.

9:47 p.m.

Trump, “African Americans live in Hell.” Calls for bringing back “stop and frisk.”

9:46 p.m.

Trump: “We need law and order. When I look at Charlotte, NC, a city where I have investments.”

9:44 p.m.

Holt turns to the question of race. “Everyone should be respected by the law,” Clinton says. “And everyone should respect the law.”

Clinton speaks of “brave police officers” who also want reform.

Clinton: “We have to tackle the plague of gun violence.”

9:43 p.m.

No focus. Clinton and Trump go back and forth. Lester Holt again tries to take the reigns.

9:42 p.m.

Trump, “Look, it’s all words. It’s all sound bytes.”

Regarding people who did not get paid, “I took advantage of the laws of the country.”

9:40 p.m.

Hillary speaks of people she’s met who were “stiffed” by Donald Trump.

Trump does not deny the accusation from Clinton, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job and didn’t deserve to be paid.”

9:38 p.m.

Again, Trump speaks. Lester Holt has lost control.

9:37 p.m.

“As far as my tax returns, you don’t learn much from tax returns. You learn from financial disclosures,” Trump said.

9:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton: Trump’s paid zero in federal taxes. What’s he hiding? “There’s something he’s hiding.”

“Were he ever to get near the White House, what would the conflicts be?”

9:34 p.m.

Clinton, “For 40 years, or 39, everyone running for president has released their tax returns.”

9:31 p.m.

Lester Holt to Trump: “You have not released your tax returns.”

“I’m under a routine audit and I will release them” as soon as the audit is over.

Dancing away from the question, now talking about a trade deficit.

Holt presses Trump on his taxes. Trump says he gets audited often by the IRS.

9:30 p.m.

Trump goes after Clinton again. “We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble.”

9:28 p.m.

Lester Holt has lost control of the debate. Clinton speaks of the “Trump loophole,” “Trumped up trickle down” economics.

“I don’t think top-down works in America,” Clinton says.

9:19 p.m.

Hillary speaking of her record. Donald Trump keeps squinting.

The moderator, Lester Holt has already lost control of the debate.

9:18 p.m.

Hillary is keeping her cool. Donald Trump is speaking to Hillary.

 

9:15 p.m.

The debate is on. Donald Trump is wandering, drinking water already. Hillary’s best take-away so far? “Trump Dump Trickle Down Economics.

 

Watch: Kill Bill and Everyone Else: Spoofing ISIS

From Abby Zimet, staff writer at Common Dreams:

Arguing that "belittlement is your enemy’s greatest fear," several Muslim activists have taken on the risky strategy of using satire as a weapon against the supremely unfunny atrocities of ISIS. Taking to the same social media platforms that ISIS uses to recruit and propaganidize, their campaigns range from mock ISIS Movies – The Hills Have Alis, ISIS Doubtfire, My Best Friend’s 11-Year-Old Daughter’s Wedding, Crouching Caliph Hidden Sheikh, Monsters Inc, No Country for Old Men, Or Young Men, Or Women and Children – and TV shows – Everybody loves Abu Bakr Baghdadi, How I Behead Your Mother – to ads, videos and entire Onion-like news stories.

Wow.

Phyllis Bennis: Violating International Law in Gaza

water systems damaged in Gaza
Numerous water systems and wells have been badly damaged in the airstrikes, limiting the water supply to the people of Gaza. (Photo: flickr / cc / Mohammed Al Baba/Oxfam)

As Israel’s assault claims the lives of hundreds of Palestinian children, there’s no doubt that it’s a form of collective punishment.

As Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip rages on, ceasefires come and go. Most last just long enough for Palestinians to dig out the dead from beneath their collapsed houses, get the injured to overcrowded and under-resourced hospitals, and seek enough food and water to last through the next round of airstrikes.

“There is nothing left but stones,” Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer quoted an old woman saying as she searched desperately through the rubble of what had been her home.

Casualties are soaring. By late July, Israel had killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, at least 73 percent of them civilians including hundreds of children. Fifty-six Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have died too.

July 28 poll shows 86.5 percent of Israelis oppose a ceasefire. Yet we continue to hear that Israelis want peace.

It’s true that at least some of them do. An Israeli protest in Tel Aviv brought 5,000 people into the street. That’s good — though a far cry from the 400,000 who poured into the streets to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon back in 1982.

And when a young Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and tortured to death — burned alive — in Jerusalem after the bodies of the three kidnapped young Israeli settlers were found, many Israelis tried to distance themselves from the horrific crime. “In our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed.

But in fact, there is a place for those who call for murder — at the highest political and military levels of Israeli society.

Meet Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Knesset — Israel’s parliament. She belongs to Israel Home, a far-right party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. She issued on Facebook what amounts to a call to commit genocide, by deliberately killing Palestinians, including women, children, and old people.

“The entire Palestinian people is the enemy,” Shaked posted. “In wars, the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

The Knesset member went on to say that the mothers of Palestinians killed should follow their dead sons to Hell: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Her language reminds me of a chapter in our own history — the genocidal Indian Wars. U.S. military leaders had called on their troops to wipe out all the Native Americans andCol. John Chivington was asked on the eve of the Sand Creek Massacre about killing Cheyenne children. “Kill and scalp all, big and little, nits make lice,” he replied.

Shaked’s comments also echo the words of an Israeli colonel who testified under oath at the wrongful death trial of Rachel Corrie, a young U.S. peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored bulldozer in Gaza. “In a war zone there are no civilians,” said the military officer — who was responsible for training Israeli soldiers to serve in the occupied territories.

There’s no question that Hamas’ primitive rockets violate international law. They can’t be accurately aimed at military targets. But that doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of its own obligations under international law as the occupying power in Gaza.

Israel has the region’s strongest military, the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, and the unconditional backing of the United States. Its assault on Gaza violates the Geneva Conventions. Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans, attacking hospitals, and using disproportionate force.

Israeli officials know full well that the best way to protect their citizens is to implement a real ceasefire — a breakthrough that would require opening Gaza’s borders. Some of them also know the best way to keep their citizens safe long term is by ending the occupation altogether. Problem is, not enough of them will admit it.

U.S. taxpayers also have a stake in this conflict because Washington keeps sending Israel billions of our tax dollars and refuses to push Tel Aviv to stop violating international law.

For real peace, both of those things must change.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.  Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A PrimerUnderstanding the U.S.-Iran Crisis: A PrimerEnding the Iraq War: A Primer, and most recently Ending the Us War in Afghanistan: A Primer. If you want to receive her talking points and articles on a regular basis, click here and choose "New Internationalism." You can find her on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/PhyllisBennis

Obama Continues to Kick Ass as POTUS: U.S. Says Navy SEAL Team Captures Shabab Leader in Somalia

From the NYTimes:

A Navy SEAL team targeted a senior leader of the Shabab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in the Somali town of Baraawe on Saturday, American officials said, in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall for which the group had claimed responsibility.

The SEAL team stealthily approached the beachfront house by sea, firing on the unidentified target in a predawn gunbattle that was the most significant raid by American troops on Somali soil since commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Qaeda mastermind, near the same town four years ago.

The Shabab leader was believed to have been killed in the firefight, but the SEALS were forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed, a senior American official said. Such operations by American forces are rare because they carry a high risk, and indicate that the target was considered a high priority. Baraawe, a small port town south of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, is known as a gathering place for the Shabab’s foreign fighters.

Read more here.