Police Shootings And the Law: Why the Police Keep Getting Away with Murder And What Should We Do About It?
We are taught in school and later in life through the media to think of social institutions and practices as being unbiased, pure and absolute, which a civilized society must try to pursue and achieve. Institutions such as the police, the military, the “intelligence community”, “criminal justice system”, the legislating bodies that make laws and the courts, which interpret them, and others, are all presented to students and to the general public, as unbiased, fact based and above the classes and class struggle, almost as if they’re divine and beyond questioning. So called “journalists”, too, whose very job depends on what and how they report – or rather not report – the news, as judged by the corporations that pay their salaries, come on the air and pretend to be reporting the news, as if they’re unbiased, as if they’re not a product of the society and social mindset that put them up on the screen, in the first place.
This isn’t rocket science or Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity; although, it’s helpful to remember that not just time and space, but everything is relative, and that includes laws: how they’re written, how they’re enforced and the way they’re interpreted and even reported to the public. There is nothing strange or mysterious about any of this; it’s how class rule is imposed and maintained.
So, when a policeman shoots an unarmed teenager (Michael Brown), multiple times, including at his face and head and even after a brief pause, after already having shot him many times, which shows that he knew what he was doing and was not acting out of fear and was not under any threat, reporters ask “legal experts”, who are themselves cops, whether the killer broke any law or not and whether the cold-blood execution followed the department guidelines and training or not, to which they answer “yes”, that “the law as written does allow an officer who feels his life may be in danger to shoot a suspect multiple times, including to his head” (an actual statement by an “expert”, who was interviewed on CNN). What matters obviously is not what the law says, but who’s doing the interpreting, and more importantly who wrote the law and for what purpose. They purposely wrote it broadly to protect the police, not the public. I’m reminded of Stalin’s comment that what matters isn’t who’s voting, but who’s doing the counting of the votes. At the end of the day, what matters is who has the state power with all the big guns and the law on his side.
The legislating bodies and the executive and judicial branches, first and foremost, have the job of protecting the corporate class and its interests, which requires the suppression of the working poor and prevention of their empowerment and uprising, in order to ensure the continuation of their wealth and power. Laws are not and cannot be written to protect everyone, equally. They’re written, interpreted and enforced to protect the class in power, which is the class of wealthy and their mercenaries and gangster cops. They aren’t and never were for the protection of the population in general.
if you think the ruling oligarchy protects and defends its murderous cops from justice and lets them kill with impunity, you should see how it protects its mercenary soldiers overseas, even when they massacre defenseless people, including women and children. In fact, the US military, which plays the same role against other oppressed peoples as the police here against the Americans, never allows its soldiers to be tried, for any crime, in countries they invade or occupy. The parallel between jackboot thugs killing brown women and children overseas for corporations with killer cops who shoot and kill unarmed blacks in our cities is uncanny and unmistakable. After all, it’s the same imperialist state serving the corporate bosses, here or abroad.
Bottom line is: laws which they keep hiding behind to justify their killing of our black youth, aren’t ours, any more than their wars that kill hundreds of thousands of poor brown people are ours. These laws were written by and for the wealthy rulers and their corporations and are only good for them, just as their wars are good for no one but them.
Lest my words are misunderstood, I’m not saying there should be no laws or enforcement of the laws. What I’m saying is: we need to understand for whom and for what purpose those laws, which they use to acquit killer cops are, just as we need to understand for whom and for what their wars are. We do need laws, but not theirs, not those laws whose purpose is to protect the repressive and oppressive rule of the corporations over the poor and the minorities. What we need is laws that protect us against them, not the other way around. The laws we need would take the chains off our necks and put them around theirs, instead.
But, to write and, more importantly, enforce such laws that protect the people rather than the police, we must first kick all corporate legislators and representatives, who pretend to be on our side, out of office. I don’t mean vote them out; I mean literally kick them out as it happens in a revolution, and put in our own leaders, who rise through struggle for social justice, like Dr. King and Malcolm X, not those who are bought and sold by corporate money like cattle, on open market, who serve their corporate bosses when they get into office. But, to get there, we must first go through their armed forces, who line up in front of us, on the streets, to stop us, with heavy war gear and weapons drawn, because power is never given up willingly and is always taken.
It is at times of such uprisings, as occurred in Ferguson, that we see the true nature of the class rule, which reveals itself and educates the public and raises their political understanding, much more than a piece like this ever could. It is therefore vital to not be silenced and not be deceived by treasonous “black leaders” and preachers who are brought to the microphone to ask for “calm” and to tell us to go home, just as their high positions are cynically used to convince us that there is no more racism in this country. We need to not fall for ploys that call for “a day of silence” designed to stop the momentum of the protests and continue business as usual. No more business as usual! The killing of innocent people by cops must stop now and the only way it will stop is by a mass movement like that in the 1960’s.
There is finally a “ceasefire” in Gaza, which means a temporary stoppage of the massacre since there was no war. It was an unmistakable massacre and an act of genocide. So what’s been put on hold, for now, is the genocide in Gaza. This massacre, which has for now been stopped, was not an isolated incident. For over 66 years, the state of Israel has been massacring Palestinians. The list of massacres is so long, it takes a while just to read through them all. Every year, since its inception, the Zionist military and the criminal settlers have committed atrocities and massacres against Palestinians. Those who are even slightly familiar with the history of this murderous settler state know that there hasn’t been a single month or even a week without some Palestinians being murdered in the hands of the occupying army or the settlers. We must therefore not look at what just happened in Gaza as a single act of genocide, but the continuation of what started 66 years ago.
This process of ongoing genocide stems from the very purpose and mission of the “Jewish State”, which its founders envisioned and were quite candid about. That mission, which gives a bad name to all Jewry of the world, could not have been made any clearer. It was clear in 1948 and it is clear now, after so many years of massacres. The purpose has always been to cleanse the land of the indigenous population who happen to be not Jewish. This has been clear by both the deeds and words of Israeli officials since the beginning. A state that’s exclusively for a particular people with a particular and “chosen” religion or ethnicity can only be accomplished through ethnic cleansing and ethnic cleansing can only be done through repeated and continuous murders and massacres, along with incarcerations, torture, home demolitions, denying of basic human rights and necessities and starvation of an entire population. Genocide is the purpose, as well as, the means for achieving such a state. The entire Zionist project for creating an exclusive “Jewish homeland” has been based on it.
What just happened in Gaza and to the people of Gaza who live in poverty, without adequate clean water, in a densely populated piece of land, cut off and isolated from the outside world and blockaded from all sides by a vicious and murderous occupation army, was indeed an act of genocide, but it wasn’t the first and it probably won’t be the last. What was different about it this time, however, was not that “they went too far”, but that more than any other time, Israel and with it, the criminal Zionist project and its requisite genocide against Palestinians, which the whole idea of a “Jewish state” is based on, was exposed and laid bare for all to see. This, more than anything else, more than Hamas’ useless rockets or tunnels and more than the rocks thrown at occupation soldiers by teenagers who are shot at with live ammunition, sounded the death knoll of Israel. It made it clear to the world that Israel, which is only supported by the complicit and murderous imperialist states, most notably the US, and which is opposed by the majority of the people of the world, had to go – that it does not belong to a “civilized” world, by any definition of the word and that it’s an ugly stain on the conscience of humanity. It made it clear to us all that we must all do our best to wash and wipe this ugly stain off our world and our conscience.
This realization, this exposure and uncloaking of the true nature and purpose of the Zionist state is what infuriated its ideologues and defenders the most, not those useless rockets. It’s for this reason that the defenders of the genocidal state, both in Israel and in the US, including some of the American TV personalities, such as Joan Rivers, could not restrain their anger and frustration and openly called for the annihilation of the entire population of the Palestinian people, exposing their hatred and racism, which they used to hide behind layers of silicone and collagen shots.
While we’re all relieved that there is a “ceasefire” and a stoppage to the horrendous carnage, we must realize that it’s not over; not by a long shot. This should, in fact, be a beginning for us all to double and triple our efforts to rid humanity of this shameful entity. We must remember that we are on the right side of history, that our struggle is for inclusion, not exclusion, for equality, not discrimination and apartheid, for the oppressed not the oppressors, for treating a people with the same rights, dignity and opportunities as others, for letting people live, not wish for their destruction and it is for justice. And it is for ourselves so we don’t have to cry over pictures of children with their mutilated bodies or pictures of mothers and fathers crying over their dead babies. This struggle is also for ourselves because we are all interconnected and injustice and atrocities affect us all in ways we may not realize or admit. It is for ourselves when our government helps with such atrocities with our tax money which is so vitally needed in our cities.
We must not raise our voice only over a single act of genocide, but the root cause of the continuing genocide, which is the idea of ethnic cleansing to create a state exclusively for those with a certain “desired” religion or ethnicity, which requires such massacres.
What happened in Gaza is very sad and it will take a while to forget those images, but it will take much longer for the survivors to forget their loved ones that they lost and to rebuild their already impoverished lives. The stoppage of the bombings is reason for a sigh of relief, but not celebration. And it should not be a reason to move on and forget the continuing genocide. This is the time to educate ourselves and others on the BDS (Boycot, Divest and Sanction) movement and to do our part to see it succeed.
1.they have become increasingly and excessively militarized, to the point that, nowadays, you can’t tell the difference between them and a regiment fighting in Afghanistan. Not only do they get military style training that presents to them ordinary people, especially those living in poor neighborhoods and ghettos, as “the bad guys” or the enemy, but also military style weapons and gear, complete with automatic weapons, mechanized units with mine resistant and bullet proof personnel carriers and rooftop sharpshooters. Talks are underway for some police departments to even get drones.
2. They’ve been given more latitude and training to conduct raids on homes, and search cars, often without a search warrant, as they do in countries the US invades and occupies. We’ve seen examples of this in recent years, such as right after the Boston Marathon bombing or during the frantic manhunt to find Christopher Dorner, the formerly Navy reservist Los Angeles police officer, who had turned against the police and had killed one of their own. In both of these cases and others, they would enter homes and stop and search vehicles without a warrant. In the case of Dorner manhunt, they even shot at unsuspecting cars driving by and ended their hunt by burning down the building their suspect was hiding in, burning him to death. In the Boston case, they closed down an entire section of the city, rolled their carriers with what appeared to be military personnel with machine guns riding on top, and ordered everyone to remain in their homes or be fired on, just as they would had the state declared martial law.
3. Police shootings and beating to death of unarmed and innocent victims have become routine and frequent.
4. Routinely and systematically, the police have been given almost total immunity from prosecution. Even when they do get charged with any serious crime, it has proven extremely difficult to convict any officer even for cold blood execution style murders, even when there are witnesses and video footage.
5. Protests and demonstrations are being attacked violently and the trend has accelerated, in recent years. We all saw how peaceful protests were met with unprovoked beatings and violent arrests, during the Occupy Wall Street movement, throughout the nation. There have been many more examples of this, the most recent being the police reaction to the protests going on now in Ferguson, Missouri.
These developments are not an accident or a coincident and they didn’t happen on their own. There is an unmistakable move towards a police state by the corporate government, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, in anticipation of and preparation for a popular anti-war, anti-capitalist movement that could threaten the power of the corporations. The move is intended to preempt and proactively prevent such popular resistance to widening income and wealth gap on the one hand and endless wars on the other. In the scenario that’s envisioned, the poor and especially the minorities are considered the threat. At the same time and in parallel, the government agency responsible for spying on its own people, the NSA, has ramped up its spying operations and is targeting virtually everyone.
Police states are not created overnight and they do not target everyone equally and at equal pace. They almost always begin by targeting a specific group of people deemed a threat, first, and as things become routine, normal and accepted, spread to all sectors of the population. There may be debate on the current level of police militarization and violence or resemblance to having a police state, but, there is no doubt on the trend. The trend has all the hallmarks of a move towards a police state.
Understanding the Role of the Media in Advancing the Corporate Agenda from Palestine and Syria to Ukraine and Iraq
Few realize how controlled the US media, which the American citizenry gets its information from and hence forms its opinions, views and biases, is and how it functions in the service of the corporate class. Those who do realize may not know how massive, widespread and efficient this control is. The views and biases that the media helps shape have serious consequences, as they determine people’s reaction – or rather, lack of reaction and indifference – to the policies of the Empire. These policies cover a whole range from wars, military interventions, neoliberal policies, massacres and military spending to banking, jobs, education, healthcare and social safety nets. The results speak for themselves. Despite the fact that the brainwashing method does not “appear” to be dictatorship, in reality and in essence, it is because of its real nature and character and the results it produces, which are the same as obtained through a direct or forceful way. In one case, what’s used is deception; in another, coercion, and any time the first ceases to be effective, they use the second.
The corporate rule is thus imposed in one of two ways: dictatorship by force and dictatorship by mind control. In either way, the rule of a small minority – the proverbial 1% (actually even smaller than that) – is imposed on the vast majority or the 99%. Effectively, the nature of the rule is dictatorship precisely because the minority rules over the majority, which is the antithesis of democracy, which is the rule of the majority over the minority. The two forms of imposing the interests of the corporations (which should be understood as the owners, major shareholders and CEO’s) are not static and permanent. As the public’s awareness rises, their freedoms and civil liberties are curtailed, spying on their activities goes up, and police are given more rights and latitude, as well as, more presence in people’s lives and neighborhoods. We could see this in practice in the aftermath of the 2011 “American Spring” – the Occupy Wall Street movement – which prompted the government to take several steps in order to stay one step ahead of the people, including passing into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2011 (signed by Obama on December 31, 2011), which authorizes the military to detain anyone indefinitely, without any charge or explanation, without any legal representation, without any visitation rights and without informing his or her family or relatives, amounting basically to a disappearance. The “defense” in the title of the Act wasn’t against terror, as it was claimed – as any such curtailment of rights, or waging of wars is attributed to – but against people’s activism.
The second defensive step taken by the government was to go after whistle blowers and even journalists to send a message to others to back off and stop exposing government wrongs. Also, warrantless spying, eavesdropping and interception of private communications and Internet activities were ramped up. This was all due to the real or perceived rise in political awareness and understanding of the public, which was considered a threat to the status quo. So, you see, there isn’t a big chasm separating the two forms of dictatorships: as the situation changes, one is replaced with another. Again, what matters is the nature of the rule, rather than the form. This is the key point that makes Professor Chomsky’s understanding of democracy and dictatorship different from that of revolutionary left, and leads him to criticize “lack of democracy” in Cuba, because what he sees in Cuba is the inability of advocates of capitalism and hired agents and provocateurs of imperialism to organize and set the grounds for overthrow of a government that despite 55 years of US economic and trade embargo, is focused, to the best of its ability, and with little resources they have, on meeting its people’s needs, rather than those of foreign corporations, or billionaires, as was the case before the revolution. In other words, they put people’s lives and livelihoods above the “freedom of speech” for the exploiters, oppressors and agents of imperialism, who would use any opportunity to revert the society back to the old days and open another potential source of cheap labor, resources and market for their products, as they did in Eastern Europe and former republics of the Soviet Union.
In its drive to take over the world for its corporations for the purpose of controlling and profiting from finances, natural resources, cheap labor and markets for selling their products, including those of weapons manufacturers, banks, oil companies, pharmaceuticals and others, the US government, as the representative of the corporations, as a collective, constantly finds it necessary to go to war to remove governments that are an impediment to its achieving global economic, military and political hegemony, which also leads it to make alliances with brutal and corrupt dictatorships and even partake in massacres and genocides. The mission is global domination to maximize profits for corporations, with all means necessary. Such narrow-minded, self-serving, and dangerous objective, which will naturally lead to atrocities, wars, bombing campaigns, military coups, assassinations, torture, renditions, disappearances, and even aiding and abetting genocides, such as exercised by Israel against the Palestinians, cannot possibly be done by being honest and leveling with the public. They have no choice but to lie and deceive the population. This is where the corporate media comes in. A class of powerful individuals – in this case, the class of multi-billionaires, who own the corporations – have many tools at their disposal. For those citizens who will not accept and give in to their rule, they have the police, the FBI and the NSA. For foreigners, they have the CIA, the NSA and the military (which at times also help the police, depending on how serious the domestic front becomes, as happened during the Vietnam War). For the less coercive and deceptive method, they have the media. My point is that we must view all these as parts and organs of the ruling class. The list of their institutions also includes the three branches of the government, as well as international entities such as the NATO, IMF, World Bank, etc.
Viewed in this light, we see that a politician that rises through the system and gets corporate backing, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, will do nothing to change “the direction of the country”, as it’s often put, or the long-term policies and plans of the corporate Empire. Nothing will fundamentally change, as long as the corporations remain in power. And it goes without saying that no individual candidate can or will unseat the corporations and take power away from them. This can only happen by the people in the millions, through a mass movement – precisely the kind that panics the ruling class and prompts them to raise the level of surveillance and curtail individuals’ freedoms. They know what works and what doesn’t. As it’s been said, “if voting were effective for achieving change, they wouldn’t let us vote”. That they encourage us to vote is a good indication that it won’t work. And that which they discourage us from doing is what does work. We already have lots of politicians in Congress. There are one hundred of them just in the Senate who unanimously voted to stand by and support Israel, and pledged more aid to the Zionist state, even while it was bombing defenseless people, including apartment buildings full of women and children, schools, hospitals, ambulances, UN shelters housing mostly children, mosques, water facilities and power plants that provide electricity to hospitals and water treatment facilities and keep people’s refrigerators and shops’ freezers running.
A government that’s literally owned and controlled by corporations will naturally meet the profitability needs and requirements of the corporations, not those of the people. It’s not in anyone’s interest for example – any group of people, on either side of an apartheid wall – to support an ongoing genocide, but it is in the long term interests of the corporate Empire to see Israel wipe out the Palestinian people, so they will do just that. It’s not in anyone’s interest to provoke a war with Russia, but the corporate oligarchy requires it, so they will do that. Nor is it in the interests of any group of people to support the so-called “rebels”, whose ranks include the incredibly merciless fighters of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda, who are massacring Syrian people. But, they will do that and have been doing that because they want the Syrian government overthrown. It matters not to them that those “rebels” they arm and finance are beheading innocent people. It matters none that so far 180,000 people have died and over 2 million have been displaced. Nor do they care that the government they helped bring to power in Ukraine through a coup is allied with Nazis and fascists, who burned hundreds of people alive in Odessa and are killing people every day.
And as they do all these, the media, methodically, systematically and masterfully, manipulates the public’s mind along the lines of the Empire’s goals. We all saw during the massive bombardment of Gaza by Israel, how all the networks presented the genocide as a “war between Israel and Hamas”, instead of a massacre of a defenseless people by a powerful military, using fighter jets, bombers and navy guns. We saw how they repeatedly mentioned that Hamas is a “terrorist” organization that is firing rockets into Israel because they want to kill all the Jews. No mention of the occupation, no mention of the 8 year old siege that has deliberately imprisoned them into a narrow piece of land, sealed on all sides and starved the population. No mention of the apartheid policies of Israel, or the home demolitions, land grabs, building of settlements, the incarcerations, the torture of children, the “targeted killings”, the checkpoints, the discrimination, and frequent massacres, all amounting to a policy of ethnic cleansing and extermination. The situation was presented such that Israel was the victim and Palestinians the villains bent on killing all the Jews who had to be protected. The media kept showing Obama saying that “Israel has the right to defend itself”, never challenging that utter nonsense.
Similar coverage has been given to the situation in Ukraine. Day after day, show after show, on all networks, including the liberal MSNBC, demonized Russia and Putin. No mention of the US and CIA role in the overthrow of the government, no mention of the fascist thugs attacking the federalists, who by the way are presented as “separatists” who want to divide the country and join Russia, which is not the case. Reporter after reporter assumed that the jetliner that was downed by a missile was fired upon by “pro-Russia separatists”, with the assumed complicity and help of the Russians, and specifically Putin, who has become to them what Saddam was in 2003, without any evidence, as was the case back then, too. They were all “outraged” and fired up at such a “crime against humanity” and demanded that justice be served and that Russia pay for the crime of firing at the plane, which they wanted us to accept on face value that it was done by the “separatists”. Compare that kind of indignation and outrage about something that hasn’t even been proven with their total silence about the massacre of hundreds of people in Odessa, who were burned alive by pro-US fascist thugs. No outrage or call for punishment by Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz and others, who still keep screaming about Russia! We also saw no such outrage from them about the genocide in Gaza, not even a fraction of that.
In short, a situation has been created through the controlled media of the Empire right now that allows the US to simultaneously create or help create conflicts on several fronts, all dangerous and all amounting to potential loss of many lives. In Ukraine, with the cooperation of the media, they are busy creating the grounds for war with Russia. In Syria, they are aiding Islamist fighters of ISIS who are massacring people. In Palestine, they are aiding and abetting a genocide and extermination. In Iraq, they are getting involved militarily once again, with the excuse of helping trapped Yazidis, to prop up their friends in the Kurdish state within Iraqi state, which has good relations with US and Israel and is providing Israel with oil, while they are continuing to use drones to kill anyone who’s against their policies and interventions, in the name of “war on terror”. In all these, the media is moving in lockstep with the Pentagon and the military industrial complex, performing its duties impeccably and flawlessly, controlling people’s minds and creating their consent for their policies. The result is that the corporations remain in the driver’s seat and push their agenda for world domination, causing many wars, deaths, devastation, hunger and poverty and ultimately pushing the world towards another world war with unspeakable and unfathomable consequences. The system in place has nothing in common with democracy and all the hallmarks of a corporate dictatorship, which continues to move decidedly towards creating a police state and ultimately an openly coercive dictatorship of the corporations. This move will continue, regardless of who takes the White House in 2016.
The US-ISIS Love-Hate Relationship: Opportunism, Hypocrisy and Selective “Humanitarianism” of the Corporate Empire
“Genocide!”, cry US officials and the corporate media! No, they don’t mean in Gaza, where Israel went in to “finish” the Palestinians and relentlessly and mercilessly bombed and shelled the defenseless people for close to a month and killed close to two thousand people, including 480 children, and which it continues. Reverend Al Obama-is-the-Massiah Sharpton, who’s been completely silent on the genocide in Gaza, followed Obama, like a 2 year old copying his older brother, and cried “potential genocide”, as did others. So, what “potential genocide” are they all talking about? They’re talking about tens of thousands of Yazidis of Iraq who have fled the ISIS militants to the mountains and could be massacred or die of thirst and hunger.
Obama, Kerry, and Obama’s disciples on MSNBC, repeatedly and proudly claimed that the President ordered today’s strikes on ISIS convoy and mortars to prevent a “potential genocide” against the Yazidi people, who are stranded in the mountains, without food or water. A former general said on Chris Mathews Hardball show on MSNBC that Obama’s decision to order the intervention “is commendable because armed people are threatening people who are unarmed”. Of course, Obama would never let a heavily armed military attack and massacre of unarmed people, including children!
Obama said that “when there is a potential for an act of genocide, America can’t turn a blind eye”. “That’s the hallmark of American leadership”, he added. “America is coming to help”. “That’s who we are.” (Nice proud words, aren’t they?) But, even disregarding his obvious hypocrisy about Gaza and the Palestinians, this is the same Obama who said during his 2007 campaign that: “the US cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems”, when asked by AP, if he would be for having the US stay in Iraq, if there was a risk of a “potential genocide”. He defended the US inaction by the Clinton Administration, during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when over a million people were massacred and the US refused to intervene. President Clinton and his then Department of State even tried very hard to avoid the use of the word “genocide”. A leaked document by the State Department advised against the use of the word “genocide”, “because then we may have to do something”. Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, who was also in Clinton Administration, at the time, also defended the lack of intervention, before changing her mind, as did President Clinton.
While the Rwanda genocide was not intervened with, and while Obama himself that just because there is a potential for genocide somewhere, it doesn’t mean the US must intervene, he was quick to announce to the American people that a genocide was about to occur in Libya and that they couldn’t sit idly by and let it happen. “That’s who we are”. It must be a coincidence then that the Gaddafi government was not giving in to imperialist demands, was not letting US corporations take over and control and profit from its oil, was trying to unite Africa to fend for itself and achieve self-sufficiency and wanted to get away from using the Dollar for its transactions, and overall was not cooperating with US interests. Just a coincidence! So, in the name of humanitarian intervention to avoid a “potential genocide”, they conducted a massive and sustained bombing campaign, dropping huge bombs, non-stop, day after day, on population centers, killing thousands of people! Yes, “that’s who we are”.
So, what made Obama change his mind and decide “to do something” in this case? The timing of the strikes and the movement of the ISIS forces may give us a clue: the strikes were ordered only when the ISIS militants began to move towards US forces and assets. Specifically, the intervention was ordered to defend the Kurdish government within government in Iraq. The Iraqi Kurds, with the support of the US, declared their independence, after Saddam Hussein was deposed and executed and the new US organized and Shia-led government took over. The territories they took over and made part of their new self-declared state, include some of Iraq’s rich oil fields in the north. US has a consulate in their capital, Ebril, as well as, military advisors. And you thought the US had left Iraq! Mr. Mathews, upon learning that fact from one of his guests, naively, asked: “why don’t we just leave?”, to which his guest smartly answered: “we don’t want to” and that “we have interests” to protect. A guest on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hays show stressed that “Kurdistan is a country” and that we must “help them” defend themselves. What was not mentioned, however, was that the Kurds reportedly have relations with Israel too and are even providing them with oil.
While ISIS fighters are massacring Syrians in order to overthrow the Assad government, and who have managed to kill 180,000 people and create over 2 million refugees, that is not a genocide or even a “potential act of genocide”, as Obama called it. In fact, the US, Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been supplying them, as well as, Al Qaeda forces, with weapons and money, because they are fighting an “unfriendly” government, meaning a government that, like the Gaddafi regime, which the US and its allies violently overthrew, did not comply and cooperate with US and Israel and their allies in promoting US imperialist agenda and hegemony in the region. As long as these Islamists are killing Syrians, it’s not a genocide or even a “potential genocide”! In fact most of ISIS forces are concentrated in Syria and its borders and are fighting the government. All the US and its allies had to do was to not support them and not give them arms to fight the Syrians, and they might not have had this “problem” in Iraq. After all, they knew ISIS was the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
This “crisis” in Iraq should look familiar to those who are familiar with US intervention in Afghanistan, in 1980’s, when they armed and funded Islamist Jihadis – the Mujaheddin – to fight the Soviets, to make Afghanistan the “Soviets’ Vietnam”. Just as that intervention and funding and arming of Islamists came back to haunt them and ultimately caused the 9/11 terrorist attacks, now, it’s the ISIS, which has come back to haunt them in Iraq. If there is one thing we must understand about the US government which represents the corporate Empire, is that it never, ever, does anything for humanitarian reasons. Everything they do – or not do – has political and geopolitical reasons and is for the long term interests of the Empire of the corporations. This Empire knows no humanity, just profits, but, it knows very well how to manipulate its people’s mind and pretend to do everything for humanitarian reasons.
Palestinian children have been growing up in constant fear, violence, mayhem and pain, imposed on them by Israeli occupies for 66 years and counting. Their family members are frequently imprisoned and tortured or killed, their homes are demolished, or raided and searched by machine gun wielding occupation soldiers, often taking away family members who languish in jails and suffer torture. I have seen pictures of children snatched from their screaming mothers and taken away for interrogation! The UN and Human Rights organizations have reported torturing of children as young as 13 years old.
Most of the world has no idea about the barbarity of Zionist occupiers and settlers. Israel does not just commit war crimes when it bombs Gaza indiscriminately and levels their homes, schools and hospitals. The occupation itself, which Mr. Obama never mentions, is a crime. The home demolitions are a crime. Building settlements and settling foreigners is a crime. Taking residence in settlements built on Palestinians’ blood and tears is a crime. Closing borders and imprisoning the impoverished people of Gaza and not allowing any trade or import is a crime. Imposing military checkpoints on the occupied population is a crime. Shooting and killing stone throwing teens is a crime. Jailing them without any charges or reason and calling it “administrative detention” is a crime. Assassinating their leaders and calling it “targeted killings” is a crime. Torturing is a crime. destroying their olive trees and crops is a crime. Denying clean water to 1.8 million people is a crime. Denying them self-determination and their freedom as a sovereign people is a crime. All this amounts to a brutal ethnic cleansing and genocide, all thanks to the unconditional support of the US government, which has its hands up to its elbows in innocent Palestinians’ blood.
The massacre that just took place in Gaza was not the first and by all indications won’t be the last. As Haaertz editorialized when the ceasefire was announced, Israelis are already talking about the next massacre! Even if the ceasefire holds and Israel refrains from more indiscriminate bombing of the defenseless people, for now, their crimes against the Palestinian people will continue, thanks to US largesse. Every single day, as the bombing of civilians continued, all Obama had to say was the party line of the Evil Empire that “Israel has the right to defend itself”, secretly decided by the military-corporate cabal, behind Washington’s iron curtain and passed on to Empire’s media. And when the outcry of the people of the world got too much and too loud and the US was cornered, diplomatically, it pulled its mad attack dog’s leash and Obama announced that there would be ceasefire, after letting loose its crazed dog on a trapped population, for almost a month, causing over 1,800 deaths, over 400 of them children, in a grotesque display of US/Israeli savagery and barbarism, the likes of which even the most psychopathic of mass murderers can’t bring themselves to commit. Besides repeating the Empire’s party line several times, when announcing the ceasefire, he also repeatedly said he had “no sympathy for Hamas”. As expected, no mention of the occupation, apartheid, discrimination, checkpoints, home raids, ethnic cleansing, home demolitions or settlements, which are the reasons for the resistance, only sheepishly, torturously and vaguely referring to the siege.
So, let’s get this straight: Israel devastated Gaza with its bombers, as if it were fighting a powerful country with a powerful military, killed close to two thousand defenseless and innocent people and made life harder for the survivors than it already was because it had “the right to defend itself” against some metal rods thrown over the border by Hamas, which was in protest against the occupation, the devastating siege and mass incarcerations? No sanctions, no outrage, no reparations, no trying of the leaders in any court, no retribution? But, then, again, what can we expect from an empire that commits similar atrocities all over the world with impunity?
This is the world they have created and imposed on us: a world where might makes right, justice has no place, democracy and freedom is what they say it is, friends and foes are decided based on narrow selfish interests and greed, and where wars and atrocities are decided and dictated by a handful of super wealthy, running the most dangerous empire humanity has known. But, as New York Times begrudgingly admitted in 2003, when they saw hundreds of thousands of people in the streets protesting the Iraq war, the US does have a powerful rival, after all, and there is another superpower, which is the people of the world who fill up all streets and squares, who are what the Empire fears. We do have the power. We must unite. It’s time.
There is finally a temporary ceasefire. It’s wrong to call it a bilateral ceasefire, since there was nothing bilateral about the onslaught, to begin with. It was a one sided massacre, on a massive scale, perpetrated by a powerful military, using the most advanced US-made and provided weapons, of a population, who only had their bear hands to put over their heads in defense. Now, after killing almost two thousand people, over 400 of them children, and leveling hundreds of residential apartment buildings, schools, hospitals and shops, Israel pulls back to wait for another day, another time, and another pretext, to come back in and commit more massacres, as they did in 2008, 2009 and 2012, against the people of Gaza, and as they have been doing to all Palestinians, for 66 years.
95% of the water in Gaza is not drinkable, according to the UN. Many of the hospitals and schools are destroyed or severely damaged and don’t have the necessary supplies and medicine. Tens of thousands of people have been made homeless in a densely populated piece of land sealed off on all sides with nowhere to go and food and water is scarce. And, we’re supposed to accept that what just happened was Israel defending itself, that they did what they had to do and that they accomplished their mission!
Both of these claims are, of course, lies. What just happened and isn’t over, yet, had nothing to do with defense. The most powerful military in Middle East defending against an impoverished people who, thanks to Israel, don’t even have enough food and water, are living as refugees and have no army, Air Force, navy or heavy weapons, is as absurd, as it sounds. When something doesn’t sound right, you must ask what the real purpose or motive is.
What happened was not an isolated incident, either. Nor was it because of Hamas or their useless rockers or tunnels. What happened began long before Hamas acquired rockers and long before Hamas even existed. What happened was the continuation of the process of ethnic cleansing that Israel began when it was created as a “Jewish state”, meaning a state exclusively for Jews, in 1947-1948, when the European founders of the state decided they would drive away and get rid of the Palestinians to make their dream for an exclusive and pure “Jewish homeland” come true.
Genocides always start with the absurd and hateful goal and intention of cleansing the land of a particular people deemed undesirable. When such racism forms the basis of your state, ethnic cleansing is as natural a byproduct or consequence, as the KKK throwing firebombs into the homes of Black people, or Nazis deciding to wipe out the Jews. Ethnic cleansing, understandably, gives rise to resistance, which the occupiers and their supporters naturally try to discredit. Hamas has built tunnels, they say – what a crime! They fire homemade rockets that can’t be guided and fall without harming anyone – outrageous! Palestinian teenagers throw rocks at occupation soldiers, how violent of them! We must kill them with live bullets! They are naturally violent and terrorists to be resisting!
The dispossessions, massacres, evictions, detentions, incarcerations, checkpoints, home demolitions, beatings, home searches and sealing off the borders of a densely populated piece of land and making the inhabitants starve will naturally engender resistance, which the occupiers use to justify their final act: a full fledged genocide, meant to kill as many of them as possible to end their resistance. What needs to end is the occupation, the apartheid and the ethnic cleansing, not the resistance. Resistance is the only way out of a genocide. These are the facts the corporate media won’t mention.
We’re supposed to accept that Israel is like any other state with its natural right to defend itself. And, if that “defending” kills thousands of defenseless poor people and destroys their homes, we will call it a “war” against a terrorist organization which is the one to always start the “conflict” and violate ceasefires. And if someone asks why kill so many innocent people, including hundreds of children, we will say because those terrorists live among the population and could be anywhere, including in elementary schools. The Israelis don’t know who’s in those schools. It’s better to bomb them and kill dozens of children than miss some Hamas members who could be among the teachers or crew! The truth is: you cannot bomb schools, apartment buildings and hospitals and not feel empathy, unless you’re a racist and have strong hatred towards an entire people of a particular race or religion. It’s this kind of racism that drives a highly militarized state to commit genocide. That’s what we’ve been witnessing in Gaza and that’s what the US government has been supporting in Palestine because they’ve decided it’s in their corporations’ interest.
The other lie we’re told is that Israel accomplished what they wanted to accomplish. They did accomplish two things: they killed close to two thousand innocent people, injured many more, made tens of thousands homeless and poorer than they already were. They destroyed much of the existing infrastructure, bombed and damaged the power plant, bombed the water facilities and roads and made life for the survivors so much harder and produced many orphans. If that was their mission, then they accomplished it. The other thing they accomplished was to open the eyes and wars of the world to their ongoing genocide. Israel’s Haaretz paper wrote today in an editorial that the ceasefire was “not a moment too soon” for Israel, which came very close to a “Diplomatic collapse”.
As a survivor of the massacre said about the carnage to a British reporter who was surveying the aftermath of the onslaught, this does not show victory for Israel, quite the opposite, only a losing and desperate maniacal military force gone mad can do such a thing. Indeed, it’s becoming evident that the more people Israel kills, the more it loses. You can define and base your success on other people’s demise and suffering only for so long. You can root for hate, death and destruction, instead of love, life and creation, only for so long. Eventually the death you embrace will embrace you back.