The Intercept: Report Finds Much Higher Civilian Death Toll in Raqqa, Syria

There is a myth that our airstrikes are so surgical do to laser targeting, advanced intelligence abilities, and other technologies that civilian deaths (or, “collateral damage”) are rare.

But these reports from Amnesty International and Airwars report differently due to better investigation techniques and a lack of U.S. PR concerns.

Also notice how quoted military leaders say these reports are aiding ISIS. Unreal…

Amnesty International and Airwars offer the most methodical estimate to date of the death toll from the U.S.-led battle to retake the city from ISIS.
— Read on theintercept.com/2019/04/25/coalition-airstrikes-in-raqqa-killed-at-least-1600-civilians-more-than-10-times-u-s-tally-report-finds/

Links to “The Battle of Algiers”

If you have not seen Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, I both admonish you and, yet, envy you.

I admonish you in that you have not done enough research into revolutionary art to have found this film. Yet, I envy you because you have yet to get that first breath of excitement when viewing the film the first time you only have once.

TBA is an intentionally grainy, black and white film shot in documentary style with a revolutionary heart. It is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo dramatizing the Algerian urban guerilla fighters during the fight for independence against the French colonialists. It concerns the guerilla tactics used by the NLF (FLN) and French paratroopers sent to quash the violent uprising which lasted for those three years.

Independence would finally be won by the Algerians in 1962, but this film centers around three years of bombings, assassinations, and torture allowing the French forces to end the most violent phase of the fighting.

Below are two links you can use to view the film. Watch Now!:

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

https://www.kanopy.com/product/battle-algiers-0

Put Your AK’s and Blasting Caps Away!: Thoughts on Urban Guerrilla Warfare Today

In the interest of full disclosure, I have always had this strange romance for the urban guerrilla groups of the 1970’s. Rather it be the Weather Underground (The Weathermen), the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army), The Black Liberation Army (BLA), or, in Europe, the RAF (Red Army Faction), in Germany, or the Red Brigades, in Italy, they have always appealed to me with their stories of fighting fire with fire against those in power. And having just gotten through the six-part CNN documentary, “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst” (must watch!), I thought this would be a good time to elaborate on the STL stances on violent revolution in explicit terms.

All the above groups took a violent stand against the state in order to spark a far-left revolution among the masses. The Weather Underground only committed bombings of symbolic buildings (e.g., the Pentagon), but the rest engaged in deadly bombings, shootings, assassinations, kidnappings, robberies, and prison breaks. They believed these actions would ignite “the people”, who were just kindling for them to light, and a radical leftist revolution would occur. But they were wrong.

They were in the wrong because they misjudged the stance and temperament of the average American/European. The SLA, the RAF, the BLA, etc., thought that if they just kicked things off, they would be met with great support by the people who were starving for revolution. They would conduct some deed(s) that would awaken them from the proletariat’s sense of “false consciousness” (see previous post) and begin the revolution. This resulted in these groups, barring the BLA, which was a violent splinter group of the Black Panthers, who were mostly made up of rich white college kids completely out of touch with the people. They had misjudged the mood of the population and failed in affecting the monumental, long term political change they desired

The young college kids on college campuses today need to learn this lesson before anything gets out of hand. Violence is not the answer right now. Take it from me, a college-educated piece of white trash living amongst the people today: It’s not where we’re at. And though it may feel good as an affect exercise by expressing your rage, this is not where the stand.

In short, that’s what I want you, any hotheaded radicals like myself out there, to learn from this post. Urban guerrilla tactics are not what we need right now. It would only be futile and could turn the people against our cause if we conduct our actions that way.

Che Guevara wrote that a guerrilla force must have at least 60% of the population in support of their cause to conduct a successful revolution. These 1970’s groups had only that much support among their fellow students at Berkeley.

“Pelosi and Democratic Leaders Condemn Omar Statements as Anti-Semitic”: How Criticism is Quashed

nyti.ms/2E4hBlN

Any time someone expresses any criticism of Israel’s criminal actions towards the Palestinians, they are labeled as anti-Semite.

This is how AIPAC wants to keep it, too.

5 Quick Political Facts for Today (2/25/15)

A little bit of good news and a lot of bad…

  • Nearly 80% of the voters in Chicago supported publicly financed campaignsWhen put to a public vote, this issue leaves little doubt where many stand on the idea that speech is money and where it belongs in our political campaigns.  Most of us want it out and want the corruption that comes along with it gone as well.  A Gallup poll showed half of the country was in favor of this in 2013, a number very likely to continue growing as the explosion in spending by outside groups who can hide their donors also continues.  Of course, Congress would have to bite the hand that feeds their family members 6-figure salaries to run their campaigns in order for this to change, which means it certainly won’t in the foreseeable future. 
  • Worker productivity grew 74% in the past 40 years while wages only grew 9%.  Because that is totally fair.  It’s true that part of the increase is due to technology but the disparity is still startling.  Considering the incredible increase in income inequality over the same period, it’s pretty obvious the average American is getting the shaft.  It’s also obvious which political party’s ideology is most responsible for this outcome.  But hey, voting against gay marriage, climate change, and abortion has worked out really well, hasn’t it?
  • The sea level north of New York City rose over 5 inches in 2009-2010.  The article states it was a “1-850 year event” and it’s likely we’ll see this type of thing more often.  And, since it’s an article from an international media source, it doesn’t bother digging up a climate change denier paid by the fossil fuel industry to refute the reality.  So refreshing when media accepts scientific consensus and doesn’t play to the least knowledgeable among us.
  • If you live in the U.S. then no, you shouldn’t be very afraid of terroristsAn excellent op-ed in The Guardian by a couple of academics noting the recent change in political discourse about terrorism in the U.S. by mostly the Obama administration.  In short, if you live here and aren’t traveling to dangerous locales, you are almost certainly not going to die at the hands of a terrorist.  And you probably shouldn’t hand over your freedoms and privacy at home in the name of fighting the so-called “War on Terror”.

It is astounding that these utterances – “blindingly obvious” as security specialist Bruce Schneier puts it – appear to mark the first time any officials in the United States have had the notion and the courage to say so in public.

Speaking of terrorism…

  • A Palestinian mosque was torched by an Israeli terrorist groupNot that there will be much outrage in the American media over nefarious Israeli actions, such as the shooting death of a 19-year old college student by the Israeli military the day before, as noted in the article.  And it’s not like these Israeli terrorist groups have just started up or are carrying out their first attack on Palestinians:

Hebrew graffiti was scrawled on the walls, including “Revenge for the Land of Zion” and “Price Tag,” a phrase used by Israeli nationalists linked to hundreds of attacks on Palestinian targets since 2008. Some attacks have also targeted Israeli military posts. (Emphasis added)

Which begs the question, will the Israeli military kill over 2,000 people, mostly civilians and children, to get back at these groups like they did to Gaza last summer?  I mean, these groups are attacking the Israeli military and “hiding behind civilian targets”, aren’t they?  And that clearly doesn’t matter when it comes to bombing populations as they’ve shown in the past, right?  What’s the difference?  Amazing how the double-standards look when they are revealed.

Stopping Terror At The Source

terrorism12115On this past Tuesday the Los Angeles Times published a letter by Pres. Obama on countering terror recruitment here in the U. S. and around the world. He stated we cannot defeat terrorists with military actions alone, but we have to go after their cadre of recruiters who draw them in so effectively and other measures. The President also stated that,

More broadly, groups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives. The world has to offer today’s youth something better.

Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.

The following day Pres. Obama held a press conference on the same subject I read about in the NYT also. The article stated that,

Mr. Obama said undercutting the Sunni militant group’s message and blunting its dark appeal was a “generational challenge” that would require cooperation from mainstream Muslims as well as governments, communities, religious leaders and educators.

So here we finally have a leader who understands that it is impossible to kill-off every terrorist and terrorist-sympathizer around the globe. And what you have to do is to take the wind out of their sails, if I can put it so lightly. We have to affect the reasons why people become terrorists.

With that stated I can already hear grumbling from those in the back thinking, “He’s gonna blame America, isn’t he?” No, I’m not going to blame the U.S. on the West at all. How can anyone be to “blame” for such brutality? These are atavistic medieval fighters awaiting the apocalypse who do the most heinous things to try and recruit more zealots to join a malformed ideology I can hardly even believe exists. And no one is to blame other than the terrorists themselves.

But we can take some of the wind out of their sails with a few things we should do,

1) Reduce our political/military footprint in Palestine. Nothing does more to recruit terrorists than America’s perceived indifference to what Israel does to the Palestinians. We support them both politically and materially with great amounts of military aid and do nothing about how it is used. The “50-day” war over the summer has to be one of the biggest recruiting tools in Mid-East terror history for ISIS.

2) We must all work together to affect real social change in the region. I was watching “The Five” on FOX News yesterday and they were arguing that poverty and oppression had nothing to do with terrorist recruitment. They stated that bin-Laden came from a royal family and that Zawahiri was an eye-doctor. But they are not the rank and file! The rank and file live in poor social conditions with oppressive governments and no jobs to keep them economically stable and occupied. They even run to terror for a good salary. We all know how ISIS is building an economy within itself by illegally exporting oil to Turkey. This is an essential point.

3) Disavowal the recruiters. At the Pres. Obama’s press conference he stated that, “We need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion, and we especially need to do it online.” And White House official Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, stated to the NYT correspondent, “You could hypothetically eliminate the entire ISIL safe haven, but still face a threat from the kind of propaganda they disseminate over social media….It’s an undervalued part of how you prevent terror attacks in the United States.”

This phenomenon is a serious, serious concern for anyone who desires both freedom and safety alike. I do not support in any form or fashion censorship or online monitoring, but we need to get more active as a people to counter these recruiters.

4) Stop thinking they hate us for our freedom. I used to read Osama bin-Laden’s statements before he was killed and he refuted this misnomer directly in one of them. He stated that al-Qaeda disagrees with us but does not care about our society as long as sharia law is followed in the Arab world. He even went as far as stating that if he hated our freedom, why not attack some nation such as Sweden? If politicians and laymen keep espousing this fallacy it keeps our eyes blinded from the real reasons they hate us.

5) Read this cover article in The Atalantic entitled “What ISIS Really Wants.” It is the first truly analytical report on the nature of ISIS. Essential read.

Israel Playing The Victim

16ISRAEL-master675According to a NYT report today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming the new joint Palestinian Authority for the disappearance/kidnapping of three missing Israeli teenagers from West Bank settlements in public statements today made to the International community. He is placing blame more specifically on Hamas, who just reconciled with the West-Bank base Fatah party to form the new joint P.A., but he said that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is directly responsible.

So what does Israel do but completely overreact with extreme acts of violence even though there is no proof that Hamas is behind the kidnapping? The article reports:

Hamas members of Parliament, former ministers, imams and professors were among those arrested in the night raids in Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and other West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps. Israel also carried out six airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight that Palestinian health officials said wounded a 15-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman, and it closed its commercial and pedestrian crossings into Gaza with exceptions only for fuel deliveries and humanitarian emergencies.

Now if Hamas would be behind these kidnappings it would be a breach of international law and should be treated as such. But as Qadura Fares, the Palestinians’ former minister of prisoner affairs, said, “the kidnapping is the result of the peace-process stalemate,” and the Israeli’s are using the incident to “make political gains.” The frustration with Israel’s planted obstacles to peace has kindled much resentment amongst Palestinians.

But, as usual, Israel is playing the victim here. They played to the international community today with Netanyahu speaking English, to appeal to the West, and spewed their usual apocalyptic predictions of Israel’s destruction at the hands of Muslim extremists.

But do they not now threaten the region the most with their over-use of military power?

 

 

 

 

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Guantanamo Review Board

Guantanamo Prisoner ReviewsA good article in The Guardian on the press’s chance to witness the “president’s inmate review board” being held at Guantanamo Bay aiming to free certain prisoners seen as fit to release. But, as the article explains, the process remains cloudy when witness’s were led to see more revealed.

Read Here.

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Rising Islamic Groups Raise Concern in Syria

I have made no secret here that I fully support the liberation groups in Syria courageously trying to overthrow both pro-Assad forces and Hezbollah. But according to this article in The Guardian, Islamic-fundamentalist groups are on the rise and they cannot be funded by outside groups when they have links to Al-Quaida and other terrorist-affiliated groups.

Read Here.

Al Shabaab: On The Rise

al shabaab somaliaA very good article in The Guardian on Al Shabaab, the Al Quaida affiliated group who has claimed to have been behind to recent attack on civilians in a Kenyan mall.

The article provides a good bio for the group and points to the fact that once thought to be in it’s last days, the terrorist organization seems to be alive not just in Somalia but across the Eastern African region.

Read Here.

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