zaterdag 17 juni 2017

Washington Bullets

Washington Bullets

Photo by hydropeek | CC BY 2.0
If you decide to go out in a blaze of infamy be prepared to have your instantaneous obituary stitched together by reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post from the traces you’ve left on social media: Facebook posts, Tweets and crazy Instagram photographs.
This is how the world first learned about the life of James T. Hodgkinson, the dugout shooter who sprayed a baseball diamond at a YMCA in Alexandria, Virginia with gunfire, hitting four people including Steven Scalise, the hard right majority whip in the House of Representatives, who was on the field practicing for the annual congressional baseball game.
So the capsulized life of Hodgkinson that emerged from the press–and the initial impression that will linger for months–is that he was a Bernie Bro who despised Hillary Clinton, considered Trump a tyrant and was consumed by the notion that the Russians had stolen the 2016 presidential election. In other words, a crazed lefty bent on political revenge.
Of course, important details were left out of this character profile. There were things about himself that Hodgkinson didn’t want to post on Facebook. These details took time to flesh out, time that can never be re-gained for our first impression of who Hodgkinson really was. His run-ins with the cops, his explosive nature, his repeated violent assaults on women, including punching a former girlfriend in the face, and his love of guns, guns that he was able to buy legally despite his criminal record, including an assault rifle of “Russian design,” as the New York Times noted, gratuitously.
Three months ago, Hodgkinson told his wife he was going to DC to “work on taxes.” What did this opaque phrase mean? Was he going to complete his taxes on his failed business as a home inspector? He left in March, a full month before the IRS deadline for his 1080 return. Was he under audit? Did he have a gripe with the IRS?  Was he going to lobby congress on tax reform? Did he want to increase the marginal rate? Close corporate loopholes? Save the earned income credit? How did he plan on achieving this? We’ll never know.
What we do know, or think we know, is that he packed up his suitcases and drove his white van 815 miles from Belleview, Illinois to DC. He traveled through the heart of Trump country, across southern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, through towns very much like his own, filled with white men very much like himself, people living on the economic margins, whose lives are being slowly crushed, day-by-day, by a system without mercy. Did he feel their pain? Did his anger mount, mile-by-mile? Did he get the sense that Trump is burying the entire country alive with his own bullshit? We can’t know.  (Unless, of course, there are tapes.)
A few hours after the shooting, Bernie Sanders rushed to the well of the senate to apologize unnecessarily for any association with the shooter, which only served to reinforce their tenuous and irrelevant connection. Hillary hacks howled that the shooter proved their deranged belief that the Bernie Bros are violent misogynists. The Republican terror-monger Peter King denounced the violence of the Left. Even the normally sober-minded Justin Raimondo of lashed out at the rhetorical violence of the “NeverTrump” crowd.
But real violence always trumps verbal violence and America is awash in it, especially at the level of the State. We’ve been in a state of near permanent war for 16 years, many more years than that if you’ve been paying attention. The State kills people and then labels their corpses terrorists. Cops shoot people on the streets of America with impunity, 549 in 2017 alone (See today’s appalling verdict in the Philando Castile case.). We live surrounded by violent death and Washington’s bullets have exacted a psychic toll on all of us.
Was Hodkinson a terrorist? Few asked the question. Even fewer asserted it. He was white. A man from the heartland, who could have been a plumber or tax accountant. In fact, he was a home inspector. A little overweight. Stocky. He had glasses. He looked like he could have been a Trump supporter.
He wasn’t. He loathed Trump. Called him a tyrant. Did he see himself as a Brutus of the heartland come to the capital to take down a dictator? Perhaps. But that’s not what he was called, even if that’s how he saw himself. America is not ready to swallow that reality. Not yet. The terrorist must be others. Black, brown, Muslim. White privilege isn’t about protecting the perpetrators but the survivors. It feeds their notion of cultural exceptionalism.
But Hodkinson knew he was going to die. Surely he did. He shot until he was shot. A suicide shooter. But Hodgkinson didn’t shout “Allahu Akbar” or “Remember Wounded Knee” before he enfiladed that baseball diamond with fire from his AK-47 replica rifle. Reportedly, Hodgkinson merely asked, a little sinisterly, “Do you know if those are Democrats or Republicans?” You can understand why it was difficult for him to tell the difference, but that’s hardly the cri de guerre of a revolutionary.
What was driving the mind that pulled the trigger? We can’t know. We can only speculate, ascribe motives, project our own rage and despair onto him, if we are in an empathetic frame of mind, or our fears, hatreds, prejudices, if we are repulsed. Where does that take us? Pretty much where we have been. Only worse. The pious calls for healing and reconciliation are the most cynical of all. Despite the evidence around them, from the top to the bottom, that things are out of whack, that, in fact, the new normal in America is looking pretty depraved, the press and the politicians want to send a message that things are going to be okay, that America will come together and get beyond bloody moments like this.
It’s more comforting that the man, the white man who might have checked the foundation of our houses for cracks, might have just snapped, perhaps from watching too much of MSDNC’s RussiaGate coverage. Perhaps from going off his meds. Perhaps from the stack of bills piling up on the kitchen table that he just couldn’t find a way to pay. Perhaps from a romance gone sour or some dire medical news. Snapping is normal. Snapping can be dealt with. Turning on the government, attacking the capital itself, that sends a chill through the system.
Writers are quick to make metaphors for moments like this. We are eager to infuse these kinds of seismic events with some greater meaning than just another shooting on a baseball diamond, something that happens pretty regularly in cities across America, from Houston to Oakland, Flagstaff to Albany. But what if America is cracking apart at the seams and people like Hodgkinson are emerging from the crevasses, armed, aggrieved and packing a list of targets. What then?
Today is June 16th. The sky is rainy and clogged with clouds the color of steel-wool. It’s frigid for mid-June, even in Oregon. Still, the dogwood is blooming in the yard, defying the odds and the elements. Someone told me years ago the tree’s broad white petals streaked with red symbolize the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. But that image never really moved me. Jesus has too many contradictory symbols and his followers have defiled most of them.
The blazing return to life of our old dogwood reminds me of a certain Leopold Bloom, of Dublin town, since the blossoms always seem so radiant, even glazed with cold rain, on his day.  On Bloomsday.
Here in Oregon City, Bloomsday requires a random dip into that unholiest of testaments, Ulysses, in search of a juicy snatch of text and a pint or two of Murphy’s Irish Stout and a shot of Jameson to wash the bitterness down. In honor of James Joyce you understand and his acolyte, Alexander Cockburn.
Cockburn’s birthday is June 6th and the celebrations often ran for 10 days, ending with a Bloomsday bash of drinking, feasting, dancing and quoting from Joyce, the more obscure and ribald the passage the better.
Those are the days with Alex that I miss the most, the high and low holy-days, up here or down on the Lost Coast, the days when stories and hard cider, laughter and music, the calls of birds and dogs barking, the scent of salmon twirling on a spit and the bracing winds of late spring all swirled together into one joyous stream …So here’s a passage for you Alex, mined from the mind of that rare genius.
Coffined thoughts around me, in mummycases, embalmed in spice of words. Thoth, god of libraries, a birdgod, moonycrowned. And I heard the voice of that Egyptian highpriest. In painted chambers loaded with tilebooks. They are still. Once quick in the brains of men. Still: but an itch of death is in them, to tell me in my ear a maudlin tale, urge me to wreak their will.
Roaming Charges
+ If the Washington Post can be believed, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now pursuing Trump for obstruction of justice. It appears that Trump wasn’t personally under criminal investigation until he tried to sabotage the FBI probe into Michael Flynn’s illicit activities, which is how self-deluded megalomaniacs are usually undone: by their own paranoia and hubris.
+ So the odious Jeff Sessions may have perjured himself for the third or fourth time (it’s hard to keep track) by neglecting to mention in his evasive senate testimony his meetings with a Russian lobbyist at two dinners Sessions hosted for the Trump campaign.
Since the beginning of this strange scandal, everyone in Trumpland has lapsed into a kind of Russian amnesia. If they’d only said from the start, “Sure, we met with some Russians. Talked about oil, sanctions, Crimea, Syria, vodka, hookers and the neglected films of Grigori Kozintsev” most people would have shrugged their shoulders and said, “So what?”
But Trump is a liar and he picked a gang of liars for his cabinet. Trump’s business was constructed from lies and so is Sessions’s malign political career. Are they hiding something? Some financial entanglements of the Trump organization, having nothing at all to do with the 2016 elections, snaking back to Russian banks? If they aren’t, they’re stupider than we thought they were, which was a very low bar to begin with.
I hope they all go down. Hard. But not too soon. It’s far too much fun watching political vermin like Sessions squirm.
+ Speaking of perjury, Scott Pruitt, the man who is trying to turn the EPA into the Chamber of Commerce, apparently lied to congress about his secret email accounts, back channels to his buddies in the oil and gas industry, in Oklahoma. Who needs Double-Speak anymore, when you can simply perjure yourself with impunity…?
+ We are hearing a lot now about how “dangerous” “violent” rhetoric motivated the DC shooter. But the actual violence of the State done in our name daily for the last 20 years is a bigger & more dangerous trigger than any kind of inflammatory speech.
+ Liberals, who have been so eager to restrict “hate speech,” now just might get what they want. But I don’t think they’ll like how it’s going to be enforced very much….
+ Trump slammed the door on US travel to and business deals with Cuba today, which just might help save socialism on the island from an economic re-b00ting by the neoliberal shock therapists.
+ The day after denouncing Qatar as a state-sponsor of terrorism, Donald Trump sealed a $12 billion arms deal with the petro-kingdom. The terms of the deal had been struck during the Obama administration. Why should anyone be surprised about this? First Qatar had to prove it was sponsoring terrorism, like the Saudis, before it actually got its hand on the weapons.
+ Drones are the gift Obama gave to Trump, who is taking maximum advantage of new his killing toys. Since Trump took office, the rate of drone strikes per month has swelled to nearly almost four times Obama’s average.
+ When karma comes as a drone: As US troops and surrogate fighters close in on Raqqa in Syria, ISIS fighters are using drones to target US positions and airstrikes.
+ Neoliberalism at Work: Over the last 34 years, incomes for the top 0.001% richest Americans soared by 636% while incomes for the bottom 50% remained stagnate. This wasn’t a by-product, but the plan.
+ National Geographic published an intriguing story documenting how at least seven species of marine mammals are known to mourn the deaths of family members and “friends”. The writers couldn’t resist referring to this as “human-like” behavior, which seems insulting to the whales. The real test of their “humanness”, of course, is whether cetaceans execute members of their own species and then take selfies with the corpses…
+ The UN estimates that US airstrikes have killed more than 300 civilians in Raqqa in the last month alone. And they call it “liberation”…
Cindy McCain, the wife of a leading Russophobe was just hired as a Human Rights (i.e., humanitarian bombing) Ambassador for the man her hubby calls Putin’s stooge…
+ Mark Kasowitz, the personal lawyer for Donald Trump, has been bragging to friends that he get US Attorney Preet Preet Bharara fired. If nothing else, you gotta admire the hubris of these people…
+ Trump’s plans to eviscerate labor unions is now coming into menacing focus. I wonder if Trump ran his scheme to hobble labor unions while unshackling his corporate buddies by the Einsatzgruppen Division of Big Labor who photopped with him in the Oval Office during the early days of Trump-time….?
+ As Jonathan Cook pointed out in a searing essay this week, Trump’s “Grand Deal” in the Middle East, cooked up with Netanyahu and his Saudi buddies, will set the stage for the elimination of Palestinian statehood. Of course, the Palestinians will resist and survive, as they always have. The question, moral and existential, is will Israel survive what it’s doing to the Palestinians?
+ Number of days in office to hit 60% job disapproval in a Gallup Poll-
Obama: never
GW Bush 1,758
Clinton: never
GHW Bush 1,290
Reagan: never
Nixon 1,736
Trump… 143
And the Democrats still have nothing to offer disaffected Trump (or Sanders) voters…
+ As Sanders, the Democrats are still sticking knives in his back, at their own peril. No one seems more deranged by Sanders’s appeal to progressives than Joy Reid, who does a double-shift of demagoguery at the Nation and MSDNC.  Check out this unhinged Tweet from Reid, which appeared on her twitter feed apropos of nothing, except her visceral loathing of Sanders and the Sandernistas:
Bernie and his followers are like that college friend who stays at your place for weeks, pays $0, eats your food & trashes your aesthetic.
To which I ask: what aesthetic?
+ NPR’s lead story on UK elections didn’t mention the words “Jeremy” or “Corbyn”. Perhaps Congress should defund them….
+ Eclipsed by the madness in DC, the Standing Rock Tribe just won a huge legal victory in a Seattle court ruling that the permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline were granted illegally.
+ It’s a rainy night in Antarctica
Yes, it’s a rainy night in Antarctica
And I believe there’s fire and drought across the rest of the world….
+ As the industry begins to implode, the New York Times has doubled-down on its pro-nuclear propaganda, urging that the nuclear cabal be bailed out in order to fight climate change, a specious argument that has been thoroughly debunked. Will the paper hire George “I Love to Surf at Fukushima” Monbiot as a columnist?
+ Among its many other global casualties, Monsanto is responsible for killing off the oaks of Iowa.
+ Imagine the Royalties! Yoko Ono may finally get songwriting credit for her contributions to “Imagine.” I always thought that meeting Yoko and John Sinclair were two of best things that ever happened to Lennon. Both expanded his mind, when he was trapped in a kind of vacuum of celebrity. Yoko deserves the credit, especially after all the shit she’s endured for 50 years. As Ron Jacobs said, “Yoko didn’t break up the Beatles, the world did.”
+ Bob Dylan has been cribbing stuff for years. “The Ballad of Emmitt Till” is a reworking of a song by the folkie Len Chandler, many of the lyrics from “Love and Theft” where taken from the Japanese oral history Confessions of a Yakuza, and even more egregious (politically) some of the lyrics on “Modern Times” were lifted from the southern poet Henry Timrod, a writer of pro-Confederate doggerel….Poetic license? It’s certainly part of the folk and blues tradition. Now comes word that Dylan may have plagiarized portions of the Nobel Prize speech for literature from the college student cheat-sheet SparkNotes, which as Dylanologist and boogie boogie maestro David Vest said, “is written by people who haven’t even read the works they are writing about.” Stealing from Sparknotes was a delicious prank and the perfect way to trivialize the Nobel Prize…Good job, Bob.
+ Terry Callier was one the greatest singers to come out of Chicago. He grew up in Cabrini-Green and sang in a doo-wop band as a kid with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler. His unique singing style was deeply influenced by listening to Coltrane. Callier was “discovered” one night in a club by the great blues historian Samuel Charters, who recorded his first album and then absconded to Mexico with the tapes. In the 70s, Callier toured with Gil-Scot Heron. In the 1980s he retired from music to raise his daughter and went to night school to get a degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. He was lured back into performing by Paul Weller (Brother to Brother) and Massive Attack (Live with Me). Callier was a mesmerizing live performer as witnessed here….
Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…
Witness by Benjamin Booker
Hard Truth by Coco Montoya
Samba by Vieux Farka Touré
Black Irish by Shannon McNally
Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…
The Putin Interviews by Oliver Stone
Out of Luck
Jean-Paul Sartre: “There are two types of poor people, those who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are rich people out of luck.”
More articles by:
Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. He can be reached at: or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch


Israeli soldiers held gun to Palestinian teen’s head, made him say ‘Mohammed is a pig’

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Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
B’Tselem: Israeli forces abuse Palestinian, force him to say ‘Muhammad is a pig’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 June  — Israeli forces abused and humiliated a 19-year-old Palestinian for hours when he was detained last month during a march in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, while the youth reported that he had feared for his life and was severely degraded by Israeli forces, according to a report released by Israeli rights group B’Tselem on Monday. Israeli forces detained Baraa Kanan, from the village of Beit Rima, at the same march Israeli forces shot and killed 22-year-old Saba Abu Ubeid and injured at least two others. Kanan was riding in an ambulance with a relative and fellow demonstrator who had been struck in the head with a stone thrown by another protester during the march when the ambulance was stopped by at least 10 Israeli soldiers … “While they led me along, they swore at me and called my mother names,” Kanan recalled to B’Tselem. “One of them tightened the blindfold on my eyes and ordered me to say, ‘I’m friends with the soldiers’. I repeated what he said. Whenever I stopped, he ordered me again to say, ‘I’m friends with the soldiers.'” “They knocked me down and then picked me up. They beat me and swore at me,” Kanan continued. “They didn’t let up. I was terrified that they were taking me to some lonely spot so that they could murder me and no one would find me.” Kanan added that soldiers finally stopped, at which point one said to Kanan “You’re a big-time terrorist. I’m going to shoot you.” Kanan said that he heard the soldier load his gun and felt the gun be placed on his head. “I was sure he was going to kill me,” he said. Kanan said that the soldiers then beat him again, and “covered his legs with earth and then removed it.” According to B’Tselem, he was also transferred to a tent and made to sit on the floor. The soldiers’ removed his blindfold and “forced him to say ‘Muhammad is pig’ and ‘Muhammad is a dog’, and snipped off bits of his hair with scissors.” After the soldiers finally returned his identity card and removed his plastic cuffs, they left Kanan in an area unknown to the youth, after Kanan had told the soldiers he did not know how to get back to Nabi Saleh….
Israeli police detain 60-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem, break his arm
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 June  — Israeli police released a 60-year-old Jerusalemite Palestinian on Tuesday night after assaulting him, breaking his arm, and detaining him from his home in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem earlier in the day. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that Abd al-Hai al-Zir’s home was raided by Israeli forces during a raid in the al-Abasiya area of Silwan. According to the center, Israeli forces demanded that al-Zir open a door between his home and his neighbor’s. When al-Zir refused, an Israeli officer allegedly threatened to break his arm if he did not open the door. The center said that Israeli forces then “violently beat” al-Zir and his 15-year-old son Ahmad. When al-Zir attempted to stop the police from beating his son, they broke his right arm. “Despite the fact that the soldiers heard the sound of the bones in my arm breaking, they continued to beat me,” al-Zir told the center. Israeli police detained al-Zir and his son and took them to a police station for interrogation, and denied al-Zir immediate medical care for his injuries, the center said. While al-Zir was released by the Israeli police Tuesday night, his son remained in detention, according to the center….
Israeli soldiers injure two Palestinians near Bethlehem
IMEMC 16 June — Israeli soldiers injured, on Friday morning, two young Palestinian man from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, after chasing them and firing gas bombs at them, in Wad Abu al-Hummus area, east of Bethlehem. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers chased many Palestinians trying to enter occupied Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades on them. They added that the soldiers shot the two Palestinians with a gas bomb and a concussion grenade in the head and back respectively. The two Palestinians were rushed by local medics to a hospital in Hebron, suffering moderate but stable injuries.
Qalansawe family claims police used excessive violence
[with video and photos] Ynet 15 June by Hassan Shaalan — Police officers searching for a wanted suspect in Qalansawe [in central Israel] are being accused of excessive force and violence by a village family. In a conversation with Ynet, the family said they did not understand what police wanted and claim authorities resorted to violence immediately. According to Kafa Suidan, the wife of one of the detained suspects, “We were sitting at a Ramadan meal. All of a sudden, we saw police around the house. Within seconds, they entered the hour two dogs and started causing damage during their search. They disrespected the women. “They humiliated and cursed at us, and yelled at us in front of the children. The children were terrified and didn’t stop crying. All this happened without us understanding what they wanted.” Suidan said her husband and two of her sons were violently arrested. “They beat them and wounded them. We called an ambulance, but unfortunately, they did not allow them to treat the wounded. “The police also brought dogs into the house. I tried to stop them, but a police officer pushed me hard and the dog that was with him bit me in the mouth. They treated us like terrorists. Even criminals don’t get treatment like this.” Finally, the family understood that police were searching for a wanted suspect, who is a resident of the West Bank. “I don’t know where they got this false information. We would never do something like that.” Suidan went on to claim that the family intends to file a lawsuit against police, saying, “We won’t go through this quietly.” In response to the claims of the family and footage, police issued a statement saying, “The residents of the home and additional persons attempted to prevent police from conducting operations by attacking officers. Four suspects were detained for assaulting police, obstruction of justice and insulting a public servant.”,7340,L-4976610,00.html
‘We just wanted to pray’: Palestinians face humiliation in Bethlehem’s 300 checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 June — “All we wanted to do was pray,” Baraa Jawabreh, a 14-year-old Palestinian told Ma‘an at Israel’s infamous 300 military checkpoint in northern Bethlehem, after Israeli forces denied the teenager entry as he was attempting to enter occupied East Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa for the third Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Israeli authorities permit men above the age of 40, women of all ages, and children younger than 12 years of age from the occupied West Bank to enter Jerusalem without a permit on Fridays, while all others are only allowed to enter with Israeli-issued permits. Palestinians must endure long waits at the 300 checkpoint, the only access point Palestinians from the southern occupied West Bank have to Jerusalem … For cousins Hussein and Baraa Jawabre, both aged 14, the process was futile. They were sent back by Israeli soldiers at the permit check, due to Israel’s age restrictions. The cousins were among thousands of other Palestinian children prevented entry into Jerusalem for prayers on Friday.  “I have attempted to reach Jerusalem three times, but each time the soldiers have banned my cousin and I from entering,” Hussein told Ma’an at the checkpoint. “We woke up very early and we were happy to pray at Al-Aqsa.” But, “the occupation prevented us,” Hussein added. The cousins had traveled all the way from the al-Arroub refugee camp in Hebron city to try and enter Jerusalem for prayers. Palestinian women told Ma‘an that they were humiliated while crossing the checkpoint, as Israeli soldiers forced them to remove their niqabs in front of hundreds of other men and women, an act that can be degrading and embarrassing to Muslim women, and despite the existence of special rooms in the checkpoint for Israeli soldiers that could have easily been used in order to provide privacy for the Palestinian women. One woman who was forced to remove her niqab, who preferred not to be named, told Ma’an that she was forced by Israeli soldiers to unveil herself, which she grudgingly conceded to “in order to achieve my dream of praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque.” … The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, is venerated as Islam’s third holiest site.
Gideon Levy: Palestinian family left in the dark after teen’s horrific death at checkpoint
Haaretz 15 June by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac — Israeli agents told the family their 15-year-old son was wounded after waving a knife at border police; four days later, they returned his bullet-riddled body — This boy’s killing passed almost unnoticed in Israel. Raed Radeideh was shot to death by the Border Police on May 22, the day U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Israel, and public attention was focused far away from him. Very few also knew about the circumstances of the teen’s killing. No one bothered to update his family, apart from the Shin Bet security service agents who interrogated the boy’s father, and told him his son had been wounded. Four days later, the family received the body at a checkpoint. When did he die? How? Did he die at the scene of the incident or in the hospital? The family doesn’t even know that. According to Raed’s father, the boy’s body was riddled with bullet holes: There were some 15 bullet wounds – in the head, shoulders, hands and legs. Raed’s right leg was almost completely shattered from the shooting. Why was he shot to death? And why was such massive firepower used on a teenager? He was 15 years old, a 10th-grader “who didn’t even have an ID card yet,” says his father, Ahmed Radeideh, a 54-year-old handyman who’s worked for years in Jerusalem and has many Israeli friends … Raed wanted to be a doctor. In the meantime, he had been preoccupied with his appearance. He got his hair cut four times a month, his father relates. “That’s something I can’t get a handle on. It’s not the money – 10 shekels ($2.85) for a haircut – but why go to the barber every week?” Raed’s father says uncomprehendingly. “He wanted to be handsome. He was blond and had blue eyes. ‘Yo, I’m a hunk,’ he would say. If he were with us now, he would speak to you in fluent English. If he’d met you, he would talk to you as an equal. He was an excellent student.” Raed’s hair is well groomed in the photos that now cover the living room windows. He liked clothes and sunglasses. His closet looks like that of an adolescent Israeli: numberless T-shirts and Adam deodorant….
Israeli Supreme Court further delays decision on withholding of Palestinian bodies
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — The Israeli Supreme Court gave the public prosecution a week on Wednesday to justify its stance regarding the withholding of slain Palestinians’ bodies. Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud said that the Supreme Court gave the prosecutors until June 21 to provide a response, fining them 3,000 shekels ($854) for failing to get back to the court on time. In January, Israel’s security cabinet said that the bodies of Palestinians allegedly affiliated to the Hamas movement would not be returned to their families, as Israel considers the bodies to be a bargaining chip that could be used in a future exchange deal with Hamas, the de facto ruling party of the besieged Gaza Strip, where the bodies of two Israeli soldiers are believed to be held. The Supreme Court rejected the state’s order in March, ruling that the claim that the bodies could be used in such a deal was “unconvincing.” The prosecution has repeatedly delayed presenting its justifications to the Supreme Court for Israel withholding the bodies of of Abd al-Hamid Abu SrourMuhammad TarayraMuhammad al-FaqihRami Awartani, and Misbah Abu Sbeih — which have been held for 14 months, 12 months, 11 months, 11 months, and eight months respectively.  Israel has also continued to hold the body of Fadi al-Qunbar, although he was not included in the case heard by the Supreme Court. The court gave the prosecution 45 days to respond to the file in March, while simultaneously rejecting a petition by the prosecution that requested that the Palestinians be buried in Israel’s “cemetery of numbers,” a series of mass graves comprised of marked and unmarked plots of mostly Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past 60 years….
Jewish terrorism is rearing its head again
Ynet 15 June by Alex Fishman — Anarchistic-messianic Jewish terrorism, which aims to destroy the Zionist state for holding up the arrival of redemption, is rearing its head once again, Shin Bet officials have warned. In the past two months alone, eight covert Jewish terrorist attacks have been recorded within the Green Line and in the West Bank: In Arab communities in Wadi Ara, in the northern village of Na‘ura, in Jerusalem, and in Palestinian villages around the settlement of Yitzhar. So far, these attacks have involved vandalism of property, car torching and nationalistic graffiti on walls. There have been, in addition, multiple cases of Jewish rioting against soldiers, police forces, Palestinian residents and Israeli civilians, sometimes resulting in injuries.
In the past two years, they have been paralyzed, with almost zero attacks. Some of their leaders and perpetrators of attacks were sent to jail, while others were ordered to stay away from the West Bank. However, since the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona in February, the Jewish terrorists have been stepping up their activity. Shin Bet officials have pointed to escalation in Jewish terrorist activity similar to the previous wave, which reached its peak in July 2015 with the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma.
The Shin Bet’s Jewish Division and police forces dealing with the Jewish nationalistic subversion are working at the same pace they did in 2015, which was a record year in the war on Jewish terror. But the “Duma effect,” which shocked Israeli society and gave the Shin Bet and the Israel Police the tools and support to strike this terror, has worn out [off] since then. In professional definitions, Jewish terrorism is now in its “third stage” in the degrees of escalation. The first stage is violence around the communities. The world view of Jewish terrorists is as follows: In our places of residence, there must not be a single ‘enemy’ in our line of vision — police officers, soldiers, Palestinians, or left-wing peace activists. No one. Whoever comes near will be targeted. If a Palestinian accidentally finds himself at the gate to Yitzhar, he has no chance of escaping unharmed. A Border Police jeep approaching the area will be pelted with stones.
The renewed Jewish terrorism has two centers of activity. The first one is Yitzhar, where the “price tag” acts of vandalism were invented and where the anti-Zionist perception has been fostered. The second one, which at the time was given the tender nickname “Hilltop Youth,” is made up of violent groups that live in the “Baladim” outposts in the Binyamin region, like Geulat Zion and Ramat Migron. Some of these outposts are located inside a closed military zone, but who cares? Some are removed occasionally, and nobody deals with the rest. It’s where the hard core of the “Revolt Group,” led by Rabbi Kahane’s grandson Meir Etinger, came from. Two members of this group were charged in the Dawabsheh murder, and the group was also behind the arson attack at Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey and at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Yitzhar and Baladim delinquents have teamed up in recent months, and the hilltop youth are being led to terror activities by violent youth from the community.
In the second stage, the youths leave the community on “Shabbat trips,” as they are known in Yitzhar. After the morning prayer, they head to villages like Burin, Urif and Hawara, and beat residents up….  [very long and informative article, well worth reading in its entirety],7340,L-4975300,00.html
Palestinian, 14, arrested in Jerusalem after pulling knife in spat with Israelis
Times of Israel 13 June — A 14-year-old West Bank Palestinian was arrested in Jerusalem after brandishing a knife at a group of teenagers who taunted him in the local bakery where he was employed, police said. The teenager and his father, who also worked at the bakery, were detained by police after the minor pulled a knife and threatened a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish teenagers on Bar Ilan Street of the capital. Police arrived at the scene after receiving alerts of a Palestinian armed with a knife. The teenage suspect told investigators that the ultra-Orthodox teenagers had teased him and he waved the knife to scare them off. An initial investigation indicated the suspect and his father did not have a permit to work in Israel, police said. The owner of the bakery was also detained for employing a West Bank Palestinian who was not permitted to cross the Green Line into Israel.
Israeli soldiers abduct eight Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 13 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, Tuesday, at least eight Palestinians, including a woman and two siblings, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The Hebron office of the PPS, in the southern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers abducted Manal Mahmoud Abu Ali, from Yatta town, south of Hebron, after stopping her in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron city. The soldiers also abducted Nitham Qa‘qour, from Tarqoumia town, west of Hebron, after invading his home and searching it. In Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Fadi Ahmad ‘Ammouri, 40, Adnan Ahmad Khader, ,49, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rahman Ekbariyya, 40. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Moath Shiokhi and Mansour Shiokhi, from occupied East Jerusalem, and Mohammad Shahwan, from the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, in the Ramallah and al-Biereh governorate.
12 Palestinians detained, 4 shot and injured, in overnight Israeli military raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 June — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians in detention raids on Wednesday across occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with one violent raid erupting in clashes that left four Palestinians shot and injured. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, searched several houses, and detained two former prisoners Muataz Sharayaa and Yunis al-Zghari, both 25 years old. Clashes broke out in the camp, with Israeli forces firing live ammunition toward demonstrators, causing the injury of four Palestinians. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the al-Duheisha raid, which came after rights groups have routinely denounced excessive force by the Israeli military and a wider policy of suppression of resistance of Palestinians, particularly in al-Duheisha refugee camp.
The spokesperson told Ma‘an that “tens of rioters hurled rocks toward forces,” and that Israeli forces responded by opening fire with 0.22 caliber rounds “to prevent an escalation of violence,” after which “forces carried out with the arrests as planned.”
In the nearby village of Husan southwest of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Nabil al-Shaer after raiding and searching his family’s house, locals said…
According to the Israeli army spokesperson, a Palestinian was also detained in the Ramallah area, while an alleged “Hamas operative” was detained in the village of Jaba‘ in the central Jerusalem district.
During a raid into the northern occupied West Bank city of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained Adam Daoud, according to local sources. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed on detention in Qalqiliya.
Locals said that the Israeli army also raided Misliya south of Jenin city in the northern Nablus district, where they heavily fired tear gas and sound bombs before detaining 18-year-old Qasim Muhammad Abu al-Naim.
Meanwhile, in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, member of the local follow-up committee Muhammad Abu al-Hummus said that Israeli police escorted by Israeli intelligence forces stormed the village on dawn, raided several houses, and detained four Palestinians identified as Muhammad Samer Mahmoud, Muhammad Alaa Mahmoud, Abd al-Fattah Abu Siyama, and Shakir Mustafa.  Abu al-Hummus said that since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in late May, Israeli forces have been raiding ‘Issawiya every day, either around dawn or after dusk, when those observing Ramadan break their fast with the iftar meal …police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a written statement that one Palestinian was arrested overnight in the nearby Shu‘fat refugee camp, beyond Israel’s illegal separation wall and within Israel’s municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. He said that “during an overnight police operation” in Shu‘fat, Israeli police stopped a “suspect vehicle,” in which police found a number of pipe bombs and subsequently detained the driver.
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Israeli forces detained 12 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank during overnight raids between Wednesday and Thursday, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. In Nablus city in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported in a statement that Israeli forces detained Farouq Nabil al-Bashtawi. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an that Israeli forces had detained a Palestinian in Nablus city for allegedly being a Hamas operative. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two Palestinians were detained from the northern Qalqiliya district — one from Qalqiliya city and another from the village of ‘Azzun. Palestinian sources did not provide additional information on these detentions. In the central West Bank district of Salfit, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, according to an Israeli army spokesperson. Also in the central West Bank, Nayef Muhammad Bazar was detained from the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, according to PPS, which did not identify the exact village from which Bazar was detained.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the southern West Bank Bethlehem district, identified by PPS as Raed Ibrahim Abu Friha, Bilal Ismail Masalma, and Ahmad Ubeidallah. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed a detention in BeitSahour and another in the village of Hussan in the Bethlehem district. According to PPS, Israeli forces also detained four Palestinians, including three former prisoners of Israel, from the Hebron district in the southern West Bank. PPS identified the detainees as Anas Shadid, Murad al-Qawasmi, Mahmoud al-Ewiwi, and Safwat Muhammad al-Jabari.
Court actions / Prisoners

U.S. Apocalypse Has Been a Long Time Coming

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Trump’s Apocalypse Has Been a Long Time Coming

"The Puritans sowed the seeds of a national pathology of global significance," write Hartmann. "Trump is its latest exponent." (Image: Screenshot/Tumblr)
As the first-year anniversary passes of Omar Mateen's deadly attack on the gay Pulse night club in Orlando, it's worth remembering Donald Trump's  apocalyptic response. Out on the campaign trail, he used the tragic event to warn that Muslim terrorism could obliterate the United States. "There will be nothing, absolutely nothing, left," he said. "Can you imagine what they’ll do in large groups, which we’re allowing now to come here?"
Like many doomsday prophets, Trump alternates between fomenting fear and promising a perfect world to come.  "We stand at the birth of a new millennium,” he proclaimed in his inaugural address. With God and guns on our side, he vowed to end the “carnage” in America’s inner cities, secure our borders and wipe radical Islamic terrorism “completely from the face of the Earth.”  
Trump’s apocalyptic rhetoric is rooted in a long American tradition that began with the Puritans.  Convinced they had a special covenant with God, the Puritans set about to build a model Christian society that would show the world the way to the new millennium.  In political sermons known as jeremiads, Puritan preachers blamed all kinds of woes—conflict, natural disasters, witchcraft and war—on their flock's sinful ways. But if the community atoned for its sins, embraced its special mission, and followed its righteous leaders, the course would be set right again. Delivered during major public events like elections, jeremiads aimed to build consensus and control dissent.
The threat of apocalypse loomed over the Puritan experiment. Minister Michael Wigglesworth's epic poem The Day of Doom, published in 1662, warned of the "endless pains" and "scalding flames" that awaited the wicked on Judgement Day.  Generations of Puritan children were made to recite it. As the best-selling book in the colonies for nearly a century, it presaged the popularity of modern apocalyptic tracts like the Left Behind series that has sold 65 million copies since the first book appeared in 1995.
The Puritans sowed the seeds of a national pathology of global significance. I call it the America Syndrome. Trump is its latest exponent, but most Americans, whether religious or secular, carry it in their psychic DNA. Its core elements are that we are God's chosen people, called upon to save the world, coupled with the threat of a coming apocalypse. History is an unfolding prophecy that propels us toward a hellish end or heavenly future.
In the America Syndrome the ends justify violent means. War is God’s will, and its depredations not only punish, but also cleanse us. The halo that shone over the brutal conquest of Native American and Mexican lands and the mass casualties of the Civil War has gone on to grace imperial adventures overseas. Patriotism is a sacred duty in a world sharply divided between good and evil, friend and foe. America First!
For the chosen people to be who they are, they must exclude and subjugate the Other who they’re not. Since the white, male Protestant ideal is the ultimate measure of virtue, we are taught to hate and fear the dangerous Red Man, Black man, unruly woman, gay person, alien immigrant—anyone who doesn't conform. The identities of our enemies may change with the times, but they are ever present. Paranoia about them covers up anxieties about our own unworthiness, for how can we ever measure up?  
The America Syndrome constantly feeds on and feeds us worst-case scenarios. Trump's strategist Steve Bannon not only makes fake news, but takes fake history seriously, believing that we are at a so-called "Fourth Turning" where an apocalyptic war pitting a weakened Judeo-Christian West against radical Islam and expansionist China is inevitable.
A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy
Bannon is hardly alone in thinking a big war is on the horizon. A 2010 Pew poll found that six out of ten Americans saw another world war as definite or probable by 2050.  (In the same poll, 41 percent of respondents said they expected Jesus to return to Earth by 2050.)  A recent YouGov survey yielded a similar result, with 64 percent of Americans expecting a major war soon and only 15 percent confident in world peace. Trump’s empowerment of hawks in the Pentagon further stokes these fears. Whether it’s dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” on the Islamic State complex in eastern Afghanistan in April or continuing threats to use military force against North Korea, the message is that the American war machine is ready and raring to go.
Maybe the Trump presidency is doing us a favor by throwing the pathology of the America Syndrome into such sharp relief. But Trump is also spurring a reverse apocalyptic response among many critics who see him as a sort of anti-Christ, the worst and most dangerous president ever, the culmination of all our collective sins. Ronald Reagan’s nuclear madness and Latin American death squads, and George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, which now even he admits set the stage for rise of the Islamic State, are recast as benign by comparison. Memories tend to be short in the America Syndrome.
What if Americans could accept that we’re not really so special? What if we could train our ears to resist the siren song of the jeremiad? What if we could acknowledge the inanities and profanities of our own history, instead of reading it like a patriotic version of the Book of Revelation? Perhaps we would be better able to separate fact from fiction, and get down to the hard business of building a better country and a more peaceful world.
Betsy Hartmann is the author of The America Syndrome: Apocalypse, War and Our Call to Greatness, forthcoming in spring 2017 from Seven Stories Press. The third edition of her book Reproductive Rights and Wrongs has recently been published by Haymarket Books. See