An excerpt from the transcript for the above May 6, 2015 Democracy Now segment follows:
AMY GOODMAN: In this clip, a first sergeant describes his commander’s order to randomly fire on a neighborhood in the Gaza Strip during the assault last summer.
IDF FIRST SERGEANT: [translated] So he gave an order: “Guys, park the tanks in a row. Assume position facing the neighborhood of Al-Bureij and prepare for contact.” Contact means we all shoot at once, after a countdown—three, two, one, shoot. I remember all the tanks stood in a row, and I personally asked my commander, “Where do we shoot?” He said, “Wherever you like.” Later on, I also heard from the other guys that everyone just chose a target. And he said on the radio, “Good morning, Al-Bureij. Guys, we’re going to do a ‘Good morning, Al-Bureij.'” This meant waking up the neighborhood to show them that the IDF is here and to deter them. I remember how the tanks stood in a row. So did ours. And I, the gunman, looked at some house, a very tall house, in the center of that neighborhood some 2,000 meters away, which is about two kilometers. And I asked my commander, “Where in the house do I aim?” He said, “Aim a little to the right, a little to the left, at that window, at that floor. Three, two, one, shoot.” And we all shot shells sporadically, of course. At no point was anyone shooting at us, though…
AVNER GVARYAHU: …This specific clip or testimony was really, as you mentioned, from a soldier who served that was a gunner in the Armored Corps. I think the interesting thing about this testimony is that it’s actually not that unique. We hear very similar stories, incidences, from various soldiers in different places. And the stories that keep coming up are the fact that, basically, soldiers were told to, first of all, almost constantly shoot, which is something that is not the procedure. Just in comparison, during the Second Intifada around the year 2000 in the Gaza Strip, in order to shoot—in order for a tanker or for a gunner to shoot a tank shell, he actually needed permission from his battalion officer. We’re talking in this time around, in this round, soldiers that were very, very young soldiers, sometimes enough—as the tank commander gave these orders. So, basically, soldiers were told almost constantly, “Shoot.” And this is something, as we just heard, many times in areas that they were not shot at from, many times to areas they had no idea what they were actually shooting at.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Avner, one soldier said his unit tried to shoot all of its machine gun ammunition just before getting resupplied, even if their targets had not been identified…
“Bombing of Gaza children gives me “orgasm”: Israelis celebrate slaughter on Facebook” by Patrick Strickland
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Patrick Strickland follows:
Many Israeli Facebook users have posted violent and disturbing content on their personal accounts. Talya Shilok Edry, who has more than one thousand followers, posted the following “status”: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Jack Moore follows:
Right-wing Israelis have been filmed chanting “There’s no children left there [in Gaza]” and “Gaza is a cemetery” in a seeming celebration of their military’s offensive on the territory during a Tel Aviv demonstration.
The protesters are seen waving Israeli flags and singing football-like chants to voice their anger at Arab members of the Knesset (MK) Ahmad Tibi and Haneen Zoabi, and the people of Gaza.
In the translated captions on the video below, the demonstrators are heard shouting: “There’s no school tomorrow, there are no chidren left there [in Gaza]”.
“Israeli Professor: Rape Hamas Militants’ Mothers and Sisters to Deter Terrorist Attacks” by Gianluca Mezzofiore
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Gianluca Mezzofiore follows:
An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks.
The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in Hebrew) on Monday.
“The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped,” said Kedar on Israel Radio Bet
In Stephen Harper’s sick, fascist world, Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates should be free while Omar Khadr should be locked up forever and, preferably, tortured.
Stephen Zunes’s article is titled “Obama and Israel’s Military: Still Arm-in-Arm.” The following is an excerpt:
In the wake of Israel‘s massive assault on heavily populated civilian areas of the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Amnesty International called for the United States to suspend military aid to Israel on human rights grounds. Amnesty has also called for the United Nations to impose a mandatory arms embargo on both Hamas and the Israeli government. Unfortunately, it appears that President Barack Obama won’t be heeding Amnesty’s call…
Currently, Obama is on record supporting sending up to $30 billion in unconditional military aid to Israel over the next 10 years. Such a total would represent a 25% increase in the already large-scale arms shipments to Israeli forces under the Bush administration…
If Israel were in a strategically vulnerable situation, Obama’s hard-line position might be understandable. But Israel already has vastly superior conventional military capabilities relative to any combination of armed forces in the region, not to mention a nuclear deterrent…
Indeed, in an apparent effort to support their militaristic agenda and to discredit reputable human rights groups that documented systematic Israeli attacks against non-military targets… congressional leaders and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of their colleagues have gone on record praising “Israel’s longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss and…efforts to prevent civilian casualties.” Although Obama remained silent while Israel was engaged in war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza, Pelosi and other congressional leaders rushed to Israel‘s defense in the face of international condemnation…
If all U.S. aid to Israel were immediately halted, Israel wouldn’t be under a significantly greater military threat than it is today for many years. Israel has both a major domestic arms industry and an existing military force far more capable and powerful than any conceivable combination of opposing forces.
Under Obama, U.S. military aid to Israel will likely continue be higher than it was back in the 1970s…
According to late Israeli major general and Knesset member Matti Peled, — who once served as the IDF’s chief procurement officer, such fixed amounts are arrived at “out of thin air.” In addition, every major arms transfer to Israel creates a new demand by Arab states — most of which can pay hard currency through petrodollars — for additional U.S. weapons to challenge Israel. Indeed, Israel announced its acceptance of a proposed Middle Eastern arms freeze in 1991, but the U.S. government, eager to defend the profits of U.S. arms merchants, effectively blocked it…
The resulting arms race has been a bonanza for U.S. arms manufacturers…
The huge amount of U.S. aid to the Israeli government hasn’t been as beneficial to Israel as many would suspect. U.S. military aid to Israel is, in fact, simply a credit line to American arms manufacturers, and actually ends up costing Israel two to three times that amount in operator training, staffing, maintenance, and other related costs. The overall impact is to increase Israeli military dependency on the United States — and amass record profits for U.S. arms merchants.
Do you bloodspilling fascist Israeli Nazis see the uncaring, fat cat American defense contractors dancing in the street and saying unkind things about you? Try to imagine it, losers.
“America’s Hottest Export: Weapons” by Mina Kime
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
As defense giants like Boeing, Raytheon (RTN, Fortune 500), and Lockheed Martin (LMT, Fortune 500) increasingly seek to peddle their wares to well-financed (sometimes by the U.S.) international customers, they have a surprising ally: the President. “Obama is much more favorably disposed to arms exports than any of the previous Democratic administrations,” says Loren Thompson, a veteran defense consultant. Or, as Jeff Abramson, deputy director of the Arms Control Association, puts it: “There’s an Obama arms bazaar going on.”
Elites everywhere are playing the game of ‘riches for the strongest’ which the people pay for, dearly, in many ways. The game takes different forms. Neoliberal capitalism, which, like American foreign policy, operates on mafia principles, involves predators and the preyed upon. It involves prosperity for the few at the top and austerity for the huge majority at the bottom. And it involves lawlessness, for that’s precisely how the 1% gets to the top. They break every written and unwritten rule that might give them an advantage as they seek to get ahead of and on top of the rest of us – after huddling with us to decide on the rules that we all agreed would be good for society. From a position of dominance, the believers (conveniently) in inequality can now dictate and guarantee outcomes, including economic outcomes that benefit them.
Everything elites and their tools do, they claim they do for good reasons. Sometimes their lies are sensible. They promise peace, prosperity and security. Sometimes their lies are perverse, as when Southern racists in the 30s and 40s told blacks that they benefitted from a racialized labor system, segregation and inequality. They eventually toned down the language – after complaining bitterly and often about northerners infecting their blacks with ideas of equality – trading grand proclamations of white supremacy for a strong defense of segregation (and even segregation with equality), just as they toned down the call for states’ rights (to do wrong) and attempted to nationalize their racial ‘problem’. For example, They told northerners who criticized their steadfast loyalty to Jim Crow that they could do so so easily because they had fewer blacks. In other words, the issue was framed, the way one might argue that the way you deal with withdrawal symptoms in connection with smoking is to have a smoke. How about quitting? How about quitting racism and democracy that isn’t democracy?
If civil rights were too difficult to prevent and white supremacy too difficult to (openly) champion, that doesn’t mean that believers in inequality have gone away. Not at all. Today the haves are the ones eagerly playing ‘riches for the strongest’. The have-nots are the ones losing in that game in which there ‘has to be’ losers. But many of the victims of neoliberal capitalism don’t see that the game’s the problem. Those ones are truly victims. They are ruined by their ‘leaders’ who set the worst example for them.
Those leaders manipulate the people in a number of ways. They lie in a number of ways, including via demonstration thinking and behavior. They pretend to think and behave a certain way so that unthinking citizens will imitate that thinking and behavior believing it to be right. For example, The idea that we are being taxed to death is one mouthed by most rightwingers, including people like Donald Trump. You know something’s up when you recall that he also said previously that taxes are necessary. (And let’s keep in mind that the same politicians who plead poverty preside over a system in which there is about $32 trillion in offshore tax havens. Actions speak louder than words. Some words equal actions.) I started this post just prior to Omar Khadr’s ‘successful’ bid to get out of jail. The Harper government bitterly opposed Omar’s effort. Recall the vile things they said, publicly, about Omar. And yet, as Michelle Shepherd notes, government lawyers didn’t use the horrible labels for, and descriptions of, Omar in court. They merely attempted to argue against Omar’s release on a technicality involving the question whether Justice June Ross had jurisdiction to handle the case before her. Shepherd’s conclusion is the obvious conclusion. Omar is being used for political purposes. From the May 8th Toronto Star, you can read the following:
““Words are just words,” said Saskatchewan Conservative Tom Lukiwski. “I reject the notion he was a child soldier. I think it was a very deliberate, premeditated act, and he should pay the price for that.”
“Added Ontario Conservative Costas Menegakis: “He killed a soldier. He admitted to it. He’s guilty. He knows he’s guilty. I think he should be in prison.”
“In Halifax, MacKay also said that legislative changes were being contemplated that might make it harder for the accused in terror cases to be granted bail.”
“(We) regret that a convicted terrorist has been allowed back into Canadian society without having served his full sentence,” Jeremy Laurin, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, said in a statement. – “‘A great day for justice:’ Omar Khadr free on bail after 13 years in prison” by staff of Canadian Press
“There is nothing alleged about Omar Khadr or “so-called” about the terror he inflicted. The crimes were confessed, in his own words, under oath at trial in Guantanamo.” – Rosie DiManno, “Let the Omar Khadr furor fade away with him: DiManno” – Toronto Star
Take a good look at, and listen to, what Omar’s powerful Canadian enemies say about him and compare that to other words and actions they produce. Stephen Harper wants Canadians whose minds and souls he has helped to ruin, for profit (which, for Harper, means mainly the approval of the US ruling class – formal and informal – and it’s powerful allies), to believe he is protecting them from terrorism and terrorists like Omar Khadr. But over in Kuwait and Iraq we see the care and concern for Canadians’ safety, and the safety of Canadian military personnel, on display. The rules were changed after a targetted attack on two Canadian soldiers in Canada in October of 2014. There would be no allowing photos showing the faces of soldiers in foreign countries. So what does the politicking Harper do? He has a couple of propaganda videos made showing Canadian soldiers’ faces. At first, he tried to pooh pooh it all. But it’s hard to pooh pooh a rule you just made, also for propaganda purposes, in your holy war on terror without raising the eyebrows of even your dullest supporters. The rest of us are wise to what this law & order government is all about, and it’s not law & order. Unless it law & order that keeps the abused Canadian people in their place. Way back in 1995 when Linda McQuaig’s book “Shooting The Hippo” was published, she noted that the government then was happy to cut social spending which it and the business community blamed for problems caused by the politicians and capitalists jointly engineering a revenue problem, primarily via tax cuts and unemployment caused by deficit fighting. But notice what she said about it:
“Interestingly, the bigger spending increases were in areas that had not been the focus of pubic attacks or even public discussion. For instance, about 8 per cent of the debt growth, [Hideo Mimoto] found, could be attributed to increased spending on “protection of persons and property,” a category that included the military, the police and the prison system. This raised the curious possibility that we were following the uninspiring example of the United States. After deep social spending cuts, the biggest item on many U.S. state budgets was now the cost of imprisoning people. (Of course, this begs the question of whether there is a connection between the two. If we spend less on social programs, do we encourage the kind of social breakdown that leads to higher spending on police and prisons? We may be not only undermining the social order with these spending cuts, but also engaging in an ultimately fruitless attempt at deficit control.)” -page 57 of “Shooting The Hippo”
Here we are in 2015 and I think Linda’s speculation can be laid to rest. Her observations can be generalized to the effects of the operation of neoliberal capitalism and economic shock therapy all over the planet. Yes, most certainly, there’s a connection here, as many journalists and activists and authors are pointing out. Here’s Duncan Cameron commenting on that connection in his Rabble article titled “Canada: An Outlaw State.”
The Harper Conservatives are prolonging the mandate for Canadian bombing raids targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) forces inside Iraq, and extending it to include bombings in Syria.
Foreign Minister Nicholson has said Conservatives believe Islamic terrorists abroad represent a threat to Canadian security. Citizens are supposed to understand that by fighting ISIL, Canada is protecting itself from terrorist action on Canadian soil.
The ostensible reason for the bombing is to attack and destroy the former al-Qaeda forces now expanded and regrouped as ISIL that control territory in Iraq, and have moved war-making equipment into Syria. In reality Canada has agreed to serve American Middle Eastern foreign policy, without regard to the consequences at home or for peace in the region…
The Iraq bombing mission has no UN support, and is not even a NATO operation. Yet as the Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner outlined in her important speech to the UN General Assembly, only a truly multilateral world order offers any hopes for securing world peace.
Instead of looking to end violence through peace-keeping, Canadian armed forces have been enlisted to continue decades-long attempts by the U.S. military to ensure that Iraqi oil resources do not end up in the wrong hands. None of this military action is sanctioned under international law.
Here’s an excerpt from Bruce Campion-Smith’s Toronto Star article titled “PM’s office admits security rules breached in two videos”:
The two videos, produced by the prime minister’s own staff for his promotional video channel 24 Seven, were taken off line Tuesday morning.
The Prime Minister’s Office admitted hours later that the videos should never have been made public.
“After a second review, it became apparent that two of the videos should not have been posted,” said Rob Nicol, the prime minister’s director of communications.
“We regret the error and are reviewing protocols for such images.
“The safety of our troops is our number one priority. For this reason, there are protocols in place before images or videos are posted.”…
During the stopover in Kuwait, a member of the prime minister’s staff sent a reminder to media, entitled “ground rules photo.”
“FYI, again, for (Kuwait): no front faces recognizable, no name,” the official wrote.
Now government spokespersons (Peter McKay and, I believe, Jason Kenney, but I can’t find a trace of the Toronto Star article I thought I saw reporting on Jason’s statement) are publicly praising the terrorist Omar for renouncing terrorism. Overnight, literally, Omar isn’t a terrorist? Even though he’s exactly the same person he’s been for years? Whereas, There are terrorist sympathizers masquerading as democrats who have been among us for a very long time, protected by uncle Sam and the Canadian government. Robert Parry reports on Radio Liberty and it’s tradition of quietly, most of the time, supporting Nazis, including today’s neo-Nazis in Ukraine. And the venerable Globe And Mail, along with Canada’s other largest dailies, is supporting the neo-Nazis in Ukraine mostly by hiding their existence from the Canadian public, in effect lying to Canadians about the nature of the Ukraine conflict. Thomas Walkom’s Toronto Star article fairly sums it up, noting that the Omar who Canadians are now seeing and hearing, freely, isn’t the scary terrorist that Harper et al need him to be for political purposes. (Harper himself isn’t backing down, publicly, mind you. I hope he doesn’t. Let’s see what he’s made of.) I would add that it’s probable that, despite the vile accusations spewed out by the Harper camp in relation to Omar, since Omar’s capture when he was 15, There has also been an awareness by that camp, recently, that their hate campaign isn’t working with enough Canadians, now, to justify it. Hence the sudden ‘warmth’ shown toward Omar the terrorist by the same sick crowd who have made other Canadians sick – which is to say hate-filled and ignorant – with their hatred.
I mentioned demonstration thinking and behavior and how that is a form of lying that our ‘leaders’ engage in with us. I will quote from Linda’s “Shooting The Hippo” again. What follows is what I first intended to quote when I was thinking of some examples of demonstration thinking and behavior to give you. In reviewing her book to find the quotes I wanted, I happened upon the above passage where she presciently talked about something going on, but, as Stephen Stills said (but not in connection with Vietnam), “what it is ain’t exactly clear.”
Linda McQuaig, in her book, “Shooting The Hippo,” talks about how she noticed that when the business community that was hollering constantly about the danger and evil of deficits was confronted with the fact that Moody’s rating for Canada was ‘great’ despite the then just announced large deficit, they didn’t seem to care – if they thought no one was looking. It turns out that they like deficits because they like some of the things that deficits can bring, with the right politicians at the helm. For one thing, Politicians, not backed by science, take the position that the way you deal with evil deficits is by lowering inflation, which they also regard as evil (but which are not evil when they are 10% or 12% or lower). James Crow, a former governor of the Bank of Canada went to war on inflation, because he and his ally, Michael Wilson (Brian Mulroney’s finance minister), saw things from their upper class standpoint only. By choice. Lowering inflation raised real interest rates and (in ways I don’t understand) brought about price stability. In other words, the capitalists, the bond holders and others with enough money to seriously invest, liked high real interest rates and price stability and wanted a regimen that could ensure those things, even if that involved creating recessions that hurt most Canadians and, perversely (from one standpoint), increased the deficit. Deficits are also a way for neoliberal politicians to aid and abet privatization. Political leaders plead poverty (and blame it not on the engineered revenue problem but on social, or civilized, spending) and then their partners in the private sector chirp up and denounce ‘socialist’ services and programs and offer their solutions, which are privatization and the efficiency of business management.
We the people are supposed to recoil in horror at the mention of deficits and accept the solutions (austerity) of politicians and their media and business allies, none of which really help the economy or we the people. We are supposed to imitate (in earnest) their call for deficit fighting, requiring politicians who want to be elected to get with that program or find other employment.
“All the rhetoric about the Canadian debt in recent years has led to a great deal of confusion, [Vincent] Truglia says, and he is constantly questioned about just how serious the Canadian situation is. In an attempt to clarify some of the misunderstanding, he issued a Moody’s “special commentary” in June 1993 – right in the midst of a particularly strong bout of deficit hysteria in Canada. The commentary described Canada’s debt as “grossly exaggerated” and pointed out that Ottawa’s fiscal position was “not out of control.” This was not at all what the Canadian investment community wanted to hear. It was almost like waving a red flag in front of an angry bull..
“If Moody’s, one of the key arbiters of Canada’s credit rating, was as powerful as Bay Street legend had it, then clearly Truglia’s special commentary was the secular equivalent of an edict from the Pope…
“Oddly, despite this mythical power, Truglia’s message had almost no impact…
“The reason for Bay Street’s indifference clearly lay in the irritating content of Truglia’s message. Rather than reinforcing the deficit hysteria that Bay Street had carefully been drumming up over the preceding months and years, Truglia was essentially pricking holes in this hot-air balloon. “Moody’s sees no significantly negative trends in the Federal or public-sector debt outlooks which would justify changing the Aaa ratings on C$ debt of the Government of Canada.” That kind of talk, if it spread, could it make it a lot harder to whip up deficit mania in the future.” – pages 44 and 45 of “Death By Deficit And Other Canadian Myths” by Linda McQuaig
Deficits are a ‘look there’ tactic used by politicians pursuing their neoliberal agenda of privatization and deregulation (freeing of corporations and the rich). The people are beginning to understand that where we need to look is not ‘there’ but at the deliberate sabotaging of the economy by politicians pursuing the neoliberal agenda of privatization and deregulation. We need to focus laser-like on the subject of fair taxation. And we need to let the politicians know that we know. (Although I’m not thrilled with Linda McQuaig’s decision to run for elected office, I am thrilled about her involvement with a relatively new Canadian organization called Canadians For Tax Fairness.) But the gangster politicians we’ve had foisted on us wouldn’t know what to do without deficits. They shovel out tons of tax breaks and tax cuts to tax evading corporations and rich people and then complain that there’s no money (and have the audacity to label that a ‘spending’, rather than a ‘revenue’, problem; in effect blaming the victims), which then provides their friends in the private sector with the excuse to privatize. “Socialist health care just can’t cut it. Let business, which knows how to be efficient, handle it.” Health care, education, roads, garbage pick up, water systems… you name it. We pay for them to play. That’s what Naomi Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine,” is about. The people are constantly experiencing, unnaturally, economic shocks. And they are not pleasant. And while the people are in a shocked and dazed state, the fascists take and/or consolidate power.
And if we happen to notice that those leaders are being evil, then we are free to fool ourselves into thinking that “Bad must sometimes be good.” Afterall, “Those people are educated, know what they’re doing and are good people. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Didn’t he?” Look around. Everywhere you look where you find corporatocracy leaders playing ‘riches for the strongest’ – Israel, Canada, The US, Indonesia, India, Greece, Ukraine – much of the population is being ruined, mentally and spiritually, the way people are turned into vampires when bitten by vampires. And notice that not all vampires are equal. We are not all in it together as our ‘leaders’ would have us believe. As Chomsky noted, The maid who cleans the rich dude’s mansion isn’t in it together with the rich dude in any positive sense.
As Jesus Christ said, “If the light that is in you is in fact darkness, then how great that darkness is.” Our ‘leaders’ are those with light, meaning smarts, education and skills. However, from God’s standpoint, their conscious decision to act like predators and cause suffering and destruction in the process marks them as having requested destruction at the hands of God, which will come to them when they die physically. At that time, their souls will be destroyed. Selling your soul means making that request. God will force no one to live.