Lawlessness / Ruined – part 59

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Five years after the colonial massacre unleashed by Israel on Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, Israeli politicians are still eyeing the enclave for ultimate destruction. Former IDF Chief and leader of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, is promoting the same violent tactics that formed part of his earlier electoral campaign: invade Gaza and assassinate Hamas leaders if the conditions Israel demands are not accepted…

While attempting to portray himself as different from Netanyahu, Gantz is merely offering another trajectory of implementing Zionist colonial violence. Israeli media is already running reports of a possible coalition government between Likud and the Blue and White party, thus signalling that despite alleged differences, Netanyahu and Gantz are still in accordance over political issues, notably Gaza, settlement expansion and the prevention of any form of a Palestinian state.

The Israelis promise to fix the humanitarian situation in Gaza by destroying its leadership and remaining infrastructure. A short while ago it was reported, and I pointed it out here, that a rabbi suggested that Palestinians who have survived the long drawn-out holocaust inflicted on them by nazi Israel should be adopted as slaves to Israelis. No one who can still think would say that Israelis who do any of that to Palestinians, or support that, have ANY positive connection with God. God has never rewarded evildoers and will never do so. On the contrary, there are grave consequences for the kind of behavior that nazi Israel has been engaging in.

“The fascist attack on Guardian journalist Owen Jones” by Chris Marsden (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The brutal assault on Guardian journalist Owen Jones must be taken as a grave warning of the dangers to the working class from the far right.

At around 3.00 am on Saturday morning, Jones left a pub in Islington, London, with six friends, when four men “charged directly towards me: one of them karate kicked my back, threw me to the ground, started kicking me in the head and back, while my friends tried to drag them off, and were punched trying to defend me.”

Jones suffered relatively minor injuries, but the assault could easily have been fatal given that he was kicked in the head. Yet despite the availability of CCTV footage and the names of those who have threatened him in the past being known, no arrests have been made. The Metropolitan Police instead issued a statement that they were examining whether this “senseless attack” was indeed a hate crime. The media has already relegated the story to its inside pages.

Jones is only the latest prominent left-wing figure to suffer a premeditated physical assault in the UK…

In the United States, ABC News and Mother Jones have both identified the close link between mass shootings and other violent acts and the racist rhetoric of Donald Trump. ABC News lists at least 36 criminal cases where Trump’s name was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault. According to Mother Jones, there have been at least six mass shootings since last October motivated by far-right ideology resulting in 41 deaths and at least 52 wounded. Trump supporters have violently threatened Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, threatening to “put a bullet” in her skull.

The efforts by the ruling elite to cultivate the far right has objective roots. The gap between a fabulously wealthy elite and the great mass of the population struggling to survive has never been wider. Class tensions internationally have reached a breaking point. Fearing the emergence of social and political opposition, the ruling class everywhere responds by turning ever more sharply to authoritarian forms of rule and by cultivating far-right forces as a weapon against the working class.

Julian Assange

“Julian Assange’s father warns WikiLeaks’ publisher’s health is “declining rapidly” in Belmarsh Prison” by Oscar Grenfell (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In an interview on August 16 with 3CR, a Melbourne community radio station, Julian Assange’s father John Shipton stated that the WikiLeaks founder’s health is continuing to deteriorate in Britain’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.

Shipton revealed that Assange had received a visit from his brother Gabriel several days earlier. “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health,” Shipton said. “He is suffering anxiety. He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”

Shipton said there was a danger that “we will lose Julian” if action is not taken to end his incarceration. His warning followed a statement by world-renowned investigative journalist John Pilger on Twitter earlier this month, who wrote: “Do not forget Julian Assange. Or you will lose him. I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated…”

Shipton explained that Assange was “in a cell 20 hours a day and has two social visits a month. Lawyers are allowed there other times. These social visits can be arbitrarily cancelled or reduced in time.”

He related that when he travelled from Australia to London two-and-a-half months ago, “we waited and were told that we couldn’t come” into the prison for a pre-arranged visit with Assange.

“No reason was given,” Shipton said, except that “there were conflicting appointments made with prison doctors to come and see him. So, they use the visiting times to have his medical examiners examine him, which means that a social visit needs to be cancelled.”

Shipton, along with a WikiLeaks staff member and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, returned the following week for another arranged visit. “We waited 46 minutes for Julian to arrive,” he said. The prison authorities claimed that they had “forgotten” to notify Assange of the visit, “so they had to go and find him and bring him down.”

Have a good look, people, at the ‘character’ of Julian’s enemies, as seen in this snippet. They are merely paid to do to Julian what they are doing, but who pays people to be so evil? Those are not just jailers doing their paid jobs. They are torturing Julian, and those who support and love him. Take a good look, people, at the meaning of ‘law & order’, as mouthed by those with power in this dark world.

The Atewa Forest is at the heart of a conservation battle in Ghana. Arocha Ghana photo

“Ghana’s pact with China to explore bauxite threatens a unique forest” by Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (The Conversation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Ghana’s Atewa forest is one of the most beautiful and scenic landscapes in the country. It is seen as the better of only two Upland Evergreen forests left intact in the country, forming part of the six dominant vegetation zones of Ghana based on different climates zones.

The Atewa forest is part of the Guinean Forests of West Africa which stretch from southern Guinea into eastern Sierra Leone and through Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana into western Togo. Deforestation has massively reduced the size of the forests and the Upper Guinea Forest is now restricted to a number of more or less disconnected reserves and a few national parks acting as man-made refuges for the region’s biodiversity.

The Atewa forest landscape is remote and pristine, providing the habitat for a major collection of Ghana’s biodiversity. It has been named as one of Ghana’s 30 globally significant biodiversity areas.

But the forest is under threat. Last year Ghana signed a memorandum with China to explore Ghana’s deposits of bauxite – the primary ore in aluminium. The deposits are found in two locations – Awaso with very high deposits in the moist semi-deciduous forest zone of western region of Ghana, and Atewa, with minimum deposits and located in the Upland Evergreen forests in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

Under the memorandum Ghana will cede 5% of its bauxite resources to the Chinese. In turn, Beijing will finance $2billion worth of infrastructure projects that include rails, roads and bridge networks. The Ghanaian Parliament has passed the Ghana Bauxite Integrated Aluminium Industry Act which would provide a legal framework to exploit country’s bauxite deposits.

Yet the government says it still has to validate the true worth of the bauxite deposit in the forest.

Lesley Green, a commenter who attached a comment on the above Conversation entry (who announces himself as Professor of Anthropology and Deputy Director: Environmental Humanities South, University of Cape Town), notes that “Kudos to the writer for taking up the need to protect the forest. However, that the writer offers a mining metaphor as the best possible argument (“As a botanist I view the Atewa landscape as a scientific gold mine”), and makes no links with local community struggles, underscores the need for African environmental scientists to challenge and change the political argument.” The remark about the use of a gold-mine metaphor might be nitpicking, but other than that, Mr Green strikes me as someone who genuinely cares about the planned ruin facing Ghana here. As for the Conversation, it’s a horrible organization. You just have to look at the funders and that requires you to examine the various branches of The Conversation to know that. They disappear comments left and right, just the way Spot.IM does on RT News.

photo by Reuters

“Shell Union Coerced into Attending Trump Speech, or Lose Pay” by ? (teleSUR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Union workers at a Royal Dutch Shell manufacturing plant were put between a rock and a hard place, threatened with loss of pay if they refused to attend U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday at the company’s Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

According to the Pittsburgh Gazette, union leaders received a letter from their contractor at first informing them their attendance at the event was voluntary. However, a supervisor later revised the memo, saying only those who sat through the lengthy event would be paid, writing explicitly, “NO SCAN, NO PAY.”

Although “America’s Energy Dominance and Manufacturing Revival” was listed as Trump’s main talking point, the president instead focused on criticizing his Democratic competitors campaigning for a bid in the 2020 elections. He took credit for the US$6 billion plant’s construction, though the Obama administration was the one responsible for approving the structure in 2016.

“I’m going to speak to some of your union leaders to say, ’I hope you’re going to support Trump.’ If they don’t, vote them the hell out of office because they’re not doing their job,” the U.S. head of state told Shell employees.

Can you think of someone who should switch places with Julian Assange?

protesters being brutalized in Harare, Zimbabwe | Reuters

“Police Brutality Brings Zimbabwe Protests to Halt, 80 Arrested” by ? (teleSUR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A demonstration in Zimbabwe was brought to a screeching halt when riot police entered the scene, armed with tear gas and batons Friday to enforce a ban on protests.

Africa Unity Square in Harare was filled with concerned Zimbabweans, protesting the ban and the current economic situation under the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration. They chanted songs of police brutality as officers took aim and fired water cannons. Officers cornered a group of protesters and beat them, sending one woman to the hospital in a Red Cross ambulance. Eighty others were arrested, said Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party…

Zimbabwe’s growing tension is driven by the growing inflation — which currently stands at 175 percent, daily 19-hour power outs, economic and political reforms and shortages of food and water.

Spokesman for the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said Friday, “With opposition demonstrations still likely to take place in Zimbabwe in the near future, we urge the government to find ways to continuously engage with the population about their legitimate grievances on the economic situation, and to stop cracking down on peaceful protesters.”

The fact of the matter is that I don’t know a whole lot about Zimbabwe. I’m rather trusting teleSUR to report this as an accurate reflection of what’s going on there. (Corporate media is perfectly willing to use exactly the same language to describe completely different situations, such as we see in the case of Hong Kong.) teleSUR is not a rightwing organization.

“Trump calls for naval blockade of Venezuela” by Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called upon his national security officials and senior military commanders to draw up plans for a US naval blockade of Venezuela to stop all goods from either entering or leaving the country.

Such an illegal military intervention would come on top of a set of unilateral US sanctions that already amount to an effective embargo, tantamount to an act of war.

Earlier this month, according to Reuters, when asked by a reporter whether he was considering a naval embargo, he responded, “Yes, I am,” without elaborating on his plans.

Citing five unnamed administration officials, the Axios news web site reported that Trump has been advocating the blockade for the past year and a half…

The flailing about for a plausible “military option” reflects the increasing frustration of the White House over the failure of the regime-change operation launched last January with the self-swearing-in of the virtually unknown right-wing opposition politician Juan Guaidó as “interim president” and his speedy recognition by Washington and its allies.

Repeated provocations and appeals for a military coup have failed to achieve the desired result of ousting the government of Nicolás Maduro and installing a US puppet regime that would assure Washington’s control of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest on the planet, while denying them to the country’s current chief economic partners, China and Russia.


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