Saturday, September 21, 2019

Kashmir & Jammu: Journalists Targets of Indian Authorities' Media Blackout

Stopped, Beaten, Prevented From Working: Everyday Troubles of the J&K Journalist

by Mudasir Ahmad - The Wire

September 18, 2019

Journalists, already among those whose work suffers the most in any siege, have now been facing the most resistance to their work.

Shahid Khan - Photo: The Wire

Srinagar - Shahid Khan shudders as he recalls the September 7 incident when he was beaten up by a group of policemen while covering Muharram processions in the Rainawari locality of Srinagar.

“I was among six photojournalists covering the event. Suddenly the escort of a senior police officer arrived at the spot and started beating us,” said Khan who works with the Jammu-based daily, Reporter North. 

“I was thrashed by a policeman who used his cane for at least five minutes. He kept telling me ‘why do you go out to shoot events, you create problems for us’,” said Khan.
“They kept beating me and didn’t listen to a single word.”

Khan said he has suffered a hairline fracture on his right shoulder. Doctors have advised him rest for three weeks.

“The incident still gives me nightmares. At a time when I should have been telling the stories of Kashmir to the outside world, I myself have become a story,” he said.

In the past 44 days, after the government of India has diluted Article 370 and divided the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. Journalists in Kashmir are facing tough times – the blockade of internet and mobile services has left them crippled. Restrictions and harassment faced by journalists in the hands of the security forces while on the job has added to their worries.

“Journalists are understanding that they are in a kind of double siege amidst the total communication blockade. Many cases of harassment of media persons by the forces have come to the fore in the last month and in some cases the journalists have been asked by the authorities to reveal their source of information. This has added to our fears,” said Naseer A. Ganai, a senior journalist.

Shahana Butt, who works with an international TV channel, remembers vividly the last time she was stopped by security forces from performing her job.

Butt and her cameraman were on their way to cover the funeral of an 11th grade student, Asrar Ahmad, in Elahi Bagh locality of Srinagar when they faced the forces’ ire at Rainawari on September 5.

Khan, who had suffered pellet injuries on August 6, according to his medical records, succumbed on the evening of September 4 after battling for life in Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. He was buried the next day.

“The officer on duty was very polite but the cops stopped us and threatened to damage my camera,” said Butt, who works as producer correspondent at Press TV. 
“They checked our camera and only after finding it empty, allowed us to go.”

Butt said they were stopped even when they showed a ‘movement pass’, also locally known as a ‘curfew pass’ to the men-in-uniform. Such a pass is issued by the state administration to media persons.

“There are many issues that journalists face in Kashmir. At times, the security forces don’t allow us to work freely. We often face questions like ‘why don’t you seek permission before going to cover the event’,” Butt said.

Last week, the Kashmir Working Journalists’ Association (KWJA) issued a statement condemning the harassment of journalists by the government of India and the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir.

“KWJA strongly condemns the summoning of journalists by police officials on frivolous pretexts and forcing them to reveal their sources,” the statement said, questioning the indefinite and unprecedented communication blockade in Kashmir which, the body said, has crippled news gathering and dissemination.

On October 8, another female journalist, Rifat Mohidin, was abused and bullied by J&K policemen when she was on way to the media facilitation centre set up by the government for local journalists, to file her report.

“I was stopped near Jehangir Chowk flyover and not allowed to move further by policemen. They [verbally] abused me and my family. I told them I have a curfew pass but they didn’t listen. They even damaged my car with batons. I was in tears,” she was quoted as having said.

She also said that policemen had even warned her of dire consequences and also tried to seize her vehicle. Following the incident, the Valley’s Women Journalists’ Association issued a statement in condemnation.

A spokesperson of the association said police and other security forces should issue circulars to their men on the ground, directing that journalists should be allowed to perform their jobs without hassle.

Kashmir-based journalists, including around a dozen women scribes, have faced curbs on their movement since August 5 lockdown.

Amid the communication blockade, access to information has become a major challenge. They are not able to call government officials or meet them in their offices while working on a story. They have to wait in queues at the media centre to file their stories.

The centre has 10 computer systems which work on a single internet connection.

Despite valid identity proof and movement passes, journalists have frequently complained of not being allowed free and smooth movement.

“Since August 5, I have been in at least five such incidents when the forces didn’t entertain a curfew pass or accept my identity proof and I was forced to change the route or wait for a longer time before being allowed to proceed,” said a journalist who works for a local daily and lives in Srinagar uptown.

In the past 44 days, two journalists were also detained.

On August 14, Irfan Ahmad Malik, who works for Greater Kashmir, was picked up by security forces from his residence in Tral town of Pulwama district during the midnight raid.

He was detained at a local police station and released after two days. The police, however, didn’t specify the grounds on which Malik was arrested.

Last week, a photojournalist from Anantnag district, was picked up by forces and detained at an Army and Special Operations Group camp in Kulgam for five days, said a senior member of the KWJA.

The scribe, who works with a Jammu-based daily, was released on September 16. Again, there was no word from the security forces about the charges against the photojournalist.

“Movement of journalists in Kashmir is always at the mercy of police and other security forces. During curfew or restrictions there have been instances when journalists have been selectively targeted. This is not a new phenomenon,” said senior journalist Shahnawaz Khan.

Shielding the Messenger: Cory Morningstar & the Machine Behind Greta Thunberg

In Defense of Cory Morningstar & “Manufacturing for Consent”

by Hiroyuki Hamada - OffGuardian

September 20, 2019

Good investigative journalism doesn’t only reveal hidden mechanisms of our time; it also exposes those who refuse to confront the mechanisms.

Remember when the late Bruce Dixon courageously and cogently called Bernie Sanders “a sheep dog candidate”? Remember when Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and others truly stood with Syrian people in opposing the western intervention? I do.

Those who could not face the reality came up with all sorts of profanities and ill conceived theories to demonize the messengers.

Cory Morningstar has been a dedicated environmental activist with a sound track record, who has closely worked with various NGOs. 

Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. Exhibiting widely
in gallery and non-commercial settings alike

She is a mother. She is an avid gardener. She is an honest person with empathy, passion, love for people, love for our fellow creatures and love for nature. Her human character and sense of justice has culminated in her keen insights, observations and analyses. Her writings have inspired many of us to see the depth and scope of capitalist institutions as part of the social dynamics affecting our consciousness. Her meticulous pursuit of facts in illustrating mechanisms of our world evokes a sense of awe. She is a respected colleague in our struggle toward a better tomorrow.

While her latest series, The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg—for Consent: The Political Economy of Non Profit Industrial Complex Volume I and Volume II , has been wildly praised as a ground breaking milestone in depicting the vast mechanism of exploitation and subjugation involving the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, it has been also maliciously misrepresented.

One of the very common, yet blatantly erroneous criticisms, centers around the series’s focus on the young activist.

Why do they attack the author as a child abuser? The series does not attack the 16 year old activist at all. It points out those organizations and individuals which closely surround her in forming a momentum for their agenda. It delineates how the mobilization fits within the larger framework of corporate “environmentalism”, colonialism, global capitalism and imperialism.

The trickery of the accusation that the work attacks a child and smears the youth led activism follows the same pattern of lies and deceptions unfolding against serious journalism for sometime.

It reflects how establishment successfully dominates our minds as it dominates the hierarchy of money and violence. The ruling class actually abuses children by making them pawns for lucrative business projects–such as carbon capture and storage, “renewable energy” schemes, carbon trading and so on (the series discusses why they do not work extensively).

They trick the innocent youth into digging their own graves while making profits out of it.

Remember people called you racist, when you pointed out President Obama’s drone killings? Remember people called you misogynist when you criticized Secretary Clinton’s colonial policies? Those who did didn’t mind brown people blown into pieces, and didn’t mind the colonial oppression of women in colonized lands.

The capitalist hierarchy structurally forces us to embrace the values, norms and beliefs of the ruling class, as it trains people to climb the social ladder as expected.

The momentum to accuse Morningstar’s work as a child abuse stems from the same psychological projection of accusers’ own complicity in consecrating a teenager as an invincible saint of their movement.

Then there is the most typical argument to condone obvious institutional tendencies of inhumanity: “things aren’t always black and white”. Of course there are good environmentalists doing good work as well.

We have gone through this in so many incarnations.

When we point out police brutality, we hear “not all police officers are bad”. When we point out obvious racism among us: “not all white people are racist”. Those are certainly true. But could we also say “not all slave masters were evil”, “not all Kings and queens were evil”, “not all colonizers were evil” and so on?

Well, sure. But does that mean we can bring back slavery, feudalism or colonialism? No. Refusal to talk about the systematic inhumanity inflicted by the system tolerates the status quo as acceptable.

And please do stop with “but the movement gives us hope” nonsense.

What happened when we were sold “hope”, “change” and “forward”, and received colonial wars, big bank bailout, global surveillance and loss of legal protections during the Obama presidency? We got Donald Trump.

When the system squeezes already oppressed people while shuttering their hope and making them embrace fear, people try their best to hold onto whatever they have.

They embrace an illusion of salvation in authoritarian lies and hatred against “others”. It is extremely important that we strive to discuss such a mechanism among us instead of jumping into the same momentum. We must discuss the true hope of building a momentum moving beyond the lies and deceptions coming out of the destructive hierarchy.

Morningstar states in The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg—for Consent: The Political Economy of Non Profit Industrial Complex Volume II Act IV:

Consider that collectively, the populace appears to believe that not only is it possible to colonize another planet, but that we will do so in the not-so-distant future. This is incredible considering the massive odds of and colossal barriers to such an endeavour succeeding. Thus, it is alarming, that this same populace appears not to believe it is not possible to create new societies where necessity is detached from want (superfluous consumer goods).

This begs the question – have we been fully conditioned to believe only those that represent hegemonic interests? It is a sound question considering the billionaires of the world are currently petrified of the capitalist system collapsing – while those oppressed by the capitalist system believe it cannot be dismantled.

Yet we can dismantle institutions. We can dismantle the capitalist economic system devouring what remains of the natural world – but not if we identify with our oppressors and the very system that enslaves us. It is our natural world and her living natural communities that sustain us. Not industrial civilization – not technology.

Hopelessness and cynicism do creep up to justify the status quo. But we also must recognize that such a position does away with putting our efforts toward standing with the truly oppressed ones.

Morningstar’s series meticulously documents how powerful global organizations seek ways to cultivate a consensus for their trajectory. And it carefully states, with facts, why the trajectory does not lead to achieving their promises – preventing climate change and other environmental calamities.

The illustrated mechanism has been revealed over and over through their past crimes – the coordinated actions of industries, bankers, politicians, NGOs, UN, global financial institutions and media have culminated into colonial wars, coverups of nuclear disasters, regime change, and other corporate, colonial and imperial policies.

There is nothing speculative, coincidental or conspiratorial about the series. It is based on careful research, honesty, courage to face the real issue and true love for humanity. It is again curiously indicative that those who engage in a conspiracy to mobilize the people according to their agendas accuse those who see through the attempt as “conspiracy theorist”. The use of the derogatory term invented by the US intelligence agency to label dissidents as tin-hat wearing nuts jobs hardly proves their legitimacy.

Moreover, I must say that it is extremely odd and disingenuous that the series has been portrayed as a refusal to take any action, instead insisting on ideological purity. Such an attack has been coming out of those who have been pointing out the same moneyed network in forwarding corporatism, colonialism and militarism by manipulating popular opinions.

What is the difference between opposing destructive colonial wars and opposing colonization of nature/co-optation of activism? More specifically, what prompts some of them to say “what is your solution?”, “we can’t wait for capitalism to be overthrown to solve climate change” and so on. The obvious falsehood of such an angle is the stark absence of solutions within their own “green momentum”.

Morningstar’s research does not talk about the necessity of establishing a communist statehood or overthrowing capitalism in order to solve the impending crisis. It simply states facts in a cohesive manner.

Consequently, it certainly indicates the systematic structural issues presented by the hierarchy of money and violence. The research clearly names individuals and organizations that are involved in mobilizing the population in installing government policies that are lucrative to the associated corporations and beneficial to the imperial framework. Capitalist hegemony does present itself as a source of predicaments of our time. But is that new to us?

Needless to say, for those of us who believe in the Marxist perspective, the solution amounts to a structural transformation of our society into one that doesn’t monopolize the means of production for the ruling class.

The economic activities must be subservient to harmonious existence of the people, environment and other species. And our social interactions must be under a control of such aims, instead of financial and social power of the ruling class. But make no mistake that that is simply an ultimate direction.

Just as we voice our objections against any form of inhumanity regardless of our systematic problem, when we see certain environmental policies being subservient to the corporate agenda, likely to result in worsened conditions for the people, we discuss them.

There shouldn’t be anything different about pointing out the US military aggression and the fallacy of US environmental policies, especially when they are forwarded by the same western establishment. When we find the carbon capture schemes to be disingenuous, for example, we simply point it out.

We demand an answer to why corporate “solutions” are upheld as people’s “solutions”. And people who buy into false narratives should be noted as not credible leaders in people’s movement.

So the question “what is your solution?” really should be directed at those who subscribe to those erroneous “solutions.”

They need to be asked how those solutions would be a worthy cause at the first place, and why cogent criticisms against implementations of destructive schemes can not be embraced because “we can’t wait for a socialist revolution”.

What people desperately need today is good investigative reports like the one presented by Cory Morningstar, along with our educational efforts to reveal the mechanisms of our time.

We must learn how the unprecedented wealth accumulation among the very few ends up protected by layers and layers of moneyed social institutions coordinating to perpetuate the system, while progressively oppressive financial pressure and state violence against already oppressed people keep herding people into the capitalist framework.

When we face the sad reality of people embracing policies that allow the powerful minorities to exploit and subjugate them over and over, what we need is not a popular mobilization guided by vague slogans easily subsumed by the imperial framework. Such a method would lead to draconian enforcement of corporate “solutions” according to their definition of “problems”. It is a recipe for bringing about a fascist order.

What we need is openness and willingness to learn how we are domesticated by the authoritarian framework so that the actions are guided by the interests of the people in forming a society that allows true liberation of the people in a mutually respectful and harmonious manner.

Please do read The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg—for Consent: The Political Economy of Non Profit Industrial Complex Volume I and II. It gives us an excellent starting point in learning how to build a better tomorrow for all of us.

Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. Exhibiting widely in gallery and non-commercial settings alike, Hamada has been the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, twice received New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in sculpture, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Alongside his career as an artist, his writing can be found at various outlets online.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Exemplifying America's Moral and Intellectual Wasteland: Reuters & Jack Ryan

Reuters Can’t Find US Critics to Question Amazon’s Anti-Venezuela Propaganda 

by Joe Emersberger - FAIR

September 18, 2019

A line from the trailer for Jack Ryan, an Amazon TV drama whose second season streams on November 1, is: “A nuclear Venezuela…. You will not hear about it on the news, ’cause we’ll already be dead.”

The trailer implies that Venezuela is going through the “greatest humanitarian crisis in history” because it buys weapons from “the Russians.” Of course.

“It would fit a pattern,” says the Jack Ryan character, a CIA operative played by John Krasinski, who’s better known as Jim Halpert, the likeable paper salesman in The Office.

My favorite reaction to the premise of this upcoming Jack Ryan season came from US historian Gary Alexander:

"No matter how cynical you might be about propagandistic American media, you are not prepared for how much watching this trailer is like snorting 100% pure John Bolton."

Common Dreams’ Eoin Higgins (9/5/19) put together a nice roundup of the outrage and ridicule the trailer provoked on Twitter from independent journalists and others based in the US: Abby Martin, Adam Johnson, Alex Rubinstein, Chase Madar and Sunjeev Berry.

Reuters (9/6/19) couldn’t find any US-based critics to quote about an Amazon show based around fictional Venezuelan WMDs.

That’s far from an exhaustive list, but Reuters “missed” all of it. The news wire published an article the next day (9/6/19) headlined, “Amazon‘s Jack Ryan TV Series Lambasted for Promoting Venezuela ‘Invasion.’” The article stated:

Venezuelan Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas took to Twitter on Thursday evening to describe the show as: “Crass war propaganda disguised as entertainment.”

Villegas was the only person quoted or cited in the piece as a critic of the trailer. Are we to believe a Maduro government official is the only person Reuters could find on Twitter who “lambasted” the premise of the show?

The Reuters article on the upcoming Jack Ryan season also said that the,

"...action/adventure video game Mercenaries 2, released in 2008, was set in a fictionalized war-torn Venezuela. That fueled outrage among Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party, who called it an apology for US-backed violence in the region."

Again, it’s apparently beyond Reuters to cite anti-war voices in the US who were disgusted by the game. Chuck Kaufman of the US-based Alliance for Global Justice said that the game was

"capitalizing on negative and inaccurate US press stories about Venezuela and its leader, Hugo Chavez, in order to make a quick buck. It’s another piece of anti-Venezuelan propaganda that serves only the US military, pure and simple."

Unlike Kaufman, Reuters predictably exonerated the corporate news media in its explanation of why murderous fantasies about Venezuela appeal to the US Entertainment industry:

"The country’s socialist politics, rampant crime and open confrontation with the United States has made it attractive to the US entertainment industry."

Incidentally, Mathew Alford and Tom Secker in their book National Security Cinema insightfully analyzed how the entertainment industry is frequently co-opted by US military and intelligence services. So those are two UK-based writers for Reuters to ignore.

In covering the Jack Ryan trailer, Reuters also said nothing about Amazon’s lucrative CIA links (, 8/6/13). 

US anti-war activist (and FAIR associate) Norman Solomon wrote about them in 2014, and asked, “In view of Amazon’s eagerness to dump the WikiLeaks site at the behest of US government officials, what else might the Amazon hierarchy be willing to do?”

Produce incredibly vile pro-war TV is one answer to Solomon’s question, but Reuters also does its part for empire on a regular basis. (6/14/19)

I’ve written before about how Reuters consistently reports the murderous impact of US economic sanctions on Venezuela as a mere allegation by the Maduro government. For a month after US economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffery Sachs published a study (CEPR, 4/25/19) linking US sanctions to tens of thousands of deaths, Reuters stuck with the “Maduro says” formulation, before finally mentioning the study in one article (6/9/19). Reuters has consistently reverted to the “Maduro says” approach since then—even the day after it finally mentioned the Weisbrot/Sachs study (Reuters, 6/10/19). In fact, the Jack Ryan article said “Maduro blames” Venezuela’s dire situation “on US sanctions that have hobbled the country’s oil industry.”

The “Maduro says” approach has made Reuters flirt with wild conspiracy theory at times. Last year a drone dropped bombs on a military parade where Maduro spoke. This year, Reuters (8/14/19) said the incident is one that Maduro “describes as an assassination attempt.”

This technique not only invisibilizes principled US-based dissent from Washington’s aggression, but also associates anti-war and anti-imperial views with governments it has helped Washington vilify. This is not limited to Venezuela.

For example, an article about John Bolton’s recent firing (Reuters, 9/11/19) says that “North Korea has denounced Bolton as a ‘war maniac’ and ‘human scum.’” Do you have to be a North Korean official to think Bolton, an architect of the Iraq War that killed at least 500,000 Iraqis, is a despicable person? Reuters couldn’t find a quote from peace activists in the US expressing revulsion towards Bolton?

RT America (9/6/19) did its own article about the Jack Ryan trailer, featuring several US anti-war voices—thereby showing that the US political culture, beyond the “mainstream” at least, is not the moral and intellectual wasteland you might think it is if you rely on sources like Reuters.

Of course, if (aside from small independent media) the only place one can go to hear US critics of US propaganda is an outlet affiliated with another US enemy—Russia, RT’s sponsor—then the propaganda system wins either way.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Fightback Resource Guide for BC Communities Facing Government Enforced Mass Destruction of Forested Watersheds, Old Growth & Rainforests

Mass Destruction of Forested Watersheds, Old Growth & Rainforests Means Loss of Four Pillars of Life, Community Resilience and the Greatest Tool for Climate Regulation

by Kootenay Watershed Protectors

September 10th, 2019


Mass Destruction of Forested Watersheds - Is Putting Life At Risk

Sep 10,2019

Pursuing justice for the protection of communities, life and life support systems and the case of Argenta Johnson's Landing Watershed slated for clear-cut and what locals are doing about it.

In this urgent time of climate emergency, ecological crisis, mass species extinction, loss of biodiversity, community resilience, food and water security; and loss of the basis for a renewable forestry economy … we look to deforestation and the alarming loss of critical forested watersheds as a driving force to these crisis we find ourselves in.

We hope this resource will help to provide some context and resources (articles, science, petitions, proposals and contacts to take action) useful for the protection of: forested watersheds; old growth, rainforest and head-water regions; biodiversity and species at risk; people and communities; and a future worth living.


- press release expanded to an article about efforts to save Argenta/Johnson’s Landing Watershed and links to two proposals 1) Mt Willet Wilderness Park Inclusion - save the Argenta Johnson’s landing Region & Caribou Habitat 2) Purcell Wildness Conservancy & Park Proposal - Save the Caribou, and a greater area that includes the inland temperate rain forest and Argenta/ JL area with the rain forest region.


- link to list of government & industry contacts to write, call and lobby for changes.
- articles about concerns, and actions taken to protect, watersheds throughout BC
- links to science useful for the protection of all forested watersheds, and critical old growth, rainforest and head water regions.

Spain's Press Freedoms in Precipitous Decline

Spain has experienced an unprecedented decline in press freedom, says PDLI

by Jane Whyatt and Frederic Krull - ECPMF

September 19, 2019

Hooded demonstrators have attacked TV journalists covering the Catalonia national day demonstrations which attracted more than 500,000 people in support of independence for the autonomous region.

The Spanish journalists’ unions Agrupación de Periodistas de CCOO (FSC-CCOO) and Federación de Sindicatos de Periodistas (FeSP) condemned these acts.

Their statement rejects,

"All types of behaviours that seek to coerce, harass, intimidate and condition the work of journalists, violating the fundamental right to freedom of expression and the right of citizens to receive free and truthful information."

      Yolanda Qintada. Photo: Dani Gago
         License CC_BY_SA 

Catalonia is not the only flashpoint. Spain’s current political stalemate is matched by paralysis in the state of press freedom. There is a Gag Law, criminal defamation, lack of access to information, as well as online harassment of reporters and little protection for whistleblowers. These aspects are all causing problems.

As noted in the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom’s (ECPMF) submission to the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review on Spain, this situation creates a chilling effect.

ECPMF’s partner organisation in Madrid, Plateforma en Defensa de Libertad de Información (PDLI), is concerned. In a frank interview with ECPMF, the PDLI Co-ordinator Yolanda Quintada (pictured) admits that conditions for press freedom have not improved in recent years – in fact she believes they have never been worse.

Saving Julian

"Please save my life": Julian Assange in prison

by Annissa Warsame  - ECPMF


Cell Number 37, ‘Britain’s Guantanamo Bay’ – a single occupancy cell, furnished sparsely with a plastic chair, metal bed and steel toilet. For over 150 days this has been Julian Assange’s residence, whether he likes it or not. And a judge has ruled today, he is to remain there even after his jail sentence is over.

Swiftly after his asylum status was stripped by the Ecuadorian government, the British authorities sentenced Assange to fifty weeks in prison, for violating his bail.

The maximum sentence being fifty-two weeks and the typical sentence being none and a fine.

With his arrest, Assange was moved to HMP Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in South London. Belmarsh during the early millennium was known as ‘Britain’s Guantanamo Bay’ for its foreign detainees, held without trial.

When you visit the prison, you are immediately struck by its fortress-like exterior. With its water-stained concrete perimeter walls, enumerable CCTV cameras and floodlights.

             Professor Nils Melzer

In two exclusive interviews with the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Julian Assange’s most notable visitors paint a harrowing picture of his current condition.

Professor Nils Melzer is the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture. Every day, he receives around fifteen requests, to investigate individual cases of alleged torture.

“But I can only deal with maybe one or two", Melzer tells the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).

But when in March, Assange’s lawyers reached out to his office for a second time, providing credible evidence for the claim of ill-treatment, Melzer thought,

“I owe it to my professional standards to at least look into this.”

A visibly fatigued and emaciated Assange greeted Melzer and his team during their visit on 9. May. It had been 28 days since Assange’s arrest. He was wearing a plain blue jumper and grey joggers.

Melzer and his team’s visit lasted for four hours. For three of those four hours Melzer and two medical experts, Professor Duarte Nuno Vieira from Portugal and Dr. Pau Perez-Sales from Spain conducted a medical assessment of Assange.

It followed the ‘Istanbul Protocol’. The protocol’s full name is the ‘Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.’

Melzer tells the ECPMF that at first, “after what this man [Assange] had gone through, I didn't know what to expect.”

“From a medical perspective, both doctors concluded that his state of health was critical, and that it might deteriorate rapidly if he is not stabilized. And that's exactly what happened.”

Two weeks after their visit, and 49 days into Assange’s detention, Assange was relocated to the hospital wing of Belmarsh. And a court hearing, on his extradition to the U.S., had to be postponed. It was deemed Assange was not medically fit to participate in the proceedings, even via video link.

What Assange is going through in prison is “psychological torture”, Melzer says emphatically. He came to this conclusion after his visit and published an official UN statement repeating this.

Melzer is not alone in his condemnations. Another visitor of Assange, John Pilger- a renowned investigative journalist and award-winning documentary film-maker- has similar things to say to the ECPMF, about his visits to Assange.

“Locked in a small cell in the hospital wing some 21 hours a day”, Assange was mostly “delighted to see his friends” when they visit, Pilger tells the ECPMF.

But “I was shocked”, Pilger says. “I found him struggling in more ways than one.” At Belmarsh, Assange has lost nearly 15 kilos of weight and “is precariously underweight.”

Pilger adds, Assange “is not only eating little, he is heavily medicated and denied basic rights. He is denied access to the gym -- his only exercise is in a small bitumen yard with high walls surrounding it. He is denied access to the library.”

Despite being denied access to the library. Assange has been given one book to read, Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom. But in Pilger’s visits, Assange comments on “the bleak irony of reading a book about someone who spends 27 years in prison.”

Continuing to list what Assange is denied, Pilger adds: “He is not allowed to fraternise with other prisoners.”

“He is denied the tools with which to prepare his defence - certain documents and a computer. He is not able to call his American lawyer.”

Pilger is quick to point out the reason for Assange’s imprisonment:

“Remember, he has committed the merest offence - skipping bail. He skipped bail so that he would not face extradition to the United States where a kangaroo court and a lifetime in prison awaits him.”

“His courage is extraordinary.”

This sentiment is shared by Professor Melzer.

Melzer tells the ECPMF,

“The mainstream media informs us about Assange’s cat, his skateboard and his feces. But they do not give the same importance to hundreds of thousands of civilians murdered in Iraq, Libya and in Syria, to wars that have been intentionally orchestrated, and other crimes that have been exposed by WikiLeaks.

In my view, this complacency with governmental misconduct is the real scandal in this case. That’s the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’.”

Melzer says: “And no one sees this elephant, because the spotlight always on the personality and character of Assange, and that spotlight is so bright, you can’t see the elephant hiding right behind it.”

But he adds, “When the state institutions and their division of power are failing, it is the role and responsibility of the media, as the fourth estate, to inform and empower the people, to watch closely and expose the abuse of power”.

For the ECPMF, the centre warns that if Assange is extradited and charged under the Espionage Act, it would be a grave threat to press freedom. Henrik Kaufholz, Chair of the Executive Board of the ECPMF has said it would be a “disaster”.

And Kaufholz warns, “it may have implications for investigative journalism and press freedom everywhere. Regardless of whether one considers Assange a journalist or not, it bears the risk that it can be applied to journalists as a consequence.”

The British Government responds

A Government spokesperson has responded to the ECPMF, disagreeing with the allegations of Melzer and Pilger. “We strongly disagree with any suggestion that Mr Assange has experienced improper treatment in the UK. The allegation Mr Assange was subjected to torture is unfounded and wholly false.

“The UK is committed to upholding the rule of law, and ensuring that no one is ever above it.

And that,
“[o]ur response will be published in due course.”

At the end of his visit, Melzer asked Assange whether he had anything further to say.

“‘Yes’, he said, ‘please save my life.’”

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Kootenay Watershed Protectors, Nils Melzer, Janine Bandcroft Sept. 19, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

September 19th, 2019

It's clear those in this province concerned about local environment have no-one in government federally, provincially, and more often than not at the civic level, to turn to; when corporate and citizen interests clash, here money always wins. This seemingly unalterable law of British Columbia's political nature has inspired some of the polity to fight back, one endangered wildlife habitat, threatened forest stand, and imperiled watershed at a time.

The Argenta/Johnson's Landing is an irreplaceable piece of the West Kootenay ecological puzzle threatened with utter destruction by the business as usual extractivist economic prerogative.

It is, as environmental activist and 'Camp Caribou' defender Brock Snyder says, "yet another in a long line of forested watersheds slated for destruction in BC, [...] putting life at risk."

Listen. Hear.

Environmental Scientist, grandmother, and activist, Mona Southron reminds, we clever humans are, "now at a point where we can create massive destruction of living systems and unrivaled suffering, or [...] the restoration of a thriving world worth living in..."

Brock Snyder, Mona Southron, and economist, activist, and World traveler, Jessica Dawn-Ogden, principals of the citizen-led Kootenay Watershed Protectors, on standing to protect what cannot be sacrificed in the first half.

And; next week imprisoned journalist and publisher, Julian Assange was set at last for release from London's notorious Belmarsh Prison, his time for "breach of bail" served, but last week district judge Vanessa Baraitser quashed any hope of that, saying, "You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end. When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition."

And with that, Julian Assange stands to face years of detention while the wheels of judicial process grind slowly on.

Nils Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Melzer visited Assange in May and subsequently issued a public call for Assange's immediate release, along with stinging rebukes of both his current jailors in Britain and those in America who would be next if their extradition petition is granted.

Nils Melzer and the continued call for Julian Assange's release in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to be gotten up in and around our town in the coming week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Monday, September 16, 2019

Breaking Assange; Psychologist Outlines 'The Psychology of Getting Julian Assange'

Clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson: They are trying to break Assange “physically and psychologically”

by Oscar Grenfell - WSWS

28 August 2019

Australian clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson has been an outspoken defender of Julian Assange, writing extensively on the grave implications of his persecution for democratic rights and freedom of speech.

Johnson explained to the WSWS that she “writes about the psychology of politics and social issues.” She has a background in media studies and sociology, and a PhD in the psychology of manipulating reality-perception.

Earlier this year, Johnson wrote an extensive five-part investigative series titled “The Psychology of Getting Julian Assange,” published on the New Matilda website. Johnson provided the following responses to a series of questions from the World Socialist Web Site earlier this week.

Free Finally The World's Most Important Political Prisoner

The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner

by Craig Murray

September 15, 2019

We are now just one week away from the end of Julian Assange’s uniquely lengthy imprisonment for bail violation. He will receive parole from the rest of that sentence, but will continue to be imprisoned on remand awaiting his hearing on extradition to the USA – a process which could last several years.

At that point, all the excuses for Assange’s imprisonment which so-called leftists and liberals in the UK have hidden behind will evaporate. There are no charges and no active investigation in Sweden, where the “evidence” disintegrated at the first whiff of critical scrutiny. He is no longer imprisoned for “jumping bail”.

The sole reason for his incarceration will be the publishing of the Afghan and Iraq war logs leaked by Chelsea Manning, with their evidence of wrongdoing and multiple war crimes.

A Plea to Intercede: Assange Implores UN Special Rapporteur "Please, Save My Life!"

Julian Assange asks UN special rapporteur to ‘Please save my life’

by Personal Liberty News Desk 

September 16, 2019

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, resides in cell No. 37 in “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay.” His cell is a single-occupancy cell, “furnished” with a plastic chair, a metal bed and steel toilet. It’s been Assange’s residence for more than 150 days. Last week a British judge ruled he’s to remain there even after he jail sentence is over.

The crime for which Assange is being punished is a bail violation. He’s been sentenced to 40 weeks in prison. The maximum sentence for the crime in Britain is 52 weeks. Typically, British bail violators get no time and a small fine.

Assange, scheduled to be extradited to the U.S. for telling the truth, may not live until the end of his sentence, according to Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.

According to the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Assange’s lawyers convinced Melzer to investigate the conditions Assange is living under after preventing “credible evidence” of “ill-treatment.”

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Can We Really Remember What 9/11 Meant and Means?

Really remembering 9-11: Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’

by Dave Lindorff - This Can't Be Happening

September 14, 2019

Now that the flags are back waving from the tops of flagpoles across the country, and the maudlin paeans to the close to 3000 lives lost in the airplane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, it’s time we gave a thought to the dead who were ignored. 

Afghan children killed in a US bombing raid 

According to very conservative estimates, as reported by the “Costs of War” project of Brown University’s Watson Institute on International and Public Affairs, nearly 250,000 civilians have been killed during the a8 years since September 2001 in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in wars or attacks that were instigated by the United States.

Those are very conservative figures carefully compiled by organizations like Iraq Body Count, the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. These numbers are people known to have died in the violence of war, mostly as so-called “collateral damage,” but often deliberately, as when the US bombs a hospital, a wedding or a private housing compound in order to kill some targeted individual considered an “enemy combatant,” unconcerned about the others in the area, often women and children, who are almost certain to die or suffer serious injury as the result of a strike.

The numbers do not include the deaths that also stem from America’s post 9-11wars — things like starvation, deaths from lack of medical care, and especially deaths from diseases like typhus or dysentery caused by lack of access to clean water or adequate sanitation facilities.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Masjid Al-Iman for Kashmir, John Helmer, Janine Bandcroft September 12, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

September 12, 2019

More than a month after the unilateral annexation of the officially semi-autonomous states of Kashmir and Jammu, members of the Kashmiri diaspora within India and abroad are desperate for news of their families caught behind prime minister Narendra Modi's virtual "Iron Curtain".

Last week, members of Victoria's Masjid Al-Iman mosque and their allies marched to the legislature in solidarity for Kashmiris and to demand the Canadian government investigate human rights abuses allegedly occurring throughout the state. I went down to the legislature to record the demonstration.

Victoria manifesting support for cordoned Kashmir in the first half.

Listen. Hear.

And; the western media has latched on to civic election returns throughout Russia to propel its narrative of Russian president, Vladimir Putin's waning popularity and thus influence. But as with every view of the greater world offered by the corporate and stated presses here, and especially where it comes to the West's bete noire, Russia, the truth of the matter requires more careful information sourcing than they are willing or prepared to provide audiences.

John Helmer is a journalist, former academic, government policy advisor, author, broadcaster and principal behind the news website, Dances with Bears. Some of John’s book titles include: ‘The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society’, ‘Drugs and Minority Oppression’, (with Claudia Wright) ‘The Jackal’s Wedding – American Power, Arab Revolt’, ‘Grand Strategy for Small Countries: Case Studies in Transforming Weakness into Power,’ and his latest is the political memoir, ‘The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia’.

John Helmer and getting to know more about Russia in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to get up to in and around our town in the coming week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tales of Brutality and Torture from Kashmir

Media Reports Draw Light To 'Brutal Torture' by Indian Army in Kashmir

by The Wire

September 10, 2019

International media organisations have released reports which shed light on security forces’ use of violence, often without any reason at all, on Kashmiris in the aftermath of Delhi’s August 5 decision to take away Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Relative of arrested at Central Jail, Srinagar. Photo: Mudasir Ahmad 

The reports, most recently by The Associated Press and earlier by BBC, carry accounts by residents who have allegedly come in the face of brutal torture by Indian forces. In several accounts, the victims would allegedly be administered electric shocks whenever they would fall unconscious after a round of relentless beatings. 
Photographs accompany the AP and BBC reports, showing harrowing bruises sustained on the legs and backs of men who allegedly came in the way of the Army and paramilitary forces’ beatings. The forces also allegedly subjected residents to degrading and humiliating punishments, destroyed their stocks of food and issued threats to the women, in addition to allegedly arresting thousands of men. 

Setting the Table for Another Greco-Turkish War


by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

September 10, 2019

Russia has been warning Cyprus (lead image, left) for months to beware the risks and consequences of offering its offshore oil and gas to US companies in exchange for promises of a US military protectorate against Turkish invasion. So far the American response (lead image, centre – Secretary of State Michael Pompeo) has been to require Cyprus to block Russian Navy access to its ports; expel Russian capital from its banks; and put a stop to what Washington calls pro-Russian journalism in the Greek-language press. For details of this scheme, read this.

Moscow - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced the Washington plan as an “artificial choice” and also a “gross violation” of Cyprus’s internal affairs. But so far the Russians have joined the Americans in accepting that what the Turks believe to be theirs is theirs, and that what the Cypriots (and Greeks) regard as theirs is negotiable.

For the first time, however, Cypriot and Greek military officers and experts have joined to plan Cypriot military tactics against Turkey’s attempt at taking over the Cyprus offshore seabed and at fresh Turkish troop landings on the island.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Singing for Assange's Freedom

UK: Roger Waters performs at rally in support of Assange in London

via Ruptly

August 2, 2019

Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters performed the song ‘Wish You Were Here’ at a rally in support of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, outside the UK Home Office in the heart of London on Monday.

“How do we put ourselves in the position of Julian Assange in solitary confinement? Or with that kid in Syria, or Palestine, or Rohingya, blown to bits by these people in this building here [pointing at the office of British Home Secretary Priti Patel]?” asked Waters while speaking to the crowd, before performing.

A banner reading "Don't Extradite Assange" adorned the front of the stage from which Waters performed the famous song from 1995. Before Waters took to the stage, Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, spoke of his last visit to Assange in Belmarsh prison. 

“It had been a year since I’d seen him last. I hugged him and he told me this place he was in, was hell. I instantly understood what he meant,” Gabriel said. Assange, who is currently serving a 50-week jail sentence for breaching his bail conditions, will face a US extradition hearing in February.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Germany Moves on Glyphosate: Life Without Insects No Life At All

Because 'A World Without Insects Is Not Worth Living In,' Germany Announces Plan to Ban Glyphosate

"What we need is more humming and buzzing."

by Andrea Germanos - Common Dreams

September 4, 2019

The German government announced Wednesday it had agreed on a plan to phase out the use of glyphosate—the key chemical in the weedkiller Roundup—with a total ban set to begin by the end of 2023.

"Way to go, Germany!" tweeted the U.S.-based advocacy group Organic Consumers Association.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed to the plan Wednesday. The proposal, reported Bloomberg, also says that the "government intends to oppose any request for the E.U. to renew the license to produce the weedkiller, according to a release by the environment ministry."

Kashmir Comes Home: Throughout India, Oppression, Dispossession, Greed, and Violence

“Everywhere is Kashmir”: Unraveling Weaponized, Corporatized Hindustan in India’s Northeast 

by Sarang Narasimhaiah - CounterPunch

September 6, 2019

“In India today,” said an Indigenous activist I recently interviewed in the northeastern Indian state of Jharkhand, “everywhere is Kashmir.”

Photograph Source: Tasnim News Agency – CC BY 4.0

At first glance, this statement seems overblown, perhaps even outrageous. No other part of India is as much of a consolidated internal colony as Kashmir. For that matter, Palestine is one of the only other parts of the world that can match or exceed Kashmir’s horrific past and renewed present of curfews, communication blackouts, transportation blockades, forced disappearances, and military and paramilitary brutality and bloodshed. (India’s ever-closer collaboration with Israel gives these parallels a particularly timely and unsettling significance.) In so many ways, nowhere is Kashmir but Kashmir itself.

And yet, the seeds of Kashmir’s never-ending misery are bearing poisonous fruit all across India. Animated by the interlocking forces of neoliberal capitalism and Hindu nationalism, the Indian state’s insatiable appetite for natural resources, ironclad commitment to elite-led economic growth, and gleeful deployment of grassroots fascist thugs and police, military, and paramilitary forces have fueled a mounting avalanche of tragedies across the country.

Together, these priorities and capacities have caused an ongoing parade of stomach-churning mob lynchings; the harassment, imprisonment, and even assassinations of dissenters like Gladson Dungdung, Stan Swamy, and Gauri Lankesh; and the gagging, obstruction, and expulsion of civil society organizations like the Lawyers Collective and the Navsarjan Trust.

Friday, September 06, 2019

More Than Just a Child Prostitution and Political Blackmail Operation: Deeper Nightmares of the Epstein Network

How the CIA, Mossad and “the Epstein Network” are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News

September 6, 2019

Following another catastrophic mass shooting or crisis event, Orwellian “solutions” are set to be foisted on a frightened American public by the very network connected, not only to Jeffrey Epstein, but to a litany of crimes and a frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent in the United States.

Following the arrest and subsequent death in prison of alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a little-known Israeli tech company began to receive increased publicity, but for all the wrong reasons.

Not long after Epstein’s arrest, and his relationships and finances came under scrutiny, it was revealed that the Israeli company Carbyne911 had received substantial funding from Jeffrey Epstein as well as Epstein’s close associate and former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist and prominent Trump backer Peter Thiel.

[For complete article, please see original at MintPress News.]

Victoria Rallies with Saturday Kashmir March

Kashmir March

by Masjid Al-Iman

September 6, 2019

Listen. Hear.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Silence of the Twitters: Lambing Daniel McAdams

Meditations on Twitter's Silencing of Daniel McAdams

by Caitlin Johnstone - Rogue Journalist

September 5, 2019

Daniel McAdams, the Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, was banned from Twitter last week. Officially, it was because he used the word “retarded” to describe the odious establishment propagandist Sean Hannity after noting the hilarious fact that the Fox News host had been wearing a CIA lapel pin while “challenging the deep state”.

Unofficially, it was because McAdams has been operating for years at the apex of one of the most effective antiwar movements in the United States.

An article from Liberty Conservative News about McAdams’ encounter with the business end of the Twitter censorship hammer reports that the outspoken foreign policy critic received a notification that his account “has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating Twitter’s Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against hateful conduct.”

The Protest Papers: Canadian Spies v. Citizens

Secret spy hearings: An illegal attack on democracy

by Caitlyn Vernon - Sierra Club BC

August 2019

Four years ago, I testified at the secret spy hearings about reports that CSIS had spied on Sierra Club BC and others speaking up to oppose Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project.

Even to this day, I’m prohibited from telling you what I said in the hearings because of a gag order.

What I can tell you is that speaking up for clean drinking water shouldn’t make us enemies of the state.

Illegal spying on concerned British Columbians trying to defend themselves from the impacts of fossil fuels is an attack on our freedoms and our future.

We won’t stand for it.

Sierra Club BC Campaigns Director,
Caitlyn Vernon

In July, with our lawyers at the BC Civil Liberties Association, we released the Protest Papers, thousands of pages of heavily redacted information that CSIS collected in relation to the Northern Gateway project. SIRC – the CSIS watchdog – says CSIS didn’t spy on us. But with thousands of pages of documents, the evidence seems to contradict their claim.

SIRC also said the information was shared with oil companies, but that this was okay – despite it being unlawful for CSIS to share information with anyone other than the Canadian government and law enforcement.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

The Real Price of Site C: Ancient Tufa Seep

Spectacular ancient tufa seep on the chopping block to build Site C dam

5 Nov 2016

Netanyahu's Choice of War: Campaign Strategy Sees Bombing of Four Neighbours, So Far

The War Ahead: Netanyahu’s Elections Gamble Will be Costly for Israel

by Ramzy Baroud  - The Palestine Chronicle

September 4, 2019

On September 1, the Lebanese group Hezbollah, struck an Israeli military base near the border town of Avivim. The Lebanese attack came as an inevitable response to a series of Israeli strikes that targeted four different Arab countries in the matter of two days.

The Lebanese response, accompanied by jubilation throughout Lebanon, shows that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may have overplayed his cards.

However, for Netanyahu it was a worthy gamble, as the Israeli leader is desperate for any new political capital that could shield him against increasingly emboldened contenders in the country’s September 17 general elections.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Ken Boon, Yves Engler, Janine Bandcroft September 5, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

September 5, 2019

Last week, prime minister Justin Trudeau met in Surrey with BC premier, John Horgan to announce a joint effort that will increase BC Hydro's contribution to fracked gas production.

The former provincial government bet big on the future of hydrocarbons, (as has Trudeau's Liberals) and the NDP has picked right up where Christie Clark's BCLiberals left off.

Listen. Hear.

The announcement came on the very day West Moberly First Nations Chief, Roland Willson vowed the contentious Site C Dam project would not receive their support saying,

"Stopping this dam has always been the right thing to do. It would have taken some courage and some leadership, but it could have saved British Columbia billions of dollars and produced a clear example of reconciliation with First Nations. ...".

And, the West Moberly are not alone in their opposition to the mega-dam.

Ken Boon is a Peace Valley farmer and president of the Peace Valley Landowners Association. Ken and his family have lived at the heart of the resistance to the Site C dam project from the beginning and it’s a fight that’s cost he and his dearly.

Ken Boon in the first half.

And; Tuesday, August 27th 2019 members of Canada's national police force paid a surprise visit to a citizen's house hoping to catch him at home. It was not a criminal matter, the subject had broken no law; so what warranted such attention?

Montreal-based author, journalist, and social justice activist, Yves Engler is well known to authorities. He's made no secret of his effort to make our political leaders accountable to both the laws of this country and international statutes Canada is a party to. But, with almost four years of bad faith governing behind it, and an expected Autumn election looming ahead, it seems the government would prefer not to hear from critics like Monsieur Engler.

Yves Engler and using the RCMP to silence political criticism in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going on in and around our town in the coming week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Monday, September 02, 2019

Israel's Undeclared War Escalates: Three Countries Bombed in Three Days

‘We are waiting for war’: Lebanese say Israel has gone too far

by Andre Vltchek - OffGuardian

September 2, 2019

After the recent Israeli attacks against Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, the Middle East has found itself in the midst of undeclared war. Almost everyone in Lebanon appears to agree.

“This time Israel went too far. In just two days, it bombed three countries,” I am told by a local UN staffer based in Beirut.

The same day, my local barber was talking like he saw it all, his voice full of sarcasm and determination:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing tough elections at home, while his wife is on trial for fraud.
A bit of excitement during the evening news can only help his chances of regaining attention from his electorate. But we here have had enough; we are ready to fight for our countries.”

But ‘fighting for their countries’ could prove lethal, as Netanyahu threatened to attack Lebanon as a whole, if Hezbollah decides to retaliate.