Thursday, February 8, 2024

He's a Trumpster Fire

Former President Donald Trump remains in the news.  Smita Ghosh (NEWSWEEK) writes:

Can former President Donald Trump, who faces federal felony charges relating to election interference, fraud, and the misuse of classified documents, be prosecuted for actions taken when he was in office? In a unanimous decision yesterday, the D.C. Circuit rejected Trump's argument that former presidents enjoy absolute immunity from prosecution. Constitutional text and history tell us that the court's decision was the right one.

First of all, no text in the Constitution states that presidents are forever immune from criminal prosecution, no matter what they might do to warrant it. And the Framers knew how to provide immunity when they wanted to. After all, they wrote that congresspeople shall be "privileged from Arrest" during legislative sessions, but, as the D.C. Circuit put it, "they chose not to include a similar provision granting immunity to the President."

And constitutional history explains why the Framers did not exempt the president from the criminal process. They hoped to distinguish the fledgling American democracy from Britain's monarchy by making clear that, unlike Britain's king, America's chief officer would not be above the law. James Iredell, who led the fight to ratify the Constitution in North Carolina, explained this in a 1788 speech: In Britain, the King "could do no wrong," and there were "no courts to try him for any crimes." In America, things would be different. If the president "commits any crime," Iredell said, "he is punishable by the laws of his country." James Wilson, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and later a Supreme Court justice, summarized it succinctly: the American president was "far from being above the laws."

Iredell, Wilson, and the other Framers would be horrified at Trump's claims. At oral argument before the D.C. Circuit, Trump's lawyer said that if Trump ordered SEAL Team 6 to assassinate one of his political rivals, he could not be criminally prosecuted if he weren't also impeached for that conduct. This seems like the type of situation that the Framers, hell-bent on distinguishing the American president from the British king, wanted to avoid.


Meanwhile, Alex Griffing (MEDIAITE) notes of today's Supreme Court hearing:

Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal joined MSNBC on Thursday to discuss the Supreme Court hearing on the case to remove former President Donald Trump from the ballot in Colorado and was duly unimpressed by the arguments for the ban.

“How did you see it and what were the some of the parts that struck out the most to you?” Katyal was asked on MSNBC, where he is a legal analyst.

“So, you know, I’ve watched over 400 Supreme Court arguments. I’ve done 50 myself. I would tell you this argument did not go well for the Trump challengers, and that’s to put it mildly, I probably have some other adjectives that I won’t, say on air,” Katyal replied, adding:

You know, in the thing that I was watching for was any indication anywhere about just how dangerous a ruling to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court was. We heard a lot from the court, particularly the chief justice, Justice Kavanaugh, Justice Alito, about how if you affirm the Colorado decision, it will empower states to mess with federal elections. And to be sure, that’s a risk. But what you never heard the Trump challengers really get at was the risk on the other side that this is a canonical part of our Constitution, forged after the Civil War, one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. And yet we came together and said insurrectionists can’t be on the ballot. Not just about the Civil War, but going forward for all sorts of reasons. There was no discussion of that, really.

Basically, you know, they allowed Donald Trump to read the 14th Amendment like a tax code, looking for a loophole here and a loophole there. And, you know, unfortunately, the stakes on the other side were not presented to the court today. And so I saw only one justice, really, Justice Sotomayor, who was really listening to what the Colorado challengers were saying. And it wouldn’t shock me if even she when push came to shove and she reads the transcript of this argument may come the other way. Now, you know, the justices could go back. They could read all the front-of-the-court briefs, which make a lot of these points and come up with the other side.

“But, you know, presumably they read those briefs before the argument today and they got no help, to use Justice Alito’s word, ‘no help,’ from the challengers to Trump today in the oral argument,” he concluded.

AP notes, "Murray acknowledged under questioning that there's no way to bring a federal lawsuit challenging a president's qualifications, so if the court bars state action, that would end efforts to challenge Trump's place on the ballot."

More bad news for Mr. Trump, Travis Gettys reports:

Donald Trump's lawyers have hung their defense of his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection on a line from his speech at the "Stop the Steal" rally at the Ellipse, but a trio of legal experts say the broader record of his statements and actions undermines that argument.

The former claimed last month during a speech that his supporters had acted "peacefully and patriotically," echoing that key line from his speech that his attorneys have made a centerpiece of his defense since his post-Jan. 6 impeachment, but abundant evidence shows they did not and he didn't want them to, wrote legal experts Tom Joscelyn, Norman L. Eisen and Fred Wertheimer for Just Security.

"We expect prosecutors will explain to the jurors why the sentence in the Ellipse speech is, in actuality, more incriminating than exculpatory when understood in context," they wrote. "Indeed, evidence uncovered by the January 6th Select Committee shows that Trump deliberately and repeatedly implored his followers to 'fight' – and was reticent to use the word 'peaceful' at all. Recent revelations of evidence gathered by Special Counsel Jack Smith will also help prove the case."

The authors lay out a detailed and damning compendium of Trump's public statements and behind-the-scenes evidence uncovered by prosecutors and the House select committee that shows White House officials, outside allies and family members begged the former president to call off his supporters once the violence erupted, but he refused for hours.

Yesterday, we were noting New Hampshire's response to the fake robo-calls that sounded like they were coming from U.S. President Joe Biden.  Those people need to be put behind bars -- those who did that.  The F.C.C. is paying attention to this crime.  AP notes, "The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday outlawed robocalls that contain voices generated by artificial intelligence, a decision that sends a clear message that exploiting the technology to scam people and mislead voters won’t be tolerated.  The unanimous ruling targets robocalls made with AI voice-cloning tools under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a 1991 law restricting junk calls that use artificial and prerecorded voice messages."

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, February 8, 2024.  Netanyahu has a hissy fit over a proposed pause in the slaughter, more photos of alleged torture by the IDF emerge, Marianne Williamson suspends her campaign, and much more.

Another candidate has suspended her campaign.

Marianne Williamson has suspended her campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and notes:

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you don’t win:)…

I appreciate greatly all the incredible people who accompanied me on our political journey over the last ten months. While the level of our failure is obvious to all, a level of success is real nonetheless. We articulated deeper, more authentic truths than those regularly acknowledged by the political establishment. And I’m not only glad we did that; I’m proud of it. We spoke for those most ignored in America today and whose wounds are most in need of healing. I wish I could have reached them. I know we would have provided hope.

I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to those who supported the campaign - as donors, as volunteers, as team members, and more. I hope the blessings you have shown me will be reflected in your life many times over. There are memories of support and kindness that I will cherish going forward, carrying an emotional fragrance that will linger in my heart forever.

In the final analysis, I think the only real failure in life is that which we fail to learn from. I have learned so much already and I know that I will learn more. Processing this experience will be an ongoing journey and forgiveness will guide me as I move through it. I will not allow the mental torment of all the woulda shoulda couldas to tie me to the past, but rather I will keep my eye on the larger story. In ways I cannot yet see, none of this will have been in vain. There are hidden gifts that have only just begun to reveal themselves.

Among those gifts are seeds I know we dropped into the hearts of many - those who will in their own time, in their own way, carry our ideas forward. Although as of today we are suspending our campaign, our platform - with its deep dive into so many issues - will remain on I hope future candidates will take what works for them, drinking from the well of information that we prepared. My team and I brought to the table some great ideas, and I will take pleasure when I see them live on in campaigns and candidates yet to be created.

I wish I could give a personal hug to every person who encouraged me on this journey. So many had faith and believed in what was possible. While we did not succeed at running a winning political campaign, I know in my heart we impacted the political ethers. As with every other aspect of my career over the last forty years, I know how ideas float through the air forming ever new designs. I will see and hear things in different situations and through different voices, and I will smile a small internal smile knowing in my heart where that came from.

I am wishing you all the love in the world, with a thanks more sincere than you can possibly imagine. May love yet prevail, in our hearts and in the world.

The list of potentials gets smaller and the list of real potentials -- real meaning, this isn't a deluded vanity campaign, gets tiny.  On the Republican side, it's coming down to Donald Trump (unless the courts do the right thing and bar him from running due to his violations of Article 3 and the 14th Amendment) and Nikki Haley.  On the Democratic Party side, it's now Joe Biden.  Joe visited NYC and, Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) reports, it was a visit that got attention:

  Around 100 Jewish American and allied activists were arrested in New York City Wednesday after they blocked President Joe Biden's motorcade route to protest U.S. complicity in Israel's genocidal war against the Palestinian people and to demand an immediate Gaza cease-fire.

The group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) led the Upper East Side demonstration, during which activists sat down in the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, where the president was attending a nearby fundraiser.

"As Jewish New Yorkers we want to make crystal clear that President Biden is not welcome in our city while he continues to fund and arm the Israeli government's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," saidJVP's Jay Saper. 

I know nothing about Claudia De la Cruz and Karina Garcia but they have the nomination for the Party for Socialism and Liberation (Claudia for president, Karina for vice president) which, in the past, has run real candidates.  The Green Party is in shambles and that's evidenced by the fact that Jill Stein trying to get the nomination.  Jill Stein is AGAIN trying to get the nomination.

One of the complaints from those anticipating a Donald and Joe match up has been the age issue.  

Jill's no spring chicken. 

She turns 74 this May.

She has no real accomplishments to speak of -- unless you consider her dropping her anti-vaccine stance when the press discovered it while she was running for office -- I believe that was in her failed Senate run and not during one of her disastrous attempts at the presidency.  Jill fights for what she stands for . . .  at least until she's expected to actually stand for it.

And, yes, we said "attempts at the presidency."

The Green Party is dead will be the announcement if, this summer, they announce Jill Stein as their candidate.

She was their failed candidate in 2012 -- one who refused to question Barack Obama's sending US troops back into Iraq even though Tim Arango had reported this for THE NEW YORK TIMES just before the presidential debates started.  Poor Jill, she had more important things than war or pointing out reality.  She needed to get a new hair do and she needed more photos of herself and she needed waste everyone's time.

She did that in 2016 again.

She's a disaster and something of an idiot.  It's gotten worse, her public speaking, so bad in fact that she might need to see a doctor.  

Does that sound like a party offering a real difference between the duopoly?


A real difference would be the Green Party getting an actual candidate -- not an old nag or hag that they've run twice already and who is over 70s year old.  35.  That's the youngest you can be.  And yet do nothing Jill thinks her twice that age, failed ass needs to mislead the Green Party again.

Joe Biden should have put himself out to pasture.  No question.  But Greens, if you run a 74 year old failure, you don't have any room to scold any other parties.  She's failed twice.  She's led to the party into great debt with those failures.  She's done nothing but whine in the last years -- I only ate a dinner in Russia! -- and she's not an activist.  Her 'activism' most recently was trying to force Cornel West down the throat of the Green Party.  I don't think she realizes how hated that's made her.

She and others at the top of the Green Party, tried to steal the nomination for him.  And rank-and-file pushed back.  Cornel for any other failures, was smart enough to see what was happening and cease his campaign for the Green Party nomination.

That Cornel didn't grasp the process of the Green Party is not surprising.  He announced his pursuit of the presidency by announcing he was the candidate for the People's Party and then a week later, he wasn't.  Oops.  Turns out you actually do need to do some work to run for president and that includes checking out the party whose nomination you've accepted -- in fact, better to do that checking before you accept their nomination.

But Jill knew the process and she didn't just ignore it, she tried to break it and would have been able to if the rank-and-file hadn't pushed back so hard and said NO!  They weren't dropping their process of how people had to campaign for the party's presidential nomination and they weren't changing their schedule (again, it will be decided this summer at the party's convention).  

Then there's the whole Peter Daou thing.  This is not to trash Peter or even about Peter -- my remarks.  This is about the fact that Jill's told one conflicting story after another about Petere.  She's claimed this and she's claimed that.  If she can't even get her story straight about her 'friendship' with a political strategist, she needs to bow out.  Instead, she's using media attention to make it appear that she's the party's nominee.

The party has no nominee and won't until the summer convention.

If Jill is the nominee, we all need to wipe our hands clean of the Green Party and face reality that it is not trying to build the party and that it's just a bunch of egomaniacs at the top who need their egos stroked.

Did someone say Junior?

Yeah, Little Junior remains to do nothing.

He keeps pointing to his popularity polls.  Among the uneducated and likely non-voters, he does have some sort of appeal still.  He keeps pointing to his 'popularity' as his reason for running.



That's the cost for his campaign basically.  United Airlines can fly him from New Hampshire to Utah for $306.  

He's qualified for Utah's ballot and, since the end of last month he's claimed he's qualified for New Hampshire.  

In a dream world where he can win both states that would be what, ten electoral votes?

Just 260 more and he can be president.

Donald Trump says if he gets the nomination, he's not taking Junior on his ticket.

Junior dropped out of the race of the Democratic Party nomination.

He declared himself an independent making an independent run.

But no one told him that required work and our socialite just does not like to work.

So now he's flirting with the Libertarian Party as well as flirting with conducting fraud state by state.  Since he clearly can't meet the requirements for ballot access in the majority of the states as an independent candidate, his admitted plan currently is to start 'political parties' so he can meet that threshold instead.

However, it is fraud -- legal fraud -- to do what he's talking about.  The qualifications do not say 'create a fake political party.'  He can't meet the legal criteria to get on the ballot as the independent candidate ha has publicly announced himself so he wants to commit fraud state by state.  If he does that, I hope he's prosecuted to the full extent of the law and he should be.

Junior is cheering on the slaughter of Gaza.  Click here for FRANCE 24's analysis of a photo of a Palestinian in Israeli custody -- apparently having been tortured.  The War Crimes just continue to pile up.  In fact, in other War Crimes:

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society says that one of its teams that was carrying out a mission to evacuate a number of wounded people on Wednesday was deliberately targeted.

Paramedic Mohammed al-Omari was killed as a result, and two of his colleagues were wounded.

“This brings the number of colleagues killed while carrying out their humanitarian work since the beginning of the war on Gaza to 12,” the organisation said.

Let's note this from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Nermeen Shaikh, with Amy Goodman.

A key Israeli intelligence document used by over a dozen countries, including the United States, to justify defunding UNRWA, the primary aid group for Palestinian refugees, contains no evidence to back up Israel’s claims, according to several news reports. The allegations made in the Israeli document include accusations that several UNRWA employees participated in the Hamas attack on October 7th. Britain’s Channel 4 obtained the document and found that it, quote, “provides no evidence to support its explosive new claim that UNRWA staff were involved with terror attacks on Israel.” The Financial Times, which also reviewed the materials, came to the same conclusion, as did Sky News. Now the aid agency, which is critical to providing humanitarian support in Gaza, says it will run out of funds by March as a result of the funding cuts.

The allegations made by Israel are just the latest in what journalist Jeremy Scahill calls, quote, “Israel’s information warfare campaign,” which is aimed at, quote, “flood[ing] the public discourse with a stream of false, unsubstantiated, and unverifiable allegations.” In his latest article, published today in The Intercept, Scahill writes, quote, “Nearly every week, sometimes every day, the Israeli government and military have unloaded a fresh barrage of allegations intended to justify the ongoing slaughter.” He adds, quote, “The tactic is effective, particularly because the U.S. and other major allies have consistently laundered Israel’s unverified allegations as evidence of the righteousness of the cause.”

Jeremy Scahill is a senior reporter and correspondent at The Intercept. His latest article is headlined “Netanyahu’s War on Truth: Israel’s Ruthless Propaganda Campaign to Dehumanize Palestinians.” He joins us now from Germany.

Jeremy, welcome back to Democracy Now! If you could just begin by laying out the case that you make in your latest piece?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, in the early morning hours of October 7th, members of Hamas from the Qassam Brigades, the Nukhba, their elite special forces, as well as members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, led a multipronged attack in Israel. Everyone is familiar with this. And the initial targets that they hit constituted almost the entirety of Israel’s infrastructure in what Tel Aviv calls the “Gaza envelope,” and they were able to actually quite swiftly overpower the Gaza Division, the main entity of the Israeli state responsible for enforcing the prison conditions of the people of Gaza, for carrying out drone strikes, for waging war, for conducting all manner of warfare against the people of Gaza. And then the militant Palestinian fighters made their way into a series of settlements in the area.

And the intent was quite clear: They were trying to take hostages captive so that they could negotiate the release of their own prisoners. But what they did on that day was nothing short of shattering the paradigm, of sending a message that the big lie that is promoted by Israel — not just under Netanyahu, but certainly under Netanyahu — that Israelis could somehow live in peace a stone’s throw away from what is effectively a concentration camp filled with 2.3 million people that are deprived anything vaguely resembling a human existence, that that is tenable.

And Israel was, by all accounts, caught off guard, despite the fact that its own intelligence analysts had been warning that it appeared that Hamas was preparing and training for something that was quite spectacular, and not simply some small, one-off attempts to fire rockets or even do a minor incursion into Israeli territory. And by all accounts, those were overlooked and dismissed.

And what we saw happen then, as the Palestinian fighters made their way across these various Israeli communities and overtook the Gaza Division and took many, many military personnel prisoner and brought them back to Gaza, was the Israeli government engage in sustained counteraction, including with Apache attack helicopters, with drones. When the military did finally arrive in some of these communities — and, mind you, it was hours and hours before any official Israeli security forces were responding to some of these civilian areas — they engaged in widespread firefights. At Kibbutz Be’eri, we know that eyewitnesses have said that Israel forces shelled a house, likely killing at least a dozen Israelis who were being held captive by Palestinian fighters. And so, the Israeli government then was reeling from the shock of having these crucial military bases overrun, communities being flooded with Palestinian fighters.

And within hours of these attacks happening, the Netanyahu government began to craft a very deliberate propaganda campaign to sell the United States, other Western leaders and the global public on a scorched-earth war of annihilation against Gaza. And this campaign kicked into such high gear immediately. And what they did, what was central to this, is that the Israelis began showing President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, the heads of state of NATO countries and other Western nations images and videos that they then proceeded to tell an unverified story about what they depicted. And the characterization from Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was that this was the greatest act of violence against Jewish people since the Holocaust, that the tactics that Hamas used included rape, beheading of babies, mutilation of bodies, torture of families, the bounding of children in groups, including in a nursery in one of the kibbutzes, and then engaging in mass execution of small children, setting children on fire. And President Biden, Secretary Blinken and many Western leaders then started to repeat these claims.

But what happened is that when the Israeli social security agency began to actually document the deaths on October 11th, they documented 1,139 deaths; 695 of them were civilians. And we started reviewing the public documentation of the deaths. It turns out that there was only one infant that was killed in all of the attacks combined on October 7th, a 9-month-old baby named Mila Cohen. And she was hit by a bullet during gunfire while she was in her mother’s arm. There were also — I think there were 36 children under the age of 19 that died that day. Fourteen of them were actually killed in Hamas rocket attacks. So, when journalists started actually looking then at the official death toll — and you can go — the Israelis have published the stories, the photos of many, many, many of the victims — you realize that these were all lies. It was a massive fraud that was perpetrated on the world, particularly this business about mass decapitation of babies. And Joe Biden, on numerous occasions, said that he saw actual photographic evidence of the beheading of babies and the bounding and burning alive with kerosene whole families.

And what I discovered in my research was that these stories appear to have ended up in the heads of Biden and Blinken and others based on the totally fraudulent version of events on October 7th that was offered by private Orthodox rescue operations — the most famous of them is Zaka — telling stories, you know, about a pregnant woman who had a fetus cut out of her body, and then the fetus was decapitated in front of the woman and her two children. There’s no evidence whatsoever to indicate that that happened. In fact, there’s no documentation that any pregnant woman died on October 7th. There was one pregnant woman who was shot while in her car on the way to deliver her baby. She was a Bedouin woman. And the doctors were able to save her life. They tried to deliver the baby. The baby died some hours later. But that wasn’t Hamas cutting a baby out of a stomach. And yet these lies were sold. And some of the most obscene things that Israel said, that we now know are false, were repeated by Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, in testimony in front of the Senate, by Joe Biden himself. And this has gone on and on and on. I’ve just given you a couple of the most graphic examples of this.

But what’s clear is that the Israeli government understood that they needed to sell this as like the worst crime against humanity in modern times, in order to justify a long-planned siege of Gaza that Benjamin Netanyahu — he represents the most extreme and violent version of the Israeli state project. And it’s very, very clear that they sold this fraud, and the White House laundered it, and that’s why we’ve seen — and I think 27,000 people killed in Gaza is a conservative estimate. I think it’s much greater than that, because there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home. So, this is one of the most epic frauds in modern history, reminiscent of the lies told to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy, I’m wondering if we can jump for a moment to the beginning of this segment, from October 7 to the UNRWA story, that something like, what, the Israeli government was alleging 12 — and then that number got larger — members of UNRWA, which has something like 13,000 workers in Gaza, were involved with the October 7th attack. Talk about, if you will, the way you do in your piece, take apart, as Channel 4 did, as a number of news organizations have, the evidence for this, that has been used by now almost 20 countries to defund this essential organization that supports the hospitals and the schools of Gaza for over 2 million people.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, UNRWA is nothing short of the most important humanitarian organization operating in Gaza. In fact, it was explicitly established in 1949 during the Nakba, where 750,000-plus Palestinians were forced from their homes in an extermination/annihilation campaign that then paved the way for the establishment of the state of Israel in the aftermath of World War II. And the mandate of UNRWA was to care for those Palestinians and ensure that their right of return to their homes and land was going to be protected. And so, the Israeli government, certainly under Netanyahu, but under other heads of state, as well, has always wanted UNRWA eliminated, because this represents a very serious problem for the Israeli agenda of eliminating Palestinian territory in its entirety. So, just to give that context.

But then, the Israelis decide that — immediately after the International Court of Justice rules in favor of South Africa and orders provisional measures that include the prevention of genocidal acts, the stopping of killing Palestinians, that the court recognized as a protected group, and to allow, with immediate effect, the entry of aid sufficient to confront the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Israeli war on Gaza, the Israelis then choose to open a new front and just blast the public and the ears of Western leaders with a propaganda campaign aimed at trying to get them to join the crusade to eliminate UNRWA. And Israel then prepared what it called an intelligence dossier, alleging that 12 employees of UNRWA — it has 13,000 or so employees in Gaza, 30,000 employees spread out across the Middle East where displaced Palestinians reside.

And the response from the Biden administration was to immediately announce it was suspending all funding to UNRWA. And Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted publicly that the United States had not even done its own review or investigation of these assertions that 12 members of a 30,000-member organization had some link to the October 7th attacks.

And then what happened — and this is so reminiscent of Judy Miller, The New York Times, the mushroom cloud, Dick Cheney, build-up to the War in Iraq — they go to The Wall Street Journal, and the Israelis provide the The Wall Street Journal with what the Journal then advertises as a dossier, an intelligence dossier. And they go further than the 12. They say that a full 10% of UNRWA’s Gaza staff, 1,200 employees, are connected to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and they say this is not just a few bad apples.

Well, this laundering of Israeli propaganda in the form of an article for a major American newspaper was — the lead author of that article was Carrie Keller-Lynn. She’s a new contributor to The Wall Street Journal. I started digging into who is this person, because she didn’t have a full bio on The Wall Street Journal website. Well, it turns out that she is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces. She was a militant opponent of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement when she was at university in the United States. And her close friend, who she did a joint interview with for an organization that takes American grad students to Israel, she credits her with, during the 2009 Gaza war, creating the social media strategy for the Israeli Defense Forces. This is the reporter that was the lead journalist writing this UNRWA story for The Wall Street Journal.

And once we started to draw attention to that and put photos of her in her IDF uniform and talking about her ties to someone she said helped create the social media strategy for the IDF during a previous war in Gaza, then these organizations she was affiliated with scrubbed all of these articles and photos from the internet. The Journal has locked her Twitter account.

But this was very, very clearly a sophisticated propaganda campaign, where they knew which journalists to go to, they knew which governments would buy into it. And what they got is the Biden administration now being actively complicit in violating the orders of the International Court of Justice, which has Israel under watch for potential plausible genocidal actions in Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Jeremy, do you think, on the October 7th investigation, that it wasn’t simply enough for Israel to say over a thousand Israelis and other people, majority of them civilian, were killed in the Hamas attack, was not enough of a justification to go into [Gaza] and then multiply that over 27,000 [sic] times — 27 times, to more than 27,000 dead today?

JEREMY SCAHILL: The Israelis, particularly the civilians who were killed that day, deserve the truth about what happened. The Israeli government responded with very heavy firepower. There’s indications that the Hannibal Directive may have been invoked, which says that it’s better to injure and possibly even kill Israelis than let them be taken hostage. They also made sweeping allegations about sexual violence being systematically committed by Hamas, that they have provided no proof that such a systematic campaign took place. The victims in Israel deserve the truth. And the 30,000-plus Palestinians who have been murdered with American bombs, whose deaths have been justified by the killing of those Israelis, possibly including by their own government, they also deserve the truth, and they deserve justice.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Jeremy, I’m afraid, I’m sorry, we’re going to have to leave it there. Jeremy Scahill, senior reporter and correspondent at The Intercept. His latest piece, out today, “Netanyahu’s War on Truth: Israel’s Ruthless Propaganda Campaign to Dehumanize Palestinians.” And that does it for the show. I’m Nermeen Shaikh, with Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the Middle East on Thursday with public divisions between the United States and Israel at perhaps their worst level since Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza began in October.

Wrapping up a four-nation Mideast trip — his fifth to the region since the conflict erupted — Blinken was returning to Washington after getting a virtual slap in the face from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the war would continue until Israel is completely victorious and appeared to reject outright a response from Hamas to a proposed cease-fire plan.

An Egyptian official source told the BBC that a new round of negotiations, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, is still expected to go ahead on Thursday in Cairo.

Egypt has called on all parties to show the necessary flexibility to reach a calm agreement, the source said.

And Mr Netanyahu's rejection of a "delusional" plan are in stark contrast to remarks from Qatar, which described Hamas's response as "positive". 

Gaza remains under assault. Day 125 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  ALJAZEERA notes, "Gaza’s Health Ministry says the death toll from Israel’s aggression on the blockaded territory has risen to 27,840 Palestinians killed since October 7. At least 67,317 have been wounded." AP has noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

Iraq has issued a warning to the United States in response to an airstrike late Wednesday in Baghdad that killed a senior commander with the pro-Iran Kataib Hezbollah militia.

Iraq's Joint Operation Command called the strike a "new aggression by the United States, adding that the move acted to "undermine all understandings" between Iraq and the US, in a statement posted by spokesperson Tahseen Al Khafaji on X.

The spokesperson also reiterated what the country said after the first series of US strikes in Iraq last Friday in retaliation for the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan, which was to call the strikes a "violation of Iraqi sovereignty." 

Kataib Hezbollah is considered the most powerful Iran-backed militia in Iraq and part of a state-sponsored consortium of militias in the country known as the PMU (Popular Mobilization Forces), many of them Shia militias, that help maintain security there.  

But just days after the killing of the three US soldiers in Jordan on January 28, Kataib Hezbollah announced it was suspending its military operations against US forces, which was seen as signs the group feared blowback by the US on itself, as well as other pro-Iran militias or even Iran proper in response to the US solider deaths. 

  Yehia Rasool, a spokesperson for the Iraqi military, said in a statement early Thursday that the U.S. "conducted a blatant assassination through an airstrike in the heart of a residential neighborhood in the capital, Baghdad, showing no regard for civilian lives or international laws."

"By this act, the American forces jeopardize civil peace, violate Iraqi sovereignty, and disregard the safety and lives of our citizens," said Rasool. "Even more concerning is that the coalition consistently deviates from the reasons and objectives for its presence on our territory."

Rasool said the latest U.S. strike will only intensify the push to remove American forces from Iraq more than two decades after the disastrous 2003 invasion.

"This trajectory compels the Iraqi government more than ever to terminate the mission of this coalition, which has become a factor for instability and threatens to entangle Iraq in the cycle of conflict," said Rasool. 

The following sites updated: