Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The horse race

The political race?   James Pindell (BOSTON GLOBE) reports:

On Tuesday independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced California attorney Nicole Shanahan was his vice presidential running mate. Kennedy’s campaign claims to have qualified for the ballot in New Hampshire, Utah, Hawaii, and Nevada. But on Monday, Nevada said the signatures he gathered might not count because he didn’t have a vice presidential candidate listed on the petition.

Beyond Kennedy, there is an independent bid from Cornel West, former Harvard professor. Dr. Jill Stein of Lexington is running again as the Green Party candidate, just as she did in 2016. Libertarians will hold a national convention next month to pick a nominee. The nonprofit group No Labels recently announced it would move forward to form a committee to pick a candidate, though all the possibilities the group has reportedly talked with have turned it down.

[. . .]

The last third-party candidate to win a state was former Alabama governor George Wallace, who picked off five states in the 1968 contest running on the American Independence Party ticket. But a number of third-party candidates were players in presidential elections and may have decided the election, including John B. Anderson in 1980, Ross Perot in 1992, Ralph Nader in 2000, and most recently Stein in 2016. While Stein received 1 percent of the vote nationally, she received more votes than the margin of victory for Trump in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

If we end up with a second term of Donald Trump, I will hold everyone of those candidates responsible.  They have no chance of winning and are running vanity campaigns.  And, excuse me, BOSTON GLOBE, Jill Stein did not just run for president in 2016, she also ran in 2012.  She lost both times.  She is a loser.  A three time loser.  There is no one else the Green Party can get behind?  Then it is not a real political party.

As for the ridiculous Nicole Shanahan, C.I. dispensed with her in the snapshot today and did so with aplomb.  Her only accomplishments have been repeatedly marrying into money and leaving the marriages with huge settlements.  That does not argue well for her qualifications.  

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2024.  The horrors continue to mount -- in Robert Kennedy Junior's campaign and in Gaza. 

Starting in the US with political races.  Robert Kennedy Junior remains the nag in the race despite getting media attention yesterday.  Junior couldn't even pull that off right.

For those who missed it, around 3:00 pm EST yesterday, Junior announced who he had selected for his running mate --  a vigorous process that found him almost giving his rose to Aaron Rodgers -- eye roll, please, Nicole Shanahan.

For those who missed it?

It was over four and half hours later before 'Team Kennedy' shared the news with donors in an e-mail entitled "BREAKING NEWS: Kennedy's VP Choice" -- an e-mail that again begged for money.  

Like his nonsense remarks about COVID vaccines and everything else, it was a lie.  Four and a half hours after it's been reported on, something is not "Breaking News."  (Post corrected to four and a half from three and a half -- e-mail went out at 8:30 pm EST.)

Junior's the biggest liar in the world.  But let's take a look at that running mate.

The message of Junior's vice presidency pick?  "Any seat at my table can be bought and is for sale."  Nicole Shanahan has no experience in government.  She's never held elected office. Nor has he.  That's a balanced ticket?   Her sole talent apparent to the naked eye is the ability to marry well and divorce better.  The marriages leave her rich which is how she was able to pay for Junior's Superbowl commercial this year.

She's 38 years old -- we always knew Junior liked them young -- and has no real skills or accomplishment.

'She started a company!'  Yes, she did.  After she married wealthy Jeremy Asher Kranz.  Two years later, she divorced him.  And married the wealthier Sergey Brin.  Where she got her real big money.  And that marriage lasted nearly five years so I guess that was work -- or what passes for it for Nicole.

No accomplishments on her own.  Her business work used her husbands' money and connections.

Since the collapse of marriage number two, she's left the tech world to pretend she's a documentary film maker.

In the 70s, lazy women who lived off the money of others pretended to be 'photographers.'  They'd take photos of chairs and try to get their wealthy boyfriends (single or married) to pay for a showing at a gallery.  These days lazy women who sponge off others pretend to be documentary film makers.

During the Renaissance, women like Nicole  were called courtesans.

In the mid-90s, I didn't pretty it up when I told Pamela Beryl Harriman to her face that she might be the aged belle of DC but she was still nothing but a whore.  I meant it with Pamela, I mean it with Nicole.

I'm the first to applaud any woman when she accomplishes something.  I don't agree with, for example, Patricia Heaton's politics, but her performance as Frankie on THE MIDDLE was applause worthy and I had no problem saying so.  She did that, she created a character and brought her to life.  I applaud that.  I applaud those who work.

I don't appalud anyone -- male or female - who sleeps their way to the top -- or at least the top of a pile of money.

She's kind-of, sort-of on marriage number three.  She and Jacob Strumwasser had a hand-fasting last year at her request.  Not familiar with that?  Sure you are.  In Oliver Stone's THE DOORS, drunken Jim Morrison participates in one with Patricia Kennealy-Morrison.  Not sure how that Druid ceremony is going to play with Junior's right-wing base. 

But, hey, she's 38, can't she be married three times?  Especially when it's how she makes her money?  She's a career girl every time she walks down that aisle.

And that tells you what Robert Kennedy Junior, the old man taking testosterone injections, thinks of women.  He knows qualified women.  He grew up with strong and qualified women.  Instead, he chooses an inexperienced gold digger.  

There are people who have experience, there are women who have experience.  Junior sold the spot on his ticket to the highest bidder.  Remember that when you wrongly think he's someone who would fight for the little person.  She's bought her seat at any table for sale and Junior's just the latest example.

I guess we can all take comfort in the fact that there is worse than being inept and unfit, there's being 100% evil and Junior dodged that bullet by not selecting Tulsi Gabbard -- whom Trina has dubbed Trashy Garbage. 

Another person on the campaign trail is Marianne Williamson.  This was not a good media appearance. 

Marianne is not going to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee and she knows that.  She got back in the race to raise issues. 

And the media appearance above might have seemed like a good idea.  It's not one.

She never should have gone on with Bri-Bri.  They are not friends.  Bri already distorted her weeks ago when Bri brought on Sabby and the two of them lied about her appearance on RBN.  

That was the real warning.

Marianne is the target of sexism - and that includes from Norman Finklestein.

Bri has never helped another woman in her life and the closest she's ever come to a feminist discussion on a program was when she devoted herself to the SEX IN THE CITY reboot.  

So, no, she's not going to point out that in an hour interview about people who matter and mattered, Norman Finklestein only mentioned one woman -- Angela Davis -- and was about how hot she was back then.  

She's not going to call out Norman.  Even Jared Ball called out Norman and his White man whiny status that people need to be interviewing him (Norman) about the state of Black America because he's White so he's entitled to it.

Marianne wrongly thought they'd have a discussion and she could raise some issues.

Instead, Bri did another of her verbal masturbations.

And it didn't just hurt Marianne.

Marianne wants a cease-fire, she wants an end to the attack on Gaza.

That's something that many of us want.  

Instead of building on that -- at a time when its needed and the death toll continues to climb -- Bri wants to get lost in one side issue after another.  She was showing off and her showing her ass.  But she wasn't helping the Palestinians.

It's amazing how her 'friend' Marianne gets held accountable for this and that but her buddy Congressman Ro comes on her show and repeats lies and then lies that the UN Secretary-General has said what he's saying and Bri just moves on past it.

It's amazing until you grasp that bitches like Bri rarely stand up to men but they will walk over any woman.

Oh, wait.  I'm assuming Bri wants to stop the violence aimed at the Palestinians -- but she doesn't.  She doesn't care about solutions, she's just an angry kid who wants to break her toy.  That's all it is to her, a game.  

I understand that Marianne needs to be seen to get issues discussed but Marianne needs to choose much better in future media appearances.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

Israel is continuing to attack Gaza despite a vote Monday by the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire during the remaining two weeks of Ramadan and calling for the release of hostages in Gaza. Fourteen of the 15 nations on the U.N. Security Council voted in support of the resolution, which was drafted by the nonpermanent members of the council. The United States abstained, ignoring a request by Israel to veto the ceasefire resolution. The U.S. had previously vetoed three other ceasefire resolutions.

Israel denounced the U.N. vote, as well as the U.S. decision to abstain. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by canceling a visit to Washington, D.C., by a high-level delegation this week to discuss Israel’s plans to attack Rafah.

At the United Nations, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour praised the ceasefire resolution.

RIYAD MANSOUR: This must be a turning point. This must lead to saving lives on the ground. This must signal the end of this assault of atrocities against our people. A nation is being murdered. A nation is being dispossessed. A nation is being displaced — for decades now, but never at this scale since the Nakba.

AMY GOODMAN: Israel has vowed to ignore the resolution. In a post on social media, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said, quote, “The State of Israel will not cease firing. We will destroy Hamas and continue fighting until the very last hostage has come home,” he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is at odds with the U.N. over whether the resolution is binding or not. Deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said U.N. Security Council resolutions are, quote, “as binding as international law.” But on Monday, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., described the resolution as nonbinding.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We appreciated the willingness of members of this council to take some of our edits and improve on this resolution. Still certain key edits were ignored, including our request to add a condemnation of Hamas. And we did not agree with everything in the resolution. For that reason, we were, unfortunately, not able to vote yes. However, as I’ve said before, we fully support some of the critical objectives in this nonbinding resolution. And we believe it was important for the council to speak out and make clear that our ceasefire must — any ceasefire must come with the release of all hostages. Indeed, as I’ve said before, the only path to a durable end to this conflict is the release of all hostages.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Craig Mokhiber, international human rights lawyer who formerly served as the director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, where he worked for more than three decades as a human rights official. He resigned in October over the U.N.'s failure to adequately address large-scale atrocities in Palestine and in protest of Israel's assault on Gaza.

Craig Mokhiber, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you explain the significance of this U.N. Security Council resolution, the U.S. abstaining, and whether or not this is binding?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, thank you, Amy and Juan. Nice to be with you again.

It is significant — you’ve picked the right adjective there — because this was a draft that was put forward by the nonpermanent members, the elected members of the Security Council, the so-called E10. And these 10 members include representatives from around the world, including some key allies of the United States, which created, I think, a degree of political pressure that added to hopes that the resolution would not be vetoed in this case.

I have to say that it follows just a few days after the council rejected a rather cynical draft that was submitted by the United States, the text of which, I have said, is a kind of an anti-ceasefire resolution. It didn’t order a ceasefire, but effectively set out Israel’s conditions for ceasing its violations of international law. And that was a real problem, because a lot of U.S. media outlets were reporting on that resolution as a ceasefire resolution, when it was anything but.

But yesterday’s resolution was an actual ceasefire resolution — a rather weak one, which I will comment on, but it is a ceasefire resolution. It calls for a brief ceasefire, for access for humanitarian aid at scale, for lawful treatment of prisoners, including Palestinian prisoners, and for release of hostages. And it’s important because, you know, we’re in the midst of a genocide. And you have this nearly moribund Security Council that has failed for six months, that is finally succeeding at least in demanding a temporary ceasefire. Any pause will save lives. And any aid that gets in as a result, during an imposed starvation, will make a difference, no doubt about it. It’s also important because it’s a signal, again, of the very broad consensus across the global community against Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, and it will be another legal tool that can help in holding perpetrators accountable after the provisional order of the World Court on Israel’s genocide.

But, you know, unfortunately, while it contains some hopeful, aspirational language that may lead to a lasting ceasefire, it only demands a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, which will end in just over two weeks. So it is a very short pause during this genocide. And we know that one of the U.S.’s conditions for not vetoing the resolution was the deletion of the word “permanent,” which of course changes the substance of the resolution very significantly.

So, despite all of this talk about tensions in U.S.-Israeli relations and this rare instance of the U.S. not vetoing a resolution on Israel’s behalf, the U.S. is clearly continuing to run interference on behalf of Israel at the U.N. And as you say, this is made all the more clear by the statements of the U.S. immediately after the adoption of the resolution, in which the U.S. has claimed — entirely falsely, by the way — that the ceasefire demand is conditional on the release of hostages and, secondly, that the resolution itself is nonbinding. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., made these claims in the session of the Security Council after the adoption of the resolution. Both of these claims are completely false and have no legal grounding. The U.N. Charter in its Article 25, subsequent decisions of the International Court of Justice have made this undisputable. Security Council resolutions are binding on all member states. And this is black-letter law in the Charter that says that all members of the United Nations are bound to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council, as I say, subsequently affirmed by the International Court of Justice.

And the claim that the ceasefire is to be conditioned on other factors like the release of hostages, this is completely false, as well. This was a key, central focus of the negotiations, was to make sure that these things were not conditioned one on the other, but they are separate demands of the Security Council. The United States knows this, but it is cynically distorting the record in order to, on the one hand, be able to claim that it has gone along or not blocked an international move toward a ceasefire, because of pressure from domestic and international constituencies, and, on the other hand, making sure that nothing really changes on the ground. It shows how the U.S. — how committed the U.S. has been to undercutting the resolution even before the ink was dry. So, if you look at the process, the U.S. used its power to water down the text during negotiations. It still did not vote in favor, only abstaining, and then immediately and falsely declared that it’s nonbinding and conditional.

And in the end, I have to say, we also know that Israel is unlikely to respect any of the terms of this resolution. They’ve already declared that they will not do so. And they have continued all of their military offensives and genocidal assaults on the Gaza Strip since the adoption of the resolution. We also know that the United States is very unlikely to use any leverage to compel Israel to comply with the resolution. And their language now on trying to claim that it’s nonbinding is evidence that that is their intent. So, the killing continues. Forced starvation continues. Genocide continues unabated.


CRAIG MOKHIBER: And I think that may be the — yes, go on.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Craig Mokhiber, what would be the — what would be the potential actions of the United Nations to a member state that does not adhere to a binding resolution of this type? And also, what is your response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s canceling of the Israeli delegation to the U.S. over this vote?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think Israel’s intentions have been made clear. If you listen to the statements of the prime minister and other cabinet ministers and military leaders, they have been clear from the beginning that they will not relent in their assault on the Gaza Strip until they’ve effectively accomplished the destruction of the entire strip. And their attacks now on Rafah, in particular, show that the last refuge, the last piece of the Gaza Strip that hasn’t been effectively destroyed, is not only in their sights, but already under their bombs. So Israel never has had any intention. In fact, Israel has the world record for violating Security Council, General Assembly, Human Rights Council resolutions in the United Nations. And that is unchanged.

But this resolution can make a difference. On the one hand, there is an opportunity, if Israel is in breach of the resolution, to bring a resolution for enforcement under Chapter VII. Now, of course, as we’ve said, the United States is likely to block, to veto that resolution, to prevent any enforcement, just as they will continue to block any enforcement of the decisions of the International Court of Justice regarding genocide in Palestine. In this case, because the U.S. has not vetoed it, they have, in effect, blocked action in the General Assembly under the Uniting for Peace resolution, where you could have seen some real meaningful action. You could have seen a resolution with teeth, with substance, resolution that included diplomatic, military, political, economic sanctions — not the enforcement of those sanctions, but the call for those sanctions — the deployment of a protection force, the establishment of a tribunal, the establishment of permanent mechanisms, as was the case within the United Nations during apartheid in South Africa. So, there are actions that could be taken here, but the nonveto has slowed action in the General Assembly, while at the same time allowing the United States to claim that, yes, the resolution passed, but somehow it’s not binding.

In the end, this all comes down to the — first, to the political will of member states across the organization, which already, after the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice, are obliged to be taking action to rein in Israel’s assault on Gaza — few have done so, but I think there is pressure building — and then, secondly, the obligation on all of us in civil society to make sure that we keep up the pressure, again, as was the case in South Africa, on our own countries to make sure that there are appropriate sanctions imposed on Israel to force it to comply and to end its genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Kamal Qasim. He’s a displaced Palestinian in Gaza, responding to the U.N. Security Council vote in New York.

KAMAL QASIM: [translated] We hope that the decision is implemented and that it is taken seriously, because we know that Israel is stubborn and doesn’t pay attention to the Security Council or any Western countries or Arab countries. And you can see what the situation is like, and the life that we are living is very, very difficult, with big massacres and genocides — not just one genocide — and the situation is very, very hard. And we hope a ceasefire comes quickly and that the decision is implemented.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Craig Mokhiber, I’m wondering if can you respond to that. And also, we’re getting all sorts of reports on whether the Qatar talks are continuing, those negotiations. Majed al-Ansari, a spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, tells reporters negotiations on a truce are still ongoing. He rejected Israeli claims that the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire had an immediate impact on the talks. The Times of Israel said Israel has cut off Gaza truce talks in Qatar as a result. Your response and where you see this all headed at this point? I mean, even as we talk about whether Israel is going to launch a full-scale invasion, I think in the last 24 hours since the U.N. Security Council resolution was passed, something like 80 to 100 Palestinians were killed, most of them in Rafah.

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Yeah, absolutely. And this is the challenge of enforcement. It’s clear that as long as Israel’s principal sponsor — I’d say its co-belligerent — the United States of America, is not committed to reining in Israel’s assaults, those assaults are going to continue, regardless of what the International Court of Justice or the Security Council or other legal mechanisms at the international level rule. They are blocked by the power of the United States in actually giving force to the decisions that they take. And unfortunately, that’s what we’re seeing on the ground.

This is an opportunity. Right? It provides a diplomatic tool and a legal tool to press for at least this two-week-plus pause on the ground. But the clock is already ticking. Nothing has changed so far. Israel has been explicit in its rejection of the resolution, and the United States has been explicit in its position that the resolution is nonbinding, and therefore, if it’s nonbinding, it doesn’t make any sense for them to take action to try to enforce it.

The key element of the U.S.'s engagement on this was to try to keep the Security Council, and the United Nations generally, at arm's length so that all the center of gravity would remain with them and their diplomatic — so-called diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, together with the Egyptians and the Qataris. Those talks have not borne fruit. Israel has repeatedly boycotted portions of those talks.

You know, an opportunity for a two-week pause that this resolution provides is disappearing with each passing day. And so are the opportunities to try to turn that two-week pause, as is suggested in the resolution, into something that is more lasting. The U.S. refused to allow the word “permanent,” but something more lasting. So the pressure is going to have to come from elsewhere. It’s not going to come from these key pressure points. It’s going to have to come from civil society. It’s going to have to come from private actors. And again, as I said before, it’s going to have to come from all of us.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Craig Mokhiber, I wanted to ask you — there’s been, for years now, efforts to restructure the United Nations, especially the Security Council, precisely because of the overwhelming power that the old European major powers exercised over the Security Council. Do you think that this war and the inability of the U.N. to act to end it will now further fuel the move to reform the U.N.?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, one can hope, Juan, I have to say. I mean, I think what this genocide has done is it has revealed the weaknesses, the political compromises, the moral failings of the United Nations and other international institutions. It has shown itself to be wholly inadequate, wholly unable to respond to a genocide being committed with Western sponsorship, with the sponsorship of powerful Western states. If this were happening in a developing country in Africa or Asia, you would see a very different response. But when the perpetators, the co-perpetrators are the United States, the United Kingdom, European powers, the United Nations has shown itself unable to act.

You see that even in the language of the Security Council resolution. We’re talking about a situation of massive war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Because the Security Council is not set up to deal effectively with that, especially when one of its permanent members or two of its permanent members, at least, are implicated in that genocide, it’s forced to dust off language about conflict as if this were a war between two states rather than a campaign of annihilation by a heavily armed occupying power against a besieged civilian population. And that is not going to get the job done. You get a resolution that calls for a ceasefire — even ceasefire language is not appropriate to a genocide, as the World Court itself has determined — and you get, you know, no language in here that condemns the perpetrators, that moves for accountability of perpetrators, that deals with the deployment of protection of the exposed civilian population, none of the things that would actually make a difference.

And it’s not just the Security Council. The political offices of the United Nations that have been set up to deal with issues like genocide, like sexual violence, like children in armed conflict, they have all failed miserably, because they are politically compromised, politically controlled. Unlike the independent human rights mechanisms, that have done a terrific job, and the humanitarian aid workers, that have done a terrific job in the U.N. system, these political offices and intergovernmental bodies have shown themselves to be wholly ineffective.

So it certainly has increased the demand for reform. Whether there will be a willingness amongst the member states, and in particular amongst the P5, the most powerful member states of the United Nations, who sit with special rights on the Security Council, in a mechanism that belongs in a Cold War museum, their lack of political will for change is what obstructs this. I still believe that demand from the ground can make a change. We saw it happen with apartheid in South Africa. We can see it happen, as well, if we work for it, for reforms in the U.N., which I think have to happen — we need the United Nations — and, on the other hand, for action against Israel’s genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: Craig Mokhiber, we just have 30 seconds, but the question of U.S. stopping military sales to Israel, an issue that certainly Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Merkley and others have called for, do you think that would make a difference?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, it would make a tremendous difference, as I’ve said before. The United States is not just tolerating this genocide. It is, in legal terms, complicit in the genocide because of its provision of military support, of weapons, of economic support, of diplomatic cover, of intelligence support, and of, as I’ve said, the use of its official podiums to disseminate propaganda for genocide on behalf of the Israelis. Any piece of that puzzle that is removed, and especially discontinuing the provision of military aid during the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, will make a very significant change and, in fact, a much more significant change than any international resolution could hope to make.

AMY GOODMAN: Craig Mokhiber, international human rights lawyer, formerly served as the director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, where he worked for more than 30 years as a human rights official, resigning in October over the U.N.'s failure to adequately address the Israel-Palestine conflict and Israel's assault on Gaza.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 173 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, "The number of people killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7 has risen to 32,490, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.  Israeli attacks on Gaza have also wounded at least 74,889 people.."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  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." 

THE NEW YORK TIMES is yet again trying to obscure one of their damning lies that should have never made it into print.  Click here and go to THE SEATTLE TIMES for the NYT story.  Let's start with the opening:

Amit Soussana, an Israeli lawyer, was abducted from her home Oct. 7, beaten and dragged into the Gaza Strip by at least 10 men, some armed. Several days into her captivity, she said, her guard began asking about her sex life.

Soussana said she was held alone in a child’s bedroom, chained by her left ankle. Sometimes, the guard would enter, sit beside her on the bed, lift her shirt and touch her, she said.

He also repeatedly asked when her period was due. When her period ended, around Oct. 18, she tried to put him off by pretending that she was bleeding for nearly a week, she recalled.

Around Oct. 24, the guard, who called himself Muhammad, attacked her, she said.

Early that morning, she said, Muhammad unlocked her chain and left her in the bathroom. After she undressed and began washing herself, Muhammad returned and stood in the doorway, holding a pistol.

“He came towards me and shoved the gun at my forehead,” Soussana recalled to The New York Times. After hitting Soussana and forcing her to remove her towel, Muhammad groped her, sat her on the edge of the bathtub and hit her again, she said.

He dragged her at gunpoint back to the child’s bedroom, she recalled.

“Then he, with the gun pointed at me, forced me to commit a sexual act on him,” Soussana said. 

Did this happen to Amit?  I don't know.  I don't see anything to dispute in her story.  Has she told it in front of a camera?  If she has, I'll weigh in on that.  I remember the first time Susan Smith went on camera with NBC claiming to be a mother mourning.  I was at a friend's house and there were probably 30 people in the room.  I said, "She killed her kids."  And I got attacked for it.  How could a feminist blame a mother in mourning!!!  Because I am a feminist and I believe in truth and it was clear that Susan Smith was lying.  And I was right, she did kill them.  So unless I see the woman on camera and detect lying, I believe Amit.  It most likely happened.

And I've never argued that it couldn't or wouldn't.  NYT is trying to use this to justify their lies about October 7th.

October 7th doesn't play.  It will never play.  We've noted repeatedly that rape's not taking place out in the open in the middle of an attack.  But a woman in prison or held hostage?  Yeah, there are risks of rape.  What happened to Amit only strengthens what we've said all along.  

And NYT needs to stop trying to lie about mass rapes on October 7th that no one believes happened -- no one in their right mind.  

As a rape survivor, my sympathies and prayers for Amit.  

It's a shame her government didn't broker a deal to get her home safely before the rape took place.

ALJAZEERA notes, "The Israeli military says an Israeli woman’s firsthand account of sexual assault while captive in Gaza requires international 'pressure' on Hamas to free the remaining captives."  I'm not in the mood for the lies of the Israeli military or Israeli government.  For months, Tel Aviv and other areas have seen large protests where Israeli citizens have demanded that the government focus on bringing the hostages home, on making a deal to bring the hostages home.  The Israeli government has refused.  Repeating, "It's a shame her government didn't broker a deal to get her home safely before the rape took place."  They could have done so and they can do so now for the remaining hostages.

Desperate conditions and extreme crowding have rendered Rafah “unrecognizable,” with roughly one toilet available for every 850 people and one shower for every 3,600, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said Tuesday.

“This is a hellish disregard for basic human needs and dignity,” he added in a statement, describing the southern Gazan city as a place overtaken by tents for displaced families and where people are sleeping on the streets.

More than 1.4 million people are estimated to be crowded into Rafah, which was once designated as an evacuation site from the intense fighting. Israeli officials have said they plan to launch a ground offensive in the city, where they say Hamas militants are hiding alongside remaining hostages — a move that several U.N. agencies, humanitarian groups and top U.S. officials have warned against.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated American “opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah” in a meeting in Washington with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the State Department said in a readout. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged Israel to abandon plans for the offensive. Israeli officials have made clear that they will enter Rafah and said they would direct civilians to “humanitarian islands” in central Gaza ahead of the offensive.

The following sites updated: