Ahed Tamimi has become the symbol of a new generation of Palestinian resistance

By Ben Ehrenreich, December 24, 2017

Sixteen year-old Ahed stands in a long faith tradition.  There is an interesting parallel with another teenager in Palestine; her name was Mary.

Historians speculate that Mary was around 16 when she did a very gutsy thing.  In a leap of faith, she accepted some kind of inspired messaage that she would be a mother, that she should call her child Jesus, and that Jesus’s presence in the world would cause them both — and others — a whole lot of trouble.  Still is.

There are no extant tape-recordings but, according to Luke, this is part of what she was moved to say:

“I’m bursting with God-news …
God took one look at me, and look what happened …
God’s mercy flows in wave after wave …
God bared his/her arm and … scattered the bluffing braggarts.
S/he knocked tyrants off their high horses,
Pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
The callous rich God left out in the cold …
It’s exactly what God promised,
Beginning with Abraham, and right up to now.

translation by Eugene Peterson in The Message (non-sexist language added)

Those who read Ben Ehrenreich’s article (live link above) will see what Ray is trying to say here.  Basically, it has to do with his theology, which is encapsulated in how the late Dean Brackley, SJ, described his own:  “It all depends on who you think God is, and how God feels when little people are pushed around.”

Ray has the honor of knowing Ahed and the rest of the Tamimi family.  The small Veterans For Peace delegation that spent two weeks plus on the West Bank in February-March proudly marched with them and the rest of the village of Nabi Saleh. AND, that day, re-captured and occupied the spring that had been stolen by the settlers…until it was stun-gunned and tear-gassed out of the area by police called in by VERY aggressive settlers, who went for and attacked the Palestinian women first — at which point one of the younger vets, Mike Hanes, instinctively ran over to stop them.

Now young Mike had been “special forces” Marine, was in excellent condition, and could easily have done some serious harm to the cowards attacking the Palestinian women.  Later, Ray commented to Mike that his behavior was the most graphic display of non-violence he had ever seen, given the circumstances.  He smiled, “Yes, it was partly that.  But also — well, perhaps you old Army guys have forgotten, but the first thing you have to do is find out if your opponent is armed.  Those settlers were packing serious sidearms.  I could have handled that first guy, well, handily.  But I did not want any of us to be shot by the others.”

The Veterans For Peace delegation stayed two nights in the Tamimi home, which, by the way, has been on the list for demolition for many years now.  Asked why his family took such great risks, particularly in view of the killings, wounding, and imprisonment (Bassem himself had been seriously injured and has done serious prison time) and the precarious status of the very house in which they lived, Bassem said, “How can I tell them not to do nonviolent resistance?  That would mean acquiescence in the occupation.  We will never do that.”

Thanks go to Ben Ehrenreich for writing this piece, and to The Nation for publishing it.

The Strangelovian Russia-gate Myth

By Phil Rockstroh. December 22, 2017

The Strangelovian Russia-gate Myth

The palaver of Russia-gate is embraced by many liberals as some kind of totem to ward off the vile Donald Trump who, as is well known, owes his election victory to Putin.  This dishonest process furthers the cause of American Empire and risks global destruction — whether ecological or nuclear.

Poet Phil Rockstroh addresses the catastrophic consequences of unchained hubris and greed with writing reminiscent of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Virgil, and Shakespeare — over two and a half millennia.  Nothing new, apparently, under the sun.

A literary treat for the holidays.

The RussiaGate Witch-Hunt – The Deep State’s ‘Insurance Policy’

By David Stockman, December 19, 2017

[excerpts follow]

There was a sinister plot to meddle in the 2016 election, after all. But it was not orchestrated from the Kremlin; it was an entirely homegrown affair conducted from the inner sanctums – the White House, DOJ, the Hoover Building and Langley – of the Imperial City.  Likewise, the perpetrators didn’t speak Russian or write in the Cyrillic script. In fact, they were lifetime beltway insiders occupying the highest positions of power in the US government.

So the real meaning of the Strzok/Gates text messages is straightforward. There was a conspiracy to prevent Trump’s election, and then after the shocking results of November 8, this campaign morphed into an intensified effort to discredit the winner.

Ray puts U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s anti-Iran rant in perspective

Dec. 14, 2017 — 8 minutes

Immediately after Nikki Haley’s latest screed against Iran — standing Thursday before “Iranian” missile parts she said were from firings by the rebel Iran-supported Houthis in Yemen into Saudi Arabia — RT International asked Ray to comment.  Having more than one flashback impression he had seen this picture before, Ray decided to take this opportunity to lend some perspective, and reasoned that he could think through what to say as he fought evening rush-hour traffic into DC. In two hours he was in studio for this 6:00 PM live segment on RT News.

A day later, choosing excerpts from Ray’s remarks, RT editors posted the following summary, adding some related reporting:

‘Netanyahu is calling shots as US beats drums of war vs Iran’ – CIA veteran
15 Dec, 2017

The US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, was dancing to Israel’s tune by calling for a Western coalition against Iran while posing in front of the wreckage of a missile, former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT, saying the spectacle was aimed at distracting attention from Yemen.
“I think that Netanyahu is calling the shots. Look, Jerusalem has just been recognized as the capital of Israel, Nikki Haley is getting on this bandwagon. She sees this as being very propitious for her, politically,” McGovern said.
Describing Haley as “frightfully ambitious,” McGovern argued that if US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had given her some guidance on the issue, he has not been very effective, as the US ambassador to the UN seems to be “following the kind of talking points that are originating not only in Washington, or in New York, but in Tel Aviv.”
Read more
Saudi Arabia blames Iran for missile launched from Yemen, warns it could be considered ‘act of war’

The supposed proof provided by Haley of Iran’s alleged violation of the UN resolutions pales when compared to the scope of violations committed by US-backed Saudi Arabia, Iran’s archrival, McGovern said.

“It’s giving hypocrisy a bad name, when you look at the situation in Yemen, where the US supported Saudi attacks that indiscriminately killed so many civilians as opposed to this one rocket that was sent by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia to land whatever it might,” McGovern said.
“This is the time to beat the drums against Iran and the best thing they could find are some missile parts,” McGovern said, adding that while the missile might indeed have originated in Iran, it was used by Haley “to deflect a conversation from the fact that a million people in Yemen now have cholera, 70 percent of the Yemenis now depend on outside food to survive.”
The rocket might have been supplied to the Houthis “years ago,” he said, and the fact that it landed near a Riyadh airport on November 4 was a mere “piece of luck” for the rebels.
McGovern added that by focusing on Iran, Washington is trying to heal the wounds from its defeat in Syria, where it was effectively excluded from the settlement process, led by Russia, Iran and Turkey.
“Nikki Haley and Washington seem to be in an unreal world, largely because they have just lost big time. Syria – they lost. They lost to the Russians and the Syrians, and the Iranians, and Hezbollah. Now, what’s the proper reaction to that – the proper reaction would be too come back and reassess where we are,” McGovern suggested, but instead what he calls an “unholy alliance” of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel “are out to put all kinds of pressure to Iran.”
Read more
Houthis threaten to sink Saudi battleships & oil tankers unless Yemen blockade is lifted

While Haley said that the segments of a rocket she presented at a press conference on Thursday were “undeniable” evidence of Iran’s funneling weapons to Houthi rebels in violation of the UN-imposed embargo, the UN itself has so far been unable to confirm the link between Iran and the missiles.

The UN experts who traveled to Saudi Arabia to examine the wreckage of two rockets fired on July 22 and November 4 found that they had a “common origin” as they were both “consistent” with the diameter of Scud missiles, a variation of which is Qiam-1, made and designed in Iran, UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres said in a confidential report to the UN Security Council last week, seen by AFP and Reuters. Three components of the November 4 missile “bore the castings of a logo similar to that of the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group,” he said. He then warned against jumping to conclusions, noting that the UN experts are still “carefully reviewing” the evidence.
Another confidential report presented to the UNSC by a group of independent experts monitoring the situation in Yemen last month argued that while the remains of four missiles that landed in Saudi Arabia appeared to show they had been made in Iran, it “as yet has no evidence of the broker or supplier.”
Iran itself has dismissed the allegations against it as “baseless and unfounded.”

Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran

[Nikki Haley Tries a Colin Powell on us.]
By Paul R. Pillar, December. 16, 2017
[no one knows better, from painful personal experience, about this kind of CONSEQUENTIAL fraud]

Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran

Bowing to Israeli-Saudi desires, the Trump administration is abusing the U.S. intelligence process to whip up a war fever against Iran, much like George W. Bush did on Iraq, reports ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.