News Releases

Palestinian Hunger Strikers Approach 40 Days

newsrelease 2On Thursday, Newsweek published a piece “My Husband Is Starving In An Israeli Jail — We’ll Be Reunited When Palestine Is Free” by Fadwa Barghouti, which states: “Thirty-eight days ago, my husband, Marwan Barghouti, began a hunger strike from his cell in an Israeli prison — alongside over one thousand other Palestinian prisoners. The reason they are all putting their lives at risk is simple: they want to be treated humanely and with dignity. Considering that some of these prisoners are at risk of imminent death, we all wonder why the world has not intervened. …

“Since 1967, Israel has arrested an estimated 800,000 Palestinians, the equivalent of 40 percent of our male population in the occupied territory. In the eyes of the Israeli government, military and judiciary, the Palestinians are all guilty. They blame us for their continued military and colonial occupation. They want us to be guilty so they can play innocent.”

The Times of Israel reports Thursday: “Abbas asks Trump envoy to mediate over Palestinian hunger strike.”

ARAB BARGHOUTI
Bargouti, son of imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, is currently in San Francisco. See CNN report on his activism: “Palestinians highlight prisoners’ strike with ‘Salt Water Challenge.'” Marwan Barghouti wrote in the New York TimesWhy We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons” on April 16 as the hunger strike was beginning.

Contact: Noura Khouri, right2return at gmail.com; Monadel Herzallah, monadelh at gmail.com

ESTEE CHANDLER, DAVID MANDEL, dlmandel at gmail.com
Mandel and Chandler are with Jewish Voice for Peace, which recently released the statement “Three Ways to Support Palestinian Hunger Strikers.”

Mandel and Chandler were also recently delegates to the annual convention of the California Democratic Party, which just passed a resolution decrying U.S. administrations for not taking “actual steps to change the status quo and bring about a real peace process.” See from the Happy Arab News Service: “California Democratic Party decries U.S. support for Israeli occupation.”

Also, see the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network for more information, including details on ongoing protests around the world about Palestinian prisoners.

Trump Impeachment Momentum

newsrelease 1In the new story “Trump Impeachment Articles Now Being Drafted, Says Democratic Congressman Al Green,” Newsweek reports: “Democratic Representative Al Green has said he is pushing ahead with the process of impeaching President Donald Trump and is currently drawing up articles of impeachment.”

Green also appeared on the program “Democracy Now” on Wednesday.

RON FEIN, via Edward Erikson, edward.erikson at gmail.com
Fein is legal director of Free Speech For People. He said today: “The evidence that the President is taking illegal foreign emoluments and obstructing a federal investigation is too overwhelming to ignore. Congress doesn’t need to wait for the special prosecutor — it can start an impeachment investigation now.”

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com
Solomon is the national coordinator of RootsAction.org, the online group that is co-sponsoring (with Free Speech For People) the Impeach Donald Trump Now petition campaign that currently has more than 1.1 million signers.

He said today: “Leadership on impeachment is coming from the grassroots. Now someone in Congress, Rep. Al Green, is responding with clarity about the solid grounds for impeaching Trump — the Constitution’s foreign and domestic emoluments clauses as well as obstruction of justice.”

Solomon added: “For months we’ve had more than enough of partisan sniping from House members unwilling to actually commit to introducing an impeachment resolution. We’re now seeing a shift toward focusing on President Trump’s clear violations of the supreme law of the land — and the constitutional remedy called impeachment.”

Solomon is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Trump-DeVos: A Budget that Will “Decimate Public Education”

devos news releaseTIME magazine reports: “Donald Trump’s 2018 Budget Slashes Education Department romunding by 13.5 Percent.” See Politico’s education policy page.

DIANE RAVITCH, gardendr at gmail.com, @DianeRavitch
Ravitch’s books include Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. She is a research professor of education at New York University and served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education from 1991-1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration. She now blogs at dianeravitch.com. She just wrote the piece “Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats” for The New Republic. She writes: “In 2001, Ted Kennedy, the Senate’s liberal lion, teamed with Bush to pass No Child Left Behind. For the first time, the government was mandating not only ‘accountability’ (code for punishing teachers and schools who fall short), but also ‘choice’ (code for handing low-performing public schools over to charter operators).”

CAROL BURRIS, burriscarol at gmail.com, @Network4pubEd
Executive director of the Network for Public Education Fund, Burris was a New York State High School Principal of the Year. She just wrote an initial analysis of Trump’s budget.

KEVIN KUMASHIRO, kevin at kevinkumashiro.com, @Kevinkumashiro
Kumashiro is the former dean of the University of San Francisco School of Education, and author of Bad Teacher: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture.

He said: “Brace yourself for a budget that will decimate public education. The hardest hit will be children and families in highest need. Examples effecting K-12 students include after-school programs that serve mostly poor communities, class-size reductions, mental-health services, anti-bullying programs, programs for indigenous students and students with disabilities (like Special Olympics education programs), and vital curriculum areas like the arts, STEM, career and technical education, and Advanced Placement courses. Although Title I wouldn’t be cut, the increased flexibility in how those funds can be used could mean that less funds are following the neediest students. Higher education is also effected, including massive cuts to work-study programs, Perkins loans, loan forgiveness for public service, child care for students who are parents, and adult literacy programs. Overall, the Department is expected to cut 150 positions.

“The simultaneous disinvestment in public schools alongside increased investment in private and charter schools continue the trend of the Obama/Duncan administration to leverage federal funds to fuel the deregulation and privatization of schools. Although the overall $9.2 billion cut and the $1.4 billion increase for choice/vouchers/charters is far less than the $20 billion reallocation to expand choice that then-candidate Trump pledged, it’s, nonetheless, a frightening proposal that builds on failed policies. Look at the DeVos-led expansion of choice in Michigan, which has been criticized even by supporters of choice, or the federally funded voucher program in D.C., the only such program in the country, which the Education Department itself reveals to have failed to raise achievement for those students who participate. Ample research exists about how best to leverage federal funds to improve the education for our next generation — we should not continue with business as usual, and we certainly should not do worse, which is exactly what is here proposed and what the American people must stop.”

9/11 Advocates on Manchester Attacks and Saudi Weapons Deal

Kristen Breitweiser, Monica Gabrielle, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie Van Auken are with September 11th Advocates. They are widows and activists who pressured the U.S. government to conduct a formal investigation into the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed each of their husbands.

They have just released a statement on the Manchester terror attacks and the Saudi weapons deal: “First and foremost, our condolences go out to the families of those who lost their lives in the latest terrorist attack in Manchester, England. We know all too well the horror they are experiencing today, and our hearts ache for them.

“Terrorism is designed to strike fear in the hearts of the families and friends of the victims and for all of those who watch helplessly in horror. …

“All of these innocent people [were] killed by terrorists, just like the men and women who simply went to work at both the World Trade Center and Pentagon or boarded planes on the morning of 9/11 and were killed by al Qaeda.

“The truth is that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is neither a stable, nor reliable nation — let alone a trusted ally. Too much evidence exists proving that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia financially and logistically supports groups like ISIS that commit lethal terrorist attacks around the globe. …

“We respectfully reiterate that far from contributing to Middle East peace, this $110 billion weapons deal [with Saudi Arabia] will only foment more hatred, increase further violence, and contribute immeasurably to loss of innocent life at the diabolical hands of terrorists. Why would America or any American want to play any role in that — let alone a financial one, by knowingly cutting a deal and signing up for it?”

They are reachable for interviews via september11advocates[at]gmail.com.

Breitweiser recently wrote the piece “Trump Lets Saudis Off on 9/11 Evidence” and is on Twitter: @kdbreitweiser.

Roots of Terror: Is Trump Enabling ISIS?

beau grosscup strategic terorr

The top trending tweet regarding the Manchester bombing is from Trita Parsi‏: “Make no mistake: By turning blind eye to Saudi role in aiding terror and instead blaming Iran, Trump is ENABLING ISIS.”

BEAU GROSSCUP, bgrosscup at csuchico.edu

Grosscup is author of several books, including: The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and, most recently, Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment. He is professor emeritus at California State University-Chico.

He said today: “Two days after urging Muslim leaders to ‘take a stand against Islamist extremist terrorism,’ before an audience of Wahabi Saudi leaders, Saudi-backed Sunni ISIS took credit for the horrific bombing in Manchester England. Once again another U.S. president and the U.S.-led ‘West’ in general are faced with the bankruptcy of the founding principle of U.S. post-911 ‘War on Terror’ policy encapsulated in George W. Bush’s ‘you are either with us or the terrorists’ and echoed by President Trump in Riyadh.

“In doing so, like Presidents Bush and Obama before him, Trump drew the world of terrorism in easy to understand, bi-polar, and as he said, ‘battle between good and evil,’ imagery. The problem is, as poignantly demonstrated in Manchester, this imagery, while politically useful, has no relationship to reality. Approaching the Muslim world as a monolithic entity to fight ‘extremism within their ranks’ ignores the fact that as Wahabi Sunnis, Trump’s hosts are the Muslim extremists that he urges unity against. In Iraq, Saudi support for anti-U.S. Sunni ISIS trying to overthrow the U.S.-Iranian backed Shiite government is a case in point. Further, Trump’s own ‘deep state’ that he is doing battle with at home, in it’s effort to oust Sunni ISIS from Iraq, depends heavily on Iraq Shiite militia, long labeled terrorists by the Bush/Obama administrations, to put their ‘boots-on-the-ground.’

“In Syria, Trump finds himself in bed with Saudi-backed ‘extremists’: Syrian ISIS and Al Qaeda stepchild Al Nusra. In fact, his CIA and Pentagon, in their search for ‘moderate rebels’ — but more important a U.S.-dominated post-Assad ‘winner’ — are competing to influence Saudi supported ‘extremist’ terrorists to the point where at times their ‘clients’ do battle against each other.

“In Yemen, it is the Saudis, who in their anti-Shiite terrorist bombing campaign (U.S.-supported) are ‘extremists’ personified, terror bombing Yemen’s civilians into starvation. In his visit to Israel, none of this was mentioned from the podium, nor was Israeli government support for ‘settler terrorism,’ daily Israeli army terrorism against occupied Palestinians (including ‘shock and awe bombing’). …

“As always, the message will be trumpeted, it’s ‘us versus them’ even though in multiple cases the ‘us’ is very much ‘them’.”

Trump Pretends Horrific Saudi Attack on Yemen Helps Security

DAY82QfWAAAvjqiTrump, in his speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, portrayed the Saudi attack on Yemen as helping security: “Many are already making significant contributions to regional security. … Saudi Arabia and a regional coalition have taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen.”

The International Committee for the Red Cross’s pinned tweet from this weekend is: “With almost 19 million reliant on aid, #Yemen is the world’s single largest humanitarian crisis. Now it’s in the grip of a cholera outbreak.” Alexandre Faite, the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen stated: “Cholera in Yemen now 20,000 suspected cases [and] 223 dead. If rains again, situation will unravel.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted Sunday: “Just to be clear: the exact weapons we are selling the Saudis this weekend are being used to bomb Yemen to purposely create this crisis.” He also stated: “U.S. supplies bombs that terrorize Yemen, helps w targeting, refuels Saudi planes. With $110b sale, we are more complicit in this than ever.”

SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI, sha980[at]mail.harvard.edu, @shireen818
Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni-Canadian-American, is a doctoral candidate and instructor at Harvard University. Listen to her interview on Public Radio International’s “The World”: “Will U.S. stop arming Saudi attackers in Yemen?”

BEN NORTON, email[at]bennorton.com, @BenjaminNorton
Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. After Trump’s address in Saudi Arabia, he tweeted: “Making a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Saudi Arabia is like making a Global Center for Combating Wall Street on Wall St.”

He just wrote the piece “U.S. and terrorism-supporting Wahhabi Saudi monarchy jointly designate Hezbollah leader a ‘terrorist.'”

His recent pieces for AlterNet include: “As Trump’s ‘Tolerance Tour’ Begins, Israel’s Siege of Gaza Slammed by the Red Cross” and “Is Trump Rescuing Al-Qaeda’s ‘Heartland’ in Syria?”

Norton’s prior pieces for Salon include: “Leaked Hillary Clinton emails show U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar supported ISIS” and “Famine looms in Yemen, as U.S.-backed Saudi bombing intentionally targets food production.”

See new leak from WikiLeaks: “Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media.

Trump’s Syria Bombing Impeachable

An F/A-18F Super Hornet lands on the US navy's super carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) ("Ike") in the Mediterranean Sea on July 6, 2016. The US aircraft carrier is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the US 6th Fleet area of operations. Air Wings embarked aboard conducted strikes against the Islamic State group in Libya , Iraq and Syria. / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS News reports: “U.S. aircraft conduct strike on Syrian army convoy.”

Earlier this year, The Hill reported “Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted Thursday after initial reports of the strike: “If true, this is FRICKIN ILLEGAL. Trump does not have Congressional authorization to attack Syria, a country that has not attacked US.” He also tweeted: “Congress authorized President to use force in 2 cases: terrorists & Iraq. @realDonaldTrump has NO AUTHORIZATION to attack Syrian regime.”

FRANCIS BOYLE,  fboyle [at] illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He said today: “The U.S. strike clearly violates the War Powers Resolution, the War Powers Clause of the United States Constitution and the United Nations Charter. It’s impeachable.

“These so-called deconfliction zones are de facto partitions of Syria in violation of its territorial sovereignty and political independence.”

The Hill report states: “President Obama’s deputy national security adviser says in a new interview that the threat of impeachment ‘was a factor’ in Obama’s decision not to pursue a tougher intervention policy in Syria.

“‘We actually had Congress warning us against taking action without congressional authorization, which we interpreted as the president could face impeachment,’ Ben Rhodes told Politico Magazine.

“When asked to elaborate, the president’s adviser said that Republicans, including then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), made it clear that premature military action without congressional approval would be unconstitutional.”

9/11 Whistleblower Rowley on Mueller’s History of “Cover-up”

PJppppCOLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She just appeared on The Real News report “Special Counsel Investigating Trump Campaign Has Deep Ties to the Deep State,” about Mueller being appointed to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

While Mueller has been widely described as being of impeccable character by much of official Washington, Rowley said today: “The truth is that Robert Mueller (and James Comey as deputy attorney general — see my New York Times op-ed on day of Comey’s confirmation hearing) presided over a cover-up …”

In her interview, Rowley noted: “The FBI and all the other officials claimed that there were no clues, that they had no warning [about 9/11] etc., and that was not the case. There had been all kinds of memos and intelligence coming in. I actually had a chance to meet Director Mueller personally the night before I testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee … [he was] trying to get us on his side, on the FBI side, so that we wouldn’t say anything terribly embarrassing. …

“When you had the lead-up to the Iraq War … Mueller and, of course, the CIA and all the other directors, saluted smartly and went along with what Bush wanted, which was to gin up the intelligence to make a pretext for the Iraq War. For instance, in the case of the FBI, they actually had a receipt, and other documentary proof, that one of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had not been in Prague, as Dick Cheney was alleging. And yet those directors more or less kept quiet. That included … CIA, FBI, Mueller, and it included also the deputy attorney general at the time, James Comey.”

Rowley also noted that Mueller presided over “the ‘post 9-11 round-up’ of innocent immigrants, the anthrax investigation fiasco, as well as going along with a form of martial law (made possible via secret OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] memos written by John Yoo etc. predicated upon Yoo’s theories of absolute ‘imperial presidency’ or ‘war presidency’ powers that the Bush administration was making [Attorney General John] Ashcroft sign off on).”

“While not the worst of the bunch, neither Comey nor Mueller deserve their Jimmy Stewart ‘G-man’ reputations for absolute integrity but have merely been, along the lines of George ‘Slam Dunk’ Tenet, capable and flexible politicized sycophants to power, that enmeshed them in numerous wrongful abuses of power along with presiding over plain official incompetence. It’s sad that political partisanship is so blinding and that so few people remember the actual sordid history.”

The Israeli-ISIS Accommodation and Other Inconvenient Realities

ImpeachDTANDREW COCKBURN, amcockburn [at] gmail.com, @andrewmcockburn
Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine, Cockburn said today: “Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be the only person connected to Trumpgate with a sense of humor — for example threatening to spoil the party by producing a record of what Trump actually said to Lavrov. He also said he’ll have to give Lavrov a dressing down for not reporting all the deep secrets that Trump is supposed to have told him.

“It’s obviously very much to Israel’s advantage to be portrayed as working to expose alleged plots by the so-called Islamic State just as Trump is going to Israel. In reality, it seems there’s some sort of accommodation between Israel and ISIS — and the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, that has been studiously ignored in the U.S. press. Wounded Al Qaeda fighters have regularly been treated in Israeli military hospitals. According to no less a source than Moshe Yaalon, former Israeli Minister of Defense, when ISIS accidentally shelled Israeli forces in the Golan Heights, the group ‘immediately apologized to Israel.’ (See from Newsweek: ‘ISIS Fighters Regret Attacking Israel And Have “Apologized”, Former Defense Minister Says.’)

“There certainly appears to be corrupt things the Trump administration has been up to, for example, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had taken money from the Turkish government and then reportedly tried to nix a plan to help Kurdish fighters.

“But the long-standing Israeli ambition of decimating the front line states — especially Syria and Iraq — seems to be playing out very smoothly. This is apparently also the goal of the U.S. establishment, as well as selling arms (always a prime objective). This is evident from Trump’s travel itinerary: Going to Israel and Saudi Arabia, which both benefit from the demise of secular Arab states (and buy lots of U.S. weapons). Despite distractions it is the central theme of U.S. policy in the region and of course breeds massive instability and untold carnage.”

Cockburn has written widely about U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Mideast. His books include Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins; Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy; and Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship.

* Russia * Saudi * Turkey * Bases

ROBERT DAVID ENGLISH, renglish [at] usc.edu
English is on the faculty of the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He recently wrote the piece “Russia, Trump, and a New Détente” for Foreign Affairs. See his new interview with The Real News: “Why Did the FBI Leak the Comey Memo?

DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson [at] gmail.com
Swanson is author of War is a Lie and other books. He just returned from Russia and wrote the piece “Why You Should Visit Russia.” See the petition “Messages of friendship from the people of the United States to the people of Russia.”

MEDEA BENJAMIN, medea.benjamin [at] gmail.com
Benjamin, author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection, said today: “It’s remarkable that President Trump’s first trip abroad is to a repressive regime engaged in a catastrophic war in neighboring Yemen and known for exporting the very extremism, intolerance and violence that Trump purports to eradicate.”

KANI XULAM,  kani [at] kurdistan.org
Xulam is director of the American Kurdish Information Network. The New York Times reports “‘Brutal Attack’ on Anti-Erdogan Demonstrators Injures 9, Police Say” [piece contains video trending on social media]. Xulam just helped one of the protesters get out of prison. He said today: “The Turkish bodyguards are supposed to protect the president of Turkey, and it’s shocking to see them beat people up in D.C. with impunity. But the Turkish government is doing a hundred times worse against Kurds in Turkey.” See Institute for Public Accuracy news release: “Ignoring Turkey’s ‘Dirty War’ Against the Kurds.”

DAVID VINE, vine [at] american.edu
Vine is a professor at American University and author of the book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World. His latest piece is “Forty-Five Blows Against Democracy, How U.S. Military Bases Back Dictators, Autocrats, and Military Regimes.”

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