Thursday, April 11, 2024


Watching ELSBETH on CBS right now.  Retta is this week's murderer and she's great.  This is a good episode.  Like COLUMBO, ELSBETH starts with the crime and then after we see that, Elsbeth comes along and manages to catch the crook.  X-MEN '97 was so much better this week.  No DAWSON'S CREEK. Did ____ really die?  I hope not.  But it was a fast moving episode and possibly the best one of the season so far.  

I'm also watching MARY & GEORGE which Ava and C.I. reviewed in "Media: MARY & GEORGE succeeds, SHIRLEY gets attacked and the Pope is . . . dead?" and which Betty wrote about last night "MARY & GEORGE is something to binge."  I'm not binging.  I don't have that kind of time, sorry.  Not during the week.  In fact, I still haven't caught this week's WILL TRENT.  I will not be watching THE CLEANING LADY anymore.  I did catch that this week.  Rebecca nails it in "episode six and i'm done with 'the cleaning lady'."  And she was talking about this before this week.  I watched the first episode and felt disconnected from the show.  It made no sense.  After she started calling it out about four weeks ago, I realized she was right -- they were screwing with the audience. Adam Canto died.  There was no point in stringing us along that his character Arman was alive.  The actor died in real life.  Once Rebecca started pointing that out -- how they were screwing with us -- I was like, "Yeah, that's what felt wrong with that first episode."  They continued that for six weeks.

They've lost me.  I don't plan on watching again.  If you don't respect the viewers, you don't deserve to have an audience.

Guy Richie's THE GENTLEMEN.  Brandon e-mailed asking if I was going to watch it.  I actually binged it on NETFLIX two weekends ago.  Stayed up until four in the morning just watching one episode after another.  I don't like doing that.  But it did grab me and so I had no choice.  I recommend it.  Theo James is a good actor.  I've liked him since LYING AND STEALING.  But the whole cast is really great. And that especially includes Kaya Scodelario who steals every scene she's in.  Her Susie is just so laid back about being a crime boss.  He's going to have to cluck like a chicken to get someone to forgive him?  Sure, he's going to have to do it and he will do it.  Time and again, she steals every scene.


Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, April 11, 2024.  We look at the various political campaigns for the US presidency, more aid workers killed in Gaza, and much more.

Yesterday, Cornel West appeared on Tavis Smiley's radio program on KBLA 1560 which also broadcasts on YOUTUBE -- live and on demand.

Cornel announced Melina Abdullah as his running mate.  She then joined Tavis and Cornel. 

Melina noted that the ticket is the first with a Muslim on it.  

Tavis Smiley: What does it mean to be identified as Muslim running for the highest office in the land at this particular moment?

Melina Abdullah: I think it's really important and really powerful, right, that when we talk about Islam we talk about people who submit to the will of God, right?  And that's who I am, I'm a follower of Good.  Now I know my mother is probably listening and she would want me to say also that I was raised at Greater Faith Baptist Church so to be Muslim doesn't mean --

Tavis Smiley: That's a great church there, Greater Faith.

Melina Abdullah: Greater Faith.

Tavis Smiley:  I love it, Greater Faith.

Melina Abdullah: Yes.   So it's important to say that Christianity and Islam, every other faith, if you you think of who we are as spiritual people, we are all aligned.  And so to be a Muslim doesn't mean to be not Christian, it means to be moving forward.  I have chosen this particular path for myself. But people of faith all want the same thing.  We want peace, we want truth, we want love.  And we want justice.  

"I wanted somebody whose heart mind and soul is committed to the empowerment of poor and working peoples of all colors," West told Tavis Smiley on Smiley's KBLA 1580 radio show.

“Melina has a history of — longevity of putting her heart, mind and soul in the struggle," West added.

Abdullah is a professor of Pan-African studies and formerly chaired the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State.


Independent presidential candidate Cornel West announced fellow academic Melina Abdullah as his vice presidential nominee in an interview Wednesday on “The Tavis Smiley Show.”

“She has a record of deep commitment and investment in ensuring that poor and working people are at the center of her vision,” West said of his running mate. “I wanted to to run with someone who would put a smile on the face of Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. from the grave.”

West’s selection of Abdullah, a Muslim Black woman and a member of the board of directors for Black Lives Matter Grassroots, could further advance his outreach to Muslim Americans and Black Americans disenchanted with President Joe Biden.     

With the announcement of Melina as a running mate, Kamala Harris as Joe's running mate, Nicole Shanahan as Robert Kennedy Junior's running mate, Karina Garcia as Claudia de la Cruz's running mate, it remains to be seen if Donald Trump will also select a female running mate.   Even without Donald, is  historically significant.  

Cornel is running (more or less) as an independent candidate.  Last year, he announced he was running for president of the United States as the People's Party candidate.  (They had no ballot access.)  The next week he was running as the Green Party's presidential candidate.  No, he was not.

He was lied to by Jill Stein and others (we've called them out plenty of times here already).  It does matter because he has stated Jill betrayed him and she did but numerous people who acted as though he were Jesus mere months ago now rush to interview Jill and applaud her.  She betrayed him, he's not lying.

Cornel hasn't had a lot of good media moments.  He was very angry over the interview he did with Jimmy Dore.  He may have reasons to be personally angry with Jimmy Dore but that was actually one of his best moments since he declared he was running.   I'm not a fan of Jimmy Dore.  But Cornel came alive in that exchange and showed real passion.  

Can he win?  I don't see how.  He's got to get on state ballots.  Since it's easier to get on in some states as the candidate for a party, he's exploring that option the same as Robert Kennedy Junior.   ABC NEWS notes, "West's campaign has said he is on the ballot in four states: Alaska, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah, either independently or associated with minor parties, though officials in each state have not yet confirmed that."

And Jill Stein?  I wasted 2012 covering that fake ass.  Not going to do it again.  I noted last year that I would not be covering fake ass campaigns.  In the past, we've covered every presidential campaign we could.  Not in the mood.  As I made clear the SEP party is a joke and it's the same old joke so I'm not wasting my damn time.  My time matters to me.  The Green Party will have to implode on their own this year if they choose Jill as their candidate -- for the third time.  I don't think Cornel has much chance of winning -- I can be wrong and often am -- but his passion when he went head to head with Jimmy Dore and his refusal to stay silent after Jill Stein betrayed him means we'll note him from time to time.  I don't know why I am so surprised that the same YOUTUBERS who lied and called him the Green Party's presidential nominee (he was led to believe he was -- misled by Jill) now bring on Jill Stein and let her lie about how she didn't betray him and she doesn't know why he thinks she did, he just doesn't understand. 

Cornel is not an idiot.  His biggest mistake was he trusted the wrong people -- something most of us have been guilty of at one time or another.  

Marianne Williamson.  I'm happy to cover her when I can.  Every video she releases has been posted since she resumed her campaign.  I support her efforts 100%.  There is not always room for her in the snapshot.  It's still called "Iraq snapshot" even though Iraq rarely pops up currently.  But we'll note Marianne whenever we can.

She is in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination to raise issues and awareness, she knows full well that Joe Biden has more than enough delegates and that the nomination is his.

While Marianne shows strength, Junior flounders with one big campaign mistake after another.  He's still attempting to recover from a campaign official declaring publicly last Friday that his campaign is about kicking Joe Biden out of the White House with the official insisting that if they could deny Joe New York, for example, they might be able to toss the race into the House where Republican control would guarantee Donald Trump wins the election -- "We're rid of Biden either way."   After letting this fester and expose him as a liar for days and days, Junior finally fired the official yesterday.

Mike covered Robert Kennedy Junior's embarrassing nonsense  in "Fake ass Junior."  He spoke to me while he wrote it asking about Paul Bond's "RFK Jr. Campaign Denounces Consultant's Anti-Biden Strategy" (NEWSWEEK).  Where, Mike wanted to know, in Bond's article did the strategy revealed -- steal votes from Joe Biden so that Donald could be elected even if the matter was decided by the House -- did Junior's campaign denounce this strategy?

No where.

Junior's  daughter-in-law said that it wasn't the campaign's strategy (no one believes you -- not even within your family).  There is no denouncing taking place.  I read it twice and told Mike that and he said he was sorry to ask for another set of eyes.  Not a problem.  But something did stand out and I offered him it if he wanted it.  We talked about it and he said I should note it here.  From Bond's article:

The Democratic National Committee has sued to derail Kennedy's signature-gathering efforts in some states on the grounds he and his campaign are relying on outside groups like the American Values 2024 super PAC to do some of the heavy lifting. American Values has said its effort is independent of the Kennedy campaign, and thus is not in violation of campaign laws.

Excuse me.  The DNC is right to object.  Outside groups are not allowed to do what American Values is doing.  They can promote a candidate.  But a candidate getting on a ballot?  That's a job for the campaign and only the campaign.  They can hire someone to help them -- the campaign can -- but what American Values is doing is illegal -- it's also unethical which says a great deal about Junior's values -- about his lack of values. 

There is no -- and can be no -- "independent" effort to get Junior on the ballot.  The DNC needs to shut that down immediately.  This meets neither the intent or wording of the law.

And it never could.  Gathering signatures for ballot access has to be coordinated with the campaign -- no matter what lie Junior and his people tell -- because otherwise your campaign and the superpac might be duplicating efforts.  His claim -- his lie -- doesn't fly on its face. 

Junior's a damn liar.  This is how he wants to go out -- as the serial adulterer who wasted his entire life and disgraced his family with his lack of ethics and his crackpot 'science.'

On a topic we also covered earlier this week, let's note Jonathan Simon (WHO WHAT WHY):

Since Ohio’s secretary of state put the Democratic Party on notice that President Joe Biden may not appear on the Buckeye State’s November ballot, a lot of news organizations and pundits have been missing the point of what that could mean.

On the surface, this is about whether Biden will be formally nominated before an August 7 deadline that has been codified in state law, which is effectively impossible since the Democratic convention won’t begin until 12 days later. 

The office of Secretary of State Frank LaRose notified the Democratic National Committee of this potential problem last week. 

The same issue arose in 2020, when both conventions were held after the deadline. But then, since Donald Trump was also affected, the GOP-led state Legislature passed a one-time exception. 

It remains to be seen whether Ohio Republicans will be as accommodating this time when only Biden is affected. 

As I said earlier this week,  the rules are the rules and it doesn't speak well for the candidate or his campaign that this is coming up for the second presidential election in a row.  Simon argues that if Joe's not on the ballot in Ohio, this could hurt Democrats who are.  That's a very good point.  And one more reason, the campaign needs to get its act together.  Mike noted last night in "Lolo and Olay, Joe Biden's campaign, Diana Ross' best songs" that there's now a chance that Joe won't be on the ballot in Alabama.

Ohio may decide to waive him through.  As it stands, if Joe's not on the ballot, he has only himself to blame and Sherrod Brown and others who will be on the ballot should feel free to blame Joe.

This morning, Brent Swails, Zeena Saifi and Lauren Izso (CNN) report, "UNICEF says one of its vehicles was hit by "live ammunition" while waiting to enter northern Gaza from the south of the territory on Wednesday." THE NATIONAL reports:

A Palestine Red Crescent employee has died of wounds sustained during an Israeli raid on Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis last month, the organisation has announced.

The death of Mohammed Abu Saeed takes the Red Crescent's death toll to 27 since the war began in October.

Seventeen staff members and volunteers have been killed while on duty, the Red Crescent said. 

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

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies in Gaza a “mistake” and urged Israel to call for a temporary ceasefire to allow in more aid. Biden’s comments came in an interview that aired Tuesday on the Spanish-language TV network Univision. In his remarks, Biden highlighted the Israeli airstrike last week on an aid convoy that killed seven workers with the food charity World Central Kitchen, six of those aid workers international.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I think what he’s doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach. I think it’s outrageous that those four — or, three vehicles were hit by drones and taken out on a highway, where it wasn’t like it was along the shore. It wasn’t like it was a convoy moving there, etc. So, what I’m calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks a total access to all food and medicine going into the country. I’ve spoken with everyone, from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They’re prepared to move in. They’re prepared to move this food in. And I think there’s no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. And it should be done now.

AMY GOODMAN: Following the airstrike on the World Central Kitchen convoy last week, Biden called Netanyahu and warned for the first time the U.S. would be forced to change its policy if Israel did not change its policies on Gaza. Israel responded by pledging to open new aid crossings. However, the U.N. said Tuesday there’s been, quote, “no significant change in the volume of humanitarian supplies entering Gaza,” unquote, and the Biden administration has not actually changed its policies or withheld any arms transfers to Israel.

This comes as Human Rights Watch is calling on governments to impose targeted sanctions on Israel and suspend arms transfers, to press the Israeli government to ensure access to humanitarian aid. The rights group has accused the Israeli government of using starvation as a weapon of war. At least 32 people, including 28 children, have died of malnutrition and dehydration in northern Gaza, where famine is setting in. In the south, at least 5% of children under age 2 were found to be acutely malnourished.

Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes continue across Gaza, including dozens of strikes in Gaza City, as well as in central Gaza, where an airstrike hit a home in the Nuseirat refugee camp today, killing at least 14 people, including five children.

For more, we’re joined by Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani. He’s an editor of Jadaliyya and host of the Connections podcast. He’s a contributor to the new book, Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm. He was previously a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us —

MOUIN RABBANI: Good to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: — here in studio in New York. I wanted to start off with a clip yesterday. Foreign minister — British Foreign Minister David Cameron stood with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a news conference. They were at the State Department. Cameron said Britain’s position on arms sales to Israel was unchanged.

DAVID CAMERON: The latest assessment leaves our position on export licenses unchanged. This is consistent with the advice that I and other ministers have received. And as ever, we will keep the position under review. Let me be clear, though: We continue to have grave concerns around the humanitarian access issue in Gaza, both for the period that was assessed and subsequently.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you have Blinken and Cameron shaking hands. Can you talk about what President Biden is saying, what’s happening on the ground in Gaza, and why what the U.S. does matters, not to mention Britain saying they’re continuing arms sales?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, President Biden referred to Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip as a “mistake.” I mean, a mistake is when you take a wrong turn at a traffic light or perhaps when a surgeon removes the wrong kidney. But when over the course of six months, half a year, you kill tens of thousands of people, with perhaps additional tens of thousands buried under the rubble and decomposing, that’s not a mistake. That’s a deliberate policy. And that’s why Israel has been hauled in front of the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide.

I think the second issue here is that words are cheap, and statements are a dime a dozen. And Israel, over the decades, has learned that it can safely ignore statements, whether by U.S. or European decision-makers, that are essentially playing to the gallery. Because what really matters is not what these people say, but what they do. And when the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union indicate that there is not going to be any consequences, that Israel will continue to be allowed to act with impunity, that there will be no consequences for Israel’s actions, then Israel’s leaders, whether Netanyahu or any of his predecessors, know that they can safely ignore statements such as the ones we’ve been hearing.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Mouin Rabbani, I wanted to ask you — the U.N. Security Council is going to make a formal decision on Palestine’s bid for full U.N. membership this month. But the U.S. will likely veto this if it is approved, and the U.S. is saying that Palestine needs to negotiate statehood with Israel before it is granted statehood by the U.N. Your response to this, since, obviously, when Israel was admitted into the U.N., the Palestinians were not asked to first negotiate Israel’s statehood?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, I think the U.S., despite several statements over the years to the contrary, has had a consistent position against Palestinian self-determination, against Palestinian statehood. It has recently voted against several resolutions in the U.N. General Assembly reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. And essentially, what the U.S. government is saying is that it will not support Palestinian statehood unless Israel does so. And Israel’s position is crystal clear on this matter. It rejects Palestinian statehood. So, in other words, the U.S. is subcontracting its position on Palestinian statehood to Israel and adopting it as its own.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I also wanted to ask you about Prime Minister Netanyahu claiming that the date is set for the attack on Rafah, but at the same time Palestinians are being allowed to return to Khan Younis after Israel basically destroyed that city. Your response to that?

MOUIN RABBANI: I think that’s a situation that is a little unclear, because both the United States and the Europeans have come out against an Israeli ground operation in Rafah. Netanyahu has claimed the date for that operation has already been set. His defense minister, Yoav Gallant, has said that no such date has been set. Netanyahu has also been saying that if Israel does not enter Rafah, it will not be able to win this war. And this may be a maneuver by Netanyahu to essentially claim that it is because of the United States and it is because of the Europeans and their opposition to an operation in Rafah that Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip has failed, and then also to use these differences with the U.S. for domestic political reasons.

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, can you talk about what’s going on in Cairo right now, the negotiations between Hamas and Israel? Can you talk about the prisoners and the hostages? I know that’s being debated. I mean, I think in the West Bank it’s something like 8,000 people have been taken prisoner, many of them children, since October 7th. And you have something like 130 hostages, Israeli and other foreign nationals, taken by Hamas and other groups on October 7th. And then the whole issue of a ceasefire and letting aid in?

MOUIN RABBANI: Yes, there are a number of issues that are being negotiated. One of them is an exchange of captives. Another is — and for that, formulas are being discussed about how many captives, how many Palestinian captives Israel will release in exchange for the Palestinians releasing the Israeli and other captives in the Gaza Strip.

A second concerns a ceasefire, whether it will be temporary or permanent. And Hamas and Palestinians are, of course, insisting that a temporary pause in fighting, during which there’s an exchange of captives, and then this genocidal assault resumes, doesn’t really make sense.

A third issue is an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

And a fourth, and apparently the most important sticking point, is whether or not Palestinians who have been displaced, primarily from the northern Gaza Strip, many of whom are now in the Rafah region, will be allowed to return to whatever is left of their former homes. And, in fact, it is on this issue that, according to reports, Israel is proving the most obstinate. It has stated that it would allow women and children, but not military-aged men, to return to the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinians are insisting that such return be unrestricted. And there’s apparently now a proposal where Israel would withdraw from this barrier that it established to bisect the Gaza Strip and that it would be manned by Egyptian forces to ensure that no armed men would go from the southern to the northern Gaza Strip. Whether this is something that will be accepted by both parties remains to be seen. But it’s interesting that of all these issues we’ve been hearing about, it is actually Israeli opposition to the return of displaced refugees to the northern Gaza Strip that is proving to be the main sticking point.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s Israel’s goal in all of this?

MOUIN RABBANI: I believe it’s to make the Gaza Strip unfit for human habitation. Of course, Israel entered this war hoping and intending to eradicate and eliminate Hamas as a government that is an armed force, and thought it could do so within a matter of weeks, if not a few months. That has proven to be an abject failure. But I think there’s a wider objective here, that it had an almost insatiable lust for revenge after October 7th. It wanted to make an example out of the Gaza Strip in order to deter Palestinians or any of its surrounding adversaries from ever considering an attack on Israel like this again. And I think it also has a long-standing issue with the presence of so many Palestinians, particularly Palestinian refugees from 1948, on its border — this is a policy that goes back to the 1950s — and has seen in this crisis, and, more importantly, in the unconditional Western support it has received since October 7th, to resolve its Gaza problem, if you will, to either displace the Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip or to make it unfit for human habitation.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Mouin, I wanted to ask you — there’s a lead story in today’s New York Times that’s claiming that Iran has been flooding the West Bank with weapons in an effort to basically stoke an uprising of Palestinians on the West Bank. I’m wondering your sense of that, because the report doesn’t talk much about all of the repression and attacks and killings of Palestinians that have been occurring in the West Bank, especially since the October 7th attack by Hamas.

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, there’s a reason people refer to The New York Times as American Pravda. I mean, in this particular report, there’s virtually no evidence of any significant Iranian arms deliveries to the West Bank. And when you consider how limited Iranian arms deliveries to the Gaza Strip have been, it doesn’t really make sense to believe that there are significantly more weapons being delivered to a territory that is under much more intensive Israeli control.

And again, you know, there’s been this decadeslong attempt to seek to show the Palestinians as somehow not having any legitimate grievances of their own, as always acting on behalf of someone else’s agenda rather than on behalf of their own rights and interests. You know, it used to be they used to be Soviet proxies. Then they became jihadists. Now they’re Iranian proxies. Who knows what they’ll be tomorrow? But even if Iran didn’t exist, this conflict and this Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation would essentially be undiminished. And, you know, this particular article makes a lot of claims, but provides virtually no evidence to substantiate those claims.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what Israel did in Damascus, bombing the Iranian Consulate. Now they’ve reopened one there.


AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly is going on? We’re hearing all kinds of reports that Iran and the U.S. have made a deal, that if the U.S. gets its ceasefire in Gaza, that Iran won’t attack U.S., which is arming Israel. We hear GPS is turned off in Israel so that Iran can’t attack Israel.

MOUIN RABBANI: Yes. Well, in contrast to many previous Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, this one targeted the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, which is sovereign Iranian territory. And the Iranians have indicated that, from their point of view, the response would need to be direct, rather than through, for example, allied militias, and that, from their point of view, they would launch an attack directly from Iranian territory onto Israeli territory.

Apparently, according to news reports, the Iranians have made an offer to the Americans, which is that if the Americans impose a permanent ceasefire and put an end to this genocidal Israeli assault of the Gaza Strip, that will be considered a closure of the file, also because I think the Iranians and many others, for that matter, believe that it’s an Israeli ambition to further escalate this war regionally and seek to draw the Americans into a direct confrontation with Iran. It’s a little unclear. I mean, we’ve seen indications from the Americans that this is something they’re considering. But thus far, at least, we haven’t seen confirmation that they are actually going to act on this proposal and impose a ceasefire.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I wanted to get back for a moment to the negotiations over a ceasefire. We keep hearing in the U.S. press that the holdup is Hamas not agreeing to the conditions of a deal that’s already on the table. I’m wondering your thoughts about this, because it seems to me that it’s much more in the interest of Israel to continue not having a ceasefire while it continues to conduct its operations, rather than Hamas.

MOUIN RABBANI: That’s correct. And I think we also need to recognize that when we hear the term “American proposal,” what we’re really talking about is an American proposal that has been closely coordinated and approved by Israel, so it’s essentially an American-communicated Israeli proposal.

And as we were discussing previously, there are fundamental elements of this proposal that are unacceptable, not only to Hamas, but to Palestinians generally. The idea that you would have a six-to-eight-week pause in fighting, and then this genocidal assault would resume in full force, is, I think, completely nonsensical. The idea of Palestinian men not being allowed to return to their former homes in the Gaza Strip, that Israel would still continue to have control over the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip. And so, these are all issues that are under discussion.

But as we’ve seen in the aftermath of the Israeli killings of the World Central Kitchen staff, it literally takes only a phone call from the White House to resolve these issues. And so, I think it’s fair to assume that if the United States really wanted a ceasefire, it would only take another phone call. And the absence of that phone call, I think, is also a policy statement from Washington.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to that Lloyd Austin hearing in the Senate —


AMY GOODMAN: — where the conservative Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton was questioning the U.S. defense secretary, this as protesters were being taken out of the room, calling for ceasefire. I think something like 50 people were arrested in the Senate cafeteria calling for a ceasefire. This is Cotton questioning Austin.

SEN. TOM COTTON: I want to address what the protesters raised earlier. Is Israel committing genocide in Gaza?

DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN: Senator Cotton, we don’t have any evidence of genocide being created.

SEN. TOM COTTON: So, that’s a — that’s a “no,” Israel is not committing genocide in Gaza?

DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN: We don’t have evidence of that, to my knowledge, yeah.

SEN. TOM COTTON: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: “We don’t have evidence of” Israel committing genocide in Gaza. Your final response, as we begin to wrap up?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, Cotton had a similar incident with CIA Director William Burns a few weeks ago, and he failed to get a clear response from Burns. Here, of course, you have secretary of defense essentially not wanting to implicate himself and his department, so it was kind of an obvious answer for Lloyd Austin to give.

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, we want to thank you so much for being with us —


AMY GOODMAN: — Middle East analyst, co-editor of Jadaliyya, host of the Connections podcast, contributor to the new book, Deluge: Gaza and Israel from Crisis to Cataclysm. Mouin Rabbani was previously senior analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Coming up, we’ll be joined by two former Israeli soldiers, members of Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation group led by veterans of the Israeli army. Stay with us.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 188 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."  THE NATIONAL notes, "The Gaza Health Ministry has reported that 62 Palestinians were killed across the enclave over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 33,545 since the war began on October 7. Another 45 people were injured, taking the number of wounded to 76,094."   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:

THE WASHINGTON POST notes this morning, "Spain awarded Philippe Lazzarini, head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), its Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic to show it “supports this indispensable organization,” Foreign Affairs Minister José Manuel Albares said."

As for 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."

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