Monday, May 6, 2024


If you were a fan of THE FALL GUY, I don't think youre going to like the film of the same name.  Fortunately, the show didn't have that many fans.  I was a kid when it aired.  Only with the first episode was there any excitement: Farrah Fawcett.

A few years earlier, she and Lee Majors (who starred in the TV series) broke up.  Now she was guesting on his TV show -- like she did on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN?  And we liked that show.

THE FALL GUY hang around on TV for years.  It was not a show that pulled in viewers.  It kept them.  It was sandwiched between other hits -- at one point TJ HOOKER was its lead in and DYNASTY -- ABC's biggest hour -- followed TFG.

Long before the third seasons, kids were saying Lee Majors was "gay."  Did they mean that they believed he was trying to down low it?  Don't know.  At that age, we didn't know the long  buried fact that student athlete Lee was discovered by Rock Hudson.  So in those more homophobic times, we might have simply meant "gay" for not good.

But it wasn't a hit show.

The film THE FALL GUY?  It kicks off summer movie season.  It's a fun film with a lot of action and stunts and some romance (my girlfriend insists Ryan Gosling has never looked better on screen and wishes he'd wear that shaggy hair do all the time -- I think if he was wearing three years from now, she'd be tired of it but whatever).  

It'll keep you entertained and it won't leave you filling you got ripped off.

One more thing, it's May -- a time when we see TV shows get renewed or axed.  Today, NBC renewed NIGHT COURT for a third seasonTHE CONNORS comes back for season seven -- rumored to be six episodes -- which will be its final season.

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


Friday, May 3, 2024.  Looking back on the week and all the media abuse and lies.

Things do not always get noted.  This snapshot, for example, may or may not include Iraq's LGBTQ+ community.  The hope is it will.  That's been the hope for every one this week but hasn't happened because of other events taking place.  That is true also of the videos going up here throughout the day.

This week, the primary focus has (rightly, in my opinion) been on the students in the US under attack for demanding an end to genocide.   

As America’s liberal elites declare open warfare on their own kids, it’s easy to see why they’ve shown no empathy at all for the murdered, maimed and orphaned children of Gaza. Back-of-the-head shots to 8-year-olds seem like a legitimate thing to protest in about the most vociferous way possible…But, as Dylan once sang, maybe I’m too sensitive or else I’m getting soft.

So some things don't get noted.

There's also some things that will not be noted. 

Tavis Smiley?  

Love him.  He's a great guy.  I'd use the term "friend" easily.  I try to note his program whenever possible.  

Yesterday, he had Janine Jackson of FAIR on in the first hour and no problem there but the same hour he had on columnist which would normally be no problem either.  But Columnist apparently wants to disgrace himself like he did repeatedly in 2002 and 2003.  

Let's be really clear that I don't owe you anything.  You make a confession to me, you do it because you want to.  Columnist, you were guilty of journalistic crimes and you felt guilty and you unloaded to me.  Now I already knew your employer was human garbage.  I already knew that they LIED to attack Sheryl Crow because Sheryl had spoken out against the impending Iraq War.  

I'd already heard the excuses from the woman who wrote that fact-free attack because I'd cancelled my own interview with that woman.  When she was desperate to reschedule, I agreed to speak to her on the phone and off the record.  I explained to her that I wouldn't do the interview with her because she had flat out lied to work an attack on Sheryl Crow into her piece of garbage 'analysis.'  She wouldn't attack me, she swore, and it wasn't her fault and her bosses told her to work Sheryl into the article -- and an attack on her, no less -- and that what was she had to do, she had to make a living and she had to --


Just no.  

I've had hard times in my life.  I didn't use it as an excuse to lie about someone who wasn't harming anyone.  And if I had done it, I certainly wouldn't have whined about it afterwards and pretended I was the victim.

Now Sheryl can -- and often does -- annoy the hell out of me.  But she did not deserve to be attacked for any reason -- let alone for speaking out against the Iraq War.  And for the writer to invent an attack on her, to degrade her music with a lie?  

You crossed the line.  And not only did I refuse to be interviewed by you, I made sure my friends and representation got the word out on you.  I don't think that woman's a working journalist anymore.  And I say good to that.  Don't wish starvation on anyone but when you're taking part in baseless attacks on Sheryl   -- or anyone -- just because she had "PEACE" on her guitar strap as she performed on a TV broadcast, putting lies into print about her?  You're not a journalist and I'm not going to cry that you lost your career.

Their employer  -- her and the Columnist -- was among those who dictated a party line.  Management at that paper and many others were attacking various well known people.  (It ended right after the release of MONSTER-IN-LAW in 2005 but not soon enough to stop some of the attacks on Jane.  We called them out in real time.) 

So I mean, Columnist, do what you want.  And I'll be kind enough to focus on your female co-worker and not go into detail here about what you did and what you told me you did and how you regretted it.  I'll be that kind.

But I'll be damned if I'm going to use my space and time to promote you.  Last word on the issue here:  You should be ashamed of yourself for your attacks on the students -- you clearly learned nothing from the last time you whored big for the Iraq War.

 So I'm not going to post Tavis' video due to Columnist and I'm not going to promote Columnist by naming him.  I love Tavis so if you want go stream his show from yesterday and you can see who Columnist is. I'll make it easy for you, I was so shocked by Columnist's statements that I did leave a comment and it's the only comment there so that'll help you on the four videos -- one is the full show and then there are three more videos where they break each hour of Tavis' show up.  

But this person -- Columnist -- who whined to me about how he was forced to do this or that with regards to published writings on Iraq, who whined like a little baby and wanted absolution from me for what he'd done, is now attacking the protesters with lies?

My mouth dropped listening to Columnist's garbage presented as facts.

And it was clear that right now, he's doing what he wants and when he was cheerleading the Iraq War he was doing what he wanted.  He was doing it then and he's doing it now.  He's being led around by the ring in his nose.  He whores for his employers.  

In the prologue to Janis Ian's SOCIETY'S CHILD,, she writes about the suggestion that she drop race from the song "Society's Child." 

If Janis would drop race from the song, she was told, "I can guarantee you a number one record. Just change 'black' to anything else." Ian writes: "I thought about it for around two seconds; then our friend looked at me and said, 'You whore now, you'll whore forever.' Strong words for a fifteen-year-old to hear, but they made sense."

It's an important lesson and one that many people learn too late and that some never really learn.

Columnist is one person (whore) but you see so many others right now doing the same thing.  It's not by chance and it's not by accident.  They're trying to get us all in agreement on the latest big lie.  They dressed it up so much better in THE REPUBLIC.  These days, they don't even pretend it's a "noble" lie.

Back to Jeffrey St. Clair:

+ Here’s the political background to the police raids against antiwar students on campuses across the country this week, violent crackdowns that have Joe Biden’s fingerprints all over them: On Tuesday, Biden demonized the protesters as hate groups. On the same day 22 Democratic House members called for the students at Columbia to be cleared from the campus, this was followed by Chuck Schumer speaking on the floor of the Senate denouncing the occupation of Hind Hall as an act of terrorism. Then the NYPD did its vicious nightwork at Columbia and CCNY. On Wednesday morning, the Biden White House compared these brave students–from Columbia to UCLA, Indiana to Texas–to the white power tiki torch thugs at Charlottesville. On Thursday, Biden gave a speech that would have condemned the tactics of the Civil Rights Movement, women’s movement, Native American Rights movement, anti-Vietnam War movement, Stonewall, anti-apartheid movement, BLM and the labor movement he claims to venerate (not to mention the Boston Tea Party) as outside the American tradition of free speech. Biden is the author of the most repressive crime laws in the history of a nation whose statutes are full of repressive crime laws. He hasn’t changed. In fact, he’s gotten worse as his brain demyelinates and his grip on power becomes more and more tenuous.

+ In contrast to Biden’s reactionary blandishments of the antiwar movement, here are the words of the most successful progressive leader in the US today, Shawn Fain, head of the UAW:

The UAW will never support the mass arrest or intimidation of those exercising their right to protest, strike, or speak out against injustice. Our union has been calling for a ceasefire for six months. This war is wrong, and this response against students and academic workers, many of them UAW members, is wrong. We call on the powers that be to release the students and employees who have been arrested, and if you can’t take the outcry, stop supporting the war.

Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes:

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden gave a speech from the Oval Office backing the violent suppression of protests against the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza by police forces throughout the country. “Order must prevail,” Biden said.

Without citing a single example, Biden asserted that the mass nationwide peaceful protests by millions of people were violent and antisemitic.

Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law, vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations. None of this is a peaceful protest, threatening people, intimidating people. Instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law.

In fact, the violence that has taken place has been directed against the protesters.

Biden was speaking only hours after a huge force of police, including California state troopers dispatched by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, swooped down on the UCLA campus and arrested or dispersed the protesters who were camped there. On Tuesday night, a group of Zionist thugs, armed with clubs and firecrackers, assaulted the encampment when most of the protesters were asleep, while police stood by and gave them free rein.

New York City police carried out similar attacks, arresting nearly 300 students and supporters at Columbia University and City College of New York. There were also mass arrests at Dartmouth, the University of Wisconsin, Portland State University in Oregon and other colleges.

Biden’s reference to the “cancellation of classes and graduations” is particularly rich, given that it is administrators who have cancelled classes and graduations as part of the effort to suppress and shut down protests. 

For more WSWS coverage on this issue, you can refer to:

What about The Holy Trinity of Cowards?  Last Friday, we noted how no writers for THE NATION, IN THESE TIMES or THE PROGRESSIVE were tackling the subject.  

Did any of them get over their laryngitis this week?


IN THESE TIMES?  They've published article this week . . . just none on the student protests.  But, hey, they did a poem on Gaza back in December and doesn't that count for something?  Can't we instead just excuse away their silence on this issue and applaud the useless garbage that they've published this week?  Can't we?  (Maybe you can, I won't.)  

THE PROGRESSIVE?  This week, they've published Stephen Zunes' "The Crackdown on Campus Protests Is a Bipartisan Strategy to Repress Pro-Palestine Speech" and Hank Kalet and Sean T. Mitchell's "The Crackdown on Campus Protests Is a Bipartisan Strategy to Repress Pro-Palestine Speech."  This will probably come off bitchy though it's not intended as such, but that is a lot for them.  They don't publish much online to begin with.  

THE NATION?  Mike's noted them twice this week (here and here). Today, on the home page, they've got Nicholas Nicrchos' "The Police Take City College,"  Alyssa Oursler and Anna Dalcortivo's "The Abolitionist Roots of Anti-War Encampments," Alyssa and Anna's "The Abolitionist Roots of Anti-War Encampments," Lara Nour-Walton's "Why Students at Columbia University Are Occupying Hamilton Hall" and Owen Dahlkamp's "Students at Brown Just Secured a Vote on Divestment. What Happens Next?."

So The Holy Trinity of Cowards dropped from three to one. 


We don't have time to mention everyone who has done a strong job and I'm sorry but this snapshot's going to be long enough as it is.  However,  I do want to again note FAIR.  Their continued coverage this week includes Janine Jackson's "‘This Weaponization Is Meant to Shift Focus Away From Gaza’: CounterSpin interview with Sam on Students for Justice in Palestine" and Jim Naureckas'  "Divestment Can’t Work, Media Tell Protesters—Even Though It Has."

Remember, decades from now, when IN THESE TIMES tries to pretend they were brave, they weren't.  What IN THESE TIMES couldn't and wouldn't cover (while pretending to be left and for the working class) Ann Vettikkal (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) could and did:

   When University President Minouche Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to move into the east side of South Lawn on April 18, hundreds of Columbia students watched from behind the fenced perimeter as protesters sat in two concentric circles, arms linked. In the outside circle, protesters faced the crowd, media, and police; on the inside, shielded from view, protesters faced each other, singing and crying together as they watched police arrest their colleagues one by one.

By the time the NYPD arrived on the lawn, the protesters, who had expected sweeps since setting up the encampment early April 17, had planned for possible arrests, and assembled quickly into their circles. Protesters had promised not to budge until their demands were met: financial transparency and divestment from Israel. The demands also noted that, at the time the encampment began, Gaza’s health ministry reported that the Palestinian death toll was over 30,000.

Arrested protesters told The Eye that the formation was intentionally stratified. Those sitting in the outer circle were mostly white or deemed themselves to have “greater privilege.” Protesters who opted for the inner circle considered themselves to be at greater risk—people of color, low-income students, and students with disabilities. Khanh, a Columbia student who spoke to The Eye on the condition of anonymity citing safety concerns, said that choosing to sit in either circle was a personal choice; no one wanted to “police anyone.”

Police gave each of the sitting protesters a tap on the shoulder, signaling it was their time to stand up and put their hands behind their back. It was a strangely slow process, giving the protesters time to sing part of a song, barely audible amidst the yells and chants of spectators in protest of the arrests. Students in the inner circle told me they didn’t realize how many eyes were on them until they stood up.

“I just felt incredibly safe, not necessarily because of anything Columbia related, but because of how my community was making me safe,” Khanh said about being in the inner circle at the moment of arrest. “Like literally by insulating me and my other community members.”

As encampments spread across the world, outside media coverage—notably an April 19 New York Post article centering protesters with “multimillion-dollar mansions” and “wealthy and powerful families”—have painted a picture of a majority white and wealthy group of Columbia students who were arrested on April 18. When House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who encouraged further arrests and suspensions of pro-Palestinian protesters, visited Columbia for a press conference on Low Steps, he told students to “stop wasting your parents’ money.” The effect of such coverage has not only doxxed certain individuals, but it has also failed to adequately represent the protesters’ intentions, especially those in the inner circle.

In order to better understand the community that formed the original encampment—one that would inspire a global movement—The Eye sent a survey about “class positionality” in a private group chat of arrested students. Created to connect arrested students, the chat is only accessible via invitation and is now used by arrested students to support one another with activities like healing circles and discussing financial and legal support. With 37 responses, the surveyed students describe a more complex picture of those arrested on April 18. 

Here’s how some individuals responded when asked about the suspension’s financial and material impacts:

“I am a student on full financial aid — I rely on Barnard’s support for almost all of my resources. … My family also lives 7,000 miles away so I don’t have an alternative place to live and had to rely on goodwill community housing after leaving my dorm. … Additionally, my personal belongings were lost at the encampment after being mishandled, so I have to purchase replacements.”

“I am one of the very few arrested that isn’t a Columbia student- I am a Pakistani Muslim community member. If I was an active Columbia student, I would absolutely be dependent on financial aid to be able to attend.”

“I was forced to choose between going to my off campus job or housing. I chose my job so was evicted from campus housing. I am also a TA for a Barnard class and am unable to go to class in person, therefore unable to work.”

“I am a student who got my GED, grew up homeless, and grew up in the social services system. I relied on my work study to supplement my income.”

Students have shown so much bravery and have risked a lot to try to end a genocide.  It's a shame that the media has largely attempted to either discredit them or ignore them.

LEFTIS MEDIA did their Thursday night broadcast and drove home (in the video below) just how many liars are on television and heavily vested in the big lie that the students were the problem.

From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As we broadcast this morning, Los Angeles police in riot gear are dismantling a pro-Palestinian encampment on UCLA’s campus, after hundreds of police used flashbang grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas in a faceoff with protesters who chanted, “We are not leaving. You don’t scare us.”

PROTESTERS: You don’t scare us! We’re not leaving!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: The police raid at UCLA came a day after pro-Israel counterprotesters attacked the encampment with fireworks, metal rods and tear gas for hours late Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning. At least 15 people were injured.

This is how UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, described the violence instigated by counterprotesters in an editorial: quote, “It began with ear-piercing screams of wailing babies loudly emitting from speakers. Counter-protesters tearing down the barricades. Laser pointers flashing into the encampment. People in masks waving strobe lights. Tear gas. Pepper spray. Violent beatings. Fireworks sparked at the border of the encampment, raining down on tents and the individuals inside,” the Daily Bruin wrote.

The editorial noted Los Angeles police did not arrive until slightly after 1 a.m. Meanwhile, around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, four UCLA student journalists were attacked by the pro-Israel counterprotesters on campus. One of the journalists was treated for injuries at the hospital and has since been released. There were no arrests after Tuesday night’s attack. Wednesday’s classes were canceled.

The Daily Bruin’s editorial ended with a question: quote, “Will someone have to die on our campus tonight for you to intervene, Gene Block? The blood would be on your hands.”

AMY GOODMAN: University of California President Michael Drake and the UCLA Chancellor Gene Block have launched an investigation into what California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned as the, quote, “limited and delayed campus law enforcement response,” unquote. Meanwhile, the campus police union issued a statement that, quote, “the decisions regarding the response of the UC Police rest firmly in the hands of campus leadership.”

For more, we’re joined by three guests. Shaanth Kodialam Nanguneri is a senior staff writer for the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. They are one of the four reporters who were attacked. Mel Buer is a staff reporter for The Real News Network. She was at the Gaza solidarity encampment Tuesday night when counterprotesters violently attacked it for several hours. And Gaye Theresa Johnson is an associate professor of African American studies and Chicana/Chicano studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA. She writes and teaches on race and racism, cultural history, spatial politics and political economy, a member of UCLA’s chapter of Faculty for Justice in Palestine, which has called on UCLA faculty to refuse university labor today, the day after May Day, quote, “in protest of the university administration’s egregious failure to protect the student protest encampment from attacks by self-professed and proudly Zionist mobs coming to campus every night to enact violence,” unquote.

Welcome to all of you. We want to begin with Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson. Before we get into the horrifying details of the attack on the Gaza encampment, if you can explain why you are withholding work today and the overall context of how UCLA is dealing with this protest encampment, and why the issue, so often not talked about in the corporate media, of why the Gaza encampment exists?

GAYE THERESA JOHNSON: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on.

We are so inspired by our students today. We are refusing our labor to the University of California, Los Angeles because we know that the conditions under which they were arrested, the conditions upon — the conditions that they were subjected to night before last with the counterprotesters, the violence that they have endured night after night after night, the complaints that they have lodged and that have been ignored by the university administration, all of the ways in which they were failed by the university administration, those are also our work conditions. And until our students are supported, we will also be stopping work.

The necessity for the camp was, I mean, what is going on in Gaza, what is happening here in the United States is linked. And these students, who have done so much study and who have done so much organizing, are clear about the connections between U.S. racism and international imperialism, and they are so clear about their role and purpose in this movement. So many of them have now been politicized, and this will not stop just because of tonight.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Shaanth, if you could explain? You were one of four journalists who was attacked. Tell us what happened.

SHAANTH KODIALAM NANGUNERI: Walking back from that protest where a group of pro-Israel counterprotesters had stormed and seized upon the encampment on campus at Dickson Plaza and near Powell Library, and me and three other journalists —

AMY GOODMAN: Shaanth, if you could speak as loud as you possibly can? We’re hearing — and come closer, yes, to your computer. And also, you’re describing what happened. Tell us what night, about what time it was, you with your four Daily Bruin — the three other Daily Bruin reporters.

SHAANTH KODIALAM NANGUNERI: Yeah, it was about, I want to say, 2 or 3 a.m. It was really late. We had all spent hours being out there on the field reporting, sending messages to our editors, really scared about the scenes that we were seeing on campus towards the protesters in the encampment, the level of violence and vitriol that was in the air. We had documented reporters hearing things like racial epithets. I personally witnessed a counterprotester slam a wooden slab onto an individual who had her hands on the barricade of the encampment and smashing her fingers, and listening to her scream and watching how that changed the environment. And many more harrowing scenes have been discussed by students on this campus, but —

AMY GOODMAN: And who were these people?

SHAANTH KODIALAM NANGUNERI: Yeah, we have been trying our best to be accurate about that. And I think in a Los Angeles Times article, my colleague talks about being attacked by one of these pro-Israel counterprotesters and how they have known who we are on campus. And they know that we report on these issues, and sometimes they know our faces.

And when we were leaving and were vulnerable and were in a small group, we were encircled and attacked. And they started shining lights in our face, spraying us with very strong irritants, circling in particular one of my colleagues and physically harassing and assaulting her. And by the time I had finally managed to help get three of us out of there, we found one of us had turned back. And by the time we had looked back around, they were on the ground being violently assaulted. And we were trying our best, as we ran back screaming their name, to pull them out of that fight, pull them out of the ground, pull people off of them. And we were begging while they were flashing [inaudible] —

AMY GOODMAN: And this was Catherine Hamilton, who was hospitalized?


AMY GOODMAN: How were they beating her?

SHAANTH KODIALAM NANGUNERI: You know, it was a very, very quick scene. I know she got hurt in the stomach. And I know that initially we had been — we had had so much tear gas in our eyes already from the protest that by the end of it, it was just hard to walk back. It was hard to make it back.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Shaanth, could you explain? I know that you said people are being careful about trying to talk about who the counterprotesters are, but could you tell us what you know? Were most of them not students? Were they students? If you could explain what you know?

SHAANTH KODIALAM NANGUNERI: Yeah, I mean, we do see students on, you know, rallies supporting pro-Israel groups. We have a pro-Israel group for Jewish faculty. And they themselves have actually distanced themselves from this behavior. But we do see a lot of non-UCLA students coming onto campus and sparking a lot of these controversies that end up going viral online and on social media and that do require deep, thorough reporting that goes beyond the kind of outrage bait that unfortunately fuels a lot of the conversations.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were the police? Where was security as this attack went on?

SHAANTH KODIALAM NANGUNERI: They were nowhere to be found. We actually walked up to a few campus security afterwards asking for help, as one of my peers was crying and having a breakdown, and I was trying help the other two, as well. And they were not able to help us with anything. They didn’t know what to do. And, in fact, we had documented that campus security, when faced with threats — these are private security guards handled by the campus, before the actual police had even come on campus — they would run away when they — or hide in buildings, and deny reporters access to those buildings, when they were afraid of what they saw on the scene and on the site when they got too violent.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Mel, you were there reporting on what happened. Could you describe where you were and what you witnessed?

MEL BUER: Yeah. So, myself and another reporter showed up around 10 p.m. We found ourselves on a side barricade next to Royce Hall. And we had a pretty good vantage point of the two sets of barricades that were separated by a sidewalk, prior to the confrontation happening.

Around 10:30 or 10:45, there was some sort of altercation, some sort of argument between the private security and the pro-Israel counterprotesters. And they very quickly dismantled the barricades and began ripping flags down from the Gaza encampment, pulling barricades apart, trying to rip apart the wooden barricades behind the metal ones that were installed there. And that continued for about three, four hours. It was a chaos, very scary, very quickly.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, it’s fascinating that the corporate media is describing this as just clashes between two different groups, the pro-Palestine groups and the pro-Israel groups. Mel, from your perspective — you’re a reporter with The Real News Network — what we’re hearing here is an assault by one group on the encampment.

MEL BUER: Right. You know, I’ve been to the UCLA encampment on the first day, when they were setting up. And from the jump, there have been individuals who have tried to agitate these demonstrators, these students. They’ve tried to get a rise out of them. They’ve tried to provoke some sort of violent reaction. And, you know, to their serious credit, these disciplined students have spent a lot of time and energy and effort not responding to that, or trying to deescalate situations, trying to keep each other safe, trying to keep the integrity of the encampment safe, because the point is not to get into an argument with counterprotesters, right? The point is to continue to pressure UCLA to divest from the various relationships that they have with Israel and to boycott these programs that are funding an occupation and a genocide.

So, to see what happened the other night was, essentially, these counterprotesters, many of them riled up and angry and throwing slurs over the fences, getting a chance to try and rip their way into the encampment. And this had been — tensions had been growing for multiple days, right? This was not the first instance of violence where pro-Israel counterprotesters were knocking over students, were trying to provoke fights. Some fights broke out even two nights before. So, from my assessment, as I was there, these groups, this giant group, probably 150, 200 or so counterprotesters — some of the were university age, some of them were much older and did not appear to be UCLA students — launching assaults on this barricade. And, you know, this was consistent for many hours. The bear mace was in the air. I mean, you know, I witnessed a lot of folks getting bludgeoned by parts of the barricades, by wooden sticks, batons, whatever they could bring. And that was a constant for the four-and-a-half, five hours that I was there.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Professor Gaye Theresa Johnson, if you could describe what you know is happening right now on campus at UCLA, and what the response of the administration has been to the encampment since it went up?

GAYE THERESA JOHNSON: This is something that so many of us feel disgusted by. We are — many of the faculty who I spoke to, as late as just about 45 minutes ago, were feeling shocked. They were feeling so disillusioned by the response of the university. This is a university administration that has for weeks, for months equivocated the experience of people who are proclaimed Zionists to those Muslim students who have been doxxed and harassed every day, and faculty, as well.

And so, this is a situation in which students have been subjected by the university to a complete negation of their experience, not only here at UCLA, but across the world, the idea that there are, as Amy said earlier, clashes between protesters or that there are fights that are breaking out between these two people. We’re talking about a nonviolent protest. We’re talking about students who have been organizing for months, who are trained, have taken it upon themselves to educate themselves on tactics of nonviolence, and the incredible and brave way in which they defended themselves all of these nights. But, of course, in the culminating violence of night before last, and then, of course, of the violence of this night, as well, as they’ve been gassed, flashbangs that have been set off by the LAPD, and it’s just been incredible, the way that they have responded in the face of the gaslighting that the university has done against them. They are just — they have just done such an incredible and brave job.

And many of us, while we are shocked, we are also understanding, as faculty, that thousands and thousands of students across the nation, across the world have been politicized today, and there is no way, just because the LAPD and UCLA have mandated the dispersal of these students, that this is the end. It is only the beginning, because there are so many people now who understand that this is a movement. And it cannot be unseen. It cannot be put back in the box.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And finally, if you could explain: Where do negotiations stand? Has the administration been speaking with students about their demands that UCLA divest from Israel?

GAYE THERESA JOHNSON: The other day, the university offered the students three options. One was negotiations, which we saw yesterday there was no negotiation. There was an offer of absolutely nothing. Students had demands that were completely ignored, that wasn’t even in the discussion once administrators came to the camp. They were offered absolutely nothing.

The second option was to continue in a sort of long-term action with encampment. But it wasn’t a real, legitimate choice that the university was giving these students, because they were going to make them adhere to policies that they call time, place and manner that would have evicted them from the encampment and forced them into other places that would have been completely ineffective as far as protest and visibility.

And the third action that administrators — third choice that they gave students was police action. And they said, you know, “If you don’t take the first two,” — which were, in effect, completely false — “then we will assume that you want the police action.”

And in the end, they didn’t care. They didn’t ask what students wanted yesterday. They just simply went into what was already scheduled, what was already planned, which, one, I will say, many of us think that it’s almost as if, like, we’ve seen this many times over history — in Katrina, for example, in New Orleans, where politicians said, “Let the hurricane do for New Orleans what we couldn’t do.” This was the same thing that was echoing for us as we watched these counterprotesters so violently attack our students, is the “We’ll just sit back and let that happen instead.”

And the irony of these counterprotesters attacking these vulnerable students, who are also incredibly strong and brave and organized, in an enclosed space, the analogy that we can make to what’s happening in Gaza is obviously lost on all of these counterprotesters. They have no regard for the lives, just as the UCLA administration. People could have died the night before last and this night, as well. And these are the conditions under which students are trying to enact free speech.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Gaye Theresa Johnson, I want to thank you for being with us, UCLA professor of African American studies and Chicana/Chicano studies. We also want to thank Mel Buer of The Real News Network and Shaanth Kodialam Nanguneri. Shaanth is one of four reporters, a senior reporter, with the Daily Bruin, the UCLA paper, who was attacked by the counterprotesters.

Coming up, we’ll speak to the former president of Brandeis University, founded by the American Jewish community in the wake of the Holocaust. What he says about today’s student protests may surprise you. Back in 20 seconds.

This morning, THE NATIONAL reports:

Turkey has confirmed it will stop all trade with Israel until the country allows humanitarian aid to flow uninterrupted into Gaza.

The decision expands on a move announced in April to restrict some Turkish exports to Israel due to the “worsening humanitarian tragedy in Palestine”, Turkey's Trade Ministry said on Thursday.

It said efforts were under way to ensure that Palestinians were not adversely affected.

The pause took effect on Thursday, sources told Bloomberg.

“The second phase of the measures taken at the state level has been started, and export and import transactions related to Israel have been suspended to cover all products,” the ministry said.

“Turkey will firmly and decisively implement these new measures until the government of Israel allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

And ALJAZEERA reports:

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, has released stark figures showing the extensive toll that Israel’s war on Gaza has taken on Palestinian women.

Since October 7, more than 10,000 women have been killed in the besieged and bombarded territory, while 19,000 others have been wounded. Many of the victims are mothers, meaning that an average of 37 children are losing their mothers every day, according to UNRWA.

The desperate humanitarian conditions in Gaza are also stopping pregnant or breastfeeding women from getting the nutrition or sanitation supplies they need. Currently, 155,000 of these women have “severely limited access” to water and sanitation, the agency said.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 210 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, "At least 34,622 Palestinians have been killed and 77,867 injured since Israel's war on Gaza began on October 7, health authorities in the enclave said. In the past 24 hours, 26 people were killed and 51 injured, the ministry added."  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:


April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

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."

Lastly, Esha Karam and Shea Vance (COLUMBIA SPECTATOR) report:

 The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened an investigation into Columbia on Thursday following a complaint filed by Palestine Legal alleging a pattern of anti-Palestinian discrimination in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The investigation is the third that the department has opened into Columbia since November 2023.

Spectator obtained a copy of the letter sent from the Department of Education to Palestine Legal attorneys, which confirmed that the department will investigate whether Columbia “responded in a manner consistent with the requirements of Title VI to alleged harassment,” “violated Title VI by engaging in disparate treatment,” or “violated Title VI by engaging in retaliation” of Palestinian affiliates.

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