We've long considered Jill Stein, presidential candidate of the Green Party, too inconsequential to be worth calling out. But we are seeing her stuff being promoted more and more—particularly her calls for Bernie Sanders to ditch the Democrats if (when) he doesn't get the nomination and run with the Greens. See, for instance, the pathetically gushing interview with her on Democracy Now. We doubt Bernie would be so monstrously reckless as to split the anti-Pendejo vote, fortunately. But leave it to Democracy Now's pusillanimous Amy Goodman to not throw Stein a single hard-ball—either about the wisdom of tempting a Pendejo presidency, or about the Green candidate's atrocious politics. Stein is getting this kind of free ride everywhere. Check out this glowing account on AlterNet about Jill's defense of anti-pipeline actvists protesting outside the home of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman. This from the woman whose party is practically a stateside propaganda organ of the Bashar Assad regime, which has serially massacred protesters and is now escalating to genocide against the Syrian people.
At least 224 people were killed in the first week of Ramadan in Syria, with the majority of the deaths resulting from bombings by regime and Russian warplanes, according to figures from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (Al Jazeera, June 13) Some of the worst carnage came when regime helicopters bombed the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya—hours after the arrival of its first food aid since 2012, residents said. The bombardment prevented the aid from being delivered to residents overnight. (BBC, June 10) Despite Moscow's announced "withdrawal" from Syria, Russia and the Assad regime continue with their atrocious campaign of bombing hospitals, with the most recent case in beseiged Aleppo. Air-strikes hit three hospitals in the rebel-held side of the city June 8, including a pediatrics center supported by the United Nations. (NYT, June 8) On the first day of Ramadan, June 6, at least 17 civilians including eight children were killed in air-strikes on a market in ISIS-held al-Asharah town, in Deir Az-Zour governorate. (The New Arab, June 6)
Here we go again. Omar Mateen, named as the shooter in the Orlando massacre of at least 50 at a gay nightclub, is said to have made a 911 call before the attack, in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS and invoked the Boston Marathon bombers. (CNN) Amaq News Agency, the ISIS media arm, issued a statement saying the attack "was carried out by an Islamic State fighter." (Heavy) The ISIS statement is doubtless mere opportunism, simply claiming Mateen because he had declared for them, thereby becoming a one-man franchise. But there's more. A bizarre Washington Post story tells us that Mateen's father is a vocal supporter of the Taliban and "appears to be portraying himself as the president of Afghanistan"...
A typically vague BBC report informs us that "Libyan forces" have retaken control of the port in the city of Sirte, after fierce fighting with militants from so-called Islamic State. We are only told several lines in that these "forces" are "aligned to" the "UN-backed unity government" in Tripoli. This vagueness is aimed at obscuring (first) that Libya has no functional government—or three rival governments, of which the "UN-backed" one is the weakest by far. It is also aimed at obscuring that the "UN-backed" government has no armed forces—just autonomous militias that recognize its authority in a token way. For a clearer picture, we have to turn to the Libyan press. A report in the Libyan Herald tells us that the militia force battling ISIS at Sirte is from the city of Misrata, and also notes that it has carried out air-strikes in the battle for the city—indicating that these autonomous militias now have warplane. Libyan Observer identifies one of the Misrata militias as al-Bunyan al-Marsoos—and notes that it is resisting an ISIS effort retake to retake the port.
The White House has announced a partial lifting of sanctions on Burma in recognition of progress in its democratic transition. Restrictions are to be dropped on state-owned banks and businesses, although some 100 companies and individuals linked to the armed forces will remain iced. This relaxation comes at the request of longtime democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, who although barred from holding the presidency is effectively the country’s leader following November's elections. But human rights concerns remain—especially around the fate of the Rohingya Muslims, persecuted and made stateless by the military junta that has now (mostly) surrendered power. And the multiple ethnic insurgencies in Burma's opium-producing northern mountains, while receiving less world media attention lately, continue to vex the country.
Four agonizing days after Peru's June 5 presidential race, the final tally was at last announced, giving the center-right Pedro Pablo Kuczynski the narrowest of victories over the openly fascistic Keiko Fujimori. (Diario Uno, DW) The uninspiriing "PPK" is a neoliberal technocrat and veteran cabinet minister. As a World Bank economist he promoted mining and extractive industries in the developing world. He was made minister of Mines & Energy by president Fernando Belaunde in 1980, and went on to become finance minister and cabinet chief under Alejandro Toledo in 2000. Under Toledo, he continued the privatization policies initiated under the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori. (Peru Reports) But his opponent Keiko is the now-imprisoned dictator's daughter—who intransigently defends her father's blood-drenched legacy. (As the race heated up, she did pledge not to repeat his "mistakes," a rather euphemistic term for massive human rights violations. She similarly pledged not to have him pardoned if she won—after having for years previously called for his pardon.) (TeleSur, Villager) In other words, she represented a return to fujimorismo—a mix of law-and-order populism and an aggressively pro-corporate economic program. Does this sound familiar?
The passing last week of Mohammed Abdelaziz, longtime leader of Western Sahara's Polisario Front, occasioned confusion in media coverage as to the difference between Arabs and Berbers—which is fast becoming a critical issue in the contest over the Moroccan-occupied territory. Most embarrassingly, the New York Times writes: "The Polisario Front was formed in the early 1970s by a group of Sahrawis, indigenous nomadic Berber tribesmen, in opposition to Spain's colonial presence in Western Sahara. When Spain withdrew from the region in 1975, the Sahrawis fought attempts by both Mauritania and Morocco to claim the territory." The Sahrawis are not Berbers. They are Bedouin Arabs who arrived from across the Sahara centuries ago. The Berbers are the actual indigenous people of North Africa, who had been there for many more centuries before that. Ironically, the Times goes on to state: "He was selected as secretary general [of Polisario] in 1976 after the death in combat of the front's military leader, Al Ouali Mustapha Erraqibi. Later that year, he was elected president of the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic."
Rojda Felat, a Kurdish revolutionary feminist, is leading the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces' offensive on Raqqa, capital of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate. A three-year veteran of the struggle against ISIS, she is serving as commander of 15,000 Kurdish and Arab fighters, backed by US special forces and warplanes, under the banner of the SDF. "My main goal is liberating the Kurdish woman and the Syrian woman in general from the ties and control of traditional society, as well as liberating the entirety of Syria from terrorism and tyranny," she told the London Times.