Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein just announced her running mate as Ajamu Baraka, who she hails as "a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come—an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice." (Politico) Among his touted credentials is that he served on the board of Amnesty International, where he apparently did anti-death penalty work. That is certainly a worthy cred. But it is also hilariously ironic in light of Baraka's vigorous support for what is probably the bloodiest regime on the planet right now: the genocidal dictatorship of Syria's Bashar Assad.
We have noted Jill Stein's deeply embarrassing parroting of Assad regime propaganda. But Baraka's statements are far worse. As "Public Intervenor for Human Rights" (sic!) in Stein's pretentious "Shadow Cabinet," Baraka actually issued a statement in 2014 hailing Assad's thoroughly controlled pseudo-elections that year which confirmed his inherited dictatorial rule. It was entitled: "Elections in Syria: The People Say No to Foreign Intervention." It crowed about Assad's widespread "support" among the Syrian people, and how the opposition was "fomented" by the "gangster states of NATO."
It really takes some chutzpah to be boosting Baraka's Amnesty International creds when Amnesty is vigorously protesting the Assad regime's ongoing aerial terror against civilians, its strangulation of besieged areas, and its strategy of "using starvation as a weapon of war and deliberately causing unbearable suffering to those living in opposition-held areas."
Baraka's work against the death penalty is cast in a horrifically ironic light by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights finding that the Assaad regime is systematically killing detainees in its areas of control, amounting to the crime against humanity of "extermination."
A credential more reflective of Baraka's actual politics is his years of work for the (reliably reactionary) Counterpunch, a pseudo-left website that was thoroughly exposed as a de facto propaganda arm of Assad's regime when it actually provided a platform to Bouthaina Shaaban, the regime's official public relations advisor. Counterpunch now has a piece boasting: "Jill Stein Picks Long-Time CounterPuncher Ajamu Baraka as Her VP Running Mate." Among Baraka's contributions to Counterpunch is a reworking of his screed hailing the 2014 Syrian pseudo-elections as a victory for "dignity and self-determination."
This is even worse that Stein's own glib denialism about the Assad regime's chemical attacks—which continue even now. But Stein obviously shares her running mate's ultra-reactionary views on Syria. She also spoke out against the (purely fictional) Obama "obsession with toppling the government in Damascus" at a a Moscow forum organized by Kremlin state media mouthpiece RT, which was followed by a dinner attended by Vladimir Putin, as her website proudly notes.
So the top candidate of the ticket that purports to represent peace and human rights breaks bread with the man whose warplanes are raining daily death down on Syrians. And while the slogan of the Arab Revolution from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya to Syria has been "the people want the fall of the regime," she stigmatizes "regime change" as a Washington conspiracy. This is once again what we call imperial narcissism.
This all constitutes a sickening betrayal of the Syrian people, who, through five years of horror, have put more on the line for human rights and democracy than the deluded, self-satisfied, unserious Green Party could ever aspire to. We don't care if Stein and Baraka talk a good line on GMOs or whatever. There are some lines you do not cross, and support for a fascist regime that is carrying out daily war crimes is one of them.
Shame, shame, shame on anyone who votes for Jill Stein.