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The only Turkish boots on the ground in Palestine are on Israeli soldiers’ feet

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | June 14, 2021

When last month’s ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, thanked Iran for its support. “The Islamic Republic of Iran did not hold back with money, weapons, and technical support,” he said. Haniyeh also thanked Qatar for its pledge to rebuild Gaza after the latest devastating military offensive by Israel, which lasted eleven days and nights last month.

Similar sentiments were conveyed by the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. “All our thanks go to the Islamic Republic of Iran for its consistent support over the years to Hamas and other resistance factions,” he explained. He also briefly recognised support from Qatar, Turkey, and Kuwait.

Apart from Sinwar’s passing reference to Turkey, expressions of gratitude to Ankara were noticeable by their absence. This was despite the frequent pro-Palestinian rhetoric and denunciations of Israel by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The last time that Haniyeh thanked Turkey publically was back in 2016 over its aid efforts in Gaza.

It was clear that, after the latest onslaught on the Palestinian people, the resistance chose to recognise Iran’s help where it matters most, in the field with the armed resistance and, to a lesser extent, Qatar’s assistance for the reconstruction of Gaza.

Why has Turkey been left out, despite being a friend of Palestine? It could be something to do with the uncomfortable truth that despite Ankara’s stance towards Palestinian national liberation, it maintains important diplomatic and trade ties with Israel. The Palestinian factions know this very well. National liberation, as I have written before, will ultimately rest on a military solution, which is why Iranian support has been singularly recognised by the factions.

The status quo of the secular Turkish republic is one that is supportive of Israel. It was the first Muslim-majority country to recognise the statehood of Israel a year after its creation in occupied Palestine in 1948. The rise of Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) over the past two decades has, admittedly, coincided with diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv, especially after the Gaza flotilla attack in 2010.

While political ties have unquestionably deteriorated over the years and reached a new low with Israel’s desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque last month, business ties haven’t. According to the Turkey-based, pro-Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya Ajansi, “When the AK Party came to power, the trade volume between Israel and Turkey was 1.4 billion dollars, today it is 6.5 billion dollars.”

The report cites data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) and says that Israel was ranked as the third-highest importer of Turkish goods last year, for a total value of $4.7 billion.

Political ties between the two countries are served by their respective embassies, which remain open. Turkey appointed a new ambassador to Israel after the downgrade in ties and withdrawal of its envoy in 2018 in protest of the deadly attacks on Gaza that year. At the end of last year, Erdogan said that Turkey would like better relations with Israel but claimed that Palestine is the “red line”. The latest and ongoing aggression, however, suggests that this is not the case.

An interesting development last month, though, was the Turkish proposal to establish an international force to protect Palestinians from future Israeli attacks. This was followed by the signing of a security agreement between Turkey and the Palestinian Authority earlier this month, modelled on a similar pact made with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA). Some have questioned what support Turkey can offer the Palestinian people beyond charitable donations, and to what extent such a hypothetical international force could really protect them. Hence, it remains to be seen if and how this security agreement will be implemented.

What is clear, is that Turkey won’t risk political, military, and economic consequences in any moves that directly affect the security of Israel. Iran knows only too well that its flagrant support of non-state actors opposed to Israeli and Western interests comes at a hefty price in terms of sanctions and attempts to isolate it. Faced with its own economic problems, Turkey will be reluctant to go down such a lonely route, even if both regional powers are arguably supporting Palestine out of ulterior motives.

In any case, the trade will continue as usual, and the only Turkish boots on the ground in occupied Palestine will be worn by Israeli soldiers. As media outlets in Turkey have reported in the past, Turkish-made military boots have been supplied to the Israeli army: “YDS is a leading supplier of boots, assault vests, and bags to armies across the world. Israeli soldiers are among those who use Yakupoğlu garments.” Tension between Israel and Turkey, said one CEO, does not affect business.

The next Palestinian uprising will inevitably involve more support from Iran, and only Arab states and non-state groups aligned with Tehran are vehemently opposed to the occupation state. Reinforcing this, Haniyeh is reportedly planning visits to both Iran and Lebanon, which will include meetings with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei in Tehran and Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. He is expected to travel after his meetings in Cairo over stalled prisoner exchange negotiations with Israel, owing to the latter’s political uncertainty. With a new Israeli government now in place, though, that may change.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

World should not tolerate Israel’s reckless terrorism, North Korea says

Palestinian workers clear rubble and debris in al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City on June 8, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
Press TV | June 9, 2021

North Korea has denounced the latest Israeli military aggression on the besieged Gaza strip, stating that Tel Aviv is massacring children and that the international community should not tolerate Israel’s reckless sponsorship of terrorism.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the whole Gaza Strip has turned into a huge human slaughterhouse and a place of massacring children,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Israel’s horrific crime of killing the … children is a severe challenge to the future of humankind and a crime against the humanity,” it added.

The international community should not tolerate “Israel’s reckless state-sponsored terrorism and act of obliterating other nations.”

At least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 11 days of the conflict that began on May 10. Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.

The Gaza-based resistance movements responded by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.

The Israeli regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Palestinians are facing “staggering health needs” in the occupied territories after the last month’s conflict in the Gaza Strip.

June 9, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Belfast urges expulsion of Israeli envoys from UK, Ireland

Press TV – June 6, 2021

The City Council of Belfast in Northern Ireland has approved a motion calling on the governments of the UK and Ireland to expel Israeli ambassadors over the occupying regime’s crimes against the Palestinians.

The document, passed with votes from left-wing parties, urged Belfast municipality to call on London and Dublin “to expel from office Israeli ambassadors, with immediate effect.”

Speaking at the voting session, Socialist councilor Fiona Ferguson said, “I think the expulsion of ambassadors is a first step – a preliminary step – to greater action, but it’s an incredibly important and symbolic step.”

Ferguson, who has tabled the motion, demanded that the UK and Ireland lead by example and answer “the call from Palestinians across the world who have asked for ambassadors to be expelled.”

The resolution states that Israel’s military operation in Gaza amounts to the “ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians” and that the regime’s “illegal settlement expansion, represents flagrant breaches of international law.”

It further says normal cooperation with Tel Aviv is “untenable” at a time when “a growing list of human rights organizations has determined that Israel’s actions amount to apartheid.”

“The council recognizes the rich history of solidarity and activism in this city from all communities for Palestine, including very recently when a huge demonstration called for an end to Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians; and that such solidarity on the part of our citizens can be an important tool in dismantling support for Israel’s actions,” the motion reads.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian students and activists staged a sit-in protest in front of the Irish Foreign Ministry in Dublin.

They blocked the entrance to the ministry, waving signs urging Ireland to expel the Israeli envoy.

Tel Aviv launched the bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on May 10, after Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Apparently caught off guard by unprecedented rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women, and 1948 others were wounded.

June 6, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Abby Martin Beats the Israel Lobby: Attack on Free Speech and Association Fails Court Test

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 3, 2021

Many Americans who follow developments overseas would concede that Israel and its supporters in the United States exercise a fairly high level of control over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Some are also aware of Congressional attempts to introduce legislation that would define criticism of the Jewish state as a federal hate crime. That would narrow the options for discussion, infringing on First Amendment free speech rights, and further tighten the grip on policy. It would also make violators of the new law subject to fines and even imprisonment at the hands of the Department of Justice, which has traditionally responded favorably on issues of concern to Israel and its supporters.

Still fewer Americans, however, are aware of the ability of the Lobby to promote legislation favorable to Israel and its perceived interests at state and local levels. Possibly the most insidious program being advanced by the friends of Israel is the attempt to make boycotts and public criticism of Israel a punishable offense. Legislation is now in place in many states that requires prospective recipients of government jobs, services or compensation to agree not to participate in boycotting or otherwise seeking to damage the Israeli economy. The details on how the legislation works and what exactly it covers varies from state to state, but the intention is to create disincentives for anyone who seeks to harm Israel as defined by Israel itself. It particularly targets the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is popular on many university campuses. And the prohibition goes beyond just sanctioning those who are taking action personally, as in a number of states one also cannot publicly or even privately encourage others to take action that might be damaging to the Jewish state. In some U.S. states, the recipient must even sign a legal document under oath indicating that he or she will not engage in anti-Israeli activity.

One might well ask by what authority state governments can demand that citizens not be free to discuss or even peacefully oppose the activity engaged in by a foreign government, particularly as the government in question is an apartheid regime that is a serial violator of international law and guilty of numerous war crimes. Indeed, many who have observed the corruption of constitutional government in the United States by Israel and its friends have asked just that and have predictably not received any credible response. Recently, some believers in the Bill of Rights have, however, gone one step further, going to court after refusing to swear fealty to Israel. Highly respected international journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin is one of the latest to do so.

Abby’s tale will strike many as bizarre, but it has been verified by multiple independent sources and is absolutely true. It demonstrates how in 21st century America government at all levels can strip citizens of their fundamental rights with the stroke or a pen and how the lawmakers will feel absolutely no remorse after they have done so.

In 2016 in Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed off on a law designated SB 327, which is similar to legislation currently active in at least thirty states. The bill is entitled “State Purchasing; prohibit the state from entering into certain contracts unless such contracts contain a certification; does not presently conduct a boycott of Israel” and reads “A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 1 of Article 3 of Chapter 5 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general authority, duties, and procedure relative to state purchasing, so as to prohibit the state, including all of its subdivisions and instrumentalities, from entering into certain contracts with an individual or company unless such contracts contain a certification that such individual or company does not presently conduct a boycott of Israel and will not conduct such a boycott for the duration of such contract; to exclude certain contracts from these requirements; to provide for definitions; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

In simple language, the law requires any person or company that enters into a contract with the State of Georgia worth $1,000 or more to sign a loyalty oath pledging not engage in political boycotts of the Israeli government based on its treatment of Palestinians.

Abby Martin had agreed to give the keynote address at the International Critical Media Conference that was to be held at Georgia Southern University in 2020, but her participation was canceled by the authorities controlling the University System of Georgia when she refused to sign the document. Her advocacy for BDS was already well known to college authorities when she agreed to speak. She responded with a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund seeking to overturn both the decision and the law, arguing that her speech was protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Last Monday, Judge Mark Cohen of the Federal District Court in Atlanta ruled in her favor, declaring that the University System of Georgia had violated Martin’s constitutional rights when it cancelled her speaking engagement over her refusal to sign the state-mandated oath pledging not to engage in boycotts of Israel, which the court determined to be protected by the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

The Georgian government defense argued absurdly that it had canceled Martin’s speech because it had “an interest in furthering foreign policy goals regarding relations with Israel.” Dismissing that contention, the judge countered with “Defendants fail to explain how Martin’s advocacy of a boycott of Israel has any bearing on Georgia’s ability to advance foreign policy goals with Israel.” One might also add that the U.S. Constitution grants to the federal government alone the conduct of foreign affairs for the entire United States, so, in a sense, Georgia has no foreign policy.

The judge specifically cited how the law’s clear intention to stifle discussion of BDS “prohibits inherently expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment,” and therefore “burdens Martin’s right to free speech.” He also observed that requiring Martin to sign under oath to refrain from certain otherwise legal activity is “no different than requiring a person to espouse certain political beliefs or to engage in certain political associations.”

Abby Martin was, of course, pleased over the outcome of her case, even though the judge has not yet gone so far as to overturn the law itself. She enthused “I am thrilled at the judge’s decision finding this law unconstitutional as it so clearly violates the free speech rights of myself and so many others in Georgia. My First Amendment rights were restricted on behalf of a foreign government, which flies in the face of the principles of freedom and democracy. The government of Israel has pushed state legislatures to enact these laws only because they know that sympathy and support for the population they brutalize, occupy, ethnically cleanse and subject to apartheid, is finally growing in popular consciousness ––they want to hold back the tide of justice by preemptively restricting the right of American citizens to peacefully take a stand against their crimes.”

Abby Martin’s efforts must be applauded for she has won a major victory in the struggle to maintain freedom of speech in the United States. May it be one of the first in the many battles that will have to be fought to have the courts finally determine decisively that laws drafted by states (and the federal government) specifically to serve Israel’s perceived interests are all unconstitutional and will have to be overturned.

June 3, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 3 Comments

Brits protest outside BAE Systems for weapons sales to Israel

By Ahmed Kaballo – Press TV – May 28, 2021

London – Hundreds of pro-Palestine protestors gathered outside the BAE Systems factory in Blackburn in the north of England, to call upon the weapons manufacturer to stop supplying components for F-35 fighter jets that have been used in the recent bombardment of Gaza.

The protest came on the back of one the largest pro-Palestine demonstrations in British history on Saturday and similar demonstrations throughout the week led by Palestine action groups who have been protesting outside the Israeli-owned Elbit Systems factory that provides drones, weapons, and military hardware to the Israeli army.

We have seen protests in Leicester, Tamworth, Oldham, and today in Blackburn as the anger amongst the British public begins to swell at the thought that UK weapons have been used by the Israeli army to kill Palestinian children.

It has become increasingly clear that the British government’s unwavering support for Israel is not representative of the feeling on the ground with more than 383,000 Brits calling on their government to sanction the Israeli regime for their crimes against the Palestinian people.

But while the UK remains complicit through the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of weapons sold to the Israeli army. Some might wonder if the UK should also be held accountable.

May 28, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Vax Passports: Where Your State Stands

Alliance for Natural Health | May 27, 2021

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, and vaccination recommendations extend to younger and younger Americans, we are starting to see more efforts to require vaccination as a condition of receiving services, as we’ve seen at American universities. This endangers autoimmune patients who are more at risk of serious adverse events following COVID vaccination. States can take a stand for medical freedom and privacy rights. To prevent de facto vaccine mandates that endanger millions of patients, we must encourage state leaders to take action to protect our health.

Ten states, so far, have taken steps to restrict or ban the use of vaccine passports, electronic applications that display an individual’s vaccination status or COVID lab test results. Many have done so through executive orders signed by the governor: Arizona, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Three states have passed legislation along similar lines, including Utah, Indiana, and Arkansas.

These policies have important differences. In Florida and Montana, executive orders prevent businesses, in addition to state institutions, from requiring patrons to provide proof of vaccination to gain entry or service from the business. In IdahoArizonaSouth DakotaUtahSouth CarolinaArkansasIndiana, and Texas, the ban on vaccine passports is generally limited to entities of the state government or (in the case of Texas) any business that receives state funds.

Legislation is pending in the following states to prevent discrimination based on vaccination status and/or to prevent the use of vaccine passports: FL, NC, OK, HI, OR, RI, TX, WI, PA, and VT.

Texas State Senator Bob Hall, one of the sponsors of a bill preventing discrimination in Texas, had eloquent words to share about vaccine passports: “[My bill] aims to give Texans the peace of mind of knowing that their ability to navigate, participate, and function without being required to undergo an experimental medical procedure as a condition of that engagement is protected by law.”

Some governors have made positive statements, though have not yet taken action to prevent vaccine passports. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp tweeted, “I do not and will not support any kind of state-mandated vaccine passport… the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual.” Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska said “Nebraska will not participate in any vaccine passport program. This concept violates two central tenets of the American system: freedom of movement and healthcare privacy.” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced “I oppose vaccine passports. The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement.”

Some states are moving in the other direction. Hawaii is allowing fully vaccinated Hawaiians to travel between islands without quarantine and other testing rules, with plans in the works to launch a vaccine passport system. New York has already launched the Excelsior Pass, a voluntary app that allows people to upload negative COVID-19 test results or proof of vaccination. Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut said he expects “some type of passport or validation … probably led by the private sector,” and that more planning will occur once vaccinations are open to everyone. Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina said his administration is exploring the development of vaccine passports.

We’re already seeing how this can play out. In Israel, for example, the government issues “green passes” allowing access to social, cultural, sporting events, gyms, restaurants, etc., to individuals who have either recovered from COVID or have had the vaccine. Green passes must be renewed every six months.

We are all eager for life to return to “normal” following extended lockdowns and isolation. But vaccine passports are not the answer. We cannot deny rights and privileges to those, such as autoimmune patients, who choose not to receive a medical procedure due to a legitimate medical concern.

Action Alerts!

  1. Florida and Montana residents, thank your legislators for banning vaccine passports. Take Action!
  2. If you live in a state that banned vaccine passports only in state institutions (AZ, AR, ID, IN, SC, SD, TX, and UT), thank lawmakers for taking action but urge them to extend the ban on passports to businesses in the state. Take Action!
  3. All other states: urge your lawmakers to take action to ban vaccine passports in your state. Take Action!

May 28, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

We Won! Trader Joe’s was the First Crack in the Armor

By Allan Stevo | Lew Rockwell | May 17, 2021

For more than a year, Trader Joe’s has been a particularly troubling store for some readers of these pages.

Trader Joe’s has some excellent quality products at a consumer friendly price with a quirky corporate style. What’s not to like about such a place?

When corona communism was implemented after the Ides of March 2020, we saw exactly what was not to like about such a place.

Trader Joe’s became one of many private companies that enforced the terrible one-sized-fits-all health mandates, including the CDC’s April 3, 2020, face mask order, the single most powerful tool of 2020.

The very concept of private property is further perverted when such behavior takes place as private companies enforce illegitimate government edict.

It didn’t stop there. Through participation in trade organizations, the executives of Trader Joe’s and other companies, called for even more stringent across-the-board policies from government. They didn’t just enable, they didn’t just enforce, they didn’t just encourage, they demanded even more tyranny!

To the credit of Trader Joe’s, their corporate policy always left room for individual exemptions among customers. However, in practice, this was very difficult to invoke. The Trader Joe’s horror stories are legion, and some of the worst of the past year.

In some locations, a customer practically had to have a law degree to get their face mask exemption policy honored.

The easy breezy decentralized corporate style of Trader Joe’s quickly devolved to utter tyrrany as managers were more likely to follow the directives of the CNN chyron than the actual corporate policy.

That once friendly “crew member” who always gave you an extra big smile at checkout was suddenly a mask Nazi of the tallest order.

I mean it when I say “Nazi.” A defining characteristic of nazism was the fusion of state and corporate power. Nazis needed corporate cooperation for their efforts to take hold, just as the corona communists of the Ides of March 2020 did.

Executives at Trader Joe’s overwhelmingly looked the other way as stores enacted the most preposterous policies.

Example: an employee polling other customers on whether a medically exempt customer looked like someone who should be medically exempt from a mask and then inciting customers to corner and angrily confront the unmasked shopper about that.

This kind of sick behavior was happening to grandmothers! Who could possibly justify an employee cornering a shopper in the spices section and gathering together an angry mob of customers?

Regional Vice Presidents encouraged the tyranny further, giving full support to such behavior and being so full of hubris as to actually put such support in writing. That level of hubris speaks volumes about an organization in a way little else can. There was utter disconnect from reality and total contempt for anyone who disagreed. As is so often true, pride precedes a fall.

On April 29, 2021, I sent a strongly worded letter on this topic of their rampant abuse of costumers to Trader Joe’s CEO Daniel Bane.

Just to make sure the letter was not ignored, my team and I followed up that letter with a press release further pointing to Trader Joe’s illegal and unethical discrimination.

It is the job of corporate communications departments to take note of the chatter about their company in the media and online. In such an environment, press releases can be a helpful exclamation point on a sentence that needs to be spoken with emphasis: Don’t tread on us.

If done right, both the CEOs office and the communications team end up going frantically through the company figuring out how to address those concerns.

This particular press release was picked up and reprinted by at least 109 media sources that day. The Trader Joe’s communications team probably noticed.

Beginning the very next day, the toughest Trader Joe’s stores in the country stopped their ridiculous level of radical enforcement. More than a year’s worth of the most unceasing awful behavior toward customers literally stopped overnight.

It was so rampant that I used to receive several complaints about Trader Joe’s some weeks. As of April 30, more than two weeks ago, I have not received a single new complaint. This was not only what I was observing through correspondences, but my team and I also have folks patrolling the world as health freedom inspectors keeping an eye on tyrannical corporate enforcement of illegitimate government policy. These health freedom inspectors reported similar results. Additionally, I myself am constantly out testing techniques and probing for cracks in the system. I firsthand observed an absolute night and day shift on April 30, repeatedly confirmed in the days thereafter.

I think we had their attention.

In the days ahead, I encouraged people to reach out to the Trader Joe’s CEO at his personal email address as follow up to the letter.

Hundreds of readers of these pages did that. This activity peaked with some 300 emails being sent to the CEO on a single day, Thursday, May 13, 2021.

I was CC’d or BCC’d on about a hundred of them that day.

This wasn’t sent to info@traderjoes.com. This was sent to the CEO. 300 emails to a single inbox can be hard to ignore.

The CDC adjusted their guidance on Thursday as well. Trader Joe’s didn’t leap to the lead on that, sticking their necks out because of the CDC guidance. Based on anecdotal accounts, they had a lot of pressure from employees and customers alike. The lawsuits, the complaints, the pushback, the pressure means a lot. I’ve never worked at a company where a single email that was written right and directed to the right inbox at the right time could not move an entire company to immediate action.

Just one email can do that. Anyone who wants to deny that, has never seen that happen or has some agenda by which they seek to discourage you. One, well targeted email can make a difference. Ten can as well. A hundred can. A thousand can. I don’t pretend to know what happened behind the scenes, but I know that our emails had the ability to shape policy at several dozen companies this Friday and my guess is that they did. They may have even helped to shape policy at the CDC, a much harder entity to motivate than a private business. Having seen letters like that cross desks, both governmental and private, I know how very impactful they can be.

What I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall.

The next morning, on Friday, May 14, 2021, Trader Joe’s publicly altered their policy.

They dropped all face mask mandates for customers.

To save face, they cited a CDC guidance from the previous day about vaccines and face masks. They claimed that they would only allow entrance to unmasked customers who had been vaccinated, a detail that they publicly have stated they will not be checking for.

They crumbled.

I knew they were weak, these tyrants, I knew these orders were getting ready to crumble, but I didn’t realize exactly how weak they were. They are very weak and the proper response to weakness from an enemy of freedom is to fight all the harder, until they look back at 2020 and say “I’m never gonna try that again.”

Despite the corporate spin and gobbledygook, the truth of the matter is this:

On May 14, 2021, you and I, who have long been fighting this in ways both big and small, won a decisive victory, as we took down the Trader Joe’s face mask order. We left Trader Joe’s with no other alternative. We made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Dozens of companies immediately followed.

This is a huge victory, and it cannot stop here.

Trader Joe’s plans to leave their employees masked. They also plan to keep their “only the vaccinated can be unmasked policy” in place on paper. If allowed to remain in place, it will be only a matter of time before it returns with a vengeance. The next time it is enforced, we shouldn’t expect it to be as generous and easy to defeat as it was this time.

Therefore, we must stop the forced masking of Trader Joe’s employees and we must remove all mention of any government-advised health mandate as a condition of entering a business.

It is not the place of government to place health mandates on us, and it is certainly not the right of corporations to enforce such illegitimate abuses of government power on us. It is illegitimate abuse of government power no matter who enforces it: your neighbor, your grocer, your child’s school, your mailman, or your own mother.

We must truly redouble our efforts.

Time is of the essence. We have a very short window of opportunity to defeat these one-size-fits-all health mandates.

The annual flu season will begin in late-September. Respiratory virus related illnesses and deaths will increase and the fear campaign will intensify. Standard deaths that take place every year from respiratory viruses will be blamed on something scary. “Vaccine” deaths will be blamed on something scary and will certainly not be blamed on vaccines. We will have quite a fight on our hands.

If these one-size-fits-all approaches are still with us and normalized in September 2021, there will be no stopping them. They will be with us a very long time and we really will have entered the new normal. We must return society to normal by the end of this summer, or we risk losing society as we once knew it.

We must roll society back far before 2019, to regain freedoms we were once certain were gone forever, and we must let no vestige of 2020 remain.

That is the work that is ahead of us. That is the work we need accomplished immediately and by September 2021 at the latest, for if we do not, we will go into a far more pernicious battle for our civilization and will be doing so with the forces of freedom so grossly unprepared. That is something we cannot let happen.

I need you to do one thing right now to help me accomplish that, I need you to sign up at RealStevo.com, and I will enlist you in helping me take down these orders. In signing up, you will be joining an army of activists. The army of activists who read my work, who were so responsive, and who hit Trader Joe’s hard and repeatedly made such a difference in shifting this policy. We have much more work ahead of us.

Then I need you to share this article.

With literally 20 minutes of work a day from a dedicated minority, taking targeted action, we can take down these orders.

If you need pointers on how not to wear a mask ever again read my bestselling “Face Masks in One Lesson.” If you would like similar writing free of charge, check out my LewRockwell.com writing on the topic, but really what it comes down to is insisting in your own life that you will live life by a higher standard: that is what saying “No!” to the mask amounts to.

We can do this.

We are winning.

They are desperate.

Victory is at hand.

And now we must close on our victory.

If you’re a closer I need you.

Who is with me?

May 18, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 2 Comments

In Defence of the Handshake

By David McGrogan | Lockdown Sceptics | May 11, 2021

One of the first characteristics of the ‘new normal’ to appear in early 2020 was the avoidance of the humble handshake. And this has crystallised ever since. Pressing the flesh has now become one of those things, we’re told, like going to the office 9-5 each day, or appearing unmasked on a crowded train, that has been consigned to the dustbin of history. We won’t do that anymore, even if (when?) Covid completely disappears.

Well, don’t believe the hype. The handshake is alive and well and living in Paris – not to mention London, New York, and Stockton-on-Tees. Prohibition never eliminates a practice, as any fool can tell you; it just drives it into the weeds. And handshaking is no different. People are still doing it. And now it has a subversive edge. When somebody offers you their hand these days, it is no longer just the meaningless ritual of yesteryear – it sends some important messages, which are all the more profound for the fact that they are not consciously sent or received. Human communication is not just verbal, but physical, and one only has to think for a second to realise that our physical ways of communicating – kissing, hugging, shaking hands – are often the most significant. What words are there that can surpass a simple hug from a loved one at a time of crisis? Or a first kiss? Or a handshake on the playground after a fight?

The first unconscious message sent by the post-2020 handshake is simply stated: you and your fellow hand-shaker are simpatico. The mask-wearing, the social distancing, the fear-mongering – maybe you’ll go along with it if you must, but deep down inside, you hate it. And with that furtive handshake, both of you now know that you’re in the same club. The wheat has been separated from the chaff.

The second unconscious message is more powerful. It says, in a nutshell: “I know that your hand may be covered in germs. But I will shake it nonetheless.” It is a statement. In taking the proffered hand, you are stepping outside of your safety zone – literally and figuratively – to physically connect with another human being. But you are also taking a risk, however small. This signifies to that person that you are prepared to trust them, and therefore that your relationship and their goodwill really matter to you.

But there is a third, and even more potent signal that is sent by the modern handshake. This one is more difficult to summarise in a simple sentence, but one might describe it as the rejection of a certain tendency in modern society to disdain the body – especially the bodies of other people – and to seek to transcend its apparent inadequacies, crudity, and primitivism.

Even before lockdown, our society had become increasingly verbal and cerebral as the use of the internet came to dominate our lives, and as professional jobs became ever more remote (no pun intended) from physical work. We had already come to privilege the word over mere action. And at the same time, many of us had already grown used to almost literally living inside our own minds, inhabiting an ‘extremely online’ world in which thought and feeling were completely detached (or so it was easy to delude ourselves) from the physical realm. As a consequence, for many people physical social contact had already come to seem almost distasteful. That trend has only accelerated since last March, partly because it now appears to have a justification to support it. Where previously a hatred of physical contact would be something of an embarrassment, deemed misanthropic and precious, it can now be spun into something virtuous. Living unmoored from the nasty, smelly, disease-ridden sphere of other people is a sign that you are in fact a good person. You are stopping the spread.

The post-2020 handshake is a rebellion against this tendency. It relocates us in the world, and particularly the world of others. It says that there is something in our nature as social animals that values the physical presence of people – not just their words on a screen, abstracted chatter, but their totality. Warts, germs, and all. We are not simply our minds, shackled to a hunk of ponderous meat. We are the whole package, and the whole package matters.

With the easing of lockdown we have arrived at a fork in the road. In one direction, life as it was. In the other, a new normal of face masks, social distancing, and lateral-flow tests, ‘just in case’. The idea that we should passively let our politicians make decisions about such fundamental matters, assuming they will make wise decisions on our behalf, is foolishness. Those of us who want to recapture the life we once had need to get serious about doing the things that we always used to do, in acceptance of the very small associated risks. That begins with shaking hands – the simple gesture that has been with us for thousands of years, through plague, war and famine, and whose message of trust and openness is too important to allow it to be abandoned because of this novel pathogen.

Dr David McGrogan is Associate Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School.

May 12, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | 2 Comments

Ten Things We Have Learned During the Covid Coup

The Acorn Issue 65

One potential positive from the whole Covid-19 debacle is that we have learned an incredible amount about the society in which we live. This will be crucial if we manage to stave off a descent into a nightmare future of techno-fascist slavery.

We will have a new understanding of what our world has become and what we would like it to be in the decades and centuries to come. And “we” means we. While the majority have apparently learnt nothing at all from what has happened, they will eventually catch up.

There is no way that knowledge gained by a wide-awake 15% or 20% of the population will not end up being shared by almost everyone. Once the truth is out, it tends to stay out. As H.R. Haldeman so wisely put it, “you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube”.

Here are ten things we have learned during the Covid coup:

1. Our political system is hopelessly corrupt. Virtually all politicians are hopelessly corrupt. No political party can be trusted. They all can be, and have been, bought.

2. Democracy is a sham. It has been a sham for a very long time. There will never be any real democracy when money and power amount to the same thing.

3. The system will stop at nothing to hold on to its power and, if possible, increase its levels of control and exploitation. It has no scruples. No lie is too outrageous, no hypocrisy too nauseating, no human sacrifice too great.

4. So-called radical movements are usually nothing of the sort. From whatever direction they claim to attack the system, they are just pretending to do so and serve to channel discontent in directions which are harmless to the power clique and even useful to its agendas.

5. Any “dissident” voice you have ever heard of through corporate media is probably a fake. The system does not hand out free publicity to its actual enemies.

6. Most people in our society are cowards. They will jettison all the fine values and principles which they have been loudly boasting about all their lives merely to avoid the slightest chance of public criticism, inconvenience or even minor financial loss.

7. The mainstream media is nothing but a propaganda machine for the system and those journalists who work for it have sold their sorry souls, placing their (often minimal) writing skills entirely at the disposition of Power.

8. Police are not servants of the public but servants of a powerful and extremely wealthy minority which seeks to control and exploit the public for its own narrow and greedy interests.

9. Scientists cannot be trusted. They will use the hypnotic power of their white coats and authoritative status for the benefit of whoever funds their work and lifestyle. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

10. Progress is a misleading illusion. The “progress” of increasing automisation and industrialisation does not go hand in hand with a progress in the quality of human life, but in fact will “progressively” reduce it to the point of complete extinction.

May 11, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Anti-war activist visited by police after posting embarrassing AOC video

By MAX BLUMENTHAL · The Grayzone · APRIL 9, 2021

An anti-war activist said he was visited by California Highway Patrol officers after posting video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bumbling comments on Israel-Palestine. The action was initiated by a call to US Capitol Police.

As he waited for a food delivery at his home in Los Angeles on April 8, Ryan Wentz, an anti-war activist and producer for the online viral program, Soapbox, heard two men calling his name from over his front gate. When he approached, he realized they were not delivery drivers, but police officers flashing badges of the California Highway Patrol.

The cops informed Wentz that they had received a call from the Capitol Police, the federal law enforcement agency tasked with protecting the US Congress, about a tweet he had sent that allegedly threatened Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Wentz told The Grayzone, “The officers said, ‘We got a warning about a sitting member of Congress. And it was because of your tweet, which tagged them in it.’ And then they just wouldn’t back down from this accusation that I threatened to kill her.”

The California Highway Patrol indicated on Twitter that it had acted on a call from Capitol Police. The Grayzone has contacted the office of Ocasio-Cortez, known popularly as AOC, and will update this article when more information is available.

Whether or not AOC’s office was responsible for falsely informing Capitol Police of an online threat by Wentz, the Democratic congresswoman has demonstrated a pattern of spurious claims of violence against her critics, and of resorting to heavy-handed methods to suppress them. Any move by AOC to wield law enforcement against online detractors would be especially ironic given her status as a vehement advocate for defunding the police and ending mass incarceration.

Whoever called the police on Wentz furnished law enforcement with a patently false allegation, as he has never threatened violence against any member of Congress. In the tweet that triggered the police action, Wentz merely posted video of AOC delivering a vapid and embarrassingly convoluted answer to a question about resolving the crisis in Israel-Palestine. Describing her answer as “incredibly underwhelming,” he let the congresswoman’s cringeworthy commentary speak for itself.

Asked by Michael S. Miller of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council about actions that could be taken to support movements towards peace between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, AOC responded as follows:

Earlier just now you and I were talking about the what and the how. And I think that when we talk about peace, centering people’s humanity, protecting people’s rights – it’s not just about the what and the end goal which actually gets a lot of focus, but I actually think it’s much more about the how, and the way we are coming together, and how we interpret that what, and how we act in, you know, the actions we take to get to that what. So what this really is about is a question more than anything else about process. And we really need to make sure that we are valuing a process where all parties are respected and have, you know, a lot of equal opportunity to really make sure we are negotiating in good faith, etcetera. That being said, you know, I think there’s just this one central issue of settlements, because if the what – if the what has been decided on as two state, then the action of settlements, it’s not the how to get to that what. And so, you know, I think that’s a central thing that, you know, we center. And that we value Jewish and rather, we value Israeli, uh, uh, uh, we value the safety and human rights of Israelis, we value the safety and human rights of Palestinians, in that process that is similar, and that is on equal footing. And so all of that is extremely important in that process.

The video that Wentz tweeted of AOC’s long-winded dodge of a fundamental question about resolving the Israeli occupation of Palestine prompted a flood of online mockery and contempt, mostly from leftist Twitter users. Many derided AOC as a careerist who had abandoned progressive causes like Palestinian liberation in order to curry favor with Democratic Party power brokers, while others ridiculed her meaningless word salad.

Within hours of the online pile-on, someone reported Wentz to the Capitol Police for tweeting the video that embarrassed AOC. Because Wentz does not provide any information about his personal identity in his public Twitter profile, the social media giant appeared to have provided his private details to federal law enforcement.

“Another weird thing is usually I would get a report [from Twitter],” Wentz said, “because I’ve gotten my tweets reported before. But I didn’t get any notification about this.”

AOC’s staff has previously appealed to certain authorities to punish online critics. On February 4, 2021, her campaign sent a mass email to supporters asking them to “scan your social media to find posts with misleading information” about the congresswoman, and “use the built-in report feature to flag them for moderators.”

Team AOC issued its appeal for supporters to police social media in response to right-wing mockery of a dramatic livestream in which AOC suggested that the mob which stormed the Capitol building on January 6 nearly assassinated her.

“I just hear these yells of ‘WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?’” she recounted in the livestream. “This was the moment where I thought everything was over. I thought I was going to die.”

Her eyes welling with tears, AOC continued, “I felt that if this was the journey my life was taking, I felt that things were going to be okay, and that I had fulfilled my purpose.”

However, the source of the yells which had terrified AOC turned out to be a Capitol Police officer who had been dispatched to protect her. Further, the congresswoman’s office was located in the Cannon House Office Building, which had not been penetrated by any rioters on January 6 and was located a block away from the melee.

Right-wing activists responded to AOC’s claims by launching a viral hashtag likening her to Jussie Smollet, the actor who faked an attack on himself. After attempting to challenge her critics directly, AOC delegated her staff to dispatch its army of supporters to report critics en masse to Twitter and Facebook censors.

Weeks earlier, online podcaster Jimmy Dore had initiated a “Force The Vote” campaign to pressure AOC and fellow members of the progressive congressional “Squad” to withhold their votes for Rep. Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House until Pelosi agreed to bring a bill for Medicare for All to the floor for a vote.

In response to incendiary criticism from Dore for her refusal to buck centrist party leadership, AOC declared, “That’s not tone, that’s violence.”

AOC’s record of characterizing harsh criticism as violent abuse, and turning to online censors to suppress it, raises questions about whether her team was responsible for siccing the police on an anti-war activist.

According to Wentz, the police officers that visited him asked if he had any violent intent behind his tweet, then left. “If this was like a purely intimidation thing,” he reflected, “then I guess it did its job. It’s not comforting to be on the receiving end of that. But at the same time, they’re not going to shut the left up.”

Wentz added, “We are told that AOC is a member of the left, but if she really was involved in this [call to the Capitol Police] – and that’s how the left treats the left – then I want no part of that. I don’t want this fake adversarial movement that just entrenches the horrible deeds that we’re living under now.”

April 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Hamas welcomes Turkish-Egyptian detente

Ismail Haneyya
Palestine Information Center – April 1, 2021

ISTANBUL – Head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya has welcomed the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, expressing confidence that any cooperation between Ankara and Cairo will be in the interest of the Palestinian people and their national cause.

Haneyya made the remarks in an interview conducted by Anadolu Agency after he visited its headquarters in Istanbul.

“We welcome the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, and we believe that more understandings between them and between Arab and Islamic countries will have a positive impact on us in Palestine as well as on the Arab countries,” the Hamas political chief said.

“There are historically known central states in the region that play strategic roles, such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, so any understanding and rapprochement between them will be in the interests of the peoples in the region and the Palestinian cause,” he added.

As for the upcoming Palestinian elections, Haneyya affirmed that his Movement is committed to forming a national consensus government even if it scored a victory in the legislative elections slated for next May.

“Hamas is participating in the elections on the basis of partnership and not with the aim of defeating others. It does not want to dominate the Palestinian political system,” he underlined.

He described the upcoming elections as an important opportunity to improve the current Palestinian conditions and end 15 years of national division.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran, China to sign cooperation document

IRNA – March 27, 2021

Tehran – Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday night that Iran and China would sign the 25-year Cooperation document on Saturday.

Speaking to IRIB TV Channel 1, Khatibzadeh said that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Iran on the verge of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries and the document would be signed in this trip.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, who arrived in Tehran Friday night, is also going to have meetings with a number of Iranian authorities, according to the Spokesman.

He also said that the cooperation document was discussed in 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, to lead bilateral ties to a comprehensive and strategic level.

“Relations between Iran and China are multi-layered, deep and having different dimension and this necessitates them to be included in a document. Therefore, the document has been exchanged between the two states for several times and it will eventually be signed on Saturday by Foreign Ministers,” Khatibzadeh went on to say.

The document has a comprehensive road-map, said the diplomat, adding that the economic dimension, as the main axis of the document, includes cooperation in different areas, as well as Iran’s participation in One Road, One Belt initiative and special focus on the private sector in both countries.

“No comprehensive strategic participation is established unless the exact cultural, popular and media basis is formed. This has been addressed in the cultural part of the document,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman said, adding “We expect the document to serve as a road-map for Iran-China relations in the next 25 years.”

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment