"If a government cannot prove the honesty and accuracy of the elections by which they claim authority over the people, then the people are neither legally nor morally obligated to obey that government's dictates nor to pay its bills nor to send their children to die in that government's wars, and may with full moral justification resist with lethal force efforts to coerce said dictatorship, looting, and conscription." -- Michael Rivero

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Prior to the Israeli military’s slaughter of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers in Gaza this month, Middle East Eye (MEE) reports that at least 357 humanitarian-run sites and convoys had been attacked.

As with the incident involving the slain WCK workers which included an American citizen, the humanitarian orgs shared their coordinates in advance of operations with the warring parties. Israel hit them anyway and UN officials have warned of great difficulty in repairing the broken humanitarian notification system.

Current data shows that at least 216 aid workers have been killed during Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and relentless war on the Palestinian people trapped in the besieged, highly dense, coastal enclave. Aid workers told MEE the “scale of the incidents was unprecedented, even compared to the most dangerous war zones and emergencies they have experienced.” The vast majority of aid workers slaughtered have been employed by UNRWA, the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees.

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At the time I resigned in early March, I was the only staff member of Palestinian descent at World Central Kitchen (WCK).1 I resigned in protest of extensive, unexplained censorship regarding Gaza at the organization. WCK leadership is taking a stand six months too late, only after 7 of its personnel were killed.

World Central Kitchen is a food relief NGO, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés in response to 2010’s disastrous earthquake in Haiti. While the vast majority of the organization’s work is in response to natural disasters, WCK had made exceptions, including feeding the National Guard and law enforcement during the January 6 insurrection, and in 2022 activated wholesale in Ukraine.

On December 7 of last year, I sent this letter to World Central Kitchen’s executive team, along with a request to discuss its points in an open conversation mediated by an ombudsman, a resource hired by the organization in the wake of last year’s sexual harassment scandal. The letter called for WCK to join other regionally active NGOs in calling for a ceasefire and condemning Israel’s blockade, conform its language in coverage of Gaza to the standard set by its coverage of Ukraine, and an immediate cessation in meal service in Israel. It garnered 43 signatures from WCK staff, contractors, and Chef Corps volunteers at a time when the organization’s largest Slack channel had 101 employees. The entire WCK executive team declined the meeting, and failed to respond when the ombudsman reached out to them. WCK continued to actively serve meals in Israel until the second day of the ICJ genocide hearing in January.

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The UN’s Human Rights Office said on Tuesday that Israel is still imposing “unlawful” restrictions on aid entering Gaza despite US and Israeli claims that there’s been an increase in deliveries, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

After Israel slaughtered seven workers for the World Central Kitchen on April 1, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government made a commitment to allow more aid into the Strip, but the UN says aid levels are still way below the bare minimum of what’s needed.

“Israel continues to impose unlawful restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian assistance and to carry out widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office.

Shamdasani added that “those delivering or trying to access humanitarian assistance must never be attacked.” Last week, UNICEF workers reported that a vehicle they were traveling in was hit by Israeli gunfire, but nobody was hurt.

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In an article titled “Israel vows to retaliate against Iran for missile attacks,” Axios reports that the Israeli defense minister has informed his American counterpart that Israel “has no choice” but to attack Iran for the retaliatory strike it launched in response to Israel’s deadly attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

“Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Sunday that Israel has no choice but to respond to the unprecedented missile and drone attack launched by Iran over the weekend,” reports Axios, citing an anonymous US official and another unnamed source.

The state of Israel has been churning out massive lies on a daily basis for the last six months, but this whopper could wind up being the most consequential.

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The circus which has set up its big top on the 15th floor of a rather dingy Manhattan court building will be captivating most of America soon enough — and much of the rest of the world, too.

Whether it will also provide a compelling case against Trump is another matter. Dozy Don faces 88 criminal charges in cases spread across four states.

Many Democrats, who would love to see him go down for one or all the indictments, are dismayed that the first one up is the New York case that they, along with legal experts and political commentators, fear is the weakest — and that, even if Trump is found guilty, voters will struggle to understand that what he did was really criminal.

T his also plays to Trump's oft-repeated claim that he is the victim of political persecution by Democratic activists, including many in the Biden administration, who are using the law against him because they fear they can't beat him at the ballot box.

The way he sees it, the proceedings have all the hallmarks of a show trial. Trump will be judged by an overwhelmingly Democratic jury in a trial presided over by a Democratic judge and brought about by a Democratic District Attorney.

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Israeli forces besieged a school in Gaza’s Beit Hanoun where hundreds of forcibly displaced Palestinians were sheltering on Tuesday.

According to local media, Israeli forces entered the school on Monday evening at a time when communications and the Internet were cut off.

Israeli soldiers called on young men inside the school through loudspeakers to exit the school, before stripping them of their clothes.

Women and children in the school were told to leave and move south at gunpoint.

A voice recording posted by doctor Abdallah Mohammed, from Gaza’s Shujayya neighbourhood confirmed reports, with the sound of screaming children, wails and gunshots were heard.

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Morocco will reportedly host an Israeli drone production site despite the growing anti-normalisation protests in the country.

Ronen Nadir, CEO of BlueBird Aero Systems, stated that his company has already established a local production facility in the North African kingdom. "It will start operating soon," Nadir was quoted as saying by Zona Militar, a defence news outlet based in Buenos Aires.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), one of Tel Aviv's prominent defence companies, owns 50% of Blue Bird's shares.

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The attack by Israeli settlers on this Palestinian village was the worst anyone here could remember. There were pools of dried blood on the rooftop where assailants shot a man dead; a pile of lambs with their necks slit was thick with buzzing flies.

At least two Palestinians were killed in the rampage across West Bank villages near Ramallah over the weekend, according to residents, monitoring groups and paramedics, fueled by calls for retribution after a 14-year-old Israeli shepherd went missing in the surrounding area and was later found dead. The Israeli military said he was the victim of a “terrorist attack.”

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The UN voiced grave concern Tuesday over escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, demanding that Israeli security forces "immediately" stop supporting settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied territory.

With Israel's war on Gaza, the United Nations rights office decried that Palestinians in the West Bank had been "subjected to waves of attacks by hundreds of Israeli settlers, often accompanied or supported by Israeli security forces (ISF)".

"The Israeli security forces must immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians," rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

"Israeli authorities must instead prevent further attacks, including by bringing those responsible to account."

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The United States shot down more drones and missiles than Israel did on Saturday night during Iran’s attack, The Intercept can report. 

More than half of Iran’s weapons were destroyed by U.S. aircraft and missiles before they ever reached Israel. In fact, by commanding a multinational air defense operation and scrambling American fighter jets, this was a U.S. military triumph. 

The extent of the U.S. military operation is unbeknownst to the American public, but the Pentagon coordinated a multination, regionwide defense extending from northern Iraq to the southern Persian Gulf on Saturday. During the operation, the U.S., U.K., France, and Jordan all shot down the majority of Iranian drones and missiles. In fact, where U.S. aircraft originated from has not been officially announced, an omission that has been repeated by the mainstream media. Additionally, the role of Saudi Arabia is unclear, both as a base for the United States and in terms of any actions by the Saudi military.

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Jordan's involvement in intercepting Iranian projectiles bound for Israel over the weekend has sparked questions about its security relationship with Israel, in a country with the highest population of Palestinian refugees. 

Amman joined Israel, the US, UK and France in shooting down around 300 drones and missiles on Saturday night, in the first direct Iranian attack targeting Israeli territory. 

The operation was in response to Israeli strikes on the Iranian consular building in Syria earlier this month that killed seven members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Jordan reportedly intercepted missiles near the Jordan Valley and along the border with Syria. It marked a rare occasion of an Arab country appearing to directly come to the defence of Israel. 

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Russia was able to destroy a key power plant serving Kyiv because Ukraine ran out of defensive missiles, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has claimed.

Speaking to US news outlet PBS on Tuesday, Zelenskyy’s comments follow repeated warnings from his government to its allies about scarce air defences. Ukraine is desperately calling for ammunition as Russia scales up strikes on its infrastructure.

The Trypilska thermal power plant (TTPP), one of the biggest electricity suppliers to the Kyiv region, was destroyed by Russian missiles on April 11.

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The Israeli online magazine +972 has published a detailed report on Israel’s use of an artificial intelligence (AI) system called “Lavender” to target thousands of Palestinian men in its bombing campaign in Gaza. When Israel attacked Gaza after October 7, the Lavender system had a database of 37,000 Palestinian men with suspected links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Lavender assigns a numerical score, from one to a hundred, to every man in Gaza, based mainly on cellphone and social media data, and automatically adds those with high scores to its kill list of suspected militants. Israel uses another automated system, known as “Where’s Daddy?”, to call in airstrikes to kill these men and their families in their homes.

The report is based on interviews with six Israeli intelligence officers who have worked with these systems. As one of the officers explained to +972, by adding a name from a Lavender-generated list to the Where’s Daddy home tracking system, he can place the man’s home under constant drone surveillance, and an airstrike will be launched once he comes home.

The officers said the “collateral” killing of the men’s extended families was of little consequence to Israel. “Let’s say you calculate [that there is one] Hamas [operative] plus 10 [civilians in the house],” the officer said. “Usually, these 10 will be women and children. So absurdly, it turns out that most of the people you killed were women and children.”

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Mixing religion with politics is generally not a good idea. Still, it looks like it is one of the few remaining options to avoid what then-Senator Sam Nunn and his colleagues  described in 2020 as continuing to sleepwalk towards a nuclear WWIII.

According to a YouGov poll, most Americans think such a war will be in the next decade. Other polls and experts give even shorter terms.

For example, Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius talks about the war starting in 5 to 8 years. British Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps says that we have already moved “from a post-war to a pre-war world.”

The “Collective West’s” opinion is that the current crisis started with Russia’s “unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But others trace it to the February 2014 Western-backed “Maidan” coup that changed Kyiv’s regime from a neutral to a pro-NATO stand.

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The New York Times instructed journalists covering Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip to restrict the use of the terms “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” and to “avoid” using the phrase “occupied territory” when describing Palestinian land, according to a copy of an internal memo obtained by The Intercept.

The memo also instructs reporters not to use the word Palestine “except in very rare cases” and to steer clear of the term “refugee camps” to describe areas of Gaza historically settled by displaced Palestinians expelled from other parts of Palestine during previous Israeli–Arab wars. The areas are recognized by the United Nations as refugee camps and house hundreds of thousands of registered refugees.

The memo — written by Times standards editor Susan Wessling, international editor Philip Pan, and their deputies — “offers guidance about some terms and other issues we have grappled with since the start of the conflict in October.”

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An OSU study found that black kids visiting white parts of town—presumably in Columbus, Ohio—felt less “safe.”

Strangely, this same study doesn’t ask if when white kids visit predominately black parts of town, do they feel unsafe?

Visiting white parts of town make some Black kids feel less safe: Familiarity seems to reveal threats, new study finds, Ohio State University News, April 10, 2024

Some Black youth feel less safe when they visit predominantly white areas of their city, a new study in Columbus has found.

And it was those Black kids who spent the most time in white-dominated areas who felt less safe, said Christopher Browning, lead author of the study and professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“Familiarity with white neighborhoods doesn’t make Black kids feel more comfortable and safer. In fact, familiarity seems to reveal threats,” Browning said.

“It is not a terribly optimistic finding.”

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A couple of weeks ago, President Trump in a radio in Michigan raised the issue of immigration’s contribution to crime:

The presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee sat down with West Michigan Live with Justin Barclay on Monday to talk about ”Biden migrant crime“ and promised to deliver the “largest deportation in history“ if he is returned to the White House in November.

Trump: Venezuela ’Dumped’ Its Gang Members Into US, by Nicole Wells, NewsMax, Tuesday, April 2, 2024

This topic as usual has provoked an avalanche of purported “Fact Checking” articles seeking to rubbish Trump’s charges. Somewhat atypical was NBC NewsTrump’s claims of a migrant crime wave are not supported by national data, by Olympia Sonnier and Garrett Haake, February 29, 2024.

Atypical because 13 paragraphs down the Trump people were allowed to raise a crucial question:

“Democrat cities purposefully do not document when crimes are committed by illegal immigrants, because they don’t want American citizens to know the truth about the dangerous impact Joe Biden’s open border is having on their communities,” Karoline Leavitt, Trump campaign press secretary, said.

Ethical journalism would have put this charge much further up, so that their readers would not have fallen asleep before reaching it.

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Suddenly, western politicians from US President Joe Biden to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have become ardent champions of “restraint” – in a very last-minute scramble to avoid regional conflagration.

Iran launched a salvo of drones and missiles at Israel at the weekend in what amounted a largely symbolic show of strength. Many appear to have been shot down, either by Israel’s layers of US-funded interception systems or by US, British and Jordanian fighter jets. No one was killed.

It was the first direct attack by a state on Israel since Iraq fired Scud missiles during the Gulf war of 1991.

The United Nations Security Council was hurriedly pressed into session on Sunday, with Washington and its allies calling for a de-escalation of tensions that could all too easily lead to the outbreak of war across the Middle East and beyond.

“Neither the region nor the world can afford more war,” the UN’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, told the meeting. “Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate.”

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I urge you to set aside some time tonight to watch this 40-minute interview with Israeli historian Haim Bresheeth Zabner (right) who epitomizes what Israel could have been: civilized, humane and generous.

Zabner says there is nothing Jewish about genocide and militarism. He says Jews and Muslims have lived in peace for centuries until Zionism came along. Some other points he made in this fascinating interview:

– Israelis can’t decide whether they are invincible or vulnerable and the contradiction is driving them crazy.

– Israel is a major munitions supplier. It supplies the Indian army and most European countries.

–The IDF is embedded in all aspects of daily life and identity. And that we should not merely see it as a fighting force enjoying an international reputation, but as the central ideological, political and financial institution of Israeli society.

— Israel has 200 nuclear war heads and is blackmailing the whole world.

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Commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Haydari says Iran’s retaliatory operation against Israel has further dispelled the threadbare myth that the wicked and child-killing Tel Aviv regime is unbeatable.

Haydari stated on Tuesday that the successful launch of hundreds of missiles and drones at the occupied territories in retaliation for the Israeli regime’s April 1 terrorist strike on the Islamic Republic’s consulate in Syria was a severe and crushing response to the notorious Zionist regime.

He emphasized that the destruction of Israeli military bases falls within the framework of Tehran’s success in countering and neutralizing the financial, logistical and intellectual support of the criminal US administration and its allies in West Asia and across the globe.

“The Iranian Armed Forces can now confront any type of threats and nip any threat in the bud, thanks to constant vigilance and watchfulness… The courageous and decisive action of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran melted the hearts of millions of freedom-loving Muslims, grief-stricken Gazans and fighters from resistance factions, and lived up to the divine promise about the victory of truth over falsehood,” the Iranian Army’s Ground Force chief pointed out.

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Most Western analysts were popping champagne corks today proclaiming Israel’s “massive” victory over Iran’s 14 April combined drone, cruise missile and ballistic missile attack on targets in Israel. I don’t know if they are really this blind to what happened or are willing participants in a psychological operation to persuade Israel that it had a victory and does not need to escalate. Regardless, let’s deal with the facts.

Iran told the United States and several neighboring countries exactly what it was going to do. We know this thanks to an article in the Financial Times published on April 12 — 36 hours before Iran launched.

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Market watchers warn that oil prices could surge if the latest tit-for-tat between Israel and Iran morphs into a wider regional conflict. If the Biden administration slaps new sanctions on Iran's oil exports, it could send prices higher too, observers say.

On the eve of Iran's retaliatory strike on Israel, oil prices spiked, but slightly backtracked in the aftermath of Tehran's attack. On Monday, Brent retreated 0.9%, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was down 0.8%.

"The impact of Iran’s attack on oil prices was hardly noticeable for the simple reason that the flow of oil from the Gulf region hasn’t been disrupted," Dr. Mamdouh G. Salameh, an international oil economist and a global energy expert, explained to Sputnik. "This could, however, change if Israel retaliates, thus prompting Iran to respond with a harsher retaliation that could lead to a disruption of oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz," he noted.

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The scale of Iran’s attack forced Israel to uncover the majority of anti-missile technologies the US and it have across the region, one analyst noted. They add that the Iranians likely now have “almost a full map of what Israel’s missile defense system looks like”.

An article published in Mondoweiss on Sunday suggested that Iran’s retaliatory attack against Iran was not a failure, after Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that 99% of the launched missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems. The article notes that Iran declared its intentions to attack a week in advance and promised the US that its attack would be “under control” and conducted in a way that “avoids escalation”.

On Tuesday, Sputnik’s The Critical Hour was joined by Dr. Jim Kavanagh, an independent journalist, to discuss Iran’s recent response to Israel’s attack over the weekend.

“This was not a failure on Iran's part. This was an action that has changed the game entirely,” said Kavanagh.

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Plaintiffs Suhail Al Shimari, Asa'ad Zuba'e, and Salah Al-Ejaili accuse CACI of conspiring to commit war crimes including torture. CACI is a Virginia-based professional services and information technology firm hired in 2003 by the Bush administration as translators and interrogators in Iraq during the US-led invasion and occupation there.

Three Iraqi victims were finally given their day in court on Monday after waiting for nearly two decades regarding human rights abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. The case being heard in the US District Court in Alexandria, Al Shimari v. CACI was first filed in 2008 under the Alien Tort Statute which allows non-US citizens to sue for human rights abuses committed abroad, a recent report said.

On Tuesday, Sputnik’s Fault Lines was joined by Dan Kovalik, an American human rights and labor rights lawyer, to discuss the case. When asked about the case that came two decades after the three men were tortured, Kovalik quoted the adage; ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.

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