The fear that is gripping France today stands in ghastly contrast with the positive national mood during the days immediately following the horrific Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. (See my report,  “France at War.”)

Two weeks ago, the French people gallantly defied fear by gathering out of doors to share grief, affirm solidarity and demonstrate their love of peace and of freedom. Last weekend, the streets were deserted (it’s true the weather turned cold) and soldiers with submachine guns were on patrol. The nights have been punctuated by unnecessarily brutal SWAT-team style commando raids on mosques (two here in Montpellier), Arab residences and businesses. By Wednesday, the government was rounding up Green activists in advance of Sunday’s COP21 meeting in Paris, where demonstrations have been banned.

The blood wedding of repression and terrorism

A near-unanimous joint-session of the French Assembly has voted wiithout discussion to extend the current State of Emergency for another three months and to enact yet another new set of security restrictions, which effectively outlaw the normal functioning of democracy meeetings, assemblies, marches, etc. Then they sang the “Marseillaise.” Thus President Hollande, wrapping himself in the flag, has succeeded in uniting the entire French political class, normally so quarrelsome, in a bellicose, security-obsessed “National Union” (like the jingoistic “Sacred Union” of World War One) uniting the whole spectrum from the Left through the “Republican” center-right (Sarkozy and his rivals) to Marine Le Pen’s semi-fascist National Front.

The provisions of M. Hollande’s 2015 State of Emergency proclamation have a history: they derive from the 1955 Algerian War State of Emergency, which in turn derived from the Emergency Powers, granted in June 1940 by the last parliament of the Third French Republic, to Marshall Pétain, who ruled the French State from Vichy. Today’s atmosphere of civil war brings up memories of Paris during the struggle for Algerian independence, when, under the State of Emergency, the police broke up our student anti-war demonstrations and in 1961 murdered hundred of Arabs on a peaceful march, throwing their bodies into the Seine.

Today, warrants are no longer required for raids, which are decided on the judgement of the Prefect of each locality using “justified suspicion” as a criterion. Here in Montpellier an Imam who notably tweeted his condolences and condemned the Nov. 13 attacks is under house arrest because he was considered “turbulent.” Near Paris, a mixed commando raid of police and army stormed a family restaurant called the Pepper-Grill, made the diners  (men, women, children) place their hands on the tables, and lined up the cooks and owners at gunpoint. What was the “justified suspicion?” The patron, a non-religious French Arab, used halal produce in his dishes! A six-year old girl was injured in another violent raid. Now, with the fate of the planet supposedly at stake in Paris, the authorities have started arresting green activists, and the Minister has declared that “maximum security” is the key to “a successful climate meeting.” [The interior ministry said 312 people—including 24 green campaigners organizing non-violent protest marches at the Global Climate conference beginning on March 30—have been put under house arrest in France since the state of emergency was declared on November 14.]

Not content with having extended and tightened the State of Emergency, the Hollande-Valls government is proposing an Amendment to further tighten the Fifth Republic’s already authoritarian Gaullist Constitution. Valls, pushing his emergency measures through the Assembly, contemptuously rejected the very idea of constitutional review by the Judicial branch. On Wednesday, in another near-unanimous warlike gesture, the National Assembly extended the bombing of Syria well into 2016, and for today (Friday) the government has requested all French people to fly the tricolor flag from their windows and balconies. This request is not likely to fly in the immigrant banlieues (where in any case French flags are in short supply) and their absence will thus provide further fuel for division by stigmatizing France’s Arabs as anti-patriotic.

Voices of Dissent

In the face of patriotic posturing, security crackdowns, and beating of war drums, the French people have been cowed into silence, and voices of open opposition have been rare and hard to find in either old or new media. Here is one:

While the State is thus freeing itself from the rule of law, preferring the exception to the rule, Society has been put on furlough, or rather in quarantine. How can they seriously imagine they can call the voters to the regional polls when democracy has been told to remain silent, to avoid assembling, to no longer hold meetings, march or demonstrate? The excuse of Security is utilized to close society against itself and empty public space of its substance. At a time when the challenge of the climate poses the fate of civilization, the authorities use the attacks as a pretext to close our borders to the citizens of the world who are now mobilizing for that universal cause. The international marches of COP21 have now been banned as will probably be any street demonstration expressing dissent or dissidence.

Thus writes Edwy Plenel, former editor of Le Monde and founder of the online daily, Médiapart, an author whose avowed models are Victor Serge and Albert Camus, from whom he borrows the title of his article on the State of Emergency: “The Blood Wedding of Terrorism and Repression.” Plenel reminds his readers that Hollande’s demagogic patriotic posturing is déja  vu: a rerun of Bush, Cheney, the Patriot Act, and the unjustified and needless invasion of Iraq  an invasion which France opposed and which predictably led to civil war, regional chaos and the gestation (in part supported by the CIA and Saudi Arabia) of today’s Islamic State.

For Plenel, although Hollande’s Security State measures will remain useful for quashing opposition, strikes, demonstrations, etc. among the French, they are legally superfluous since France, having been subject to several waves of terrorist attacks since the Algerian war, already has very tight security laws. These laws were reinforced in 1982, 1986 and 1995 after new waves of bombings. Unnecessary for tracking terrorists, Hollande’s repressive measures  banning demonstrations  can only be aimed at quashing dg democratic, non-violent opposition at home. They also serve to cover up the glaring failures of the French security apparatus, which, according to original investigative reports by Médiapart, allowed high-profile terrorists, two of them involved in the January Charlie attacks and the other in the November Bataclan attack, to slip through its fingers.[1]

Other voices of dissent, including a call to “Defy the State of Emergency,” are surfacing as we get closer to Sunday November 29, the date of the planned world-wide demonstrations for climate justice  including the banned march of 200,0000 in Paris. The Prefect of Avignon has banned demonstrations, but they are legal here in Montpellier. With typical disorganization, Attac and Alternaba have called for a march at one p.m. while other civil society groups are gathering at two-thirty. In Paris, Attac and Alternaba are calling for a human chain of people joining hands on the sidewalk of Boulevard Voltaire from Place de la République to Place de la Nation. More boldly, a group of writers, professors and publishers has published a call for open disobedience which has now passed the 5,000 mark on Facebook.

On the negative side, the recognizable Left has been found wanting. Charlie Hebdo, famous for its anti-patriotic and anti-religious satire, has now become one hundred percent patriotic and openly islamophobic, putting the Trotskyist NPA, which criticized the State of Emergency, “in the same sack” as “a friend of Isis.” Likewise, the feminist journalist and Islam specialist Caroline Fourest, always critical of Islamism, has now become a full fledged hawk and raving patriot.

As for labor, the national unions have been for the most part mum after Valls invited the leaders of the rival confederations to a long private meeting where he reassured them that their rights would be respected under the State of Emergency; but locally members of the more radical union SUD have openly protested. There has been some dissention among party politicians on the far Left. A group of Greens opposed the extension of the State of Emergency, and the Left Front of Mélanchon and Co. are keeping a low profile. The Trotskyist New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) has denounced the State of Emergency and published an excellent Marxist analysis, but has not called for any specific action, and in Montpellier an NPA militant told us she was “uncertain” about joining us at Sunday’s demonstrations called by the civil society groups. So much for organized vanguards.

The Reason Why

If the goal of the terrorists was to provoke France into escalating an endless, unwinnable war in Syria and to foment a racial/religious civil war on the home territory, they have, alas, succeeded  thanks to the oopportunism of M. Hollande and the Socialists. Wrapping his portly figure in the tricolor flag of patriotism, M. Hollande has carried out a silent coup in the name of “security,” declaring “war without pity” against “barbarism.” This latter term apparently includes civil rights, tolerance and democracy. Today’s Reign of Fear has been instituted not by the terrorists themselves (as demonstrated by the days following the attacks) but by the fear mongering of government, slavishly followed by most of the media. Thus the Islamic State set the trap, and the French Republic fell right into it.

The question is Why? You can’t say the French leaders weren’t warned. The negative example of the “Bush scenario” was constantly being evoked  both after the Charlie attacks and even for a couple of days after the Paris attacks   by media and politicians justifiably smug in their French exceptionalism. So why did they fall for it this time?

It is perhaps useless to look for an adequate explanation in France’s Middle East geopolitical strategy. French policy there has been incoherent for years. In 2007, President Sarkozy lavishly received Muammar Gaddafi in Paris, inviting him to pitch his tent in the official residence of Marigny and selling him 4.5 billion worth of French-made armaments. In 2008, Sarkozy personally invited Bashar al-Assad to Paris for Bastille day, presumably to watch the latest French jets fly by. Then, rather suddenly, these welcome guests and lucrative allies got transformed into intolerable barbaric dictators, and “regime change” became the only solution. Thus, in 2011 France instigated the air war that overthrew Gaddafi and led to unending civil war in Libya with armed chaos overflowing down to Mali another former colony where France is mired in a war against Islamic terrorists. Moreover, France has now joined the U.S.’s losing war in Iraq, meanwhile selling arms big time to the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose subjects in turn support the Islamic State.

Likewise, Assad, once France’s ally, is now a deadly enemy. France has a century-old colonial interest in Syria, which was granted to her as a “mandate” in the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire at Versailles in 1919. (Britain grabbed what became Iraq). Never mind that this week the French are bombing not the Assad regime, but Isis, its rival and enemy. Alas, it appears that the Syrian civil war has evolved into an international contest as to which outside power can kill the most Syrian civilians. Those bombs, which in any case France has been dropping since 2011, are designed to serve to guarantee France a place at the table if and when Syria is again re-divided by the bombers.

There is thus little coherence in French foreign policy, and nothing that would explain Hollande’s historic decision after Nov. 13 to lunge at the bait held out by Isis by unleashing a wave of war hysteria and assuming the powers of a wartime dictator (like Clemenceau, also a man of the Left, during WWI). If not foreign, the explanation must be domestic. According to received wisdom in America, “All politics is local;” and “local” here means France, an historically fragile Republic that has been overthrown four times and threatened by coups d’état on several others. Looked at through the lens of “local politics,” we observe the following evolution:

Before the 13/11 attacks, François Hollande, a mediocre party politician, was seen as a washout, a loser with zero charisma, a lame duck facing partial elections and not even sure of his party’s renomination for the 2017 presidentials, where the Socialists are likely to be outmaneuvered and outvoted by Marine Le Pen. Like Sarkozy, he even had embarrassing problems with ex-spouses.[2] Then Hollande has his 9/11 moment. Presto-chango, the “weak” President declares “war” and decrees a State of Emergency. Moving into the fast lane, he passes Mme. Le Pen on the Right, co-opting her National Front into his government of National Union. There Marine is free to spout Trump-like suggestions about tearing down mosques, mass roundups and “preventive internment.” Socialist Premier Valls politely acknowledges them (without actually rejecting them!).

Ten days into “war” and FH’s poll numbers have gone way up. Now he’s striding onto the international stage, making the rounds of the Big Three (albeit hat in hand) puffing himself up as a new deGaulle, playing the world leader in time of war. Never mind that last month the U.S. and Russia each made upwards of two thousand airstrikes in Syria to France’s two dozen. This global strutting plays well at home. With Russia and Turkey duking it out, France will be the core of a “coalition of the unwilling.”

President Hollande’s bellicose posturing reminds me, as a history buff, of the bombast of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, France’s 19th century tragi-comic Emperor, whom Victor Hugo famously dubbed “Napoleon the Little.” The parallels with Hollande’s ascension are curious. In 1851, at the end of his term as President of the Second French Republic, Louis Bonaparte pulled off a coup in order to remain in office, consolidate his power, and pay his debts.[3] He abolished the fledgling Second Republic, decreed a Second French Empire (whose anthem, believe it or not, was “Departing for Syria!”) and crowned himself Napoleon III. The opposition, including Hugo, fled abroad.

In 1870, his popularity waning, Little Napoleon saw fit to make warlike speeches and threats against Prussia. He came a cropper when Bismarck, Prussia’s “Blood and Iron” Chancellor, called his bluff. Using a ruse (a forged telegram) Bismark lured Louis-Napoléon into a trap, provoking France into declaring war while Prussia’s army was ready to fight and France’s wasn’t. In a single battle (Sedan) the Prussian army surrounded and captured Napoleon III at the head of his main army, and that, children, was the end of the Second Empire (and Alsace-Lorraine).

François Hollande, following in the charlatan footsteps of Louis Bonaparte, has so far successfully consolidated his power by declaring war on an even bigger rival than Prussia: “barbarism” (read: the Arabs). If history is any guide, M. Hollande’s “war” will continue to lead to tragic blowback, and the unfortunate French people, today sleepwalking in their grief, will pay the price in blood for a posturing petty politician’s pitiful personal ambition.


[1] French intelligence agencies knew as far back as 2009 that Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, one of the three suicide bombers who attacked the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, had been radicalized in a group in France led by a veteran jihadist with a history of planning terrorist attacks. Mostefaï had also been spotted with the group when it was under surveillance in April 2014, and the authorities were later informed that he had almost certainly gone to Syria, at the same time as another future Bataclan bomber. But by late 2014 the secret services no longer knew of his whereabouts  A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said that Mostefaï had not been “lost” by the secret services because he had not been “under surveillance” as there had been “absolutely no information to justify it”.

[2] In 2007, Hollande sabotaged the presidential campaign of Ségolène Royal, his former partner and mother of his children, depriving her of Party support and expertise. Sarkozy won.

[3] Karl Marx wrote a highly readable account of this event under the mysterious title, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. It refers to the date in the Revolutionary Calendar when the original Napoleon took power in a coup (Nov. 9, 1799). Marx referred to the 1799 coup a “tragedy” and its 1851 repetition by Napoleon the Little as a “farce.” Alas, Bonapartist farce has been frequently revived on the French stage. In 1889, another ambitious politician, General Boulanger, built up a huge following clamoring for “Revenge!” (against Prussia), nearly grabbed power, but then faltered at the last minute (he at least had the good taste to commit suicide). Boulanger’s followers then supported Marshall Pétain. Karl Marx wrote a highly readable account of this event under the mysterious title, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. It refers to the date in the Revolutionary Calendar when the original Napoleon took power in a coup (Nov. 9, 1799). Marx referred to the 1799 coup a “tragedy” and its 1851 repetition by Napoleon the Little as a “farce.” Alas, Bonapartist farce has been frequently revived on the French stage. In 1889, another ambitious politician, General Boulanger, built up a huge following clamoring for “Revenge!” (against Prussia), nearly grabbed power, but then faltered at the last minute (he at least had the good taste to commit suicide). Boulanger’s followers then supported Marshall Pétain.



Thirty years ago I wrote this essay. I solicit your feedback on how the same patterns used then — Secretary of State Alexander Haig‘s holding-up for the cameras of falsified photographs (which was itself a repeat of Sen. Joe McCarthy‘s use of cropped photos in the Army-McCarthy televised hearings in 1954, as shown in the great documentary, “Point of Order”), were repeated by Colin Powell in his televised testimony to the United Nations about alleged (but false) Iraqi mobile biowarfare labs, as one of the bases for sending U.S. troops into Iraq, along with the lies orchestrated by the U.S. government of infants tossed out of Kuwait’s incubators by Iraqi forces — continue to this very day.

by Mitchel Cohen

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
‑ Voltaire

We take for granted that our government lies to us. The Left agrees with that, the Right does as well, and so do those attempting to straddle the ever‑narrowing fence in the middle. In fact, one of the great, unifying themes of American democracy is the belief by an overwhelming majority of our population that the government
regularly and consistently lies to us.

Depending upon whom you listen to, the reasons behind the lies vary. Sometimes it’s “for your own good”. Sometimes it’s for the sake of “National Security”. Sometimes it’s to “protect corporate investments and private interests from public scrutiny”. But whatever the reason, we all agree that the government lies to us. That’s part of what unites us as a country. It’s a cherished American tradition. We are a nation of “the lied‑to’s”.

Of course rarely will anyone admit to actually believing the lies. Oh, no, we’re much too sophisticated for that! I have yet to meet a single person who believes, for example, that President Reagan is actually trying to support an end to Apartheid in South Africa with his “constructive engagement” ruse. It’s clear that’s just a phrase to make palatable the U.S. government’s continued funding of the apartheid regime. Still, Americans have a collective appreciation for a well-constructed euphemism. My current favorite is the President’s dubbing of the MX nuclear missile “The Peacekeeper”! We chortle gleefully at the glib turns of phrase while all the while knowing, of course, that a ruse is a ruse is a ruse. We are a nation of bedtime story-lovers, and no one is better than President Reagan than spinning tall tales, often right on the spur of the moment, to tuck us in at night.

I admit that it did take me a while to imagine our so-called “founding fathers” — Tom Jefferson, George Washington, and John Adams ‑‑ let alone Benjamin Franklin, to whom President Reagan compared the contra death squads in Nicaragua ‑‑ carrying M-16s and slogging through the muck of Honduras, along its border with Nicaragua. Even more preposterous, their distribution of “how‑to‑murder” manuals, which were in fact prepared in secret by the CIA! I much prefer the bed-time story of the founding fathers’ distribution of the declaration of independence celebrating freedom from foreign domination.

When one hears first hand accounts by peasants living in Nicaragua of how the contras, funded by the U.S. government, raped their mothers while they (as kids) were forced to watch, and how the contras jabbed knives into their mothers’ vaginas and jagged upwards, flaying them open while still alive, one wonders which of our “founding fathers” President Reagan was dreaming of.

Was it true that “the contras really cut off the heads of doctors and teachers just north of Jinotega,” as the newpapers reported, and rolled them down the dirt streets like soccer balls as a lesson to the poor peasants for housing such “communist” medics who treated the sick for free and taught the illiterate to read and write? I had to find out for myself. And so in 1983 I visited that beautiful mountain town, very poor, and heard the stories. To my horror, I found that the worst things said about the contras in the U.S. barely scratched the surface! The U.S. government’s lies to the contrary, the Nicaraguan people despised the contras, even those who voted for oppositional candidates to the Sandinistas in the recent elections.

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Some outrages are worse than others. Still, why should we set one injustice against the other, as though seeking greater exhibitions of revulsion at the one oppression or injustice than at the other.

And yet we do. The murder of Eric Garner last year at the hands (literally) of one of New York’s “Finest” is one such outrage. It stands out from the “normal” horror story, so beyond the pale as to be unspeakably inhuman.

Garner’s murder in Staten Island, along with that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has triggered a movement across the U.S. against all outrages, known as “Black Lives Matter.”

Equally outrageous is the sentencing by the regime in Saudi Arabia of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to death by crucifixion and beheading (!) for his participation in “Arab Spring” pro-democracy protests in 2012.

Ali was 17 years old when arrested and tortured. (Support Ali Mohammed al-Nimr HERE.) Meanwhile, the Saudi regime continues to receive billions of dollars each year in “foreign aid” and military hardware from the United States. Saudi Arabia was just chosen to head the United Nations Council on Human Rights.

And this week, just in time for Yom Kippur (Days of Atonement), we learn of Israeli soldiers’ assassination of 18-year-old Hadil Salah Hashlamoun at a checkpoint in Hebron.

An image published by Youth Against Settlements shows Hadil Hashlamoun surrounded by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in Hebron. Note the wood fence Hadil would have to climb to get past the guards.

Hadil was ordered to open her bag. When she did, an Israeli soldier screamed at her in Hebrew (which she did not understand), and shot her in one leg and then the other, and other soldiers opened fire on the poor girl. She collapsed and, while still alive, her body was dragged over the ground to a corner where she waited for more than 30 minutes for an ambulance (while Israeli emergency personnel stood by joking with the soldiers). She died later in the hospital.

You can listen to Amy Goodman’s story about Hadil on Democracy Now!:

Amnesty International has issued a scathing report following its examination of photographs from the scene and interviews it conducted with witnesses, concluding that “the killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun by Israeli forces in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, on 22 September 2015 was an extrajudicial execution.”

The Amnesty International report goes on to say that when one of the Israeli soldiers was standing half a meter away from Hadeel, he fired a shot at the ground and she moved away and stood behind a metal rail next to a wall. According to witness Abu Aisheh,

al-Hashlamoun had her hands inside her niqab (full-face veil) throughout this entire period and at no point tried to approach any of the soldiers. The four soldiers who had just arrived pushed Abu Aisheh 3-4 metres back and refused his offer of translation. At this point, according to Abu Aisheh, the girl was behind metal rails separating her from the soldiers and the same soldier who had fired the first shots moved back, dropped to one knee, and shot al-Hashlamoun in her left leg. According to Abu Aisheh, she fell to the ground and dropped her bag, as well as a knife with a brown handle that she had been holding under her niqab. The first witness, who was slightly farther away than Abu Aisheh, did not see any weapon.

According to Abu Aisheh, the soldier who had shot first got up and moved closer to her, until he was about a metre away, and then shot at her upper body four or five times again while she was lying motionless on the ground. He said that the soldier shot a few times despite other soldiers yelling at him to stop. The first witness also described the soldier moving closer to al-Hashlamoun and shooting her in the chest.

Amnesty International’s report continues:

Even if al-Hashlamoun did have a knife, Israeli soldiers, who are protected with body armour and heavily equipped with advanced weapons, could have controlled the situation and arrested her without threatening her life. Open fire regulations of the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank allow soldiers to open fire only when their lives are in imminent danger, and Amnesty International concludes that this was not the case in the shooting of al-Hashlamoun, as she was standing still and separated from the soldiers by a metal barrier. There was no attempt to arrest al-Hashlamoun, according to the eyewitnesses, or to use non-lethal alternatives.

To then shoot al-Hashlamoun again multiple times as she lay wounded on the ground indicates that her killing was an extrajudicial execution.

Such utter disregard for human life! The Israeli soldiers are reminiscent of the Chicago police force — another (but similar) kind of occupying army — in December of 1969 following their murder (while he slept) of Black Panther organizer Fred Hampton, snickering as they carried away his body.

Chicago police carrying out Fred Hampton’s body, after they assassinated him while he slept, on December 4th, 1969.

I want to make it clear to the world — or at least anyone who cares to read this blog: This Jew (me) is outraged at the behavior of the Israeli occupation forces. I — and many other Jews — denounce such inhumanity, such callous disregard for the life of another human being. They claim to be doing this in my name and in the name of all Jews everywhere! I am numb. Not in my name! Their actions (and the policies that led to them) are horrible beyond all comprehension.

I have only one question: Checkpoints? When did we, as human beings, come to accept permanent checkpoints as legitimate “standard operating procedure” to begin with?



There was a time in New York City when the purple footsteps were everywhere, leading to the City’s wreck of a beautiful garden of Eden (thank you Ed Koch). Adam Purple had been building his zen masterpiece garden a little bit every day for a decade, while living in the adjoining tenement building (where he once had been the super), which the landlord abandoned and Con Ed had turned off the electricity and water, in the rubble of the then “not quite trendy” Lower East Side.

Adam Purple died on Sept. 14th, 2015 at age 84 while biking from Brooklyn across the Williamsburg Bridge.

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Yes, support the “Iran Deal”. However, there has been so much propaganda around the “Iran Deal” that even peace organizations have been sucked into supporting it for the wrong reasons, repeating the “preventing a pathway to nuclear weapons” line and joining the “Stop Iran!” hysteria. Please click on the logo below to listen to this brief radio interview with journalist Nima Shirazi and read his latest piece, below, which clearly explain what’s wrong with the assumptions underlying the “Iran Deal”.

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While being sprayed with Anvil 10+10 pesticides including carcinogenic piperonyl butoxide (2006) without warning, young Sunset Park Brooklyn residents try to cover up.

Posted originally to

August 11, 2015 — The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH) renews its annual pesticide-spraying assault on the people of New York City tonight in Staten Island and Queens.

Areas of New Jersey are also being widely sprayed.

All mass spraying of pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticides are dangerous to human health (especially to children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems), as well as to pets, fish, and other animals. The spraying must be halted immediately.


Every year, the NYC DOH grants itself waivers from New York City Local Law 37, a law passed in 2005 in response to growing concerns over the health and environmental consequences of mass-spraying of Malathion (and other organophosphates) and Anvil 10+10 (and other pyrethroids, especially those containing the carcinogen Piperonyl Butoxide).

Only through application and granting of such waivers is the Department of Health enabled to legally conduct the pesticides spraying.

But the NYC DOH is circumventing the law. It applies for a waiver to itself, and then it grants itself pro forma the right and authority to spray deadly pesticides in NYC. No other agency reviews its application. The checks and balances envisioned in Local Law 37 are thus thwarted. Continue reading »

The Problem of Greece Is Not Only a Tragedy. It Is a Lie.

By John Pilger

Global Research, July 13, 2015

An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse – 4 billion euros more than the “austerity” figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on 5 July.

These reportedly include a 50 per cent increase in the cost of healthcare for pensioners, almost 40 per cent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value added tax to 23 per cent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living. There is more to come.

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Just when you thought Pacifica Radio might be turning the corner, it seems to always findKPFA censorship a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In the most recent travesty, new Program Director at KPFA, Laura Prives, decided that she would not allow long-time producer Bonnie Faulkner to interview alternative health practitioner Gary Null to present his position (and mine) on the California bill now before the legislature making vaccines mandatory. She also rejected Bonnie Faulkner’s selection of Gary Null’s excellent film, “Silent Epidemic: The Untold Story of Vaccines”.  This is the first time in memory that a producer at a Pacifica station was banned from selecting her own guest to be interviewed.

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reprinted from

Environmental advocacy groups, Beyond Pesticides and the No Spray Coalition are calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “stop the use of the country’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans.”

In addition, the No Spray Coalition, is calling on the New York City Parks Department to finally halt the use of glyphosate, manufactured by Monsanto and sold as Roundup, in our city parks. The No Spray Coalition has, for the last fifteen years, advocated against pesticide spraying for West Nile virus in New York City and beyond and other forms of pesticide use. Continue reading »



Palestinian student Lina Khattab, 18 years old and a first-year media student at Bir Zeit University, was sentenced by an Israeli military court to six months imprisonment, a 6000 NIS ($1500 USD) fine and three years probation, after her arrest by Israeli occupation forces during a student protest to free Palestinian political prisoners.

Facebook Page: FreeLina

Lina is also a folkloric dancer with the world-renowned El-Funoun Popular Palestinian Dance Troupe and is active with cultural and political student activities at the University. She was charged with “throwing stones” and “participating in an unlawful demonstration,” two charges frequently used by the Israeli military against Palestinians who participate in public protests against the military occupation.She was sentenced by Israeli military courts, reserved for Palestinians under occupation, which have a 99.74% conviction rate.

Earlier, on January 12, she was denied bail at a hearing in which the military judge said, “looking at her, I can see the characteristics of a leader.” Active Palestinian students frequently face arrest and imprisonment for their campus activities, including involvement in student union elections, student protests, and campus activist organizations and student government blocs. Continue reading »



Our organization, All Jews Everywhere, wishes to voice our appreciation to Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of All Jews Everywhere, Inc., for speaking on behalf of the Chosen People before the Israel Funding Association (sometimes referred to as the U.S. Congress).

While we applaud Mr. Netanyahu’s invitation to members of Congress to emigrate to Israel, we advise him to drop that “coming home” theme. Bibi, Israel needs our Congress here to keep that spigot open and the funding flowing.

Many have suggested that Israel should finally relent and apply officially for U.S. statehood. However, we reject that notion, since Israel would then only be represented by two senators, as opposed to 100.

We are thrilled that Congress will be hosting this noted peace warrior. Bibi Netanyahu routinely provokes more standing ovations than the President of the United States when he addresses Congress. Fortunately, thus far, few self-hating Jews have been so petty as to criticize Mr. Netanyahu for actions he’s taken in his role as colonial administrator.

We are appreciative of the fact that, like most great leaders, Bibi has been able to negotiate many settlements. Some of those settlements are secured by walls, barbed wire, machine guns, helicopters, drones and tanks, and some argue that Israel is engaged in the oppression and ethnic cleansing of people living in Gaza and the West Bank. We beg to differ! The bulldozing of the houses of the families of 12-year-old terrorists throwing rocks at our tanks is essential in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Broken Windows: Eternal War for Eternal Peace” program, which of course requires U.S. aid to finance and maintain. Thus, All Jews Everywhere believes it is reasonable that Mr. Netanyahu is preparing to spend three full days in meetings with the executive committee of Congress — known locally as AIPAC.

We fully endorse Bibi’s cogent point that the problems between the so-called “Palestine” and Israel (whose right to exist as a Jewish state is biblically inscribed — thank you G-d for choosing us!) are caused by Iran. It is a known fact that all the problems in the world are a direct result of that rogue nation’s undeclared nuclear ambitions, which pose a serious threat to Israel’s monopoly of undeclared nuclear weapons.

Although secret cables from 2012 have just surfaced in which Mossad — Israel’s CIA counterpart — judged Iran incapable of manufacturing and deploying nuclear weapons, if the U.S. and its allies do not bomb Iran soon there could be a war gap. As Mr. Netanyahu stated this week while touring Israeli military bases, “I will go to Washington to address the American Congress, because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement between the major powers and Iran.” If too much time passes without war, the momentum for war, along with funding, will erode, threatening our way of life. Alarmed at such a possibility, we in the AJE endorse 2016 Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s request to continue U.S. taxpayers’ annual outlay of $3.2 billion in outright gifts to Israel, plus another $9 billion in loan guarantees and funding for projects that provide jobs there as snipers and tank-operators.

All Jews Everywhere prays for G-d’s assistance in preventing the same methods used to privilege Jews in Israel from being applied by other countries to privilege them against Jews. We reject the anti-Zionist idea that a single humanitarian standard should be applied to all. Otherwise, where are the perks in being the chosen people? We do however suggest that Bibi exchange his camouflage yarmulka for a more conservative one, to keep open his direct pipeline to Adoshem. We worry whether Bibi’s desert camo kippah makes him invisible to G-d. How can G-d protect him, then, and by extension Eretz Yisrael?

“Money for occupations” or “Money for war”? America is wealthy enough to continue funding Israel’s occupations as well as its wars, and make them our own. Yes we can!

Next Year in Tehran!
AJE Executive Board


Contributors to WBAI Radio can click on this link to receive a very special thank you gift:


It’s the book: “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues”, edited by Marjorie Cohn, with a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The book is part of a thank you gift package for donating to listener-sponsored, commercial free, non-profit, anti-war WBAI radio (99.5 FM; The package, originally put together for WBAI’s “Arts Express” show and now being made available to other producers and listeners, includes

  • the book, plus
  • a CD of Mitchel Cohen‘s interview with the author, Marjorie Cohn, and with Jeanne Mirer, Chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild

plus (on the same CD)

  • Kathy Kelly‘s inspiring speech in NYC in January 2015 (just before she began a 3-month prison sentence for protesting the U.S. government’s deployment of assassination drones)

and, (on the same CD)

  • an interview with a former drone pilot

all for a $75 donation to WBAI radio that you make at the URL above.

And, if you’d like to listen to the interviews with Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer now, Here’s the link to the full interview: CLICK HERE

Feel free to re-broadcast, and please let me know if you do.



January 29, 2015. Three years ago, an eternity.

Three years ago I published right here on my website the following articles, often contradictory, with an attempt to understand and predict the situation in Greece (and Europe), and to support radical left organizations there. I will be posting shortly a similar debate taking place today within the Left, following the progressive coalition party — Syriza’s — winning of a plurality of seats (and control of the government) in last Sunday’s elections in Greece, based largely on its anti-austerity promises.

*   *   *

Over the last few years, Leftist resistance in Europe has been growing by leaps and bounds against back-breaking austerity measures forced on the working class in a number of countries by the German (and American) banks, who are calling the shots. These measures have been acquiesced to and implemented by the in-name-only “Socialist” parties in power in such places as Greece and Spain, and in other countries such as Italy and Iceland.

The banks are squeezing the working class dry in order to break the  advances won by workers over decades of struggle,

Continue reading »


Mitchel Cohen resurrected an interview by 18-year-old Kenny Bromberg with Phil Ochs at SUNY Stony Brook, recorded in 1967. Mitchel turned it into a new show, for Steal This Radio.

Listen here.

Guest Post by Carol Lipton

Phil Ochs penned the famous lyrics to “Love Me I’m a Liberal” about Malcolm X:

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me Love me, I’m a liberal

He wrote those lyrics to contrast the assassinations of Medgar Evers and Malcolm X. Medgar Evers, in the eyes of white journalists, was the “good Negro” who died a martyr, having marched for civil rights, while Malcolm X was the dangerous black man, the heretic who dared to expose the nature of American capitalism, and the collective delusion that we were a democracy for anyone other than white people.

The comment which most inspired the tidal wave of wrath in the media was his statement after JFK’s assassination that “the chickens have come home to roost”. Those words referred to what happened in Vietnam just three weeks before before President Kennedy’s assassination, which the world has now largely forgotten.

That was the November 3, 1963 assassination of Ngô Dinh Nu, younger brother and chief political advisor of South Vietnam’s first president, Ngô ình Diem, and Diem himself, who were installed largely as the result of support by the US.

The coup was the culmination of nine years of autocratic and nepotistic family rule in South Vietnam. There was even a meme I recall seeing in newspapers: “no Nus is good news”. Numerous coup plans had been explored by the army before, but the plotters intensified their activities with increased confidence after the administration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy authorized the U.S. embassy to explore the possibility of a leadership change.

The generals initially attempted to cover up the execution by suggesting that the brothers had committed suicide, but this was contradicted when photos of the Ngôs’ corpses surfaced in the media.

When Kennedy was then assassinated on November 22, 1963 , Malcolm X quickly made the connection between US foreign policy and the potential inherent in that policy for a coup d’etat in our own country. It was a perspective that took into account the long and bloody history of CIA coups, from Greece in 1948, to the mass assassinations and coup that deposed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1963.

His statement that “the chickens have come home to roost” was no less in bad taste, or any more incendiary, than the hundreds of political cartoons penned by Charlie Hebdo. But as we approach the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s own assassination in February, 1965, nowhere do liberal pundits celebrate Malcolm X’s right to free speech, or his value to our society.

There was never was a je suis Malcolm, and there never will be. Phil Ochs was right.


Updated, January 2, 2015 — Two weeks ago, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the thousands of people protesting against police brutality and murder to temporarily suspend their generally peaceful public protests until the completion of the funerals for the two officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were killed last Saturday in Brooklyn by an emotionally troubled lone gunman. The NYPD took that as an invitation to disgracefully launch protests of their own at the funerals of officers Ramos and Liu.

Anti-cop protesters flood NYC despite de Blasio's appeal

More than 1,000 anti-police brutality protesters flood NYC on Tuesday, December 23, 2014, according to the NY Post (WBAI radio news put the figure at 500) despite Mayor de Blasio’s appeal to suspend protests. (Photo from NY Post)

The head of the Police Benevolent Association, Pat Lynch — who has taunted the families of those murdered by police — has, along with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, ratcheted up tensions by ridiculously linking the murder of the two cops to the overwhelmingly peaceful protests. Lynch has nonsensically asserted that the Mayor, who has tried to reduce and contain abuses by police in New York City, has “blood on his hands” and warned the Mayor not to show up at the funerals for cops killed on the job — a position spurned by the family of Officer Ramos, who welcomed the Mayor’s heartfelt condolences.

Pat Lynch, head of the NYC Police Benevolent Association

“There’s blood on many hands tonight. … Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn, ‘It must not go on. It cannot be tolerated.’ That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor. When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable.

– Pat Lynch


  • LISTEN HERE to Amy Goodman’s and Juan Gonzalez’s excellent reportage on their show Democracy Now! broadcast live every weekday on WBAI radio, 99.5 FM in New York City.

Lost in Lynch’s vicious rhetoric and supremely unprofessional conduct — mirrored by the NYPD Sergeants’ Union — is any understanding that the shooter, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had absolutely nothing to do with the protests, had earlier in the day entered his former girlfriend’s apartment in Baltimore with a stolen key and shot her, before heading to New York City. Unfortunately, the NPYD is failing to make the critical link between domestic violence against women and the commission of wider acts of violence, and its union chief is cynically using the killing of the two police officers as an opportunity to smear those who condemn police violence, including the Mayor, to achieve (they hope) better bargaining position in the stalled contract dispute and in the upcoming election to determine who will head the Police Benevolent Association. Truth and decency are unknown flavors in the mouths of the police union honchos.

Even normally thoughtful NY Daily News columnist Mike Lupica has jumped on the NYPD’s rhetorical bandwagon, reframing the fight against the national epidemic of police murder of, primarily, Black young men, as follows:

Still: If this mayor does not speak up against the kind of rhetoric that has been directed at the NYPD since the grand jury on Staten Island decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, then he is suborning such rhetoric, and the great and dangerous lie behind it: That the people of the city need protecting from those sworn to protect them.”

Police union chief Pat Lynch, and his goon squad (all on the public payroll?)

Mayor de Blasio, whose kids are bi-racial, expressed the heartwrenching legitimate concern of most Black and Latino parents in having to instruct his kids to be careful and wary in dealing with the police. Lupica, who is White, never had to warn his kids. It’s a different universe of daily experience. Lupica’s tragic blindspot is what empowers Patrick Lynch’s violent rhetoric, which in turn sets the climate for the tragic murders we’re seeing.

The aptly named Lynch’s outrageous inflammatory bleatings constitute two decades of “judgmental lapse”. Fifteen years ago outside a Bronx courthouse following the murder of the unarmed 23-year-old Amadou Diallo by four of NYPD’s plainclothed finest, whose fingers triggered 41 bullets in the direction of the gentle, slight, unarmed Diallo (19 of them finding their target at close range — and what of the other 22 shots that went awry?), Lynch, in full inflammatory throttle, issued the following asinine assessment to the media and to the people of New York City:

“This is a tragedy, not a crime! Our lives are worth a hundred times more than a criminal’s!”

And thus, Lynch turned the innocent Diallo — a Black immigrant worker from the country of Guinea — into “a criminal” and rationalized his assassination. There’s little doubt that Lynch’s ongoing racist rhetoric contributed to the climate in which the two police officers were murdered. The blood Lynch decries falls on his own hands, and — like Lady Macbeth — for those families there is not enough water in all the oceans of the world to wash it off.

The racial line is exacerbated by the “aggressive” policing tactics — known as “Broken Windows” — favored by NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton and endorsed by Patrick Lynch. It reaches deep into the NYPD as well as the civilian population. The policy was developed by the Manhattan Institute, a right-wing think tank, and adopted by Bratton during his first turn as NYC Police Commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The Reuters news agency interviewed 25 African American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of whom are still serving. According to Reuters reporter Michelle Conlin, “all but one said that, when off duty and out of uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime.”

The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.

The black officers interviewed said they had been racially profiled by white officers exclusively, and about one third said they made some form of complaint to a supervisor.

All but one said their supervisors either dismissed the complaints or retaliated against them by denying them overtime, choice assignments, or promotions. The remaining officers who made no complaints said they refrained from doing so either because they feared retribution or because they saw racial profiling as part of the system.