Georgia Attorney General Requests Federal Investigation into Ahmaud Arbery Case

Georgia Attorney General Requests Federal Investigation into Ahmaud Arbery Case

By Staff, Agencies 

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has requested the US Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case by local prosecutors. Arbery’s murder was committed on 23 February, but saw public outcry after a video of the shooting emerged online.

“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset. The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers”, Carr said.

According to a statement released by the Attorney General’s office, the request to the US Department of Justice “includes, but is not limited by, investigation of the communications and discussions by and between the Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit and the Office of the District Attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit related to this case”.

Earlier on Saturday, Carr tweeted that he would handle the case himself.

The video of the shooting emerged in the social media around 5 May, causing massive public outcry, as many believe the murder to be racially motivated. Shortly after the graphic footage of the Arbery’s killing was released, two Georgia residents, Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged with murder.

The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery

The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery

By Charles M. Blow, NYT

This video is short and shocking.

It’s taken from the perspective of a vehicle following a young black man running at a jogger’s pace has been circulated. The jogger is 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery approaches a pickup truck parked in the street. There are two white men, one outside the vehicle with a shotgun, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, and the other, his father, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael, standing aloft in the flatbed.

The McMichaels had reportedly chased Arbery, blocking his path at another location, at which point he had turned around and jogged another way to avoid them.

In the video, when the men encounter each other, there’s immediately an altercation. Arbery and the younger McMichael fight for control of the shotgun.

Shots are fired. Arbery tries to run away, but he is clearly wounded and his knees buckle. He collapses to the ground. The video ends.

After Arbery fell, the younger McMichael rolled over the limp body “to see if the male had a weapon,” according to a police report. There was blood on McMichael’s hands when the police arrived.

Arbery died of his wounds.

This is how the police report detailed the father’s explanation for why he and his son chased Arbery:

“McMichael stated he was in his front yard and saw the suspect from the break-ins ‘hauling ass’ down Satilla Drive toward Burford Drive. McMichael stated he then ran inside his house and called to Travis [McMichael] and said, ‘Travis, the guy is running down the street, let’s go.’ McMichael stated he went to his bedroom and grabbed his .357 Magnum and Travis grabbed his shotgun because they ‘didn’t know if the male was armed or not.’”

Arbery was not armed, and he was not the “suspect” in any break-ins. He was a former high school football player who liked to stay active and was jogging in the small city of Brunswick, Glynn County, Ga., near his home.

Neither of the McMichaels was arrested or charged. From the time this happened in late February, they have had the luxury of sleeping in their own beds, free men, while Arbery’s body is confined to a coffin, deep in a grave at New Springfield Baptist Church in Alexander, Ga.

According to The New York Times, “Gregory McMichael is a former Glynn County police officer and a former investigator with the local district attorney’s office who retired last May.” The local prosecutor recused herself from the case because Gregory McMichael had worked in her office. The next prosecutor, a district attorney, also recused himself because his son worked for the district attorney for whom Gregory McMichael had worked.

But, before the second prosecutor’s recusal, he said in a letter obtained by The Times:

“It appears Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and Bryan Williams were following in ‘hot pursuit,’ a burglary suspect, with solid first hand probable cause, in their neighborhood, and asking/telling him to stop. It appears their intent was to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived. Under Georgia law this is perfectly legal.”

The third and current prosecutor on the case said Tuesday that the case should be heard by a grand jury.

He cites the statute: “A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge.”

But there is a clear problem here: Arbery had committed no offense. His only offense, the thing that drew suspicion, was that he was black and male and running through these white men’s neighborhood.

The recused prosecutor’s letter states: “Given the fact Arbery initiated the fight, at the point Arbery grabbed the shotgun, under Georgia law, McMichael was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.”

The similarities here to the Trayvon Martin case are uncanny. These men stalked Arbery, projecting onto him a criminality of which he was not guilty, then used self-defense as justification to gun him down in an altercation that they provoked. Arbery was killed eight years to the month after Martin was killed, just about three hours north.

The Black Lives Matter movement that peaked a few years ago focused activism and protests largely around police killings of black people, but the moment was born of another phenomenon, one present in the Martin case and again here: anti-black vigilantism.

This form of anti-blackness marks black masculinity as menacing, and state laws protect the vigilantes’ rights to involve their weapons and their power to end lives.

The most infuriating part of most of the cases in which unarmed black men are killed, either by the police or vigilantes, is the lack of arrest, prosecution or conviction. It is not any suggestion that the killers were right, morally, but rather that in most cases it could be reasonably argued that the killings were legal.

As has too often been the case in this country, the law works to black people’s detriment and sometimes their demise.

Slavery was legal. The Black Codes were legal. Sundown towns were legal. Sharecropping was legal. Jim Crow was legal. Racial covenants were legal. Mass incarceration is legal. Chasing a black man or boy with your gun because you suspect him a criminal is legal. Using lethal force as an act of self-defense in a physical dispute that you provoke and could easily have avoided is, often, legal.

It is men like these, with hot heads and cold steel, these with yearnings of heroism, the vigilantes who mask vengeance as valor, who ­cross their social anxiety with racial anxiety and the two spark like battery cables.

Arbery was enjoying a nice run on a beautiful day when he began to be stalked by armed men.

What must that have felt like?

What must he have felt when he approached the truck and saw that one of the stalkers was brandishing a shotgun?

What must he have thought when he fought for the gun?

What must he have thought when he took the first bullet?

Or the second?

What must he have thought as he collapsed to the ground and could feel the life leaving his body?

Ahmaud Arbery was a human being, a person, a man with a family and a future, who loved and was loved. The McMichaels took all of that away on a glorious Sunday afternoon in February. Who knows what Arbery could have become. He was young, his life a buffet of possibilities. Friday would have been his 26th birthday.

SOUTHFRONT’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL IS BANNED

South Front

SouthFront's YouTube Channel Is Banned

On April 30, we reported that Facebook permanently banned SouthFront’s public page with about 100,000 followers. (LINK)

Now, the situation appears to be even worse.

On May 1 (in the  evening by CET), YouTube terminated SouthFront’s channels with a combined sum of approximately 170,000 subscribers. The main YouTube channel in English had over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and about 60,000,000 views.

SouthFront's YouTube Channel Is Banned

This happened despite the fact that our YouTube channels had zero active strikes. As you know we cover conflicts in the Middle East. This is a sensitive topic. Therefore, we strictly follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines and comply with the Terms of Service.

SouthFront’s YouTube channels were terminated without any warning. All that we got was a single automated email regarding the termination of our inactive channel in Farsi “SouthFront Farsi” that included several translations of our war reports. However, even this email provides no details regarding the decision and just claims that “SouthFront Farsi” violated YouTube’s Terms of Service without any elaboration.

SouthFront's YouTube Channel Is Banned

For over 5 years of our work, SouthFront repeatedly faced attempts to censor our coverage, analysis and videos. However, the current blatant and illegal ban of our activity is an unprecedented case. (LINKLINKLINK)

The only reasonable explanation, we may imagine, is that US authorities ordered YouTube and Facebook to cleanse the media sphere of sources of objective coverage and analysis on the Middle East region as a part of the ongoing preparations for a war with Iran. (LINK)

We think that the current situation deserves attention of the international public, including the journalistic community beyond individual ambitions of separate media organizations and journalists.

WE CRITICALLY NEED YOUR INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE

Please, help to share this message with the global audience. Also, please, inform your friends, your social circles about southfront.org as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

Also, in this hard time, your donations are especially important to keep SouthFront alive:

A Teleological Response to the Crash of the Price of West Texas Intermediate Oil as a Consequence of the Corona Virus

A Teleological Response to the Crash of the Price of West Texas Intermediate Oil as a Consequence of the Corona Virus

April 24, 2020

By Blake Archer Williams for The Saker Blog

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“God damn America, not God bless America!”

“If we can’t sell our oil,” the Iranians said, “you won’t be able to sell your oil [either]!” This turned out to be more of a prayer than a threat that was actually implemented.

The same prayer could be extrapolated for the economy: “If you want to destroy the economy of an entire nation with your barbaric ‘Maximum Pressure’ policy, then may your economy be destroyed instead!” And also with respect to safe air travel: “If you won’t let your Europoodles sell us their Airbus airplanes because they contain American avionics components; and if you won’t let Boeing sell us any of their airplanes once the JCPOA paved the way for such a deal, then may your airplanes be grounded, and may Boeing go bankrupt! And may global air travel be reduced down by more than 80%.”

As Obama’s erstwhile preacher Jeremiah Wright memorably said, “God damn America, not God bless America!” Amen, brother! This is the prayer of all of the people of Iran, the people of Syria, of Yemen, of Iraq, of Libya, of Bolivia, of Venezuela, of Cuba, of the Axis of Resistance, and of all of the peoples whose countries have been ruined or are victims in some way of the American imperium.

Télos

One of the major differences between the theistic worldview of Moslems and Christians on one hand, and that of the modern mindset and of pre-modern atheists revolves around the issue of whether there is such a thing as a ‘Final Cause’, which is the fourth of the four Aristotelian causes (material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause). Final or télosic cause is the ultimate purpose of the existence of a given object; it is its telos, or the end-term or ultimate purpose of a process that is goal-driven and goal-directed. In the theistic worldview, everything exists for an ultimate purpose, which is to play its part, however small, in the arrival at the eschaton, or at the Final Event in God’s Plan, which is the Day of Judgment: the day everyone will be judged for their deeds on Earth, and the day upon which the eternal fate of their souls shall be determined. Everything is drawn (as opposed to driven) towards God, who is in control of the whole process, which control includes allowing a certain volitional latitude to the sons and daughters of Adam for testing purposes. It is this observation of man’s volitional acts by God and His ultimate judgment of them that gives them meaning.

The atomistic materialistic atheistic view, on the other hand, holds that there is no God and there is no control. Rather than a centripetal motion being drawn to a singularity at the center of the process (as in a vortex), the forces of the universe are mechanical and centrifugal, driving everything outwards towards nowhere in particular and with no particular meaning or purpose. (I talked about this recently on a radio show hosted by Kevin Barrett. Those interested in learning more about the political system in Iran can listen to the show here, where I discuss the thesis of my 2017 book, Creedal Foundations of Walīyic Islam – How Shī’a Theology, Prophetology and Imamology give rise to the theory of Velayat-e Faqih).

And so if we were to subject the phenomenon of the Covid-19 virus to an analysis that includes such a dichotomy, while the materialist and atheistic perspective maintains that the occurrence of the virus, or at least its dispersion, is random and non-purposive, the theistic perspective might see the interference of the Hand of Providence in the big picture view of the phenomenon. Perhaps it is an answer to the prayers of the hundreds of millions of people who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of “Christian” war pigs like Pompeo, and the “Jewish” war pig who heads the US Treasury Department, Steven Mnuchin, may they both be damned to Hell. Amen. Ditto the meathead Trump, of course.

This picture has been making the rounds on WhattsApp here in sunny Tehran.

The caption reads “An Artistic Impression of [the Meathead] Trump

More not Less Religious

Of course, there are conditions that prevent prayers from being answered. Perhaps if the authorities in Iran were a little more religious, their prayers would have been answered sooner. Perhaps if the Leader of the Revolution had used the facilities afforded by mass communication technology and had the tens of millions of people who poured out into the streets of the cities of Iran to bid farewell to their beloved Major General Qāsem Soleymānī to supplicate in unison for the ending of the American siege of the Shī’a Citadel, their prayers would have been answered sooner. The experiment in mass prayers has been carried out in Christian nations through the power of radio at least on one occasion that I know of, and that was conducted by George Noory, the host of the Coast to Coast radio show.

Much of the problems of modern man stem from his financial over-reach and his living beyond his actual means. And Iran is no exception (though of course the phenomenon is less pronounced in developing countries). Perhaps if the political order of Iran had eliminated the practice of their banks lending money with the policy that has come to be known as ‘fractional reserve’ banking where banks lend out more money than they actually have, their prayers would have been answered sooner. “By what right,” God will put the question to you, O bankers and Statesmen of modern governmental institutions, “did you lend money that you did not have? By what right did you create money out of thin air and create value and worth by fiat?? By what right did you de-couple the value of your national currency from real value, so that you could print money at will, making a mockery of the earnings of your citizens?” So the Islamic Revolution still has a long struggle ahead of it…

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Whether or not this virus is an answer to people’s prayers remains to be seen, especially with the effect it is going to have on the US economy, which has already seen a staggering 22 million people filing for unemployment benefits in the last month. Robert Redfield, an American virologist and the current Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has warned that the virus will be with us until the winter at any event, and that the effects of its second wave will be much worse because it will be compounded by the usual influenza epidemic which will be taking its toll, especially on the elderly, at the same time, as it does every year, taking the capacity of the health care system to breaking point. Time will tell. But either way, what is clear is that the United States needs to clean up its act and “start behaving like a normal nation” to quote the war pig Pompeo.

دونالد ترامب وحروب «الأمة المختارة»

توفيق شومان

انقلبت أفكار أبي الطب اليوناني أبقراط (460 ق.م ـ 370 ق.م) رأساً على عقب، حين اجتاح وباء الطاعون بلاد الإغريق في عام 430 ق. م، إذ ربط أبقراط علم الطبابة بالأخلاق وجعلهما متكاملين غير منفصلين، فحين رأى الناس يموتون صرعى الطاعون، قرّر إخراج الطب من عالم مغلق على الكهنة والتوارث والاحتكار، إلى عالم مفتوح لكلّ راغب ومريد ومريض.

بعد هذا الانقلاب ورث أبقراط لقباً إنسانياً سامياً، لعله الأرفع، وغدا يُعرف بأبي الطب في العوالم القديمة والحديثة.

ماذا يمكن أن يُقال عن الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب حين يحظر مستلزمات الوقاية من وباء كورونا عن إيران أو يحجرها عن الإيرانيين؟

الرئيس ترامب يقول إنه يخوض حروبه ويمارس سياساته في الخارج والداخل وفقاً لـ «مشيئة الله».

هكذا قال عن حربه التجارية مع الصين، فـ «الله اختارني لخوض هذه الحرب وإنجاز هذه المهمة».

وهكذا قال في تجمع انتخابي مع الإنجيليين قبل فترة قصيرة فـ «الله يقف إلى جانبنا وكلّ مذبح شيطاني يُرفع ضدّنا سيسقطه الله».

وقال مراراً وتكراراً إنّ إيران تقود «محور الشر».

هذا الخطاب الإيمانيّ ـ القدريّ وفقاً لتأويلات المستوطنين الأميركيين الأوائل، وعلى الرغم من مخالفته الصريحة لما تورده الأناجيل المقدّسة عن السيد المسيح وقوله على سبيل المثال: «إن ألقيتم السلام على إخوانكم وحدهم، فأيّ زيادة تفعلون؟ أوَليس الوثنيون يفعلون ذلك؟»، أو قوله: «إن أحببتم من يحبكم فأيّ أجر لكم؟»، فإنه يعيد إلقاء الضوء على مفهوم «الأمة الرسالية وأرض الميعاد» التي أسبغها أوائل الأميركيين على أنفسهم، واعتبارهم الأرض الأميركية المكتشفة حديثاً منحة من الله بهدف إقامة «الأمة الفاضلة».

قليل من التاريخ المعاصر والقريب قد يفيد:

أكثر الكتب المعروفة على المستوى العالمي، تناول نشوء الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كتاب للفرنسي ألكسيس دو توكفيل (1805ـ 1859) بعنوان «الديمقراطية في أميركا» يقول فيه إنّ مؤرّخ السنوات الأولى للولايات المتحدة ناثانيل مورتون كتب عن مستوطنة «نيو إنيجلند» فقال: «إنه لواجب مقدس علينا، نحن الذين نال آباؤهم كثيراً من نعم الله، بإلهامهم إنشاء هذه المزرعة، أن نقوم بتخليد ذكراها، حتى نبيّن للأجيال المقبلة أنّ الواجب عليهم أن يحمدوا الله على ما أتاهم، وكيف أمر الله بنقل هذه الكروم وغرسها في الصحراء، وكيف طرد الوثنيين منها»، وفي الفترة نفسها كتب فرنسيس هيجنسون قائلاً: «نحن هنا نعلم الدين الحق والوصايا المقدسة، ولا نشك أن الله معنا، وحين يكون الله معنا، فمن يستطيع أن يكون ضدنا؟».

مثل هذه الكتابات المتحوّلة إلى عقيدة لدى شريحة من المستوطنين الأميركيين، ستجد لها مماثلات عدة في كتاباتهم وعقائدهم وممارسات أصحاب القرار السياسي والاقتصادي، وبحسب فرانك لامبرت في كتابه «الدين في السياسة الأميركية» أنّ أقوى الأساطير في الثقافة الشعبية الأميركية «أن الله اختار البراري الأميركية لإنزال نعمه عليها»، ويعتبر جاي باريني في كتابه «أرض الميعاد» أنّ من بين الكتب الثلاثة عشر التي غيّرت أميركا وشكلت عقلها الجمعي، كتاب لماري آنتين عن «أرض الميعاد» (1912)، وهو كتاب يحتلّ مكانة مرموقة في الثقافة الأميركية العامة، وعلى ما يقول ألمع المؤرّخين الأميركيين في القرن العشرين دانيال بورستين (1914ـ 2004) في كتابه الذائع الصيت «الأميركيون» إن جماعات من المهاجرين الآوائل كان لديها اليقين بأنها تسير على «الصراط المستقيم لبناء صهيون جديدة في الأرض الأميركية الجديدة».

قد يصعب حصر الكتابات والمؤلفات المتحدثة عن «الرسالية الأميركية»، غير أنّ هذه «الرسالية» كما يصفها ميشال بوغنون ـ موردان في كتاب «أميركا التوتاليتارية» أدّت بالولايات المتحدة إلى انتهاج سلوك سياسي على المستوى العالمي انطلاقاً من قاعدة إيديولوجية تقوم على محورين:

ـ الأول: الاقتناع بأنّ الولايات المتحدة مكلفة برسالة إلهية.

ـ الثاني: الاقتناع بأنّ تنفيذ هذه الرسالة يستلزم استخدام كلّ الوسائل بلا تحريم.

هنا بالضبط، يمكن العثور على خلفيات «تحريم» دونالد ترامب تزويد الإيرانيين بالوسائل الطبية المفترضة أو الإفراج عن أموالهم المجمّدة.

ومن هنا بالضبط يمكن فهم ما قالته المتحدثة باسم وزارة الخارجية الأميركية مورغان أورتاغوس ـ قبل تفشي وباء كورونا في الولايات المتحدة: «إننا نرى قادة إيرانيين يموتون»، وكذلك تصريح وزير التجارة الأميركية ويلبر روس حين قال: إنّ تفشي فيروس كورونا في الصين قد يفيد الاقتصاد الأميركي وينعش فرص العمل في الولايات المتحدة.

كلّ هذا يعيد عقارب إيديولوجيا الرؤساء الأميركيين إلى الوراء بعض الشيء:

ـ الرئيس بنيامين فرانكلين (1706ـ 1790) وقوله: إنّ مصلحة أميركا هي مصلحة الإنسانية.

ـ الرئيس جون آدامز (1735ـ 1826) حيث يقول: أميركا هي وطن وأرض السعادة البشرية.

تلك شواهد من الماضي البعيد نسبياً

ماذا عن الماضي المعيش والحاضر؟

المفكر الأميركي فرانسيس فوكويوما صاحب الكتاب الشهير «نهاية التاريخ»، يقول في كتاب له بعنوان «أميركا على المفترق» إنّ الأميركيين رأوا في هزيمة ألمانيا واليابان في الحرب العالمية الثانية «نتيجة أخلاقية» وأنّ كثيرين منهم أدرجوا الحرب الأميركية على العراق في عام 1991 في سياق «الهيمنة الخيّرة التي تقدّم خيراً كونياً عاماً».

ينقل رئيس التحرير الأسبق لصحيفة «الحياة» جهاد الخازن في كتابه: «المحافظون الجدد والمسيحيون الصهيونيون» أنّ الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس قال له نقلاً عن الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق جورج بوش الإبن: «إنّ الله أمره بمحاربة حركة طالبان وبقتال الرئيس العراقي صدام حسين».

آنذاك قال الرئيس بوش أيضاً: إنّ النصر حتمي في هذه الحرب لأنّ الله يقف إلى جانب قوى الخير التي تمثلها الولايات المتحدة».

الرئيس بوش قال: إنّ الله يقف إلى جانب أميركا، تماماً كما قال الرئيس ترامب: «إنّ الله يقف إلى جانبنا» في المجمع الانتخابي الإنجيلي، كما سبق القول.

ومثلما قال ترامب في المجمع نفسه: «كلّ مذبح شيطاني يُرفع ضدّنا سيسقطه الله»، كان قاله فرنسيس هيجنسون قبل مئتي عام: «لا نشك أنّ الله معنا، وحين يكون الله معنا، فمن يستطيع أن يكون ضدّنا؟».

القناعة نفسها والمفردات نفسها كأنها صراط لغوي واحد، وهو الأمر عينه الذي أبدع به الرئيس الأميركي رونالد ريغان في ولايتيه الرئاسيتين (1981ـ1989)، وإليه يعود سبق تقسيم العالم إلى فسطاطين: محور الشر ومحور الخير، علماً أنّ عتبة ولايته الرئاسية الثانية كانت بدأت تشهد تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، ومع ذلك أخذه الإصرار إلى العقيدة الفسطاطية، والهدف من ذلك التأكيد على «خيرية» الولايات المتحدة ونصرة الله لها على أعدائها الأشرار، فهي «الأمة الطاهرة»، ولذلك يجب تعميم هذه «الطهرانية» على كلّ مفاصل الدولة الأميركية، فـ «الرب ألزمهم بذلك، وأنّ من واجبهم أن يطيعوا أمر الرب»، مثلما ورد في كتاب كيمبرلي بلاكر المعنون بـ «أصول التطرّف اليميني في أميركا».

تقدّم القول إنّ حروب الولايات المتحدة لا تعرف التحريم كما قال ميشال بوغنون ـ موردان، وفي ذلك تقول جين كيركباتريك السفيرة الأميركية لدى الأمم المتحدة في عهد الرئيس ريغان في كتاب حرّره آرون سيلزر بعنوان «المحافظون الجدد» وأورد فيه مقالات ومحاضرات لرئيسي الوزاء البريطانيين الأسبقين مارغريت تاتشر وطوني بلير ووزيرة الخارجية الأميركية السابقة كوندوليزا رايس وآخرين: «إنّ من شأن الدفاع عن مصلحتنا القومية ألا يكون مرتبطاً عضوياً بالدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان أو أيّ قضية أخرى جديرة أخلاقياً».

في هذا الكلام لجين كيركباتريك، يتمّ التقاط أبعاد أخرى في الحروب الأميركية على العالم، ومن ضمنها الحرب الدوائية والمالية على إيران، فطالما أنّ هذه الحروب تصبّ في مصلحة الولايات المتحدة، فهي «حروب خيّرة»، حتى لو رآها كلّ العالم مغايرة لذلك، فإيديولوجيا الخير حصرية بالمكان والزمان الأميركيين، وما يقوله الآخرون لغو وشطط.

هو تعريف غير مسبوق للخير.

تعريف يستند إلى المصلحة الذاتية والنفعية وليست المصلحة الإنسانية.

ولكن من الإنصاف القول إنّ الحرب الدوائية والمالية على إيران، بالرغم من كونها تتخذ واقعاً أكثر سفوراً في جانبه غير الأخلاقي، إلا أنّ سياسات التطرف الأميركي، لم تبق ولم تَذَر أحداً، لا روسيا ولا الصين، ولا حتى الحليف الأوروبي العجوز كما وصفه الرئيس ترامب ذات مرة، ونقاش «الحرب الباردة» بين الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي مفتوح على جوانب عدة منذ تسعينيات القرن العشرين، ولعلّ كتاب «الفردوس والقوة» لروبرت كيغن، والذي خرج من المطابع في عام 2003، يشكل نموذجاً صارخاً لنمط التفكير الأميركي تجاه القارة الأوروبية.

هي «الأمة الخيّرة» كما اعتقد بها الأميركيون السابقون والأميركيون اللاحقون ومن ضمنهم الرئيس ترامب.

هذه «الأمة» ماذا تريد؟

هذه «الأمة» تريد كلّ شيء: أن تكون القوة العسكرية الأقوى ـ أن تكون الاقتصاد الأقوى ـ أن تكون مركز المال والأعمال ـ أن تتجاوز الأمم المتحدة ولا تأبه لقراراتها (نموذج صفقة القرن) ـ أن تقبض على صندوق النقد والبنك الدوليّين ـ أن تهيمن على منظمة التجارة العالمية ـ أن تنسحب من اتفاقية المناخ ـ أن تخوض حروباً نفطية ومالية ودوائية ويميل نحوها الآخرون حيث تميل، وكلّ ذلك تحت شعار «أميركا أولاً» لأنها «الأمة المختارة».

كيف هي «مختارة»؟ ويقودها الرئيس ترامب ومن «أقواله المأثورة»:

ـ منافستي على الرئاسة هيلاري كلينتون محتالة ـ رئيسة مجلس النواب نانسي بيلوسي جرو مريض ـ وزير خارجيتي ريكس تيلرسون كان كسولاً وغبياً ـ وزير دفاعي جيمس ماتيس وقح وسيّئ أجبرته على الاستقالة ـ مستشاري للأمن القومي جون بولتون شحاذ ومتسوّل ـ «نيويورك تايمز» كذابة ـ «وول ستريت جونال» غير شريفة.

تقول صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» (1ـ 1ـ 2019) في تحليل لمواقف وتصريحات الرئيس ترامب: «إنه كذب 5600 كذبة في عام 2018، وبمعدل 15 كذبة في اليوم الواحد».

لم يتمّ تحليل مواقف الرئيس ترامب في عام 2019، بسبب انشغال الصحافة الأميركية بجائحة كورونا في عام 2020، إلا أنّ هذه الصحافة نقلت عنه مواقف وتغريدات في غاية السوء، ومنها: «أودّ أن أرى الكنائس تكتظ بجمهور المصلين، في عيد الفصح فهذا سيحرك اقتصادنا».

هو يعلم أنّ جائحة كورونا مستمرة، ومع ذلك يدعو الناس إلى الموت. يدعو كبار السنّ إلى القبور.

ما لم يقله ترامب حرفياً، قاله نصيره في الحزب الجمهوري، جيف دان باتريك، نائب حاكم ولاية تكساس، حيث دعا المعمّرين والكبار في السنّ لأن يضحّوا بأنفسهم إنقاذاً للاقتصاد والأحفاد!

«قادة مختارون» لـ «أمة مختارة» يحجبون الدواء عن الناس في إيران، و»قادة مختارون» لـ «أمة مختارة» يدعون إلى ترك كبار السن في بلادهم في عراء الموت!

هؤلاء «القادة المختارون»: هل قرأوا ما قاله السيد المسيح: «أكرم أباك وأمك كما أوصاك الرب… أكرم أباك وأمك كي تطول أيامك»؟

هؤلاء «القادة المختارون»: هل يقرأون الأناجيل المعروفة أم يقرأون أناجيل غير معروفة؟

في أية أناجيل يقرأون…؟

Racism amid COVID-19 Pandemic: Why I Don’t Feel Safe Wearing A Face Mask

Racism amid COVID-19 Pandemic: Why I Don’t Feel Safe Wearing A Face Mask

By Aaron Thomas, Boston Globe

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a 180-degree turn last week and is now recommending that people wear face masks in public. The guidelines say that medical grade masks should be reserved for health professionals, who are facing a shortage of supplies, and suggest that Americans use T-shirts, scarves, handkerchiefs, or any other spare fabric to make homemade masks to cover their noses and mouths.

On Saturday I thought about the errands I need to make this week, including a trip to the grocery store. I thought I could use one of my old bandanas as a mask. But then my voice of self-protection reminded me that I, a Black man, cannot walk into a store with a bandana covering the greater part of my face if I also expect to walk out of that store. The situation isn’t safe and could lead to unintended attention, and ultimately a life-or-death situation for me. For me, the fear of being mistaken for an armed robber or assailant is greater than the fear of contracting COVID-19.

These are the fears that Black Americans have to constantly face. Where we can go, how we can show up, what we can wear, what we can say – it never ends. The world is upside down right now with the coronavirus pandemic, and we are living in a dystopian nightmare come to life. Still, we are living in an America where history dictates that, even in the most absurd times, hatred and bigotry continue to reign. We are still judged, convicted, and sentenced by race, by gender… and class.

Early reports highlight what many have predicted: Those who are impacted by COVID-19 are overwhelmingly people of color, poor people, the homeless, and those living with disabilities. This stems from a lack of equitable access to health care.

Meanwhile, the bigotry escalates. There has been an increase of anti-Asian discrimination because COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. Racial tensions are increasingly escalating, and the situation for minorities is getting worse.

As this is a historical moment, it is important that we remember our history. Black men and women in this country have been killed for any and everything. A child with a toy gun, a young girl sleeping in her family home, a man buying an air gun at Walmart. Knowing all that, I just don’t feel safe. Even in a time of pandemic, the discrimination does not stop.

I will not be covering my face until I am able to obtain a face mask that is unmistakable for what it is. Let me be clear: This is not because I do not trust the advice of the CDC – I do. I believe in science, and I have followed all of its guidelines up to this point. I know masks work, and I trust the CDC’s recommendation.

What I do not trust are the innate biases and lack of critical thought about the implications of these decisions. I do not trust that I can walk into a grocery store with my face covered and not be disturbed. I do not trust that I will not be followed. I do not trust that I will be allowed to exist in my Black skin and be able to buy groceries or other necessities without a confrontation and having to explain my intent and my presence. I do not trust that wearing a make-shift mask will allow me to make it back to my home.

So until I receive a mask, I will get to live out my childhood dream of being on “Supermarket Sweep.” And yes, I will attempt to get everything I need into my cart and to the checkout in three minutes or less.

Aaron Thomas lives in Columbus, Ohio.

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media

March 25, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The Chicago Tribune – seemingly the only major newspaper which did not endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 (they endorsed Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson) – has reported that price gouging in Chicago has skyrocketed a spectacular 9,000% since March 1.

What’s worse, that figure only includes complaints to the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department from March 1, excluding the first two months of 2020.

From some it’s a dagger in the heart of perceptions of superior codes of polite conduct in the Midwest. For others it’s verification of all the worst accusations of moral, and especially financial, corruption in the city forever linked in the global imagination with gangster Al Capone.

Now… this is all entirely accurate. I have even presented it with hallowed (and phony/naive) “objectivity”. Nobody can sue me for anything.

But it’s terrible journalism.

It’s eye-catching, newspaper-selling, ratings-grabbing, if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism. It’s journalism designed to grab eyeballs by inciting panic… and panic is what the West is doing very, very well during the Corona crisis.

The City of Chicago received 175 price gouging complaints so far this month – there were only 2 such complaints all of last year, per The Chicago Tribune. The newspaper’s journalists handled the story ok: only got quotes from the government – nothing from victims, grassroots groups or even vox pops – but it’s not terrible.

Now my headline was rather click bait-y and terrible – irresponsible/negligent use of a colon, certainly. See what I can do if I decide to use my powers for evil rather than good?

Was there an 8,650% increase? Yes. I can say I was, “Just reporting the facts,” which is the ultimate journalistic cop-out. This was exactly the defense used by the reporter in Clint Eastwood’s fine new movie on Atlanta Olympics non-bomber Richard Jewell when confronted by Jewell and his lawyer. MSMers would do the same if you questioned their constant, provoking “Corona death toll reaches ___” headlines.

But even The Chicago Tribune knew better than to phrase this trend that way. Is price gouging a real concern? Yes, and more to me than The Chicago Tribune, judging by the space they gave the story.

But it probably won’t be a concern at all to MSNBC because Illinois is a solidly Democratic state which has no chance of flipping to Trump, and Illinois also has a (billionaire, aristocratic) Democratic governor. The hyper-partisan channel is happy to excuse in Democrats what they shame Republicans for; their editorial line is – ignore blue state malfeasances, attack red states.

(FYI, my headline’s colon is negligent because MSNBC has not reported on this story, and the colon implies that. Should have been a comma.)

I like to read the business sections of the world’s top papers and media when I can – you often find the most serious hard news there – and certainly we all have time off now. I figure it’s either do that or panic. That’s how I found this price gouging story.

I also had time to check out fake-leftist darling/rightly-guided prophet Rachel Maddow’s latest show: she opened with the Spanish ice rink converted to a morgue story, which was the most eye-catching, panic-inducing, if-it-bleeds-it-leads choice possible to start her show.

That was terrible journalism.

In my first article on the corona crisis I quickly got to the point: “The problem in the West is that those in power during the corona crisis should not be in power.”

Maddow, incredibly, has become the Walter Cronkite of seemingly one-third of the US despite constantly evincing atrocious and sensationalistic journalism standards.

In 2018, for fun while on vacation, I wrote a minute-by-minute analysis of one of her shows, which just happened to be about (of course) her one-woman Russophobia campaign: “This was supposed to be a funny article, but when you diagram it out…I rather feel like I just watched Joseph McCarthy at work.”

Why would we assume that instead of McCarthyist red-baiting (and I have more red in my pinky toenail clippings than Maddow has in her whole body) or Russophobia-baiting or Trump-baiting, Maddow isn’t now fine with corona-baiting? Her viewers do not seem to ever ask themselves this fundamental question.

Of course, as many foreigners know: in the US there is no such thing as “propaganda” – that only exists in other countries.

Kudos to Maddow for being a Rhodes Scholar, but that does not make her qualified to be a journalist, and certainly not one holding such a vital position.

Journalists, of course, need no official qualifications. It’s a craft and not a profession – there is no single code of conduct, nor any board to revoke your license as no such license exists. A journalism degree is a nice way to start learning the craft but not necessary (Maddow does not have one), and who on earth would waste their time getting a Master’s in Journalism (except journalism professors)? The US public airwaves are not nationalised, and nearly all privately-owned, so forget about governmental review boards for civil servant journalists.

My irresponsible/negligent use of colons is thus no problem: my colon, my business. And that’s no matter how much confusion I sow. And maybe this is all a problem? But in the “free speech” loving West such ideas are verboten.

From what I can gather Maddow’s only serious daily journalism job was as a local morning radio talk show host. FYI – US morning talk radio is about as serious as the regular flu (although that may now be upgraded to semi-pandemic status). Then she was tapped for hosting a show with a US rapper. I simply don’t observe in her work any solid grounding in the craft of journalism and the importance of its social responsibilities. As I wrote in that article: “As a journalist you can’t make an unproven claim just because you hope the future proves you right.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper may be a scion of the oligarch Vanderbilt family, and while he did admit to working for the CIA for two summers he has way, way more serious journalistic experience than Maddow: He waited 10-15 minutes before running the Spanish ice morgue story on his show last night.

Not such good politicians, not such good governors, not such good journalists = a really good response to the Corona crisis? That’s pretty funny math.

What’s stunning as well is to see how – even amid what they are telling us is a huge global pandemic which rivals the Spanish Flu of 1918 (even though it clearly does not) – the Western MSM continues to obsess with degrading Donald Trump: in their broadcast media it’s still taking up a huge proportion of their coverage. But how can a daily habit dating from November 2016 be shut off so easily?

Well, journalist, it’s your job to roll with the punches, eh? You should be able to easily transition from a pandemic story to a cat-in-the-tree-rescue story to covering the local high school football game. This is what good journalists can do.

But the MSM doesn’t want good journalists, especially in front of the camera or at the editor’s desk; you do get good journalists writing columns. Newspapers, after all, are a whole different kettle of fish than TV, radio and internet journalism.

There has been a long-running trend in Western journalism: I call it the “sports-journalization of news journalism”. Everything is presented as a dramatic game, or a “war”; statistics (minus analysis and discernment) are paramount; incredibly juvenile attitudes and behaviors are not just considered normal, but expected.

Have you ever dealt with any sports journalists? I have: they are by far the most juvenile, emotionally-stunted people in any newsroom.

They often are gamblers and drunks – how else can you possibly get excited about covering a local high school football game time after time? Of course they are emotionally-stunted: they are covering something which can be fairly called more juvenile than the fashion or (what they used to call the) society pages, and how juvenile are those sections? These guys hope to make it to the big time one day: to stand next to the used jock strap laundry basket while naked men answer questions about why the ball bounced funny that one time.

Don’t give me anecdotal evidence – I know sports journalists who are intelligent, artistic, suave, upstanding people, sure. But if I had a daughter who said she was marrying a sports journalist I’d think: “Well, I should get some free tickets, which are so expensive now due to inflation… but I can’t talk about inflation with this guy: This guy probably only wants to talk about stuff 8-year olds excitedly discuss.”

My point is: in broadcast journalism the journalists who get promoted in the West best apply the absurd, childish dramatics of sports journalism into hard news issues, and especially in the US. France’s media isn’t nearly as bad: they have far more newspapers; they actually have normal-looking people as anchors on the top channels; they have far more state-run channels; they have state subsidies for media to provide some stable revenue. The UK is, of course, terrible and tabloid, but at least they are hilarious.

So of course the US is hyper-partisan, hyper-panicked, hyper-dramatic and hyper-susceptible to things which adults should not be. A sign of adulthood is putting away childish things and acting responsibly on serious issues.

Sports is the ultimate reality TV – yes, we men grasped that first! – but who doesn’t know it’s only an empty-calorie diversion? The sports-journalization of US media, contrarily, has made their hard news an empty-calorie diversion, and this trend diverts the public’s attention into the worst, bloodiest, scariest aspects of the Corona virus situation.

This article from the great website CounterPunch is an extension of my first article on Corona: Starvation, bad water, urban violence, imperialist war – these, and others, kill far, far more innocents annually than Corona: Where has been the panic for those?

Such things often don’t come near to touching the White fake-leftist class in America, which slavishly follows MSNBC. However, Corona might touch them – thus the panic and, above all with them: outrage, outrage, outrage.

If we judge by the Western MSM sports scoreboard (and what’s more capitalist-imperialist than competition?): Western good sense is getting its butt kicked during the Corona crisis.


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

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