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    Amnesty International Tag

    For years, the Palestinian activist Issa Amro has told credulous journalists that he is “inspired by Gandhi” and firmly committed to “non-violent resistance.” One of the most recent examples is a puff piece by the Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor, who describes Amro as an admirable “nonviolent dissident” and suggests he might even be considered a “Palestinian Gandhi.” But as I will show, it would have taken only a quick look at the recent social media activity of Amro and his group Youth Against Settlements (YAS) to realize that the image he presents to journalists may just be a flimsy façade that hides an intense hatred of Israel and a burning ambition to see the world’s only Jewish state replaced by yet another Arab-Muslim majority country.

    For almost a year, the Myanmar army has conducted "clearance operations" in Rokhine state against the Muslim Rohingya minority. 417,000 of those who survived have fled to Bangladesh, telling stories of rape and murder in their villages. The UN and human rights groups have described the situation as genocide and ethnic cleansing. De facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has largely remained silent. But on Tuesday she broke that silence with a speech that is laughable, mainly because she said she has no idea why the Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.

    NATO ally Turkey seems intent on alienating its western allies from the United States to Germany and the UK. Turkey has arrested German citizens at London-based Amnesty International and released the locations of American military bases and assets. Additionally, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is stepping up his anti-Israel rhetoric, a stance that will put him at further odds with the U.S. in light of President Trump's vocal support for Israel.

    Two years ago, former President Barack Obama agreed to the Iran Nuclear Deal and told The New York Times that "Iran will be and should be a regional power." He also said that Iran has "that ability now to take some decisive steps to move toward a more constructive relationship with the world community." Obama encouraged Iranian leaders "to seize that opportunity." Well, Obama, you got your wish. Iran seized that opportunity and has taken over Iraq. Goods from Iran fill up the Iraqi markets. Not to mention that Iranian militias had a hand in dispelling ISIS from Mosul and other areas.

    Turkish citizens went to the booths today to vote on a constitutional reform that would grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers. The polls have closed and Erdogan has claimed victory with 51.3% yes votes. But the opposition parties have contested these results that allow the government to "abolish the post of prime minister and entrench one-man rule." This makes Erdogan "the country's most dominant leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic."

    Over the last five years, more than 10,000 people were hanged at Syrian prison Saydnaya. A new report released by Amnesty International indicates that once, sometimes twice a week, 50 people at a time were taken out of their prison cells and hanged to death. The mass hangings aren't the only atrocity. Reportedly, detainees were tortured and kept in squalor. Pulled from their cells in the middle of the night. Prisoners were beaten and then transferred to another prison building before being hanged to death.

    Predictably, the "grassroots" and "spontaneous" women's march wasn't so grassroots, after all.  It may have started as such, but things changed rather quickly.  Ultimately, more than 50 groups, PACs, and assorted organizations backed by billionaire agitator George Soros were deeply involved in the march.

    A self-declared "life-long liberal Democrat who voted for Trump" uncovered the tangled web of the money trail for the New York Times.  Asra Q. Nomani explains that "the march really isn’t a 'women’s march.' It’s a march for women who are anti-Trump.   As someone who voted for Trump, I don’t feel welcome . . . ."

    In all the fury over the anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334 the Obama administration marshalled through the Security Council, with an "abstain" vote providing cover for the perfidy, few people have focused on a particularly pernicious and dangerous provision. I'm not talking about the provisions effectively declaring it illegal for Jews to live in Jewish Quarter of the Old City or to worship at the Western Wall. Here is the provision I'm talking about in Resolution 2334 (pdf.):

    One of the foundational claims of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is that Israel is a settler colonial project without legitimacy. It is a claim repeated in mindless rote fashion, as if repeating it ten times in every discussion is a litmus test for being truly anti-Zionist. The claim is that Jews have no historical claim to the land of Israel, that they are outsiders imposed upon the region by colonial powers upon the indigenous Arab (mostly Muslim) population. The point of this post is not to address all the lies and distortions build into the settler colonial claim, which is an inversion of history. In fact, the Muslim conquerors who replaced the indigenous Jewish and other populations are the settlers who colonized the area. Zionism is the liberation movement of the indigenous People of the region. That many centuries have passed since Arabs from Arabia and northern Africa settled the area through force does not change the fact that they are not the indigenous Peoples. But that's an argument for another time. This post is about how BDS itself has become a settler colonial ideology, which imposes itself on other peoples and other struggles, conquers, and subjugates the goals of others, particularly people of color, to the anti-Israel agenda.

    Here at Li, we've been covering the failure of socialism unfolding in Venezuela.  Toilet paper, sugar, and food shortages have resulted in violence and thus far unsuccessful attempts to oust President Nicolas Maduro.  With the country's citizens tired, hungry, and angry, Maduro has landed on a "solution" that would make Pol Pot proud:  forced labor. CNN reports:
    In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country's fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended "if circumstances merit." . . . .  President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly -- the Congress -- which is staunchly against all of Maduro's actions.

    Turkey continues to purge people after a failed coup two weeks ago. Authorities said ambassadors are next while Amnesty International reported authorities have raped and tortured the detainees already behind bars. Turkey blames the Gülen Movement and have said everyone purged has connections to the group. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said they are no concentrating on his department:
    "Some personnel in the ministry had been given answered questions... and some personnel were placed in key positions in the ministry," he told broadcaster France 24.

    The United Nations has shown they care more about money than children's rights as they removed Saudi Arabia from a list of countries who committed atrocities in Yemen. The kingdom threatened to pull money from numerous UN programs if they remained on the list. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon immediately gave into their demands and will remove Saudi pending a review. Not just human rights. This list only mentioned countries that violated CHILDREN'S rights. The UN put money above innocent children. The list claimed that "the Saudis' campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen was blamed for causing 60% of child deaths in the conflict."

    Police suspect radical Islamists murdered a top Bangladesh officer's wife who has investigated numerous murders of bloggers. In Chittagong, three men shot Mahmuda Khanam Mitu in the head at 7AM local time as she walked their son to a bus stop. Then the men stabbed her nine times before they sped away on a motorbike. The police promoted her husband Babul Akter "after leading a slew of raids against banned Islamist extremist groups, such as Jamaat ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB)." The groups have claimed responsibility for the murders of many anti-secularist and gay bloggers in Bangladesh.
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