New Report Documents the Deadly Impact and Global Condemnation of US Sanctions

A coalition of North American human rights organizations has released a report on the impact and consequences of US sanctions. The report is based on wide-ranging research and interviews with citizens in countries which are suffering under US sanctions.

The report reveals a reality which western media rarely or never reports.

One finding is that US sanctions hurt the poor, have resulted in thousands of deaths and “humanitarian exemptions” do not work. Another finding is that more than 70% of the world nations officially condemn US sanctions as violating international law and the UN Charter.

A free PDF copy of the report can be downloaded from www.sanctionskill.org/impact/.

The report will be distributed at the United Nations and to US Congressional offices. We encourage social justice, human rights, and legal organizations to study and take up this issue. The 35-page report, with its extensive references, is appropriate for college courses.

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Two Ambassadors to Syria With Wildly Different Analyses

In the past few months, Grayzone journalist Aaron Mate has interviewed two former ambassadors to Syria: former UK Ambassador Peter Ford and former U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Ford.

The two ambassadors have a common surname but dramatically different perspectives. This article will compare the statements and viewpoints of the two diplomats.

UK Ambassador Peter Ford (PF)

Peter Ford trained as an Arabist and served in the British foreign service in numerous cities including Beirut, Riyadh, and Cairo. He was Ambassador to Bahrein from 1999 to 2003, then Syria from 2003 to 2006. From 2006 until 2014 he was a senior officer with the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

The interview with UK Amb. Peter Ford (PF) shows why he is exceptional former diplomat. He analyzes and criticizes western aggression against Syria.

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Remembering Hisham Ahmed

Hisham Ahmed was born in Deheisheh refugee camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem, Palestine in 1963. Blind from birth, Hisham somehow surmounted all odds and ultimately earned a PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He taught for many years at Birzeit University in Palestine, before coming to Saint Mary’s College of California in 2006. He died of cancer in July 2019, age 56. The following remembrance was given at his memorial service held on 25 September 2019 at St. Mary’s College.

Sometimes you meet someone who is unforgettable. Hisham Ahmed was such a person.

I recall the first time I met him. It was about twelve years ago, soon after he came to the Bay Area. He was speaking about the reality of Palestine before a big crowd. The other guest speaker was the Jewish American activist Anna Baltzer. I remember him with his Braille computer, reading his prepared speech as his fingers slid across the computer which he kept by his side, supported by his shoulder strap.

That scene of Hisham with his computer and shoulder strap became very familiar. Hisham was always willing to speak at our events, never asking for anything in return. He was an important part of our community outreach and education about Palestine and the Middle East. We were especially happy when he agreed to join the board of the Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center. He immediately made a mark with his positive suggestions and ideas. He was that kind of person.

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Tulsi Gabbard vs. Google Goliath

The Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign has filed a major law suit against Google. This article outlines the main points of the law suit and evidence the social media giant Google has quietly acquired enormous influence on public perceptions and has been actively censoring alternative viewpoints.

Tulsi Now vs. Google

Tulsi Now, Inc. vs. Google, LLC was filed on July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The attorneys demand a jury trial and seek compensation and punitive damages of “no less than $50 million”. Major points and allegations in the 36 page complaint include:

Google has monopolistic control of online searches and related advertising.

“Google creates, operates, and controls its platform and services, including but not limited to Google Search, Google Ads, and Gmail as a public forum or its functional equivalent by intentionally and openly dedicating its platform for public use and public benefit, inviting the public to utilize Google as a forum for free speech. Google serves as a state actor by performing an exclusively and traditionally public function by regulating free speech within a public forum and helping to run elections.” (p22)

“Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election….. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency – and no accountability (until now).” (p2)

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Tribute to Robert Parry, Investigative Journalist and Patriot

Robert (Bob) Parry was born in 1949 and died suddenly from pancreatic cancer in January 2018. An enthusiastic tribute to him and his work was recently held in Berkeley California. A video of the event is online here.

Although Robert Parry never became personally famous, many readers will recall news stories he played a key role in bringing to public consciousness. He uncovered the "Iran-Contra scandal" where the US secretly sold weapons to Iran via Israel with profits supporting mercenary "Contras" attacking the Nicaraguan government. He uncovered Lt. Col. Oliver North secretly working at the Reagan White House to supervise support for the Contras. He exposed CIA collusion with criminals sending weapons to the Contras and receiving tons of cocaine on return flights from Colombia and Central America.

In 1988, Parry co-authored an article which documented CIA and State Department activities to misinform the public to promote the desired public policy.

Next, Parry worked with the television documentary "Frontline" to uncover the "October Surprise". That story involved Ronald Reagan’s election team clandestinely negotiating to delay the release of American hostages held in Iran. These stories appeared in mainstream media but were ultimately swept under the carpet.

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