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Personal Statement Walaa Al-Ghussein Gaza

Personal Statement

Walaa Al-Ghussein

Gaza

While standing in line at the passport control at Cairo International Airport, my friend and I were made to follow a frowning, uncommunicative officer who took our passports. “What’s going to happen to us?” I asked repeatedly. He avoided eye contact; instead, he busied himself accepting bribes from other travelers in return for easing their passage through customs. Finally, he responded “You’re Palestinians? There is no way you are going to pass”. What followed was a long night of humiliation and pleading with the Egyptian officers to let us pass to the Gaza Strip. We were heading home and had no intention of staying in Egypt, we only needed one night’s rest in Cairo as we had slept in another European airport the night before and had been traveling for three days.

They finally agreed to let me go, but my friend was detained at the airport as he was to be escorted by security personnel to the Gaza border in the morning. After they allowed me passage, I stayed at Cairo airport for four additional hours in the middle of the night with no idea what to do and where to go, at a time when many Egyptians harbored great animosity towards Palestinians. This was shortly after the elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was removed from office; he had been regarded as being relatively sympathetic to the Palestinian people. During those hours at the airport, strangers harassed me and propositioned me to leave with them. This is the sort of humiliation I had come to expect while traveling, but could never become accustomed to.

We were never supposed to travel through Egypt; rather, we were supposed to fly to Jordan and take a land route to Gaza from there. However, as Palestinians, we were denied the necessary prior approval to enter Jordan. I stayed in Cairo that night and left for home (a perilous 6-hour road journey) the next morning. I was the last person to cross the Rafah border gate before it was closed by the Egyptian authorities for another extended months-long interval during which Palestinians in the Gaza Strip remained virtually sealed off, with nobody able to leave or enter. This episode illustrates what it is like to be a Palestinian traveling in the Middle East. Nowhere am I confronted with the perils of being a Palestinian than when I stand at a border crossing point.

As it happened, I was returning from the United States after I had spent a summer attending a journalism exchange program at Washington State University, where I was motivated to write about my life’s struggle as a Palestinian. The incident at the airport was a classic example of the nature of these struggles. In this case, however, it was also a trigger to put my newly acquired training in journalism to good use.

As a Palestinian, my sense of identity has always been nebulous. I have been defined by war or by the one-dimensional images of CNN reports and New York Times editorials. My own personal identity is something I had never explored, as I only strove to present myself as a person who can be accepted in my society. Still, I was raised on certain values; my family instilled in me the ability to think and act according to my own persuasions, which were those of a free-thinker. I had always been an intrigued girl who wanted to know everything.

Thus, from my besieged city, I began using social media to explore the outside world, follow politics, and interact with people from different cultures. Through my small screen and poor Wi-Fi connection, I opened brand new horizons of knowledge and critical thinking. I read many blogs and articles by activists, journalists, and political writers such as George Orwell, Noam Chomsky, and Edward Said, whom I came to greatly admire. These experiences culminated in an unwavering ambition to achieve in words what such accomplished writers once did or still do.

I am now a 24-year-old woman who recently completed my bachelor’s degree in English Education at Al-Azhar University of Gaza, a major I grudgingly settled on because of the extremely limited educational options in Gaza. However, the courses I took during my studies enhanced my English language skills dramatically; moreover, I took the opportunity to actually teach English to children and teenagers for a year. Additionally, I engaged in multiple freelance tasks while a student, and have already published articles in major media outlets as well as my own blogs [URLs of some of my articles are listed at the bottom of this essay]. I have also presented my experiences to various audiences. I thrive on being critiqued; I think of myself as an achiever, someone who tends to be both realistic and idealistic, rational yet creative. People go through various phases of life searching for what they love to do. Discovering journalism was the turning point in my own life; I no longer needed to find myself, as my own writings found me.

At CUNY, I will be able to greatly widen my intellectual and academic horizons,and journey deeper into the world of ideas, theories, and history. I will be better able to understand social, economic, and political relationships and how they affect our day-to-day lives. I am enticed by the academic rigor and interdisciplinary philosophy because, as an aspiring writer, it is necessary for me to acquire as wide an array of knowledge as possible. If accepted, I look forward to being among ambitious and intelligent students who would challenge my thinking as I would theirs. It is for these reasons that I apply to your esteemed institution, and look forward to this next chapter in my life.

Links to selected articles and some profiles:

Walaa Al Ghussein on the power (and vulnerability) of Palestinian journalists. Published in Mondoweiss on April 12, 2015 [http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/vulnerability-palestinian-journalists/]

My profile for Aljazeera English Web [http://www.aljazeera.com/profile/walaa-ghussein.html]

My profile on International Business Times [http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/reporters/walaa-ghussein]

My story of Al-Hashash family as part of the web documentary Obliterated Families[http://obliteratedfamilies.com/en/story/al-hashash/]

The Arab Journalism Project – USA [https://arabjournalismblog.wordpress.com/students/walaa-fatma/]

Featured in Gaza’s Female Fixers on Aljazeera English Web. Published on Sep 11,2015 [http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/09/gaza-female-fixers-palestine-150910060213178.html]

Hosting local session from Davos 2016 in Gaza – organized by Walaa AlGhusseinon January 26, 2016. [https://www.globalshapers.org/news/hosting-local-session-davos-gaza]

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Leaving Palestine (poem)

Leaving Palestine

Whisper what in this life have I left, Mother?
Please don’t try to hold me back

In seeking dreams of promise I cannot go East or West, Brother
Please, don’t hold me down

There are no silver flights from here, Mother
So chained are my legs upon this sorrowed ground

Gilded vessels have no arrival to our shore, Brother
Anchored firm are we to shallows in the sound

Whisper what have I left in this life, Mother?
Nothing but futures of young now draw me on

In promises and dreams I cannot go North or South, Brother
Embarkation roads are only barriers now

Sleek paved routes belong to someone else, Mother
Our blood of decades spills and soaks in ancient sand

No one comes triumphant here to set us free, Brother
Fading clock ticks our end upon this dying land

Cold walls they’ve built all around, Mother
Yet I can hear so many living sounds

Life exists fully on another side, Brother
Life muted in our crumpled towns

Mother, what have they left that I can hold?
If not yet taken then a taking marked by time

Brother, what have I left that I can give?
Always a hand in waiting between us

Brother, whatever else can I do than this?
Trust in Allah’s outstretched welcome arms

Mother, kiss this bruised forehead one last time
I welcome the sting of their merciless harms

Some choose to die in service to life, Brother
Others choose to live in service to death.

Forever we are Palestinians, Mother
I choose the former be my last breath

Be brave for me in the face of what remains, Brother
Ever more so when punishment follows my erasure

Brave, too, be you, beloved Mother
Regret for this, hearts left with only tears

–m. dennis paul

American Nightmare: the Criminal, Justice System

caged but undaunted

Originally published October 7, 2016 Counterpunch

–By Stanley L. Cohen

Several days ago a story appeared in Al Jazeera about Ramsey Orta the courageous citizen Samaritan who video recorded the final minutes of Eric Garner’s life taken by New York City police officers in July of 2014. Mr. Garner, an asthmatic, held in a deadly choke hold and unable to breathe, repeatedly yelled out for help; his desperate pleas eventually ending as his last breath of life was stolen, by cops, from his limp body. His crime… being a black man on the streets of New York City, or Chicago, or Ferguson or Tulsa or any other of a hundred cities that dot the United States from coast to coast.

The Al Jazeera story itself dealt largely with Mr. Orta who is on his way to prison having pleaded guilty to a number of criminal charges that arose after he…

View original post 2,574 more words

Attica Lives

Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Work Stoppage September 9th, 2016

caged but undaunted

Attica Lives

September 9th is fast approaching- a day that stands out in the celebrated history of domestic resistance against official State terror and institutional slavery in this country. On that day in 1971 thousands of prisoners entombed in an upstate prison in rural New York, perhaps the worst in the United States at the time, said enough as they seized Attica. They said no to slave wages, no to physical abuse and no to psychological torture; they demanded improved living conditions, medical treatment, religious freedom and educational and training opportunities. Most important, they demanded an end to the systemic assault upon their dignity as human beings.

4 stan 1

Although much has been written about the take over and ensuing assault on the prison by state police and national guard troops some four days later which resulted in the murder of forty three individuals, including ten hostages, one statement by a 21…

View original post 1,713 more words

Announcement Of Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Workstoppage September 9, 2016

prison end slavery

SEPTEMBER 9th NATIONAL ACTION TO END SLAVERY IN AMERICAN PRISONS

http://insurgenttheatre.org/sprdocs/strikepamphlet_notlocal.pdf

https://t.co/nmGqxAF39A

https://t.co/LTI8HbRNhq

 

BDS is a war Israel can’t win

BDS is a war Israel can’t win

Israel’s apologists would call the BDS campaign “immoral”, but the slander is laughably false.

By Stanley L Cohen

Israeli think-tank fellow Yossi Klein Halevi, writing recently in the Los Angeles Times would have American readers believe that the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement is “immoral” and threatens the peace of “the region’s only intact society”, while simultaneously boasting it can’t touch Israel’s health and global economic integration.

 

Yet his reasoning from “morals” rings hollow, and amounts to little more than the shilling of the professional apologist industry deployed on Israel’s behalf throughout the Western media, in the never-ending defence of the oppressive status quo in Palestine.

 

Halevi excoriates BDS, disingenuously, for making the Jewish state “the world’s most pressing problem” today, while extolling Israel’s freedoms and national righteousness. Of course, his complaint manages to engage in both self-pitying and craven boosterism at the same time – a kind of perverse humble-brag.

 

No, Mr Halevi, Israel is not the world’s greatest problem – rather, Israel is Palestine’s great, existential, enduring problem for a people who have lived their whole lives under the constant, brutal and de-humanising occupation of this enlightened state.

 

Palestine’s ordeal

 

Most of the world has been content to overlook Palestine’s ordeal – fatigued by 68 years of this conflict, and understandably inured to the epic suffering of its people, who understand that their tragic condition can only hold its attention briefly.

 

The endless failed international “peace” efforts, the vicissitudes of negotiations, and periodic spasms of violence have become like the weather – always there.

 
This is precisely why the BDS movement has come to figure so prominently in Palestinian hopes – it side-steps the moribund “peace process” and banks on people-power as leverage against state and institutional power, applied against a responsive economy, such as Israel’s.

 

In the view of Palestinians, the state of Israel has never possessed legitimacy, not by international standards, as it was founded on expulsion, land-theft and military occupation. The BDS movement approaches this abstract issue by offering practicable action for citizens in the West, while the official international community dithers away the decades, leaving Palestinians worse off than ever before.

 

That such leverage should be applied to Israel is entirely justified. After all, autocratic dictatorships with closed economies, lacking – in Halevi’s celebratory words – “an independent judiciary, a free press, universal healthcare and religious freedom” are not typically responsive targets to protest campaigns for justice, like that of the BDS movement.

 

Citizens in America don’t propose a boycott of North Korea – the US government does that for them, making it illegal to do business with that outlaw state: yes, the very same US government which blocks every effort by the United Nations and international courts to address the illegality of Israeli settlements, military occupation, collective punishment, economic enslavement, and wholesale destruction and murder of a captive population.

 

Advantages of civil society

 

If America’s obstruction of international law did not shield Israel from accountability, there would be no need for BDS.

 

Because Israel possesses all the institutions and advantages of civil society, then presumably its economy and citizens would therefore be responsive to an effective grassroots campaign of boycott and economic push-back.

 

And if the campaign were to succeed, this same society might be expected to search its collective soul over its choices – and challenge its government’s policies.

 

This obvious point seems to have escaped Halevi, and others, who brand the movement as “immoral, because it perpetuates the lie that Israel is solely or even primarily to blame” for the Palestinian condition. Yet if we look around the room, who else is there?

 

Who attacks Palestinians’ cities with warplanes and tanks, walls them in, isolates them from contact with the world, cuts off their electricity, destroys their infrastructure, takes their water, and builds on their land after evicting them?

 

Who puts their teenagers in jail, takes their farms, cuts down their olive trees? It isn’t North Korea; it isn’t Putin’s Russia; it isn’t a rapacious China. Israel is the author of the present Palestinian condition, as it has been for decades, with its American backers, and there isn’t much point rehashing the failure of Camp David, or Oslo, or the Palestinian leadership since 1936, or 1948, or 1967.

 

BDS leaves that debate to “think-tank” intellectuals like Halevi and others. Justice for the Palestinians will not be achieved through debating societies.

 

BDS offers to its supporters a non-violent, crowd-sourced, material response to the intransigence of Israel and her rampant, continuing illegality. Israel’s apologists would call the campaign “immoral”, but the slander is laughably false.

 

The logic of justice

 

BDS compels no one to join it; it constrains no one but by force of reason, and the logic of justice.

 

In Halevi’s topsy-turvy morality, it is the BDS movement that sins against moral law, in persuading people, institutions and governments to vote with their wallets and their consciences on the rights of Palestinians – rather than Israel, which claims legitimacy to the world, even as it continues to build new settlements on Palestinian land, and subjugates its people to military occupation, dispossession and violence, in violation of international law.

 

The propagandists of Israeli power understand all too well that BDS is the first clear-eyed, internationalist movement of people – not governments, not Western “quartets”, not the UN Security Council – to look at Palestine with fresh eyes and accurate information. It demands that until Israel ceases its occupation and oppression of millions of Palestinians, there cannot, and should not, be any “business as usual” with the regime.

 

If Israeli critics want to smear BDS as “bigoted” – a dog-whistle for “anti-Semitic” – because of its endorsement of the Palestinian Right of Return, let them address the historical truth: at least 800,000 Palestinians were expelled en masse, in the creation of the Israeli state – that number has since grown to 7,000,000 stateless refugees with another 4 million internally displaced within their own nation.

 

No effort has ever been made by official Israeli society to acknowledge and address this simple reality – that many elderly Palestinians living in UN camps, or Gaza City slums, or the West Bank, remember their homes in places such as Jaffa, Yibna, or the numerous towns and villages erased from the map.

 

It serves no use to deny this fact – perhaps a good starting point for intellectuals like Halevi would be in saying, yes, it is not too late to admit those rights and seek redress, together with the Palestinians.

 

BDS is brave enough to put the Right of Return up front, as a moral position; if Israel were ready to move forward, it could do the same. Who knows – perhaps good things could come from starting from the truth.

 

And what of Israel’s boast of its progressive freedoms? They do not withstand scrutiny in the slightest – religious freedom, for example, is under clear attack for every Muslim who wishes to worship at al-Aqsa, or travel to Jerusalem, or leave Gaza and return again, with access routinely denied.

 

Through Israeli military travel bans on Palestinians, families are separated, unable to worship or observe religious rituals together, or attend the mosque of their choice.

 

Likewise, any progressive Reform Jew or Jewish American visiting will tell you that Orthodox Judaism does not welcome them, either – Israel’s Rabbinate monopolises official control over the very legitimacy of being Jewish, and denies marriage rights to thousands of couples, even going so far as to jail couples marrying illegally, or rabbis conducting such ceremonies.

 

Orthodox cultural control

 

Under Orthodox cultural control in Jerusalem and elsewhere, women are subordinated literally to a “back of the bus” status, and segregated without access to full social freedom and the right to work.

 

As for an independent judiciary, Palestinians never see it, instead enduring the injustices of military courts and the state security apparatus leaving thousands of them including children as permanent political detainees denied the most fundamental rights, while its civil courts refuse jurisdiction over Palestinian complaints.

 

And Israel’s “free press” leaves much to be desired. Halevi appears to be ignorant of the targeting of Palestinian journalists in recent years for arrest and prosecution in military courts under “incitement” laws; or the Israeli Defence Forces’ censoring of social media in the Occupied Territories.

 

The absurd equivocation of  Halevi and his colleagues in the “Love Israel” industry hits a shrill note, asking American readers to accept that the BDS movement “is itself a crime”.

 

But free and open debate of the true status of Israeli occupation in Palestine, and the organising efforts to convince states, businesses and people to stop investing in Israel’s bloody enterprise, is hardly criminal. In America, it is known as “the marketplace of ideas”.

 

We are all free to argue for justice as we see it, and BDS has had more than a decade of mounting success because its arguments convince reasonable people of the truth – no one is buying any more the tired, old brand of “Israel, the Enlightened Democracy”.

 

BDS is the brave and steady labour of people of conscience to move the stalled, bogus “peace process” forward by applying economic pressure, plain and simple.

 

The old narrative of a blameless Israel, fighting off Palestinian “terrorists”, is a hard sell, and BDS will continue to build on its successes because Israel’s defenders can no longer suppress the truth, or sweep it under some wishful fantasy of a benevolent, progressive Israel that doesn’t exist, and never has.

 

Originally appeared in Al Jazeera Opinions

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/07/bds-war-israel-win-160711070045873.html

============

stanley-cohen-sheikh-yassin_20120811_1946049197

**Stanley L. Cohen is a U.S. based attorney and human rights activist who has done extensive work in the Middle East and Africa. He has handled prominent international cases including that of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. He has served as a consultant to Middle East governments and Movements including Hamas and Hezbollah and NGO’s and foundations in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He has sued Israel, the US and Egypt on behalf of Palestinians for human rights violations and represented Radio Station 786 on a free speech case in South Africa. A frequent visitor to the region Cohen has been the subject of numerous interviews in all media over many years and addressed numerous human rights conferences in the Middle East, Gulf and Africa. The list of those he has defended and worked for throughout his career is extensive and can be found on istanleycohen.org He also has a blog at https://cagedbutundaunted.wordpress.com/

Politics Is the Numbness that Comes with Tragedies from Istanbul to Orlando

This column was blocked by Facebook for inappropriate language.  Facebook has yet to explain.. (From Muftah)

 

July 1st, 2016

Politics is the family at breakfast. Who is there and who is absent and why.

Who misses whom when the coffee is poured into the waiting cups. Can you, for example, afford your breakfast? Where are your children who have gone forever from these their usual chairs? Whom do you long for this morning? What rhythm is it that pushes you to hurry toward pleasures life has promised you, or to a confrontation you wish you could win just this once? Where are the children of this mother who, in her slightly crooked spectacles, sits knitting a pullover of dark blue wool for the absent one who does not write regularly? Where is your gentle chatter, your splendid isolation, your lack of need of the outside world for even a few moments? Where is your illusion laid bare by the newspaper lying on the cane chair at your side?

What small act of forgiveness are you training yourself to perform today? What reproach do you wish to utter? And what reproach do you wish erased? Who threatens your wonderful mistakes, staying up to spoil your night? Who ruins your sweet inconsequential things with the awe of his authority and his driver and his servants and his happy bodyguards? Who imported this small, shiny teaspoon from Taiwan? What giant ships ploughed the seas to bring you some trivial piece of primitive gadgetry from Stockholm? How did the flower merchants make their millions and build their fine houses from selling the bouquets carried by mothers and sisters to the graveyards that are always damp: raindrops, flowers, and tears. You question why even the silence in the graveyards is wet.

Politics is the number of coffee-cups on the table, it is the sudden presence of what you have forgotten, the memories you are afraid to look at too closely, though you look anyway. Staying away from politics is also politics. Politics is nothing and it is everything.

– Mourid Barghouti, “I Saw Ramallah”

Politics is broken hearts and mangled bodies and tears that don’t make sense and no explanations and too many explanations that sound like bullshit. It is randomness and it is calculation. It is the collision of the transient anonymity and uncertainty in airport terminals – fleeting blurs of faces and forms, reunions and farewells and new beginnings, quests for adventure, for meaning, for escape – and the finality, the permanence, of devastation and shrapnel.

Politics is waiting for that phone call, the one that lets you know if you can breathe again. It is planning a funeral instead of your wedding day. It is the “what if?” of the pregnant widow, the guilt-ridden co-worker, and the many sleepless nights to follow. It is never reaching the son you sought to save. And it is what took him away from you in the first place.

Politics hides, shapeshifts, disguises itself, pushing Religion in front of the flashing cameras and microphones to be amplified, scrutinized, despised; to create fodder for talking heads and fearful minds and profitable wars that exact violence on distant bodies and scar landscapes, histories, civilizations. Politics speaks in Religion’s tongue, dons Religion’s garb, and knows that Religion’s foreignness, Otherness, and nebulousness make it an easy scapegoat.

Politics holds press conferences and issues condemnations, all the while dropping bombs (and making money) and colonizing lands (and making money) and building prisons (and making money) and causing children to fear skies and seek solace in oceans. And politicswashes its hands of all of it.

Politics is the twelve year old who never made it to thirteen. The Skittles that were never eaten. The new job that was never started. Politics is also the indictment that was never made, the prison sentence never served; because politics sometimes confuses murder with self-defense.

Politics is downturned heads and broken backs that carry nations only to be told it wasn’t enough. It will never be enough. You are not entitled to what you have built, to the soil underneath your fingernails.

Politics is mothers and their prayers and their bodies and their wombs and their madness and their magic and their fire and everything that tries to extinguish it.

Politics is the numbness that accompanies tragedy. The many words that mean nothing at all. The scales that measure the value of lives in airtime and social media posts and make our mourning conditional, qualified, apologetic.

Politics strips us bare, makes hollow our humanness. So thoroughly preoccupies us with trying to prove our worth and our dignity and our right to life, that we don’t realize it was never meant to work for us.

Because politics is nothing. And it is everything.

Snitch Alert: Brandon Darby Will Be at RNC Filming Protesters with Former FTP Protester Cassandra Fairbanks

The following is a public service announcement. rebel.lio presents this information w/o endorsement, takes no responsibility for its contents and has not verified any of the claims made by its author (s).

 

Snitch Alert: Brandon Darby Will Be at RNC Filming Protesters with Former FTP Protester Cassandra Fairbanks

@brandondarby’s Tweet
Brandon Darby, FBI Informant. Cassandra Fairbanks, “Seasoned Activist” turned right-wing Trump supporter who adores Brandon Darby.

“If you know about someone planning violence at the RNC or DNC but are afraid to tell FBI, contact me. I’ll help. Bdarby@breitbart.com” ~ Brandon Darby June 27, 2016

Surveillance and infiltration by law enforcement, agents, and private contractors are par for the course during events like The RNC, so here’s a warning of two individuals who radicals, leftists, protesters, etc should stay far away from.

THE RNC 2016

On June 23 2016, The Intercept reported that “law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have been knocking on the doors of activists and community organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, asking about their plans for the Republican National Convention in July.” Those visited include Black Lives Matter activists, Food Not Bombs organizers planning to distribute food at the RNC, a 66-year-old retiree organizing a march to end poverty, and parents of a student involved in a 2015 protest of the acquittal of a Cleveland police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter.

With intimidation comes surveillance and entrapment. One strategy used by snitches is to joke about the use of violence or bait activists into discussing violence only to later aid law enforcement in entrapping them. In a courtroom, jokes, observations, or off-handed comments can appear as evidence that nonviolent activists were plotting acts of terrorism. Many anarchist prisoners were framed for “terrorist” acts when out-of-context statements were presented by the prosecution. As history shows, the FBI and law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to manufacture “terrorism” charges. In 2012, four Cleveland anarchists (Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23) were arrested by the FBI after a paid FBI informant/provocateur spent months guiding this “plot” and produced the explosives. SeeCleveland4Solidarity for more details on the case and info about how to support our entrapped comrades.

The links at the bottom provide information to help keep you safe, know your rights, and practice security culture.

Of immediate concern…

Avoid Brandon Darby and Cassandra Fairbanks

Protesters attending the RNC and any other political events must avoid notorious FBI Informant Brandon Darby and his close associate Cassandra Fairbanks. Given Ms. Fairbanks’ long history of access to the activist community, her close association with Darby makes her a threat. Snitches like Darby love to prey on “friends” and/or exploit their networks.

Below are a handful of public statements made by Darby and Fairbanks in June of 2016.

“If you know about someone planning violence at the RNC or DNC but are afraid to tell FBI, contact me. I’ll help. Bdarby@breitbart.com” ~ Brandon Darby

“Informant Brandon Darby will be at the RNC. Be safe.” — @cleresistrnc
“With many videographers. It will help identify your friends who commit crimes so they can be prosecuted.” ~ Brandon Darby [in response to @cleresistrnc on Twitter]

“Unlike you, I’ll be at the GOP protests without a mask- filming you and yours.” ~Brandon Darby
“You misspelled ‘honored to have worked with the FBI” ~ Brandon Darby in response to @chalkupydaytona calling him a snitch on Twitter.
“Anarchists. Stop jacking with me. Our dance didn’t work out so well for you last time. I’m stronger now and your movement isn’t. Leave me be.” ~ Brandon Darby

Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules on Twitter) has publicly expressed her adoration of Darby and plans to spend a great deal of time at the RNC with him.

“Brandon Darby is a journalist/good person” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks (6/12/16)
“I’m sure I’ll be hanging out with him at the RNC, so no need to alert anyone prior, you guys can just come say hi in person, it will be easy to do.” ~Cassandra Fairbanks
“I’ll be at a way cooler adult table (with Brandon and his friends). ~ Cassandra Fairbanks
“He’s really a great person. People like to erase all the good he’s done because of the Molotov thing…but I’m really happy I know him.” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks.
@JahbaHimself how insane y’all are acting has me adoring @brandondarbyeven more than I already did, which I didn’t think was even possible” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks
“@Ergoat I don’t owe you anything. @brandondarby is my friend.” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks
“The apartment I got for Cleveland is within the confines of the RNC no protest zone it looks like lol” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks.
“If I was anti trump I would totally hang a banner from the window or something to protest the noprotest rule, but I’m not.” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks.

Background on Darby

Brandon Darby is a notorious FBI informant who, in 2008, directly facilitated the incarceration of two men through a diligent entrapment scheme at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. In September of 2008, the FBI arrested two men from Texas, Bradley Crowder and David McKay.

“According to the FBI’s documents, Darby, posing as an activist, had been covertly gathering information for the FBI since at least February 2007, twelve months before he ever met Crowder or McKay or knew of any plans for the RNC. “As an older seasoned activist, Darby had a lot of sway over Crowder and McKay, making them susceptible to his often militant rhetoric,” said Gabby Hicks, who was in St. Paul with Darby during the Convention. “He was always the one to suggest violence, when the rest of us clearly disagreed with those strategies.” FBI documents make it clear that Darby did not restrict his informing to people he alleges were planning illegal activities. He also gathered information on numerous people who were engaged in lawful activism; including some who had no plans to attend the Republican Convention. “The wider net cast by Darby in his information gathering shows that he was part of an FBI campaign to suppress political dissent and activism,” said Will Potter, an award-winning independent journalist. “By gathering information on law abiding activists and then defending his actions as stopping violence, Darby contributes to the public perception that political dissent is criminal, which has a chilling effect on free speech” (Austin Informant Working Group).

In addition to his work with the FBI at and before the 2008 RNC, Darby infiltrated Common Ground, a New Orleans grassroots response to Hurricane Katrina. While Common Ground was focusing on setting up a free medical clinic, cleaning and gutting homes, distributing clothes and personal hygiene products, organizing free legal services, planting gardens, and all sorts of other stuff to rebuild New Orleans, Darby was busy with often abusive and unrestrained sexual engagement with volunteers. It has been documented repeatedly that Darby’s leadership role and actions led to systematic problems of sexual harassment and abuse at Common Ground. Darby’s presence at Common Ground is an example of his infiltration and sabotage of a nonviolent grassroots group to serve the state. His sexual harassment directly contradicts Ms. Fairbanks history of protesting rape culture.

Cassandra Fairbanks

Two of the hundreds of radical photographs Ms. Fairbanks has posted on her social media sites over the past few years.

Obviously, Cassandra Fairbanks’s close association with Darby makes her a threat to any leftist/anarchist/activist community. Ms. Fairbanks is somewhat uniquely positioned to assist Brandon Darby in his attempts to identify protesters at the RNC, as well as to attempt to match online accounts to users’ real identities, should she continue to collaborate with him, which she claims she has every intention of doing.


Ms. Fairbanks using her personal Twitter account as a member of #KnightSec (Deric Lostutter’s utter fail Op) and attending various Million Mask Marches and Anonymous protests.

Fairbanks has a long history of access to a national activist community, at one pointcontributed to the Twitter account @YourAnonCentral (she no longer does) and participated in many Anonymous Ops with shady anons like KYAnonymous and Commander X. In 2015, Fairbanks traveled to protest FBI informant Sabu speaking at a conference. She wore a “Fuck Sabu” shirt to show outrage at the snitch who entrapped Jeremy Hammond.


Ms. Fairbanks participation in #BaltimoreUprising as a supporter of protesters whose information she could pass on to Darby/Breitbart/LE.

For years, Fairbanks has traveled the United States going to “Fuck The Police” protests, #BlackLivesMatter protests, Occupy Wall Street protests, Anonymous Million Mask March protests, Steubenville rape protests, and has extensively filmed and photographed protesters she then kept in contact with.

Ms. Fairbanks participating and documenting #Ferguson highway shutdown and #AIPAC protests.

The backlog of anarchist/activist/anonymous contacts Ms. Fairbanks can now pass on to her good friend Darby, Breitbart, and law enforcement is staggering.


Ms. Fairbanks’ Instagram documents years of radical leftist anarchist protesting.

Ms. Fairbanks’ entire career has apparently been embedding herself in radical leftist anarchist movements, which she suddenly claims she no longer cares about.

“No, I literally just don’t care. None of you are my friends,@brandondarby is.” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks

“I don’t hang out with activists anyway.” ~ Cassandra Fairbanks


Until recently, Fairbanks was an avid Bernie Sanders supporter but she’s now thrown her support behind Donald Trump and will be attending the RNC as a Trump supporter and journalist andgood friend of Brandon Darby, who she adores. She currently writes for Sputnik News and recently wrote an article“Radicalized at Home: FBI Tried to Lure Orlando Shooter Into Terror Plot,” for which Brandon Darby provided input.


Ms. Fairbanks now supports an American presidential candidate who cites Breitbart, a news outlet that gives NeoNazis a platform and employs a federal informant who acted as a agent provocateur. Ms. Fairbanks’ support for a right-wing candidate is inconsistent and perplexing given her history as a protester tied to anarchist movements, Black Lives Matter, Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street, etc. Ms. Fairbanks’ willing collaboration with a known FBI informant is most troubling, as it a) contradicts her support of Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Black Lives Matter, and just about every social justice cause she has made a career and reputation supporting and b) betrays her former community and puts it at risk.

Fairbanks has for years belonged to a national network of anarchists, anti-police groups, citizen journalists who support protests, activists, Anonymous hacktivist protesters, Sanders supporters, and leftist protesters. Her collaboration with Darby, and her shift from an ACAB/FTP protester to an avid supporter of a right-wing candidate and good friend of an FBI informant is suspicious at face value.

Again, Ms. Fairbanks, who has numerous activist/leftist/anarchist/anonymous contacts, will be at the RNC in Cleveland, hanging out with her good friend Brandon Darby, as he films protesters with the intent to identify them to assist in their prosecution.

Ms. Fairbanks reportedly has already been identifying activists to Darby online.

Communicating with Ms. Fairbanks is dangerous. Splitting hairs between whether she is exercising her first Amendment right as a right-wing journalist or willingly collaborating with a snitch avoids responsibility for what she very clearly has already begun doing — not only adoring a snitch but assisting a snitch in identifying potential RNC protesters to have them prosecuted.

Since Darby has made his intentions to attend the RNC clear, numerous individuals have engaged @brandondarby on Twitter, and Darby is happy tokeep a log of any “threats” tweeted at him, including photographs of rat poison.

This is obvious baiting, as we know law enforcement monitors activists on Twitter. For example, documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of Black Lives Matter activists’ social media accounts .

Social networking posts have been used by prosecutors to call for harsher sentences on protesters, including those entrapped by law enforcement. One example is the state’s use of Facebook messages in the Trial of the NATO 3. The NATO 3 (Brian Jacob Church, Brent Betterly and Jared Chase) were entrapped by undercover Chicago police officers and arrested in 2012, days before the Chicago NATO summit. They received felony convictions for possession of an incendiary device and misdemeanor mob. At the trial, the prosecution presented Facebook messages to prove terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism. See Kevin Gosztola’s piece “‘NATO 3’ Trial: Prosecutors Present Facebook Messages With Little Evidence Related to Alleged Offenses”in The Dissenter.

Darby has been logging those who interact with him online, taking notes on those he deems “radical” and “anonymous,” posting locations of those who oppose him and logging. The alliance between Fairbanks and Darby seems designed to agitate, intimidate leftist dissent and identify potential RNC protesters. Writing for Breitbart, Darby used Ms. Fairbanks’ political video to label a Twitter user and Hillary Clinton supporter as “radical” and in contact with an account “claiming to be associated with the anonymous movement.”

That Ms. Fairbanks has intimate knowledge of numerous individuals interacting with Darby online, individuals Darby deems “radical” and “dangerous” and refers to as future prisoners is alarming.


It’s no secret that activists are spied on electronically and by undercover officers, private contractors, and informants. The state has long used agents to infiltrate political meetings and online spaces. Due to the often anonymous nature of online communications among activists, those in power go to great lengths to identify those voicing dissent online. Their use of agents to initiate conversations online cannot be overestimated. The FBI’s physical/internet surveillance of hacktivist Jeremy Hammond is but one example.

Agents of the state work to destroy the lives of people who aren’t necessarily anarchists or radicals, or contemplating violence, and there is no reason to include them in your online networks. Darby willingly worked for the FBI, and is already thoroughly unwelcome among anarchists, radicals, and activists. Though Ms. Fairbanks claims she is now simply a journalist, her history contradicts this, and regardless, her intentions do not matter. As a former activist with national contacts who is now collaborating with an agent of the state, she is a threat and should not be tolerated, just like any FBI employee, agent, informant, infiltrator, or cop who attempts to become friendly with radicals online or face to face.

Below is a statement from Jeremy Hammond, who Ms. Fairbanks has informed of her friendship with an FBI informant:

Support Jeremy Hammond here: https://www.freejeremy.net

It’s hard to believe Ms. Fairbanks defends a right-wing rat-bastard, but she quite clearly does.

Links below include more on Darby’s history and some security culture info if you need it.

With Love and Rage!

Useful Information for Activists

ACLU of Ohio “Know Your Rights” for 2016 Republican National Convention.http://www.acluohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ACLUOH-2016RNC-ConstitutionalPlaybook.pdf

Center for Constitutional Rights — “If an Agent Knocks”https://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/assets/files/CCR_If_An_Agent_Knocks.pdf

CrimethInc. Ex-Workers’ Collective “What is Security Culture?”http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/atoz/security.php

“Rats! Your guide to protecting yourself against snitches, informers, informants, agents provocateurs, narcs, finks, and similar vermin”http://rats-nosnitch.com/rats

The Ruckus Society. “Security Culture for Activists” –http://www.ruckus.org/downloads/RuckusSecurityCultureForActivists.pdf

Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2015). “Attending Protests (United States)” Surveillance Self Defense. https://ssd.eff.org/en/playlist/activist-or-protester#attending-protests-united-states

How to Avoid FBI Entrapmenthttps://seesharppress.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/how-to-avoid-fbi-entrapment/

Manufacturing “Terrorists”: the FBI’s Entrap & Demonize Strategy (see embedded zine detailing FBI strategy to discredit the Occupy movement AND exaggerate the threat of terrorism) http://bordc.org/news/dissent-repression-comic-series-book-1-manufacturing-terrorists/

About Brandon Darby:

Better This World documentary about 2008 RNC entrapment (onine for free here) http://ffilms.org/better-this-world-2011/

Witness to Betrayal: scott crow on the Exploits and Misadventures of FBI Informant Brandon Darby
http://www.towardfreedom.com/29-archives/activism/3388-witness-to-betrayal-scott-crow-on-the-exploits-and-misadventures-of-fbi-informant-brandon-darby

Lisa Fithian: FBI Informant Brandon Darby : Sexism, Egos, and Lieshttp://www.theragblog.com/lisa-fithian-fbi-informant-brandon-darby-sexism-egos-and-lies/

The Informant — Revolutionary to rat: The uneasy journey of Brandon Darbyhttp://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2009-01-23/729400/

Inside the FBI Entrapment Strategy: An Analysishttp://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2012/05/29/inside-the-fbi-entrapment-strategy/

BREXIT… Good

Although corrupt politicians and media worked extra hard to promote xenophobia and racism as the context through which to view the exit of Britain from the EU, the valid reasons for having exited will gradually emerge and will come as an awakening to reality by the Brits and the world.

Far from the repetitive diatribe leading the unthinking to see foreigners and migration of labour as causative of the ills workers face, and have been facing for decades, the sadly overlooked reality is far more daunting.  The bankers and global elites have been aware of this issue for generations and have firmly detached themselves from any human concern essential to assisting  workers and the economies of states in comprehending and working with a rapidly emerging reality…  a reality in which, as the elite and bankers well know, the once needed and relied upon swarms of manufacturing labour are no longer needed.

As technologies advanced over the past 75 years, manufacturers realized increased productivity using fewer and fewer workers, diminished wage value, fewer hours and decreased benefits.  Today, machines handle the larger share of production with labour providing minimal staff in programming, servicing of equipment and material handling.  Even material handling is increasingly achieved mechanically.

Since the mid 1970’s, job loss resulted in some retraining of workforce to serve the modernizing manufacturer.  However, numerous corporations, rather than outlay capital to retool facilities for modern manufacturing techniques, decided it would be initially more cost effective to ship entire facilities to 3rd world countries and exploit not only very cheap labour but bask in the absence of humane and ecological standards existing in the once home nation.  In comparison to loss, retraining was marginal and seldom afforded comparable wages.  Inter-state migrations of labour occurred but soon the chase for same or similar work dissipated and service economies emerged.  At the same time, factory stores.. those places where low wage workers could barely afford purchases to maintain some level of subsistence (a modern take on the once notorious “Company Store” where workers had no choice to go to purchase minimal provisions as their factory chits were only spendable within them), and employees increasingly in need of greater government aid due to pitifully low wages and short hours disallowing common benefits such as health care (in the US), sick days, leave, vacations, etc., emerged and created another conundrum… the forced denouement of the once abundant mom & pop businesses.

From this, emerged the great Ponzi economy that became so prominent and appearing prosperous. Kids were exiting colleges and heading straight to the financial arenas where they could con and otherwise scam whomever was ripe and willing. Politicians, such as Bill Clinton, were prominent architects of the Great Lie.  These con artists promoted and passed into law some of the worst deregulation measures imaginable and gave free reign to the money lenders and very high stakes gamblers who perfected usury to such an extent they could make investors and borrowers feel that they were being done a grand service by allowing the manipulators to fleece them of percentages every few years.  The Great Lie was the sense of security that could come from investing in things which did not actually exist. Mike Milken and Bernie Madoff are two prominent names in this era of con-artistry.  Junk Bonds, non-existent investments existing on the ‘take from Peter to payout to Paul” were their fortes.  Too, the investment reality of the cyclical culling of tribute to the money lenders came in shorter cycles as the vaporous wealth grew at ever increasing degrees (corrections, recessions, market down-turns…)

Community colleges began tooling up the suckers with courses on how to buy and sell commodities, stocks, bonds and other “products” seen as the gold rush of the times.  Risk taking was everywhere and students soon became investors and many soon became bankrupt has-beens as the teachers fleeced them a second and even a third time.  The 1st time being the courses they taught and from there it was feed the suckers enough to give them a real investment bankroll, feed them an inside tip or two and then drive them to the front steps of the poor house.

Now, some of these hucksters worked small time with rube investors wanting to become players. Others, however, were deeply entrenched banksters with an eye on corporation buyouts and hostile takeovers where assets were sold for scrap and workers handed pink-slips.  Still others realized they could scam other banks, cities and on to global market investments… and they did… bankrupting entire economies while buying more jets, boats, islands, high-rises etc for themselves… and, of course, greasing the wheels of all the useful tools in government who helped them along the way. Some were so bold as to even run for high office while others opted for appointments to the agencies of regulation that could internally be raped.

I’ve yet to mention the EU so now might be a good time.  Part of a post war gambit to create a secure market in the emerging global economy, international con-artists proposed the European Union.  The 1st steps in creating this “union” were the exercises of fear mongering along the lines of imagined external threats from Russia, China and anyone else who could easily be exploited as an existential enemy.  Post war indebtedness of states to the banks who financed the “great wars”.  The aim, stated as a common desire to make wars future impossible, was a great sales pitch that required both indebtedness and fear to herd the states into acceptance of what was, in reality, a route for successful control of the European economy and peoples where Fascism had previously failed and the others, such as the Ottomans, had failed before them.  The idea to form a United States of Europe was destined to fail from the start and treaty after treaty could not adequately respond to the various needs of each state and region.  The only glue that continued to bind these distinctly different states (nations) was debt… as the debt became ever more centralized in the hands of secret banking cartels who, it would emerge, designed even more secret “commissions” to create the rules, regulations and laws governing the “union”.

The opening of borders was not, in reality, a means to offer greater employment opportunity (loudly promoted even to this defining moment in the history of the EU). Recall that these banksters and industrialists had long foreseen the inevitable end of usefulness for the majority of the working class. The true purpose was homogenization and eventual de-culturization of the masses into an amorphous blob of drones beholden to the corporate nation, “EU”.  In time, the hope was that their allegiance would shift from their homelands to the new land called the “EU”.  This, it was thought (most incorrectly) would end centuries of nominal enclaves of ethnic and religious nationalism.  Further homogenization, it is believed, would come from the massive redistribution of refugees exiting the Middle East and African war zones.

Far from putting an end to wars, the EU marched in support of more wars… just not within its own borders.  The capturing of Middle Eastern/African nations.. or investment in the wars that would insure this… wars committed by the US and pseudo-EU member, UK, along with Middle East terrorist nations such as Israel and KSA… were desirable for economic expansion necessary to continue financing the schemes of the EU con-artists.  And, importantly, war would provide jobs, as such, for thousands of otherwise useless drones (one problem with this is that some of these drones would join the “wrong” armies [by the EU perspective] and would, in some instances, return to the EU to enact punishment against it.

Hucksters come to the EU in droves as the income from wars grows.  The market con-men begin selling junk.. and loads of it… to nations within the EU.  Instability occurs and debt grows. Interest becomes impossible to cover and so phony structures set up, ostensibly, to alleviate this issue step in and offer even more irrational loans adding further debt and more interest. Austerity .. or the destruction of all socialist benefits to the masses… are required to end before these further debilitating loans can be applied.  Planned destruction of national economies begins as a route to creation of the total EU economy controlled by a select few un-elected tyrants of industry and finance. Calls begin for a European Monetary Fund or Federal Treasury. Proof enough.

It is, then, a fact that right wing parties promoted the exit from EU through their political lenses fraught with racism and xenophobia.  Those negative qualities did not, however, emanate from thin air.  There has always been racism and xenophobia among the ignorant and selfish and their numbers historically rise and fall.  It is a failure of educators to counter inherited and promoted negatives with clear explanations, truthful explanations, of reality and a despicable tool of politicians to promote and exploit this very undesirable inheritance.   It is also a fact that such expressions have so very little to do with the realities of the EU and its exploitation of European nations for the benefit of the banksters and corporatists, who, by the way, have become so lofty in their sense of self that it is now beneath them to contribute a fair share towards their own creation.  They exist, now, only to take.

Rather than take an honest appraisal of the imminent failure of the EU, the stakeholders and puppet media expectedly embark upon the blame game, pointing to the racists and xenophobes (who they were instrumental in arousing) and to Russia’s Putin, who had virtually nothing to do with either the corruption or failure of the EU.  It just sells the news to go this direction as opposed to helping the masses understand important realities.

While many voted to exit based upon media fed false perceptions artfully crafted by corrupt politicians, so did many vote to remain based upon equally false perceptions.  The unfortunate outcome from this is that, while the right decision may have come from errant perception, getting through the consequences will be nigh impossible if some truth does not make its way to the surface and the UK fails to respond with feasible and prudent care for itself and its people.

One of the first steps should be a bold national decision to collect due taxes from corporations and elitists. There is enough out there to significantly help move the nation forward.  An unencumbered national basic income and living wage should be established with all other social services factored in the amount of such income.  Once accomplished, job sharing becomes a very real safeguard for the future and a healthy step toward alleviating false theft of jobs perceptions.  Making a very real commitment toward ending the reliance on war economy also needs to happen. as does putting end to the allowing of financial hucksters to continue falsifying economies.

A very real outcome of such an effort is the setting of example for the rest of the EU which will, inevitably, collapse in the very near future.

 

Media Activists Needed in Palestine

Media Activists Needed in Palestine

ISM is looking for media interns to come and join us in Palestine. This is an excellent opportunity for aspiring journalists or media workers to engage directly with the Palestinian struggle and to utilise and enhance their existing skills to humanize the voice of the struggle by reporting on events ranging from anti-occupation demonstrations to house raising demolitions.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement
committed to resisting the Israeli occupation in Palestine by using nonviolent,
direct-action methods and principles. Founded by a small group of primarily
Palestinian and Israeli activists in August 2001, ISM aims to support and strengthen
the Palestinian popular resistance by providing the Palestinian people with two
resources, international solidarity and an international voice.

You will be based in the West Bank, experienced and interested activists may be
placed in Gaza. Apart from gaining reporting and photography experience, you will
also be networking with existing media outlets and develop skills during media
meetings on reporting the occupation of Palestine. ISM is seeking a minimum 3
month commitment, and will provide accommodation during your stay.
ISM is a non-hierarchical solidarity movement. Consequently, you will not be
treated as a classical intern but rather as a fellow voluntary member of the activist
group. In this role you will establish contacts with local Palestinian and international media and help to define the ISM media strategy.

In order to apply please email palreports@gmail.com with the following information:

1. Please send in any relevant information about yourself and experience or
background you may have in reporting and journalism.

2. Express why you are applying for this voluntary internship and what you
hope to gain from it.

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