Peter Myers Digest: April 22

(1) Gaza detainees urinated on, tortured with dogs & electric shocks, subjected to mock executions
(2) Trump backed Speaker Mike Johnson on Ukraine aid package, and warned Marjorie Taylor Greene not to oust him
(3) Why Did U.S. Prioritize Containing Russia Over China? – Andrew Korybko

(1) Gaza detainees urinated on, tortured with dogs & electric shocks, subjected to mock executions

From: alfred giannantonio <>
To: Moshé Machover <>
Subject: Civilian Gaza detainees ‘urinated on, made to act like animals’ by
Israeli forces, Unrwa says | Middle East Eye
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2024 09:11:45 +0000

Gaza detainees ‘urinated on, made to act like animals’ by Israeli forces, Unrwa says

Middle East Eye

Gaza detainees ‘urinated on, made to act like animals’ by Israeli forces, Unrwa says
Palestinians released from Israeli custody report widespread ill treatment to UN agency

By Alex MacDonald
Published date: 17 April 2024 17:21 BST | Last update: 4 days 10 hours ago

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) said it received reports of mass ill treatment of Palestinians taken captive from Gaza by Israeli forces, including detainees being urinated on and made to act like animals, and children being attacked by dogs.

A new report, released on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on Wednesday, warned that for the thousands of prisoners kept in detention by the Israeli army, physical, sexual and psychological abuse were routine.

“This included being subjected to beatings while made to lie on a thin mattress on top of rubble for hours without food, water or access to a toilet, with their legs and hands bound with plastic ties. Several detainees reported being forced into cages and attacked by dogs. Some released detainees, including a child, had dog bite wounds on their body,” read the report.

“Detainees were threatened with prolonged detention, injury or the killing of family members if they did not provide requested information.”

The testimonies come from some of the 1,506 detainees that Unrwa said it had documented being released from Israeli detention between November and 4 April.

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Among those abused while in detention were Unrwa staff members, who the agency said were made to make forced confessions in addition to suffering other forms of abuse.

Unrwa said other detainees reported having wet blankets thrown on them, or “being made to sit on their knees for 12-16 hours a day while in the barracks, blindfolded, with their hands tied”.

Unrwa also received reports of sexual violence against prisoners. Male victims said they received beatings to their genitals, while at least one detainee reported “being made to sit on an electrical probe” and said he saw one man die after a probe was inserted into his anus.

Both men and women were photographed and filmed while naked and subjected to inappropriate touching.

Middle East Eye contacted the Israeli army for comment, but had received no response at time of publication.

‘The worst kinds of torture’
In a statement marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, the Gaza media office said over 5,000 Palestinians had been arrested by Israeli forces during their current war on Gaza, which started on 7 October.

The office also said that Palestinian prisoners were undergoing “the worst kinds of torture” in Israeli jails, and asked the international community to intervene.

Iron bars, electric shocks, dogs and cigarette burns: How Palestinians are tortured in Israeli detention
Read More »

While MEE cannot independently verify the testimonies given in the Unrwa report, they support other testimony given by former prisoners to MEE last month, in which they described being physically tortured with dogs and electricity, subjected to mock executions, and held in humiliating and degrading conditions.

One man, who was taken by Israeli forces from a school in Gaza where he had sought refuge with his family, described to MEE how he had been handcuffed, blindfolded and detained in a metal cage for 42 days.

During interrogations, he said he had been given electric shocks, and was scratched and bitten by army dogs.

Other men also described being electrocuted, attacked by dogs, doused with cold water, denied food and water, deprived of sleep, and subjected to constant loud music.

Hamas on Wednesday said freeing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails was a “top priority” and called for a global movement in support of the prisoners’ cause.

“[Israel]’s prison administration continues to practice the most heinous crimes against prisoners inside prisons and detention centres, including medical negligence, torture and direct killing,” the statement from the group read, adding that 16 prisoners have died in Israeli jails since 7 October.

Last month, the Israeli military said that it was aware of the deaths of 27 Palestinians in its custody.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

(2) Trump backed Speaker Mike Johnson on Ukraine aid package, and warned Marjorie Taylor Greene not to oust him

Trump Sold-Out His Base to Shovel $95 Billion to Ukraine and Israel


APRIL 21, 2024

America last. America last. That’s all this is. America last, every single day. – Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene

The man who is most responsible for the $95 billion giveaway to Ukraine and Israel, is the same guy who pretends to oppose America’s “wasteful” foreign wars. Donald Trump. It was Trump who consulted with Speaker Mike Johnson about the contents of the Ukraine aid package, just as it was Trump who concocted the idea of issuing loans instead of dispersing the standard welfare handout. It was also Trump who said:

“I stand with the Speaker, (Mike Johnson)” after which he added that Johnson is doing “a very good job.”

A “good job”??

So, secretly collaborating with the Democrat leadership to push through a bill that “reauthorizes FISA to spy on the American people without a warrant, (bans Tik Tok) fully funds Joe Biden’s DOJ that has indicted President Trump 91 times, and giving Biden’s political gestapo a brand new FBI building bigger than the Pentagon,” while not providing a dime to protect the southern border from the swarms of people entering the country illegally, is doing a “good job”?

The question we should all be asking ourselves is why has Trump decided to participate in this scam? He keeps saying that if he was president, he’d end the war in Ukraine in a day. If he’s sincere about that, then why did he collaborate on a bill that will drag the war out for another year or two? This is from a Twitter post by political analyst Michael Tracey:

Mission Accomplished. It is done: Donald Trump and the House GOP just completed one of the most epic swindles in political history, with Trump personally effectuating the largest-ever dispersement of Ukraine funding through his emissary, “MAGA Mike Johnson” (as Trump lovingly calls him) The $61 billion passed this afternoon is likely enough to underwrite the brutal, pointless trench warfare for at least another year or two. This after the same old endless media screeching that Trump and MAGA Republicans were being brainwashed by Putin and would never fund Ukraine. That fundamental hoax continues — only this time Trump was in on it…. Michael Tracey, Twitter

And the response from Luca Cabrilo:

Michael you’re 100% spot on. Trump could have at any point killed this monstrous bill if he wanted to, but he didn’t. He even let MAGA Mike go on TV and say that he and Trump are “100% agreed” on the Ukraine funding Trump screwed his base on this one, no other way about it.

Michael Tracey again: He didn’t just “not kill it,” he personally facilitated its passage

Here’s more background from Tracey:

The bill, designed after consultations between Mike Johnson and Trump, mysteriously gives the President the ability to forgive the purported “loan” to Ukraine — immediately after the November election…

And if that’s not brazen enough for you, here’s the catch: The funds eligible for “loan forgiveness” are the direct budgetary infusions to Ukraine — meaning the money that pays for the salaries of Ukrainian government workers and so forth — NOT the military “aid,” which comprises the vast majority of the package. So, only $8 billion of the $61 billion allocated to Ukraine is even *eligible* for “loan forgiveness” under the terms of this gargantuan bill. And even that was a fake “loan” to begin with — it never had to be paid back at all! So there’s your final Trump/Johnson bamboozle, as the House GOP prepares to usher through the *largest ever* infusion of US tax dollars to Ukraine, by far, since the beginning of the war. All with Trump’s blessing, as Johnson has made abundantly clear. To underscore his close collaboration with Trump, Johnson has spent the past several days making the rounds on various conservative media, touting the inclusion of Trump’s “loan concept” in the bill. Michael Tracey

It’s all a big shell game and Trump is playing along with it to improve his political prospects. How else would you explain his performance in this dismal charade?

Trump obviously knows that his return to the White House will require significant compromise with the national security hawks and Zionists who run the government. So, we shouldn’t be too surprised that he’s trying to curry favor with them now. But for the people who thought Trump was a straightshooter; this has got to be a real eye-opener. They thought he could be trusted, but now it’s obvious that he’s just another Beltway phony trying to ingratiate himself with the Washington power-elite in order to shoehorn his sorry a** back into the Oval Office. Here’s more from Tracey:

Sorry to be a “Broken Record,” but the “Elephant in the Room” here is genuinely Donald J. Trump. ….Trump even warned Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene directly not to oust Johnson, during their joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago last Friday, April 12 — just before Johnson unveiled his war funding strategy, for which he proudly declares having secured Trump’s endorsement. The bill even contains Trump’s repeated demand to structure the Ukraine funding as a so-called “loan”! J ohnson proclaims that he and Trump are “One hundred percent united” on all of this (direct quote) …

Trump has used his vast political capital as three-time Republican Presidential Nominee to play his part assuring that the American political system mobilizes in perfect harmony to unleash $100 billion in endless-war funding. Michael Tracey

If Trump is willing to play such a duplicitous role in securing the funding for the MIC’s perpetual wars, then why in-heavens-name would any red-blooded conservative vote for him?

One of the few people who has acted honorably in this fiasco, is Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is clearly one of the few members of Congress that genuinely gives-a-damn about the American people. Greene delivered an epic rant on the floor of the House yesterday following the vote on the Ukrainian aid package. Naturally, her heartfelt presentation appeared nowhere in the sellout media, so I transcribed most of what she said below. It’s worth the time:

…. The United States taxpayer has already sent $113 billion to Ukraine, and much of that money is unaccounted for. This is an example of a sick business model the US government wants to continue….. The Congress votes for money for foreign wars that the American people do not support….. The American people do not support a business model based on blood and murder and war in foreign countries while the government does nothing to secure our border.

The American people are over $34 trillion in debt and the debt is rising by $40 billion every night while we all sleep. But nothing is done to secure our border or reduce our debt. Inflation continues to rise every day and Americans can hardly afford to pay their grocery bills, they can hardly afford to put gas in their cars, and they can hardly afford the rent. And, now, average mortgage payments are over $3000 when they were just $1700 three years ago. Young Americans don’t think they will ever be able to buy a home and yet today, this congress thinks the most important thing they should do is to send another $61 billion to the war in Ukraine that the American people –by 70%– do not support!

… But, today, the most important thing this body thinks we should do, is not reduce spending, or drive down inflation, or secure our own border that is invaded every single day by people from over 160 different countries… We have over 1.8 million ‘got-aways’ and we don’t know who these people are… and yet we have people in this very congress ‘talking tough’ saying, “We have to defeat Russia. Oh, we have to protect Ukraine” and yet , all of you are unwilling to protect the American citizens that pay your salary, pay to keep the lights on, and pay to keep the federal government running. And for what?

For nothing! Ukraine isn’t even a member of NATO But all you hear in Washington DC is “Oh, we have to keep spending America’s hard-earned tax dollars to continue to murder Ukrainians to wipe out a whole generation of young men so there are (thousands of ) widows, and fatherless orphans, and not enough men to work in their industries. Oh, but you really support Ukraine. (sarcasm) What kind of support is that? It’s repulsive!

Shame on the American government! Shame on the American government! If we want to support our military, then support our military. We should be building up our weapons and ammunition, not sending it over to foreign countries to kill foreign people.

And if this body was what it pretends to be, every single one of us would be demanding peace in Ukraine; peace for these people, so that no more of them have to die. But you never hear anybody demanding peace. No, no, no. Peace is the last thing Washington wants because it doesn’t fit the business model. This is a business model they say builds the American economy and protects American jobs. What a disgusting business model. We should have a business model that builds-up our American companies and American jobs to serve American interests, and our military and our government should care about protecting the national security of the United States of America and the Americans who pay their hard-earned tax dollars to fund all this.

America last. America last. That’s all this is. America last, every single day.
<> Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene

Bravo, Marjorie Taylor Greene. You speak for a lot of us.

(3) Why Did U.S. Prioritize Containing Russia Over China? – Andrew Korybko

Why Did U.S. Prioritize Containing Russia Over China?

Andrew Korybko
American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare

March 15, 2022

Experts are scrambling to explain why the U.S. prioritized containing Russia over China despite most prior indicators very strongly suggesting that it would prioritize the second scenario. U.S. President Joe Biden largely continued his predecessor Donald Trump’s muscular approach towards the People’s Republic up until around last fall, when the latest tensions in Europe became impossible to deny. Even so, few anywhere in the world predicted the sequence of events that would be set into motion at the end of last month wherein Russia commenced its special military operation in Ukraine.

[…] The Biden-Putin Summit in Geneva last summer gave hope to those who thought that the U.S. would finally negotiate with Russia in good faith so as to free up its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“the deep state”) to focus much more on containing China instead of Russia. The parallel negotiations to reach a new Iranian nuclear deal suggested that the U.S. would do the same vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic, too.

These calculations seemingly changed sometime around last fall, when everything began to get much more intense in Europe. A decision had apparently been made to not sincerely negotiate with Russia in good faith and, if anything, perhaps even provoke the Kremlin into taking the kinetic action that U.S. intelligence subsequently claimed that it was preparing to authorize. On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense why America would try to goad Russia into carrying out military action in Ukraine, but the developments that followed help answer that question.

Simply put, the U.S. very clearly had a detailed plan to exploit that dramatic scenario for the purpose of advancing the unprecedented containment of Russia in full coordination with its NATO allies. With that anti-Russian military bloc having lost its raison d’être after the end of what can in hindsight be described as the Old Cold War, the U.S. felt that it needed to reshape European perceptions in such a way as to revive the so-called “Russian threat to galvanize the West under its hegemonic influence. Purposely violating Russia’s national security red lines in Ukraine and the region was part of this plan.

Russia was thrown on the horns of a dilemma, whereby it could either sit back and let these latent threats continue unfolding until they finally resulted in placing the country in a position of perpetual blackmail by the West or take decisive military action aimed at averting that scenario, despite the enormous costs to its macroecnomic stability. The blackmail that could have been attempted would have likely concerned Ukraine’s successful obtainment of biological and/or nuclear weapons like Russia now warned had been pursued with full US support up until the start of the conflict.

Should the U.S. have succeeded in eroding Russia’s nuclear second-strike potential through the means that were earlier identified in parallel with NATO continuing to clandestinely expand its military infrastructure in Ukraine, Kiev could have threatened Moscow with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) at its Western patrons’ behest. If Russia didn’t submit, a conventional invasion of the country could have been attempted and/or it could have been threatened with a WMD attack from Ukraine. Obviously, the situation that Russia be placed wasn’t ideal, hence why it chose to act.

Returning to the lead-in question of this analysis, namely why the U.S. prioritized containing Russia instead of China, it seems as though America’s grand strategic calculus was that it would be much easier to do the first at this moment in time than the second, since the relevant leverage had already been established in Europe—unlike in Asia, where the U.S. hasn’t been advancing this aim for the past three decades but only the past few years. Furthermore, the U.S. might have considered Russia to be weaker than China and thus more susceptible to pressure, not militarily, but economically and technologically.

If that was the case like the author argues, containing Russia might have been thought to be a prerequisite towards ultimately containing China. To explain, the U.S. successful containment of the first and perhaps even its ultimate “Balkanization” upon placing it in a perpetual position of (likely WMD) blackmail would greatly impact on the national security of the People’s Republic, which is largely dependent on a stable and friendly Russia along its northern borders. Destabilizing, weakening, and possibly even breaking up Russia in the long term would instantly jeopardize China’s national security.

Additionally, containing Russia entails less immediate economic, financial, supply chain, and technological blowback for the West than doing the same against China due to the complex economic interdependence that characterizes Western-Chinese relations. Russia was never really all that integrated into the global economy, apart from serving as Europe’s chief energy supplier so the U.S. might have wagered that it would be less costly to pressure its junior partners to “decouple” from it. Moreover, the economic consequences that this might trigger for Europe could be exploited by the U.S.

With unexpected commitments to their people related to subsidizing skyrocketing energy costs and providing other forms of support in the midst of an intensified economic crisis caused by “decoupling” from their mutually beneficial energy relations with Russia, the U.S. could swiftly move to entrench its military-strategic influence over those countries since they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket to “contain” Russia in response to the artificially manufactured “Russian threat”. Its companies could also buy out some of their competitors on the cheap in certain scenarios as well as sell more LNG too.

To wrap it all up, the U.S. prioritized containing Russia over China because: this scenario was already proceeding apace for the last three decades; the military-strategic infrastructure was largely in place; the costs of “decoupling” from Russia are much less than “decoupling” from China; the U.S. needed to galvanize transatlantic solidarity through NATO under an anti-Russian pretext; and comprehensively weakening Russia is regarded as the perquisite to successfully containing China sometime in the future. From these observations, the author hopes to inspire further research into the US’ grand strategic goals.