Iran tells US to ‘stop violence’ against Americans: ‘Let them breathe’ | TheHill

“To the American people: the world has heard your outcry over the state of oppression. The world is standing with you,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters in Tehran Monday.

…”We deeply regret to see the American people, who peacefully seek respect and no more violence, being suppressed indiscriminately and met with utmost violence,” Mousavi told reporters.

Iran tells US to ‘stop violence’ against Americans: ‘Let them breathe’ | TheHill

Iran even…. How the mighty have fallen.


Trump tweets order to ‘destroy’ Iranian boats. Pentagon calls it a warning.

Trump announced Wednesday that he had directed the Navy to “shoot down” Iranian gunboats that harass U.S. ships. Pentagon officials said they had received no new directives.

…“What he was emphasizing is all of our ships retain the right of self-defense, and people need to be very careful in their interactions to understand the inherent right of self-defense,” said Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist. [?????!]

“It was a very useful thing he put out,” Norquist added. [?????!]

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten said “the president’s message was crystal clear,” adding, “I like that the president warned an adversary.” [?!!!!]

Trump tweets order to ‘destroy’ Iranian boats. Pentagon calls it a warning.

For the love of….

COVID-19 Was Catalyst in Fight to Free Detained Americans

“Sen. Shaheen was involved from Day 1. New Hampshire should be proud of a senator like this – who will not put up with one of her constituents being unlawfully detained,” Atallah said.

…Shaheen, along with several other senators, also was deeply involved in the push for the release of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson, who was detained in Turkey for two years on trumped up charges and released in late 2018.

…With Fakhoury en route home, Shaheen late last week thanked Atallah as well as National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, NSC staffer Virginia Boney, Roger Carstens, the presidential envoy for hostage affairs who replaced O’Brien in that position, as well as Shea and several other top State Department officials, including Pompeo and Schenker.

“This is exactly how our government should work,” she told reporters. “… Congress and the administration came together on a bipartisan basis to work together to help Americans in need.”

COVID-19 Was Catalyst in Fight to Free Detained Americans | RealClearPolitics

Analysis: There is a perfect storm brewing in Saudi Arabia | Middle East | Al Jazeera

Although MBS appears to possess the hallmarks of an authoritarian ruler, given his apparent predilection for quashing dissent, his programme of economic and social reforms have been generally well received among Western rulers. With this support, at times tacit, MBS was able to survive the Khashoggi affair, laying the blame on rogue elements in the Saudi security sector.

So why this crackdown on senior royals and top officials now?

Analysis: There is a perfect storm brewing in Saudi Arabia | Middle East | Al Jazeera


Thousands of women are trapped in Lebanon. They risk jail time to leave

Since October, Lebanon’s economy has buckled under soaring prices, a tanking currency, ballooning unemployment and a growing debt crisis.

…The Lebanese Pound has lost over 50% of its value, limiting migrant women’s ability to send financial support to their families. With plummeting demand for their work, many have stopped sending remittances and are sinking deeper into poverty.

…Growing numbers of women — who came to Lebanon in better economic times to earn a living and send money back to their families — are scrambling to return to their home countries. But many lack immigration papers, including their passports. 

…Rights groups estimate that tens of thousands of migrant women in Lebanon are undocumented. For these workers, the hurdles to leaving the country could amount to a dead-end.

… She left her job without retrieving her passport. Her boss had confiscated it when she started work, a practice that is illegal yet widespread.

…Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon are caught in a bind. The sponsorship system, known as Kefala, links legal residency to a work contract.

…If she tries to leave this working relationship, then her status in the country is illegal. If she tries to leave Lebanon, she will likely be detained, with undocumented workers accumulating fines for every year they spend in the country without contract.

…Lebanon’s security forces classify workers who leave their jobs without their sponsor’s consent as “runaways,” even if the employer violated the terms of the country’s standard contract for sponsorships, for example through overwork, withholding salary payments, or sexual and physical abuse.

…Like many other migrant women in Lebanon, she doesn’t believe her embassy will help repatriate her. She has decided to try to get herself deported, which will mean waiting out her departure in one of Lebanon’s notoriously overcrowded prisons where malnourishment and mistreatment are rampant, according to multiple reports by rights groups and local media.

It is ”common” for migrant domestic workers to voluntarily surrender to police, a diplomatic source in Lebanon told CNN.

…“My friends told me to get myself arrested. But then I heard the police aren’t arresting migrants anymore because their jails are so full.”

…The embassy worker told her that if and when she settles her fees, she would need to wait for another three months before she can go home.

…According to the International Labor Organization, ex-employers “frequently” press charges against domestic workers. Many demand that the worker reimburse them for recruitment fees.

“There may be a justified reason for that court case, but often, research shows that they are based on false accusations.”

…“If there is a court case it …(leaving the country) becomes a longer process and a more complicated process.”

Thousands of women are trapped in Lebanon. They risk jail time to leave –


Harvard librarian puts this war crime on the map

Fragile, 500-hundred-year-old pamphlets and vibrant Ottoman-era manuscripts disintegrated into ash as the building holding them, the National Library of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was shelled and burned. It was not the first act of cultural destruction by Serbian forces against other ethnic groups in the Balkans, and it certainly wasn’t the last.

…It was what he later testified to being “cultural heritage destruction”: intentional and unnecessary destruction of sites and records that act as a community’s collective memory.

The crime comes from a desire to not only kill individuals who are part of an ethnic or religious group, Riedlmayer explained, but to erase their existence, “remove any evidence that they were ever there to begin with, and give them no reason to come back.”

…“This is certainly not something I thought I’d be doing in my work as a librarian,” Riedlmayer said. “But if you really want to make a librarian mad, burn down a library.”

…That year, he visited more than 100 religious and cultural sites that had been deliberately destroyed during the conflict. He photographed and catalogued Catholic churches with collapsed steeples and mosques reduced to scattered stones covered with garbage. He collected the charred remains of books and, in one case, pages from a Quran desecrated by Serbian soldiers.

When Riedlmayer first found the ripped, dirty pages in a crumbling mosque, he thought to ask a village elder before taking them as evidence.

“These aren’t books anymore; we can’t use them,” Riedlmayer said the man told him. “Take them and show the world what was done.”

Harvard librarian puts this war crime on the map – Harvard Gazette


‘Sesame Street’ Is Opening Up to Syrian Refugees

A new version of the show will begin airing for an audience that, less than a decade ago, didn’t exist: children displaced by the war in Syria and their neighbors in the communities where many of the refugees have fled or sought asylum. “At this point, there are lots of 7-year-olds who were born as refugees from Syria” and remain far from permanent resettlement.

…Since the start of the conflict, in 2011, nearly seven of every 10 residents of Syria have been forced from their homes. More than 11 million have fled to unfamiliar parts of Syria or to the countries across its borders, with only around 150,000 permanently resettled. They are now the largest displaced population in the world.

…Parents often carry the trauma of forced migration with them in unexpected ways, and a childhood of makeshift housing, isolation from an extended community of familiar faces, and few safe places to play can affect not only children’s behavior and learning skills but also brain development, gene expression and the ability to build the fundamental tools of resiliency. “It can be very hard to moderate, or to cope,” said Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s president of social impact and philanthropy. Preliminary research conducted in Jordan and Lebanon found that displaced children have trouble finding the language to express their emotions. They describe what they feel only very broadly: sad, happy, scared.

The show will focus on identifying and managing emotions, and will be coupled with thousands of outreach workers going to clinics, community centers, homes and other gathering spaces in the four countries, where they will meet with children, parents and caregivers to provide support and extend many lessons of the series.

…Just as American “Sesame Street” teaches counting and the alphabet before deeper literacy and numeracy, the new series, called “Ahlan Simsim,” or “Welcome Sesame,” will start with the basics. “We want this first season to dive into identifying different emotions, like frustration and anger, nervousness and loneliness, fear,” Scott Cameron, an executive producer at Sesame Workshop, said. “But we also have to make that entertaining. And we have to do that without, in the case of fear, terrifying the kids.”

…We want this project to be a model for humanitarian response not just in the Middle East,” Ms. Westin added, “but for refugee children wherever they may be.”

‘Sesame Street’ Is Opening Up to Syrian Refugees – The New York Times

so cool!

GOP whines about Democrats’ maneuver for bringing up Iran bills

The legislative maneuver would prevent House Republicans from using a procedural tool to alter the two Iran bills at the eleventh hour since the measures would be tacked on as amendments to the coin bill.

GOP fumes over Democrats’ maneuver for bringing up Iran bills | TheHill


Also, don’t f’ with Pelosi kids, she’ll run circles around you until your head literally spins.

US military plane crashes in Afghanistan

An investigation is underway to determine what caused a US military aircraft to crash in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province Monday, a spokesperson for US Forces in Afghanistan confirmed, adding that there is “no indication” the plane was downed by enemy fire.

“A U.S. Bombardier E-11A crashed today in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire. We will provide additional information as it becomes available,” Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet.

US military plane crashes in Afghanistan