Donald Trump, inauguration and protests

This video from the USA says about itself:

14 January 2017

Protesters Stage Anti-Trump March in Washington DC Ahead Of Inauguration

U.S. civil rights activists kicked off a week of protests ahead of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration with a march in Washington on Saturday, vowing to keep fighting for equality and justice under the upcoming administration. Chanting “no justice, no peace,” a few thousand protesters headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton marched along the National Mall toward the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, about two miles (3 km) from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where Trump will be sworn in as president on Friday.

Pre-march speakers denounced Trump to protesters, who braved drizzle and temperatures just above freezing to show their support for minority rights and President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which Trump has vowed to dismantle. “We stand together, not as a people of hate, but as a people of hope,” said Charley Hames Jr., president of the Oakland, California, chapter of Sharpton’s National Action Network. “We believe this march is the first of many.”

Trump, a New York real estate developer, won with a populist

Stop using the historically wrong ‘populist’

platform that included promises to build a wall along the Mexican border and restrict immigration from Muslim countries. … Trump’s disparaging comments about immigrants and women and stance against Obama’s healthcare law have drawn the anger of many on the left, who plan a series of protests. “He’s a clown,” said marcher Ken Coopwood Jr., 17, of Washington. “I think he’s not going to care about much, unless it’s personal.”

Civil rights groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza, as well as Democratic lawmakers had all said they would take part in Saturday’s march. The march began hours after Trump blasted U.S. Representative John Lewis after the Georgia Democrat and civil rights campaigner said he did not see Trump as a legitimate president.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

US: Opposition heads to Washington for Trump‘s crowning

Wednesday 18th January 2016

DONALD TRUMP declared yesterday that “people are pouring into Washington in record numbers” ahead of his inauguration — but unfortunately for the president-elect most appeared to be for demonstrations against him.

US citizens have been staging mass protests against the race-baiting property mogul in the week leading up to his inauguration, which will take place on Friday.

Teachers will march tomorrow in a bid to “reclaim our schools” and a gigantic women’s march will target the misogynist new president on Saturday.

Mr Trump continued yesterday with his attacks on Congressman John Lewis, who has challenged the legitimacy of Mr Trump’s election victory. He accused Mr Lewis of being “all talk.”

Mr Lewis was a leader of the 1960s civil rights movement who had his skull shattered by police in Selma, Alabama.

Mr Trump added that Mr Lewis “should finally focus on the burning and crimeinfested inner cities of the US,” with “inner cities” being outdated code for black communities. Unemployment, poverty and crime are high in black areas as a result of decades of government economic policy and still-widespread racial discrimination.

Mr Trump’s fellow Republican loudmouth Paul LePage, the governor of Maine, said that Mr Lewis needed a history lesson about all of the wonderful things white people had done for black people in the US.

“It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B Hayes and Ulysses S Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws,” said Mr LePage.

“A simple ‘thank you’ would suffice.”

Grant was president before the racist Jim Crow laws, and Hayes’s presidency laid the ground for them.

As a testament to their lasting achievements, black people are now locked up in state prisons at over five times the rate of whites.

Stop commemorating Holocaust, German extreme right says

This 2016 video is called Engineering Evil – Inside the Holocaust.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

AfD politician: Stop commemorating the Holocaust

Today, 13:16

Björn Hocke, a prominent member of the right-wing populist

Journalists, stop using the historically wrong euphemism ‘populist’ for racists and neo-fascists.

party Alternative for Germany, has come under fire because of his statements about the handling of Germany’s World War II past.

At a meeting of the youth wing of the AfD yesterday he called the German commemorations of the Holocaust “crippling memory politics”. He wanted more attention for the German victims: “Our way of remembering must rotate 180 degrees.”

He also called the Holocaust Memorial in the center of Berlin a “monument of shame”. …

The president of the Central Council of Jews reacted angrily. “To describe the Holocaust Memorial as a monument of shame is shocking and unacceptable,” he told Bild daily.

See also here. And here.

This is not so surprising for an AfD politician. After all, one of the AfD leaders is Lady Beatrix Von Storch, née Duchess of Oldenburg; the granddaughter of Johann Ludwig, Count Schwerin von Krosigk. The finance minister of Hitler’s Third Reich from its beginning until its collapse in May 1945. Hitler rewarded him with the nazi party’s Golden Swastika badge. After the war, in Nuremberg, Count Schwerin von Krosigk was convicted to ten years in prison for war crimes and, eg, his role in the persecution of Jews in the Kristallnacht. Lady Von Storch was recently in the news for anti-Semitism.

Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera will be freed

This video says about itself:

13 January 2017

Oscar Lopez Rivera, renowned Puerto Rican activist, fighting for the island’s independence has been in prison for 35 years. Activists world over are appealing for clemency.

From teleSUR:

Oscar Lopez Rivera to Be Freed After 36 Years in US Prison

17 January 2017

Puerto Rico‘s independence leader and longest held political prisoner in the U.S. from Latin America will be free.

The United States government announced Tuesday the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been imprisoned in the U.S. for 36 years for his struggle to free Puerto Rico from U.S. colonial rule.

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama commuted Lopez’ sentence, which will expire on May 17, according to a list of commutations announced by the White House.

Celebrations started almost immediately, while Clarissa Lopez, daughter of Lopez, will hold a press conference Wednesday at 10 a.m. in reaction to his release at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Lopez was born in Puerto Rico in 1943 and upon returning to Chicago after serving in the Vietnam War, he joined the struggle for Puerto Rican rights and participated in acts of civil disobedience and other actions.

In 1976, he joined the clandestine fight for the independence of Puerto Rico as a member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation. In 1981, he was captured by the FBI and accused of “conspiracy” for his militancy in the FALN.

At the time of his capture, he proclaimed himself a prisoner of war, protected in the first protocol of the Geneva Convention of 1949. The protocol protects Lopez from prosecution for having been arrested in a conflict against colonial occupation.

The U.S. did not recognize Lopez‘ demand and sentenced him to 55 years in prison and after an alleged attempt to escape, the sentence was increased to 70 years in prison, 12 of which he spent in solitary confinement.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1999 offered him a pardon, along with 13 FALN members who accepted, but Lopez rejected it because it included completing 10 more years in jail. Leaders from around the world, as well as human rights organizations, have demanded Lopez’ release for many years.

On June 18, 2012, the U.N. Decolonization Committee approved a resolution, promoted by Cuba, which called for the recognition of Puerto Rico’s right to independence and self-determination and urged the release of all pro-independence prisoners in the United States.

So, not only Chelsea Manning will be freed in May, but Oscar Lopez Rivera as well. However:

From Mumia to Peltier, US Political Prisoners Still Locked Up

President Obama commuted the 35-year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the military intelligence analyst who made public evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing Manning to go free on May 17, after completing over seven years in prison: here.

Following Chelsea Manning’s commutation, @Alfreddezayas urges pardons for other whistleblowers: here.

Extreme right meeting in Germany

This video says about itself:

(6 Apr 2016) Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and former head of France’s far-right National Front party, has been convicted of denying crimes against humanity for repeating that the Nazi gas chambers are a “detail” of World War II history.

A Paris court convicted then sentenced Le Pen on Wednesday to a 30,000 euros (34,000 US dollars) fine plus paying damages to three associations, plaintiffs in the case.

Le Pen, 87, was convicted of the same offence in 2012 for claiming the Nazi occupation of France was not “particularly inhumane”.

Decades ago, Le Pen was convicted for saying the gas chambers were “a detail of the history of the Second World War”.

He repeated the remark last year.

From Avaaz:

Dear friends,

It sounds like a far-fetched conspiracy — the top fascist leaders in Europe are coming together to plot their takeover from a remote German castle. But that’s exactly what’s happening this weekend, and we can expose them.

This affects all of us everywhere. There are elections in France, Germany, and the Netherlands this year — and the far right wants a clean sweep. If they get it, they’ll … rip-up human rights, and gut environmental and climate protections — causing irreversible global harm.

Join this global call to expose this summit for what it is — an assault on our future. If enough of us sign, the Avaaz team in Germany will deliver our voices directly to press at the summit.

Let’s stand up to reject the rise of fascism.

Here’s just a smattering of some of these politicians:

Marine Le Pen, France’s Front National.

Geert Wilders, Netherlands Party for Freedom: “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture.”

We’ve already got Trump in the United States, let’s not lose Europe to this tide of hate!

In just 4 days, Europe’s far right hopes to show the media that they are on the rise. But if we can launch a million-person strong movement to stop this extremism, Avaaz staff can deliver our voices to press in Germany and turn the story on its head.

Let’s stand up to reject the rise of fascism.

In dark times, great movements are born. We’ve shown that we can fight back and win against major corporations like Monsanto, major moguls like Rupert Murdoch and now we need to come together to beat a movement that threatens everything we love. I know we can.

With determination,

Iain, Danny, Alice, Nell, Risalat, and the whole Avaaz team.

More information:

Europe’s Rising Far Right: A Guide to the Most Prominent Parties (New York Times)

Germany’s AfD Divided by Le Pen Meeting (EU Observer)

Europe’s far right parties are holding their first-ever “counter-summit” in Germany (Quartz)
Europe’s far-right parties are holding their first-ever “counter-summit” in Germany

What Europe’s Far Right Sees in Trump’s Win (The Atlantic)

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be freed

This 16 December 2014 video from the USA is called Chelsea Manning Tortured Using Shamed CIA Techniques?

President Obama of the USA ends his presidency with something good.

By Sebastian Murdock, Reporter, The Huffington Post in the USA:

Chelsea Manning, Jailed Army Leaker, To Be Freed By President Barack Obama

It marks a turn for the Obama administration, long criticized for its hostility to whistleblowers.

01/17/2017 04:20 pm ET | Updated 3 minutes ago

President Barack Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier …

The commuted sentence, announced by Obama on Tuesday, will allow Manning to be freed on May 17 of this year. She was originally set to be freed in 2045, according to the New York Times.

Manning has been incarcerated since 2010, after she confessed to sending the secret military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy organization [WikiLeaks]. While she was seen as a traitor by some, many more considered her a whistleblower and hero. In 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act and other offenses. …

The commutation marks a turn for Obama, whose administration has long been criticized for being openly hostile to whistleblowers ― and the end of a long, and at times devastating, road for Manning.

“I’m relieved and thankful that the president is doing the right thing and commuting Chelsea Manning’s sentence,” Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project representing Manning, said in a statement. “This move could quite literally save Chelsea’s life, and we are all better off knowing that Chelsea Manning will walk out of prison a free woman, dedicated to making the world a better place and fighting for justice for so many.”

In September, Manning became a hero in the LGBTQ community for her hunger strike to demand gender confirmation treatment. Manning, who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a female, ended her strike after the Army complied with her request.

Sere also here.

Blackwater mercenary boss Prince, Trump adviser

This video from the USA says about itself:

Erik Prince in the Hot Seat: Blackwater Founder Under Investigation for Illegal Mercenary Biz

25 March 2016

In a major new exposé, The Intercept has revealed that the Justice Department is investigating Blackwater founder Erik Prince for possible money laundering, ties to Chinese intelligence, and attempts to broker military services to foreign governments. Prince is currently the chairman of Frontier Services Group, an aviation and logistics firm specializing in shipping in Africa. But documents obtained by The Intercept show that Prince has also set up shell companies to offer paramilitary services to at least a half-dozen African nations, including Libya.

Both the United States and the United Nations have imposed a series of restrictions on military dealings in Libya. Prince is also suspected of attempting to open Chinese bank accounts to move money for his Libyan associates. As part of its investigation, The Intercept obtained an internal slide presentation showing Prince’s private force would operate in Libya for the stated purpose of stopping the flow of refugees to Europe.

Prince has also long been interested in raising a private military force to battle Islamic militant groups in a variety of countries. We spend the hour with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill and Matthew Cole, the reporters behind “Erik Prince in the Hot Seat.” “In a lot of ways, Erik Prince is like a Mafia don,” Scahill says. “He has been able to avoid any criminal charges against him personally for activities that his companies have engaged in. … Whether or not the U.S. government will actually seriously go after him is still to be seen.”

Scahill is the co-founder of The Intercept and author of the best-seller, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” His most recent book, “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield,” is out in paperback, and his film “Dirty Wars” was nominated for an Academy Award.

By Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept:

Notorious Mercenary Erik Prince Is Advising Trump From the Shadows

January 17 2017, 9:42 p.m.

Erik Prince, America’s most notorious mercenary, is lurking in the shadows of the incoming Trump administration. A former senior U.S. official who has advised the Trump transition told The Intercept that Prince has been advising the team on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments. The official asked not to be identified because of a transition policy prohibiting discussion of confidential deliberations.

On election night, Prince’s latest wife, Stacy DeLuke, posted pictures from inside Trump’s campaign headquarters as Donald Trump and Mike Pence watched the returns come in, including a close shot of Pence and Trump with their families. “We know some people who worked closely with [Trump] on his campaign,” DeLuke wrote. “Waiting for the numbers to come in last night. It was well worth the wait!!!! #PresidentTrump2016.” Prince’s sister, billionaire Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s nominee for education secretary and Prince (and his mother) gave large sums of money to a Trump Super PAC.

In July, Prince told Trump’s senior advisor and white supremacist Steve Bannon, at the time head of Breitbart News, that the Trump administration should recreate a version of the Phoenix Program, the CIA assassination ring that operated during the Vietnam War, to fight ISIS. Such a program, Prince said, could kill or capture “the funders of Islamic terror and that would even be the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East, and any of the other illicit activities they’re in.”

Prince also said that Trump would be the best force to confront “Islamic fascism.” “As for the world looking to the United States for leadership, unfortunately, I think they’re going to have to wait till January and hope Mr. Trump is elected because, clearly, our generals don’t have a stomach for a fight,” Prince said. “Our President doesn’t have a stomach for a fight and the terrorists, the fascists, are winning.”

Prince founded the notorious private security firm Blackwater, which rose to infamy in September 2007 after its operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians, including a nine-year-old boy in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. Whistleblowers also alleged that Prince encouraged an environment in which Iraqis were killed for sport. At the height of the Blackwater scandals in 2007, another prominent Trump backer, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, praised Prince, who once worked in his congressional office. “Prince,’’ Rohrabacher said, “is on his way to being an American hero just like Ollie North was.’’

Ultimately, Prince sold Blackwater and now heads up a Hong Kong-based company known as Frontier Services Group. The Intercept has previously reported on Prince’s efforts to build a private air force for hire and his close ties to Chinese intelligence. One of his latest schemes is a proposal to deploy private contractors to work with Libyan security forces to stop the flow of refugees to Europe.

Prince has long fantasized that he is the rightful heir to the legacy of “Wild Bill” Donovan and his Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. After 9/11, Prince worked with the CIA on a secret assassination program, in addition to offering former SEALs and other retired special operators to the State Department and other agencies for personal security.

Blaming leftists and some congressional Democrats for destroying his Blackwater empire, Prince clearly views Trump’s vow to bring back torture, CIA-sponsored kidnapping, and enhanced interrogations, as well as his commitment to fill Guantanamo with prisoners, as a golden opportunity to ascend to his rightful place as a covert private warrior for the U.S. national security state. As we reported last year, “Prince — who portrays himself as a mix between Indiana Jones, Rambo, Captain America, and Pope Benedict — is now working with the Chinese government through his latest ‘private security’ firm.” The Trump presidency could result in Prince working for both Beijing and the White House.

… Prince described Democrats as “anti-Catholic, anti-Evangelical” …

Prince has a close relationship with Breitbart News and Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior counselor and chief strategist. Prince has appeared frequently — and almost exclusively — on Breitbart Radio. In August, Prince offered praise for Trump’s candidacy, telling Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos: “I even like some of his projects that have gone bankrupt, because people that do things, and build things, and try things, sometimes fail at doing it, and that’s the strength of the American capitalist system.” Prince added: “We have kind of turned our back on the fact that hard work, sacrifice, risk-taking, innovation, is what made America great. Washington did not make America great.”

In September, Prince backed Trump’s proposal to commandeer Iraq’s 2 million barrels of daily oil output. “For Mr. Trump to say, ‘We’re going to take their oil––certainly we’re not going to lift it out of there and take it somewhere else, but putting it into production, and putting a tolling arrangement into place, to repay the American taxpayers for their efforts to remove Saddam and to stabilize the area, is doable, and very plausible,” Prince said on Breitbart Radio.

Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s nominee for education secretary and she has all but vowed to embark on a crusade to push a privatization and religious agenda in education that mirrors her brother’s in military and CIA affairs. Prince has long been a contributor to the campaign of fellow Christian warrior Mike Pence, and he contributed $100,000 to the pro-Trump Super PAC Make America Number 1. Prince’s mother, Elsa, pitched in another $50,000. That organization, run by Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire hedge funder Robert Mercer, was one of the strongest bankrollers of Trump’s campaign.

According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in December Prince attended the annual “Villains and Heroes” costume ball hosted by Mercer. Dowd wrote that Palantir founder Peter Thiel showed her “a picture on his phone of him posing with Erik Prince, who founded the private military company Blackwater, and Mr. Trump — who had no costume — but joke[d] that it was ’N.S.F.I.’ (Not Safe for the Internet).”

Not even Trump is brazen enough to give Prince a public post in his administration. But Prince is operating in the shadows, where he has always been most at home.