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  1. #61
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    Jan 2007


    US targets anti-Trump activists' Facebook accounts

    The warrants seek information from three accounts related to the massive Inauguration Day protests in February.

    Two weeks ago, Lacy MacAuley was shocked when she opened her email inbox to find a message informing her that the US Department of Justice had served a warrant to Facebook to access her personal account.

    "I had heard that Facebook was fighting some warrants, but I certainly didn't give it much thought," recalled MacAuley, a Washington, DC-based activist and prominent anti-fascist.

    "I didn't expect that email," she told Al Jazeera by telephone.

    Three warrants were served that demand Facebook provide the US government with all information from the accounts of two activists and a page affiliated with massive protests against right-wing President Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20.

    The requested information includes the entirety of photos, videos, posts, private messages, video calls, billing information and other data between November 1, 2016, and February 9.

    The other two warrants target activist Legba Carrefour and the "Disrupt J20" page, which has since been renamed "Resist This".

    MacAuley and Carrefour had been protest spokespersons leading up to the inauguration, and the Disrupt J20 page was a digital space where visitors discussed and organised demonstrations.

    If successful, the warrant for Disrupt J20 could result in some 6,000 visitors to that page having their names and public and private activity on and with the page passed on to the government.

    Facebook was barred from informing its users that the DOJ was seeking their online information for seven months. Government lawyers dropped the gag order in mid-September.

    Rights groups have decried the warrants as a "fishing expedition" aimed at creating a database of information on activists who oppose Trump's administration.

    MacAuley says the warrants are "clearly politically motivated", describing the government's efforts as unnecessary invasions of their privacy.

    "The government doesn't need to see all the details of my private life," she argued. "[US Attorney General] Jeff Sessions doesn't need to see my family photos, information about my romantic partner and details about my surviving intimate [violence]."

    Contacted by Al Jazeera, the DOJ and the US Attorney's Office District of Columbia both declined to comment on this story.

    'Prosecutorial overreach'

    Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union's DC chapter (ACLU-DC) filed a motion in court asking for the warrants to be thrown out.

    MacAuley, Carrefour and Emmelia Talarico, who administered the Disrupt J20 page, are being represented by the ACLU-DC.

    Scott Michelman, a senior lawyer at the ACLU-DC, described the warrants as "a serious case of prosecutorial overreach".

    "This is a deep invasion of privacy and it's unconstitutional," he told Al Jazeera.

    "It's a fishing expedition," Michelman said. "Perhaps what's most chilling is that they permit these activists to be investigated by the very administration they are protesting."

    The warrants are linked to demonstrations that resulted in the mass arrest of more than 230 people who were at an anti-fascist bloc march during Trump's inauguration.

    MacAuley, Carrefour and Talarico were not among those arrested.

    During that march, anti-fascists made their way through the capital's streets. Some of them smashed windows and spray-painted graffiti on walls and vehicles.

    Police clashed with them, using rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and pepper spray.

    The majority of the more than 230 arrestees were handed a slew of felony charges, most of which are related to rioting and property damage, that could land them behind bars for upwards of 70 years.

    Among those arrested were protesters, legal observers, medics and bystanders. Although many later had the charges dropped and others reached plea deals with the government, 194 are still facing the charges.

    Several rights groups accused the police of using excessive force and carrying out indiscriminate arrests during the incident.

    In June, the ACLU-DC filed a lawsuit against the city, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Police Chief Peter Newsham over the police crackdown on January 20.

    The suit accuses the MPD of making wrongful arrests, violating protesters' constitutional right to free speech, denying detainees from accessing food and water and carrying out invasive body searches.

    'Signs of desperation'

    Sam Menefee-Libey, an activist with the DC Legal Posse, a group that supports the Inauguration Day defendants, argued that the warrants are part of the government's ongoing campaign to dissuade and intimidate anti-Trump activists.

    "It is a continuation of the US Attorney [Office]'s fishing expeditions, and it has a chilling effect on anti-Trump resistance," he told Al Jazeera.

    "They're targeting people publicly associated with Disrupt J20 in the lead-up to the Inauguration Day protests … and they are just going after some of the most public figures."

    In August, the DOJ issued a warrant to the web hosting company DreamHost for information about the operations of the website www.disruptj20.org and an estimated 1.3 million visitors to that page.

    If the government can lift the lid on Facebook, then we are all vulnerable.

    DreamHost fought that warrant in court. In response, DOJ narrowed the warrant's scope.

    DC Superior Court Judge Robert Morin subsequently granted prosecutors' request to collect several records from the company, including users' emails and membership lists.

    "I think that these broad electronic searches are signs of desperation as much as the grossly stacked charges are," Menefee-Libey said.

    "They're trying to save face in light of the police brutality on Inauguration Day because they know they don't have a case."

    For her part, MacAuley believes that the warrants are an indication that the US is "in a very dangerous place".

    "We are in danger of drifting toward fascism and authoritarianism," she said.

    "If they are targeting us now, who will they come for next? Everyone knows someone who is politically active, and everyone knows someone who has criticised the Trump administration on Facebook," she concluded.

    "If the government can lift the lid on Facebook, then we are all vulnerable."


  2. #62
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    Trump’s Troll Army Isn’t Ready for War in Syria

    The alt-right crowd breaks with the president.

    By BEN SCHRECKINGER - April 07, 2017

    The fractured elements of what was once called the alt-right were unified once more on Thursday night in condemning Donald Trump's airstrike in Syria as a mistake. Or as Milo Yiannopoulos put it, "FAKE and GAY."

    This loose confederation of Web-savvy, anti-establishment right-wingers formed an important vanguard of Trump's online support in last year's election, and its unified opposition to the airstrike forewarns a political downside to intervention in Syria. While foreign wars tend to boost presidents' popularity in the short term, Trump risks losing the segments of his base that flocked to his isolationist, "America First" message.

    In addition to its nationalist, anti-interventionist and anti-"globalist" views, the alt-right and its fellow travelers have also displayed a marked affinity for Syria's ally Russia, whose government has returned the love by tweeting images of the alt-right's mascot, Pepe the Frog, from official accounts. In reacting to the airstrikes, leaders of the movement placed those ideological reflexes over their personal loyalty to Trump.

    Most noteworthy were the herculean efforts of blogger Mike Cernovich, who took to the livestreaming application Periscope to rally opposition to the strike in a marathon session that went on for several hours.

    Just days after Donald Trump Jr. suggested he be given a Pulitzer Prize, Cernovich tweeted, "Sources telling me U.S. attack in Syria planned for tonight, we must stop! #NoMoreWar," at 7:40 pm Eastern time, an hour and a half before NBC News broke the news of the airstrike.

    During the course of the livestream Cernovich - at times holding his infant daughter Cyra in his arms - blamed a variety of actors for fomenting the conflict. "They want war. Deep state, all these people want it, man," he said. Of the media, he said, "They're trying to con Trump into believing the people want war."

    Cernovich also expressed his belief that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad had been framed for the chemical attack, though he had not decided by whom. "It was probably ISIS did it to themselves," he said on the livestream, while also tweeting, "Did McCain give 'moderate rebels' (ISIS) in Syria poison gas and Hollywood style film equipment?"

    Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, founder of pro-Trump "Western chauvinist fraternal organization" the Proud Boys, joined Cernovich as a guest via Skype, and shared his skepticism. To illustrate a parallel from his own life, McInnes recounted a story in which he said a female friend accused a man of rape and McInnes violently confronted the man, only to be convinced by the man's incredulous response that he was not guilty of rape. (In a text message, McInnes, who left Vice a decade ago, maintained his skepticism about the source of the chemical weapons attack but signaled support for Trump's response).

    Earlier in the day, alt-right online philosopher Stefan Molyneux also joined Cernovich to condemn the action and question whether Assad was really responsible for the chemical weapons attack.

    Other callers offered even more disturbing theories. One man expressed his concern that the "deep state" had approached Trump and threatened to kill him and his family if he did not get in line and voiced his suspicion that "the whole thing" could be traced back to Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice. "Yeah, could be," responded Cernovich.

    Others who have been associated with the alt-right were similarly dismayed by the news.

    Yiannopoulos - who has kept a low profile since losing a CPAC speaking gig and a six-figure book deal over revelations that he once spoke favorably of pederasty - declined to elaborate on a text message describing the airstrike as "FAKE and GAY."

    White nationalist Richard Spencer, whose embrace of hard-core racism has led Yiannopoulos and others to distance themselves from the "alt-right" label, displayed no such reticence, calling the strike "a sad, shocking and deeply frustrating moment."

    "I condemn the strikes," he said. "I'm going to wait and see. Perhaps Trump is slapping Assad across the nose and won't go further. Perhaps Russia was informed of the attacks. Worst-case scenario: We're replaying the 2000s: A conservative comes to office on a populist message and becomes a globalist and neocon shill. Again, I'll wait and see but I'm prepared to denounce Trump."

    Spencer was not alone in vacillating between condemnations of the strike and expressing hope that Trump will not take further action against Assad. The anonymous alt-right Twitter troll Ricky Vaughn tweeted, "THERE IS NO ENDGAME IN SYRIA if we remove Assad. No leader that can hold together that country." He also tweeted, "Hoping this is 88D chess giving Trump political space and an excuse for meeting with and negotiating with Putin."

    Over on The_Donald subreddit, a central hangout for Trump's alt-right fans, debate raged all night. One poster attempted to douse the discontent by writing, "Calm the **** down all you concern trolls. This isn't WWW3 - its trump putting America first. We need to stop Assad from killing his people. They flee and guess where they are going?" The /pol/ section of the message board site 4Chan, another hotbed of online Trump support, was similarly torn asunder by the news, with one poster writing, "/pol/ hates Trump now. What happened?"

    Meanwhile, internet troll Charles Johnson was not prepared to accept that the U.S. really had struck at Assad, saying that a source at CENTCOM told him the strike had actually targeted the Islamic State. "I'm very skeptical of any claims made in the media on military matters," he said. "Especially since the Iraq War."


  3. #63
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    Trump choosing white men as judges, highest rate in decades

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is nominating white men to America’s federal courts at a rate not seen in nearly 30 years, threatening to reverse a slow transformation toward a judiciary that reflects the nation’s diversity.

    So far, 91 percent of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found. Three of every four are white men, with few African-Americans and Hispanics in the mix. The last president to nominate a similarly homogenous group was George H.W. Bush.

    The shift could prove to be one of Trump’s most enduring legacies. These are lifetime appointments, and Trump has inherited both an unusually high number of vacancies and an aging population of judges. That puts him in position to significantly reshape the courts that decide thousands of civil rights, environmental, criminal justice and other disputes across the country. The White House has been upfront about its plans to quickly fill the seats with conservatives, and has made clear that judicial philosophy tops any concerns about shrinking racial or gender diversity.

    Trump is anything but shy about his plans, calling his imprint on the courts an “untold story” of his presidency.

    “Nobody wants to talk about it,” he says. “But when you think of it ... that has consequences 40 years out.” He predicted at a recent Cabinet meeting, “A big percentage of the court will be changed by this administration over a very short period of time.”

    Advocates for putting more women and racial minorities on the bench argue that courts that more closely reflect the demographics of the population ensure a broader range of viewpoints and inspire greater confidence in judicial rulings.

    One court that has become a focus in the debate is the Eastern District of North Carolina, a region that, despite its sizeable black population, has never had a black judge. A seat on that court has been open for more than a decade. George W. Bush named a white man, and Barack Obama at different points nominated two black women, but none of those nominees ever came to a vote in the Senate.

    Trump has renominated Bush’s original choice: Thomas Farr, a private attorney whose work defending North Carolina’s redistricting maps and a voter identification law has raised concerns among civil rights advocates.

    Kyle Barry, senior policy counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said that when diversity is lacking, “there’s a clear perception where the courts are not a place people can go and vindicate their civil rights.”

    In recent decades, Democrats have consistently named more racial minorities and women on the courts. But even compared to his Republican predecessors, Trump’s nominees stand out. So far, he has nominated the highest percentage of white judges in his first year since Ronald Reagan. If he continues on his trend through his first term, he will be the first Republican since Herbert Hoover to name fewer women and minorities to the court than his GOP predecessor.

    The AP reviewed 58 nominees to lifetime positions on appellate and district courts, as well as the Supreme Court, by the end of October. Fifty-three are white, three are Asian-American, one is Hispanic and one is African-American. There are 47 men and 11 women. Thirteen have won Senate approval.

    The numbers stand in marked contrast to those of Obama, who made diversifying the federal bench a priority. White men represented just 37 percent of judges confirmed during Obama’s two terms; nearly 42 percent of his judges were women.

    Some of Obama’s efforts were thwarted by a Republican-led Senate that blocked all of his nominations he made in the final year of his presidency, handing Trump a backlog of more than 100 open seats and significant sway over the future of the court.

    Trump has moved aggressively to name new judges, getting off to a much quicker start than his predecessors. He has nominated more than twice as many as Obama had at this point in his presidency. While there have been clashes in the Senate over the nomination process, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he is committed to moving judicial nominees through.

    Many of Trump’s white, male nominees would replace white, male judges. But of the Trump nominees currently pending, more than a quarter are white males slated for seats have been held by women or minorities.

    Of the eight seats currently vacant that had non-white judges, only one has a non-white nominee.

    White House spokesman Hogan Gidley says Trump is focused on qualifications and suggests that prioritizing diversity would bring politics to the bench.

    “The president has delivered on his promise to nominate the best, most-qualified judges,” Gidley said. “While past presidents may have chosen to nominate activist judges with a political agenda and a history of legislating from the bench, President Trump has nominated outstanding originalist judges who respect the U.S. Constitution.”

    Trump, who has cited the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as a key achievement, has focused on judges with conservative resumes. His picks have been welcomed by conservative legal groups.

    Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society who has advised Trump on judges, said the president’s judicial picks should be evaluated based on his nominations to the Supreme Court and appellate courts, given that home-state senators traditionally offer recommendations for district courts that carry significant weight when the lawmaker and the president are of the same party.

    There have been 19 nominees to those higher courts; more than two-thirds are white men.

    And past presidents also have pushed for diversity at the district courts. The Obama White House would make clear diversity was a priority and “if we found good candidates, we would encourage senators to take a look at them,” said Christopher Kang, who worked on judicial nominations in the Obama administration.

    Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general for George W. Bush, says that when considering nominees “sometimes President Bush would look at the list we gave him and he would say, ‘I want more diversity, I want more women, I want more minorities.’”

    In his first year, Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees were 31 percent white men. Bush had 67 percent, Bill Clinton 38 percent, George H.W. Bush 74 percent and Reagan 93 percent.

    For its analysis, The Associated Press looked at all lifetime appointments to federal judgeships — including all seats on the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts and International Courts of Trade— counting nominations to higher courts as new appointments. For the biographical information of each judge, the AP used data from the Federal Judicial Center.

    In the case of pending Trump nominees, reporters called each nominee or their representative to collect information on race, gender and birthdate. In eight cases where nominees declined to give their race, officials familiar with the information confirmed that all identified themselves as white males.

    more at : https://apnews.com/a2c7a89828c747ed9439f60e4a89193e

  4. #64
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    CAIR Condemns Trump's Incitement to Violence Against U.S. Muslims on Twitter


    CAIR Responds to Trump's Anti-Muslim Tweets


    Donald Trump Is Tweeting Videos By Britain First

    President of the United States is endorsing the group formerly known as the BNP

    Nov 29, 2017

    Donald Trump has retweeted three videos published to Twitter by Jayda Fransen, the Deputy Leader of Britain First, a far-right ultranationalist [extremist] party formerly known as the British National Party.

    It is unclear whether The President of the United States knows what Britain First is - which is to say a political party with a reputation for anti-Muslim publicity stunts, including 'occupying' mosques - or if he just really enjoyed those videos designed to stoke up anti-Muslim hate.

    Either way, the leader of the world's most powerful democracy is no longer hiding or equivocating in his support for far right extremism, but doing so openly. Probably while bored and sat on the toilet.


    Did a 'Muslim Migrant' Beat Up a Dutch Boy on Crutches?

    A video of a teenager beating up a person on crutches was shared by President Donald Trump along with the claim that the antagonist was a "Muslim migrant."


    A "Muslim migrant" beats up a boy on crutches in a video posted to a site in the Netherlands.



    On 29 November 2017, United States President Donald Trump retweeted three videos from Jayden Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right anti-Islam political party Britain First who was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment in November 2016. As this group has a penchant for sharing out-of-context, misleading, and false information, it wasn’t surprising that at least one of these videos, which purportedly shows violent acts committed by Muslims, had a misleading caption:

    Although the video is frequently accompanied by the caption “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches,” there is no evidence to support this assertion, which in fact came, like so many other unfortunate assumptions, from its comment section.

    This video was first posted to the web site Dumpert.nl, a popular video portal in the Netherlands, in May 2017. Although the original posting largely focuses on the act of hitting a person on crutches, and it was not shared with any claims about the attacker’s religion, some people on the comment section naturally — and baselessly — assumed that the perpetrator was Muslim. As the video was reposted to other web sites, the unfounded claim that the attacker was a Muslim migrant followed it.

    Shortly after this video was posted to Dumpert.nl, Dutch police officers were able to locate the attacker and arrest him. A news report from the Telegraaf identified him as a 16-year-old boy from Monnickendam. The report made no mention of the boy’s religion.

    Further, when this months-old video was brought back into the spotlight in November 2017 thanks to a retweet from President Trump, Dumpert.nl posted a short article that mocked Trump for sharing the video:

    (By the way, fake news! Dader was geen moslim en geen immigrant. Maar leuk geprobeerd Trumpie)

    (By the way, fake news! Perpetrator was not a Muslim and not an immigrant, but nice try Trumpie)

    Greenstijl, the web site that operates Dumpert, also stated that the attacker in the video was not a Muslim:

    Moreover, the perpetrator was not a Muslim, let alone a migrant, but simply a Dutchman.

    The official Twitter account of the Public Prosecution Service of North Netherlands also disputed the claim that the attacker in this video was a Muslim migrant. In a message posted on 29 November 2017, they explained that the video showed a May 2017 quarrel between two minors. The attacker, who was born in the Netherlands, was placed in the HALT Program, an alternative settlement for young first time offenders:

    A video has been shared on twitter in which an argument between two underage boys can be seen. This incident took place in May of this year. The public prosecution service Noord-Holland has studied the file submitted by the police. (1/2)
    — OM Noord-Holland (@OMNoord_Holland) November 29, 2017

    The suspect, who was born and raised in the Netherlands, received a HALT settlement (https://t.co/w62MNOFvug). This has been successfully completed. (2/2)

    — OM Noord-Holland (@OMNoord_Holland) November 29, 2017

    The Netherlands Embassy in the United States also took to Twitter to tell to President Trump that “facts do matter” and that the attacker in the video was not a Muslim migrant:

    .@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.

    — Netherlands Embassy 🇺🇸 (@NLintheUSA) November 29, 2017


  5. #65
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    This Is How Every Genocide Begins

    Why Trump’s most un-American moment can’t be overlooked.

    Donald Trump’s retweeting of anti-Muslim propaganda videos is the most un-American thing he has done as president. I could just as well end this article here, as the truth of this statement should be self-evident. But let me explain.
    A president can do many things that seem cruel, especially from the point of view of his political opponents, such as encouraging Congress to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans. He can also do many things to offend the moral sensibility of his constituents, such as talking about grabbing women by their genitals. He can even go so far as to call into question American values, perhaps by equating the actions of white supremacists and those who oppose them.

    Each of these actions is abhorrent in its own way, but I would argue that none of them creates the same peril to the nation — and to humanity itself — as the president’s retweets. I know it may seem like an enormous exaggeration to pin such importance on the result of clicking a button on a webpage. But again, please bear with me.

    Some of the greatest crimes in human history have begun with moments like this one. Social scientists agree that attacks on an entire class of people — whether identified by their race, religion, education, or any other distinguishing characteristic — do not happen spontaneously. First the mob has to be primed. The targeted group has to be demonized through a campaign of hateful misinformation, always presented as legitimate information by people in positions of trust. Then the signal for violence falls on ready ears.

    It happened this way in Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, and countless other sites of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass persecution. The pamphlets, megaphones, and radio broadcasts came before the pogroms, murders, and forced relocations. And today, we have even more effective ways to reach millions of people at a time, as the president’s more than 43 million followers on Twitter can attest; the established media only magnify his reach. But could another crime on this scale happen here?

    For the answer, Americans need only look to the historical case they probably know best: that of Nazi Germany. One of the precursors to the Nazi ascendancy was the immense popularity, in the painful aftermath of World War I, of a book purporting to disclose Jews’ plans for global domination: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The book was a forgery — no such plan existed or had ever been published by Jews — but it and similar texts cemented Jews as scapegoats for Europe’s economic and political ills years before the Nazis took power.

    The analogy to the president and his retweets is striking. He has used populist rhetoric to gain sway with vast numbers of disadvantaged and disillusioned Americans, in part by appealing to long-held prejudices. The videos he shared purportedly portray outrages committed by Muslim migrants in Europe, yet in reality they may be nothing of the sort. And just as Adolf Hitler claimed that the mainstream media’s dismissal of the Protocols proved that they were true, the president has repeatedly switched fact for fiction, especially in his denouncements of “fake news.”

    Despite these parallels, it may still seem like a stretch to link a few retweets to the Holocaust. But the path from the Protocols to the extermination camps was not traveled in a single night. The Nazis took power in 1933. Kristallnacht, the two days of riots that marked the first nationwide, coordinated outbreak of violence against German Jews, happened in 1938. The camps came a few years later, in the midst of World War II.

    I am worried that the president has set us on this long and terrible path. I worry for Muslims, but also for everyone who believes in freedom and equal rights.

    If our nation’s democratic institutions, including the office of the president, have been subverted to take us even one step closer to Nazi Germany, we have already gone too far. No tax reform bill or allegation of sexual harassment, however ill-conceived or despicable, presents a greater danger. And with the drums of war beating again, the chance to spread hate more widely in a wave of nationalistic fervor will soon beckon.

    As a person of Jewish parentage, I feel the danger evoked by the president’s retweets especially keenly. When I was growing up, my mother would occasionally pull out a book of family photos from the former Czechoslovakia, where both of her parents had been born. The early pages were full of well-dressed Moravian urbanites from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Then there were photos of the smiling faces of their grown children, all people who were later murdered in the Holocaust.

    These people were not poor strugglers or remote countryfolk. They were city-dwellers with the means and the opportunity to escape their impending doom. But they didn’t see it coming. If we can, what can we do?


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    Jerusalem is Israel's capital, says Donald Trump

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...7903417017831/

    President Donald Trump has announced that the US now recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital, overturning decades of official US policy.

    Mr Trump described the move as "a long overdue step" to advance the Middle East peace process.

    The fate of the ancient city is one of the thorniest issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Israel called Mr Trump's move "historic" but there has been sharp international criticism.

    Mr Trump said the US still supported a two-state solution to the longstanding conflict, if approved by both sides, which would essentially see the creation of an independent Palestinian state living alongside Israel.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Mr Trump's announcement "deplorable", saying the US could no longer be a peace broker.

    Eight of the 15 nations who are currently members of the United Nations Security Council have called for the body to hold an urgent meeting on the US decision by the end of the week.

    Why is this significant?

    The decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital puts the US at odds with the rest of the international community's view on Jerusalem's status.

    The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

    Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and until now all countries have maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv.

    Jerusalem contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

    East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but is not internationally recognised as part of Israel.

    What did Trump say?

    Speaking at the White House, the US president said he had "judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians".

    He said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Despite warnings of regional unrest over any such move, the decision fulfils a campaign promise and appeals to Mr Trump's right-wing base.

    "Today, I am delivering," the US leader said, referencing the campaign pledge.

    Recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "nothing more or less than a recognition of reality", he added. "It is also the right thing to do."

    The Republican Jewish Coalition have already thanked the president in a New York Times ad. The group is backed by Republican and Trump campaign mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

    What do Israel and the Palestinians say?

    In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a historic day, and Israel was profoundly grateful to President Trump.

    "Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia," he tweeted.

    Mr Abbas, the Palestinian leader, said in a pre-recorded TV speech that the city was the "eternal capital of the state of Palestine".

    He earlier warned of "dangerous consequences" through a spokesman, a sentiment echoed by other Arab leaders, who said there could be unrest.

    There were demonstrations in Gaza against the decision before it was announced in response to a call from the Islamist Hamas movement that runs the Gaza strip, local pro-Hamas media reported.

    Hamas said that Mr Trump's decision would "open the doors of hell" on US interests in the region.

    What does the rest of the world say?

    The US decision comes despite vocal opposition in the Muslim world, even among US allies.

    On Tuesday Saudi Arabia's King Salman had said that the move "would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world".

    Demonstrations have already taken place in Gaza and outside the US consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it was "a moment of great anxiety".

    "There is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B," he said.

    In other reaction:

    Prime Minister Theresa May said she disagreed with the US decision, which was "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region"

    French President Emmanuel Macron said France did not support the move and called for calm
    EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini voiced "serious concern"


    World leaders warned Trump against recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But he did it anyway.


    Israeli historian Ilan Pappé says Israel's presence in Palestinian territories is not occupation - it's colonisation.


    Jerusalem protests latest: Two Palestinians 'killed by Israeli fire' in clashes on 'Day of Rage'

    Palestinians report two deaths in 'day of rage' protests triggered by US decision to recognise divided city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

    Two Palestinians have been killed in clashes over US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, after Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” in protest against Donald Trump’s decision.

    Israeli soldiers shot the two men dead on Friday near the Gaza border, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement, while the Red Cross said scores were wounded in clashes across the West Bank.

    The Israeli military said hundreds of Palestinians had rolled burning tyres and thrown rocks at soldiers across the Gaza border.

    “During the riots Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers fired selectively towards two main instigators and hits were confirmed,” an army statement said.

    The Trump administration’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has angered Palestinians, sparking protests that stretched across the Muslim world on Friday, from Turkey to Indonesia.

    Speaking at the UN Security Council in New York, the UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned there was a risk of violent escalation after Mr Trump’s speech on Wednesday.

    “There is a serious risk today that we may see a chain of unilateral actions, which can only push us further away from achieving our shared goal of peace,” he said.

    Various Palestinian groups, including militant organisation Hamas, had called for the protests to take place against the US and in opposition to the Israeli occupation.

    An estimated 3,000 people marched, burned Israeli flags and stamped on posters of Mr Trump in around 30 protests across the Palestinian territories.

    In Jerusalem itself, midday prayers ended with marches through the Old City. While there was some pushing and shoving as police broke up the crowds, the protests remained largely peaceful.

    Protesters chanted “Jerusalem is ours”, “We don’t need empty words, we need stones and Kalashnikovs” and “America is the head of the snake”, as Friday prayers ended and worshippers made their way from the al-Aqsa mosque to the walled Old City gates.

    In Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers who fired back with tear gas.

    At least 13 people were injured by live fire and 47 by rubber bullets across the West Bank and Gaza throughout the day. Dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation, Red Crescent paramedics said.

    Six arrests were made, the IDF said.

    In Gaza, protests were accompanied by loudspeakers blaring messages from Hamas’s leaders.

    “Whoever moves his embassy to occupied Jerusalem will become an enemy of the Palestinians and a target of Palestinian factions,” said leader Fathi Hammad.

    “We declare an intifada until the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.”

    On Thursday, the militant organisation had called on the Palestinian people to rise up in a new intifada, a separate rallying cry than those for three days of Palestinian rage.

    An intifada cannot be called or commanded by Palestinian leaders. While both Fatah and Hamas encouraged the two previous uprisings, the movements grew out of grassroots mass Palestinian support.

    It is too early yet to tell whether protesters will take up Hamas’s call. Observers remain hopeful the relatively low levels of violence seen so far means the situation will remain calm.

    Israel annexed east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day war, a move that was regarded as illegal by the international community. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as their undivided capital.

    Mr Trump’s announcement on Wednesday upended decades of existing US policy, which is currently that the status of Jerusalem will be decided at an advanced level of peace talks.

    While welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, many other world leaders have expressed concern that the controversial move could spark renewed violence in the region and wider Muslim world.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday it would still be up to the Israelis and Palestinians to hammer out all other issues surrounding the city in future talks.

    “With respect to the rest of Jerusalem, the President... did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem,” he said from Paris.

    “[Mr Trump] was very clear that the final status, including the borders, would be left to the two parties to negotiate and decide.”

    And in New York, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, insisted the US could maintain its status as a mediator in the crisis, despite this week’s violent backlash.

    “The United States has credibility with both sides. Israel will never be, and should never be, bullied into an agreement by the United Nations, or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel’s security,” Ms Haley said. She said it was the UN, rather than the US, that had damaged the prospects of Middle East peace.


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    Trump Falsely Ties British Crime Rise to 'Radical Islamic Terror'

    By LINDA QIU - October 20, 2017

    President Trump inaccurately linked a report of increasing crime in parts of Britain to “radical Islamic terror” in a tweet
    early Friday.

    Mr. Trump’s use of quotation marks suggests he is directly citing a passage from a recently released report. The White House did not respond when asked what exactly Mr. Trump was quoting, but the British Office for National Statistics, in a bulletin released on Thursday, estimated a 13 percent increase in “police recorded crime” in England and Wales from June 2016 to June 2017.

    First, the United Kingdom also includes Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    But more to Mr. Trump’s point, nowhere does the bulletin contain the words “amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.” If Mr. Trump is suggesting that the rise in crime is caused by Islamic [Muslim] terrorism, the report does not support that.

    Two terrorists attacks, in London in June and in the northwest English city of Manchester in May, together killed 35 people and involved what the agency called 294 attempted murders. They represented 0.0006 percent of the total 5.2 million crimes during the period covered by the report. Over all, homicides actually decreased 2 percent.

    “Violence against persons” — a broad category that includes terrorist attacks as one type of crime — totaled about 1.2 million, a 19 percent rise from the previous year. That was driven by increases in the subcategories of “violence without injury” (21 percent) and “stalking and harassment” (36 percent) as well as a smaller increase in “violence with injury” (10 percent), the statistical agency said.

    The agency did not specifically break out terrorism as a subcategory.

    Beyond the London and Manchester attacks, the police did not report the ethnicity or religion of the criminal offender, as they generally do not. “So there is no evidence that crimes by Islamic radicals have increased,” said Brian Francis, a statistician who specializes in criminology at Lancaster University.

    Mr. Francis said he believed that “a lot of this increase is the police recording more minor violent crimes — assault without injury — which might in the past have been ignored in their figures.”

    The statistical agency attributes the 13 percent increase to “a range of factors, including continuing improvements to crime recording and genuine increases in some crime categories, especially in those that are well recorded.”

    Even Mr. Trump’s suggestion that there has been an overall increase in British crime is disputed.

    The 13 percent increase reflects the rise in crimes recorded by the police, but a national statistical authority determined in 2014 that police figures were unreliable. As a result, the metric of “police-recorded crimes” is no longer an official statistic.

    Another yardstick, the Crime Survey for England and Wales, is still considered an official statistic. It shows no change in crimes. As in the United States, crime in England and Wales has steadily declined since the 1990s.

    The bulletin cited by Mr. Trump also cautions against relying on a year-to-year change in police reports alone to extrapolate a trend.

    “Police figures cannot provide a good measure of all crime in society, since we know that a large volume of it never comes to their attention,” John Flatley, the head of the statistical agency, said in the release. “The recent increases in recorded crime need to be seen in the context of the overall decline in crime indicated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales.”


    White House defends anti-Muslim Trump tweets, says it doesn't matter if videos are real

    By Dan Merica - November 29, 2017

    White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Donald Trump's decision to retweet a series of anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right account
    on Wednesday morning, telling reporters he circulated them to start a conversation about border security and immigration.

    Sanders also said she doesn't know how the videos got in front of Trump and wouldn't say whether they were real.

    "Whether it is a real video, the threat is real," Sanders told a small group of reporters after appearing on Fox News. "That is what the President is talking about, that is what the President is focused on is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it."

    When pressed on whether it matters if the video is real, Sanders said reporters were "focusing on the wrong thing."

    "The threat is real," she said,
    later adding that "the threat needs to be addressed. The threat has to be talked about and that is what the President is doing in bringing that up."

    The retweets have once again thrust his administration into conversation about anti-Muslim bias as the courts are weighing the legality of Trump's travel ban and raised questions about how content swirling on the Internet ends up on the President's powerful Twitter account.

    "I think his goal is to promote strong borders and strong national security," Sanders said. She later added that she and the reporters were talking about border security so Trump's tweets were "accomplishing exactly that."

    Trump's account retweeted the tweets early on Wednesday morning. The messages from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, purport to show Muslims assaulting people and smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

    A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that Trump was "wrong" to retweet anti-Muslim videos, adding that Fransen's organization "seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions."

    Sanders said she was not aware of any concerns from Trump that his retweets could damage his relationship with May.

    "I think that both Theresa May and a lot of the other world leaders across the world know that these are real threats that we have to talk about, I think Europe has seen that a lot first hand," Sanders said before the statement from May's spokesperson was widely public.

    Sanders added she was unaware of how the videos got in front of Trump but the process generally hinges on Dan Scavino, Trump's director of social media and one of the few aides with the keys to Trump's powerful social media platforms.

    Scavino's history with Trump dates back years. Before running social media for his campaign -- where he was once brought on stage and lauded by Trump -- Scavino was caddie at Briar Hall Country Club in New York's Hudson Valley, a course Trump would soon buy. Scavino worked his way up from caddie to general manager and then joined Trump's campaign.

    Earlier this year, Scavino told CNN that he had had full control of @realDonaldTrump, the President's much-watched Twitter account, since the businessman-turned-politician started campaigning in 2015.

    When Trump doesn't personally tweet or retweet a message, Scavino said, the social media director will "execute" a tweet for him. Scavino added that he will go through tweets with Trump before they are sent out, including "videos, photos, stories" that end up on his account.

    At times, though, the line between what Scavino and Trump tweets is thin. Last month, both the social media director and the President slammed NBC and CNN with the exact same language at the exact same time.

    It is unclear exactly how Scavino or Trump first saw Fransen's videos, but one intersection could be Ann Coulter, a conservative pundit with anti-Islam views who is one of the 45-accounts Trump follows on Twitter.

    Coulter retweeted one of Fransen's videos some time between 6 p.m. ET and midnight on Tuesday night.

    Scavino did not respond to a series of questions from CNN on Wednesday.

    The origin of these tweets is significant because Trump's messages -- from the benign to the inflammatory -- have an impact on how the United States is viewed around the world and how policy is implemented.

    Trump is no stranger to anti-Islam comments that has roiled his supporters and critics alike.

    During the 2016 election, Trump told CNN that he believes "Islam hates us," a comment that rankled some Republicans.

    "There's something there that -- there's a tremendous hatred there," Trump said. "There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There's an unbelievable hatred of us."



    She's right, the threat is real and it's from non other than white people, like her self. Just as the white non-Muslim in the video attacked the boy on crutches.

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    Donald Trump threatens to cut 'billions of dollars' in aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote

    'We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us'

    Donald Trump has threatened to withhold billions of dollars in aid from those nations which criticise his controversial decision to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    In a raising of the stakes over the US’s move to recognise Jerusalem and shift its embassy there - something long requested by Israel and their conservative supporters in the US - Mr Trump said he could penalise those countries that voted against the move at the UN.

    Previously, the US’s UN Ambassador Niki Haley had warned the US would would be “taking names” of any countries who supported a resolution criticising Washington’s actions. A vote is scheduled to take place on Thursday after the US on Monday vetoed a vote by the UN Security Council that would have demanded Mr Trump reverse his decision.

    The Associated Press said Mr Haley had written to most of the 193 UN members states warning of possible retaliation. She said the President was taking the matter personally.

    Speaking to members of his cabinet on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he liked what Ms Haley had spelled out. “For all these nations, they take our money and then vote against us. They take hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” Mr Trump said.

    “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don't care.”

    Earlier this month, Mr Trump declared he was recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, a decision that other countries had for decades declined to take as the final status of the city was always considered central to part of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” he said when he made the announcement. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”

    His decision sparked widespread criticism and many questioned whether the US could have any meaningful role in trying to establish a Middle East peace deal, something Mr Trump has vowed to pursue.

    The Palestinians had sought the General Assembly vote after the US used its veto on Monday. The UK had supported the censure and will likely do so again in the General Assembly.

    Unlike votes taken by the Security Council, assembly resolutions are not legally binding although they do reflect world opinion.

    In the letter sent by Ms Haley, she said: “The US is simply asking that you acknowledge the historical friendship, partnership, and support we have extended and respect our decision about our own embassy.”

    She added: “The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”

    On Twitter, she had written: “At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticising our choice. The US will be taking names.”

    The resolution was co-sponsored by Turkey, chair of the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and Yemen, chair of the Arab Group at the UN

    The resolution that will be put to a vote is very similar to the defeated Security Council resolution.

    It reaffirms 10 Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the city's final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    It says: “Any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.”


    US will 'take names of those who vote to reject Jerusalem recognition'

    UN members warned Donald Trump will take issue personally if countries back draft resolution rejecting US decision

    The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has warned UN members she will be “taking names” of countries that vote to reject Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    In a letter seen by the Guardian, Haley told countries – including European delegations – that she will report back to the US president with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting the US move at the UN general assembly on Thursday, adding that Trump took the issue personally.

    Haley writes: “As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally.

    “The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us,” she continued.

    Haley followed the letter by tweeting: “At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”

    The Trump administration’s heavy-handed approach to foreign policy – often in breach of both international consensus and diplomatic niceties – has alienated even close allies.

    The 193-member UN general assembly – which has no vetoes – will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on the proposed measure that the US vetoed at the security council earlier this week.

    There was fury in Washington over Monday’s vote, in which the US was isolated in a 14-1 vote requesting Trump withdraw his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    According to Haaretz, Israel has sent instructions to its own diplomatic missions ordering ambassadors to seek meetings with officials to persuade them to direct their representatives at the UN to oppose the draft resolution at the general assembly and ask them not to make speeches.

    A copy of the draft resolution, also seen by the Guardian, calls on the general assembly to declare the US move “null and void”.

    It also demands that countries avoid “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem” and calls upon all states to comply with existing security council resolutions.

    The UN general assembly meeting was requested by Turkey and Yemen on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

    The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure Egypt had put forward at the security council meeting, which was backed by all members apart from the US.

    The Palestinian ambassador, Riyad Mansour, said he expected “overwhelming support” for the measure stating that Jerusalem was an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians.

    “The general assembly will say, without the fear of the veto, that the international community is refusing to accept the unilateral position of the United States,” Mansour told reporters.

    Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital broke with international consensus, triggering protests across the Muslim world and drawing strong condemnation. Key US allies including Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favour of rejecting the move.

    After that vote, Haley described the 14-1 vote as “an insult” and warned: “It won’t be forgotten.”

    After the clash at the top UN body, the White House announced that the US vice-president, Mike Pence, was delaying a trip to the Middle East planned for this week.

    Israel seized control of the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and regards all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

    Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war.

    The vote in the emergency session of the general assembly follows an annual vote on Tuesday where members voted 176-7 to affirm the Palestinian right to self-determination, suggesting the level of support the draft resolution could potentially command on Thursday.

    Saudi Arabia’s King Salman pledged the kingdom’s support for east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state during talks with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday.

    Abbas has sent delegations to China and Russia to ask them to take a greater role in the peace process with Israel.


    US ambassador hails $285m cut in funding for UN as 'big step in the right direction'

    ‘We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked’

    The United States government has claimed to have negotiated a significant cut to the United Nations budget.

    The US Mission to the UN said the 2018/19 budget would be slashed by over $285m (£213m) and reductions would also be made to the UN’s management and support functions.

    But the announcement did not make clear what effect the budget reduction will have on the US contribution.

    Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organisation is well-known.

    “While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency‎ while protecting our interests.”

    It comes after Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to any country in the UN that voted against his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    “Let them vote against us,” the US President said. “We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

    Ms Haley sent letters to over 180 countries warning them Washington would be taking the names of those who voted against the US.

    The UN General Assembly went on to vote overwhelmingly to denounce Mr Trump’s decision.

    The nonbinding resolution declaring the US decision on Jerusalem “null and void” was approved 128-9.

    It reaffirmed what has been the UN’s stand on the divided holy city since 1967: Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.



    What else can the shameless do except pat on their own backs when the all their threats didn't scare the world a bit.

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    New US ambassador calls his ‘no-go areas in the Netherlands’ claim fake news

    December 22, 2017

    The new US ambassador to the Netherlands has denied saying that there are no go areas in the Netherlands and that cars and politicians are being set on fire because of radical Islam.

    In an interview with current affairs programme Nieuwsuur, Pete Hoekstra told NOS correspondent Wouter Zwart he had never said such things. ‘I didn’t say that. That is actually an incorrect statement. We would call it fake news,’ Hoekstra said.

    However, the new ambassador can be seen clearly making the statements in a video recording from 2015. ‘And yes, there are no go areas in the Netherlands,’ Hoekstra states.

    Hoekstra will take up his position in January. He is known to be a supporter of Trump’s policy on the migration of Muslims to the United States and Europe. Hoekstra is also said to oppose gay marriage and abortion, both of which are legal in the Netherlands.

    The ambassador was born in Groningen but his family emigrated to the US when he was three. Hoekstra will be the first US ambassador to the Netherlands since early 2016, when Timothy Broas resigned. Since 2005, no US ambassador to the Netherlands has completed a four-year term in office.
    @Nieuwsuur to new US ambassador: “You mentioned [..] that there are no go-zones in the Netherlands and that cars and politicians are set on fire.”

    Pete Hoekstra: “I didn’t say that. That’s actually an incorrect statement [..] fake news.”

    Hmm, let’s have a look at the footage pic.twitter.com/vlstN9vhSK

    — Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) December 21, 2017


    US ambassador denies own comments, then denies denial

    By Paul P. Murphy - December 23, 2017

    The new US ambassador to the Netherlands lied twice to a Dutch news crew about 2015 comments he made saying the country was in chaos because of Muslims.

    "Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned ... and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands," said now-US ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra
    in 2015 at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2015 Restoration Weekend.

    Ambassador Hoekstra was blaming what he broadly described as the "Islamist movement" for the chaos, referencing a "stealth jihad."

    When Wouter Zwart of CNN affiliate and Dutch broadcaster NOS asked about those comments in an interview in the US Capitol, Ambassador Hoekstra said he never said them.

    "That is actually an incorrect statement; we would call it fake news," the Ambassador responded. "I never said that."

    Zwart's report on NOS' Nieuwsuur program then plays the specific portion of Ambassador Hoekstra's 2015 comments. Zwart told CNN he did not play video of the remarks for Hoekstra, saying he "can't imagine he did not know of its existence," because it was widely available online.

    "People including Intercept have written about it," Zwart says. "Can't imagine he did not know of its existence."

    Zwart told CNN the Ambassador said, "he had always meant the [no go-zones] comments in a broader context of European problems with 'those areas,'" and that "he reiterated to me that he's never associated that with what's going on in the Netherlands."

    After an additional discussion on terrorism with the Ambassador, Zwart says he discussed the comments again. His report picks back up with the exchange, with Zwart saying, "You call it fake news. Obviously."

    "I didn't call that fake news," the Ambassador interjects. "I didn't use the words today. I didn't think I did."

    Zwart then looks back at the camera, saying he was surprised and confused by those remarks, he tells CNN.

    The State Department told CNN they had no comment to make on whether Ambassador Hoekstra stands by his 2015 comments in addition to the exchange with Zwart.


    What a joke of an Administration, full of incompetent liars and the laughing stock of the world.

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    Trump's first 2018 tweet: Pakistan has 'given us nothing but lies & deceit'

    By Daniella Diaz - January 1, 2018

    In his first tweet of the new year President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan, saying the country has given the US nothing but "lies and deceit."

    "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

    The New York Times reported last week that the US might withhold $225 million in aid to Pakistan because of Trump's frustration over its handling of terrorists in the country. White House officials met to decide whether to cancel the aid, the Times reported.


    Trump says U.S. has gotten 'nothing' from Pakistan aid

    January 1, 2018

    Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khawaja M. Asif, wrote on Twitter “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah...Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction.”

    In countering U.S. criticism, Pakistan says it has launched military operations to push out militants from its soil and that 17,000 Pakistanis have died fighting militants or in bombings and other attacks since 2001.


    Pakistan Responds

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    Washington’s humiliation at UN is sign of a washed-up superpower

    by Finian Cunningham - 12/27/2017

    The humiliating condemnation of the US this week at the UN General Assembly over its Jerusalem policy revealed both Washington’s contempt for democracy and international law, and just how isolated America has become globally.

    The overwhelming rejection of President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital by 128 member nations at the UN is a signal event of how far US international standing has slumped.

    Leader of the free world? More like a miscreant whose overbearing megalomaniacal ego is no longer tolerable to virtually everyone else.

    Even close US allies among the NATO military alliance voted against Washington’s position. Britain, France, and Germany joined with other international powers, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Brazil, to repudiate Trump’s decision taken earlier this month to recognize Jerusalem.
    UN vote ‘is victory for Palestine’ – president Abbas' spokesman
    — RT (@RT_com) December 21, 2017

    In the end, only seven marginal states (no disrespect meant) voted with the US and Israel: Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo. Another 35 nations chose to abstain, including Canada and Australia, which would typically openly back America’s Mideast policies.

    The outcome was in spite of shameless arm-twisting by the US ahead of the General Assembly vote, when President Trump threatened to cut off financial aid to nations going against American policy.

    The day before the UN vote Thursday, Trump said: “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

    In what has become a sulking mantra of Trump’s White House, he added: “We’re not going to be taken advantage of anymore.”

    Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan – another key NATO ally – denounced Washington’s attempt at bribery, saying the US was trying to “buy votes.” He called on all countries to not sell democratic rights for “petty dollars” and for them to uphold past UN resolutions designating the status of Jerusalem as a matter to be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

    Trump’s unilateral recognition on December 6 of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital overturned decades of international consensus, as well as Washington’s own stated policy of brokering a historic compromise between the Israelis and Palestinians.

    The abrupt change in official US policy has provoked particular consternation among Arab and Muslim nations who together comprise nearly a quarter of the world’s population.

    The General Assembly’s resolution this week is non-binding, meaning it has no mandatory legal power and therefore is largely symbolic. Nevertheless, the symbolism speaks volumes of changing times where the US has fallen spectacularly from grace in the eyes of the world.

    The US declared truculently before the vote that it did not care and it would ignore the result come what may. Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu lavished praise on the US for its support and dismissed the UN resolution as “preposterous.”

    Earlier in the week, on Monday, a draft resolution also rejecting Trump’s Jerusalem declaration was put to the UN Security Council and was approved by 14 sitting members. But American ambassador Nikki Haley cast her country’s veto to quash that resolution, which would have been legally binding.

    Haley’s remarks to the General Assembly before Thursday’s vote highlighted Washington’s brazen contempt for democratic rights. In sinister tones, she warned that the US “was taking note of names” and reiterated Trump’s threats of taking retaliatory measures by cutting off financial aid. If looks could kill, Haley’s demeanor was armed and dangerous.

    The American envoy also displayed a twisted logic that was as arrogant as it was flawed.
    She rebuked all nations for “attacking” the US “sovereign right” to nominate Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The fact is, it is the US which has attacked international consensus and UN resolutions regarding Jerusalem’s neutral status.

    The talented Ms. Haley: #UN envoy sets bar for #US diplomacy dangerously low
    — RT (@RT_com) December 20, 2017

    Haley also claimed the “will of the American people” was being assaulted by the UN. Her claim is not backed up by any polls. Indeed one recent poll conducted in November, just before Trump made his announcement, shows a big majority – 63 percent – of the American public are against any such move to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided Israeli capital.

    So, if anything, it is Haley and the Trump administration that is snubbing the “will of the American people.”

    For decades the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has galvanized world opinion more than any other issue. The preponderance of UN resolutions shows an international consensus in favor of recognizing Palestinian national rights. Yet, the United States this week slammed the UN for being biased against Israel.

    What the US doesn’t seem to recognize is that the consensus at the UN is a reflection of international democracy. Washington’s disdain toward majority world opinion shows its underlying contempt for democratic principles and international law. The official American attitude is: if you don’t support our position, no matter how questionable that position, then your opinion is not valid.

    However, this week shows how much Washington’s moral authority has deteriorated. Even among allies and foes, there was a common position of rejecting Washington’s unilateralism. Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab Gulf states lined up with arch-enemies Iran and Syria to reject the US position on Jerusalem.

    Nations that are large recipients of US development aid were not cowered by threats of financial punishment: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan joined with poor African countries, Ethiopia, Kenya and Niger, among others, to repudiate Washington. Yemen, war-torn and famine-stricken, also cast its vote against the US.

    The overwhelming rejection by the General Assembly of American policy not only shows how out of line Washington is. It also shows an increasing number of states are willing to openly defy Washington’s bully tactics.

    Ironically, President Trump earlier this week declared in his newly published National Security Strategy: “America is again leading the world.”

    His signature on the portentous document testified: “Our founding principles have made the United States of America among the greatest forces for good in history… Around the world, nations and individuals admire what America stands for. We treat people equally and value and uphold the rule of law.”

    Such lofty claims seem to be only true in the febrile imagination of American officialdom.
    In reality, America’s virtuous pretensions are seen increasingly to be a ridiculous sham, flagrantly contradicted by its boorish, thuggish behavior.

    There was a time perhaps when the US could command global leadership. That self-declared global authority was always over-rated, but there was a veneer of plausible appearance and credibility in Washington’s claims.

    Now, Washington sounds like a pathetic, deluded narcissist, exposed by its own blatant contempt for the very principles it espouses to uphold: democratic rights, free speech, the rule of law.

    This week at the UN General Assembly, the United States is no longer a world leader. It is more like a rogue state whose delusional greatness is belied by sordid acts of bribery, bullying, and intimidation. A tyrant whose time is over.

    Most telling is that Washington’s threats of intimidation and “name taking” no longer have power. The threats are seen as just more bluffing and puffing by a washed-up superpower.


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    Trump asks why ‘people from shithole countries’ like Haiti and El Salvador come here, reports say

    President Donald Trump wasn’t shy in expressing his frustration with lawmakers Thursday as they dabbled with reinstating protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, according to news reports.

    “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to two Washington Post sources, who were being briefed on the meeting. Trump, who was meeting with lawmakers to try to get bipartisan support on an immigration deal, later suggested the U.S. should welcome more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met on Wednesday.

    During the meeting in the Oval Office, Trump wasn’t happy with the idea pitched by senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). The lawmakers had proposed cutting the visa lottery program in half and giving first dibs to countries already in the system, a White House official told the news outlet.

    The possible bipartisan deal would aim to bring back protections for countries that have been removed from the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. Just this week, the Trump Administration said it was removing TPS for about 200,0000 Salvadorans who were allowed to live and work legally in the United States since the 2001 earthquakes that killed 1,100 people and displaced more than 1 million. Homeland Security officials said conditions had improved in the Central American country and TPS is no longer applicable. The TPS would be extended until September 2019 to give Salvadorans time to prepare to return home.

    The bipartisan proposal also called for adding $1.5 billion for a border wall, according to the Post.

    According to The New York Times, when Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit, he asked if they could be exempt from the plan, asking: “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”

    Last year, the president “complained about admitting Haitians to the country, complaining that they all had AIDS, as well as Nigerians, who he said would never go back to their ‘huts,’” reported the Times. The White House denied that the president made those remarks.



    UN calls Donald Trump's s***hole immigrants comments 'racist'

    'These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States'

    Donald Trump's reported remark branding Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African nations as "s***hole countries" has been branded racist by a UN human rights official.

    "If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States," spokesperson Rupert Coleville said.

    "There is no other word you can use but 'racist'."

    "You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 's***holes', whose entire populations who are not white, are therefore not welcome."

    The US President made the comment during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office on Thursday, according to US media.

    “Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?” Mr Trump said after being presented with a proposal to restore protections for immigrants from the countries in question.

    He asked to know why the US would not instead accept people from places like Norway, whose prime minister he had met with the day before.

    The White House defended Mr Trump's policies on immigration and failed to deny he had made such comments.

    Mr Coleville added: "This isn't just a story about vulgar language, it's about opening the door to humanity's worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia."

    Mr Trump eventually issued a denial on Twitter, saying the language he used was "tough" but different to what was claimed.

    "Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country," he continued.

    "Never said 'take them out'. Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"

    The African Union (AU), a group representing all 55 countries on the continent, said it was "frankly alarmed" by the US President's alleged comments.

    "Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

    "This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity."

    Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, compared Mr Trump's comments to Nazism.

    "To the Nazi's, the purest Aryans were the Nordic people of Germany and Norway," he wrote on Twitter, alluding to Mr Trump's complaint that more Norwegians were not allowed into the US.

    "Connection?" he added.

    Mr Trump made immigration reform a central theme of his campaign and on Thursday was meeting with members of Congress in an attempt to thrash out a deal.

    Since taking office, he has announced he will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for several groups in the US, including Haitians and Salvadorans.

    TPS is an immigration status for certain countries experiencing crises such as natural disasters or war.

    Haitians became eligible for TPS following a 2010 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean island nation, and from which it is yet to recover. The White House said it will end the designation for Haiti by July 2019.

    On 8 January the Department of Homeland Security announced it was ending TPS status for around 200,000 Salvadorans. The privilege was given to El Salvador following a series of earthquakes in 2001.



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