Wilder’s Defeat and the European Union

On Wednesday, the Netherlands held the most important general election since the creation of the European Union. Most analysts suggested that, without a doubt, its results would determine the political future of the European project (including a potential dissolution).

After the rise of fascism in countries such as the UK and the US, the odds of victory for xenophobic and anti-European parties represented in the Netherlands by Geert Wilders, were higher than ever.

Over the last year, Wilders had expressed his desire to split with the European Union countless times, and the fear of that happening turned the Dutch elections into a referendum. As a result, the 13 million citizens eligible to vote had in their hands the hard task of deciding whether to remain in the EU or open a Pandora’s Box and begin its dissolution.

Months before the elections, the predictions were clearly favorable for Wilders. Most of the national polls suggested a clear victory for him, and some of them gave him 46% of the vote. On the other side, his great rival, the previous prime minister and candidate, Mark Rutte, spent most of the campaign persuading Dutch citizens that Wilders was “on the wrong side of populism.” His chances of winning were very low since most of the polls gave him catastrophic results.

However, (and fortunately for the European Union), the above-mentioned prognosis was erroneous, and despite winning 5 more seats than in the previous elections, the VPP of Wilders obtained 20 seats out of 150.

The winner of the elections was the VVD of Rutte who obtained 33 seats, 13 ahead of Wilders. Despite losing 8 seats compared to the previous elections, he declared that he was euphoric with the results. Considering that not even the most optimistic person believed in his victory, the final results were extraordinarily good.

Despite his victory, Rutte will have a hard task going forward if he wants to become the next prime minister for the third consecutive time. His victory is insufficient to form a government. For that reason, he will need to negotiate with at least three more political parties to form a coalition. Due to the complexity of the situation, it will take several months before he can form a stable government.

Dutch citizens delivered a clear message to the international community:

“We want neither bigotry nor populism in our country.”

Despite the citizens’ clear message refusing bigotry and populism, no one should forget that millions of them voted for Rutte because it was considered the best option to defeat Wilders. He represents the establishment, and as such, he will put the interests of the wealthy before those of the middle and working class.

Without a doubt, the defeat of Wilders was great news for the European Union, and this will contribute to decreasing populism in other countries. However, there is still a lot of work to do in the Netherlands to build a fair society where no one is discriminated against regardless of sexual, political, and religious orientation.

For the moment, the European Union has been able, temporarily, stall a critical threat to its existence. But unless its structure changes soon and the EU brings about equality among all its Members States, the alleged fascist’s populism will become a serious menace for the EU again.

The Truth is that the European Union has lost the appeal that it once had. The existing inequalities among member states in the EU, (notably ascendent Germany, which during the hardest moments of the global financial crisis, far from being supportive, took away benefits from the poorest countries in the Union), have contributed to the rise of populism all across Europe.

When countries such as Greece were going through catastrophic times, the German economy was in perfect condition without any signs of weakness. Later it was revealed that Germany took away vitality from countries such as Greece by demanding they pay back loans with exorbitant interest rates.

It is clear then that, without structural changes and more equality, the dissolution of the European Union will soon be inevitable.

Pending the arrival of big structural changes, the European Union will soon be tested again in upcoming elections in Germany and France. Fortunately, now that the Dutch elections are over, populism will not have many chances to win, but as I have said, structural changes must soon be done or it (populism) may increase its odds to obtain good results. 

Conflict Between Turkey and The Netherlands: The Winners and Losers.

On Saturday, just four days before the Dutch elections and one month before Turkey holds a crucial constitutional referendum (on expanding Turkish presidential powers), a new diplomatic dispute began between the Netherlands and Turkey.

Everything began when the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced he would visit Rotterdam to call on Turkish expatriates to vote favorably on the referendum. Right after this announcement, the Dutch authorities notified Cavusoglu that he was banned from entering the country, alleging that there was a risk to public order and security.

Despite the ban, Cavusoglu decided to take a plane to the Netherlands. In response, the Dutch government withdrew landing permission for him and his aides, forcing him to land in Germany. Once in Germany, the minister Cavusoglu said:

“This decision is a scandal and unacceptable in every way. It does not abide by diplomatic principles.”

“Listen Netherlands, you’ll jump once, you’ll jump twice, but my people will thwart your game,” he said. “You can cancel our foreign minister’s flight as much as you want, but let’s see how your flights will come to Turkey now.” “They don’t know diplomacy or politics. They are Nazi remnants. They are fascists,” said the Turkish President Erdogan.

After the minister’s incident, the Dutch government released a statement reaffirming its decision and expanding the ban to all Turkish ministers. However, Turkey’s family minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya decided to evade the prohibition and went to Rotterdam from Germany by car. Once in Rotterdam, Fatma Betul attempted to enter the Turkish consulate, but due to her illegal status in the country, the Dutch authorities proceeded to detain her and later deported her to Germany.

“Netherlands is violating all international laws, conventions and human rights by not letting me enter Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam,” said Fatma Betul.

After Fatima’s detention, a crowd of 1000 pro-Erdogan supporters who had gathered near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam turned violent. Due to such violence, the police demanded them to dissolve the protest, but given their refusal, the police proceeded to disperse the protest. This happened when the protesters reacted even more violently by causing riots and damage to urban surroundings.

After the incident, the Dutch government said it considered the Turkish family minister undesirable and a “persona non grata.”

“We do not want the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return from leave for some time,” said the goverment.

Geert Wilders, the right-wing candidate in the next Dutch elections, said: “to all Turks in the Netherlands: Go to Turkey and never come back!!”

On Sunday, a Turkish protester took down the Dutch flag flying over the consulate in Istanbul and replaced it with a Turkish flag. Footage of the incident showed a man on the roof shouting “Allahu Akbar” as the flag was replaced.

On Monday, the continued escalation of the conflict aroused suspicions about the real motive of the conflict, and why it had begun precisely when both countries face the most important election in decades.

Everything suggests that Turkish President Erdogan was looking for this confrontation. As previously mentioned, Turkey will soon hold a constitutional referendum, and the government is not sure about its results. In this context, a diplomatic conflict against the Netherlands will help Erdogan to mobilize his supporters and persuade his opponents to support him on the referendum.

In addition, the existing conflict has aroused nationalism among Turkish citizens. As a result, many of those who had concerns about giving Erdogan more power will now support him to keep the country united against foreign threats.

Erdogan is also using the existing nationalist arousal to brainwash Turkish citizens by suggesting that Western citizens are Nazis and anti-Muslims. This maneuver allows him to divert attention from his domestic authoritarian actions and constant violations of human rights.

Despite the fact that Erdogan already has a lot of power to make decisions, he knows that the approval of the constitutional changes is the last step to implement a full authoritarian system in Turkey.

On the other side, the conflict between the Netherlands and Turkey is also benefiting the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders. The Netherlands will hold general elections tomorrow, and as in Turkey, the escalation of the conflict has also awakened a nationalist feeling among its citizens. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens who did not initially support Wilders finally will.

Dutch citizens did not like to see a thousand Turks flying foreign flags and supporting a dictator in Rotterdam. They did not like to see the provocative behavior of Turk’s representatives ignoring the ban and entering the Netherlands.

Like in all conflicts, there are also losers in this story, and this time, they are the citizens from both countries, who under an enormous pressure, will have to decide their political future, and democracy which could soon be totally eliminated from both countries.

Wilders and Erdogan’s game has already started, and citizens will have to choose between democracy and dictatorship. Their decisions will also determine the future political world and the incitement of new conflicts. The die is cast. 

Republicans and Democrats: The Hypocritical Team

Since its beginnings, Wikileaks has aroused both hatred and veneration among its followers and detractors as much as any other worldwide organization. However, what is most striking is that a large number of these people, including Donald Trump and the U.S. Democratic Party, have changed their opinions about Wikileaks several times over the last few years, revealing a high degree of hypocrisy.

In 2010, after Wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos provided by Chelsea Manning, President Trump said:

“WikiLeaks is disgraceful, there should be like the death penalty or something.”

At the time of the above statement, Trump was often criticizing Wikileaks and its staffers. However, during the last Presidential campaign, Trump changed his mind, and started to praise Wikileaks’ work while encouraging the group to continue disclosing secrets related to John Podesta and Hillary Clinton. He also suggested that Wikileaks was the most reliable media organization in the world.

On Tuesday, Wikileaks disclosed the largest leak of classified CIA documents to date, exposing that the CIA had been hacking electronic devices for surveillance in mass, even abroad  (including the techniques used to break said electronic devices).

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said:

“While I don’t want to get into confirming or denying this particular thing, I think it is interesting that — how different subjects are approached. People immediately began rushing to question this, and expressed that there should be a lot more coverage going on.This alleged leak should concern every single American in terms of the impact it has on our national security.”

“It’s interesting how there’s sort of a double standard with when the leaks occur, how much outrage there is,” Spicer observed, referring to internal leaks which have plagued the Trump campaign in the media.

“The idea that we are having these ongoing disclosures of national security and classified information should be something that everybody is outraged over in this country,” he added.

About the specific WikiLeaks accusations, he said: “You know all of these occurred under the last administration. That is important. All of these alleged issues.”

“There’s a big difference between disclosing John Podesta’s Gmail accounts, about a back and forth and his undermining of Hillary Clinton, and his thoughts of her on a personal nature and the leaking of classified information.”

Spicer also suggested that the U.S. will prosecute all those who are behind the latest disclosures, including any Wikileaks staffers. He added that Trump’s concerns likely stem from the threats that the information could pose to national security.

Spicer’s statements revealed that President Trump has changed his opinion about Wikileaks again, demonstrating that the President only considers his personal interest. When Wikileaks was revealing secrets favorable to his campaign, it was the best journalistic organization ever, but when it does the same to governmental institutions during his term, the group suddenly turns into a criminal organization.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Democratic Party and its supporters have gone through the same mental gymnastics. During Manning’s disclosures, most liberals and Democrats officials supported Wikileaks amidst Manning’s leaks, because they saw the organization as one exposing the truth of government corruption. However, during the last presidential campaign, most of the Democrats decided to change their opinion about Wikileaks and its founder, alleging that they were colluding with Russia to help Trump win the election.

As if that were not enough, after the last Wikileaks disclosure, a large number of Democrats (including those who suggested that Wikileaks was colluding with Russia) have changed their minds again and now think that Wikileaks is a reliable and honorable organization.

These extreme changes expose how a large number of people easily change their minds in relation to their own interests. Most of them lack critical thinking and are susceptible to being manipulated by both political parties and the media, though the end is the same: none of them are able to stand by either their convictions or their words.

The truth is that Wikileaks has published several countries’ governmental secrets for a decade. During all this time, it has never changed its editorial staff (most of the editors have been working at the organization for years), and it operates in the same exact way.

Wikileaks has allowed people from all over the world to know about governmental corruption, and that the CIA has conducted surveillance programs to spy on everyone all the worldwide. Thanks to that, people now have the opportunity to act in order to protect their privacy against these governmental threats. 

Wikileaks is not the real problem in our society; governments and politicians who manipulate their citizens on a regular basis are. In addition, the American political system is completely obsolete and should change to make it harder for politicians to adopt megalomaniac behaviors. The system should allow organizations such as Wikileaks to freely operate because it just exposes the truth about governmental corruption. Those who are not corrupt do not have to fear anything from Wikileaks.

The lack of critical thinking in a global society is troubling since it makes it harder for people to know what is real or not. Instead, it pushes them to blindly believe what their governments say to them. For that reason, we can observe sudden changes in people’s minds in short periods of time. In order to prevent this, the education system should change by teaching students how to think critically.

When people try to change the education system to develop critical thinking skills, both Republicans and Democrats will strongly oppose it to continue manipulating their citizens, which guarantees the continued  misconduct and political corruption in all layers of government.

Trump’s Decision to Reduce the Budget in Foreign Aid Will Not Make America Safer

A few days ago, Trump’s cabinet announced its plan to cut the State Department’s budget by 37 %, including a great reduction in foreign aid in order to increase U.S. defense spending by $54 billion. That’s a 10% increase over the cap on defense spending imposed by a budget deal that Congress passed six years ago. White House Office of Management Budget director Mick Mulvaney said:

“We are going to propose to reduce foreign aid and we are going to propose to spend that money here,“He added that the proposed cuts would include “fairly dramatic reductions in foreign aid.”

“The overriding message is fairly straightforward: less money spent overseas means more money spent here.”

Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid has been strongly responded to by both Republicans and Democrats who think it could help terrorist organizations to expand their operational capacities. Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said:

“I am very concerned by reports of deep cuts that could damage efforts to combat terrorism, save lives and create opportunities for American workers.”

Among Republicans, Service intelligence agents and several generals, there is an increasing concern that either Trump thinks that foreign aid means to help foreign charitable organizations or that he is just seeking a new war, probably against Iran or North Korea. In fact, a potential war with either of them would undermine any effort to make America safer. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, tweeted last week:

“Foreign Aid is not charity.We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of the budget & critical to our national security.”

Trump’s obsession to start his war games is blinding him from reading reality. Increasing the defense budget will not make America safer without diplomacy. Included in the State Department’s budget is: diplomacy task which is essential to prevent new conflicts from erupting, as Secretary of Defense Jim Matis who was a general, back in 2013 said:

“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately. So I think it’s a cost-benefit ratio,” Mattis told members of Congress.

“The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully, the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene.”

More than 120 retired three and four-star generals sent a letter to the House and Senate leadership calling on Congress to “ensure that resources for the International Affairs Budget keep pace with the growing global threats and opportunities we face.” They also warned that Trump’s budget proposal would be extremely dangerous for American citizens. They added:

“Elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense are critical to keeping America safe.”

“We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone,””The State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.”

The letter was signed by some of the most prominent U.S. military officers to serve in recent decades, including retired General George Casey, former chief of staff of the U.S. Army; retired General David Petraeus, the former CIA director and commander of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, the former commander of U.S. Central Command; retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO; and retired General Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency.

Apparently, the Congress with Republican majority will refuse Trump’s budget since most of the Congressmen think its approval would weaken the security of the nation. However, American society will still be concerned until it happens due to Republicans‘ tendency for mind changes at the last moment. During the last presidential campaign, there were many republicans who said they would never vote for Trump, but in the end, they did.

For now, Congress will wait for Trump’s proposal and see if there is any modification. Even if it is finally modified, there is great concern that the increase in the defense budget will remain, which would mean a threat to the safety of American society. Regardless of the result, the most important point is that Trump will not have the last word.

 

 

Stephen Bannon: the Person Who Is Silently Changing the World

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, both the national and the international media have frequently focused on Trump’s plans to target immigration and dismantle the existing health-care and education systems. However, most of them have ignored the fact that the real author of these plans is not Trump, but his principal advisor, Stephen Bannon, who is a despicable and intelligent person, and refuses any sort of prominence to focus on his work without raising suspicions.

Bannon demonstrated his intelligence and influence during the last presidential election when he was the person most responsible (a campaign chief) for planning Trump’s campaign that eventually led his victory. Bannon was also the person who recommended that Trump use fierce rhetoric against immigration, the media, and the establishment. Without his presence there Trump would not have been elected President.

As if that were not enough, Bannon was recently selected by Trump to be on the National Security Council board. This group is responsible for advising President Trump regarding national security and foreign policy. Bannon’s presence there has raised increasing concerns among politicians and experts due to his lack of knowledge about security. Many think that he may try to mislead President Trump in order to achieve his personal goals. However, to better understand why experts and the international community have expresed concerns about Stephen Bannon, it is necessary to know his background.

Before working for Trump’s administration, Stephen Bannon was the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC. An American news outlet linked to controversies and the mass fabrication of stories, intended to demonise gays, Muslims, immigrants and liberals. In addition, under Bannon’s leadership, the site has promoted racism, and anti-Muslim ideas, and it has been accused of white nationalism. Bannon once said:

“I think strong countries and strong nationalist movements in countries make strong neighbours.“And that is really the building blocks that built Western Europe and the United States, and I think it’s what can see us forward.”

Breitbart has published dozens of stories accusing U.S. Muslims of sympathising with terrorism.The site has also mocked LGBTQ people, feminists and women, and has also denied the existence of climate change, insisted that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin was an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, and served as a propaganda arm for the Trump campaign.

Controversial BreitBart’s News Headlines:

‘The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off’

http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/07/05/solution-online-harassment-simple-women-log-off/

‘Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew’

http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/05/15/bill-kristol-republican-spoiler-renegade-jew/

‘Trannies whine about hilarious Bruce Jenner billboard’

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/04/trannies-whine-hilarious-bruce-jenner-billboard/

‘Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy’

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2015/12/08/birth-control-makes-women-unattractive-and-crazy/

‘Suck it up buttercups: Dangerous Faggot Tour returns to colleges in September’

http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/07/06/milo-yiannopoulos-dangerous-faggot-tour-returns-campuses-fall/

‘Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?’

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/02/19/would-you-rather-your-child-had-feminism-or-cancer/

‘Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet’

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/17/gay-rights-have-made-us-dumber-its-time-to-get-back-in-the-closet/ 

Bannon has also promoted anti-Semitic conspiracies about globalist cabal of bankers.“We call ourselves ‘the Fight Club.’ You don’t come to us for warm and fuzzy,” said Bannon.

Banon has also expressed his concerns that the United States and the: “Judeo-Christian West” are in a war against an expansionist Islamic ideology. Speaking about Breitbart, Bannon has said:

“We’re the platform for the alt-right.” According to NPR, “The views of the alt-right are widely seen as anti-Semitic and white supremacist.”

Aside from his work as the executive chairman of Breitbart, Bannon has had a disturbing past. He is considered a supremacist who advocates for Alt-Right organisations from all over the world. Probably the most worrying thing is that Bannon has never hidden his global fascist vision and, according to his inner circles, he still praises those who led fascism in European countries such as Germany or Italy during the WWII.

Bannon’s ties with European fascism go further. During UK referendum on the European Union in 2016, Bannon used Breitbart’s propaganda machinery to advocate for Brexit while simultaneously praising Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP (an anti-immigration political party) at the moment. However, his contact with emergent European Alt-Right political leaders did not finish there. Since the Brexit decision, Bannon has increased his contacts with other leaders such as Marine Le Pen (France) and Geert Wilders (the Netherlands), according to several European sources whose name cannot be revealed for security issues. Bannon and Marine Le Pen have met several times to discuss the potential creation of an international coalition to change the world if Le Pen wins the French elections.

Given that Le Pen has a good chance to win the French elections, she has become a global threat. Bannon, who is no longer the executive chairman at Breitbart’s news, has ordered them to initiate a propaganda campaign to weaken her opponents. In addition, Marine Le Pen has confirmed that she will imitate Trump’s Presidential campaign strategy. It is clear that Bannon is not limiting himself to setting up an authoritarian system in the U.S.; his vision goes [much] further. Apparently, he will not stop until such a system is created, or until his ideas and policies are spread worldwide.

A year ago, it was unthinkable that someone with Trump’s characteristics could be elected the president of the U.S., but Bannon‘s hidden efforts helped him get elected in the end. Bannon knew that there were millions of Americans disenchanted with the existing system, and he knew how to exploit it. He also knew that Sanders did not have much chance to win, which made Trump’s election possible.

While much of the American and the international media will continue to undervalue Bannon’s real influence, he will continue working quietly behind scenes, like a termite, slowly but unceasingly planning to plan his next move to achieve his life’s goal; a world governed by authoritarians united to spread fear, and to target, and persecute those who act and think differently.

By Josep.

President Trump and the Freedom of the Press

“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics…derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.”– Benjamin Franklin                     

Over the last two years, President Trump has maintained a brutal rhetoric full of hatred against the U.S. media. However, he had never crossed the red line until last Friday, when he decided to call the US media: “the real enemies of the American people.” This was rapidly perceived as an attempt to deepen the existing division and limit the freedom of the press in America. Despite the fact that President Trump had frequently attacked the media for years, it was the first time that he publicly used bellicose rhetoric to do so. The Republican Senator John McCain said in an interview:

“I hate the press. I hate you especially,” McCain told NBC journalist Chuck Todd, who laughed.”The fact is, we need you.” Without a free media, “I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time,”

“I’m very serious now, if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” he continued. “Without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”

“When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” he said.”And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”John McCain was not the only senator to respond Trump’s statement.

On Saturday, Bernie Sanders said:

“According to Trump, if you want the truth, ignore everything except what he is saying. That’s what totalitarianism is all about.”

Aside from Bernie Sanders and John McCain, many other senators and millions of citizens have expressed their worries about what could be the first step to suppress the freedom of the press and the beginning of a drift towards authoritarianism in the U.S.The protection of the freedom of the press is one of the unique provisions in the Bill of Rights because it protects the freedom of an institution as well as that of individuals.Thomas Jefferson recognised that principle when he wrote to John Jay in 1786. Jefferson said:

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”

About one year later, Jefferson made his most famous pronouncement on the subject of freedom of the press when he wrote these words to Edward Carrington:

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Over the course of history, many nations and political organisations have utilised Trump’s strategy to criminalise the media in order to deploy a press and propaganda censorship to manipulate the public. It allows authoritarian leaders to falsify information that citizens receive. In the absence of neutral and objective information, people are unable to dissent with the political party in charge. It is also extended to the systematic suppression of views that are contrary to those of the government in power.

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”– Adolf Hitler

Freedom of the press is essential to guarantee a healthy democracy, even if we sometimes disagree with some of the media’s news stories. Instead, the crushing of unique ideas is always bad and usually generates a high level of intolerance in a country. Diversity and open-mindedness are effective tools to avoid totalitarianism and develop critical thinking in a society. People should also learn from past mistakes, and remember that it is so easy to create a new authoritarian government, and once it is created, it becomes almost impossible to reverse it again.

For now, no one can argue that President Trump is a dictator because there is still some counterbalance, but no one should deny the fact that he is taking steps in such a direction. Unless someone stops him from limiting the freedom of the press, he may soon use it to deploy an authoritarian system to gain power and increase his manipulative capacity to mislead citizens.

Numerous republican and democratic senators have shown their willingness to take further actions to protect the freedom of the press if needed. However, Trump already counts on the support of his loyal entourage led by Bannon and millions of citizens who blindly believe him. A good example of the blindness of Trump’s supporters happened a few days ago, when during one of his meetings, Trump fabricated a story in order to mislead the public. He suggested that there had been a terrorist attack in Sweden. Despite the fact that it was quickly refuted by the Swedish government, most of Trump’s supporters believed it and still think it was real. 

Over the last few months, Trump’s supporters have been radicalised. If it is not halted, they will soon be willing to defend President Trump (including using armed force) regardless of any circumstance. This could prevent senators to take further action (including impeachment) against the President if he ever decides to limit the freedom of the press, since they would fear harsh reaction and conflict. Due to these circumstances, Americans will now have the responsibility for leading the opposition to Trump’s actions of bigotry.

Obsolete political parties such as the Democratic party will be resigned to a second position without any influential power to change the existing situation. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, and despite performances, the Democratic Party tends to betray their own words, as well as the millions of citizens who thought they could change the system for the better by voting for them. So the question now is: what will happen? Will American citizens allow President Trump to deploy an authoritarian system, which could potentially abolish people’s rights? Will they allow the Democratic Party to be led by Clinton or her entourage to do so instead? Or will they take other sorts of actions this time to really protect their rights and pursue more freedom? Whatever the decision will be, the most important thing is that citizens will have the last word, whether they know it or not. Every day that Trump is in office and allowed to manipulate American citizens, is another day that the authoritarian regime moves closer.



 

 

 


Saudi Arabia’s Violations of Human Rights Supported by Trump’s Administration

For years, Saudi Arabia has had the honour to be one of the principal violators of human rights in the world. Regardless of its efforts to hide it from the international community, numerous local human rights organisations have regularly exposed the abuses perpetrated by the regime. In response, the Saudi government has banned all international human rights organisations from entering Saudi Arabia. As numerous organisations have suggested, the primary problem remains in the system and the interpretation of the Sharia (Islamic law).

Saudi Arabia uses Sharia (Islamic law) as its domestic legislation. There is no a formal penal code; the criminal justice court derives its interpretation from an extreme version of Sharia. In most of cases, detainees do not have a fair trial and are not allowed to meet with a lawyer during their interrogations. Further, the authorities do not usually inform them about their charges until the trial has already started and their lawyers are never allowed to interview witnesses or even present evidence during the trial. Judges usually sentence detainees to flogging, with hundreds of lashes. Children can also be judged as adults if there are signs of puberty. Saudi authorities detain suspects for months, or even years, without judicial review or prosecution. Here are some cases of extreme abuses and detentions in recent years:

1.Raif Badawi.

download-1

Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 for insulting Islam through electronic channels.When Badawi was arrested, he was running a liberal blog advocating for human rights in Saudi Arabia. He used his blog to expose the violations of human rights committed by the Saudi government. In 2013, Badawi was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, but in 2014, he was resentenced to 1000 lashes and ten years in jail plus a fine. Badawi is currently in prison in precarious health; according to his wife he could soon die if he is not released.

2. Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr.

story_647_092615070913-1

Ali Al-Nimr was just 17 years old when he was sentenced to death by crucifixion in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprising. He was accused of participation in an illegal demonstration and as well as a large number of other offences. Like most of the human rights defenders detained in Saudi Arabia, Al-Nimr was tortured and forced to sign a criminal confession. He is currently in prison awaiting his crucifixion which could happen at any time without notice.

3.Essam Koshak.

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On January 8, 2017, the human rights defender Koshak was summoned for interrogation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Mecca and was immediately detained. Koshak was interrogated about his Twitter account, where he frequently exposed the violations of human rights committed by the Saudi regime. Like other detainees, he was not allowed to meet with a lawyer during his interrogation. Koshak is currently detained while awaiting his trial.

4.Dawood Al-Marhoon.

2015_10_29_pub-dawood-al-marhoon

On May 22, 2012, at the age of 17, Dawood Al-Marhoon was arrested for allegedly participating in peaceful anti-government protests during the Arab Spring. During his detention, Dawood was tortured and forced to sign a false confession. On October 21, 2014, the criminal court sentenced him to death by beheading. Dawood is currently awaiting his execution while being tortured on a regular basis. He could be executed at any time without previous notice.

These three cases represent a sample from the hundreds of human rights defenders who have been unfairly detained and killed in recent years by the Saudi government. Last year, Saudi Arabia executed 150 persons between January and mid-November, mostly for murder and terrorism-related offences. However, among these executions, there were 22 for non-violent drug crimes, including human rights defenders. In Saudi Arabia, most executions are carried out by beheading, sometimes in public. Aside from the illegal detention and execution of human rights defenders, the Saudi regime also commits other sorts of violations of human rights.

In 2016, while holding an illegal blockade in Yemen, the Saudi government authorised 58 unlawful airstrikes, killing 800 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques. Because of the Saudi blockade, an estimated 14.4 million Yemenis were unable to meet their food needs, according to the United Nations.

In Saudi Arabia women are denigrated, they must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel, to marry, to exit prison, or to get access to health care. They also need a male relative to do transactions, such as filing legal claims or renting an apartment. Most of the schools do not offer physical education for women, and until recent times women were not allowed to participate in national competitions. The labour situation for women is not better. They face a range of abuses including being overworked, non-payment of wages, food deprivation, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Women who attempt to report employer abuses sometimes face prosecution based on counterclaims of theft, “black magic,” or “sorcery.” 

Despite numerous investigations concluding that in 2015/2016 the Saudi Regime was the principal violator of human rights in the world, on Nov. 21, 2016, the United Nations elected Saudi Arabia, represented by Abdulaziz, to a 3-year term on its Human Rights Council.

As mentioned earlier, Trump’s administration has decided to continue collaborating with the Saudi regime by doing some business and providing them weapons. It is clear that if Trump wants to eradicate Islamic terrorism and advocate for human rights, he should stop collaborating with Saudi Arabia and apply high standards to himself.

Unfortunately, Trump has not been the only U.S. president who has collaborated with the Saudi regime. Under Obama’s presidency, the U.S. provided Saudi Arabia weapons and intelligence support during the illegal Saudi military operations in Yemen. In August, the US government approved a US$1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, despite significant opposition from members of Congress, who were concerned about Saudi conduct in Yemen.

While countries like the U.S. collaborate with the Saudi regime, it will continue violating human rights, executing innocents and boosting Islamic terrorism. The only way to change the Saudi system is by uniting the international community to push the kingdom to reform its system and guarantee basic rights to its citizens. Until then, Trump has lost his legitimacy as a president since he has already violated his promise to cut off ties with Arabia Saudi.

In the near future, we will see whether the Saudi government will reform its system. Though there is not much hope, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.The destiny of millions of people are in the hands of the international community led by the U.S. Hopefully, Trump will soon realize his huge mistake and will halt his collaboration with Saudi Arabia. It could then be the beginning of the new dawn where human rights are respected.