Trump in his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly had called North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un a “rocket man on a suicide mission,” adding that the United States will totally destroy the country if it fails to stop its nuclear programme.
Loud murmurs filled the green-marbled U.N. General Assembly hall when Trump issued his sternest warning yet to North Korea, whose ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests had rattled the globe.
Unless North Korea backs down, he said, “We will have no choice than to totally destroy North Korea.”
“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” he said.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks.
A junior North Korean diplomat remained in the delegation’s front-row seat for Trump’s speech, the North Korean U.N. mission said.
In his first appearance at the annual gathering of world leaders, the president used a 41-minute speech to take aim also at Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional influence, Venezuela’s collapsing democracy and the threat of Islamist extremists.
He also criticised the Cuban government.
But his strongest words were directed at North Korea. He urged United Nations member states to work together to isolate the Kim government until it ceases its “hostile” behaviour.
He said North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles “threatens the entire world with unthinkable cost of human life.”
In what may have been a veiled prod at China, the North’s major trading partner, Trump said: “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.”
Turning to Iran, Trump called the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, was an embarrassment and hinted that he may not recertify the agreement when it comes up for a mid-October deadline.
“I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it,” he said.
He called Iran an “economically depleted rogue state” that exports violence.
The speech marked his latest attempt to lay out his America First vision for a U.S. foreign policy aimed at downgrading global bureaucracies, basing alliances on shared interests, and steering Washington away from nation-building exercises abroad.
Trump, who entered the White House eight months ago, told world leaders at the 193-member global body that the United States does not seek to impose its will on other nations and will respect other countries’ sovereignty.
“I will defend America’s interests above all else,” he said. “But in fulfilling our obligations to other nations we also realize it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.” (NAN)
What is it about former US President Barack Obama’s record-setting tweet – it has already surpassed 1.6 million retweets and 4.5 million “likes” – that has captured the imagination of the world?
In the tweet Obama quoted Nelson Mandela:
No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Judging by the replies and comments, the tweet seems to have offered some respite to the rapid depletion in social morale in the US after the recent Charlottesville violence. White supremacists gathered in the Virginia town for a “Unite the Right” rally on August 12 to protest against plans to remove the statue of the Confederacy general, Robert E Lee. The violent extremists chanted racist and pro-Nazi slogans.
One of them, James Fields (20), allegedly rammed a car into anti-fascist demonstrators, killing activist, Heather Heyer (32).
Then came the current US President Donald Trump’s press statement that effectively legitimised the racism as perpetuated by the rightwingers:
We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.
Why did the Mandela words resonate now?
Obama’s stroke of genius
Amid incredulous scenes of flagrant neo-Nazism – incredulous, that is, in an era of progressive human rights – and the inevitable and necessary protest against the rally, the words of Nelson Mandela resounded with a gentle wisdom and a kindly warning.
It was not so much a case of Obama simply not being able to find the correct words to respond to such a loathsome occurrence. After all it’s not uncommon to use someone else’s words or sentiment to make a statement on social media. I too have done this on occasion.
In this instance, however, the use of Mandela’s words was calculated. Strategically speaking, it was a stroke of genius.
Articulating the poignant message as a “direct quote” tweet enabled Obama to pass on a discreet message saturated with meaning because of its content and because it was attributed to its originator.
But, as we have seen on Obama’s timeline, the direct-quote tweet was given added meaning because of who had sent it, and its timing.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation sent out the same quote as a tweet on 29 July. But it enjoyed just over 1,100 “likes”, 18 replies and 737 retweets. While this is obviously related to the number of followers, the point is that the overwhelming global resonance with the quote via Obama’s twitter timeline, is not simply because of its content, as profound as it is.
In this case, Obama may have chosen these words precisely because they offered some distance from the political space in America. Had he tweeted a strong and powerful message in his own name or using his own words – which he is clearly skilled at doing – the message may have been regarded as merely playing the opposition card, or indeed, more likely, the race card. Either of these two imaginary readings would inevitably have been shut down either by political loyalists or increasingly courageous racists.
By using Mandela’s quote as a response to Charlottesville, Obama maintained a sophisticated balancing act, while offering a few poignant messages of his own:
America is at risk of legitimising racial hatred in much the same way as South Africa did during apartheid;
Far-right conservative politics erodes the natural inclination of the human condition towards compassion; and
Trump’s views represent irresponsible leadership, and are a veritable seedbed for social hostility.
Perhaps that is why the echoed words of Mandela caused such an outpouring of support and resonance among twitterati. It said what progressively-minded individuals wanted to say, but simply couldn’t find the words.
I think the tweet raises another interesting sociological point about moral authority. In a context in which there is such a deflation of morale – such as the violence in Charlottesville and the blatantly irresponsible responses from Trump – any sound-minded progressive individual might hope, or even pray, for some kind of voice of reason.
Under normal circumstances, and especially in a predominantly Christian society such as the US, this voice of reason may be found in the Bible. But the right wing rally-goers had traded its life force for a narrative of exclusion that supported their bigotry. Invoking the words of the venerated icon Mandela, then, offered the necessary kind of gravitas or moral weight.
I can’t help but consider how Mandela’s legacy continues to offer respite to the world, though sometimes in quite different ways. In one case, it is Obama’s political wisdom that prompts him to use the words of Mandela to balance out rising social discontent, and to challenge racial hatred.
In another case, just under our noses, the African National Congress (ANC) with its increasingly dishonourable political leadership, invokes Mandela’s legacy to balance out rising social discontent about its own moral bankruptcy. Perhaps Mandela too, is, tragically, a man for all seasons.
Author: Caryn Abrahams: Senior lecturer, School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand
A 40-year-old male nurse, Niels Hoegel, who was jailed for life two years ago for killing two hospital patients with lethal drug overdoses, has murdered at least 90 patients in total.
The police said it’s possible he has killed over 180 patients and described the situation as post-war Germany’s worst killing spree.
Hoegel, a nurse at Delmenhorst hospital, Bremen, Germany, was jailed in February 2015 for two murders and four counts of attempted murder or causing bodily harm on intensive-care patients.
Police said Monday that forensics experts had since exhumed and analyzed more than 130 additional bodies and had found evidence of a vastly higher death toll at two hospitals where Hoegel had worked between 1999 and 2005.
A police chief in the city, Johann Kuehme, said, “The insights we were able to gain are terrifying, they surpass what we could have imagined.”
Also, chief police investigator, Arne Schmidt, said, “The death toll is unique in the history of the German republics,” adding that Hoegel killed “without a discernible pattern and preyed especially on those in critical condition.”
Schmidt told a press conference that “there was evidence for at least 90 murders, and at least as many (suspected) cases again that can no longer be proven,” declaring himself “speechless” at the outcome.
However, the suspect has admitted to injecting patients with drugs that can cause heart failure or circulatory collapse so he could then try to revive them and, when successful, shine as a savior before his medical peers.
He earlier testified that at times he acted out of “boredom,” that he felt euphoric when he managed to bring a patient back to life, and devastated when he failed.
Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites has asked the United States not to sell military hardware to Nigeria.
A letter signed by head of the Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdulrahaman Abubakar, cited the human rights record of Nigerian military as the reason for its “vehement objection to the proposed sale of weapons and military hardware”.
The petition pointed out that “the military’s human rights record in Nigeria is utterly dismal and the Nigerian government’s commitment to the rule of law is even worse off.”
IMN drew the attention of the US government to incessant refusal of the government to acknowledge excesses of the military in handling civilian matters, but even tries to justify them.
They cited the “the blatant murder of 34 unarmed civilians in Zaria in 2014, including the children of Sheikh Zakzaky, without the government doing anything about it.
“As if it was not grievous enough, the murderous soldiers returned in December, 2015 with an even more brutal force, resulting in the death of over a thousand innocent citizens. The initial response of the government to this callous disregard for human lives was to say, it was a military affair.”
IMN lamented that government also captured its leader and his wife “after shooting them at point blank range, treated them in the most humiliating and denigrating manner before hauling them incommunicado detention without charges for 20 months.
“Even after a Nigerian High Court had ruled that the detention is unconstitutional and ordered their release, the government has continued to contemptuously defy the order.”
Shiites aside its call for complete arms embargo to be placed on the Nigerian military, travel bans should be imposed on senior military and political leaders in Nigeria.
“This should be done until a genuine commitment to the principles of rule of law, justice, fair play and human rights can be demonstrated beyond rhetoric and half-hearted measures by the government,” IMN added.
US: A NIGERIAN, who arrived US as a visitor and refused to return at the end of the visa period granted him, has been arrested for allegedly committing wire fraud and identity theft totalling $596,897 (N220 million).
Going by the law, Daniel Adekunle Ojo, risks maximum of 20 years imprisonment over alleged conspiracy to commit wire fraud and at least two years for aggravated identity theft.
The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Deirdre M. Daly, said that the 33-year-old Ojo, who was residing in Durham, New Connecticut, was arrested “on a federal criminal complaint charging him with fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from a scheme to obtain the personal identifying information of school employees in Connecticut and elsewhere.”
Daly said that Ojo had appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Greensboro, N.C., and was ordered detained pending his transfer to the District of Connecticut.
She explained: “As alleged in the criminal complaint, special agents from the FBI’s cybercrime squad in New Haven and the IRS have been investigating “phishing” emails that were sent to various school districts in Connecticut earlier this year.
“In February 2017, an employee of the Glastonbury Public Schools received an email that appeared to be sent by another Glastonbury school system employee. The email contained a request to send W-2 tax information for all employees of the school system.
“The recipient of the email responded by sending copies of the W-2 information for approximately 1,600 Glastonbury Public Schools employees. After the W-2 information was emailed, approximately 122 suspicious Forms 1040 were filed electronically with the IRS in the names of victims of the Glastonbury phishing scheme.
“The 122 tax returns claimed tax refunds totaling $596,897. Approximately six of the returns were processed, and $36,926 in fraudulently-obtained funds were electronically deposited into various bank accounts.”
Daly further said: “The complaint alleges that OJO controlled or used an aol.com email account and a gmail.com email account involved in this phishing scheme, and that he participated in the scheme to obtain the Glastonbury school system employees’ personal identifying information and use it for personal gain.
“This ongoing investigation also includes phishing incidents that victimized the Groton Public Schools, and the Bloomington Independent School District in Bloomington, Minnesota.
“As to the Groton Public Schools, in March 2017, a school system employee emailed copies of the W-2 information for approximately 1,300 employees. After the W-2 information was sent, approximately 66 suspicious Forms 1040 were filed electronically with the IRS in the names of victims of the Groton phishing scheme.
“The tax returns claimed tax refunds totaling $364,188. The fraudulent tax returns were not processed by the IRS because they were flagged as being part of an identity theft scheme, and no money was released in connection with the returns.
“The complaint alleges that OJO entered the U.S. on a visitor’s visa in May 23, 2016, and failed to depart on his scheduled departure date of June 8, 2016.”
“Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly cunning in exploiting technology to steal identifying information from unwitting victims,” U.S. said adding: “Fortunately, our cyber investigators are skilled at cracking these crimes and catching these fraudsters.”
“To help avoid becoming a victim, always remember when you click on a link or send an email, check – and then double check – that the link you’re being asked to open, or the email address you are responding to, is authentic. A single mistake can lead to a lot of misery. I commend the FBI cybercrime squad and IRS for quickly bringing this individual to justice. This investigation is ongoing,” she stressed.
GatewayMail gathered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Durham (N.C.) Police Department are still investigating the matter.
Following the war of words between US President, Donald Trump and North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang on Saturday announced that nearly 3.5 million workers, party members and soldiers have volunteered to join or rejoin its army to fight against America.
Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official newspaper, said the volunteers had offered to join or rejoin the People’s Army after the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) issued a statement condemning new sanctions imposed by the UN in retaliation for North Korean missile tests.
In August 2015, one million North Koreans offered to enlist or re-enlist in the army when a mine exploded in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, raising additional tensions.
nwhile, Trump, has said the US military is “locked and loaded” and ready to deal with any North Korean threat.
He tweeted: ”Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”, Trump wrote.
North Korea had on Wednesday said it is “carefully examining” a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam with missiles.
A spokesman for the Korean People’s Army said the strike plan will be “put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment” once leader Kim Jong-un makes a decision.
The only sounds were those of muffled drums, the shuffling of feet and the gentle sobs of some of the estimated 20,000 onlookers. The women and children wore all white. The men dressed in black.
On the afternoon of Saturday, July 28, 1917, nearly 10,000 African-Americans marched down Fifth Avenue, in silence, to protest racial violence and white supremacy in the United States.
New York City, and the nation, had never before witnessed such a remarkable scene.
The “Silent Protest Parade,” as it came to be known, was the first mass African-American demonstration of its kind and marked a watershed moment in the history of the civil rights movement. As I have written in my book “Torchbearers of Democracy,” African-Americans during the World War I era challenged racism both abroad and at home. In taking to the streets to dramatize the brutal treatment of black people, the participants of the “Silent Protest Parade” indicted the United States as an unjust nation.
This charge remains true today.
One hundred years later, as black people continue to insist that “Black Lives Matter,” the “Silent Protest Parade” offers a vivid reminder about the power of courageous leadership, grassroots mobilization, direct action and their collective necessity in the fight to end racial oppression in our current troubled times.
Racial violence and the East St. Louis Riot
One of the great accomplishments of the Black Lives Matter movement has been to demonstrate the continuum of racist violence against black people throughout American history and also the history of resistance against it. But as we continue to grapple with the hyper-visibility of black death, it is perhaps easy to forget just how truly horrific racial violence against black people was a century ago.
Prior to the “Silent Protest Parade,” mob violence and the lynching of African-Americans had grown even more gruesome. In Waco, a mob of 10,000 white Texans attended the May 15, 1916, lynching of a black farmer, Jesse Washington. One year later, on May 22, 1917, a black woodcutter, Ell Persons, died at the hands of over 5,000 vengeance-seeking whites in Memphis. Both men were burned and mutilated, their charred body parts distributed and displayed as souvenirs.
Even by these grisly standards, East St. Louis later that same summer was shocking. Simmering labor tensions between white and black workers exploded on the evening of July 2, 1917.
For 24 hours, white mobs indiscriminately stabbed, shot and lynched anyone with black skin. Men, women, children, the elderly, the disabled – no one was spared. Homes were torched and occupants shot down as they attempted to flee. White militia men stood idly by as the carnage unfolded. Some actively participated. The death toll likely ran as high as 200 people.
The city’s surviving 6,000 black residents became refugees.
The devastation of East St. Louis was compounded by the fact that America was at war. On April 2, President Woodrow Wilson had thrown the United States into the maelstrom of World War I. He did so by asserting America’s singularly unique place on the global stage and his goal to make the world “safe for democracy.” In the eyes of black people, East St. Louis exposed the hypocrisy of Wilson’s vision and America itself.
The NAACP takes action
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People quickly responded to the massacre. Founded in 1909, the NAACP had yet to establish itself as a truly representative organization for African-Americans across the country. With the exception of W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the NAACP’s co-founders and editor of The Crisis magazine, the national leadership was all white. Branches were overwhelmingly located in the North, despite the majority of African-Americans residing below the Mason-Dixon line. As a result, the NAACP had largely failed to respond with a sense of urgency to the everyday horrors endured by the masses of black folk.
James Weldon Johnson changed things. Lawyer, diplomat, novelist, poet and songwriter, Johnson was a true African-American renaissance man. In 1916, Johnson joined the NAACP as a field secretary and made an immediate impact. In addition to growing the organization’s southern membership, Johnson recognized the importance of expanding the influence of the NAACP’s existing branches beyond the black elite.
Johnson raised the idea of a silent protest march at an executive committee meeting of the NAACP Harlem branch shortly after the East St. Louis riot. Johnson also insisted that the protest include the city’s entire black community. Planning quickly got underway, spearheaded by Johnson and local black clergymen.
A historic day
By noon on July 28, several thousand African-Americans had begun to assemble at 59th Street. Crowds gathered along Fifth Avenue. Anxious New York City police officers lined the streets, aware of what was about to take place but, with clubs at the ready, prepared for trouble.
At approximately 1 p.m., the protest parade commenced. Four men carrying drums began to slowly, solemnly play. A group of black clergymen and NAACP officials made up the front line. W.E.B. Du Bois, who had recently returned from conducting an NAACP investigation in East St. Louis, and James Weldon Johnson marched side by side.
The parade was a stunning spectacle. At the front, women and children wearing all-white gowns symbolized the innocence of African-Americans in the face of the nation’s guilt. The men, bringing up the rear and dressed in dark suits, conveyed both a mournful dignity and stern determination to stand up for their rights as citizens.
They carried signs and banners shaming America for its treatment of black people. Some read, “Your hands are full of blood,” “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” “Mothers, do lynchers go to heaven?” Others highlighted the wartime context and the hollowness of America’s ideals: “We have fought for the liberty of white Americans in six wars; our reward was East St. Louis,” “Patriotism and loyalty presuppose protection and liberty,” “Make America safe for Democracy.”
Throughout the parade, the marchers remained silent. The New York Times described the protest as “one of the most quiet and orderly demonstrations ever witnessed.” The silence was finally broken with cheers when the parade concluded at Madison Square.
Legacy of the Silent Protest Parade
The “Silent Protest Parade” marked the beginning of a new epoch in the long black freedom struggle. While adhering to a certain politics of respectability, a strategy employed by African-Americans that focused on countering racist stereotypes through dignified appearance and behavior, the protest, within its context, constituted a radical claiming of the public sphere and a powerful affirmation of black humanity. It declared that a “New Negro” had arrived and launched a black public protest tradition that would be seen in the parades of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s and the Black Lives Matter marches of today.
The “Silent Protest Parade” reminds us that the fight against racist violence and the killing of black people remains just as relevant now as it did 100 years ago. Black death, whether at the hands of a Baton Rouge police officer or white supremacist in Charleston, is a specter that continues to haunt this nation. The expendability of black bodies is American tradition, and history speaks to the long endurance of this violent legacy.
But history also offers inspiration, purpose and vision.
Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson and other freedom fighters of their generation should serve as models for activists today. That the “Silent Protest Parade” attracted black people from all walks of life and backgrounds attests to the need for organizations like the NAACP, following its recent national convention, to remember and embrace its origins. And, in building and sustaining the current movement, we can take lessons from past struggles and work strategically and creatively to apply them to the present.
Because, at their core, the demands of black people in 2017 remain the same as one of the signs raised to the sky on that July afternoon in 1917:
“Give me a chance to live."
Author: Chad Williams: Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University