The Trudeau government has been campaigning aggressively for a seat on the Security Council, but its bid to win a place on the United Nations’ most powerful decision-making body later this month will be hampered by Canada’s decidedly anti-Palestinian voting record.
Despite claiming to support the “international rules based order,” the Trudeau government has voted against more than 50 resolutions upholding Palestinian rights. The extent to which the Liberals have mimicked the Stephen Harper Conservative’s position regarding General Assembly resolutions, which are little more than symbolic acts of solidarity with the long-beleaguered Palestinians, highlights the power of the Israeli lobby in Canada.
Together the United Jewish Appeal/Combined Jewish Appeal of Toronto, Montréal, Winnipeg, Windsor, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Vancouver and Atlantic Canada raise over $100 million annually and have about $1 billion in assets. For half a century UJA Toronto has organized an annual Walk with Israel and the Montréal branch organizes an annual Israel Day march. Many thousands march each year. The lobbying arm of the UJA/CJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has over 40 staff and a $10 million budget. In addition, B’nai B’rith has a handful of offices across the country. For its part, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Canada’s budget is $7 to 10 million annually.
President Trump’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis has taken umbrage with the current Secretary of Defense’s use of the term “battlespace” referring to a federal security crackdown to recent protest-inspired violence on U.S. city streets. And that’s not all.
“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens – much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
He referred to reports yesterday that peaceful protesters around the White House – as well as media and Episcopal clergy – were forcibly removed with pepper balls, flash bangs and the aggressive use of plastic shields from the area to make way for the president’s photo op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. The county government of nearby Arlington, Virginia, was so incensed by the spectacle that they removed all of their police officers from the city by 8 p.m. that night.
The federal charge of “interfering with certain protective functions” levied against four members of the Embassy Protection Collective was formally dropped today in a hearing before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell in US District Court. The four defendants are Adrienne Pine, David Paul, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. They were arrested on May 16 2019 when federal police raided the Venezuelan Embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention, which requires host countries to protect embassies and restricts them from entering without permission from the sovereign government.
Judge Howell sentenced the Embassy Protective Collective to no jail time. After a jury refused to convict them in early February, resulting in a mistrial, the prosecutors offered to drop the federal charge and substitute one of most minor local misdemeanor charges in the DC Code, incommoding, basically causing a disturbance. The protectors were facing a potential year in jail and $100,000 fine each. They are now on six months of probation.
The four protectors were in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC for over a month last spring with the permission of the elected, constitutional government of Venezuela, which is recognized by the United Nations and over 130 countries. The United States was attempting to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan government. When that failed, it took the unprecedented step of recognizing the then-president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as president and handing Venezuela’s assets in the United States over to him. All of this violates international law.
The president ordered an attack on protesters to clear the way for a photo op last night, and he also threatened to deploy the military on American soil:
When Trump had returned safely to the White House less than an hour later, the verdict seemed clear: The president had staged an elaborate photo op, using a Bible awkwardly held aloft as a prop and a historic church that has long welcomed presidents and their families as a backdrop.
In the process, protesters had been tear gassed and attacked, and Trump had taken a raging conflagration and doused it with accelerant.
“We long ago lost sight of normal, but this was a singularly immoral act,” said Brendan Buck, a longtime former Hill aide who is now a Republican operative. “The president used force against American citizens, not to protect property, but to soothe his own insecurities. We will all move on to the next outrage, but this was a true abuse of power and should not be forgotten.”
There is nothing more cringe than a political photo op, but when the President of the United States sends his Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff out onto the streets during political protests it becomes a bit unnerving, too.
The stagecraft started Monday afternoon with the president leaving the White House grounds with the two aforementioned cabinet officials, along with Attorney General Bob Barr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and assorted White House staff, to the historic St. John’s Church, where he held up a bible. Demonstrators had set fire to the church and the basement had sustained damage the night before.
He finished the evening by addressing the nation, announcing he would be deploying federal troops “to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property,” he said. “We will end it now.” He said the military would exert “total domination” over the situation. Again, flash bangs could be heard and smell of tear gas in the air as protesters were dispersed just before the D.C. curfew.
The National Guard and Louisville PD broke up a gathering for violating curfew around 12:15 AM on June 1st. They opened fire on the crowd and killed local business owner David McAtee.
McAtee was loved by his community, ran a BBQ restaurant, and even fed local police for free. His sister told reporters the gathering was not related to the protests that caused the city to enact a curfew.