Posts Tagged ‘white supremacist’

Murdoch son donates $1 million to anti-hate crime group in Trump rebuke

August 18, 2017

AFP

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, criticized Donald Trump’s response to recent violence in Virginia and pledged $1 million to countering hate

NEW YORK (AFP) – James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox whose father Rupert has been a Donald Trump ally, criticized the US president’s response to recent violence in Virginia and pledged to donate $1 million to countering hate.The unusual political intervention from an executive who has cultivated a more low-key persona than his father, was notable, coming from the top echelons of a media empire that includes Fox News.

Trump is said to assiduously watch the news network, whose viewers include many of his staunchest supporters.

The US president has come under blistering attack across the political spectrum for saying anti-racism protestors deserved equal blame for violence at a neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally that left one woman dead last Saturday.

Nineteen other people were injured when a suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at the rally in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

In an email addressed to “friends,” a copy of which has been seen by AFP, Murdoch said he had been moved to act “as a concerned citizen and a father.”

“What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the president of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,” wrote Murdoch.

“The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob,” he said.

“I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.”

Murdoch said he and his wife Kathryn were donating $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, which calls itself the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism, and which also counters hate crimes and threats to democracy.

The ADL is an “extraordinary force for vigilance and strength in the face of bigotry,” Murdoch wrote, calling on recipients of the email to donate as well.

Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon and Fox News founder, has repeatedly urged Trump to sack his far-right chief strategist Steve Bannon, The New York Times reported this week.

Criticism grows over Netanyahu’s response to US neo-Nazism

August 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Mike Smith | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly praised US President Donald Trump but had a testy relationship with his predecessor Barack Obama

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Criticism grew Thursday over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s limited response to a US white supremacist rally and President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about it, with calls for him to speak out against anti-Semitism.The issue highlighted Netanyahu’s reluctance to be seen as criticising Trump, who has expressed strong support for Israel and whose rise to the presidency was welcomed by the Israeli premier, some analysts said.

Netanyahu regularly speaks out against anti-Semitism in other countries, but the United States is Israel’s most important ally, providing it with more than $3 billion per year in defence aid and important diplomatic backing.

Netanyahu had a testy relationship with Barack Obama, a Democrat who often pressured him over Israeli settlement building, but he has repeatedly praised Republican Trump.

So far, Netanyahu’s only response to the weekend white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that ended in bloodshed was a tweet on Tuesday that many saw as vague.

“Outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred,” Netanyahu posted in English.

A Facebook post by Netanyahu’s son Yair further raised eyebrows.

He denounced “neo-Nazi scum,” but added that they were “dying out” and seemed to suggest left-wing counter-protesters “who hate my country” were a growing threat.

Criticism of Netanyahu among opposition politicians and others has grown louder over the last couple of days, particularly after Trump’s comments on Tuesday in which he said there was “blame on both sides.”

Perhaps the harshest criticism came from Shelly Yachimovich, a parliament member and former leader of the opposition Labour party.

“?And you, the prime minister of the Jewish people in their land, the man who constantly warns us about a Holocaust, with excessive portions of fear and bombast and promises of ‘never again,’ what about you?” she wrote on Facebook.

“Was it too trivial, an anti-Semitic march in Charlottesville with Third Reich memorabilia?”

Former prime minister Ehud Barak, also from Labour, said “an Israeli leader should have said within six hours our position as Jews, as Israelis, as brothers of a large community, the American Jewish community, including in Charlottesville, who live under threat.”

– ‘Aren’t two sides’ –

Others issued more forceful denunciations of the rally than Netanyahu, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Opposition member Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, pointedly said in reference to Trump’s comments that “there aren’t two sides.”

Israeli papers devoted front-page coverage to Trump’s comments on Thursday, with top-selling paper Yedioth Ahronoth running a photo of him and the headline “shame.”

Some commentators however pointed out that freesheet Israel Hayom, owned by Netanyahu and Trump backer Sheldon Adelson, buried the story deep inside the paper.

A spokesman for Netanyahu declined to comment on Thursday.

After Netanyahu’s post on Tuesday, an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity that “the tweet is unequivocal and states his revulsion at the scenes of bigotry that the world has witnessed.”

But for some, it has not been nearly enough.

Gideon Rahat of the Israel Democracy Institute think tank said the Israeli government should be expected to respond to such events as a state founded as a “safe haven” for Jews.

“You know we always have the Holocaust on our minds, so you take this and you see that Jews are attacked somewhere,” Rahat said.

But he said of Netanyahu that “I think that his concerns are his relationship with Trump.”

For Abraham Diskin, an emeritus political science professor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, Netanyahu has no choice but to be “cautious.”

“You have to choose your fights,” he said.

“You cannot fight on every issue. You cannot clash with someone who is that important to Israel on issues like that.”

Whether Netanyahu could see a wider political backlash at home over the issue is an open question.

For Rahat, denunciation of such anti-Semitism is part of the “consensus” in Israel and opposition figures “can clearly use it against” Netanyahu.

Diskin said however that he believed most Israelis would not focus on the issue for long.

“Altogether, I think the vast majority of people will not remember the issue a week from now,” he said.

by Mike Smith

Trump says US culture, history being ‘ripped apart’

August 17, 2017

AFP

© ProPublica/AFP/File / by Chris Lefkow | Workers load statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on a flatbed truck after they were removed from a public park in Baltimore, Maryland

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A defiant President Donald Trump shrugged off a barrage of bipartisan criticism on Thursday and said US culture and history were being “ripped apart” by the removal of Confederate statues.Trump waded back into the charged racial debate over monuments to the pro-slavery South with a volley of tweets doubling down on his controversial remarks of the past few days.

Trump has come under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike for saying that anti-racism protestors deserved equal blame for violence last weekend at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 other people injured when a man suspected of being a white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Moves to remove statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy have gained momentum since the Charlottesville violence with monuments coming down in Baltimore and other cities.

Trump, echoing remarks he first made earlier this week, made it clear he opposed the campaign.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump said.

“You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” he said.

“Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” he said.

Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson were Confederate generals while George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were among the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Trump critics were quick to point out the difference.

“Dear @realDonaldTrump: Robert Lee and Stonewall Jackson are not the same as Washington and Jefferson. Can’t believe I had to write that sentence,” said Ted Lieu, a Democratic congressman from California.

– Trump hits critics, media –

Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, told The New York Times that he believed the president’s views were shared by many Americans.

“President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’ — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln? — connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions,” Bannon said.

“The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist,? Bannon said. “Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”

Trump on Thursday also lashed out at two leading Republican critics in the Senate and accused the media of distorting his views.

“The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is,” he said. “They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry. etc. Shame!”

On Monday Trump singled out the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as “repugnant,” but on Tuesday he said counter-protestors in Charlottesville had been “very violent” and equally responsible for the violence.

Trump’s weak condemnation of the racist far-right set off a political firestorm across the US political spectrum. World leaders also criticized Trump’s response.

Trump was forced to scrap two White House economic advisory councils on Wednesday as top businessmen began abandoning him to protest his stance on the racial debate.

The president took aim at two fellow Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona, in a series of tweets.

“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists… and people like Ms. Heyer,” Trump said.

Heather Heyer, 32, was the woman killed by the suspected white nationalist in Charlottesville.

Graham had said the US president “took a step backward” Tuesday “by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally” and people like Heyer.

Trump also blasted Flake, one of the few Republicans openly critical of the president, saying he was “WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate.”

“He’s toxic!” Trump tweeted.

Flake, who is running for re-election in Arizona, wrote Tuesday: “We can’t accept excuses for white supremacy & acts of domestic terrorism. We must condemn. Period.”

by Chris Lefkow

Top US general condemns racism after Charlottesville violence

August 17, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP | General Joseph Dunford joined top military figures who have spoken out against the violence in Charlottesville

BEIJING (AFP) – The United States’ top general condemned “racism and bigotry” on Thursday, joining other military leaders in their denunciation of deadly violence in Charlottesville.

The military usually stays out of the political fray, but it has been keen to distance itself from the weekend’s neo-Nazi demonstrations because some demonstrators were sporting US military clothes or insignia.

“I can absolutely and unambiguously tell you that there’s no place for racism and bigotry in the US military or in the United States as a whole,” General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told reporters during a visit to Beijing.

He added that military leaders “were speaking directly to the force and to the American people… to make it clear that that kind of racism and bigotry is not going to stand inside the force… and to remind (the American people) of the values for which we stand in the US military which are reflective of what I believe to be the values of the United States.”

The statement contrasts with remarks from President Donald Trump, who said there was “blame on both sides” after a white supremacist rally ended with a suspected Nazi sympathiser ploughing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, leaving one woman dead and 19 others injured.

“What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right?” the president asked on Tuesday. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

The heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, have responded to the incident in recent days.

Admiral John Richardson, who leads the Navy, called the events in Charlottesville “shameful.”

“The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred,” he said in a statement Saturday.

German minister accuses Trump of glossing over right-wing violence

August 16, 2017

Reuters

Image result for Heiko Maas, Photos

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Justice Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest comments on the violence stemming from a white supremacist rally in Virginia, saying no one should play down anti-Semitism or neo-Nazi racism.

On Tuesday Trump provoked further controversy when he said that those who had been protesting against the right-wing activists were partly responsible for the violence.

Trump’s comments came a day after he had bowed to pressure to explicitly condemn the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

“It is unbearable how Trump is now glossing over the violence of the right-wing hordes from Charlottesville,” Maas said in a statement, reflecting concern across the German political spectrum about the Trump presidency.

“No one should trivialise anti-Semitism and racism by neo-Nazis,” Maas said.

Maas – a Social Democrat member of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition – is the highest-ranking German politician to address the latest switch in Trump’s rhetoric about the violence.

Germany has tough laws against hate speech and any symbols linked to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, who ruled from 1933 until their defeat in 1945.

Merkel had told broadcaster Phoenix on Monday that clear and forceful action was required to combat right-wing extremism, noting that Germans had also seen a rise in anti-Semitism and had “quite a lot to do at home ourselves”.

Trump has come under increasing pressure over his stance on the violence, with many members of his own Republican party and U.S. business executives distancing themselves from him.

Trump on Tuesday maintained that his original reaction was based on the facts he had at the time, and insisted that both sides were to blame.

The violence erupted in Charlottesville on Saturday during a protest by white nationalists against plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the pro-slavery Confederate army during the American Civil War.

Protesters and counter-protesters clashed in scattered street brawls before a car plowed into the rally’s opponents, killing one woman and injuring 19 other people. A 20-year-old Ohio man, James Fields, said to have harbored Nazi sympathies, was charged with murder.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Bolton

The Poison of Identity Politics

August 16, 2017

The return of white nationalism is part of a deeper ailment.

Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other alt-right factions near Emancipation Park (Formerly ''Lee Park'') in downtown Charlottesville, Va.
Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other alt-right factions near Emancipation Park (Formerly ”Lee Park”) in downtown Charlottesville, Va. PHOTO: ALBIN LOHR-JONES/ZUMA PRESS

As ever in this age of Donald Trump, politicians and journalists are reducing the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday to a debate over Mr. Trump’s words and intentions. That’s a mistake no matter what you think of the President, because the larger poison driving events like those in Virginia is identity politics and it won’t go away when Mr. Trump inevitably does.

The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the white nationalist movement led today by the likes of Richard Spencer, David Duke and Brad Griffin. They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19 others.

The Spencer crowd courts publicity and protests, and they chose the progressive university town of Charlottesville with malice aforethought. They used the unsubtle Ku Klux Klan symbolism of torches in a Friday night march, and they seek to appear as political martyrs as a way to recruit more alienated young white men.

Political conservatives even more than liberals need to renounce these racist impulses, and the good news is that this is happening. The driver has been charged with murder under Virginia law, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened a federal civil-rights investigation and issued a statement condemning the violence: “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.” Many prominent conservatives also denounced the white-nationalist movement.

Mr. Trump was widely criticized for his initial statement Saturday afternoon that condemned the hatred “on many sides” but failed to single out the white nationalists. Notably, David Duke and his allies read Mr. Trump’s statement as attacking them and criticized the President for doing so.

The White House nonetheless issued a statement Sunday saying Mr. Trump “includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” in his condemnation. As so often with Mr. Trump, his original statement missed an opportunity to speak like a unifying political leader.

Yet the focus on Mr. Trump is also a cop-out because it lets everyone duck the deeper and growing problem of identity politics on the right and left. The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue.

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.

Mr. Trump didn’t create this identity obsession even if as a candidate he did try to exploit it. He is more symptom than cause, though as President he now has a particular obligation to renounce it. So do other politicians. Yet the only mission of nearly every Democrat we observed on the weekend was to use the “white supremacist” cudgel against Mr. Trump—as if that is the end of the story.

It isn’t, and it won’t be unless we confront this underlying politics of division. Not long ago we were rereading Justice Clarence Thomas’s prophetic opinion in Holder v. Hall, a 1994 Supreme Court ruling on dividing voting districts by race.

“As a practical political matter,” he wrote, “our drive to segregate political districts by race can only serve to deepen racial divisions by destroying any need for voters or candidates to build bridges between racial groups or to form voting coalitions.” Writ large, Justice Thomas was warning that identity politics can destroy democratic trust and consent.

Appeared in the August 14, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-poison-of-identity-politics-1502661521

White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA linked to three deaths

August 13, 2017

The Associated Press

© Paul J. Richards, AFP | People receive first-aid after a car accident rammed into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-08-13

A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, hurting more than a dozen others and ratcheting up tension in a day full of violent confrontations.

Shortly after, a Virginia State Police helicopter that officials said was assisting with the rally crashed outside Charlottesville, killing the pilot and a trooper.

The chaos boiled over at what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade. The governor declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered people out. The group had gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and others arrived to protest the racism.

Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said several hundred counter-protesters were marching when “suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound.” A silver Dodge Challenger smashed into another car, then backed up, barreling through “a sea of people.”

The impact hurled people into the air. Those left standing scattered, screaming and running for safety in different directions.

The driver was later identified by police as James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio. Police say Fields, 20, has been charged with charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene. A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Field’s mother, Samantha Bloom, told The Associated Press on Saturday night that she knew her son was attending a rally in Virginia but didn’t know it was a white supremacist rally.

“I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist,” Bloom said.

“He had an African-American friend so …,” she said before her voice trailed off. She added that she’d be surprised if her son’s views were that far right.

Bloom, who became visibly upset as she learned of the injuries and deaths at the rally, said she and her son had just moved to the Toledo area from the northern Kentucky city of Florence. She said that’s where Fields grew up. She relocated to Ohio for work.

Late Saturday, the Department of Justice announced the opening of a federal civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the FBI’s Richmond field office and Rick Mountcastle, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, will lead the investigation.

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Sessions said in a statement. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

The turbulence began Friday night, when the white nationalists carried torches though the University of Virginia campus. It quickly spiraled into violence Saturday morning. Hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. At least three more men have been arrested in connection to the protests

The Virginia State Police announced late Saturday that Troy Dunigan, a 21-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, a 21-year-old from Louisa, Virginia, was charged with assault and battery; and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

City officials said treated 35 patients altogether, 19 of whom were injured in the car crash.

State Police said in a statement that the helicopter was “assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation” when it crashed in a wooded area. The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Virginia, died at the scene.

President Donald Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms” what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” after the clashes. He called for “a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”

Trump said he had spoken with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and “we agreed that the hate and the division must stop and must stop right now.”

But some of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump’s critics pointed to the president’s racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation’s festering racial tension.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson noted that Trump for years publicly questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship.

“We are in a very dangerous place right now,” he said.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a “pro-white” rally in Charlottesville, sparked by the monument decision. White nationalists and their opponents promoted the event for weeks.

Oren Segal, who directs the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said multiple white power groups gathered in Charlottesville, including members of neo-Nazi organizations, racist skinhead groups and Ku Klux Klan factions.

The white nationalist organizations Vanguard America and Identity Evropa; the Southern nationalist League of the South; the National Socialist Movement; the Traditionalist Workers Party; and the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights also were on hand, he said, along with several groups with a smaller presence.

On the other side, anti-fascist demonstrators also gathered in Charlottesville, but they generally aren’t organized like white nationalist factions, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Many others were just locals caught in the fray.

Colleen Cook, 26, stood on a curb shouting at the rally attendees to go home.

Cook, a teacher who attended the University of Virginia, said she sent her son, who is black, out of town for the weekend.

“This isn’t how he should have to grow up,” she said.

Cliff Erickson leaned against a fence and took in the scene. He said he thinks removing the statue amounts to erasing history and said the “counter-protesters are crazier than the alt-right.”

“Both sides are hoping for a confrontation,” he said.

It’s the latest hostility in Charlottesville since the city about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C., voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Lee.

In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group traveled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.

Kessler said this week that the rally is partly about the removal of Confederate symbols but also about free speech and “advocating for white people.”

“This is about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do,” he said in an interview.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices.

“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president,” he said.

Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a liberal-leaning city that’s home to the flagship UVA and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

The statue’s removal is part of a broader city effort to change the way Charlottesville’s history of race is told in public spaces. The city has also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named for Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. They’re now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively.

For now, the Lee statue remains. A group called the Monument Fund filed a lawsuit arguing that removing the statue would violate a state law governing war memorials. A judge has agreed to temporarily block the city from removing the statue for six months.

(AP)

Why this man is so feared? — Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and right-wing media mogul

February 5, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses
Mr Bannon has spoken about the US’ “crisis of capitalism” and the erosion of “Judeo- Christian values” which have led to the rise of socialism, secularism and pluralism that have altered the social and political fabric of America. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Two days ago, Time magazine put a severely sullen-looking man in a thinker’s pose on its cover, dubbing him The Great Manipulator.

“Is Steve Bannon the second most powerful man in the world?” its headline inside asks. Going by the first two weeks of Mr Donald Trump’s presidency, there seems little doubt the answer is yes.

Some would argue that, short of being authorised to sign executive orders, Mr Trump’s chief strategist is the world’s most powerful man.

“President Bannon?” questions the New York Times in another headline last week, after the 63-year-old former executive chair of far-right news website Breitbart News was given a seat at the National Security Council table, an unprecedented move that has shocked former and current White House officials from both political parties.

That elevation in status sealed suspicions of Mr Bannon’s influence over the politically inexperienced President, sending the hashtag #StopPresidentBannon to the top of Twitter’s trending chart.

In his own words

ON THE MEDIA

The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.


ON CHINA

We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years. There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face – and you understand how important face is – and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.


ON U.S. POLITICAL PARTIES

We don’t really believe there is a functional conservative party in this country and we certainly don’t think the Republican Party is that. We tend to look at this imperial city of Washington, this boom town, as they have two groups, or two parties, that represent the insiders’ commercial party, and that is a collection of insider deals, insider transactions and a budding aristocracy that has made this the wealthiest city in the country.


ON RADICAL ISLAM

I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism and, on top of that, we’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism. I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam.


ON POWER

Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.


ON RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

At the end of the day, I think that Putin and his cronies are really a kleptocracy, that are really an imperialist power that want to expand.

By mid-week, worried lawmakers had fought back, with the Democrats introducing legislation to kick Mr Bannon out of the council in a bid to keep politics separate from security matters.

Whether or not they succeed, Mr Bannon’s grip on policymaking – and his determination to disrupt the old political establishment and reinstate “enlightened capitalism” in the US will not let up.

While the world reeled from the announcement last week that refugees, and citizens of seven Muslim- majority countries were banned from entering the US, it emerged that Mr Bannon was behind the directive to subject US green card holders to scrutiny as well, overriding recommendations by the Department of Homeland Security to leave them alone.

So how did an Irish Catholic boy from a working-class, pro-union Democratic family in Virginia become the flag-bearer of the “alt- right” movement and the key figure in the Oval Office drafting some of the most conservative national policies? As attention is heaped on Mr Bannon, who has been labelled a “white supremacist” since he became chief executive of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign last August, he has mostly kept away from the media, declining to give interviews.

 

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting

Steve Bannon, far right, sits alongside the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. Photograph by Drew Angerer, Getty Images

But there is no mystery over his complex world view as journalists piece together a picture of the man and his ideas through past interviews, radio shows and documentaries he has produced.

“I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in a rare interview last November, before the presidential election. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f…ed over.”

The Virginia boy, who spent seven years as an officer in the US Navy, transcended his own blue-collar roots by going to Harvard Business School in 1985. He already had a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University. He became an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, then started his own boutique investment bank specialising in media. One of the TV shows he had a stake in – and ended up profiting tremendously from – was the hit sitcom Seinfeld.

Mr Bannon told Bloomberg his interest in politics did not surface until he was serving in the Navy and became disillusioned by then President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, although he did not say why.

“I became a huge (Ronald) Reagan admirer. Still am. But what turned me against the whole establishment was coming back from running companies in Asia in 2008 and seeing that (George W.) Bush had f…ed up as badly as Carter. The whole country was a disaster.”

CLASH OF CIVILISATIONS

Just the year before, Mr Bannon had written a proposal for a three- part movie with the working title, Destroying The Great Satan: The Rise Of Islamic Fascism in America, warning of radical Muslims taking over the US and turning it into the “Islamic States of America”.

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White House Chief strategist for President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, right, has already classhed with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. AP photo

The Washington Post, which got hold of this proposal, last Friday reported that the eight-page draft “offered an early glimpse of Bannon’s belief that the West and ‘supremacist’ Islam are headed for a ‘fundamental clash of civilisations’, as the outline said”.

It is but one more example that the media cites as indicative of Mr Bannon’s bleak, antagonistic outlook, which he essentially delivered through Mr Trump’s angry “American carnage” inaugural speech – one he supposedly penned.

Mr Bannon has spoken about the country’s “crisis of capitalism” and the erosion of “Judeo-Christian values” which have led to the rise of socialism, secularism and pluralism that have altered the social and political fabric of America.

“I’m a Leninist,” he apparently told historian Ronald Radosh at a party in 2013, referring to the Russian revolutionary. “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment,” Mr Bannon reportedly said.

President Trump is supposedly the tool in achieving his vision, political watchers argue. Mr Trump was given a platform on Mr Bannon’s Breitbart News Daily radio show early on in the presidential campaign, and steered – through a combination of flattery and leading questions by Mr Bannon – to state far-right views.

Mr Bannon has tried it before. Politico magazine reported that he had cultivated populist former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as a potential anti-establishment presidential candidate before he turned his sights on Mr Trump.

If the first two weeks of the new Trump administration are any indication, Mr Bannon has struck gold. As Time magazine said, quoting a veteran Republican: “It’s already over, and Bannon won.”

http://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/why-this-man-is-so-feared

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A friend told Peace and Freedom that “until the ideological message of radical islamic terrorism is destroyed, the terrorism will always be there. Steve BANNON is than anti-Islamic terrorism ideological argument maker for DONALD TRUMP.”

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Time magazine’s latest cover features menacing portrait of Steve Bannon
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/time-magazines-latest-cover-features-menacing-portrait-of-steve-bannon-2017-02-02

Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World? — By David Von Drehle for Time Magazine
http://time.com/4657665/steve-bannon-donald-trump/

Past Recordings of Bannon Predicting Wars Surface (USNWR, February 2, 2017)
http://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-02-02/steve-bannon-once-said-there-would-be-imminent-war-with-china

Bannon May Need Senate Confirmation for NSC Role
http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-01-31/steve-bannon-on-national-security-council-may-require-senate-confirmation

Clinton: Trump campaign built on ‘prejudice and paranoia’

August 25, 2016

Church Services Honor Victims of Charleston Shooting — We “send a message to every demon in hell and on Earth.”

June 21, 2015

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church reopens Sunday

Flowers, memorials, line the outside of Emanuel AME Church following the shootings of nine African-Americans, allegedly by a white supremacist

By Cameron McWhirter and Mara Gay
The Wall Street Journal

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Church bells tolled across this city Sunday morning, calling worshipers of all races and creeds to honor nine black churchgoers who were gunned down last week in a historic African-American church, allegedly by a 21-year-old white man.

In services across the city, church leaders and parishioners struggled to make sense of the tragedy, while mourning the victims and calling for unity.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, and longtime Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley were among more than 1,200 dignitaries, church members and media who gathered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the large African-American churchwhere the shooting took place.

“The freshness of death comes like a thief in the night,” Rev. Norvel Goff told the standing room only crowd, after ticking off the names of those who died after a Wednesday night Bible study, allegedly shot by Dylann Roof, who is in custody.

Sunday morning’s service, Mr. Goff said, “sends a message to every demon in hell and on Earth.”

“A lot of people expected us to do something strange and break out into a riot,” Mr. Goff said. “Well, they just don’t know us. They don’t know us because we are a people of faith.”

Parishioners sing at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Sunday.
Parishioners sing at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Sunday. Photo: DAVID GOLDMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“We have shown the world how we as a group of people can come together and pray and work out things that need to be worked out,” he said. “It does not mean that we are not aware of the problems that many of us face, not only in America but here in South Carolina, in Charleston.”

“We’re going to pursue justice, and we’re going to be vigilant, and we’re going to hold our elected officials responsible to do the right thing,” he said, calling for justice for “those who are still living in the margins of life.”

A rapturous crowd packed the church, dancing, singing hymns, and shaking tambourines to show that the killing of nine of their members in the church’s basement couldn’t shake their resolve or faith. Emergency workers handed out water bottles in the sweltering church, where people lined the walls and crowded the balcony in bow ties and three-piece suits. Hundreds of people stood in the streets, near speakers, to listen to the sermon.

Signs of the shooting pervaded the service in multiple ways, with police guarding the doors, and teams of grief counselors on hand. So many people gave money during the offering that the plates overflowed. At one point, a woman wailed near the front where the victims’ families sat. Several people stood and left the service in tears, gripping one another as they walked out of the church.

As congregants left the church, a large, mostly white crowd, greeted them by singing the song, “Amazing Grace,” a show of support that brought tears to many peoples’ faces as they stepped into the hot South Carolina sun.

Jody Ruff, 60, stood outside the church with her husband and teenage son, all three of them wearing shirts that read, “Here for you.”

“We had to come down here and let them know, we are with them,” said Ms. Ruff, who is white.

Her son, 19-year-old Bobby Ruff, said he lived in a dorm room across from Chris Singleton, whose mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was killed in Wednesday’s shooting, at Charleston Southern University. “We are going to pull together for him,” Mr. Ruff said.

A little more than a mile away, about 150 parishioners, almost all of them white, gathered for Holy Communion early Sunday morning at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, one of the oldest churches in the city. Both George Washington and Robert E. Lee once prayed at this ornate church, built in the 1700s, and Charles Pinckney, a signer of the Constitution and a prominent slave-owner, is buried in the adjacent graveyard.

Rector Alfred T.K. Zadig Jr., 47 years old, said he was having dinner only a block away from Emanuel when the shooting occurred, and the tragedy made him realize how little connection he had to the black churches of the city.

“I did not know one single person in that church,” said. Mr. Zadig, who has been rector at St. Michael’s for eight years.

Dylann Roof, charged with nine counts of murder in connection with the shooting at a historic black South Carolina church, appeared at his bond hearing in Charleston on Friday. Photo: Reuters

The church now is committing itself to building a relationship with black churches in the city, including going over later Sunday for an outdoor prayer service, contributing money to help Emanuel and inviting members of Emanuel to preach at St. Michael’s, the pastor said.

The “agonizing four days” since the shootings showed him that he needs to interact more with other pastors of all races and faiths in the city, Mr. Zadig said. The four black pastors killed Wednesday died “a martyr’s death” and were “taken out by the powers and principalities of evil, acting through the 21-year-old deranged man,” he said.

“This is not God’s will,” he said. “God did not ordain this to happen to make a point about racism. No, not all things happen for a reason.”

But he said the killings have awakened people to the need for racial barriers in Charleston to be overcome. “Look around us,” he said, standing at a large carved wood pulpit in green and gold vestments. “What would it be like to have black and white together on a much larger scale than this?”

After the service, longtime usher Henry Grimball, 66, an attorney and former city councilman, said he worried the shootings would lead people to think Charleston had racial problems. “This city is not a racist city, not at all,” said Mr. Grimball, who said his ancestors first came here in 1684. “We’ve overcome a lot of the past.”

Mr. Riley, Charleston’s mayor, said Sunday he believes that the shooting was an “isolated” incident, carried out by an outsider who didn’t represent the views of the local community.

“This wasn’t someone from Charleston,” Mr. Riley said in a phone interview before attending the service at Emanuel AME. “I think this was one very bad isolated bad person.”

Still, he said, “In Charleston or in America do we have more work to do to understand each other? The answer is yes, of course. It’s something we always are working on.”

Asked whether he believed the shooting was a hate crime, he said, “I do.”

Charleston is on an “extra prudent level of alertness,” he said, adding, however, that he hasn’t received any credible threats of further violence.

Community leaders are organizing a unity rally to be held Sunday evening at the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge that dominates the city’s skyline. Leaders are hoping enough people will attend to join hands all the way across the bridge.

In an interview Saturday, Dwayne Greene, a prominent black community activist and lawyer who once worked for the city, said race relations in Charleston generally are good, but there are still historic class and race divisions.

The city’s downtown stretches are affluent and filled with tourists, while surrounding neighborhoods are struggling with poverty. Race relations, he said, have progressed, because Mayor Riley and a spate of new big companies have worked to improve the situation by attracting new residents from across the country and reigniting tourism.

“Although there are racial issues, Charleston has done a really good job compared with other cities in dealing with those,” Mr. Greene said. “It would take a lot to fuel a racial conflagration here. The communities are rallying around one another and coming together.”

Mr. Roof, of Eastover, S.C., has been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Mr. Roof didn’t enter a plea during his court appearance on Friday.

A group calling itself “Take Down the Flag SC” held a rally Saturday evening outside the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., with more than 500 people gathering to protest the flying of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds.

Mr. Roof allegedly espoused racist views and the car he was driving had an ornamental license plate displaying the Confederate flag. Charleston police said Saturday evening that they and the FBI were investigating a website that has been attributed to Mr. Roof. The site, which hasn’t been verified as being Mr. Roof’s, contained a racist manifesto and displayed photographs that appeared to be Mr. Roof waving Confederate flags. His attorney couldn’t be reached for comment. The imagery has reignited a long-standing debate in South Carolina and beyond about the flag’s symbolism.

Defenders argue it represents Southern heritage and the sacrifices of Southern people during the Civil War. Opponents contend it is a rallying symbol for white supremacist attitudes and promotes racial discord.

Write to Cameron McWhirter at cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com and Mara Gay at mara.gay@wsj.com