Code Pink makes Saudi Crown Prince’s dinner guests run gauntlet of protesters

On the 22nd of March, Code Pink again disrupted an event featuring Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This time it was a fancy dinner at Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, which attendees had to run a gauntlet of protesters to enter. One of the Code Pink activists got inside before being expelled. The Prince himself found his motorcade jeered by screaming protesters.

The makeup of the crowd going to the Prince’s dinner was interesting. Almost NO Saudi women were visible. A few very rich and very thin Western Women attended, more than a few wearing fur coats made by killing animals. Senators, Congressmen, and other assorted US men in very expensive suits mingled with Saudi men. Presumably the poor who don’t get the oil money in Saudi Arabia (just the punishments) were no better represented than Saudi women, so over half of Saudi Arabia’s population went unrepresented. No matter: Saudi Arabia makes no claim to democracy, only to a curious hybrid of absolute monarchy with theocratic religious rule. For as long as absolute kings have existed anywhere, they have always been head choppers. The only thing unusual about this in Saudi Arabia is that it still exists today.

Code Pink and other activists invoked a variety of issues against the Senators, Congressmen, and assorted corporate drones attending this lavish dinner for a Crown Prince who will be the next (and hopefully the last) King of Saudi Arabia. The protest was primarily about Saudi Arabia’s murderous bombing of Yemen. Also invoked was Saudi responsability for the 9-11 terror attacks, in which Saudi billionaire Bin Laden and his 14 Saudis out of 19 hijackers essentially bombed the United States itself with its own airliners and all the passengers on board.

There is also the oppression of women, the execution of GLBTQ folks, the floggings, and amputations, and beheadings in Saudi Arabia. These take place in Rydah at a place known locally as “chop-chop square.” Most of the people of Saudi Arabia are victims of the head-chopping, theocratic absolute monarchy. Both theocracy and absolute monarchy are forms of government considered to be to the right even of Fascism.

Speaking of Fascism, the bombing of Yemen by Saudi Arabia (and of Afrin by Turkey) is the sort of thing the Nazis first showed the world at Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, and then expanded in the London Blitz. In the rest of the Second World War the US, Britain, and Russia paid the Nazis back in their own coin-cities blasted to ruins. Photos from both Afrin and Yemen today resemble photos of WWII bombed-out cities from Guernica to Berlin.

Two considerations likely drive the unlikely alliance of the US with the Saudi royal family and Wahhabi religious establishment. One is the addict-pusher relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia over the question of oil. The other is that Saudi Arabia is regarded (as Israel is) as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and in fact was used for exactly that during the first Iraq War.

Video of Code Pink heckling diners and the Prince’s motorcade

A Code Pink member dressed as a head-chopping, bomb-dropping Saudi king

Code Pink’s banners

Middle finger to the probable next King of Saudi Arabia

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Code Pink disrupts Saudi Prince’s event at Kennedy Center

On the 21st of March, Code Pink protested inside the Saudi Arts and Cultural event at the Kennedy Center. This event was in honor of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the US. Code Pink disrupted it to protest Saudi Arabia’s ongoing bombing and war against the people of Yemen.

There is a report from the @ajmubasher twitter account (linked to al-Jazeera) that two Code Pink members were handcuffed by “police.” The only police visible inside the Kennedy Center appeared to be the usual private security guards. They did get physical with one protester but at that point it did not appear they were trying to actually arrest anyone. After being escorted outside Code Pink continued to protest at the front door, and at least one threat of “lock up” was overheard.

Video of Code Pink inside the Kennedy Center protesting Saudi bombing of Yemen

Code Pink about to enter the Saudi Arts and Cultural event

Code Pink’s banner being escorted back out

War Crimes Prince!

Security guards or “special police” get rough

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DC Bike Party “Organizer’s Ride” first ride in 2018

On March 15, the DC Bike Party staged the “Organizer’s Ride” promoted mostly on the core crew that puts on the ride but open to the general public. This ride allows the crew to “warm up” before the big rides with hundreds of participants begin in April.

Video highlights of the ride

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Mothers against the Potomac Pipeline arrested at MD State House

On the 14th of March, Mothers against the Potomac Pipeline blocked one of the MD State House doorways and the blockaders were arrested. This was just days before Governor Hogan is expected to make a decision about whether or not to permit the Potomac Pipeline to proceed.

The Potomac Pipeline is called the Eastern Panhandle Extension by proposing builder Transcanada. This is the same company that is responsible for the spill-plagued existing sections of the Keystone and Keystone XL southern leg tar sands pipeline. Not a single cubic foot of gas from this pipeline would be available to users in Maryland, as its purpose is to connect the fracking gaslands of Penn to industries that do not now exist in W Va. MD (and DC) would still be placed at risk for contamination of the Potomac River during construction, and MD will also face the risk of pipeline explosion if this pipeline goes into service. This is like being exposed to the risk of having your house blown up by your neighbor’s leaky gas pipe without being allowed to use any of the gas to heat your own house-the worst of both worlds.

Beyond the risks of the pipeline itself, if the proposed use of the pipeline ever materializes it would accelerate fracking in Penn, thus exposing MD, VA, and DC to downsteam risks of water contamination from any new bad frack jobs. Some fracked wells make no trouble, while others leak fracking fluid or heavy metal laden deep groundwater into higher aquifers used for water wells, or even to surface water. This is often caused by “communication” where the cracks made by fracking connect to existing faults and fractures in the rock. Another issue is well casings that can fracture from the pressure of the fracking process.

Video compilation from CCAN’s and Katherine Brzozowsk’s Twitter clips

Photo by John Zangas

CCAN photo of starting rally on Lawyer’s Mall

Hannah Brockway photo of protest on State House steps with some of the support team

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Kurds, allies rally at White House against Turkish invasion of Afrin

On the 13th of March, Kurds and supporters of the YPG/YPJ protested at the White House, demanding the US force an end to Turkey’s bloody invasion and bombing of Afrin in Syria. If the US threatened to cut off military aid and weapons sales to Turkey, Turkey would have no choice but to comply. Turkey is attacking the YPG/YPJ, who in turn defeated Daesh/ISIS. Thus Erdogan is fighting on the side of ISIS.

At this time Turkish troops are reported to be on the outskirts of Afrin, a city they had vowed to take over a month ago. The war has become bogged down for Ergoden and his theocrats, who will lose their fight with the Kurds just like their ISIS friends did. The YPG and YPJ do not fight alone, they are getting global suppport from the international progressive community. Just days ago an Icelandic international volunteer gave his life defending Afrin from Turkish troops and terrorism. In the anticapitalist community this has been compared more than once to the Spanish Civil War and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The difference is that this time around, our side is winning the war!

ISIS is on the verge of complete defeat, though Kurdish fighters and internatonal volunteers had to pulled off that front line to deal with the current threat from Turkey. Thus, continuing US aid to Turkey is now directly aiding ISIS, and Trump must choose between those who stopped ISIS before, and the Turkish thugs who last year beat and kicked protesters in the streets of Washington DC.

When ISIS/Daesh was on the verge of overrunning Kobane, the YPG and YPJ made a stand that can only be compared to the successful defense of Stalingrad against Hitler’s troops during WWII. Like the Russians there, they turned Kobane into a hornet’s nest of highly accurate snipers. There is no reason to believe that if Turkish troops ever reach Afrin’s urban areas at all that this performance cannot be repeated.

Video: Protesters charge Turkey with supporting ISIS by fighting Kurds

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No Justice No Pride rallies in solidarity with Black Pride 4

On the 12th of March, No Justice No Pride activists held a solidarity protest at the Dept of “Just-Us” for Ohio’s Black Pride 4, the first of whom was scheduled to be sentenced the following day.

The Black Pride 4 were wrongfully convicted of 6 out of 8 misdemeanor charges for nonviolently blockading the Columbus, Ohio Pride Parade in 2017. That blockade was to protest the acquital of the killer cop who murdered Philando Castile, and raise awareness of Black and Brown GLBTQ people being ignored at Pride festivals.

he original charges filed against the Black Pride 4 were aggravated robbery (!), resisting arrest, causing harm to a police officer, failure to obey a police officer, and disorderly conduct. Original bail was $100,000. All four were convicted on at least some of the charges and could face years in prison. They didn’t rob anyone, they nonviolently blocked a white, yuppie-dominated Pride parade unworthy of the name.

The organizers of the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade had the nerve to first sic the cops on a nonviolent blockade, then to testify at trial against the Black Pride 4 as prosecutors sought convictions on extreme and spurious charges. Stonewall Columbus spits on the name of Stonewall, where transgender people, people of color, and sex workers rioted and defeated police after the infamous June 28, 1969 raid on New York City’s Stonewall Inn. The Columbus part of their name is appropriate, however, as putting people of color in cages is very much in the ugly colonialist spirit of Christoper Columbus and those that came after him.

Video featuring a speaker giving information about the case

Fists Up for the Black Pride 4

Middle finger to the US flag that flies over so many prisons

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ADAPT protests at home of FDA director against electroshock torture of autistic people

Beginning on the weekend of March 10-11, ADAPT has been camping out in front of FDA Director Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s home. Things got a little hot on the evening of March 11 as ADAPT occupied the circular driveway, and MPD showed up to push them back. ADAPT is there to demand the FDA ban the use of electroshock aversive “therapy” against autistic children and adults at the Judge Rotenberg “Educational” Center.

Police responded to the protest, demanding that ADAPT move back to the street or else. Afterwards, it was announced that other residents of the fancy high-rise Dr. Scott Gottlieb lives in were really upset that “my wealthy lifestyle has been inconvenienced.” Well, that’s how residental protests work: someone responsible for awful things is named and shamed in front of all their neighbors. They can either deal with the protesters, or deal with their neighbors. It gets results.

ADAPT is essentially responding to a situation that can only be compared to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) for humans. Thus it is appropriate that they are using an HLS style home demo to put pressure on someone who is choosing not to use their power to shut it down. The police response to the protest (including aggressive “who’s the leader” questions asked in a deliberately intimidating manner) was also reminescent of HLS protests. As for the choice of Dr. Scott Gottlieb as the target, The FDA could easily ban electroshock “aversive therapy” but has been sitting on proposed regulations for the past two years.

ADAPT is demanding among other things that FDA Director Scott Gottlieb watch This Youtube video which features interviews with students at the Judge Rotenberg center, shows the body-worn electroshock devices, and includes a graphic video of the torture of then 17-year old Andre McCollins by electric shock while strapped to a restraint board. That scene looks like a cross between something from Huntingdon Life Sciences and something the School of the Americas would train dictators’ security forces to do. That video overall is compelling evidence of just what a hellhole the Judge Rotenberg Education Center really is. One teenager there said she felt like she was being “punished for being born.”

Video of the protest in the circular driveway and the police response also including graphic electroshock scene from video ADAPT is demanding the FDA director watch. On Liveleak after removed it, possibly under pressure from Judge Rotenberg Center and/or the FDA director

ADAPT moves up from their campground in the park to the circular driveway in front of the FDA director’s ritzy building

Naming and Shaming!

Police response was reminescent of HLS home demos, just as the issue is

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