Code Pink demands Lush cosmetics close their stores in Saudi Arabia

On the first of June, Code Pink showed up outside the Lush Cosmetics stores on M st in Georgetown around the corner from the Embassy of Venezuala. They were there to demand that Lush shut down their two stores in Saudi Arabia, where women are tortured and imprisoned for protesting male guardianship laws and other misogynist Saudi oppression.These laws have been called gender apartheid.

Lush has already withdrawn from Israel in response to the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) campaign against that country’s aparthied laws targetting Palestinians. Israel is of course by no means the only human rights violator in the Middle East, and Code Pink is well aware of that. Saudi Arabia is one of the last absolute monarchies on Earth as well as quite possibly the worst country on Earth to be born a woman in. Saudi Arabia is infamous for their “male guardianship” requirement against women, which forbid women from making any important decisions (other than fleeing the country over the objection of the government) with the consent of a male relative. Code Pink said at the protest that there is “Nothing Lush about torturing women” who object to these policies.

Code Pink pointed out that Lush’s “bath bombs” are not exactly the kind of bombs Saudi Arabia and their stooges are dropping on Yemen, which due to Saudi intervention in their civil war is now being called the worst humanitarian crisis on the entire planet.

After the protest at Lush, Code Pink protested a second time at the nearly and entirely unmarked building housing the Saudi military attache’s office. This is on 30th street within sight of the Venezualan Embassy in which Code Pink withstood a 37 day siege while defending the building against the US backed supporters of three time failed coup plotter Juan Guaido. Yes, Code Pink paid a quick visit to what now may be the only embassy in DC that cannot issue passports or visas, or indeed any document that would be recognized at their own country’s border.

Getting Lush to abandon Saudi Arabia might not seem to be a direct threat to the Saudi monarchy, but BDS campaigns against Saudi Arabia start racking up wins, the oil companies could well face pressure to stop buying Saudi oil. It was BDS that played a major role in forcing an end to racial apartheid in South Africa, and the government of Israel treats BDS as a serious threat to their policies and rule. Saudi Arabia had better listen too: If this gets going, oil companies may have to boycott Saudi oil or risk women drivers boycotting their gas stations. Saudi Arabia would have to drop their male guardianship laws or watch their whole economy dry up and blow away.

HD Video-Code Pink protests at Lush’s Georgetown store 1 min 15 sec

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Millennial March On Washington takes to the streets

The 2019 Black Millennial Convention took place in DC from Thursday May 30 through Saturday June 1. After two days of workshops and events participants took to the streets for the Millennial March On Washington.

HD Video clip of the Millennial March On Washington in the streets 20 seconds

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Kremlin Annex protesters stick it to Trump for concealment of USS John McCain during his visit to Japan

Amid the news of Trump’s deadly racism on the border and the growing chorus of calls for impeachment over obstruction of justice, a new issue has arisen. When Trump visited Japan, someone ensured the US Navy’s USS John McCain was kept out of sight as it is named for one of his political enemies. This is the behavior of a stereotypical tin-pot dictator. On the last day of May, protesters showed up with a mock version of the destroyer in front of the White House hoping to torpedo Trump’s reputation. During this a 100 year old WWII veteran stopped by the protest.

John McCain’s politics were a mixed bag, ranging from jingoistic songs about bombing Iraq at one point to refusing to vote for “Trumpcare” when summoned from his hospital bed for the vote back in 2017. Trump considered him an enemy and went so far as to mock his capture and time as a POW during the Vietnam War. Trump sat that one out, citing “bone spurs” to hold off the draft. Trump did not RESIST the draft as a princicpled opponent of the Vietnam War, instead he just took steps to make sure it did not apply to him personally. He did nothing to help others shut down Selective Service, and nothing to stop the war in Vietnam. He has been called a “Chickenhawk First Class” as well as the sort of cheap despot who seeks to lock up his electoral opponents and from whom ships named for his enemies must be concealed even by the US Navy.

HD Video-Mock USS John McCain makes port call at the White House 2 min 35 sec

This is not exactly a red MAGA hat. Photo from an posting listing these as “out of stock”

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Eminent domain suit in Federal court against MD for rejected Potomac Pipeline draws protest

On the 30th of May, water protectors opposing the TransCanada/Columbia Gas “Western Panhandle Extension” or Potomac Pipeline gathered at the Western MD rail trail near the proposed river crossing. They were there in response to an unprecendented attempt to use eminent domain against the state of MD itself to resurrect the blocked fracked gas pipeline.

MD’s Board of Public Works voted unanimously to deny an easement for the pipeline to cross state-owned land in January. TransCanada’s subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission has responded with a lawsuit seeking federal condemnation (eminent domain) of MD owned land so it can be turned over to them for construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline. The only known customer of the gas would be Rockwool’s very controversial and dirty, under construction insulation plant in W Va. Rockwool is Danish, and TransCanada is Canadian so this pipeline is entirely for the benefit of foreign multinational corporations. Not a single cubic foot of gas would be used for residential gas distribution.

MD’s Board of Public Works has three members: Governor Larry Hogan,Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, so this is as big as it gets. MD’s top officials have said NO to the Potomac Pipeline. While eminent domain is one of the typical ways the pipeline companies steal from private landowners, this is the very first time a pipeline company has sought to use Federal eminent domain against a state. The Spawn of the Black Snake are strong in MD, so now they seek to strangle the state government itself! If they succeed, all state-owned parks in all states will become targets for similar condemnation lawsuits. First it will be pipelines, then oil and gas drilling. By the time it is over it could even be casinos, as it was in the Supreme Court case that legalized state eminent domain used for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenue from a plot of land.

HD Video: Highlights of the rally and a tour of the trail near the planned fracked gas pipeline 2 min 57 sec

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CISPES Solidarity Cyclists raises arrives in DC after 3 day ride raises $11,000 to fight water privatization in El Salvador

On the 27th of May, the annual CISPES Solidarity Cyclists’ Ride arrived in DC after three days on the road. Bikers endured rain the previous day and the usual flat tires and kept up a strong pace despite the distance. The ride raised $11,000 to fight water privatization in El Salvador

90% of El Salvador’s otherwise plentiful water has been contaminated by industrial and agricultural waste, and National Geographic reports underground aquifers have receded as much as 13 feet between climate change and dependence on them driven by the fouling of surface water.

Now newly-empowered right-wing legistlators are pushing a “Comprehensive Water Law.” to promote privatization of the remaining usable water. This would ensure the wealthy always have water to waste while everyone else and children in particular get sick from drinking contaminated water. Already “water wars” are breaking out in El Salvador, and the wealthy and the far-right may well turn that into a national water war. Had it not been for the successful campaign to ban (cyanide-spewing, water poisoning) gold mining, this war would have been lost years ago, and lack of water would be compelling even more migration.

HD video of the ride’s last miles in VA and in DC 1 min 40 seconds

Lifting a bike into the air moments after the ride ended in DC after three days on the road

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Anti-coup activists hold light projection on walls of Venezualan Embassy after false ambassador Vecchio moves in

On the 24th of May, False Ambassador Vecchio moved into Venezuala’s embassy, stolen by force from the representatives of Venezuala’s actual government by the May 16th police raid. On May 25, opponents of US intervention and coup attempts in Venezuala projected such images as “Not an Embassy” and “Maduro Est El Presidente” on the sides of the embassy.

Hmm-wonder how much canned food, bottled water, and batteries Carlos Vecchio has moved into the embassy to support him if times get tough?

HD Video-light projection on the “Embassy” of Venezuala 47 seconds

Projection started and finished on the 30th st side of the embassy

Projection started and finished on the 30th st side of the embassy

This is NOT an embassy

THIS is more accurate: if Vecchio can’t issue visas or renew passports, he must “need” the embassy for plotting coup attempts and terrorism

Imposters and fakes not welcome here

Maduro defeated Guaido by a huge margin in Venezuala’s last election, and three coup attempts by Guaido have failed.

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HD Video: the siege of the Embassy of Venezuala

HD Video w music: overview of events throughout the entire siege of the Embassy of Venezuala 2 min 9 sec

Update 5-25:Venezualan False Ambassador Carlos Vecchio got into the embassy sometime on May 24, possibly as this was being edited

On the 9th of April, the Organization of American States (which is dominated by the US) revoked their recognition of the government of Venezuala, instead supporting Juan Guiado. Guado at that time has lost one election and led two failed coup attempts, yet then and now claims to be the self-declared President of Venezuala. With their embassy in Washington DC in jeopardy, Venezualan diplomatic officials invited Code Pink and other groups operating as the Embassy Protection Collective to move into the embassy and hold it for them. Guaido’s forces had already taken the military attache’s office and a consulate, but thanks to the Embassy Protection Collective they didn’t get the embassy.

On the 30th of April things escalated dramatically: Juan Guaido led a third coup attempt in Caracas leading to several deaths. The coup attempt again failed. Here in DC, Guaido’s supporters tried and failed to take the embassy by force, leading to a siege of the embassy that lasted until the 16th of May. On the first of May, False Ambassador Carlos Vecchio fled the embassy after another failed attempt to get in. His presence would spark many confrontations over the next two weeks, but the coup supporters used their greatest force and violence in their efforts to keep food out of the embassy.

This was a literal siege, as much as any that ever took a castle in the Middle Ages. As food ran short and both power and water were cut off, conditions in the embassy became an eerie mirror of the results of US sanctions (and the post-2014 oil price collapse) on Venezuala. There too power has often been out, sometime because US backed coup plotters sabotaged electical generating stations.

On the 13th of May, police attempted to raid the embassy over the objection of the government of Venezuala and in defiance of international law. Three hours of dogged resistance by the embassy’s defenders bought time for Partnership for Civil Justice attorneys to “talk down” the police, causing them to abandon what became a very rare failed police raid. On the 16th of May police returned and stormed the building, arresting four embassy defenders. False Ambassador Carlos Vecchio showed up to give a speech that afternoon, but had to do it outside as apparently the US is still not ready to brazenly turn over an embassy to openly declared enemies of the government that owns the embassy. His speech was shouted down by opponents of the US backed coup attempts.

On the 18th of May, the four embassy defenders who had been arrested (several dozen had cleared out ahead of the first raid) returned to the 100 foot limit set as part of their release conditions and spoke before a march to the White House. One of them said the supporters coming out every day (and no doubt those braving the violent wrath of the coup supporters to get food and supplies in) literally gave them the strength to continue. At this writing the story is not over, with police apparently (but this is not 100% confirmed) holding both sides out of the embassy, thus doing essentially the same work the Embassy Protection Collective did in denying the building to the coup supporters of Juan Guaido.

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