Friday, August 18, 2017

Korean People's Revolutionary Army Final Offensive Operation for National Liberation
Marking the 72nd anniversary of Korea’s liberation on August 15, the Korean people are filled with an immense yearning and reverence for President Kim Il Sung who braved his way through bloody battles to defeat the Japanese imperialists and built up socialist paradise where the people are masters of everything on this land.

The period of Japanese imperialist colonial rule was the darkest age when the clouds of national ruin hanged heavily over Korea in the 5 000-year history of the nation blessed with a brilliant culture. At the time the Koreans were forced to obey Japanese law or die.

They were coerced into using Japanese instead of their native language and changing their names in Japanese fashion and compelled to leave their native places in search of way to make a living. At this juncture, Kim Il Sung who had harboured the lofty aim of liberating Korea founded the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, the first revolutionary armed force of a Juche type, and declared war on Japanese imperialism.

The anti-Japanese war the Koreans fought against a million troops of Japan that was styling itself the leader of Asia, dreaming of the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”, was a guerrilla warfare in which they could not look forward to any backing of the state and regular army and a bloody fight that surpassed imagination in light of arduousness and intensity.

In 1943 when the Korean revolutionaries were making preparations for the great event of national liberation while overcoming all adversities of life-or-death battles, Commander Kim Il Sung put forward the three-point line for achieving the historic cause of national liberation.

The line anticipated that the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army would deal an annihilating blow to the Japanese aggressor troops through the general offensive, all the people in the homeland would rise up against the enemy in response to the KPRA’s general offensive so as to hasten the downfall of Japan and at the same time the people’s resistance organizations would conduct joint operations with the KPRA units in the rear so as to achieve national liberation.

It was a correct line to liberate Korea by the nationals’ own efforts as early as possible under the contemporary military and political situation in the country.

In accordance with the line the KPRA units built up their ranks, intensified military training and reconnaissance activities according to the operations plan and dispatched political operatives to different parts of the homeland.

On the basis of full preparations for Korea’s liberation Kim Il Sung issued the order to launch the final offensive on August 9 1945.

The units that had mustered on the shore of the Tuman River broke through the enemy’s fortresses on the border all at once and proceeded to liberate wide areas in the homeland, while some advance parties of the beach landing unit furthered achievements in battles through close joint operation with the ground units to advance to the Chongjin area.

The small units and political operatives of the KPRA that had already been dispatched to the homeland aroused the people’s armed units, organizations for armed uprising and broad masses of people to the armed uprising. They waged fights to harass the enemy’s rear while raiding and sweeping away Japanese troops and military police and police organs across the country and rendered active support to the advancing KPRA units.

The people’s armed units under different names fought fierce battles throughout Korea to destroy Japanese troops.

Resistance organizations and armed units at home raided and wiped out ruling machines of the enemy at nearly 1 000 places in a week in mid-August.

Like this, under the command of Kim Il Sung the KPRA and resistance forces involving all the people dealt a powerful military blow to enemy troops and shook their military rule to its very foundation, thereby achieving the historic cause of national liberation.

Thus the Korean people were freed from colonial slavery. The day of national liberation was a significant day that put a full stop to the history of national tribulations and heralded the era of socialist Korea. With the day as the starting point the Korean people appeared on the stage of history as an independent people who shape their own destiny and Korea, once a small and weak colony, developed into the DPRK dignified as a powerful state.

By Ri Sung Ik PT
Young Koreans Volunteer to Join or Rejoin Army in Response to Government Statement
Young people including students across the DPRK are now eager to rise up in a sacred war to defend their country and revolution with a surging hatred to the US that fabricated the illegal anti-DPRK “sanctions resolution” and is making last-ditch, frenzied attempt at DPRK-targeted war and with an adamant will to take revenge on the enemy a thousand-fold.

Officials of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League were the first to petition to join or rejoin the army, giving full vent to their indignation at the US that has openly revealed its wicked intention to hurt the leadership of the revolution, not content with flagrantly infringing the country’s sovereignty.

Other young people, including workers, farmers and intellectuals, held meetings to volunteer for the army soon after the government issued the statement. Their number amounted to more than 3.47 million in three days.

With the determination to shower the enemy dreaming of stifling the country by dint of the sanctions resolution with the fire of vengeance, those who are performing miracles and innovations at workplaces for making a leap forward in the building of a thriving socialist country including the Komdok Mining Complex, Chollima Steel Complex, Oguk Cooperative Farm in Anak County and the construction site of the Tanchon Power Station have also volunteered to serve the army.

Young women are no exception, especially those at the Pyongyang Kim Jong Suk Textile Mill who are filled with the resolve to give merciless punishment to the enemy.

Students are determined to defend the country, revolution and socialism, burning their hearts with hatred to the US and its lackeys.

Hundreds of thousands of students at educational institutions across the country including Kim Il Sung University, Kim Chaek University of Technology, Kim Hyong Jik University of Education, Pyongyang Han Tok Su University of Light Industry, Chongjin Middle School for Orphans, Ri Chol Min Senior Middle School in Central District, Pyongyang, and Sukchon Hero Senior Middle School in Sukchon County pledged to serve the army to defend the leader and country at the risk of their lives.

By Jong Sun Bok PT
South Korean Authorities Slammed for Calling for "Tightened S. Korea-US Alliance"
A spokesman for the Consultative Council for National Reconciliation issued a statement on August 17, denouncing the south Korean authorities for going reckless while calling for "tightened south Korea-US alliance".

At a time when the US war hysteria against the DPRK has reached the height and the situation on the Korean peninsula has reached the worst phase, the south Korean authorities and the puppet military warmongers are calling for "tightening south Korea-US alliance", the statement said, and went on:

This reckless act little short of adding fuel to nuclear war moves of the Trump group is indicative of the puppet group’s stupidity and sycophancy toward the US.

The pledge to "strengthen south Korea-US alliance" is a commitment to act as a shock brigade in the war of aggression against the north which their American. master plans to stage. This is little short of plunging south Korea into an unheard-of horrible disaster of a nuclear war.

The south Korean authorities should choose between two things: war to be unleashed by "tightened south Korea-US alliance" or peace to be achieved by anti-US struggle.

If they defy the mindset of the public and the demand of the whole nation and keep to humiliating sycophancy toward the US while currying its favour, they will not be able to evade sternest punishment by history.


UNSC's "Sanctions Resolution" Against DPRK Termed Illegal
The Korean Jurists Committee on August 17 issued a statement terming as illegal the anti-DPRK "sanctions resolution" cooked up by the US by abusing the UN Security Council over its test-launch of ICBM Hwasong-14.

The US fabricated the unprecedented hash "sanctions resolution" which categorically cut off normal trade activities and economic exchange of the DPRK, the statement said, adding it is an unethical criminal act which contradicts paragraph 2, Article 1 of "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights" which provides for not depriving a sovereign state of means of existence, and the act which runs counter to internationally recognized peremptory norm.

The UN Security Council is not an exception in the application of the peremptory norm, the statement said, and went on:

This being a hard reality, the UN Security Council has systematically fabricated anti-DPRK "sanctions resolutions" violating the rights to existence and development from 2006.

In particular, the anti-DPRK "sanctions resolution" 2371 which was fabricated under the pretext of the DPRK's test-launch of ICBM is aimed at completely preventing the DPRK's economic development and improvement of the people's living standards. Therefore, this is a criminal act fundamentally detrimental to peremptory norm.

Article 53 of the "Vienna Convention on Treaties", which stipulates the legal acts of states and international organizations, says that "a treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law". This goes to clearly prove that all the anti-DPRK "sanctions resolutions" of the UNSC are void as they have systematically violated the DPRK's rights to existence and development.

The statement stressed that all the anti-DPRK "sanctions resolutions" fabricated by the US so far by abusing the UNSC should be immediately annulled and the US should pay a high price for the crimes it committed against our state and people.

Joint Friendship Gathering Held in DPRK
A joint friendship gathering of the participants in the 5th International Festival in Praise of Great Persons of Mt Paektu took place at the Basketball Gymnasium in Chongchun Street on August 17.
Present there were Kim Jong Suk, chairwoman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries who is chairwoman of the Korean Preparatory Committee for the Gathering 2017-Praise to the Great Persons of Mt Paektu, and vice-chairpersons of the Korean Preparatory Committee and officials concerned.

On hand were lawmaker Madav Kumar Nepal who is former prime minister of Nepal and honorary chairman of the International Preparatory Committee for the Gathering 2017-Praise to the Great Persons of Mt Paektu, co-chairpersons and chairpersons of the international and regional preparatory committees and figures of various circles.

Kim Jong Suk said in her speech that the 5th International Festival in Praise of Great Persons of Mt Paektu serves as a significant occasion as it demonstrated the unanimous aspiration and will of humankind to accelerate the victorious advance for the cause of global independence, holding the peerlessly great persons in the highest esteem.

She expressed belief that the festival would further develop as a regular grand meeting thanks to the boundless reverence of the progressives.

A performance was given by Korean artistes there.

Its participants had diverse sports and amusement games.

Their dancing party revved up festive atmosphere.
Int'l Bodies Denounce UNSC's Anti-DPRK "Sanctions Resolution"
The representatives of organizations for friendship and solidarity with the DPRK and international democratic organizations, taking part in the 5th International Festival in Praise of the Great Persons of Mt Paektu, issued a joint statement in Pyongyang on August 17, condemning the US for cooking up an illegal anti-DPRK "sanctions resolution" by abusing the UN Security Council.

The statement said that the DPRK's measures for self-defence were just ones for defending the sovereignty of the country and the right to existence of the nation from the US high-handed and arbitrary practices. It went on:

1. The US has to withdraw all forms of sanctions against the DPRK and immediately stop all aggression war exercises, not resorting to indiscriminate and inhumanitarian sanctions.

Nothing can be settled by way of sanctions aimed at depriving the Koreans of their right to existence and at "overthrowing the social system" in the DPRK. Moreover, sanctions affecting the life of peaceable citizens can never be justified.

We demand that the US acknowledge the DPRK and opt for co-existing with it if the US has a true intent to settle the issue of the Korean peninsula.

2. The US should dismantle its nuclear weapons first, before taking issue with the DPRK's access to nuclear weapons and threatening the country with nukes.

It is a clear fact that the DPRK will never give up the nuclear deterrence for self-defence as long as there continues the US hostile policy toward the DPRK and nuclear threat to it, and the US should show its efforts and sincerity for world peace and security before talking about nuclear issues of other countries.

We demand that the US, the world's biggest nuclear possessor, lend an ear to the international voices, fairly settle the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and resolutely opt for denuclearizing the whole world.

3. The US has to face up to the strategic position of the DPRK and finally withdraw its hostile policy toward the DPRK.

It is a well-known fact that no one can deny that the DPRK has had access to ICBM along with a variety of nuclear weapons.

The US has to admit that it is an anachronistic and extremely dangerous act to try to stifle and strangle the DPRK which has ranked itself among the world-level nuclear possessors and military powers, and take an immediate measure to make a switchover in its policy toward the DPRK.


Nigerian Groups Issue Statement Saying 'DPRK Is Sure to Win Final Victory in Confrontation with US-led Imperialism'
We are confident that the DPRK will surely win the final victory in the confrontation with US-led imperialism by developing more strategic weapons with which it will demonstrate its invincible might to the world.

The Nigerian National Committee for the Study of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, the Nigerian Group for the Study of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, the Nigerian Group for the Study of the Juche Philosophy, the Nigerian Group for the Study of the Songun Politics and the Nigerian Group for Self-Reliance Studies said this in a joint statement on July 31.

The statement warmly congratulated the national defense scientists and people of the DPRK on having demonstrated the dignity and might of a nuclear power of Juche and a world's military power through the successful ICBM test-launch.

Through the recent test-launch the DPRK demonstrated the capability to make a surprise launch of ICBM at any area and place at anytime and it was clearly proved that the whole US mainland is within the striking range of the DPRK.

New Posters for Supporting DPRK Government's Statement Produced
New posters were produced in the DPRK.

Poster “Let us make a great leap forward in building a socialist power, firmly holding the nuclear treasured-sword of Juche!” deals with the enthusiasm of the Korean people for the revolution and struggle to make a series of miracles astonishing the world in succession in building a socialist power with the might of self-reliance and self-development.

Poster "Let us demonstrate to the world the independent dignity and might of a nuclear power of Juche and a world's military power!" reflects the great pride and self-confidence of the Korean army and people who met with the great auspicious event in the history of the nation and the specially recorded event as the DPRK's overall national power and strategic position reached the highest level by the successful test-launch of ICBM.

Poster "Severe denunciation and categorical rejection!" visually represents the hatred and anger of the service personnel and people of the DPRK at the UNSC's "sanctions resolution" illegally cooked up by the US and hostile forces.

Posters "Answer of Korea!" and "The whole US mainland is within our striking range!" describe the unshakable resolution of the Korean army and people to wipe out the bases of aggression with the DPRK's peculiar preemptive strike and bring the final victory in the confrontation with the US the moment its reckless attempt at a preemptive strike is detected.

Poster "No one can check our advance!" shows the faith and spirit of all the service personnel and people to decisively smash the hostile forces' moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and advance straight to the end along the road chosen by themselves.


‘There Will Be No War on Korean Peninsula’: Moon
2017/8/18 0:23:40

South Korean marines walk by a TV screen showing the live broadcast of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s press conference to mark his 100th day in office, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. Moon sought to reassure South Koreans that there would not be war on the Korean Peninsula and that US military action against the North is not possible without Seoul’s consent. He said he would consider sending a special envoy to North Korea if the North stops its missile and nuclear tests. Photo: AP

There will be no war on the Korean Peninsula, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday, saying Seoul effectively had a veto over US military action in response to the North's nuclear and missile programs.

"All South Koreans have worked so hard together to rebuild the country from the ruins of the Korean War," Moon told a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

"I will prevent war at all cost," he added. "So I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war."

Tensions have soared in recent months over Pyongyang's weapons ambitions, which have seen it subjected to a seventh round of UN Security Council sanctions.

Last week, the North threatened to send a salvo of missiles toward the US territory of Guam - although it appears to have backed off for now. US President Donald Trump has promised "fire and fury" and said that Washington's weapons were "locked and loaded."

Moon said Seoul effectively had a veto on military action by the US, its security ally and protector.

"No one can make a decision on military action on the Korean Peninsula without our agreement," he said.

"The US and President Trump also said no matter what option they take about North Korea, all decisions will be made after consulting with and getting agreement with the Republic of Korea."

Moon, who visited Washington at the end of June, declined to criticize Trump's rhetoric towards the North that has raised alarm among observers.

"US President Trump is trying to pressure North Korea by showing a firm resolution," he said. "I don't think that he is trying to show a certain willingness to launch military action."

In the past Moon, a left-leaning former human rights lawyer, has urged engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, in addition to sanctions - an approach that raised concerns it could create divisions with Washington.

But since coming to power his gestures have been rebuffed by Pyongyang, and Moon played down the urgency of dialogue.

"I don't think we must rush into it," he said.

For talks to take place, he said, "there must be a guarantee that it will lead to a fruitful outcome.

"North Korea must at least end additional provocations to create the mood for dialogue."
Politicizing Trade Will Hurt Sino-US Relationship
By Zhao Minghao
Global Times
2017/8/17 20:03:39

US President Donald Trump has given US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer a year to look into whether to launch an investigation into China's trade law, policies and practices. The US plans to apply the Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which empowers the president to take trade measures against Chinese products such as lifting tariffs.

The section has been seen as an obsolete tool for trade protectionism and rarely used since 2001. People worry that a trade war between Beijing and Washington is unavoidable.

Trump aims to kill two birds with one stone. He is fulfilling his campaign promises to target China and its alleged unfair trade practices. Once, he proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports. In domestic politics, he has barely achieved anything decent since he assumed power, so he needs to manipulate "China agenda" to show his strength.

Trump also hopes to use trade as a leverage to press China to adopt a tougher policy on North Korea, such as cutting off its oil supply. Although China has halted imports of coal, iron ore and other goods from North Korea and voted for the UN Security Council's new resolutions to sanction North Korea in early August, Trump is still raising unrealistic demands over China. Last month, Trump implied that if China enhances pressure on Pyongyang, he would soften his tone on trade issues.

However, Trump may not be able to achieve what he has wished. As Chad Bown, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said, Trump's willingness to use "obsolete US trade law" could create problems. Although China has reiterated its opposition to a trade war, it has prepared necessary countermeasures. China can strike back by applying the rules of the WTO.

Other major trade powers such as Germany and Japan also worry about the Trump administration. In the 1980s, Section 301 was often used to ban Japanese goods from entering the US such as automobiles and iron and steel products. Investigations under Section 301 harm the authority of the WTO and mean that the US can launch unilateral restrictive trade measures. This will do no good to maintaining multilateral trade systems and the world economy will be the victim.

In addition, Trump's China trade policies have become more associated with "national security," which will impede the rebalancing of China-US economic ties. In June, members of the Congress demanded the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) impose greater scrutiny on Chinese investments in the US. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has planned to require CFIUS to consider economic factors when reviewing foreign investments.

Many economists have pointed out that the Trump administration's efforts to place its policy focus on trade deficit are futile and it should instead prioritize signing a bilateral investment treaty with China. Narrowing US trade deficit with China does not amount to narrowing the overall US trade deficit. Even if the US reduces the number of imported toys from China, the share will be replaced by imports from other countries and US workers will not benefit from it.

If the Trump administration continues to connect trade issues with North Korea's nuclear and missile development, it will only complicate the situation. If China and the US start a trade war, North Korea will be the one that will reap the benefits. US analysts estimate that Pyongyang may conduct the sixth nuclear test at any time in the next few months. Beijing and Washington must maintain cooperation to cope with a potential crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

The short-sighted trade policy of the Trump administration may make the US neglect the fact that China's economic competitiveness is increasing. China no longer focuses on declining industries such as coal and steel, but promising ones such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and clean energy. To advance technological innovation, China has set up a special intellectual property court, a novel move in the world.

As China attaches more importance to intellectual property rights, foreign enterprises from South Korea and Japan are considering setting up more high-tech factories in China. Toyota may mass produce electric cars in China in 2019. With the Trump administration's protectionist policies, US enterprises may lose bigger opportunities in the Chinese market.

The author is a research fellow with The Charhar Institute and an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion
Documentary in Japan Reveals Dark History of "Poison Gas Island"
2017/8/18 7:23:23

A documentary released recently about Okunoshima, an island where poison gas used to be manufactured for Japan's invasive war against China, has attracted a great deal of attention.

The documentary broadcast by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), together with another one about Japanese Unit 731 released earlier by public broadcaster NHK, revealed the irrefutable historical truth about Japan's war crimes, and prompted heated discussions among Japanese society.

Okunoshima is a small island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan in Hiroshima prefecture. The island served as a poison gas factory for much of the chemical warfare that was carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army in China during World War II.

The documentary features Haruka Ayase, a 32-year-old popular idol in Japan, visiting Okunoshima island, interviewing 91-year-old Yasuma Fujimoto and others about the past of the island.

In the 1940s, Yasuma Fujimoto was involved in the manufacturing of poison gas at a plant on the island and the gas was eventually used, among other heinous acts of aggression, against China.

"This island now appears green. But it used to look yellow," said Fujimoto, adding that trees could not grow there due to the acid in the poison gas.

Back then, 6,700 people were working on the island and manufacturing poison gas around the clock. Fujimoto could still remember the chemical equation for the poison gas Lewisite to be manufactured.

"The poison gas was manufactured to secure Japan a victory in its invasive war against China," said Fujimoto.

"I will never forget this chemical equation. I went to learn these things to earn a living, but I ended up making poison gas to kill the Chinese people. (I'm) a criminal," he added.

Numerous Chinese civilians were killed by the chemical weapons used by the invading Japanese army. One such example was a Japanese gas attack at an underpass in Beituan Village, Hebei Province in China in 1942. Some 1,000 villagers were killed in that attack.

But after the war, as the Japanese government was eager to cover up the atrocities, evidence was destroyed, so was the poison gas factory on the Okunoshima island.

Currently, the island has become a tourist spot with more than 700 wild rabbits living there, and is therefore also called Rabbit Island.

The past crimes seem to only exist in the memory of a handful of witnesses who are still alive, such as Fujimoto.

"I made poison gas which killed Chinese people. This is a fact that can never be denied or distorted," said Fujimoto.


Just like the documentary about the atrocities of Japanese Unit 731, the TBS documentary has also triggered heated discussions in Japanese society. Many viewers said they were shocked and felt that this part of history should never be forgotten.

Japanese writer Masahiro Yamazaki said in a post online that the documentaries released recently by the media choose to face Japan's dark history squarely in order for the nation to have a bright new future, but there are still some people who are plagued by militarist ideals and turn a blind eye to the truth.

Duan Yuezhong, an overseas Chinese resident in Japan, told Xinhua that the documentaries released recently about Japan's war crimes appeal to the conscience of Japanese citizens and prompt them to reflect on the war history.

He also pointed out that broadcasting these documentaries should not mean the end of reflection, but rather the beginning of it; they should serve as an inspiration for digging out more truth and reflecting on more, if not all, historical facts.

Ayase, a famous Japanese actress, said for her part, at the end of the documentary that when she was listening to Fujimoto, she once again felt the terror of war, and the preciousness of peace.

"I hope more people could hear the story of Mr. Fujimoto," she said.
Russia Says Its Military Drills With India Not Against China
Published: 2017/8/18 7:23:46

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the upcoming Russia-India military drills do not target China and expressed confidence that China and India can resolve their border tensions.

"Russia does not carry out military exercises or other cooperative events that may lead to worsening relations of a country we maintain multilateral ties with," said the ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Responding to a question raised by Xinhua at her weekly briefing, Zakharova reaffirmed that Russia has brilliant relations with China, adding that attempts to distort the situation can only be viewed as a "provocation".

Indian media outlets reported last week that the "Indra" 2017 exercises will be held in Russia on Oct. 19-29 to improve the coordination of the two militaries. The "Indra" drills have been held regularly since 2003.

Some newspapers stressed that the exercises are set to take place amid deteriorating ties between India and China following India's incursion into China's territory.

Zakharova said that Russia always provides all interested parties with comprehensive information "in order to stop any speculation on such issues as soon as possible."

As for the border standoff, she said: "We express absolute confidence that New Delhi and Beijing, as responsible members of the international community, will be able to find mutually acceptable ways to quickly resolve the tensions."
Xi Stresses Importance of China-US Military Ties
By Shan Jie Source
Global Times
2017/8/18 0:18:39

Military action not an option in North Korea, says Chinese general

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with visiting Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, August 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that the military relationship between China and the US should be a significant part of Sino-US relations, and that cooperation between the armies could play a positive role in developing bilateral ties.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"You are the first US senior military official to visit China since President Donald Trump took office," Xi told Dunford.

Xi said although the visit was brief, it was quite comprehensive, indicating that military-to-military relations between China and the US have substantially moved forward, Xinhua reported.

According to Xinhua, Xi said that the Chinese and US armies have upgraded the communications on different levels, promoted the building of military trust and deepened the practical cooperation.

"The military relationship has always been the significant and unique dimension in Sino-US relations," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Since the strategic distrust between the two countries usually involves the military, strengthening military trust could lead to the relations' long-term stability, Li noted.

During Dunford's visit to China, the two sides signed a framework document on a communication mechanism between the joint staff departments, a move Li said could further heighten cooperation and trust between the Chinese and US militaries.

"Next, the goal would be to overcome the distrust between the two armies and avoid misunderstandings in some areas, in order to avoid it damaging overall Sino-US relations," Li said.

He also noted that building and upgrading military trust would be gradual.

Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, also met with Dunford in Beijing on Thursday.

In recent years, relations between the two militaries have seen a healthy development, with friendly exchanges between top officers and various other communication mechanisms operating smoothly at all levels, Fan said.

However, the US' "wrongful actions" such as meddling in Taiwan, establishing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense around China, spying in Chinese sea and air territory, and constant activities by US planes and ships in the South China Sea have had a negative effect on mutual trust and military-to-military ties, Fan noted.

Remain restrained

Fan and Dunford also discussed the Korean Peninsula crisis.

Fan said that related parties should remain restrained, and avoid actions or words that could intensify the situation. He said "military action cannot be an option."

Dunford said Thursday that a military solution to the missile threat from North Korea would be "horrific," but allowing the country to develop the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the US is "unimaginable," USA Today reported.

"Dunford's visit to China and China's restating of its stance to peacefully solve the Korean Peninsula issue shows that, at least in China's view, the current situation might get out of control," Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"From China's point of view, the US and North Korea are reaching for the red line and could spark a military conflict," Zheng noted.

Zheng said that the US is pushing China to take more actions by implying use of military action against North Korea.

"Of course, China will try to avoid a military conflict and friction with the US over North Korea," Zheng said, "but tensions on the Korean Peninsula were created by the US, which should take responsibility."

"The US should take a step back to lower the possibility of a military conflict," he said.
Missouri Lawmaker Faces Pressure to Resign After Posting 'I Hope Trump is Assassinated' on Facebook
August 18, 2017 at 9:18 AM

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2014, file photo, Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal speaks on the Senate floor in Jefferson City, Mo.

By The Washington Post

A Missouri lawmaker started the day by making a comment on Facebook that would soon lead to calls for her resignation and even catch the attention of the Secret Service.

Two days after President Donald Trump once again blamed "both sides" for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Democratic state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal went on her personal Facebook page Thursday morning to vent.

"I put up a statement saying, 'I really hate Trump. He's causing trauma and nightmares.' That was my original post," she told the Kansas City Star.

The Facebook post received many responses, Chappelle-Nadal said, and to one she replied, "I hope Trump is assassinated!"

She would later explain that she didn't actually wish harm to come to Trump but wrote it out of frustration.

"I didn't mean what I put up. Absolutely not," Chappelle-Nadal told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It was in response to the concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis."

"There are people who are afraid of white supremacists," she added. "There are people who are having nightmares. There are people who are afraid of going out in the streets. It's worse than even Ferguson."

Though she quickly deleted the comment, an image of the statement would soon circulate online.

Much like when comedian Kathy Griffin released a video and photo of her holding a mask made in the image of Trump's bloody severed head, a backlash soon came, much of it from other Democrats in the state.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., released a statement condemning the remark and saying Chappelle-Nadal should resign.

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., said that, "(C)alling for the assassination of the President is a federal crime. . . . (She is) an embarrassment to our state," according to the Post-Dispatch.

Calls for her resignation came from Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and Missouri's Democratic Party chairman, Stephen Webber, while a statement by Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh said that, "There is too much rancor and hate in today's political discourse, and Sen. Chappelle-Nadal should be ashamed of herself for adding her voice to this toxic environment."

The Secret Service said it is "looking into the comments," adding that all threats made against the president, vice president and other protected persons are investigated, whether the threats are direct, implied or made in passing, according to the Associated Press.

Chappelle-Nadal, who joined the state Senate in 2010, told the AP that while she should not have posted the comment, she was expressing her right to free speech.

Trump's comments about Charlottesville "make it easier for racists to be racists," she told the Star. "As long as I have a voice, I'm going to talk about the damage (Trump) is creating in this nation."

She has also refused calls to resign from her fellow Democrats, with whom she has clashed in the past.

Chappelle-Nadal had likened those looking to hand control of the St. Louis police force from the state to local authorities to "house slaves," according to the Post Dispatch. In 2014, she criticized the response of former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to unrest in Ferguson, at one point tweeting the governor, "I want a public apology for the Missouri Hwy Patrol excessively tear gassing a Senator & her constituents for 3 hrs 1st night!"

Chappelle-Nadal did not immediate respond to requests for comment.

She was, however, active on Twitter Thursday evening, retweeting those who supported her and then reiterating that she would not resign.

"I am not resigning. When POC are respected by this WH & they are willing to do real work, I'll sit down with them. People are traumatized!
Durham Councilman Asked Sheriff Not to Charge Activists With Felonies Over ‘Hunk of Junk Metal’
AUGUST 16, 2017 5:30 PM

A Durham City Councilman and an UNC-Chapel Hill law professor have questioned whether those arrested in connection with the toppling of the Durham County Confederate memorial should face felony charges.

City Councilman Charlie Reece said he asked Sheriff Mike Andrews not to press felony charges against the accused, and UNC Chapel Hill-School of Law Professor Joseph Kennedy said he too questions the basis of the felony charges.

After Andrews’ news conference Tuesday, but before anyone had been arrested, Reece said he approached the sheriff to thank him for how deputies handled the Monday night protest. Reece also asked Andrews to reconsider his approach to charging people with felonies.

At the press conference, Andrews said he would pursue felony charges and added, “Let me be clear, no one is getting away with what happened.”

Reece, a former state prosecutor, acknowledges he has no jurisdiction relating to the monument, which stood on Durham County property.

“It’s still my moral obligation to appeal to you as a member of the community not to do this to these people,” Reece said he told Andrews.

The four activists arrested as of Wednesday afternoon have been charged with two misdemeanors – disorderly conduct by injury of a statue, damage to real property – and two felonies – participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where there is property demand in excess of $1,500.

Reece questioned whether the statue, which he called a “hunk of junk metal,” was worth $1,500.

Reece said Andrews told him that would be up to District Attorney Roger Echols.

Reece then contacted Echols, who told Reece “he was not expecting the sheriff to charge these folks with felonies,” Reece said.

Echols then told Reece he will review the evidence applicable to each person and decide how to proceed, Reece said.

Tamara Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the office notified Echols’ office before making the arrests.

“We can confirm that our legal adviser made the District Attorney’s Office aware of pending felony charges before the warrants were obtained,” she said.

Law prof weighs in

Kennedy, the UNC law professor, said the N.C. general statute from which the activists’ felony charges stem, defines a riot as requiring both disorderly conduct and violence, and Kennedy questions what acts of violence, if any, the protesters committed.

Under state law, a riot is defined as “a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons which by disorderly and violent conduct, or the imminent threat of disorderly and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property.”

Kennedy is a professor of criminal law.

“Disorderly conduct is specifically defined in another statute as including the damaging or defacing of public monuments,” Kennedy said. “Violence is not defined in the statute. Violence would seem however, to refer to some sort of force against people.”

The harming – defacing or damaging – of a public monument is only disorderly conduct, Kennedy said.

“When the North Carolina legislature chose to define riot, they specifically chose to include ‘disorderly conduct’ and ‘violence,’” Kennedy said. “It makes sense that you would distinguish a felony riot from misdemeanor riot, in part, because you are willing to use force against other people.”

Even outside a courtroom, Kennedy said, a group of people gathered together solely to damage “something,” is a group of people commonly perceived as vandals – not rioters.

“That’s vandalism. That’s destruction of property, and that’s disorderly,” Kennedy said. “But it’s not a felony riot.”

To simplify his thought process, Kennedy described the following scenario: “There is a crowd of people and they are saying ‘Yes, we are going to tear this monument down,’ and if there are no people in opposition saying that they shouldn’t tear it down, it would be hard to prove a riot,” Kennedy said, adding: “Because, it would be hard to prove an intent to use force against anyone else.”

Kennedy believes prosecutors will have to prove a use or intent of violence – that goes above and beyond citizens’ First Amendment right to use strong language expressing political objectives – for the accused activists to be convicted of felony charges.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Protesters Pack Durham Courthouse as More Vandalism Surfaces
Dante Emmanuel Strobino, left, chants with Jason Bowers, center, and Kate Bowers, before a protest outside the Durham County Jail where many lined up to "symbolically" turn themselves in for the toppling of the Durham County confederate statue during a Monday protest, but officials at the jail, where the magistrate's office is located, blocked their entry into the buildings, on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Durham, NC. Protesters then supported Strobino, and three others, who then made their first court appearance for being arrested Wednesday for the vandalism. (Casey Toth/The Herald-Sun via AP)

By JONATHAN DREW | The Associated Press
August 17, 2017 at 11:38 am

DURHAM, N.C. — Dozens of demonstrators packed a North Carolina courthouse on Thursday to support people arrested for toppling a Confederate statue, while a monument to Gen. Robert E. Lee was vandalized nearby at Duke University.

The rally at Durham’s jail and court complex began with 100 protesters marching to symbolically surrender to deputies for the toppling of the statue. Four protesters were arrested on outstanding warrants related to the protest that took down the bronze Confederate soldier on Monday. That brought the total number of people arrested in the incident to eight.

At least a dozen others who tried to enter the jail were turned away by deputies who checked their names in a computer and found no warrants.

“I feel a lot of support behind me. I feel powerful. I’m glad that I’m here,” said Elena Everett, who did have an outstanding warrant and turned herself in. “I think everyone needs to be involved in removing symbols of racism from public spaces.”

Several miles away, Duke officials discovered early Thursday that the carved limestone likeness of Lee had been defaced. The statue in the entryway to Duke Chapel had scuff marks on its face and damage to its nose. Lee is one of 10 historical and religious figures depicted there, including Thomas Jefferson.

Duke was reviewing video footage from outside the chapel and hadn’t determined who was responsible.

Duke President Vincent E. Price issued a statement saying he had already been meeting with members of the Duke community to discuss how to deal with strong reactions to the statue.

“For an individual or group of individuals to take matters into their own hands and vandalize a house of worship undermines the right … of every Duke student and employee to participate fully in university life,” he said.

The statues at Duke and in downtown Durham are among several vandalized around North Carolina amid a debate on race stoked by a violent rally in Virginia over the weekend organized by white nationalists. Statues in Wilmington were defaced this week with paint.

The nearly century-old statue of a bronze Confederate soldier in downtown Durham came down Monday night after protesters climbed a ladder, attached a rope and yanked it off its pedestal.

Along with Everett, Aaron Caldwell, Taylor Alexander Jun Cook and Raul Mauro Arce Jimenez turned themselves in Thursday and were arrested. All face felony rioting charges along with misdemeanor counts of damaging property. Investigators say more people could be charged.

While the latest arrests were being processed, dozens filled the hallway in the adjacent courthouse outside a hearing for protesters arrested earlier in the week. They weren’t allowed in the courtroom because the sheriff said there were fire safety concerns.

Scott Holmes, a lawyer representing the protesters, said afterward that the felony rioting charges are too harsh and a bad fit for what happened Monday. He hopes that the district attorney will drop some or all of the counts.

“What happened was not a riot. It was a celebratory mood; there was no violence against people,” said Holmes, who also teaches law at North Carolina Central University. “The deputies who were there felt no need to intervene to protect any persons, and so at most this is an act of vandalism.”
4 Surrender in Toppling of Confederate Statue in North Carolina
Jonathan M. Katz
Aug. 17, 2017
New York Times

The defaced statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee at the Duke Chapel in Durham. Vincent E. Price, president of Duke, said in a statement that he had met with members of the university community to discuss how to deal with strong reactions to the statue. Credit Bernard Thomas/Herald-Sun, via Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. — Demonstrators facing arrest in the toppling of a Confederate statue surrendered to the sheriff in this central North Carolina city on Thursday in a show of solidarity with four others who were taken into custody this week.

Dozens of protesters in black T-shirts converged on the Durham County Justice Center before 9 a.m., holding signs reading “Drop the charges” and “Tear down white supremacy.”

Four protesters, who learned that warrants had been issued in their names, then stepped forward and were taken into custody as other demonstrators chanted, “Thank you; we love you.”

“We all wanted and needed that monument gone, and I think that the act of collectively self-surrendering was both a way to show solidarity with each other and show that we are a unified community,” said Qasima Wideman, a member of the Workers World Party, which helped organize a Monday protest in which the statue was toppled.

All eight arrested protesters face felony charges of participation in a riot and inciting others to riot, as well as misdemeanor charges of property damage and defacing a public monument, a spokeswoman for the Durham County Sheriff’s Department, Tamara Gibbs, said. More arrests are possible.

The protest on Monday was held to oppose white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., last week. On Monday, demonstrators pulled a statue of a secessionist soldier off its base in front of the old county courthouse in Durham.

The hollow metal statue had stood there since 1924 — 59 years after the largest contingent of Confederate troops in the Civil War surrendered just outside Durham — when the United Daughters of the Confederacy bought it from a Georgia manufacturer. It crumpled immediately on impact with the ground.

The statue is being stored in a county warehouse, The Herald-Sun newspaper reported.

When videos of the statue being toppled gained national attention, the Durham County sheriff, Michael D. Andrews, was criticized for not having intervened.

The sheriff’s office was peppered with emails, phone calls and social media messages demanding arrests.

In a video interview on Tuesday with The Charlotte Observer, leaders of a local Ku Klux Klan group criticized Durham law enforcement for not acting. “We’re going to go down there,” said Justin Moore, a grand dragon for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Later that day, at an impassioned news conference, Sheriff Andrews said: “Durham is my home. I am not an outsider looking in.” He continued: “Some would say my deputies did nothing. Let me be very clear: Don’t mistake restraint for inaction.”

Hours later, deputies arrested Takiya Thompson, 22, a North Carolina Central University student and a member of the Workers World Party, a self-described revolutionary socialist organization, after a news conference in which she talked about climbing the statue to help bring it down.

Three other organizers — Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35; Ngoc Loan Tran, 24; and Peter Gull Gilbert, 39 — were arrested on Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office and the Durham Police Department have been facing regular protests in this largely liberal city, which has an influential black community and a black mayor, over their treatment of prisoners and the deaths of black and Latino people in their custody.

Also on Thursday, officials at Duke University, in Durham, announced that someone had broken the nose off a statue of Robert E. Lee, one of 10 figures carved at the entrance of the campus’s landmark Methodist chapel.
8 Now Face Charges in Toppling of Confederate Statue in Durham
AUGUST 17, 2017 7:47 AM

Four activists turned themselves in Thursday, bringing to eight the number of people charged in the toppling of the Confederate statue in downtown Durham on Monday.

Taylor Alexander Jun Cook, 24, turned himself in Thursday afternoon.

Three others – Raul Mauro Arce Jimenez, 26, of Durham; Elena Everett, 37, of Durham; and Aaron Caldwell, 24, of Raleigh surrendered at the Durham County magistrate’s office Thursday morning.

All four faced warrants charging them with three misdemeanors – disorderly conduct by injury of a statue, damage to real property valued at more than $200, and damage to real property – and two counts of felony inciting a riot to cause property damage in excess of $1,500.

About 100 people gathered outside the Durham County courthouse on Dillard Street around 8 a.m. Thursday and walked down the street to the jail to support those charged.

“Today means unity. Today means strength. Today means community,” Jimenez said. “And today means we won’t stop this fight against racism and bigotry and white supremacists,.”

Initially activists announced that people facing warrants would turn themselves, along with others who planned to surrender in solidarity with them.

“Dozens are here to take responsibility for the removal of that statue, which should make it clear that there are so many of us that support what happened,” said Serena Sebring, a regional organizer with Southerners on New Ground who was not at Monday’s protest.

“All us of are willing to share the cost of our freedom,” she said. “All of us are here, and we are willing to take whatever responsibility, whatever consequences come along with the removal of that statue.”

Lamont Lilly, who ran for vice president in 2016 on the Workers World Party ticket, called for the removal of Confederate monuments across the country, ending “white supremacy” and “structural racism” in judicial institutions, and supporting those who have been arrested, including Takiyah Thompson.

Thompson, who was arrested Tuesday, is a member of Workers World Party and a student at N.C. Central University. She climbed a ladder leaning against the Durham County monument Monday night, and slipped a yellow strap over the brass Confederate soldier standing on top.

The crowd pulled the strap, and the soldier tumbled down, the head collapsing on itself. Protesters cheered and started kicking it.

The plan for others to symbolically surrender to authorities Thursday was thwarted when officials at the jail, where the magistrate’s office is located, blocked their entry into the building.

The activists then walked back to the courthouse to attend a 9 a.m. hearing for the three people arrested Wednesday.

Peter Gull Gilbert, 36, Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, and Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, all of Durham, walked into the courtroom with their lawyer Scott Holmes, a private attorney and law professor at N.C. Central University.

As they walked down the courthouse hall, they passed a long line of activists outside courtroom 4D. Deputies only let in reporters and those on the court calendar.

Ruby Sinreich was one of many questioning why they weren’t allowed to enter the court.

“I am a citizen of Durham, and I should be allowed to observe what is happening,” Sinreich said.

The Durham County Fire Marshal determined the crowd posed a security risk and restricted entry to defendants on the court docket and employees, the Sheriff’s Office said.

All of those arrested were released on unsecured $10,000 bonds, which means they didn’t have to put money up to be released. The Durham Solidarity Center is raising money to pay for potential bail and other related fees for activists.

The judge on Wednesday gave the first three people who were arrested a court date of Sept. 12.

After the court hearing, activists walked back to the jail to wait for those who had turned themselves in Thursday morning. Reporters and cameras circled them.

“They processed us, we received our paperwork, and now we have court tomorrow,” Everett said.

Charges questioned

City Councilman Charlie Reece has said he asked Sheriff Mike Andrews not to press felony charges against the accused, and UNC Chapel Hill School of Law Professor Joseph Kennedy said he too questions the basis of the felony charges.

The Sheriff’s Office says at least one estimate to repair the statue exceeds $130,000, said spokeswoman Tamara Gibbs.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, nearly 3,700 people had signed an online petition demanding that the Sheriff’s Office drop all current and potential future charges.

"The charges reflect a deeply racist and white supremacist system," says second protester arrested.

Loan Tran describes being arrested Wednesday, Aug. 16 on four charges related to the toppling of a Durham County Confederate memorial.

Virginia Bridges
Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges
4 More Charged for Durham Confederate Statue Vandalism; 8 Total Arrests Made
4:13 p.m. today

DURHAM, N.C. — Four more people were arrested and charged Thursday for vandalizing a Confederate statue earlier this week, bringing the total number of arrests to eight.

Three of the new arrests came during a morning rally where protesters dressed all in black gathered at the Durham courthouse in support of the people charged earlier in the case. Speakers at the rally said they had gathered to get the Durham County Sheriff's Office to drop the charges and to advocate for the removal of all Confederate statues.

Authorities on Thursday morning charged Aaron Alexander Caldwell, 24, Raul Mauro Arce Jimenez, 26, and Elena Everett, 36.

On Thursday afternoon, Taylor Alexander Jun Cook, 24, surrendered to the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

Everett said that she does not have any regrets about her involvement in vandalizing the statue, despite the charges against her.

"The lawmakers in North Carolina have made it impossible to take those things down legally. Communities have the right to remove symbols of racism and white supremacy from their community," Everett said. "I hope people all across the south look at Durham as an example."

Other protesters tried to surrender for the destruction of the statue, the sheriff's office said, but authorities turned them away if they didn't have an arrest warrant.

Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement that the protesters were welcome if they obtained a permit and remained peaceful.

“The Sheriff’s Office supports the right to peaceable assembly," Andrews said. "As the custodian of the courthouse, the safety and security of visitors and employees will remain a top priority for the Sheriff’s Office. We have taken steps to ensure the daily operation of the courthouse can proceed without disruption. I expect participants in the planned rally to obtain a permit and engage in a peaceful demonstration. My Agency will continue to maintain the safety and security of the building.”

Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, and Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, both of Durham, were arrested at the Durham County Courthouse on Wednesday, where Takiyah Fatima Thompson, who climbed the statue, was making her first appearance after she was arrested Tuesday. Peter Hull Gilbert, 39, also of Durham, was arrested later Wednesday afternoon.

Tran said a large crowd turned out at the court house Thursday "to send a message to the sheriff's department, to send a message to the county commissioners that if you target some of us for tearing down white supremacy, you'll have to arrest us all."

Tran, Strobino and Gilbert appeared in court Thursday morning and were represented pro bono by attorney Scott Holmes, who said the sheriff's actions against those charged are out of line and noted that the statue was taken down without violence.

"The folks who have been charged with riot have been overcharged," Holmes said. "I'm also concerned that the sheriff has used search warrants to ransack the homes of people involved for an act of vandalism and not violence. It seems to be another indication of overreaching or overcharging."

All eight people are charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, which are both misdemeanors, and participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where property damage exceeds $1,500, which are both felonies.

Despite the charges, all are standing by their actions.

"Durham will not be targeted into submission. We are organized, we are strong, we are steadfast and we will keep fighting until white supremacy is torn down in this country and all around the world," Tran said.

Caldwell, Jimenez and Everett are all expected to appear in court Friday and a similar crowd is expected to protest outside the courthouse.
Eight People Have Been Arrested for Pulling Down Durham’s Confederate Statue—There May Be More
AUG. 17, 2017 6:51 PM

On August 14, protesters toppled the statue of a uniformed Confederate soldier that stood in front of the old courthouse in Durham, North Carolina. Fabian Radulescu/ZUMA

In the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, images of Confederate monuments being pulled from their platforms have taken off on social media. But no image stands out as strongly as that of the statue of a Confederate solider in Durham, North Carolina, collapsed in a crumpled heap after being torn down by a group of protesters on Monday. Now, days after the monument was ripped from its base, several protesters are facing charges, and local law enforcement says that more arrests could be on the way.

Eight arrests already have been made in connection to the destruction of the 15-foot monument dedicated to “the boys who wore the gray,” which has stood in front of the former Durham Courthouse for some 90 years. Takiyah Thompson, the person who tied a rope around the bronze figure that was then used to pull it down, told Democracy Now the day after her arrest that “the statue is a symbol of white nationalism.” She later added that “anything that emboldens those people and anything that gives those people pride needs to be crushed.”

On Tuesday, Thompson a 22-year-old student at the historically black North Carolina Central University spoke at a press conference led by the Workers World Party, one of the protest organizers and a group dedicated to “fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world.”

“The statue is where it belongs—it needs to be in the garbage,” Thompson said to those gathered, who demanded that all charges against those who toppled the statue be dropped. “Every Confederate statue and every vestige of white supremacy has to go.” After she spoke, Thompson was arrested by the Durham Sheriff’s Department and released that evening.

Two more protesters, identified in news reports as Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, and Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, were arrested Wednesday morning at the Durham courthouse. A fourth person, Peter Gilbert, 39, was arrested later that day. Four additional arrests were made Thursday morning after a large group of activists and local supporters descended on the Durham courthouse to show their support for those who have been arrested, and many others lined up to turn themselves in to authorities in a show of solidarity.

According to a statement issued today by the Durham Sheriff’s Department, those who were arrested have been charged with felonies for inciting a riot and participating in a riot with damage in excess of $1,500, as well as three misdemeanors: injury to personal property, injury to real property, and the defacement of a public monument. Activists have been encouraging people to donate to a legal fund set up to assist those who have been arrested and are asking that people call the sheriff’s office and demand that the charges against the protesters be dropped. Their cause may have support among some elected officials. Durham City Council member Charlie Reece told a reporter on Thursday that he thought the felony charges were unwarranted.

Those arrested on Thursday will appear in court Friday morning, when more protests are expected. Thompson, Tran, Strobino, and Gilbert will appear in court again in September.

Reports have noted that law enforcement was present at Monday’s protest and took videos, which are now being used to identify protesters. A spokeswoman for the department confirmed this in an emailed statement to Mother Jones, adding that investigators are also using “photos, and tips from the community.” A news release issued on Thursday says that “additional arrests are possible.”

In many ways, Monday’s protest was a direct response to the turbulent events in Charlottesville. But local organizers describe the event as part of a broader movement that activists—many of them young queer and trans people of color—have advanced in the region. Several have previously protested police violence, the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, and the passage of HB2, a controversial North Carolina law that prevented counties and cities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances and barred transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity. “We were making a demand and standing up not only to make sure that these visible monuments of white supremacy be removed, but also the less visible institutions and structures that create white supremacy,” Qasima “Q” Wideman, an activist and Workers World Party member who attended Monday’s demonstration, tells Mother Jones.                                            
Confederate statues have long been a point of contention in North Carolina, where more than 95 monuments honor the Confederacy, and a law prevents them from being removed without an act of the state Legislature. One of the most prominent has been Silent Sam, a statue that has stood on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus since 1913 and has faced a significant amount of attention in recent years. (Activists covered the statue with a black hood during a Sunday protest.) The law was passed in 2015, shortly after a white supremacist killed nine black parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, who had previously tweeted that “there’s a better way to remove these monuments,” said earlier this week that the law should be repealed and that the monuments “should come down.”

“We showed Gov. Roy Cooper that, if he didn’t take action, we would,” Tran told reporters shortly after being released Wednesday. “So, to Roy Cooper, we say, ‘You’re welcome,’ because it wasn’t his original idea to take down these statues.”

Wideman agrees, “I think we pulled it off a lot more cheaply than he would have.”
Fourth Person Charged in Destruction of Durham Confederate Statue
Out of jail, protesters say they won't be deterred

By Gloria Rodriguez
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 06:39PM

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- The Durham County Sheriff's Office says a fourth person is charged in the destruction of a Durham Confederate statue.

Peter Gull Gilbert, 39, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon. Two others - identified as 35-year-old Dante Emmanuel Strobino and 24-year-old Ngoc Loan Tran - were arrested outside a court hearing for 22-year-old Takiyah Thompson Wednesday morning.

Thompson was taken into custody shortly after protesters held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at North Carolina Central University. Thompson is seen in video climbing a ladder to the top of the statue at Monday's protest to tie a rope around its neck before the crowd tore it down.

The Communist-platform Workers World Party Durham chapter - which was one of the organizers of Monday's protest - said it has set up a legal defense fund to help fight her case in court.

The protesters have also called for the dropping of any charges related to the incident.

"The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue," said Thompson, a member of the Workers World Party and a student at N.C. Central University. "We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted."

Tran also spoke with ABC11 after her arrest.

"More and more each day, we know what side the people are on - the people are on the side of freedom and justice and liberation," said Tran. "And the folks who are arresting people, the folks who are brutalizing people, the folks who are running this jail and complying with this right to premise the system are on the wrong side of history."

Durham County officials called for a "respectful and productive" dialogue on race issues Tuesday following the destruction the statue. At a news conference, Durham County manager Wendell Davis called pulling the statue down "unlawful and inappropriate."

As the state has a law mandating the protection of Confederate monuments, Davis said county officials will be consulting with state officials about what to do with the heavily damaged monument.

Also at Tuesday's news conference, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews addressed criticism that his officers did not intervene as the statue was pulled down. He said using pepper spray was considered, but leaders decided on restraint to avoid injuries and further chaos.

"Last night we witnessed a blatant violation of the law. No one is getting away with damaging the Confederate statue. We will pursue felony charges," he said.

However, Tran said they won't back down.

"We refuse to back down, this is clearly intimidation. They want to isolate us, they want to instill fear, but we're organizing until all of this gets torn down."
In 1965, the City of Charlottesville Demolished a Thriving Black Neighborhood
The razing of Vinegar Hill displaced families and dissolved the community

By Laura Smith
Time Line

On a Saturday morning in 1965, movers came to the Johnson home. Kathy Johnson and her three-year-old sister listened at the breakfast table, as their mother, Elsie, gave the movers instructions. The family was heartbroken. They didn’t want to leave their modest, two-story clapboard home, which often smelled of Elsie’s famous dinner rolls. But the house was slated to be bulldozed by the city of Charlottesville, as were 139 other black families’ homes, 30 black-owned businesses, and a church in the Vinegar Hill neighborhood. This “urban renewal project” would be done in the name of “progress.”

But as Mindy Thompson Fullilove, a research psychiatrist studying the effect of so-called urban renewal projects on black communities, would later ask, “Progress for whom?” It certainly wasn’t for residents of Charlottesville’s largest black neighborhood, or any of the other more than 800 black communities that had already been displaced by 1962.

Stories differ on how Vinegar Hill got its name. Some suggest that it originated from the time when a vinegar keg fell off a horse cart, leaving behind a pungent odor. Former slaves began settling there after the Civil War, hopeful that home ownership would guarantee progress for them and their families. During Jim Crow years, the neighborhood burgeoned into a bustling community of black business owners serving black clients. It was, according to the documentary on the neighborhood, That World is Gone, a hub for Charlottesville’s black social life. There was a school, insurance agencies, restaurants, clothing and drug stores, a barber shop, a fish market, a tailor, and a popular jazz nightclub, among many other venues. A white resident would later remark that the neighborhood wasn’t “terribly beautiful, but those were good sturdy businesses.”

Looking east on Main Street from the base of Vinegar Hill, 1930s. (Charlottesville DTM)
In 1954, Charlottesville was growing. Vinegar Hill’s land was valuable. Comprising about 20 acres, the neighborhood fell between the downtown shopping district and the University of Virginia’s campus — the city’s crown jewels. The city council passed a measure that allowed “unsanitary and unsafe” houses to be taken over by a newly established housing authority. Newspaper articles ran arguing that demolishing Vinegar Hill would make way for better shops and apartments, and wider streets. In 1964, it was announced that the entire neighborhood would be razed.

Many of the Vinegar Hill residents were blocked from voting on their own homes destruction because of a hefty poll tax. A newspaper from the time read, “Vinegar Hill is related closely with the rest of the downtown Charlottesville area which seriously needs room for expansion.” Kathy’s father met with residents to try to halt the razing, but the people he talked to seemed too worn out, or they just didn’t know how to fight city hall. In 1965, bulldozers rumbled down the street, leveling homes into piles of rubble. It looked like the aftermath of a tornado.

The federal government had rules about this though, so the city of Charlottesville had to be careful.

They were required to provide public housing for those who had been displaced if the residents were in need. But one displaced resident recalled that by 1985, the public housing had entirely deteriorated. And as the film points out, swapping a privately owned stand-alone house for a unit in a multi-family public housing complex is not a fair trade.

The trauma of losing their community and homes was enormous and the financial toll would follow them for the rest of their lives. As Mindy Thomas Fullilove wrote in the Journal of Urban Health, such relocations “caused a profound shift in the political and social engagement of the African American community.” By dismantling their homes, businesses, and gathering places, the city of Charlottesville left black families isolated and alienated. Social and political institutions withered. Dispersed, they could not organize in their interests or support one another on a wider scale.

When looked at from this perspective, “urban renewal projects” are more palatable branding for what is really the seizure of black-owned property and the hamstringing of black communities. Kathy Johnson reported that her friends and siblings moved away from Charlottesville. “There are just no opportunities for African American people,” she said. As James Robert Saunders and Renae Nadine wrote in their book, Urban Renewal and the End of Black Culture in Charlottesville, Virginia, Vinegar Hill marked “an era of black prosperity that neither hitherto nor henceforth has been achieved by the black citizens of Charlottesville.”

Despite all the talk about better stores and new apartment buildings, after Vinegar Hill was demolished, the land remained empty for years. The children who lived there would visit the empty lots where their houses used to be. “It was the eeriest,” one said. Eventually, much of the property would become parking lots. While many argued that that the real purpose of razing Vinegar Hill was to free the flow of traffic between the downtown mall and UVA, the city’s failure to do anything meaningful with the land makes it hard to not to see move as the deliberate disintegration of a thriving black community.
Urgent Situation Unfolding in Durham - Calls, Donations, Signatures Needed

After a courageous demonstration that toppled a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina the Durham County government has decided to side with white supremacists and their legacy.

The Durham County Sheriffs have opened a campaign of repression against those involved in this heroic action - arresting activists on serious charges, raiding organizers' homes, and creating a climate of intimidation. We need your help now to defend community activists and let the state know we won't back down!

Here’s what you can do:
Donate to the Durham Solidarity Bond Fund to help with legal fees

Call the DA (919-808-3010, press 4) - demand they drop the charges against Takiyah Thompson, Loan Tran, and Dante Strobino and that they cease any further attempts to repress or arrest anti-racist activists

Sign and share this community petition to demand the charges against Takiyah, Loan, and Dante are dropped, removal of all Confederate monuments, and to express solidarity with those involved with the action in Durham

Call the Sheriff and  Durham County Commissioners and let them know you support the will of the people and demand no additional charges are filed:

Sheriff: Michael D. Andrews (919)-560-0853

Wendy Jacobs: (919) 418-3169

Brenda Howerton: (919) 544-4160

James Hill: (919) 536-8820

Ellen Reckhow: (919) 383-3883

Heidi Carter: (919) 225-4268


It has been a momentous few days across the South in the struggle against white supremacy.

Like many, we were horrified by the murder of Heather Heyer by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. But we were equally inspired by the outpouring of resistance of many thousands to shut down the “Unite the Right” rally there that Heather was a part of, and to resist the growing tide of racism and white supremacy in this country. The events in Charlottesville have set off a powerful wave of resistance and solidarity across the country in its wake.

On Monday August 14, hundreds of people gathered in Durham, North Carolina for a demonstration to express solidarity with Charlottesville and the struggle against white supremacy. They gathered outside the Durham County Courthouse, where a monument to the Confederacy stands tall right outside the main entrance. That is - until they took matters into their own hands.

In a righteous display of people power, the demonstration toppled the monument.Durham County responded by targeting and arresting freedom fighters involved in the action.

Durham sheriffs arrested freedom fighter Takiyah Thompson at a press conference by community anti-racist activists the following day. At Takiyah's court hearing this morning - Wednesday, August 16 - police arrested Loan Tran and Dante Strobino. They have further indicated that they will attempt to press more charges against people involved in the action. We will not allow this to intimidate the peoples’ will to tear every monument to white supremacy down!

3 More Protesters Arrested, Charged With Destroying Durham Confederate Monument
By CBS North Carolina
August 16, 2017, 5:51 pm

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Three people were arrested Wednesday in Durham in connection with the toppling of a Confederate statue outside the old Durham County courthouse Monday evening.

The first person arrested and charged in the incident, 22-year-old Takiyah Fatima Thompson, made her first court appearance Wednesday morning.

Thompson was arrested Tuesday after the sheriff’s office said she helped destroy the near century-old monument.

Thompson was charged with:

Disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II Misdemeanor)
Damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I Misdemeanor)
Participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony)
Inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony)
Thompson, who had a lawyer with her, was quiet during her appearance. The judge ordered Thompson to come back to Durham County court on Sept. 12.

While Thompson was waiting for the judge to call her name, two people who were sitting in the courtroom were arrested.

Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, and Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, both of Durham, were arrested.

Both chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” as they were being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

According to the sheriff’s office, Strobino and Tran were both charged with the same crimes as Thompson:

Disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II Misdemeanor)
Damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I Misdemeanor)
Participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony)
Inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony)
Tran and Strobino had both posted their $10,000 bond by 11:15 a.m.

Following their release, Tran and Strobino spoke with CBS North Carolina.

“The will of the people in Durham, Charlottesville, and across the country is that we need to tear down these Confederate monuments. We need to tear down every prestige of white supremacy,” Tran said. “I think clearly in Durham we showed Gov. Roy Cooper that if he didn’t take action, then we would. So to Roy Cooper, we say you’re welcome, because it wasn’t his original idea.”

Strobino claimed they are all innocent.

“We’re innocent. We demand the charges be dropped. The county and the district attorney should do the right thing and drop the charges,” he said.

Thompson said that she, along with the others involved in Monday’s action, will keep organizing and continue their fight to get all the statues torn down.

“There’s revolutions taking place all throughout the country right now and the revolution won’t be stopped,” she said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the Durham County Sheriff’s Office announced a fourth arrest in the case. Peter Gilbert, 39, of Durham, has been arrested and charged with the same four charges that Tran, Strobino and Thompson are facing.

The sheriff’s office said they’re continuing to search for others who participated in the destruction of the statue and more arrests are expected.