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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

As soon as President Donald Trump said the words on Thursday, national security experts and many former military officers were immeidately denouncing them.

But it didn’t matter. The damage was already done.

Speaking — and mostly lying — about immigration in a White House speech on Thursday, Trump said that the military servicemembers being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to a non-threatening caravan of Central American migrants (who are still hundreds if not more miles from our country) should treat any travelers trying to throw rocks as if they have rifles.

In other words, he was saying — unlawfully — that the troops should shoot at the migrants. These dangerous and inflammatory words were denounced by, among others, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey.

But as multiple outlets reported Friday, other countries were listening. The Nigerian Army, in response, tweeted out the clip of Trump encouraging violence with the comment: “Please Watch and Make your Deductions.”

In light of a recent massacre — in which human rights activists say the Nigerian Army killed 45 peaceful protesters from the group Islamic Movement in Nigeria — this tweet was taken as a justification for state-based suppression of free speech. The Nigerian officials have denied the higher numbers of fatalities, placing the death count at six, but a Reuters reporter counted at least 20 bodies on the scene.

The use of Trump’s words to justify this kind of atrocity is the continuation of a troubling trend during his time in office. His embrace of authoritarian tactics and political violence appears to have emboldened strongmen leaders around the world. Previous reporting has shown how foreign authoritarians have cited Trump’s own language and behavior, including most prominently his attacks on the press, to quash dissent from their own brutal regimes.

Trump’s endorsement of lethal violence against migrants echoes his White House’s support for Israel’s brutal attacks on Palestinian protesters. Even after Israeli border guards killed dozens of protesters in May and wounded more than 1,000 others, the White House insisted that Israel didn’t deserve any criticism or have any responsibility for these senseless deaths — despite the fact that the border guards appeared to be at little real risk from the protesters, and videos showed Palestinians being shot at while running away from the guards or praying.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

 

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)