In Iran, authorities say they’ve arrested 17 Iranian citizens and charged them with being CIA-trained spies for the United States. Iranian media reports some have already been executed.
This comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf continued to mount over the weekend following Iran’s seizure of a British oil tanker and its 23 crew members Friday. Iran said it seized the tanker in retaliation for the British impounding of an Iranian tanker earlier this month off the coast of Gibraltar. The Iranian National Guard released video Sunday showing the vessel flying an Iranian flag. Britain says Iran forced the Stena Impero out of international waters and rerouted the tanker into Iranian territory. Audio released Sunday appears to show an Iranian official directing the vessel to change course.
Iranian official: “Stena Impero, Stena Impero, I say again my last: You are ordered, change your course to 360, 360 degrees, immediately. If you obey, you will be safe. Over.”
Britain classified Iran’s capture of the tanker as a “hostile act.” Today Prime Minister Theresa May, who is expected to leave office on Wednesday, is holding emergency Cabinet meetings.
This comes as Iran continues to deny President Trump’s claim that the U.S. military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke out again against the harsh U.S. sanctions while at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, calling them “economic terrorism pure and simple.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has said U.S. troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend American interests from “emergent credible threats.” The Saudi kingdom has not hosted U.S. combat forces since 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld announced their withdrawal. We’ll have more on the latest in Iran after headlines.
President Trump is continuing his attacks on four progressive congresswomen of color after tweeting last weekend that they should go back to the “crime infested places from which they came.” He tweeted Sunday, “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country. They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!”
On Friday, Trump said that Congressmember Ilhan Omar is “lucky to be where she is.” He also praised his supporters who chanted “send her back” last week—referring to Omar, who is originally from Somalia—calling them “incredible patriots,” despite disavowing the racist chants just a day earlier. On Saturday, Trump retweeted a right-wing British media personality who praised his attacks on the congresswomen and his crowd of supporters. Katie Hopkins tweeted, “New Campaign slogan for #2020? ’Don’t love it? Leave it!’ Send her back is the new lock her up. Well done to #TeamTrump.” Hopkins has previously compared migrants to “cockroaches” and “feral humans.”
At a town hall Saturday, New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Trump.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “He’s been thinking this the entire time, but he’s been keeping it in here. And this week it went out here, when he started telling American citizens. Where are we going to go? We’re going to stay right here. That’s where we’re going to go. We’re not going anywhere.”
An intense heat wave that gripped much of the central and eastern U.S. over the weekend is easing today. One hundred fifty-seven million people were under a heat warning Saturday, as the heat index soared into the triple digits across the East Coast, reaching 110 degrees in the capital. Severe storms in the Midwest caused power outages for around half a million customers in Michigan. Last month was the hottest June ever recorded, and experts say July is on track to become the hottest month ever in recorded history. In the U.S., the number of days with a heat index of more than 100 degrees will more than double by 2050 due to climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
In Brooklyn, where tens of thousands of people also experienced power outages this weekend, a fire broke out at the Metropolitan Detention Center Friday as the stifling heat swept over the city. The nonprofit Brooklyn Defender Services warned that heat could make conditions at New York jails particularly unbearable and potentially dangerous as most prisoners do not have access to air conditioning or even fans. In related news, the warden of the Metropolitan Detention Center, Herman Quay, was recently promoted, five months after prisoners had to suffer freezing arctic conditions at the jail without heating.
Amid massive ongoing protests in Puerto Rico, Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced Sunday he was resigning as head of the ruling New Progressive Party and that he would not seek re-election next year. He stopped short of resigning as governor despite the demands of protesters, who will take to the streets again today in the largest demonstrations yet since a text message scandal rocked Puerto Rico a week and a half ago. A massive leak of text messages showed Governor Rosselló exchanging sexist, homophobic and profane text messages with government officials, calling former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito a “whore,” mocking victims of Hurricane Maria and joking about shooting San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. This is a protester in San Juan speaking Sunday.
Rafael Bernabe: “His resignation is inevitable. The question is whether he’s going to make us wait another week, another two weeks, or how many more weeks he’s going to force us to continue on the streets. But there’s no question of whether he’s going to have to resign; he has to resign, because Puerto Rico is hitting the streets, and Puerto Rico will continue to hit the streets. And once we get this governor out, we must continue the fight, because we still have to deal with the fiscal control board, the austerity policies, all the measures they want to impose on us to deal with this untenable debt. And we have to transfer this energy to those struggles.”
Boris Johnson is expected to become the new British prime minister this week, as Theresa May makes her exit Wednesday. The Conservative politician previously served as London mayor and foreign secretary. President Trump has called Johnson “a friend of mine” who would make an “excellent” leader.
In Hong Kong, police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters again took to the streets Sunday calling for an investigation into police abuses against protesters and the withdrawal of the contested extradition bill, alongside other pro-democracy reforms.
Late Sunday night, masked men stormed a subway station, attacking dozens of commuters, including many protesters returning home, as well as women and children. A reported 45 people were injured as the suspected gang members beat travelers with rods. Opposition leaders and organizers condemned Hong Kong police following the attack; one of the demonstration’s organizers said, “While the police were unnecessarily tear-gassing protesters … on the other side in Yuen Long there were real thugs chasing and beating passersby, journalists and lawmakers. This is outrageous.”
In the occupied Palestinian territories, hundreds of Israeli troops have begun demolishing homes in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Baher, a village at the West Bank/East Jerusalem border located close to the separation barrier with Israel. Dozens of families could be pushed out of their homes. Residents say Israel wants to build more illegal settlements on the land and is destroying structures that were built with permits from the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians have been protesting against the planned demolitions for years. U.N. officials called on Israeli authorities to halt the move last week, after the Israeli Supreme Court allowed the destruction to go ahead.
Back in the United States, Democrats are preparing to question former special counsel Robert Mueller Wednesday in two House committee hearings. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler spoke on Fox News Sunday.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler: “I think there is very substantial—well, the report presents very substantial evidence that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. And we have to present the—or, let Mueller present those facts to the American people, and then see where we go from there, because the administration must be held accountable, and no president can be above the law.”
Three white supremacists were sentenced to two to three years in prison Friday for committing violent acts, including kicking, choking and punching people at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as other rallies in California. The U.S. attorney in the case said, “They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression; instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies.” A fourth man is still due to be sentenced. The men belonged to the white supremacist group Rise Above Movement, which the attorney’s office said has since disbanded.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the Los Angeles Police Department sent a confidential informant to record meetings of the local chapter of Refuse Fascism, a political group that organized anti-Trump protests in 2017. The LAPD’s spying on the group became public as several members of Refuse Fascism are being charged for blocking a section of an L.A. freeway during protests. The police reportedly determined that the group posed no threat to the public, but civil rights groups say the LAPD may have overstepped in its surveillance. An attorney for the Southern California ACLU told the Times, “When you know that your investigation is going to infringe on core political rights that communities have, you have to be damn near certain that there is some criminal activity afoot.”
Independent senator and 2020 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled his “right to a secure retirement” plan Friday. The plan includes expanding Social Security; protecting pensions; guaranteeing housing, food assistance and care for seniors; and providing fully covered healthcare through Medicare for all. Sanders introduced the plan as he and 16 other Democratic hopefuls participated in the AARP presidential forums in Iowa over the past week and weekend.
And in Oklahoma, hundreds of immigrant rights and indigenous activists descended on Fort Sill Saturday, blocking the entrance to the site and shutting down freeway traffic for several hours. Activists are demanding the Trump administration and Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt halt plans to jail migrant children at Fort Sill, which was used to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II and has been called a “concentration camp.” Fort Sill was also once a prison for Native Americans. This is Daniela Melendez from United We Dream.
Daniela Melendez: “Fort Sill has a long history here in Oklahoma. It used to be a place where Native Americans were held after the Trail of Tears and also keeping them as, like, prisoners, basically. And also, Japanese Americans have also had a long history here, as they were also in detention camps during World War II. And now we’re seeing that Fort Sill is going to become a detention center for children of immigrants who are seeking asylum.”