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HeadlinesAugust 02, 2023

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Trump Indicted over His Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Election

Aug 02, 2023

For the first time in U.S. history, a former president has been criminally charged with conspiring to overturn an election. On Tuesday, Donald Trump was indicted on four counts including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the civil rights of citizens — the right of their vote to be counted. The indictment centers on Trump’s efforts to stay in office after Joe Biden defeated him in November 2020.

Trump, who is the Republican front-runner in the 2024 race, now faces two federal indictments as well as a state indictment, a criminal case in New York. No other U.S. president has ever been indicted before. Trump also faces a possible fourth indictment in Georgia for election interference. This is special counsel Jack Smith speaking Tuesday.

Jack Smith: “The attack on our nation’s Capitol on January 6th, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy. As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government, the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.”

Trump’s lawyer John Lauro decried the indictment as an “attack on free speech and political advocacy.”
The 45-page indictment also references six unnamed co-conspirators. It is believed the list includes four of Trump’s lawyers — Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro — as well as Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official.

Trump’s trial has been assigned to District Judge Tanya Chutkan. She is an Obama appointee who has already overseen numerous cases linked to the January 6 insurrection — often sentencing defendants to longer terms than prosecutors sought. We’ll have more on the historic indictment after headlines.

Michigan Prosecutors Charge 2 Trump Allies for Tampering with Voting Machines in 2020

Aug 02, 2023

Prosecutors in Michigan have charged two Trump allies over their attempts to illegally access and tamper with voting machines following the 2020 election. Matthew DePerno unsuccessfully ran as a Republican candidate to become Michigan’s attorney general last year. Daire Rendon is a former Republican state representative. They were both arraigned Tuesday and are due back in court next month.

ACLU Sues FBI, Colorado Springs Police for Surveillance of Activists During 2020 Uprising

Aug 02, 2023

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has sued the FBI, the Colorado Springs Police Department and local officers for illegally searching the private Facebook messages of a local activist and the Chinook Center, a community organizing hub in Colorado Springs. The police also accessed the activist’s cellphone, laptop and external hard drives. This comes after revelations the FBI had infiltrated the Chinook Center by sending an undercover Colorado Springs detective to volunteer at the center in 2020. This was part of a broader FBI effort to infiltrate racial justice groups in Colorado after the police killing of George Floyd.

U.S. Judge OKs Trial for Lawsuit Brought by Abu Ghraib Torture Survivors

Aug 02, 2023

A federal lawsuit brought by Iraqi torture survivors appears finally headed to trial after a federal judge refused to dismiss the case. The Iraqis are suing the U.S. military contractor CACI, which was hired to provide interrogation services at Abu Ghraib, an Iraqi prison where the men were tortured by U.S. guards. The lawsuit was first filed in 2008. Since then, CACI has attempted 18 times to have the case dismissed.

Burma’s Military Junta Grants Partial Pardon to Aung San Suu Kyi, Delays Elections

Aug 02, 2023

Burma’s military rulers granted deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi a pardon in five of the 19 cases against her. Suu Kyi, who was ousted and detained in the February 2021 military coup, will remain under house arrest. Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who once fought against the Burmese military, but later defended its genocide of Rohingya Muslims in 2017.

On Monday, the military junta again extended a state of emergency and delayed elections that had been promised to take place this month. A local rights group says over 3,800 people have been killed in the military’s crackdown on post-coup protests, and over 24,000 people arrested.

Indigenous Groups in Argentina Protest Lithium Extraction on Their Land

Aug 02, 2023

In Argentina, thousands of people representing different Indigenous communities arrived in Buenos Aires Tuesday as part of a protest caravan. Among their demands is a halt to lithium mining projects in their territories. This is Fabian Cruz of the Llankaj Maki Indigenous People Council.

Fabian Cruz: “These are common resources of the people. We want to protect them. We understand there are multinational companies that come and take the lithium from Argentina but leave nothing behind. They leave nothing for Argentina’s development, and they strip the communities of their territory. To us, that is genocide.”

Lithium is used in many electric devices, including electric cars. But its extraction causes soil degradation, water shortages, damage to ecosystems and often displaces local communities and destroys existing landscapes.

Sweden Says It Will Not Alter Free Speech Laws After Burning of Qur’an Sparks Protests

Aug 02, 2023

Sweden has defended its free speech laws and says it has no plans to change them amid a growing backlash to public burnings of the Qur’an. The burnings, which have also taken place in Denmark, have triggered widespread international condemnation and protests in Muslim countries.

Rep. Cori Bush Reintroduces Unhoused Bill of Rights

Aug 02, 2023

Missouri Congressmember Cori Bush has reintroduced the Unhoused Bill of Rights, which could provide universal housing in the U.S. by 2027, helping some 1.5 million people who now live on the streets. Bush herself was once unhoused and forced to live in her car with her children. She said, “We have the power and money to end the unhoused crisis. We just need the will to reorient congressional priorities.”


Migrants Sleep on NYC Streets as Advocates, Officials Call for Permanent Housing, Work Authorization

Aug 02, 2023

Here in New York, hundreds of migrants have been forced to sleep on the streets, as Mayor Eric Adams declared “there is no more room.” He called out the Biden administration for failing to help as over 90,000 people arrived in New York City over the past year and a half. In July, the mayor said New York City would distribute flyers at the U.S.-Mexico border telling asylum seekers to “consider another city.” Housing and rights advocates have blasted the Adams administration for its handling of the situation. This is Murad Awawdeh of the New York Immigration Coalition.

Murad Awawdeh: “It’s kind of another slap in the face. Our, you know, historical New Yorkers, who have been here, and our most recent arrivals, who are just seeking a little bit of help in this moment, we need to actually stop doubling and tripling down on broken systems like our emergency shelter system and actually invest in getting people out of emergency shelter and into permanent housing.”

New York officials are calling on the federal government to allow for expedited work permits for asylum seekers.

Gilgo Beach Serial Killer Suspect Appears in Court

Aug 02, 2023

In Long Island, New York, the suspect in the Gilgo Beach serial murders appeared in court Tuesday following his arrest last month. Fifty-nine-year-old Rex Heuermann is accused of murdering three women. He has also been named as the prime suspect in a fourth murder. He has pleaded not guilty. This is Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney.

Raymond Tierney: “The victims went missing between July 2010 and September — I’m sorry, July of 2007 and September of 2010. And in December of 2010, they were — their bodies were recovered. They were buried in a similar fashion, in a similar location, in a similar way. All the women were petite. They were — they all did the same thing for a living. They all advertised the same way.”

The four victims were Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. The bodies of another seven people, including a man and a toddler, were also found in the same time period. The family members of the four women have accused police and the media of failing to pursue justice for their loved ones because they were sex workers. Rex Heuermann is an architect who worked in Manhattan. Following his arrest, authorities searched his Massapequa Park home, where they found an arsenal of 279 weapons.

New York Public Hospital Nurses Win Pay Parity with Private Hospital Employees

Aug 02, 2023

Public hospital nurses in New York are celebrating after winning contract negotiations which include wage increases to achieve parity with private hospital nurses, and measures to improve staffing and retention. Kristle Simms-Murphy of the New York State Nurses Association said, “The public sector is a lifeline for New York City’s most vulnerable patients, who are mostly Black and Brown, immigrant and low-income New Yorkers. They deserve equitable, quality care and this contract can help deliver it.”

Yellow Trucking Co. to Shut Down, Costing 30,000 People Their Jobs

Aug 02, 2023

In other labor news, the trucking company Yellow is shutting down and will reportedly file for bankruptcy. Thirty thousand people could lose their jobs. The president of the Teamsters, which represents over two-thirds of Yellow workers, said, “Yellow has historically proven that it could not manage itself despite billions of dollars in worker concessions and hundreds of millions in bailout funding from the federal government.” Yellow received $700 million from the government in a pandemic-era bailout, despite the company facing a lawsuit from the Justice Department for allegedly defrauding the federal government.


Henrietta Lacks’s Family Settles with Biotech Co. That Made Billions Thanks to “HeLa” Cell Line

Aug 02, 2023

The family of Henrietta Lacks, a Black cancer patient whose cells were taken by Johns Hopkins University Hospital without her consent in 1951, has settled with pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher Scientific. Henrietta Lacks’s family has denounced the racist medical system that allowed the biotech company to make billions in profit from the “HeLa” cell line, which helped produce remedies for multiple diseases, including the first polio vaccine. Details of the settlement were not made public, but the plaintiffs celebrated the lawsuit’s resolution, which came Tuesday, on Henrietta Lack’s birthday. This is her grandson, Alfred Lacks.

Alfred Lacks Carter Jr.: “Our family member, our loved one, Henrietta Lacks, 103 years old today. And it’s been said today, it couldn’t have been a more fitting day for her to have justice, for her family to have relief. … It was a long fight. It was a long fight, over 70 years. And Henrietta Lacks gets her day.”

Click here to see all our coverage of Henrietta Lacks and this case.

Roberto Cintli Rodríguez, Chicano Writer, Professor and Activist, Has Died at 69

Aug 02, 2023

The prominent Chicano writer Roberto Cintli Rodríguez has died at the age of 69. His books include “Justice: A Question of Race,” which chronicled his quest for justice after being brutally beaten in 1979 by four sheriff deputies in East Los Angeles while he was on a reporting assignment for Lowrider magazine. In 1986, a jury awarded him $205,000, which he used to start a bilingual magazine. He later became a Mexican American studies professor at the University of Arizona. He also served as director of the Raza Database Project to track the killing of Latinos, Asian and Indigenous peoples by law enforcement. He appeared on Democracy Now! in 2021.

Roberto Cintli Rodríguez: “And then, again, it’s all about dehumanization. And I’m not exaggerating when I say I track this violence to 1492, which means when Europeans came here, they decided that the people here, like myself, that we were not human. Africans that were brought here also were not human, according to them. In my opinion, it’s the same dynamic taking place today; otherwise, we wouldn’t see this massive amount of both the killings and the disparity.”

Roberto Rodríguez speaking in 2021. He has died at the age of 69.

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