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HeadlinesSeptember 01, 2023

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Trump Pleads Not Guilty to Georgia Racketeering Charges, Asks to Sever Case from Co-Defendants

Sep 01, 2023

Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 13 felony charges over efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia. Trump also requested his case be tried separately from his 18 co-defendants. Trump’s legal team argued an October 23 start date for the trial did not leave enough time to prepare, while some of his co-defendants have asked for a speedy trial. Meanwhile, the release date for the Fulton County grand jury’s final report is set for September 8. A judge said Trump’s Georgia trial will be televised and live-streamed.

In related news, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp dismissed calls to launch impeachment proceedings against Fulton County DA Fani Willis, who brought the racketeering case.

One of Trump’s Georgia co-defendants, lawyer John Eastman, appeared on Fox News this week, where he admitted to pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay certification of the election.

John Eastman: “I explicitly told Vice President Pence in the Oval Office on January 4th that even though it was an open issue, under the circumstances we had, I thought it was the weaker argument, and it would be foolish to exercise such power even if he had it. What I recommended — and I’ve said this repeatedly — is that he accede to requests from more than a hundred state legislators in the swing states to give them a week to try and sort out the impact of what everybody acknowledged was illegality in the conduct of the election.”

Two Proud Boys Leaders Get 17 and 15 Years in Jail for Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection

Sep 01, 2023

A federal judge sentenced two former leaders of the Proud Boys, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl, to 17 and 15 years in prison, respectively, for the seditious conspiracy to keep Donald Trump in power by attacking the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The sentences are some of the stiffest yet over January 6, though prosecutors had sought 30-plus years for the two men. A lawyer for Biggs spoke after his sentence.

Norman Pattis: “If your president tells you your country’s been stolen, the country that people fought and died for, people are trying to take your vote from you, how are you supposed to react to that? And these people reacted violently and to their detriment. I think these cases are grotesquely overcharged.”

Two other Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola and Ethan Nordean, are receiving their sentences today. Former leader of the Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio will be sentenced next week on Tuesday. We’ll have more on this after headlines.

AU Suspends Gabon After Coup; Opposition Seeks Ballot Count After Pre-Coup Election Loss

Sep 01, 2023

The African Union has suspended Gabon’s membership following Wednesday’s military coup and ouster of longtime president Ali Bongo. The U.N. has also condemned the coup, but many Gabonese have voiced support for the military takeover.

Mouele Kavi: “It’s important to remember that we’ve been waiting for this release for several years. The Bongo regime has been sharing out Gabon’s wealth for several years. They have promoted corruption and unemployment. So we’re tired of it. We’ve been waiting for this with real satisfaction. It’s a real pleasure. Today I’m proud to say that Gabon’s independence took place on August 30th, 2023.”

Meanwhile, main opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa, who lost his challenge to Ali Bongo in Saturday’s contested election, is calling for the junta to complete the ballot count and hand over power to civilians.

AFP Reports 48 People Killed by Soldiers in Eastern Congo

Sep 01, 2023

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Agence France-Presse reports at least 48 people were killed by Congolese soldiers Wednesday as armed forces cracked down on a protest against United Nations peacekeepers in the city of Goma. Dozens of others were wounded while over 150 people were reportedly arrested. The demonstration was led by a Christian sect. U.N. peacekeeping efforts in the DRC have been widely criticized, as many communities say their presence has done little to prevent conflict. Violence has soared in recent years, particularly in the eastern region of the country.

Chile Launches Nationwide Search for 1,000 Disappeared During Pinochet Rule

Sep 01, 2023

Chile’s government is launching a nationwide search for over 1,000 people who were forcibly disappeared during the U.S.-backed military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Chilean President Gabriel Boric made the announcement Wednesday ahead of the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew democratically elected President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. Survivors of the Pinochet regime have long demanded justice.

Juana Andreani: “We had the hope that they were alive. But as years went by, we realized they weren’t. At least they should tell us what happened to them, what was done to them. That is the worst part of these 50 years.”

Tribunal Finds U.S-Trained General Responsible for Extrajudicial Killings in Colombia’s War on Drugs

Sep 01, 2023

In Colombia, a truth and justice tribunal found the U.S.-trained General Mario Montoya responsible for 130 extrajudicial killings and disappearances between 2002 and 2003. Montoya is accused of deliberately mislabeling civilians killed by his soldiers as enemy combatants, as part of the “false positives” scandal. Over 6,000 civilians, including children and disabled people, were killed by Colombian soldiers from 2002 to 2008, who then classified their victims as fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Biden Admin Advises Americans to Leave Haiti as It Continues to Deport Haitian Asylum Seekers

Sep 01, 2023

The Biden administration on Thursday sent another deportation flight to Haiti with at least 60 asylum seekers. This came a day after the State Department urged U.S. citizens to immediately leave Haiti due to worsening violence. Immigrant rights advocates condemned the deportations. This is Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance.

Guerline Jozef: “To really highlight the inhumane nature of those deportations, I want to share: One of the people who got deported this morning is a woman who has been in detention since February. She has been dealing with chronic pain, extreme medical issues. She fainted three times while in detention in Florida. Upon return from the hospital, she was put on a plane and deported this morning. She is stuck, with nowhere to go. And her family in the United States have been calling and asking to find some help for her.”

Tens of thousands of Haitian asylum seekers, including children, have been deported since Biden took office, despite international condemnation and calls for humanitarian relief as Haiti faces a spiraling political and economic crisis with gangs gaining control of large portions of the country.

China Condemns U.S. Military Aid to Taiwan Under Program for Sovereign Nations

Sep 01, 2023

The State Department has approved an $80 million military aid package to Taiwan under a program typically used for sovereign states. Beijing has condemned the move, seen as another challenge to its sovereignty over the territory.

Clarence Thomas Finally Discloses Luxury Travel in Financial Disclosure Filings

Sep 01, 2023

Beleaguered Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas acknowledged he took four flights on the private jet of conservative megadonor Harlan Crow last year as part of his annual financial filing. He also amended previous filings with allegedly “inadvertently omitted” information. This comes after ProPublica and others revealed Thomas had failed to disclose at least 38 luxury trips from Crow and three other right-wing billionaires for decades. Thomas and his family also sold three properties to Crow. Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said, “This late-come effort at 'Clean-up on Aisle Three' won’t deter us from fully investigating the massive, secret, right-wing billionaire influence in which this Court is enmired.”

Texas Ban on Gender-Affirming Care Goes into Effect as Canada Warns LGBT Citizens Traveling to U.S.

Sep 01, 2023

Texas’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth goes into effect today, after the state’s Supreme Court overruled an earlier decision by a Texas judge who found the ban unconstitutional. The law will not only block transgender youth from accessing new care, it will force those already on transition medications to wean off of them. Rights groups are appealing.

Separately, a federal judge temporarily blocked a Texas law that would restrict drag performances while the court reviews the case.

Meanwhile, Canada has issued a travel advisory for its LGBTQ+ citizens visiting the U.S. due to the recent flurry of discriminatory laws passed by Republicans.

No Tech for Apartheid: Protesters Call Out Google for Cloud Contract with Israel

Sep 01, 2023

In San Francisco, tech workers and others protesters gathered outside the Google Cloud Next conference this week to call out Google’s contract with Israel, which uses the cloud service for its public sector and military, including to surveil Palestinians. This is activist Ariel Koren.

Ariel Koren: “We are here representing the No Tech for Apartheid campaign. We’re a coalition of Google workers and community members who have coalesced to send a strong message to the company that Google workers are refusing to allow their labor to be used to power apartheid violence against Palestinian people.”

Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion artificial intelligence and computer technology agreement between Google, Amazon Web Services and the Israeli government which went into effect in July 2021. A statement from the movement “No Tech for Apartheid” said, “Technology should be used to bring people together, not enable apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and settler colonialism.”

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