“Perhaps the clearest sign came in a speech on Veterans Day where he vowed to “root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.” Calling one’s opponents subhuman and vowing aggressive action against them is a hallmark of classical fascist rhetoric, so much so that the Washington Post’s headline — on a news article, not an opinion piece — described it as “echoing dictators Hitler [and] Mussolini.”
They’re not wrong: Anyone familiar with Nazi propaganda can tell you that it commonly dehumanized Jews by describing us as rats or diseases. Trump has used such language more than once: Just last month, he claimed immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.”
This incendiary language is backed by an incendiary policy agenda. Trump and his team have a series of proposals to crack down on dissent, including by remaking the Justice Department into a tool for jailing his enemies and sending troops to suppress protests. They aim to launch mass anti-immigrant raids and detain the people he rounds up in camps. They have extensive plans to replace as many as 50,000 career civil servants with ideologues and toadies, putting people ready and willing to undermine the rule of law in key positions to act on Trump’s dubious orders.
Given Trump’s track record, we should take these threats seriously. Let’s not forget that many thought it was unthinkable that Trump would attempt a kind of coup after the 2020 election. We now know that’s exactly what happened, up to and including inciting an actual riot on January 6.”
“A coalition of ethnic armed militias in Myanmar have launched what could be the best possible chance to overthrow the military government that has controlled the country since a 2021 coup ousted the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD).
If successful, this could be the groundwork for a more normalized democracy for a country that has historically been dominated by military juntas and dictators. Engagement from civil society has been high and is a key factor that can turn military victories into long-term successes. Still, nothing is guaranteed, and the fight is likely to be difficult.
On October 27, the Three Brotherhood Alliance, a coalition of three ethnic armed groups, launched a well-coordinated offensive in the eastern Shan state, the largest of Myanmar’s seven states by land area. The surprise attack successfully captured several government military installations by the Chinese border and has also inspired other armed groups to launch their own successful campaigns against the repressive Tatmadaw or State Administration Council, as the junta is called in Myanmar.
Myanmar has been under military rule for much of its history as an independent nation; as in many other Southeast Asian nations, democratic movements have struggled to gain traction against powerful and entrenched military interests. After a decade of democratic reforms driven by a series of popular uprisings against the military government, Myanmar seemed to break from the past; in 2015 and 2020, the country held free elections, which the NLD won handily. But the Tatmadaw seized power in 2021, igniting nearly three years of brutal civil conflict in which the government has killed thousands of civilians.
Though the Three Brotherhood Alliance and similar ethnic armed groups have not taken over the whole country and the Tatmadaw still has far more firepower than any of the armed groups, the October 27 offensive and ensuing military successes have kindled a cautious hope that the military dictatorship could be toppled.”
“”The Chinese Communist regime, often with the aid of other governments, is systematically hunting down its political and religious exiles, no matter where in the world they seek refuge,” Nate Schenkkan and Sarah Cook reported in 2021 for The Diplomat.
“Fox Hunt is a sweeping bid by General Secretary Xi [Jinping] to target Chinese nationals whom he sees as threats and who live outside China, across the world,” FBI Director Christopher Wray charged in a 2020 speech. “We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations. Hundreds of the Fox Hunt victims that they target live right here in the United States, and many are American citizens or green card holders.”
In April of this year, authorities arrested two men accused of helping establish a secret Chinese “police station” in New York’s Chinatown. “The PRC, through its repressive security apparatus, established a secret physical presence in New York City to monitor and intimidate dissidents and those critical of its government,” according to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen.”
“Turkey’s government, it should be noted, cooperates with Beijing to silence Muslim Uyghur refugees who fled to Turkey, and it has sought assistance in muzzling its own dissidents. “Uzbekistani security services helped abduct a man from his apartment in Tashkent and return him to Turkey,” notes Freedom House.”
“Tarrio’s sentence closes a significant chapter in the investigation of the Jan. 6 attack. His 22-year sentence is likely to remain the lengthiest for anyone charged in connection with the attack itself — a mark that exceeds the 18-year sentences handed down to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Tarrio’s ally Ethan Nordean.
Prosecutors portrayed Tarrio as a uniquely influential figure who singularly organized a group of hardened Proud Boys members and aimed them at the Capitol on Jan. 6. They said his sentence had to serve as a deterrent to anyone who might target America’s system of government in the future.
“He was on a tier of his own,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Conor Mulroe. “This was a calculated act of terrorism.””
“Tarrio also apologized to police officers, lawmakers and D.C. residents for the carnage of Jan. 6.
“I had the choice multiple times to calm things out and I didn’t. I persisted when I should have calmed,” he said.”
““That day broke our tradition of peacefully transferring power,” said U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly as he delivered Biggs’ sentence. “The mob brought an entire branch of government to heel.””
“Kelly, an appointee of Donald Trump, agreed with prosecutors that the crimes committed by Biggs and Rehl amounted to an act of terrorism aimed at influencing the government. In Jan. 6 cases, that distinction had until Thursday been applied only to members of the Oath Keepers who were similarly convicted of seditious conspiracy or obstruction.
Kelly spoke at length about his decision to apply the terrorism label and how the Jan. 6 attack compared to other, more stereotypical acts of terrorism that involve mass casualties or bombings.
“While blowing up a building in some city somewhere is a very bad act, the nature of the constitutional moment we were in that day is something that is so sensitive that it deserves a significant sentence,” Kelly said.
The judge, however, did not use the terrorism designation to sharply increase his sentences for Biggs and Rehl. Doing so, he said, would result in an overly harsh punishment because the terrorism enhancement is primarily geared to actions with an “intent to kill” — which he did not attribute to Biggs or Rehl.
The sentences are an important marker in the fraught aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack. Prosecutors, who had asked for a 33-year sentence for Biggs and 30 years for Rehl, said they and their co-conspirators were the driving force behind the violence that unfolded that day, facilitating breaches at multiple police lines and helping the crowd advance into the building itself. A jury convicted the five Proud Boys of multiple conspiracies in June, after a four-month trial that recounted their actions in painstaking detail.
Prosecutors urged Kelly to severely punish Biggs and Rehl as a way to deter others who might consider similar actions in the future aimed at disrupting the government.”
“Prosecutors say the group amassed a force of 200 hand-selected Proud Boys and marched them to the Capitol, where many of them skirmished with police or removed barriers intended to keep the crowd at bay. Nordean and Biggs were convicted of dismantling a black metal fence that was one of police’s last obstacles before the crowd reached the building.”
“When Trump told supporters on Dec. 19, 2020, to amass in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, Tarrio and the Proud Boys leaders quickly responded and began assembling a new chapter that they described as a group of more disciplined and obedient men who would follow their orders. That group, which they dubbed the “Ministry of Self-Defense,” became the core of the group that descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6.”
“During Rehl’s sentencing, Pattis more squarely put the blame for the riot on Trump, saying many in the crowd were simply following his instructions and had no reason to doubt their commander in chief. Pattis mused that it seemed unfair for Rehl to be charged with seditious conspiracy while Trump was not.”
“Niger, a key U.S. ally in Western Africa, is undergoing a political crisis that has raised questions about the United States’ role in fostering foreign militaries in the name of fighting terrorism.
On July 26, Niger’s presidential guards, headed by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, detained Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s democratically-elected president, and declared “an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.” The new junta, officially titled the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, consolidated its control by suspending the constitution, dissolving all government institutions, and closing Niger’s borders.”
“The U.S. struck a similar tune as ECOWAS and the E.U., condemning Bazoum’s overthrow and calling for the restoration of Niger’s democracy while also suspending partnered activities with the Nigerien military. “We strongly condemn any effort to detain or subvert the functioning of Niger’s democratically elected government, led by President Bazoum,” said U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in a statement.
But unlike ECOWAS and the E.U., the U.S. has neglected to call the overthrow a “coup” to avoid the legal ramifications of that declaration. According to Section 7008 of the annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, the U.S. is prohibited from sending foreign aid “to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree,” with an exception if the aid “is in the national security interest of the United States.””
“The Biden administration’s reluctance to label the overthrow a coup is unsurprising considering the United States’ significant security commitment to Niger. Presently, Niger hosts 1,100 U.S. troops, an increase of 900 percent since 2013. Those troops train and support Nigerien soldiers and run a $110 million drone base, which the Nigerien junta has restricted. The U.S. has invested $158 million in arms sales and $122 million in security assistance to Niger since the Trump administration began.
“The U.S. has wanted to have a role in West Africa largely because of great power competition. Because of that, Niger is one of a few countries that receive a lot of U.S. military assistance,” says Jordan Cohen, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “The U.S. is unlikely to call it a coup because once it does that, that assistance has to freeze.””
“”Maybe the new government tries to cozy up to China, in which case I think the U.S. probably does cut security aid, but if the military is going to continue working with the United States, everybody’s going to forget about this and the aid will continue,” suggests Cohen.
Egypt provides a model for a junta that remained in the good graces of the United States. After Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the military in 2013 (which the U.S. never officially called a coup), the Obama administration suspended “only a couple hundred million dollars in U.S. military aid” while still maintaining the majority of the aid. In 2015, the administration restored Egypt’s aid to fight the Islamic State.”
“It’s also not clear that U.S. security aid benefits regional security, given the tendency for the U.S. military to train future coup leaders. “The Niger coup marks yet another occasion in which U.S.-trained military personnel—the officers that we are educating and training—have sponsored or directly supported an antidemocratic coup,” noted Emma Ashford, a senior fellow with the Reimagining U.S. Grand Strategy program at the Stimson Center, in an interview with Foreign Policy. “These aren’t just low-level troops who’ve been trained in combat techniques. These are often coup leaders, the cream of the crop of foreign militaries, trained here in the United States at our top service academies.”
“Part of what the U.S. spending on security assistance has done is fund hundreds of billions into the security forces, and that has contributed to this balance of powers in these governments,” adds Savell. “They have essentially given both military and security forces more power and more clout in comparison to other parts of the government.””
“the proof beyond a reasonable doubt required for a criminal conviction. Eastman (who is one of Trump’s co-defendants) said Trump had been “made aware” that the claims about ballots cast by dead people, felons, and unregistered voters were “inaccurate.” But even if someone told him the numbers were wrong, and even if Trump was paying attention, it would have been perfectly in character for him to continue believing them.
The federal indictment is filled with examples of information that Trump ignored or rejected because it conflicted with his stolen-election narrative. That stubborn resistance can be interpreted either as evidence of his dishonesty or as evidence of his longstanding tendency to embrace self-flattering delusions and never let them go.”
“At a certain point, as George Mason law professor Ilya Somin suggests, willful blindness to reality is hard to distinguish from deliberate deceit, and this example vividly illustrates that point. But in assessing Trump’s state of mind when he made unsubstantiated claims like these, a jury will have to decide whether there is reasonable doubt as to whether he knew they were false.”
“this case “will legally define what a politician is able to do to reverse a defeat.” The outcome of this case could have major implications for the 2024 election and every race that follows: If Trump isn’t held accountable for the actions he took on January 6 and leading up to it, he and others could try to pull the same schemes in the future.
Ultimately, this case has a significant bearing on the future of US democracy.
Number of charges: Four felony counts. They include:
Charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which includes plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election
Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, including plotting to prevent the 2020 election certification
Obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, which includes actually blocking the certification of the 2020 election results
Conspiracy against rights, which includes a plan to deprive someone of a constitutional right (in this case, that is the ability to vote)”
” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis accused Trump and several of his associates of a sprawling racketeering conspiracy related to their efforts to overturn Biden’s win in the state. In contrast to the federal election indictment, where Trump is the only one charged so far, here 18 others were also charged for participating in this alleged conspiracy. These include famous names like Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, notorious Trump lawyers like John Eastman and Sidney Powell, and lower-level Georgia players.”
“This case centers on a president’s ability to endanger the country’s national security by taking and mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Documents that Trump kept addressed everything from US nuclear programs to the country’s defense and weapons capabilities to how America could respond in the face of a possible attack. Additionally, the case looks at how Trump obstructed FBI efforts to take back the documents.”