Things That Matter

Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

In a move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration, Trump has moved to put Cuba back on the list of nations that allegedly sponsor terrorism.

Obama had taken Cuba off of that list in 2015 and with four years to Cuba back on the list, many agree that Trump has simply put Cuba back on the list to make life difficult for President Biden.

The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the list of countries that “sponsor terrorism.”

With just days left in office, Trump has moved to label Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a last-minute move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the controversial move which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

Pompeo also alleged Cuba was engaging “in a range of malign behavior across the region”, highlighting its support for Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro who Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overthrow.

The controversial step places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria as state sponsors of terror.

However, most officials agree that Trump’s claims about Cuba are bogus.

Many international observers – including U.S. allies – aren’t impressed by the administration’s claims that Cuba is sponsoring terrorism.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, said “These are trumped up charges. Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Groups that favor greater U.S. engagement with Cuba criticized the announcement.

“There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,” according to Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington DC-based organization that supports engagement with the island. “Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries.”

Many observers agree that Trump’s move is simply a gift to party hardliners in Florida, and likely a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the incoming Biden administration who may wish to end deténte with Cuba.

Of course, Cuban officials reacted angrily to the announcement.

After the announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted: “We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism. The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

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Capitol Insurrectionist Who Threatened to ‘Assassinate’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has Been Arrested, Charged

Things That Matter

Capitol Insurrectionist Who Threatened to ‘Assassinate’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has Been Arrested, Charged

Photos via Getty Images/Dallas County Sheriff’s Office

The FBI recently revealed a disturbing bit of news about one of the rioters who participated in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th.

According to an FBI affidavit, the rioter, whose name is Garret Miller, tweeted that he wanted to “assassinate” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Garret Miller responded to a tweet that AOC sent out on January 6th in the wake of the Capitol riots. The tweet was one word: “Impeach.” Miller responded to the tweet: “Assassinate AOC.”

But before he tweeted the death threat at the lawmaker, he defended his actions as well of the actions of his fellow insurrectionists, writing: “We acted in honor and we [were] not armed. We [were] gentle with the police. They murdered a child.”

The “child” he is ostensibly referring to in the above tweet is the 35-year-old San Diego woman, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol police officer when she was trying to climb through a window.

According to the FBI, Miller meticulously recorded his involvement with the riots on social media.

On his Facebook page, Miller posted a selfie of himself within the Capitol building wearing a Trump hat. Someone commented on the post: “bro you got in?! Nice!” to which Miller responded, “just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol.”

In response to this ironic piece of information, AOC tweeted out: “‘Just wanted to incriminate myself a little’…Well, you did!”

The FBI also alleges that Miller posted another death-threat–this one directed at the Capitol police officer who killed Ashli Babbitt–saying: “We going to get a hold of [the USCP officer] and hug his neck with a nice rope”. He also admitted on Instagram that he had a rope in his bag on the day of the insurrection.

Miller’s brazen public admissions to his treasonous actions stuck out to AOC as worth commenting on.

She wrote on Twitter: “On one hand you have to laugh, and on the other know that the reason they were this brazen is because they thought they were going to succeed.”

AOC has previously opened up bout her experience being trapped in the Capitol when rioters breached the building.

In a recent Instagram live video, AOC confessed she “thought she was going to die” when rioters stormed the building. She also said that she didn’t feel comfortable gathering in a “secure extraction point” with other representatives because she didn’t trust her colleagues.

She believed that far-right Republican representatives might “disclose [her] location]” to the insurrectionists or “create opportunities to allow [her] to be hurt, kidnapped.”

“I didn’t even feel safe around other members of Congress, and to be kind of fending for yourself in that way is traumatizing,” she said. It seems like she had good reason to be afraid.

As for Garrett Miller, his lawyer says that he “regrets the acts he took in a misguided effort to show his support for former President Trump.”

Miller will face charges of threats and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. His hearing is set for Monday the 25th.

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The Woman Who Stole Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop and Attempted to Sell It To the Russians Has Been Released From Jail

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The Woman Who Stole Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop and Attempted to Sell It To the Russians Has Been Released From Jail

Photo via DAUPHIN COUNTY PRISON

In case you forgot that there are two Americas, let the case of 22-year-old Riley Williams serve as a reminder.

Williams was one of the far-right insurrectionists that stormed the Capitol on January 6th. But Williams was not just any insurrectionist.

The young woman was wanted by the FBI under suspicion of stealing Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s laptop with the intent to sell it to Russian intelligence.

According to a witness–who has been identified as Williams’ ex-boyfriend–the woman “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.”

Authorities arrested Williamson on January 18th on charges of theft, trespassing and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

However, Riley Williams only stayed in jail for a few days before she was released under the care of her mother. Williams will be required to wear an ankle monitor at all times and will only be able to leave her house for work or other authorized reasons.

Williams’ lawyer says that the claims against her client have been “overstated” and stem from the revenge efforts of an angry ex-boyfriend.

But the FBI says they have video evidence of Williams committing the alleged act.

According to the FBI, an ITV documentary shows Williams on-camera as part of the mob that stormed the Capitol. At one point, she is headed towards Speaker Pelosi’s office. The documentary allegedly shows her entering Speaker Pelosi’s office and swiping the laptop.

Investigators also say they have evidence that Williams wrote on free speech social network Discord: “I DOMT (sic) CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS (sic) HARD DRIVES I DON’T CARE KILL ME.”

Of the charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson said: “The gravity of these offenses is great. It cannot be overstated.”

But Williams’ defense team appears to be taking the angle that Williams stormed the Capitol and allegedly stole the laptop at the behest of former President Trump. “It is regrettable that Miss Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” her lawyer told the judge.

Considering Ms. Williams committed literal treason, many people are asking: why isn’t she in jail awaiting her trial?

The outcry over what many consider a double-standard in the justice system has been great. People are pointing out that the justice system treats people who look like Riley Williams with kid gloves, while excessively punishing people of color for lesser offenses.

In particular, people are bringing to light a case that is similar in many ways: the case of Kalief Browder. The parallels of this case are obvious: both suspects were young, both were charged with theft.

But while Kalief Browder allegedly stole a backpack when he 16-years-old and was forced to spend 3 years in Rikers while awaiting trial, Riley Williams was released to the custody of her mother after a few days in jail while being accused of literal treason by the FBI.

It should be noted that, after spending much of his time in Rikers in solitary confinement, Browder committed suicide shortly after his release from prison.

It’s cases like this that show how the class and racial divide in America can literally be the difference between living and dying.

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