Things That Matter

Trump Plans To Label Mexican Drug Cartels As Terror Organizations, Here’s Why That’s Such A Big Deal

According to the dictionary, a terrorist is “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” The FBI separates terrorism in two catagories: international terrorism which they define as”violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups who are inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations.”

Then there’s domestic terrorism, which the FBI notes is “violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” We like to clearly define what the word means, especially to the government, because there’s a new type of affiliation that will be incorporated into those categories. 

Donald Trump, President of the United States, says that the Mexican cartel will be designated as terrorists. 

During an interview last night with former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, Trump said he would be designating the Mexican cartel as terrorists,  which would give the U.S. more authority in Mexico and also in how they prosecute cartel criminals in the U.S. 

O’Reilly asked him, “you will be hitting them with drones?” and Trump responded by saying, “I won’t say what I’m going to be doing but…I’ve already offered [Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador] to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer but at some point something has to be done.”

He added, “They will be designated… I have been working on that for the last 90 days. You know designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.”

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard responded to Trump’s words by saying they cooperate with the U.S., but as of now, the Mexican government will be dealing with the cartels in their country. 

“Mutual respect is the basis for cooperation,” Ebrard said, according to the BBC. López Obrador said a similar statement during his daily press conference. He said, “Our problems will be solved by Mexicans. We don’t want any interference from any foreign country.”

The move by Trump comes less than a month after nine family members were gunned down in Mexico. While those that were killed lived in Mexico, they were U.S. citizens. 

Trump vowed back then that he would take action. He tweeted, “If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

López Obrador declined Trump’s offer in assistance, saying, “This is a matter of our sovereignty,” according to the Washington Post. 

According to the BBC, if the Mexican cartel is indeed designated as terrorists, the implication could affect people in the U.S. that are found to have ties to them. 

“When a group is designated as a terrorist organization in the U.S., it becomes illegal for people in the U.S. to knowingly offer support,” the BBC reports. “Its members are also banned from entering the U.S. If they are already in the U.S., they face being deported.”

We have already seen repercussions of that already in many ways. For example, one of the most famous drug lords of all-time was tried and found guilty in the U.S. Yes, we’re talking about El Chapo. Earlier this year, his trial, which was held in Brooklyn. The U.S. was able to have El Chapo extradited to the U.S. on charges that he and his operation exported drugs to the U.S. from Mexico. 

“[El Chapo]’s destructive and murderous rise as an international narcotics trafficker is akin to a small cancerous tumor that metastasized and grew into a full-blown scourge that for decades littered the streets of Mexico with the casualties of violent drug wars over turf,” Robert Capers, Brooklyn’s U.S. Attorney said in 2017 to NBC News

While Trump may have ambitious ideas about who will be proclaimed a terrorist, as he said himself, it will be a process. 

Trump, who is known to have many ideas, is typically rejected due to illegal logistics or uninformed knowledge. If Mexico’s president doesn’t comply with Trump’s request and the U.S. sends military or attacks Mexico in any way over issues of drugs, well, that could lead to an enormous consequence. It’s interesting to note that Trump would seek to declare the Mexican cartel terrorists but yet he refrains from calling white mass shooters domestic terrorists, even though officials do refer to them as such.  

READ: Mexican Authorities Think The Mormon Family Was Murdered Because A Drug Lord Thought They Were A Rival Gang

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Worried If TikTok Will Still Be Banned In The US? The Biden Administration Just Made Some Announcements

Things That Matter

Worried If TikTok Will Still Be Banned In The US? The Biden Administration Just Made Some Announcements

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Since his inauguration last month, Joe Biden has reversed many of Donald Trump’s nightmarish policies established over the last four years. In the first 24 hours alone, he rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, reinstated protections for LGBTQ+ people, ended a travel ban on majority-Muslim countries, and retracted the country’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization.

Now, the Biden administration has also announced its intentions with the proposed TikTok ban, as it assesses whether the short-form video app really poses a national security threat.

The Biden administration has halted the proposed ban on TikTok.

According to the BBC, the suspension means that both TikTok and the messaging app WeChat, two Chinese-owned apps implicated in the ban, can continue to operate in the US while government staff familiarize themselves with the case.

Trump had claimed that TikTok presents privacy and security concerns, echoing hacktivist collective Anonymous’s allegations that the app is: “essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation.”

The suspension signals that US-based TikTokers won’t have to worry about the platform being banned anytime soon – roll on more sea shanty success stories and viral style challenges.

Originally Published July 30, 2020: President Donald Trump is renewing his attempt to ban TikTok from the U.S. There has been more scrutiny on TikTok as more people delete the app from their phone over security and privacy concerns. Yet, Microsoft is now interested in buying the social media platform.

President Donald Trump is reportedly getting ready to tell Chinese-owned ByteDance to sell their U.S. stakes in TikTok

While President Trump continues his attempts to get rid of TikTok, Microsoft is swooping in to save the social media platform by acquiring it now. It is unclear how far the talks are between Microsoft and TikTok but it would protect the app from being banned in the U.S. ByteDance the company that owns TikTok is valued at $100 billion.

Original: With millions of teens and young adults – a demographic I think I still fit – under lockdown orders thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans turned to TikTok.

The fun, 15-second video app has been downloaded more than 200 million times in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, with users sharing everything from dance and recipe videos to starting now-viral trends. The app is loved by its users and they’re proving they’ll stand by it when it comes under threat. Which is exactly what they’re doing now as the Trump administration has announced a potential ban on TikTok.

According to some officials, Trump is looking to ban TikTok.

https://twitter.com/taylorlorenz/status/1281680094218592259?s=21

According to senior administration officials – and Trump himself – the TikTok app is a threat to U.S. national security and at risk of being banned in the country. Some are suggesting it’s a way for Trump to retaliate against China over its handling of the Coronavirus, others suggest it’s Trump retaliating against ‘TikTokivists’ who helped make his Tulsa rally a total disaster. Either way, news of a possible ban on TikTok has sent its users into overdrive.

Trump’s comments came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Americans not to download the app unless they want to see their private information fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Trump didn’t offer specifics about a potential decision and Pompeo seemed to walk back the idea of a ban in a later statement, saying that the U.S. efforts to protect American consumers’ data don’t relate to any one particular company.

TikTok, an app known for quirky short videos, is facing political heat because of its ties to China.

Credit: Getty Stock Images

TikTok has in fact come under increased scrutiny in recent months – not just in the U.S. – for it’s ties to China. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and many countries around the world are worried about that connection. Citing national security concerns, India banned TikTok last week. The US Army and Navy have banned service members from downloading the app to government-issued phones. Even Amazon has raised concerns. On Friday, the huge online retailer barred employees from using the app on devices that connect to the company’s email, citing “security risks.”

TikTok has tried responding to the issue. In an interview with CNBC, a TikTok spokesperson said, “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

The company has also made it clear that all data from American citizens is stored outside of China, on servers based in the United States. The company claims that its data centers are located entirely outside of China, and that none of their users’ data is subject to Chinese law.

Meanwhile, many TikTok users say they care less about potential Chinese snooping and more about Trump taking away their digital hangout. In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to Sensor Tower.

“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” said Darius Jackson, an 18-year-old TikTok user, in a statement to CNBC.

“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference,” Jackson said.

Many view the move as retaliation for Trump’s failed Tulsa rally.

Credit: Mark Short / Getty Images

It’s hard to forget the epic fail that was Trump’s Tulsa rally. His planned ‘relaunch’ of his 2020 campaign after being forced to suspend his massive rallies because of Coronavirus.

Leading up to the event, Trump had touted record-shattering interest and ticket sales for the rally. He went so far as to say that millions of Americans had RSVP’d for it – and he wasn’t actually lying this time. However, there was one minor problem – hundreds of thousands of tickets were actually reserved in a massive campaign by Korean pop stans and TikTok users.

Thanks to a TikTok campaign, Trump’s ‘massive’ rally was an utter disaster attended by only a few thousand people. Many suggest that this campaign cold be why Trump is looking to target TikTok with some sort of ban.

Since the announcement, ‘TikTok Teens’ have launched a full-fledged assault against the Trump administration.

One of the pettiest (ie. best) moves the collection of ‘TikTokivists’ has made so far, is that tens of thousands flooded the Apple App Store and left scathing reviews of the Trump 2020 Campaign app. On Wednesday alone 700 negative reviews were left on the Official Trump 2020 app and 26 positive ones, according to tracking firm Sensor Tower.

“For Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok is our clubhouse and Trump threatened it,” said Yori Blacc, a 19-year-old TikTok user in California who joined in the app protest. “If you’re going to mess with us, we will mess with you.”

The efforts to push the app low enough so that Apple will remove it from the app store may be misguided. Apple doesn’t delete apps based on their popularity. The App Store may review those that violate its guidelines or are outdated, but not if their ratings sink. A similar tactic was tried in April to protest Google Classroom by kids frustrated with quarantine home-schooling.

But can the U.S. government actually ban an app?

According to most legal experts, the answer is no. Sure, the administration could attempt to but thanks to the U.S. legal system, a total ban wouldn’t last. Administrations have limited authority to ban outright any specific piece of software, like an app. But it could potentially lobby Congress to enact legislation that targets TikTok.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

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

Things That Matter

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

Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com