Veterans For Peace Convention
August 25, 2023
By Marjorie Cohn
We dedicate this convention to Daniel Ellsberg, a beloved member of our Veterans For Peace Advisory Board. Dan died on June 16 at the age of 92.
Dan displayed uncommon courage in 1971 when he publicized the 7,000-page top-secret Pentagon Papers which he had helped write while working as an analyst at the RAND Corporation. As a consultant to the Department of Defense, Dan also drafted Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s plans for nuclear war which Dan later spent his life trying to prevent.
Trump and/or his cronies are charged with 161 predicate acts in their criminal enterprise to overturn the election.
Of the 91 criminal charges former President Donald Trump is facing, the most consequential is Count 1 of his fourth indictment, which was filed by Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis on August 14, 2023. It alleges Trump is the head of a vast criminal conspiracy in violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Congress passed the federal RICO Act in 1970 to prosecute Mafia bosses who had escaped indictment by avoiding direct involvement in the crimes their minions perpetrated. RICO allows prosecutors to establish the existence of a criminal organization by using predicate acts committed by some members of the conspiracy to rope in the rest as part of a “criminal enterprise” with a common goal.
A new article written by two conservative law professors is an urgent call to action to disqualify Trump from office.
“[O]n the basis of the public record, former President Donald J. Trump is constitutionally disqualified from again being President (or holding any other covered office) because of his role in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and the events leading to the January 6 attack.”
Those words were written by two prominent conservative legal scholars in a comprehensive 126-page paper that will be published next year in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. The article is an urgent call to action that provides a roadmap to disqualify Trump from running for or assuming the presidency again.
“The bottom line is that Donald Trump both ‘engaged in’ ‘insurrection or rebellion’ and gave ‘aid or comfort’ to others engaging in such conduct, within the original meaning of those terms as employed in Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Professors William Baude of the University of Chicago and Michael Stokes Paulsen from the University of St. Thomas wrote. “If the public record is accurate, the case is not even close. He is no longer eligible to the office of Presidency, or any other state or federal office covered by the Constitution.”
Trump is no mere apprentice when it comes to manipulating the media in his favor.
Two days after a federal grand jury charged Donald Trump with three conspiracies for his attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, culminating in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, 38 Democratic members of Congress urged the U.S Judicial Conference to allow Trump’s federal trials to be televised.
Be careful what you wish for, Democrats. Trump lawyer John Lauro said he would “love to see” his client’s January 6 trial televised. Lauro must know that Trump is a master at manipulating the media and a televised trial could put undue pressure on jurors to acquit him.
Trump now faces two federal indictments. One charges him with concealing, withholding and mishandling classified documents with national defense information. The other, filed August 1, alleges that Trump committed conspiracies to defraud the United States, to obstruct an official proceeding, and against the right to vote.
A federal indictment stemming from the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected this week.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of the indictments — both current and future — against Donald Trump, you’re not alone. Trump has been indicted in New York state court for attempting to hide hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, and in federal court for concealing classified national defense information at Mar-a-Lago. He faces hundreds of years in prison if convicted.
Additional indictments against Trump are reportedly forthcoming — one in federal court for his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, and another in Georgia state court for illegal interference in the 2020 presidential election.
This is the first time a publisher has been charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing government secrets.
For nearly five years, publisher and journalist Julian Assange has fought extradition to the United States where he faces 175 years in prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes.
Instead of protecting freedom of the press, to which he pledged allegiance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in April, Joe Biden is continuing Donald Trump’s prosecution of Assange under the infamous Espionage Act. James Ball is one of at least four journalists that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI are pressuring to cooperate with the prosecution of Assange, Ball wrote in Rolling Stone.
Biden’s DOJ is apparently attempting to bolster its prosecution of Assange in the event he is extradited to the United States. Ball said that all three of the other journalists being pressured to provide a statement told him they have no intention of helping the prosecution.
Assange, who is in frail physical and mental health after years of confinement, is contesting the U.K. High Court’s rejection of his appeal. If he loses in the U.K., Assange’s last resort is to the European Court of Human Rights to litigate several violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Israel could not mount its military operations against Palestinians without $3.8 billion in annual U.S. military aid.
From July 3-4, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) — using weapons funded by the United States — mounted the most violent military assault in the occupied West Bank in two decades.
In what Israel dubbed “Operation Home and Garden,” more than 1,000 ground troops invaded the Jenin refugee camp. Assisted by helicopter gunships and armed drones, the IOF killed 12 Palestinians — including six civilians (five of them children) — and wounded more than 120 others (including 14 children), according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. The IOF partially destroyed 109 houses, extensively damaged the infrastructure, leveled the streets and created a power outage. About 4,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes.
The rejection of the “independent state legislature” doctrine means fights against gerrymanders and racist laws can proceed.
Chief Justice John Roberts has historically not decided cases in a way that protects voting rights. In 2013, he authored Shelby v. Holder, which drove a stake through the heart of the Voting Rights Act. And in 2021, he voted to further weaken the Act in Brnovich v. DNC. But this past month, Roberts surprisingly authored two new Supreme Court opinions that support the right to vote.
On June 8, the high court struck down a racist congressional district map in Allen v. Milligan, and on June 27, the court preserved judicial review of state legislative enactments in Moore v. Harper.
The Moore decision removes the threat of the GOP-favored “independent state legislature” doctrine to legal challenges of extreme gerrymandered congressional maps and racist voting laws.
Biden has recycled some of Trump’s racist asylum policies.
As the repressive Trump-Biden Title 42 asylum policy ended on May 11, migrant rights advocates hoped that humane asylum rules would follow. Title 42, which allowed the U.S. government to expel asylum seekers with no due process, led to nearly 3 million expulsions since Donald Trump initiated the ill-conceived policy in 2020.
The Biden administration, however, “has made it a practice of recycling Trump-era policies” which will continue to harm asylum seekers, particularly those from Haiti, according to Guerline Jozef, co-founder and executive director of Haitian Bridge Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for humane treatment of migrants.
“This latest episode in governmental efforts to ‘secure’ the border is another phase in a number of misguided policies that not only expose our nation’s failed immigration system, but also reveal the deep historical legacies of the U.S. government’s racist, imperialistic foreign policies,” Rutgers University Professor Leslie M. Alexander wrote in The Washington Post. “This pattern becomes particularly apparent when we consider that President Biden’s strategies overwhelmingly target Haitians.”
Five House seats may well shift to Democrats in the wake of “Allen v. Milligan.”
After leading the charge for years to eviscerate the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Chief Justice John Roberts did a stunning about-face and spearheaded its preservation in Allen v. Milligan.
The 5-4 majority opinion, written by Roberts, held that Alabama’s congressional map likely violates the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition against discriminatory voting practices. The court refused Alabama’s request to interpret the Voting Rights Act in a manner that would have made it much more difficult to challenge racist redistricting plans.