On December 20, in the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida, Judge Robert N. Scola heard oral arguments on Alex Saab’s motion to dismiss the case against him. The factual issue for the Court to decide was “whether Mr. Saab was a special envoy from Venezuela to Iran traveling on a mission when he was detained in Cape Verde and extradited to the U.S. and, therefore, entitled to diplomatic immunity.” Dan was present for the hearing and will discuss, in detail, the hearing results. WTF has been following The Case of Alex Saab since his detainment on Cape Verde 12 June 2020. Today is our third update.
Argentine Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in her first public appearance after her conviction earlier this month, spoke at the inauguration of the Diego Armando Maradona multi-sport gymnasium in the municipality of Avellaneda, a suburb of Buenos Aires, on Tuesday, December 27. Speaking alongside her main allies within the ruling coalition, the Frente de Todos (Front of All, FdT), Kirchner criticized the press, the economic elite, and the Argentine judiciary for promoting a “parallel state.” Kirchner was sentenced to six years in prison and barred from contesting for life on December 6. The so-called ‘Causa Vialidad’ case against her and 12 others is considered to be another case of political-judicial persecution against progressive leaders in Latin America.
On Tuesday, December 6, An Argentine court sentenced Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to six years in jail and disqualified her from holding public office in a high-profile corruption case on Tuesday. The vice president, who has temporary immunity due to her current role, will not face immediate prison time and is expected to appeal the sentence, with the case likely to spend years winding through higher courts. The crisis in Peru reached the streets, after Congress dismissed former President Pedro Castillo on December 7 for wanting to dissolve Parliament and establish an emergency government. The appointment of Vice President Dina Boluarte as President of the Republic, far from bringing calm, has led to a wave of protests in Lima and in the interior of the country.
On the occasion of the attack on the Soviet Union by the fascist German Wehrmacht in June 1941, the Friedenskoordination (Friko) Berlin organized the commemoration event „We will not forget!“ on June 22, 2022 at the Soviet memorial in Treptower Park. Due to my speech, which I gave as part of this commemoration, and a statement on the Russia-Ukraine conflict on my website, investigations have been initiated against me. According to a letter from the Berlin State Criminal Police Office dated October 19, 2022, a Berlin lawyer has accused me of having committed a crime. One refers to the § 140 StGB „Reward and approval of criminal offenses“. This can be punished with imprisonment for up to three years or with a fine.
On Tuesday, December 6, Argentina’s Federal Oral Court 2 sentenced Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to six years in prison and disqualified her for life from holding public office on corruption and fraud charges. A three-judge panel found Fernández de Kirchner –who was Argentina’s president for two terms between 2007 and 2015– guilty of “fraudulent administration” and diverting nearly 1 billion USD in government funds through public works contracts during her presidency, but rejected another charge of running a criminal organization. The verdict corresponds to the trial known as the Road Management Case, in which VP Kirchner was accused of having formed an “illicit association” with 13 others to irregularly award 51 overpriced public works contacts in the province of Santa Cruz between 2003-2015 to a company belonging to businessman Lázaro Báez and share that surplus. Báez was a friend and business associate of Fernández’s late husband and former president, Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007).
Anderson, South Carolina - On August 1, Melissa Morris, a manager of a Starbucks location in Anderson, South Carolina, accused unionized workers at her store of kidnapping and assaulting her during her first week on the job. The shocking accusation resulted from workers holding a “march on the boss” to demand that they benefit from the same pay raise the company was providing to non-union stores, and, as a result, 11 workers have been suspended while the company and police investigate the issue. These workers call the allegations “ridiculous” and part of the company’s broader anti-union campaign.
ust this week, it was confirmed that Israel’s top weapons exporter Elbit Systems is closing down its offices in London. The decision follows numerous protests against Elbit and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the letting agent for those offices. It is the second time that Palestine Action, the group organizing the protests, has compelled Elbit to quit a site in Britain – a country identified by the firm as a priority for sales and investment. Earlier this year, Elbit confirmed it had sold Ferranti, its subsidiary based in Oldham, near Manchester. Palestine Action’s protests – which often involve smashing up weapons facilities – have angered Israel and its supporters. One of Israel’s most influential backers in Britain is Priti Patel, the home secretary. She has effectively declared war on Palestinian solidarity activists by claiming that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is racist – without presenting any evidence.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Former Brazilian president, and frontrunner in the upcoming October 2022 presidential election, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva is putting four of his one-time accusers of corruption and money laundering in the dock. The initial charges and inquiries — all 25 of them — were completely dismissed earlier this month. Lula’s legal battles — including his sentence of 12 years and 11 months in prison, a sentence that was later increased to 17 years — are part of the infamous and multifaceted “Car Wash” investigations into corruption at state and private companies, such as Petrobras and Odebrecht, as well as among businessmen and politicians. In fact, it was during Lula’s administration that Brazil’s federal police were provided with the legal tools and mechanisms to initiate the Car Wash operations.
International negotiators are meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, to develop solutions to the climate change threat. But one major obstacle to global sustainability is largely absent from the discussions: the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. This system gives transnational corporations the power to sue governments over actions — including policies to address climate change — that reduce the value of their foreign investments. Allowing corporations to continue to wield this power could undermine whatever agreements might be reached in Glasgow. How does this system work? Clauses in more than 2,600 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) allow foreign investors to bypass domestic courts and sue sovereign states in international tribunals for millions — and even billions — of dollars.
Brussels - Fear of multi-billion-euro lawsuits from fossil fuel investors is putting the Paris agreement on climate change at risk, one of the deal's architects has warned. Compensation claims from a pact that allows companies to sue countries over policies that affect their investments could amount to more than a trillion euros by 2050, according to one estimate. The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was originally drawn up to protect energy firms as the Soviet Union crumbled, but new analysis suggests it could allow coal plants in 54 signatory states to keep belching carbon dioxide for more than a decade. "The integrity of the Paris agreement is critically undermined by the Energy Charter Treaty," said Laurence Tubiana, the French climate change ambassador during negotiations for the Paris agreement.
Shortly after WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes — including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral Murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to US checkpoints — the towering civil rights attorneys Michael Ratner and Len Weinglass, who had defended Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case, met Julian Assange in a studio apartment in Central London, according to Ratner’s newly released memoir “Moving the Bar”.
While November saw two Peruvian presidents removed in a week and the emergence of a grassroots movement to defend democracy, there are no clear answers yet as to who will benefit in the long term. It is not the first time that Plaza San Martín, one of the major squares in Lima’s historic centre, has been surrounded by police and filled with protestors demonstrating against the country’s political elite, but this time something felt different. The week beginning 9 November saw a series of major demonstrations pop up around Lima, and across Peru, in condemnation of the removal of President Martín Vizcarra from power by the Peruvian Congress.
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno and his allies have gone to great lengths to prevent former president Rafael Correa and his political movement from returning to power. In order to achieve this goal, the current government has persecuted opponents and barred candidates from running. Moreno’s authoritarianism has, so far, gone largely unnoticed internationally. With elections scheduled for February 2021, it is crucial that the international community keeps a vigilant eye on the Ecuadorian government’s persistent attempts at perverting the course of democracy.