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23-Year Old Beheaded In Anti-Gay Hate Crime Murder In South Africa

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A 23-year old transgender and gay man was beheaded in his home town of Kuruman, South Africa Friday, in an anti-gay hate crime. Thapelo Makutle, who was crowned Miss Gay Kuruman, was murdered by two men who remain at large. Reports state that police, for reasons of language and training, are not classifying the murder as a hate crime, and do not understand the significance of the attack. On report states the police reject that Makutle was beheaded, but acknowledge his throat was slashed.

Mamba Online reports:

According to the group Legbo Northern Cape, Thapelo Makutle was attacked at his place of work in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district on Friday. The organisation said that there was an argument related to “his sexuality and homosexuality”.

His two attackers are believed to have followed him to the room where he lived and on Saturday cut his throat, decapitating him.

They left his body under a blanket as though he were sleeping.

Makutle, who identified as both gay and transgender, was a volunteer for Legbo Northern Cape. He recently participated in the Kimberley Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Festival, was known as a beauty queen named Queen Bling and was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman.

“It’s so sad. I can’t describe the pain that we are feeling right now,” Shaine Griqua, director of Legbo Northern Cape, told Mambaonline. “We have lost a young, talented, gay man who was open about who he was. The last few days have been like a dark cloud.”

He said that no arrests have yet been made in connection with the murder. He expressed his frustration with the lack of support for LGBT people in the Northern Cape and noted that hate crimes are on the rise in the province.

“We recently had a lesbian stabbed three times in a bar because they said that she should be a woman and not a man. She chose not to press charges because she didn’t want her family involved,” Griqua said.

“The government is not interested in this problem,” he added.

A later report form Mamba Online states:

According to the Mothibistad police, Thapelo Makutle’s body was found lying on the floor of his rented room. It is alleged that the victim has been out with his friends that night. He left unannounced and his friends assumed that he had gone home to sleep.

Shaine Griqua, Director of Legbo Northern Cape, who first reported the attack, said that confusion around the state of the body likely stems from miscommunication due to most people in the area not speaking English as a first language.

Griqua believes that the attack was a hate crime and said that he has information that Makutle was killed as a result of an argument about his sexuality and gender appearance, but police have yet to confirm this, saying that the motive is as yet unknown.

He told Mambaonline that the police in the area are ill-equipped to deal appropriately with a hate crime.

“These people [the police] are not reliable. They don’t even know what a hate crime is. If you ask them if it was related to his sexuality they will say ‘no’ because they don’t understand the context,” Griqua insisted.

Global Post adds:

In a statement, Cosatu’s Northern Cape secretary Anele Gxoyiya condemned “this brutal attack on a young, brilliant and educated soul whose head was chopped off in a hate crime.”

While South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to extend equal rights to homosexuals, and the only nation in Africa to allow same-sex marriage, the reality of life in townships and rural areas for gays and lesbians has been one of often brutal violence.

In a high-profile incident last year, Noxolo Nogwaza, a lesbian activist based in KwaThema township near Johannesburg, was gang-raped and then stabbed and stoned to death, in what the New York-based group Human Rights Watch described as part of an “epidemic” of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in South Africa.

Politics Web published a statement in response to the murder, by Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader:

This violent and gruesome assault is yet another reminder that many of our country’s people are still denied the basic rights and freedoms which our Constitution enshrines.

There is a spate of homophobic hate crimes which have recently taken place across our country, including the repugnant and unconscionable crime of so-called “corrective rape” committed against lesbian South African women.

At this time, South Africa needs strong leadership from President Jacob Zuma, and an indication of his commitment to ensuring that all South Africans are able to live their lives free from fear of discrimination or violence.

Unfortunately, the silence from the Presidency has been deafening. This silence is made worse by the fact that President Zuma has in the past shown himself to be prejudiced towards homosexuals.

Last year, the DA welcomed the establishment of a government-led Joint Task Team on a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Intervention Strategy”, established in September 2011, under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Unfortunately, this task team has yet to make any report on its work.

Meanwhile, the spate of crimes continues.

President Zuma must speak out against this weekend’s horrific murder, and the many others like it, which are in danger of becoming all too commonplace in our country today.

I will today be calling for a debate in Parliament about the prevalence of these crimes in South Africa, and calling on MPs to discuss what can be done by the government to address this ongoing problem.

In addition, I will also be writing to the President to ask what immediate steps his government will be taking to address the violence and intimidation that homosexual South Africans must face on a daily basis.

Such crimes, and the President’s silence on them, cannot be allowed to continue.

Hat-tip: Towleroad

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Jan. 6 Committee Releases Report Recommending Criminal Contempt of Congress Against Ex-Trump DOJ Official

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The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has just released a massive 22-page report against the former DOJ official who attempted to assist then-President Donald Trump in overturning the results of the November 2020 election. That report urges Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the full House to find Jeffrey Bossert Clark in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply.

“The Chairman of the Select Committee repeatedly advised Mr. Clark that his claims of privilege are not well-founded and did not absolve him of his obligation to produce documents and provide deposition testimony,” the report reads. “The Chairman repeatedly warned Mr. Clark that his continued non-compliance would put him in jeopardy of a vote to refer him to the House to consider a criminal contempt referral. Mr. Clark’s failure to testify or produce responsive documents in the face of this clear advisement and warning by the Chairman constitutes a willful failure to comply with the subpoena.”

If the full House votes to refer Clark to the Dept. of Justice he could be prosecuted for criminal contempt.

“According to documents and testimony gathered by the Select Committee, in the weeks leading up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Jeffrey Bossert Clark participated in efforts to delegitimize the results of the 2020 presidential election and delay or interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the damning report adds. “As detailed in a report issued by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (hereinafter ‘‘Senate Report’’) and press accounts, after numerous courts throughout the United States had resoundingly rejected alleged voter fraud challenges to the election results by the Trump campaign, and after all states had certified their respective election results, Mr. Clark proposed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) send a letter to officials of the State of Georgia and other States suggesting that they call special legislative sessions to investigate allegations of voter fraud and consider appointing new slates of electors.”

In violation of DOJ policy and after a direct admonition from the Acting Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Clark also met with White House officials, including then-President Trump, to discuss efforts to delegitimize, disrupt, or overturn the election results. To further these efforts, President Trump considered installing Mr. Clark as the Acting Attorney General, a plan that was abandoned only after much of the DOJ leadership team and the White House Coun- sel threatened to resign if Mr. Clark was appointed.

The House is expected to vote on referring Clark to DOJ for prosecution Wednesday.

DOJ is now prosecuting former Trump advisor Steve Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.

This is a breaking news and developing story.

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News

Jan. 6 Committee Just Interviewed Top Georgia Elections Official Trump Threatened When Urging to Find Him More Votes

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The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has just concluded more than four hours of interviewing Georgia’s top elections official, Brad Raffensperger. Then-President Donald Trump threatened the Republican Secretary of State in a telephone call, parts of which were released to the press, during which the desperate losing Trump infamously said, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Speaking to Raffensperger indicates the House Committee is investigating the origins of the insurrection far beyond its D.C. roots.

“We talked about that and everything else leading into the election. That was their focus, because that was where the greatest disinformation was foisted upon our nation,” Raffensperger told The Atlanta Journal Constitution Tuesday.

Back in February Georgia prosecutors had reportedly opened up a criminal investigation into Trump’s demand Raffensperger find him 11,780 more votes. Despite the recorded audio evidence no charges are known to have been filed against Trump for what some say could be criminal solicitation to commit election fraud.

Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State nearly 20 times before the now-infamous call during which he threatened Raffensperger. On the 19th call Trump spoke to Raffensperger for nearly one hour. That call was recorded by Raffensperger’s staff.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

A Christian Anti-LGBT Hate Group Designed Mississippi Abortion Ban to ‘Eradicate’ Roe – SCOTUS Is About to Hear the Case

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In January 2018, Right Wing Watch broke the story that lawyers for religious-right legal giant Alliance Defending Freedom bragged at an anti-choice conference that the 15-week abortion ban that had been introduced in Mississippi was based on ADF’s model language. ADF lawyers said the law was the next step in the group’s strategic plan to “eradicate” Roe v. Wade through the courts.

Now, nearly four years later, legal challenges to the ​Mississippi law have made their way to the Supreme Court, which will hear Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Religious-right groups hope that the court’s right-wing justices will use the case to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to criminalize abortion outright. The ​Supreme Court could also make Roe “irrelevant” without formally reversing it.

ADF is using the hearing to raise money. In a fundraising Monday morning email, the group told supporters that ​the court could ​use Dobbs to overturn Roe. Last week, ADF sent a fundraising pitch that offered supporters a chance to download its “Generational Wins Prayer Guide” for the Dobbs case. (ADF also hopes to achieve a “generational win” that would overturn marriage equality for same-sex couples.)

On Thanksgiving, Intercessors for America, a network of right-wing pastors and religious-right activists, called Dobbs “the most crucial Supreme Court case in 45 years.” On Thursday and again on Friday, it urged its supporters to sign its “emergency pro-lie amicus brief” as a “citizen co-sponsor.” IFA wrote, “Let the Supreme Court know that while abortion may be the law of the land now, but with the power of prayer we can overcome!”

The Heritage Foundation​, a right-wing think tank, called the Dobbs case a “chance at redemption” for the court in a Monday email​.

ADF’s Monday email bragged about the record number of legal briefs that were filed in support of the Mississippi abortion ban. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the National Association of Evangelicals are among the many religious-right groups signing amicus briefs urging the Court to overturn Roe and allow states to criminalize abortion. Joining them is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Family Research Council hosted and streamed a two-hour event from a Jackson, Mississippi, church Sunday night that was emceed by FRC President Tony Perkins and featured an array of anti-choice religious and political leaders praying that the Court would overturn Roe. ADF President Mike Farris and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser joined the broadcast from the steps of the Supreme Court, where Farris prayed that the justices would not ask Mississippi’s lawyers any questions they had not prepared for. Anti-choice activist Tina Whittington prayed about the importance of young people “engaging with our government to see Heaven’s values on life rule in our land.”

Among the other speakers was California-based pastor Jack Hibbs, an associate of Christian nationalist political operative David Lane and an ardent Trump supporter. This summer, Hibbs preached that President Joe Biden should be court-martialed and removed from office; a month earlier he asked God to forgive Californians for electing “people with antichrist” worldviews “like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.” Hibbs said on Sunday night that Dobbs case “will define whether God remains in this nation or not.”

Also joining the FRC broadcast were anti-abortion extremist Flip Benham and his grandson, anti-choice activist Alveda King, and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, dean of the school of government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University and chair of FRC’s board of directors. Speaking of the Supreme Court, Bachmann said, “But Father, these men are but dust. One day these justices, men and women, their knees will bow, their tongues will confess that you are Lord.”

Some religious-right activists believe that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed by Senate Republicans just days before voters rejected Donald Trump, was anointed by God to lead the Supreme Court in overturning Roe. Among them was dominionist Lou Engle, who wrote this month that he believes that “God is looking for the Church to respond at this moment, standing with Him in the court of heaven to release a decision in favor of His saints. The ekklesia on earth must agree with the Divine Counsel of Heaven.”

Engle celebrated that the three justices nominated by Trump have created an anti-choice majority on the court, but he warned that those justices are coming under spiritual attack by “demonic forces.” Engle called on his supporters to wage spiritual warfare to “bind these five conservative judges into a coalition of conscience from which they cannot get free.”

Before joining the high court, Barrett was paid at least five times to speak at conferences for recipients of ADF’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship. Right Wing Watch noted in May, when the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs: 

During the Trump administration, religious-right leaders and activists repeatedly prayed for God to “remove” Supreme Court justices to give Trump the ability to name justices to the court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Last year, Frank Amedia, founder of the dominionist pro-Trump network POTUS Shieldcelebrated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death as a “move of God” that would allow Trump to fulfill prophecies that he would be given three Supreme Court nominations to fill.

When Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the 15-week ban, he said that he wanted his state to be the “safest place in America for an unborn child.”  In the Family Research Council broadcast Sunday night, current Gov. Tate Reeves echoed that sentiment, saying that when he was running for governor, he made a commitment to God “that I would do everything in my power to make our state the safest state in the nation for an unborn child.” And he told the audience, “We’re gonna fight together to make this nation the safest place in the world for an unborn child.”

As I noted at the time, when Bryant signed the law, Mississippi was by many measures the least safe state in America for women, infants, and children:

 

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

Image by Do512 via Flickr and a CC license

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