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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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ONLY COLLUSION ONLY OBSTRUCTION

‘Jurors Meet With Defendant’: Anger Grows Over Report GOP Senators Met With Trump to Map Out ‘Rigged’ Impeachment Trial

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News from The Washington Post that top White House officials held a clandestine meeting Thursday with Republican Senators to map out a plan to limit the Senate impeachment trial while President Trump has been secretly “courting” Senate Republicans in an effort to gauge and gain their loyalty has many angered and alarmed.

The House is expected to pass articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, which would require the Senate to hold an impartial trial, over which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would preside. It very much is a legal proceeding with historic consequences for the future of America’s democracy.

Republicans appear to not have grasped this fact, not the gravity of their constitutional duties.

Many Americans are growing angered as a result. Some are calling the Senate impeachment trial “rigged” before it has even begun. Others are pointing out that this is akin to jurors meeting with the “defendant to discuss how long they think they have to let the trial go on.”

“Juries don’t collude with the accused criminals they’re judging,” one person on Twitter said. “Only collusion, only obstruction,” said another.

Take a look at the responses:

Meanwhile, the fact that the target of an investigation is conspiring with the very public servants who will serve as jurors on his trial is shocking to some.


 
Image by The White House via Flickr 

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YOU CAN'T DO THAT

White House Secretly Meeting With Republicans to Limit Impeachment Trial as President Courts GOP Senators

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The Trump White House is in secret  talks with top Senate Republicans to draft a strategy on how the impeachment trial will be conducted after the House passes what are expected to be damning articles of impeachment. The president has been focused the past few weeks on sitting down with Senate Republicans individually or in small groups to take the temperature of the caucus and to woo those who have occasionally suggested they might be uncomfortable with the actions he has taken that have led to the current impeachment inquiry.

“A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately Thursday to map out a strategy for a potential impeachment trial of President Trump, including proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks,” The Washington Post reports late Thursday afternoon.

Among the Republican Senators who clandestinely met with top Trump White House advisors are: Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Tom Cotton (Ark.). The six strong Trump supporters met, according to the Post, “with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.”

Earlier Thursday Politico reported “Trump cozies up to GOP during impeachment,”noting the President has been “aggressively courting Senate Republicans” including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, both seen as potentially dangerous to Trump should the Senate hold an impeachment trial.

In a separate Politico article Politico suggests the White House attempted to convince the majority-Republican Senate to immediately dismiss any articles of impeachment and hold no trial.

Senators “informed the White House that there simply aren’t the votes to approve a motion to dismiss the trial; it would take just three Republicans to block any impeachment vote on the Senate floor.”

The Washington Post echoed that reporting, explaining that “even a two-week trial could run counter to what Trump has expressed privately. The president is ‘miserable’ about the ongoing impeachment inquiry and has pushed to dismiss the proceedings right away.”

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CONSPIRACY THEORISTS

Watch: Nunes Stunned When State Dept. Official Knocks Down His ‘Black Ledger Isn’t Real’ Conspiracy Theory

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Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Member Devin Nunes Thursday afternoon appeared stunned when he questioned a U.S. State Dept. official during the impeachment hearings and did not get the answer he anticipated.

Rep. Nunes has been spewing far right wing conspiracy theories during each impeachment hearing over the past two weeks, including the thoroughly debunked lie that Ukraine – not Russia – attacked the U.S. 2016 election.

(Earlier one of today’s witnesses, Dr. Fiona Hill, publicly lambasted the spreading of the false Ukraine conspiracy theory as she sat just feet away from Nunes. The video is here.)

Nunes asked David Holmes, who is the State Dept.’s counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine about the “black ledger.”

That line of questioning did not go well for Nunes.

Nunes asked if Holmes had “ever heard of the black ledger.”

“I have,” Holmes replied.

“The black ledger – is that seen as ‘credible’ information?” Nunes asked.

“Yes,” Holmes responded without hesitation.

Surprised, Nunes repeated his question.

“The black ledger is credible?”

“Yes,” Holmes again replied.

Nunes did not look pleased.

“Bob Mueller did not find it credible. Do you dispute what Bob Mueller’s findings were? – They didn’t use it in the prosecution or in the report.”

“I’m not aware that Bob Mueller did not find it credible. I think it was evidence in other criminal proceedings. Its credibility was not questioned in those proceedings, but I’m not an expert on that.”

Holmes is correct – it was used as evidence in prosecutions (see below).

The black ledger is a register of off-the-book payments made by the corrupt now-former ruling party of Ukraine – not today’s ruling party.

It contains details of 22 payments allegedly made to Paul Manafort, totaling $12.7 million, by his former client, the ex-President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort later became Donald Trump’s election campaign chairman. When the ledger was exposed Manafort was forced to resign from the Trump campaign. He is now in prison, serving a 90-month federal sentence.

Mueller actually did find the black ledger credible, as The Washington Post reported one week ago. It was used as evidence in Mueller’s indictment against Manafort.

Rep. Nunes appears to believe the existence of the black ledger and its authenticity are conspiracy theories. He is the one spreading conspiracy theories. The black ledger is real.

 

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