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Religion: By Hanging, Iran Executes Three Men For Having Gay Sex

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Iran has executed by hanging three men for the crime of having gay sex, early on Sunday morning, September 4th. The three men were officially executed for “forbidden acts against religion,” as Iran does not acknowledge the existence of homosexuality, which is also officially a crime.

AFP reports:

Two convicted rapists and a drug smuggler were sent to the gallows in the same prison.

The latest hangings bring to 180 the number of executions reported in Iran so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on media and official reports.

Iranian media reported 179 hangings last year but international human rights groups say the actual number was much higher, ranking the Islamic republic second only to China in the number of people it executed in 2010.

Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and it is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.

Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are among the crimes punishable by death in Iran.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) also reports,

The men were identified as: “M. T.”, “T. T.” and “M. Ch.” (age not mentioned for any of them) and besides being convicted of sodomy, had also committed other offences such as kidnapping and robbery, said the report.

Condemning the executions, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights (IHR), Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said:”Yesterday’s executions for sodomy might be among the rare cases were the Iranian authorities admit to having executed men convicted of homosexual acts”. He added: “Iranian authorities normally present such cases as rape, but rape as not been mentioned in this case”.

IHR is currently investigating the case of the three men executed for sodomy.

According to ISNA, the three others executed in Ahvaz today, were “A. H.” convicted of keeping and trafficking of 6309 grams of heroin, and “J. N.” and “A. Sh.” convicted of rape and robbery.

The report didn’t mention the age of those who were executed.

Amiry-Moghaddam warned about a new wave of executions scheduled for the coming weeks in Iran. He said: “After a short break in the executions due to the Holy month of Ramadan, we have received reports about many scheduled executions in the coming days and weeks in Iran”. Amiry-Moghaddam added: “Many of the scheduled executions are planned to be carried out publically”.

The Advocate adds,

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once famously told a reporter during a news conference that, ”In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.”

READ: 9/11: Anti-Muslim Children’s Coloring Book Publisher Calls FBI After Muslims Call Him

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News

Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

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The bombshells over the past few weeks revealing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew flags associated with the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Christian nationalism over two of his homes were followed by a report that Leonard Leo, the right-wing legal activist behind Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, also flew one of those flags.

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag has a “close association with both far-right Christian nationalists and the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Rolling Stone reported last week, adding it “raises serious questions about Alito’s ability to rule impartially.”

“The conservative court on which Alito sits is largely the product of right-wing dark-money overlord Leonard Leo, and — wouldn’t you know it — Leo flew the same ‘Appeal to Heaven‘ flag outside of his house in Maine,” Rolling Stone also reported.

On social media Rolling Stone noted: “Justice Samuel Alito is under fire for flying the far-right ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag outside his home. Turns out Supreme Court puppetmaster Leonard Leo has flown it too, according to an image provided to Rolling Stone.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone editor Andrew Perez on Memorial Day via social media added: “Some of Leo’s neighbors send pics from his house today — he is back to flying this flag.”

Alex Aronson is the former Chief Counsel, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who now serves as Executive Director of the non-profit organization Court Accountability.

“Leo’s decision to re-hoist this theocrat flag is two things at once,” Aronson wrote on Monday. “1) an arrogant Alito-esque display of impunity, and 2) recognition of a strategic misstep in ever removing it, as he and his goons now lean into the gaslighting claim that it’s an innocent revolutionary banner.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

In 2019, even before Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett to the nation’s highest court, The Washington Post reported, “few people outside government have more influence over judicial appointments now than Leo.”

Leo has served on the Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a highly-secretive right-wing organization that has been described as a “pluto-theocracy.” In 2021 Americans United for Separation of Church and State called CNP “The Scariest Christian Nationalist Group You’ve Never Heard Of.”

CNP’s members have included far-right activist Charlie Kirk and the heads of at least a half-dozen groups that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate or extremist groups.

Last year ProPublica branded Leo as “The Man Behind the Right’s Supreme Court Supermajority” who “built a machine that remade the American legal system.”

Leo also served as a vice president for the Federalist Society for many years, and has worked to support the nominations of every right wing justice on today’s Supreme Court, including Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

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News

Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

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Having successfully obtained delays in his federal trials and his state trial in Georgia, possibly until after the November election, Donald Trump is now seeking an “insurance policy” to protect him from any future state prosecutions if he again becomes president.

The indicted ex-president who turns 78 next month “seems convinced that if he wins another four years in the White House, state prosecutors will still be waiting for him on the other side of his term — ready to put him on trial, or even in prison, just as they are now,” Rolling Stone reports.

“To avoid such risks, the former and perhaps future president of the United States wants Congress to create a very specific insurance policy that would help keep him out of prison forever, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump vaguely alluded to this idea last week outside his New York criminal hush money trial, when he said he has urged Republican lawmakers to pass ‘laws to stop things like this.'”

Trump “has pressured” Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do so, describing it as imperative that he signs such a bill into law, if he again ascends to the Oval Office.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone also notes, “Trump appears fixated on the idea of passing a law to give former American presidents the option of moving state or local prosecutions into a federal court instead, the two sources add.”

Trump “has hinted at a legislative push to limit his exposure to such criminal charges. In an improvised press conference outside the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday, Trump said he’s been telling the Republican lawmakers who want to attend his trial and show solidarity to focus on legislation instead.”

“We have a lot of ’em. They want to come. I say, ‘Just stay back and pass lots of laws to stop things like this.’”

In 1973, while still President but under the cloud of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon said, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.”

If Trump is elected in November, he can have his Attorney General drop any federal prosecutions he is currently facing. That may call into question, for some legal experts, the actions of the far-right justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who have delayed ruling on his immunity claim, and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

On May 7, Judge Cannon indefinitely suspended the Espionage Act case, also known as the classified documents case, against Donald Trump.

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf this week blasted the judge:

“Judge Cannon is not, as commentators and cartoonists would have it, just working on behalf of Trump. She is actively working on behalf of the enemies of the US who have and would benefit from the national security breaches she is effectively defending and making more likely.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this month declared, “The courts are deliberately delaying justice — and effectively denying it.”

This coming week Americans may get a verdict in the New York criminal case against the ex-president. If it comes, it may be “guilty” or “not guilty,” but it could also be a hung jury, forcing another trial which also would not likely come before the election.

If Trump is elected in November, and can get his “insurance policy” legislation passed, he could possibly avoid all criminal trials for the rest of his life.

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OPINION

Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

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Mike Pence is defending far-right U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, whose ethics and ability to serve on the nation’s highest court are being questioned after The New York Times revealed he had been flying a highly-controversial flag used by the January 6 insurrectionists, neo-Nazis, and a far-right neo-fascist hate group. Democrats are demanding the justice recuse himself from all cases involving Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential election, and some are also demanding his resignation or impeachment.

The former Trump Vice President, in defending Alito, may have made the situation even worse for the 74-year old jurist by highlighting the flag’s ties to revolution and the overthrow of government. In his defense Pence also encourages all Americans to fly the flag: “The ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag is part or our proud heritage of Faith and Freedom and every American should be proud to fly it,” he writes.

“The Appeal to Heaven Flag” dates back centuries, to the American Revolution, but in recent years was very clearly co-opted by the radical religious right and was seen being carried by the insurrectionists during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, some of whom who chanted, “hang Mike Pence,” as he and his family were being whisked away by Secret Service on January 6:

MSNBC columnist Sarah Posner, who for years has been writing about religion and politics, on Thursday noted, “the more one knows about the background of the flag, the more chilling its presence at [Alito’s] house becomes.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Posner says the flag is “an unmistakable emblem for an influential segment of Christian nationalists who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, contrary to God’s will, and that believers’ spiritual warfare is essential to restoring God’s anointed leader to his rightful office.”

“It was one of numerous Christian nationalist flags and other iconography carried by Trump supporters Jan. 6 and at the Jericho March, a series of prayer rallies that were like jet fuel for the insurrection,” Posner explains. “The Jericho March featured right-wing evangelical and Catholic speakers alongside militants such as conspiracist Alex Jones, Trump’s disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes, now serving an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy and other crimes.”

Posner adds the flag “originated in Revolutionary times as a call to take up arms against unjust rulers who ignored the pleas of their citizens.”

Pence also refers to the Revolutionary War in his defense of Justice Alito, ignoring that the Revolutionary War was won several hundred years ago, and ignoring that a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice promoting the very concept of taking up arms against rulers, unjust or otherwise, is, as constitutional scholar and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe wrote, “close to treason.”

Pence calls the “controversy” of Justice Alito’s flag-flying “absurd and anti-historical.” He quotes English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, promoting his idea of the right to revolution, to replace a government.

In its Bombshell report Wednesday announcing the existence of a second Alito flag tied to the insurrectionists, The New York Times explains the Locke tie to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag.

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

“Since its creation during the American Revolution, the flag has carried a message of defiance: The phrase ‘appeal to heaven’ comes from the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who wrote of a responsibility to rebel, even use violence, to overthrow unjust rule. ‘It’s a paraphrase for trial by arms,’ Anthony Grafton, a historian at Princeton University, said in an interview. ‘The main point is that there’s no appeal, there’s no one else you can ask for help or a judgment.'”

Coincidentally or not, Grafton’s “trial by arms” seems to echo Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 speech in which he specifically called for “trial by combat.”

Religious studies scholar Matthew Taylor, quoted in The New York Times’ report on Alito’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag, told CBS News (video below) Christian nationalist leader Dutch Sheets “was given one of these flags and he believed that he received a prophecy when he received this flag, that it was a symbol of a revolution that would take place in America, a spiritual revolution that would reconstitute the United States as a truly Christian nation.”

He adds the “Appeal to Heaven” flag has become a “very potent symbol of Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, opposition to abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and the desire for a more Christian America.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

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