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Sept 3, 2020: Trump Sanctions ICC Hague Officials

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The Donald Trump administration announces new sanctions on The Hague. It all seems a little bit backwards.

Meanwhile, Joe and Jill Biden visit Kenosha, Wisconsin today. The campaign set a one- month presidential fundraising record in August.

And lastly, doctors say new guidelines for coronavirus treatment represent a sign of hope in the fight against the virus. The World Health Organization now says chronically and severely ill COVID patients should be treated with steroids.


In a shocking and damning move, the United States has imposed sanctions on senior officials of the International Criminal Court at the Hague. The ICC prosecutes war criminals around the world. The US sanctions include the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Bensouda was once justice minister of her home country, The Gambia. Her experience in international justice includes advising a United Nations tribunal that prosecuted key figures in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The new sanctions allow the US to block assets of those targeted, as well as bar them from entry to the US.

So why is the US sanctioning The Hague prosecutors now? Well, it’s simple: The ICC has been investigating American war crimes in Afghanistan. Announcing the sanctions, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called those ICC investigations QUOTE illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction ENDQUOTE. The US is one of a dozen countries including China, India, and Russia that have refused to recognize the ICC’s authority, according to BBC News. The court was created by a UN treaty in 2002.

Balkees Jarrah, a senior counsel on international justice with Human Rights Watch, said the sanctions mark a shameful new low for US commitments to justice for victims of the worst crimes. They are, Jarrah added, a stunning perversion of US sanctions that were devised to penalize rights abusers and kleptocrats. Instead, they will be used to harrass those seeking

justice for victims of war crimes. Folks, just ask yourselves: Is this how a country operates when it has nothing to answer for, nothing to hide?

The Bidens visit Kenosha today

Joe Biden and his wife Jill are visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin today. Biden said that there were overwhelming requests for him to visit in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake and the subsequent killing of two protesters by a seventeen-year-old armed with an assault rifle. In advance of the visit, Biden said he hopes to be a positive influence toward healing. He certainly couldn’t do worse than Donald Trump’s loathsome, inflammatory performance there on Tuesday.

There was no indication that Biden’s vice presidential pick Kamala Harris would join him and his wife in Kenosha. However, the Washington Post reported that Biden has deployed Harris elsewhere as an ambassador to Black activists. For instance, Harris joined a conference call with one hundred Black male leaders, including the civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Blake family. The Post said Crump and Harris addressed the Blake shooting and police violence against Black men in general, but offered no details.

Also on the campaign trail, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the lineup for three debates between Biden and Trump. The first debate will take place on September 29 and be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. The second debate will be moderated by C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully, and take place on October 15. The third and final debate will take place on October 22nd and be moderated by Kristen Welker, a White House correspondent for NBC News and co-anchor of the weekend “Today” show. There will also be a single vice-presidential debate to be moderated by Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today. That’s on October 7.

Finally, Biden reportedly broke a campaign fundraising record, raising three-hundred and sixty-four and a half million dollars in August. More than two-hundred and five million came through online donations. The previously monthly record in a presidential race was set by Barack Obama in September 2008, when he raised more than two hundred and two million.

New coronavirus treatment guidelines

The World Health Organization released new treatment guidance yesterday for the coronavirus. The updated guidance is based on new research, also published yesterday, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research consisted of five separate articles including three studies, an editorial, and an analysis of seven randomized clinical trials. From all that, the evidence was clear: Doctors should use steroids to treat patients who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19. The only other drug shown to be effective in seriously ill patients is remdesivir, according to the New York Times, summarizing the research.

Per the Times, steroids can have harmful side effects, especially in elderly patients, who make up the majority of very ill coronavirus patients. The drugs may leave patients vulnerable to other infections, may raise blood glucose levels, and may cause confusion and delirium.

The new research doesn’t answer every question. Only the sickest patients were treated with steroids in the clinical trials that were studied. The optimal dosages and duration of treatment remain uncertain. But the good news is that these drugs are cheap and widely available. And they reduced deaths in critically ill patients by twenty percent. What this means: If your loved ones are diagnosed as severely or critically ill with coronavirus, they should be getting treated with cortico-steroids – and if they aren’t, the doctors should have a good reason why not, based on the individual circumstances of the patient. If they are sick enough for these drugs, they may already be on mechanical ventilation. But if they are in a gray area, receiving perhaps only a few liters of oxygen, doctors may conclude steroids are too risky.

All ins and outs aside, this is a rare bit of good news for the fight against the dreaded ’rona.


Indigenous people in the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands are reportedly now threatened by the coronavirus. Most cases are asymptomatic, but experts quoted by NBC News fear that uncontacted people on nearby islands could be next. The population of the Great Andamanese tribe for instance, is just over fifty people. Ten of them are now hospitalized with coronavirus, according to NBC News. Luckily, for now, all are asymptomatic, but there are concerns for tribal elders on the most remote islands.

A Homeland Security Department official who resigned in April told NPR News that the Trump administration is fanning the flames of violence and right-wing extremism. This won’t be news to most listeners of this program, but it’s something else to hear it from a person like Elizabeth Neumann, former assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention at DHS. Neumann also said, unequivocally, QUOTE The threat of domestic terrorism is not from antifa. ENDQUOTE. To paraphrase Trump, put that in your soup and throw it!

Survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 filed a lawsuit on Tuesday demanding reparations from the city government. The lead plaintiff is Lessie Benningfield “Mother” Randle, who is one hundred and five years old. The lawsuit says the local law enforcement deputized white Tuslans to murder, loot, and burn a Black district of the city. It also names the local chamber of commerce, which backed a form of indentured servitude for some Black internees after the massacre. Per the Washington Post, no one was ever arrested for the violence.

Staff at the Voice of America are in open revolt over the conduct of their boss, Michael Pack. Pack was appointed to head up the US Agency for Global Media and confirmed by the Senate in June. He commenced to purge employees on a political basis, adding unfounded and xenophobic claims of espionage. Solidarity to all journalists fighting for their independence, and for the free speech of all!

That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.

Sept 3, 2020 - AM Quickie

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Corey Pein

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw