Non-Sequiturs: 02.18.18

Ed. note: We will not be publishing on Monday, February 19, in observance of President’s Day.

* Congratulations to my friend and former co-clerk, John Demers, on his long-overdue confirmation as head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. [Reuters]

* Which lawyers and justices take the lead on the most important Supreme Court cases? Adam Feldman has the answers, as always. [Empirical SCOTUS]

* Professor Ilya Somin breaks down the recent Fourth Circuit ruling on Trump’s Travel Ban 3.0. [Volokh Conspiracy / Reason]

* A leading legal technology company, Kira Systems, is looking for a few good law librarians (to apply for its new job as a Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst). [Dewey B Strategic]

* Lawyer and activist Glenn Magpantay, executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), explains what’s at stake with the Dream Act. [Advocate]

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Brazil is taking an ‘extreme measure’ to confront crime in Rio — the first time it’s done so since the country’s dictatorship fell

Brazil Rio de Janeiro police shootout crime scene

  • Days after the end of Rio’s Carnival, Brazil’s government has sent in the military to take command of public security in the state.
  • It’s the first such intervention since the country’s dictatorship fell in the mid-1980s.
  • Military interventions in Rio are not new and have frequently been criticized for failing to reduce crime and for leading to abuses.

Brazilian President Michel Temer signed a decree on Friday giving the military control of public-security duties in Rio de Janeiro state until the end of the year, amid spiraling violence in the state and the city of the same name.

The military has been deployed to Rio several times in recent years, but the new measure will give it total control of public-security functions there. Rio’s governor will continue to run the state government.

“Together, the police and the armed forces will combat and confront those who have kidnapped our cities,” Temer said at a signing ceremony. Gangs have “virtually taken over” Rio’s metropolitan area, home to 12 million people, he added.

“Our prisons will no longer be offices for thieves, our public squares party halls for organized crime. I know it’s an extreme measure but many times Brazil requires extreme measures to put things in order,” he said.

The decision came days after the end of Rio’s Carnival celebration and is the first such action since Brazil’s military dictatorship fell in the mid-1980s. The decree is expected to be approved by Congress next week, though opposition lawmakers have come out against it, calling it an effort to distract from Temer’s inability to govern.

We must join forces’

Brazil Rio de Janeiro police soldiers crime

Temer met with legislators about the decree on Thursday, according to AFP, but Friday’s announcement reportedly came as a surprise to Brazil’s military command, which was unclear on the scope of the intervention and the role federal forces would play.

On Saturday, after meeting with local authorities in Rio about implementation, Temer said he wanted to create a public ministry to coordinate public-security operations throughout Brazil.

“We must join forces to combat crime,” he said without offering details.

Violence has become pervasive in Rio, intensifying after the city hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics. The 2,125 killings in 2017 were 37% more than in 2014. According to state-government statistics, 2017’s homicides were 26% more than the total in 2015 and 8% more than the number in 2016.

Shootouts, robberies, and roadblocks have become frequent in Rio, which is also the state capital. Drug-trafficking groups and other criminal groups control large swaths of the city. Scores of police have been accused of aiding gangs by providing guns and information about police operations.

Brazil Rio de Janeiro soldiers beach sunbather troops

Residents often find themselves caught in the crossfire during clashes between rival criminal groups as well as between police and criminals. One local newspaper has started covering violence in a section called “Rio War,” which was criticized for echoing the aggressive rhetoric used by the government and others to justify militarized anti-crime strategies.

The city’s Carnival celebration, which ran from February 9 to February 13, was also marred by violence. Television networks showed footage of shootouts between gangs and teenagers attacking tourists in areas usually considered safe.

The state governor admitted that his administration was not prepared to provide security during the festivities. He also said authorities confiscated an “incredible” number of firearms.

Brazil Rio de Janeiro Carnival float parade

While the state government initially said crime went down during this year’s festivities, data obtained by Rio newspaper O Dia indicated that homicides declined while robberies and car thefts increased.

Many Carnival performers used the occasion to criticize insecurity and corruption and their effects on the public. (Some used the event to mount endorsements of the military dictatorship that ran the country from 1964 to 1985.)

In recent years Rio has seen numerous military deployments to quell violence. Temer signed an order last summer sending 10,000 security personnel, including 8,500 troops, to the city for the remainder of that year. Some 80,000 security personnel were also deployed to the city ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Brazilian army Gen. Walter Braga Netto, who commands the military in the eastern part of Brazil and will oversee the Rio deployment, also took part in the Olympics security operation. Asked this weekend if the security situation in Rio was really bad, Braga shook his head and said “too much media.” (Brazil’s largest media company, Globo, is based in Rio.)

The state is grappling with crime as it faces a dire financial situation. Budget shortfalls have left the state police struggling to find supplies, and mass layoffs from national oil company Petrobras, the state’s largest corporate employer, have exacerbated economic hardships for residents. Rio state, home to 17 million people, has lost more than a half-million jobs over the past three years.

‘What will the Army will do? Shoot?’

Brazil Rio de Janeiro soldiers troops crime

Despite rampant violence in Rio, the state’s homicide rate remains well below peaks in the 1990s and is lower than the homicide rate in other states. Nineteen Brazilian cities were on a list of the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2016, but Rio was not among them. The disparity has led some to see Temer’s actions as politically motivated.

Temer, who has approval ratings in the single digits, has been considering a reelection bid ahead of elections in October. He has also been pushing for a vote on an unpopular pension-reform measure by the end of February, when legislators start to focus on reelection.

Temer’s ministers admit the measure is still short 40 votes it needs to pass in the lower house, but that vote can’t go forward while the military is deployed to Rio, as changes to the constitution are prohibited during such interventions. (Though Temer has said he could lift the decree to allow a vote.)

Brazil's President Michel Temer attends a ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

“He is changing tack. He will assume a leading role in this issue of public security,” Ricardo Ismael, a professor of political science at Rio’s Catholic Pontifical University, told The Guardian. “He will try to gain popularity.”

Militarized responses to crime have been widely criticized for being ineffective and for leading to rights abuses. And many, including the head of the country’s military command, have said the military can do little to address an insecurity problem like that in Rio.

“Rio’s problem is more complex than police management. There could be a quick sensation of security, but that will not last,” Paulo Storani, former commander of Rio’s elite BOPE police force, told the Associated Press. He said Temer’s decision “will bring a lot of challenges to the military because it will not solve a security problem of decades.”

“We have seen the affect of using military to police Rio,” Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, told The Wall Street Journal. “There was a significant increase in human-rights violations, especially in the case of young, black men.”

“The Army does not have the capacity and training to address a security problem that exists in Rio. Public security depends mainly on investigations, and the Army does not investigate,” Ignacio Cano, a sociologist at the Violence Analysis Laboratory at Rio’s state university, told O Dia. “When it arrives in the community, what will the Army will do? Shoot?”

SEE ALSO: The US’s top military-intelligence official described how the war on Mexico’s cartels has produced even more violence

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The Rio Olympics were only a year ago, but the venues look like they’ve been deserted for decades

Brazil is taking an ‘extreme measure’ to confront crime in Rio — the first time it’s done so since the country’s dictatorship fell syndicated from

Here’s who has been charged so far in Mueller’s Russia probe

Robert Mueller

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office announced the indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities involved in interference operations targeting the US political system and the 2016 presidential election.

The indictments are the latest charges in Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian in their interference efforts. Mueller is also investigating whether Trump has obstructed justice during the course of the probe. 

The Justice Department appointed Mueller as special counsel in May after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who had been looking into the president and his potential connections with Russians.

Since taking over the investigation, Mueller’s team has charged four Americans once affiliated with the Trump campaign or administration, and 13 Russians and three Russian companies involved in US election interference.  

Here’s everyone charged so far in the Mueller probe:

SEE ALSO: Meet Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and tenacious investigator leading the Trump-Russia probe

DON’T MISS: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, indicted in Mueller probe, plead not guilty

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities on October 30, 2017, after he was indicted, along with his business associate Rick Gates, on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the US and money laundering.  

Manafort, who pleaded not guilty, had been a key figure in Mueller’s investigation. 

Manafort was forced to step down as Trump’s campaign chairman in May 2016 after coming under fire for his connections to Russian oligarchs and his past lobbying efforts abroad. 

Manafort was also associated with at least 15 bank accounts and 10 companies in Cyprus, dating back to 2007, NBC News reported in March, and the FBI has issued grand-jury subpoenas to several banks for Manafort’s records. 

Rick Gates, one of Manafort’s business partners

In October, Gates was indicted along with Manafort on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the US, making false statements, and failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. He pleaded not guilty on all counts. 

Gates joined Trump election efforts in the spring of 2016, working as Manafort’s deputy. He traveled with Trump and grew close with many top campaign officials.

After Manafort was ousted as Trump’s campaign chief in August 2016, Gates continued working on behalf of the soon-to-be president, helping fundraise $25 million for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies and working on Trump’s inaugural committee. As Mueller’s probe intensified in the early months of the Trump administration, Gates left the nonprofit altogether.

But as recently as June, The Daily Beast reported that Gates was still visiting the White House and working under Tom Barrack, who has remained one of Trump’s most trusted advisers.

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser

On the same day Mueller’s office announced the indictments of Manafort and Gates, it was revealed that George Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old former Trump adviser, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

According to documents that were unsealed by the Mueller investigation, Papadopoulos had made at least six attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives throughout the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, using a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud and a female Russian national as conduits.

He was arrested October 5, 2017, and subsequently cooperated with Mueller’s team.

Trump has described Papadopoulos as a low-level volunteer.

“Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar,” Trump tweeted following news of the guilty plea. “Check the DEMS!”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Here’s who has been charged so far in Mueller’s Russia probe syndicated from

All The Things Happened Today — See Also

Ed. note: Above the Law will be off on Monday… which is great, because this world is freaking gross and I’m looking forward to ignoring it for the next three days.

JOHN QUINN HITS REPLY ALL AND MAKES THE MISTAKE OF TELLING THE TRUTH: Quinn’s email was probably ill-advised, yet probably more indicative of how Biglaw really thinks than any advisable press statement.

MUELLER INDICTS 13 RUSSIANS FOR MEDDLING IN OUR ELECTION: The Russians engaged in a massive criminal conspiracy to defraud the American people. Or, as the president would say, “no collusion.”


NOT THE FIRST TIME I’VE RECEIVED A RAPE THREAT: Says Stanford Law professor unintentionally speaking about the total failure of America.

THE FBI HAD A TIP ABOUT THE FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTER AND DID NOTHING: Somebody over there needs to be held accountable for this failure.

FORMER PARTNER GETS JAIL TIME FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT: Germany sentences a former Linklaters partner who sexually assaulted a student.
All The Things Happened Today — See Also syndicated from