Family: Police killing of Andrew Brown “an execution” – National & International News – TUE 27Apr2021

Family: Police “executed” Andrew Brown. DHS seeks domestic extremists in its ranks. Armed ethnic group seizes Myanmar military base. EU sues AstraZeneca.


Family: Police “executed” Andrew Brown

Family members of Andrew Brown say that his death amounts to an “execution” by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies. The deputies were attempting to serve a search and arrest warrant on Brown connected with cocaine distribution. After demanding for days to see police bodycam footage of the incident, family members were at last allowed to see only a 20-second snippet of what was apparently a much lengthier encounter. Attorneys for the family say that a 20-second clip does not constitute “transparency” by the Sheriff’s Dept. and allege that the department is “trying to hide something”.

Based on the family’s statements, however, what little they saw of the video seems to have been damning enough. According to the family’s representatives, Brown had kept his hands on the steering will and tried to comply with officer’s demands. The family believes that shooting had already commenced at this stage. At some point, Brown panics and attempts to drive away from the officers, posing no threat to the officers. Brown was then fatally shot in the back of the head before crashing into a tree.

Several news outlets, the local city council and even the count sheriff, have petitioned a judge to approve the release of the video, which is required under North Carolina law. The mayor of Elizabeth City believes there will be “civil unrest” once the video is released.

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Homeland Security seeks domestic extremists in its ranks

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the department (DHS) is launching an internal probe to uncover white supremacists and others with potentially violent extremist views in its organization. On Monday, Mayorkas acknowledged that, “Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today”. This already presents a major shift in institutional attitudes on domestic terror in the US. Until relatively recent times, federal agencies downplayed the prevalence and threat of domestic terrorism, focusing instead on Islamo-fascist terrorism. The Biden administration has made addressing violent domestic extremism a priority, in light of a rising number of incidents during Trump’s presidency as well as the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Mayorkas also alluded to the prevalence of extremist views among the military and law enforcement communities. Since the Jan. 6 attack, the FBI has arrested dozens of law enforcement, public safety and military personnel in connection with the riot. Mayorkas said, “As we work to safeguard our nation, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and combat domestic violent extremism within both the broader community and our own organization”.

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Myanmar: armed ethnic group seizes military base

In the nearly three months since the military coup in Myanmar, over 750 people, including several children, have been killed in widespread protests. Last month, the protesters formed a tenuous alliance with armed ethnic groups in the country’s border regions, who have been fighting the military for decades. The protest leadership even announced the formation of a unity opposition government with ethnic representation.

One of Myanmar’s largest ethnic militias, the Karen National Union (KNU), has been actively fighting the junta’s forces near the Thai border for the last several weeks. About 25,000 ethnic Karen have fled local villages, sheltering in nearby caves or jungles. Others have sought safety on the other side of the border. The KNU has now seized and razed a national military base in the region.

The junta’s leader, Min Aung Hlaing, recently attend a regional summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta. At the conference, Hlaing promised to put an immediate end to violence in the country and enter dialog. His statement was too vague to inspire a great deal of confidence in the international community. And despite this pledge, killings of protesters have continued across the country in recent days.

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EU suing AstraZeneca over vaccine supply failure

The European Commission has announced legal action against COVID-vaccine producer AstraZeneca, alleging breach of contract. This marks an escalation of an ongoing dispute between the bloc and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company. European Commissioner President Ursula von der Leyen has taken the firm to task over delays in delivery of 100s of millions of doses. AstraZeneca has blamed the delays unspecified manufacturing difficulties, but denies that it has violated the terms of its contract with the EU.

The EU has also accused AstraZeneca of exporting doses to outside nations without fulfilling its commitments to the EU. The bloc has set up aggressive export controls and even raided some plants they suspected of hoarding doses to be secretly exported to the UK. These raids turned up nothing, but various EU countries have blocked the export of 100s of 1000s of doses.

Responding to the announcement of the legal challenge, AstraZeneca reiterated that its contract with the EU stipulated that the company make its “best reasonable effort” to deliver a set amount of doses by a certain deadline. The firm’s statement says, “We believe any litigation is without merit and we welcome this opportunity to resolve this dispute as soon as possible”.

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