#AceNewsReport – Sept.04: Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, had been out for a run when a white father and son, Greg and Travis McMichael, armed themselves and pursued him in a pickup truck after spotting him running in their neighborhood. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun, killing him.
#AceDailyNews says Jackie Johnson, a former district attorney in Georgia involved in the case of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing, has been indicted on charges of misconduct for allegedly using her position to shield the men who chased and shot Arbery in February 2020….
Greg McMichael worked as an investigator in Johnson’s office and retired in 2019. He had called Johnson soon after the shooting, leaving her a voicemail asking for advice. At the scene, Johnson told officers not to put Travis McMichael under arrest.
#AceNewsReport – July.11: Rhoden allegedly shot 46-year-old Gene Siller, who was director of golf at the club, in the head near the 10th hole after police said the golf pro ‘witnessed an active crime’ unfolding.
ATLANTA: Bryan Anthony Rhoden, 23, was charged late Thursday with murder, aggravated assault and kidnapping following a five day manhunt over the July 3 shooting deaths at Pinetree Country Club in suburban.
Police who arrived at the scene later discovered the bodies of two men – Paul Pierson, 76, of Kansas; and Henry Valdez, 46, of California – in the back of a white Ram 3500 pickup truck that Rhoden had allegedly driven onto the course.
The gunman fled the scene of the triple homicide on foot and police refused for days to release any details of a potential suspect.
#AceNewsReport – May.01: Travis McMichael, 35; Travis’s father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, were each charged with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping. Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing—and in Travis’s case, discharging—a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence:
Three Georgia men were indicted today by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia and charged with hate crimes and the attempted kidnapping of Ahmaud Arbery. The indictment also charges two of the men with separate counts of using firearms during that crime of violence’
Counts One and Two of the indictment allege that the defendants used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race: Specifically, Count One of the indictment alleges that as Arbery was running on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, Travis and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck, and chased Arbery through the public streets of the neighborhood while yelling at him, using their truck to cut off his route, and threatening him with firearms. Count One also alleges that the offense resulted in Arbery’s death. Count Two alleges that William “Roddie” Bryan joined the chase and used his truck to cut off Arbery’s route:
In addition to the hate-crime charges, Count Three alleges that all three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape: Counts Four and Five allege that during the course of the crime of violence charged in Count One, Travis used, carried, brandished, and discharged a Remington shotgun, and Gregory used, carried, and brandished a .357 Magnum revolver:
All three defendants have also been charged in a separate state proceeding with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. No trial date has been set for the state case.
The announcement was made by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Acting U.S. Attorney David Estes of the Southern District of Georgia, and Special Agent in Charge J.C. Hacker of the FBI.
This case was investigated by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tara Lyons of the Southern District of Georgia, and Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Special Litigation Counsel Christopher J. Perras of the Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is a formal accusation of conduct, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.14: In a newly unsealed federal indictment, Byron Booker, 28, of Ludowici, Ga., and Jordan Brown, 21, of St. Marys, Ga., are charged in the death of Specialist Austin J. Hawke, 24, at Fort Stewart Military Reservation, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia:
Two men indicted in death of Fort Stewart soldier found stabbed to death in installation housing: Eight-count federal indictment returned in murder conspiracy
Southern District of Georgia:
Booker is charged with Premeditated Murder; and Murder of a Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services. In addition, both Booker and Brown are charged with Felony Murder; Conspiracy to Commit Assault Upon a Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services and to Commit Burglary; Assault Upon a Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services; Burglary; Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Witness; and Retaliation Against a Witness. The statutory penalty for each of the murder charges upon conviction is death, or mandatory life in prison.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“It is a high priority for our office to pursue justice for members of the military who are victims of violent crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “We commend the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and other law enforcement partners for their tireless and detailed work on this case.”
The 21-page indictment alleges that Booker and Brown conspired to commit the offenses against Hawk in retaliation for Hawk reporting Booker to U.S. Army leadership for “poor leadership, poor military performance, and maltreatment of subordinates” prior to Booker’s discharge from the U.S. Army, and in retaliation for Hawk reporting Brown for drug use during his service.
The indictment further alleges that Booker and Brown discussed “silencing” Hawk, and discussed Brown providing Booker with a key to access Hawk’s room. The indictment alleges that Booker drove from his home on or about June 17, 2020, to Fort Stewart, and entered the installation on foot before walking approximately one mile to Hawk’s barracks. The indictment then alleges that Booker killed Hawk by “stabbing, cutting, and slashing” him with an edged weapon, and that afterward Booker disposed of the clothing and shoes he was wearing at the time.
Booker has been in custody since June 18, 2020; Brown was taken into custody after a U.S. District Court grand jury returned the indictment during its April 2021 term. Both defendants await further legal proceedings.
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI are investigating the case, which is being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District of Georgia Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer G. Solari and Frank Pennington, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.25: We’ve been looking forward to so many ways we could return to normal, to the way things were before the pandemic,” tweeted Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. “Mass shootings were not what anyone had in mind.”
Politifact: Gun violence spiked during pandemic, even as the deadliest mass shootings waned: ‘After a year of social distancing and closures from the #COVID19 pandemic, the tragedy of two mass shootings, less than a week apart, has led people to worry what a return to everyday American life will really be like’
Is it true that mass shootings tapered off during the pandemic? …….Large-scale public mass shootings, like those that just occurred in Georgia and Colorado, did indeed decline throughout the pandemic. However, other forms of gun violence rose dramatically over the past year.
Competing definitions of mass shootings: One common definition of a mass shooting is based on the old FBI definition of a “mass murder” — an incident in which four victims are shot and killed. Gun violence databases that abide by this definition have reported that the number of large-scale public mass shootings declined sharply during the pandemic.
One such database, compiled by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, found that two mass shootings occurred in 2020, down from eight or nine per year during the previous three years. And both of the 2020 shootings took place before pandemic lockdowns were instituted in the U.S.
However, some researchers prefer a more expansive definition, defining a mass shooting as a firearm-related incident that results in four or more individuals shot, rather than killed.
The Gun Violence Archive, a research group that monitors gun violence, uses the broader definition. This allows the organization to track shootings typically excluded from other mass shooting statistics, such as domestic shootings, as well as forms of gun violence that occur disproportionately in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
By this definition, 2020 was the most violent year since the Gun Violence Archive first started tracking gun deaths in 2013. According to the organization, 611 mass shootings took place in 2020, exceeding any other recent year by more than 50%.
In fact, many forms of gun violence spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of overall gun homicides at its highest rate in over 20 years. Much of the violence was centered in major cities such as New York, Houston and Philadelphia.
However, many of these shootings, which disproportionately featured Black victims, tend to receive less coverage in the media.
The reasons for this are varied and complex. University of Texas-Austin professor Michael Sierra-Arévalo said that the phenomenon is rooted in the way that the media often devalues the lives of Black and brown people. As evidence, he pointed to a study that analyzed homicides in Chicago and matched them to media stories to analyze which got the most coverage. The study found that Black victims were less likely to receive media coverage than white victims. It also found that the Black victims who were covered were far less likely to be discussed as complex and sympathetic people than white victims.
Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, an assistant professor who researches violence prevention at the University of California, Davis said that the COVID-19 pandemic likely played a major role in contributing to rising violence.
“The COVID-19 pandemic worsened many of the underlying conditions that contribute to community gun violence risk — poverty, unemployment, food and housing insecurity — while also taxing many of the systems and interpersonal networks of support in communities that foster safety, health and wellbeing,” she said. “These, in combination with the pandemic’s unique effects on feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness, likely had an impact on the increase in interpersonal community gun violence over the past year.”
#AceNewsServices – GEORGIA (Tbilisi) – October 21 – The Tbilisi City Court has sentenced former Georgian prime minister and minister of the interior, Vano Merabishvili, to three years in prison for abuse of power in a murder case, RIA Novosti reported.
Georgian prime minister and minister of the interior, Vano Merabishvili, to three years in prison for abuse of power in a murder case,
Three other defendants in the case of the murder of United Georgian Bank employee, Sandro Girgvliani, were former interior ministry officials, who were sentenced to four years and six months in prison each, RAPSI said.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES(Albany) – September 20 – Food safety advocates say a guilty verdict in a rare federal food-poisoning trial should send a stern warning to anyone who may be tempted to place profits over people’s welfare AP reported.
‘ Peanut Corporation of America’
More than five years after hundreds of Americans got sick from eating salmonella-tainted peanut butter, the top executive in the company that owned the Georgia plant where it was made was convicted Friday of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, wire fraud and other crimes related the nationwide outbreak in 2008 and 2009.
U.S. prosecutors take aim against Peanut Corp. of America officials accused in conspiracy to sell tainted products.
Jury selection begins today in Albany, Ga., in the case against three former company officials accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls ever.
The defendants are Stewart Parnell, PCA’s former chief executive; along with his brother,
Michael Parnell, a former company vice president; and Mary Wilkerson, the ex-manager of quality control.
Federal investigators found filthy conditions at the company’s Georgia plant and said the defendants fabricated certificates that claimed peanut product shipments were safe when tests showed otherwise.
#AceNewsServices UKRAINE September 15 Nato countries have started an annual military exercise in west Ukraine, with Kiev saying some Nato states have also begun to ship weapons.
‘ Troops Depart for Rapid Trident 2014 ‘
The exercise – “Rapid Trident” – began on Monday (15 September) in Yavoriv, near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
According to a Nato statement, the 11-day drill will practice “peacekeeping and stability operations”, including “countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations, and patrolling”.
It includes 200 US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy.
It also includes 1,100 troops from Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the UK and from former Soviet republics Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine itself.
‘ Operation Maple Arch ‘
Rapid Trident is taking place at the same time as “Maple Arch” – another Nato drill involving Canandian, Lithuanian, and Polish soldiers in Poland.
‘ Partnership for Peace Programme ‘
Ukraine has taken part in similar events since 2006 under its “Partnership for Peace” programme with the Western alliance.
#AceWorldNews – GEORGIA – July 12 – The father of ISIS commander Omar al Shishani has told Sky News his son felt rejected by his country when he left to fight jihad.
With his distinctive red beard, al Shishani has become one of the most recognisable faces of a group now notorious for extreme brutality in its pursuit of an Islamic state across large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
But his father remembers a young man who was never particularly religious, but who always wanted to be a soldier.
Born in the remote Pankisi Gorge in Northern Georgia, an area once seen as a stronghold for Chechen militants, his real name is Tarkhan Batirashvili.
When he was younger, he worked as a shepherd boy in the hills above the gorge, where he reportedly first met Chechen fighters, crossing the Caucasus mountains to fight Russian forces across the border.
"He was a very good boy, very well behaved," Timur Batirashvili remembers.
"Always very intelligent, very nice, he hated when people lied.
"Do you know what I think now? I didn’t know my son. I didn’t know him at all."
Tarkhan joined the Georgian army and served in the Russia-Georgia war in 2008.
His father said he seemed happy, that he had found his place in the world.
By Katie Stallard, Moscow Correspondent, in Pankisi, Georgia @ Sky News
#AceWroldNews – GEORGIA – April 29 – Authorities in Georgia are searching for the gunman who opened fire inside a Georgia FedEx building Tuesday, injuring six, MyFoxAtlanta.com reported.
According to crews on the scene, authorities have secured the entire area to safely search and apprehend the suspect. The injuries were considered minor to serious, the station reported. Hundreds of law enforcement officers are at the facility, which is in the town of Kennesaw, located in Cobb County, north-west of Atlanta.
A bomb team from the FBI is on the scene and assisting in the investigation.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that six people were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital and more are expected.
Ace Related News:
1. Fox Atlantic – April 29 – http://tinyurl.com/mtrfhtn
2. Well Star – April 29 – http://tinyurl.com/n4r8myd
#AceWorldNews – MOLDOVA – April 27 – All citizens of Moldova with biometric passports will no longer need to be in possession of visas to enter and travel around the European Union from Monday, according to a European Commission statement.
The EU is making steps towards forging stronger ties with eastern European states in response to the Ukraine crisis, with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine all seeking stronger Eastern Partnership links with the bloc, which would facilitate stronger trade and business ties without full EU membership being granted.
#AceWorldNews – GENEVA – March 26 – The 27th round of Geneva discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia have started in Geneva.
The consultations are held under the auspices of the UN, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and involve delegations of Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Georgia and the United States.
The delegations have met within two working groups – for security and humanitarian issues.
The priority task is to work out guarantees of Georgia’s non-use of force against neighbouring states. Russia’s initiative on making a statement by all participants is on the agenda.
The parties fail to make the statement because Georgia gives it up. Georgia demands Russia make a unilateral statement on the non-use of force against Georgia. Moscow declines and calls on its partners not to regard it as a party to the Georgian conflict.
The latest Geneva discussions were held in December 2013.
Head of the Russian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Itar-Tass that Georgia had not changed its position.
The lack of progress has been conditioned by the fact that “it is rather difficult to get rid of old inertia when Mikhail Saakashvili was Georgia’s president”, the Russian top diplomat said.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – 24 March – Latest – The US State Department concerns over the Georgian prosecutors’ decision to interrogate former President Mikhail Saakashvili is considered by Tbilisi merely as a partner’s advice, RIA Novosti quoted Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister David Dzhalagania as saying on Monday.
This would not affect the determination of Georgian authorities to complete investigations, the official said.
The former president, who is in the Netherlands, his wife’s native country, told Georgian Rustavi 2 television on Sunday that he would not obey the summons to appear on Thursday for questioning in the 2005 death of his prime minister and other cases, AP reported. Saakashvili left Georgia shortly after his second term ended in November.
Ace Related News
1. March 24 – 11.35 GMT – Extract – #AceWorldNews – TBILISI – March 24 – If former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili fails to turn up for questioning in the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office as a witness in several criminal cases, he will be put on wanted list, Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili said on Monday.http://wp.me/p165ui-4vk
#AceWorldNews – TBILISI – March 24 – If former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili fails to turn up for questioning in the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office as a witness in several criminal cases, he will be put on wanted list, Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili said on Monday.
Saakashvili “should turn up for questioning, because he had served as the Georgian president for 9 years, and the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office has many questions for him in several important cases,” the prime minister said in an interview with newspaper Kviris Palitra.
“If Saakashvili does not arrive in Georgia and does not show up for questioning, the prosecutor’s office will act according to the law, and Saakashvili will be put on wanted list,” Garibashvili stated.
#AceWorldNews – British troops would participate in military drills in Ukraine in July, the British newspaper Guardian said on Thursday.
The personnel would be part of a group of about 1,300 troops, mostly American, to participate in the Rapid Trident 2014 exercise, the newspaper said.
Rapid Trident 2014 is to “promote regional stability and security, strengthen partnership capacity and foster trust while improving interoperability between the land forces of Ukraine, and NATO and partner nations,” according to the US forces in Europe website.
In addition to US and UK troops, Rapid Trident 2014 will include units from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.
#AceWorldNews – Geneva – March 18, 22:35 – Switzerland is not planning to automatically repeat the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States against Russia, Swiss Confederation President Didier Burkhalter said in an interview with the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.
“We will take a time-out and will not act exactly the same way as the ‘X’ or the ‘Y’ alliance has acted. Switzerland is neither the EU nor the United States,” the president said, adding that Bern intended to “act impartially and maintain trust in a long-term prospect”.
Didier Burkhalter said Switzerland must be “doubly unbiased” as this year Switzerland held the presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
“Switzerland has good relations with China, the US, Russia and the EU,” he said, adding that Switzerland could be useful “as a mediator in such situations”.
After the 2008 South Ossetia war, Switzerland has been representing Russia’s interests in Georgia and Georgia’s interests in Russia.
#AceWorldNews says that a court in Georgia has convicted a former prime minister, Vano Merabishvili, of embezzlement and abuse of office and sentenced him to five years in prison, AP reported.
The top ally of former President Mikhail Saakashvili served for nearly eight years as interior minister before he became the head of government ahead of a parliamentary election in 2012.
After Saakashvili’s party suffered a defeat, prosecutors filed charges against many of the ex-president’s allies. Merabishvili was arrested in May 2013 and accused of putting nearly 22,000 party campaign workers on the Labour Ministry payroll.
He also was accused of illegally appropriating a seaside residence.
#AceWorldNews says Georgia’s president, Georgy Margvelashvili, will not be travelling to the Sochi Olympic Games according to a statement released on Thursday. “The Georgian official delegation will not attend the Olympic Games in Sochi,” Vano Machavariani, Margvelashvili’s foreign policy adviser, told Reuters. “Georgia will be represented in Sochi by our sportsmen and representatives of the Georgian Olympic Committee,” he said.
The Kremlin previously said that Margvelashvili could meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin there in what would have been their first meeting since the five-day war in 2008, when Mikhail Saakashvili was president. Margvelashvili was elected late last year.