Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base



Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

36 Posts
39 min ago

Sheriff says suspect used a handgun

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said that the suspect in the naval station shooting used a handgun in today’s attack.

Morgan would not confirm other information about the shooter including his name or whether a room on campus was raided as part of the ongoing investigation.

38 min ago

Acting Navy Secretary: “These acts are crimes against all of us”

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly released a statement about the two separate shootings that have occurred at naval bases this week.

Modly’s statement addresses today’s fatal shooting in Pensacola, Florida, as well as Wednesday’s shooting on the Pearl Harbor naval shipyard in Hawaii as well as an incident in Little Creek, Virginia.

“These acts are crimes against all of us,” Modly said in the statement.

Read the full statement below:

“Our entire Navy and Marine Corps team is struck and deeply saddened by the attacks within our own naval family over the past several days, at Little Creek, Virginia last week, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Wednesday, and today in Pensacola, Florida. These acts are crimes against all of us. Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded. It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them. Let us make concerted efforts to care for the families of those lost, and those wounded, visibly and not. Let us shepherd them through these first moments of despair, and make them, and our greater Naval family, whole and strong. “

42 min ago

Suspected shooter was in aviation training, official says

The suspected gunman in today’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida was in aviation training, Capt. Tim Kinsella said at a news conference.

About the shooter: Five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation told CNN a member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident.

At least four people were killed, including the suspected gunman, in the shooting.

43 min ago

Captain: There was “real heroism” today

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said there is going to be a lengthy investigation following today’s shooting.

“You can be proud of your community, and you can be proud of your Navy,” he said.

“We are in recovery mode right now,” Morgan said.

NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer, Captain Tim Kinsella, said he is “in awe” of the responders during the shooting, saying there was “real heroism” today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the uniform I wear,” Kinsella said.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said this is a tragic day for the city. “This is a community of great resiliency,” he said. “The city will bounce back and be stronger.”

33 min ago

Florida governor on the shooting: “This is a dark day for a very great place”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “this is a dark day for a very great place,” noting he is a Navy veteran.

DeSantis mentioned the suspect’s ties to the Saudi Air Force and said he spoke to the President about this connection.

Authorities are speaking at news conference right now about the shooting.

You can follow along here or watch it live in the video player above.

1 hr 22 min ago

Officials are allowing some personnel to exit the base

Some personnel will be allowed to exit the installation via the west gate, according to posts on the Naval Air Station Pensacola social media accounts.

The base is closed until further notice.


All non-essential personnel on the western side of NAS Pensacola main side, including the museum, the airfield, etc, proceed to the west gate to exit the installation. If you are on the east side of the Interior Command Posts on Taylor or Radford, remain sheltered in place.

FBI takes over the shooting investigation

The FBI has taken over investigation into the shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, according to an FBI spokesperson.

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team has arrived on site and has begun processing the scene, a law enforcement source told CNN.

What we know about the shooting: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified. Several other people were injured.

Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

1 hr 58 min ago

Saudi national suspected in shooting at Pensacola naval air station

A member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident, according to five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation.

The investigators are looking into whether it was terror-related, but it is early in the probe.

CNN has reached out to the Saudi embassy in the US and has not heard back.

2 hr 45 min ago

This is the second shooting at a US naval base this week

The fatal shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida this morning is the second shooting at an American naval base this week.

On Wednesday, a US sailor killed two civilians and himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

Investigators have yet to identify motives in either shooting.

2 hr 21 min ago

Officials will give another update at 1 p.m. ET

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will hold another news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida at 1 p.m. ET.

Officials just wrapped up a news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, this morning.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The timeline: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said officers received notice that there was an active shooter at 6:51 a.m. local time.
  • 3 people and the shooter were killed: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified.
  • 11 people were shot: Officials said a total of eleven people were shot. Eight of them were transported to a local hospital, where one of them died.
  • Deputies engaged the shooter: Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

What we don’t know: It’s still unclear if the shooter was military personnel. Officials have also declined to answer questions about the weapons used by the shooting and the specific building in which the shooting took place.

3 hr 46 min ago

Sheriff: “Crime scene was like being on the set of a movie”

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said they received the call about the active shooter at 7:51 a.m. ET.

The sheriff said they are in the middle of the investigation, and cannot provide much information. However, he said, “walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie.”

The two officers who negated the threat are in the local hospital, both shot in the limbs. They’re expected to recover.

“We do have several deceased and several wounded,” Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said.

The active shooter has been neutralized. The base is shut down until further notice.

Mayor of Pensacola, Grover Robinson called it a “tragic day” for the city of Pensacola, “We are a military town.” The mayor asked residents to stay away from that side of town.

3 hr 50 min ago

11 people were shot

A total of 11 people were shot this morning at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

Four of those are deceased, one of whom was the shooter, Escambia County’s Chief Chip Simmons said.

Eight people were transported to a local hospital, where one of the injured died.

There are currently three others inside the building who are deceased.

Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said the shooting happened in a classroom building.

3 hr 54 min ago

Sheriff: Deputies engaged the shooter

David Morgan, sheriff of Escambia County, said two deputies engaged the shooter, and “It was a member of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office that did negate the threat.”

The two officers were shot during the exchange with the gunman.

Morgan said that one deputy was shot in the arm and another was shot in the knee. “Both expected to survive,” Morgan said.

Shootout involving hijacked UPS truck in Florida leads to four deaths



Chase and shootout involving hijacked UPS truck in Florida leads to four deaths

“This is what dangerous people do to get away, and this is what people will do to avoid capture,” the police chief says.
By Alex Johnson

Four people were dead after a UPS truck was commandeered following an attempted armed robbery on South Florida’s glitzy Miracle Mile, leading police on a two-county rush-hour chase that ended in a hail of gunfire, authorities said.

Two people suspected to have been the robbers, the UPS driver and an uninvolved nearby motorist were killed 20 miles away after the nationally televised freeway pursuit, said George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office. Two other people were also killed, he said.

The incident began in Miami-Dade County at about 4:15 p.m., when two people tried to rob a jewelry store on the Miracle Mile, the downtown stretch of Coral Gables that is home to many glamorous stores and restaurants, Piro said.

The suspects exchanged gunfire with a jewelry shop worker, who was being treated for undisclosed injuries, Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak Jr. said. At least one bullet hit a window at City Hall, where no injuries were reported, he said.

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The robbers then hijacked a nearby UPS truck, abducting its driver, Hudak said. Alerted by a silent alarm that had been triggered in the jewelry store, a fleet of law enforcement vehicles gave chase in a pursuit that was broadcast across the country.

The chase was “terminated” 20 miles away in Miramar in Broward County, Hudak said.

News helicopter video appeared to show a person falling out of the truck after several shots were fired.

UPS said it was “deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence.”

Hudak said: “This is what dangerous people do to get away, and this is what people will do to avoid capture.”

“In matters like this, it is just difficult for all of us, not just in law enforcement but also in society,” he said.

The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined state and local police in investigating.

Brazil: MP opens investigation against Lava Jato prosecutor accused of receiving bribes



MP opens investigation against Lava Jato prosecutor accused of receiving bribes

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation to investigate fees paid to attorney Januário Paludo, a member of the Operation Lava Jato task force. A former member of the Lava Jato, Pauldo is appointed adviser to prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, the task force’s coordinator, and close to former judge Sergio Moro, now justice minister of Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government.

Carlos Fernando Lima, Deltan Dallagnol and Januário Paludo
Carlos Fernando Lima, Deltan Dallagnol and Januário Paludo (Photo: Press Release)

247 – Investigation into the payment of fees to the Prosecutor of Operation Lava Jato, Januário Paludo, is already underway. 

The investigation began with an October Federal Police report on messages exchanged between moneymaker Dario Messer and his girlfriend. 

The messages mention that a bribe was paid to prosecutor Paludo to protect the money changer. The PF report was sent to the PGR (Attorney General’s Office) for action. Members of the agency rated the case as very serious.   

The Federal Public Prosecution Service established an inquiry to investigate the same suspicions from an ethical and disciplinary point of view.   

Dario Messer, known as “the money changer”, is one of those who should be heard in the criminal investigation in the STJ. Other names that accuse Lava Jato of practicing deviations may also be called to testify, such as attorney Rodrigo Tacla Duran, according to the report by journalist Reynaldo Turollo Jr. of Folha de S.Paulo.  

In conversations obtained by the PF, money changer Messer tells his girlfriend that one of the prosecution witnesses against him would have a meeting with Paludo, and adds: ”  

For the PF, according to the UOL report, the “boys” mentioned by Messer are Claudio Fernando Barbosa de Souza, Tony, and Vinicius Claret Vieira Barreto, the Juca, suspected of acting with the money launderer in operations. money investigated by Lava Jato do Rio.  

Paludo has been in Operation Lava Jato in Curitiba since its inception in 2014. He is appointed adviser to Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, task force coordinator, and close to former Judge Sergio Moro, now the justice minister of the extreme government. right of Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazil: Lula and Dilma are acquitted of Janot’s farce



Lula and Dilma are acquitted of Janot’s farce over ‘quadrillion’

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and former President Dilma Rousseff were acquitted on Wednesday of the charge of joining a suspected criminal organization, known as the “quadrillion”. Decision is of the judge Marcos Vinicius Reis Bastos, of the 12th Federal Court of the DF. The magistrate indicated the “attempt to criminalize political activity” by the improper accusation


247 – Former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff were acquitted on Wednesday of the charge of joining a suspected criminal organization, which became known as the “quadrillion”. 

The decision is made by Judge Marcos Vinicius Reis Bastos, from the 12th Federal Court of DF. In his sentence the magistrate says that the Federal Public Prosecution’s complaint “reflects an attempt to criminalize political activity” and provides no evidence of the involvement of former presidents in the charges. 

Also exonerated from the prosecution were former ministers Antonio Palocci and Guido Mantega, and former PT treasurer João Vaccari Neto. 

“In the face of an impartial judge, we were able today to acquit @LulaOficial briefly . The magistrate of Brasilia has indicated the” attempt to criminalize political activity “by the improper accusation known as the ‘quadrillion’ – which is part of Lawfare against @LulaOficial ‘, celebrated lawyer Cristiano Zanin Martins, who defends former President Lula. 

The charge is from 2017, and was offered to the Federal Supreme Court by then Attorney General Rodrigo Janot. The then PGR stated that between 2002 and 2016, the accused ‘integrated and structured a criminal organization operating during the period in which Lula and Dilma Rousseff successively securitized the Presidency of the Republic to commit a myriad of crimes’.

Read Judge Marcos Vinicius Reis Bastos’ decision in its entirety:

Check out Cristiano Zanin’s Twitter: 

Cristiano Zanin Martins


Perante um juiz imparcial, conseguimos hoje a absolvição sumária de @LulaOficial. O magistrado de Brasília indicou a “tentativa de criminalizar a atividade política” pela descabida acusação que ficou conhecida como “quadrilhão” – que faz parte do Lawfare contra @LulaOficial.

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Brazil: 7 youths died at the scene and police changed crime scene, says human rights commission



Paraisópolis: 7 youths died at the scene and police changed crime scene, says human rights commission

“These bodies could not have been taken to hospitals. This changed the scene of the crime,” Sao Paulo State Council of Human Rights (Condepe) President Dimitri Sales told a news conference. “It was a massacre”, defines

(Photo: OSP / Playback)

247 – The president of the São Paulo State Council for the Defense of the Rights of the Human Person (Condepe), Dimitri Sales, informed on Tuesday 3 that, of the nine victims resulting from an action of the Military Police in Paraisópolis, south zone of São Paulo, seven died on the spot.

He also denounced the PM for altering the crime scene. “These bodies could not have been taken to hospitals. That changed the crime scene,” he explained. “What happened was a massacre,” he added.

In his view, the manner in which the killings occurred without firing may indicate a new pattern of police violence, which also makes it difficult for police officers to identify themselves.

The lawyer also criticized the position of the governor of São Paulo, João Doria, in defense of the PM. According to him, the governor’s statements stimulate the PM’s institutional violence.

This afternoon, while commenting on another video circulated on social networks that shows a police officer beating and laughing at teenagers in the same Paraisópolis, Doria said she demanded “exemplary punishment of aggression” and stated that “practices like this do not match the SP Police procedure and will be strongly condemned “.

“The rigorous investigation into the sad episode of this weekend continues and, whenever serious transgressions are identified, they will be punished. In SP, we are not committed to the mistake. Once again, I sympathize with friends and family of young people who lost their lives “he wrote further.

TV Globo report also revealed that a Fire Department soldier canceled a Samu distress call to Paraisópolis in the early hours of Saturday to Sunday claiming that the PM was already rescuing the victims. Witnesses say police prevented relief from victims. 

Police search for 4 teens, 2 accused of murder, who escaped custody in Nashville



Police search for 4 teens, 2 accused of murder, who escaped custody in Nashville

The teens escaped custody in Tennessee on Saturday night after their supervisor went to address a fight that broke out at the juvenile detention center.
By Doha Madani

Authorities in Nashville, Tennessee, are searching for four teenage boys, two of whom are accused of murder, who escaped custody in a juvenile detention center.

The teens escaped custody on Saturday night at around 9:44 p.m. during a work detail when their supervisor went to handle a fight that broke out in a different part of the facility and left them alone, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. It took about 35 minutes for authorities to realize the young men were gone.

“They managed to get onto an elevator and used staff protocols to ride to the ground floor where they went through a series of doors and exited to the outside,” police said in a statement.

Image: Decorrius Wright, 16; Morris Marsh, 17; Brandon Caruthers, 17; and Calvin Howse, 15.
Decorrius Wright, 16; Morris Marsh, 17; Brandon Caruthers, 17; and Calvin Howse, 15.Metro Nashville Police Department

Two of the teenagers, Decorrius Wright, 16, and Morris Marsh, 17, have been accused of murder.

Wright allegedly killed 24-year-old Kyle Yorlets in February, according to NBC affiliate WSMV. A judge set Wright’s bond at $400,000 in August after prosecutors argued he was too dangerous to be released, WSMV reported at the time.

Marsh was charged in April for the murder of 19-year-old Charlie Easley.

The other two teens — Brandon Caruthers, 17, and Calvin Howse, 15 — have armed robbery and gun possession charges in their history, police said.

Police released the teenagers’ photos and have asked the public to contact emergency services if anyone spots the boys.

All four are considered dangerous.

Detectives confirmed Sunday that the four teens were last seen at an Exxon station at 2:42 a.m. in Clarksville, about an hour north of Nashville and just south of the Kentucky border.

10 suspected cartel members, 4 police killed in shootout in northern Mexico



10 suspected cartel members, 4 police killed in shootout in northern Mexico

Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Riquelme Solis looks at a police vehicle hit during a gunbattle between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen in Villa Union on Saturday, November 30, 2019.

(CNN)Four police officers and ten suspected cartel members were killed in a gunfight in northeastern Mexico on Saturday, according to a news release from the state government of Coahuila.

The battle broke out between security forces and suspected members of the Cartel of the Northeast in the town of Villa Union, about 40 miles south of the US border town of Eagle Pass, Texas. It lasted about two hours, Mexican Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme Solis said in a news conference Saturday. Authorities apprehended 14 vehicles with powerful weaponry, he said.
Images from the state government showed a local municipal building and police vehicle riddled with bullet holes.
Criminal groups have long sought to enter the state, Solis said Saturday. “Organized crime, specifically the Cartel del Noreste, tries to get into Coahuila every day at some point, in one of its areas,” he said, adding, “Today they got in by force and with a contingent that is not like anything we have seen in a long time.”
But, “we won’t allow organized crime to come to the area,” he said.
“Many years ago they came in with impunity,” Solis said. “They came into our cities and municipalities and nothing happened. Not nowadays. This was a forceful response.”
The shootout occurred just days after US President Donald Trump said he would designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, adding that the US had offered to “go in and clean it out,” but the Mexican government had “rejected the offer.”
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Wednesday that the Mexican government was in contact with the US regarding the possible designation, but Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has indicated that he doesn’t want the US to intervene.
Early last month, nine women and children from a Mormon community in Mexico were killed by suspected drug cartels.

Bolsonaro is denounced to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity



Bolsonaro is denounced to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity

The head of Brazil’s far right government, Jair Bolsonaro, has committed crimes against humanity and is therefore denounced at the International Criminal Court. He is accused of initiating the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil.

(Photo: Playback / Twitter)

247 – Jair Bolsonaro was denounced on Wednesday (27) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and incitement to genocide indigenous peoples of Brazil. 

The representation is from the Arns Commission and the Human Rights Advocacy Collective, reports journalist Monica Bergamo in her column in Folha de S.Paulo.    

According to the complaint, Bolsonaro incited violence against indigenous and traditional populations, weakened enforcement and was silent on responding to environmental crimes in the Amazon.   

Regretting that in Brazil they have not found an efficient way to stop these actions by an increasingly chief executive trying to massacre the Brazilian people, the Arns Commission and the Human Rights Advocacy Collective say that by going to the International Criminal Court they hope to “stimulate Brazil’s internal forces to investigate these issues, ”says Arns Commission chairman, former Minister Jose Carlos Dias.  

The complaint against Bolsonaro is also signed by former Minister José Gregori and attorneys Antonio Carlos Mariz de Oliveira, Eloisa Machado and Juliana Vieira dos Santos.   

The International Criminal Court began its activities in 2002 and is usually dedicated to cases of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Trump Now Throwing Rudy Giuliani Under The Bus: Trump Says “I hardly Know Him”



It looks like President Donald Trump is finally tiring of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Gone are the days when he casually directed the leaders of foreign governments to “talk to Rudy” about matters of pressing national security policy.

A month ago, Trump offered a public show of support for the embattled former New York mayor; now, he says, he hardly knows the poor sap.

This week’s sudden split was a long time coming. In October, federal prosecutors nabbed Giuliani henchmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman as they attempted a one-way trip out of the United States. In the weeks since their arrest, Parnas provided audio and video recordings to the House Intelligence Committee that implicate Giuliani in corrupt foreign dealings. A federal criminal indictment against Giuliani appears imminent.

At the same time, three rounds of highly credible witnesses testified at House impeachment hearings that Giuliani put American foreign policy at risk by conducting an unofficial, Trump-approved intimidation campaign against American-allied Ukraine. The goal? To deliver damaging political dirt on political rival Joe Biden. Trump mega-donor and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland asserted under oath that Giuliani’s behavior amounted to a corrupt quid pro quo.

Now, at last, Trump is pulling the plug on another failed business venture. In a bizarre interview with disgraced former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, the president disavowed ever sending Giuliani to Ukraine. Giuliani, he argued, must have been operating independently. 

“I didn’t direct him,” Trump told O’Reilly.. “But he’s a warrior. Rudy’s a warrior. Rudy went. He possibly saw something… Rudy has other clients, other than me.”

Gordon Sondland: We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt

Even by the standards of Trump’s well-known disloyalty, his comments to O’Reilly represent a stunning willingness to throw even his closest advisers to the wolves. Of course, the idea that Giuliani acted on his own is risible — the official transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky includes a direct instruction to “talk to Rudy.” Trump’s comments are an act of desperation, a last-ditch attempt to cut off the cancerous limb that is Giuliani’s ineptitude. 

Friendship with Donald Trump is a fleeting affair filled with reputational risks. Just ask Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, currently serving three years in federal prison for his role in covering up Trump’s hush-money payments to porn stars and mistresses. By the end,of Cohen’s sordid saga, Trump claimed to barely know a man he had worked with for more than a decade.

Or take former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who went from Trump confidante to personal nemesis in the span of only 11 dizzying days. Or former Senior Adviser Steve Bannon, who guided Trump’s campaign and occupied a plush White House office until Trump fired him. Trump spent weeks dragging Bannon in the press as “sloppy” and a crybaby who couldn’t handle the pressures of government. 

For all his laughable incompetence, Giuliani represents a far more dangerous challenge for Trump than Bannon, Scaramucci or even Cohen. Giuliani is every bit as transactional as Trump. On one occasion last week, Giuliani claimed he had an “insurance policy” to ensure Trump didn’t turn on him — evidence that, for all their camaraderie, Giuliani knows the best way to handle Trump is through mutually assured destruction. 

With pressure mounting on Giuliani to testify under oath about his shady dealings in Ukraine, Trump has every reason to put miles between himself and his personal attorney. Trump’s claim that Giuliani was just a freelancer don’t hold water. It is too cute by half to assert that Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine just happen to match one-for-one with the quid pro quo Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to on live television

It doesn’t help that Giuliani has admitted on multiple occasions in rambling Fox News interviews that he acted at Trump’s direction — a self-serving effort to shield himself from legal fallout in much the same way Trump now seeks to shield himself from Giuliani. In a White House governed by opaque dealings, the Trump-Giuliani relationship is one of the few transparent elements.

President Trump is trying his best to wash his hands of Rudy Giuliani’s lethal radioactivity. Unfortunately for Trump, Giuliani is a fellow expert in the fair weather friendships of high-level politics. How Giuliani responds to Trump’s latest incitement will determine whether the White House survives the gathering impeachment storm.

Israel: Attorney general blasts ‘threats, lies, slander’



Attorney general blasts ‘threats, lies, slander’ against judiciary over PM cases

As Likud supporters gather at Tel Aviv rally, Avichai Mandelblit issues rebuke of Netanyahu, who has accused law enforcement of staging an ‘attempted coup’

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, announcing his decision that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different corruption cases, dubbed by police Case 1000,  Case 2000 and Case 4000. November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, announcing his decision that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different corruption cases, dubbed by police Case 1000, Case 2000 and Case 4000. November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday condemned “threats,” “lies” and “baseless slander” directed against law enforcement, in a thinly veiled rebuke of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters’ efforts to discredit the justice system after criminal charges against the premier were announced last week.

“The dignified approach we take is not always embraced by others,” Mandelblit said, hours before a Likud rally was to be held in Tel Aviv under the banner “Stopping the coup.”

“I am hearing expressions that don’t have a place in public discourse that are directed at the law enforcement system, and certain senior officials inside it. I am hearing threats. I am hearing lies. I am hearing baseless slander. That is simply shocking,” the attorney general said at a conference of state attorneys in Eilat.

After Mandelblit announced indictments against Netanyahu in three corruption cases last Thursday, the prime minister held a press conference in which he accused prosecutors of seeking to oust him from power with false charges in an “attempted coup.”

Supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate outside his residence following the announcement by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that he will charge the premier in three graft cases, November 21, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Netanyahu claimed the investigation had been tainted by various improprieties and accused law enforcement authorities of “selective enforcement” against him. He demanded to “investigate the investigators.”

“I deeply respect the justice system in Israel. But you have to be blind not to see that something bad is happening to police investigators and the prosecution. We’re seeing an attempted coup by the police with false accusations” against him, Netanyahu charged.

His political allies soon took up the refrain, with Communications Minister David Amsalem singling out State Attorney Shai Nitzan and Liat Ben-Ari, the lead prosecutor in the cases.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to the decision to indict him in corruption cases, November 21, 2019 (Channel 11 Kan screenshot)

Nitzan, Ben-Ari and Mandelblit have all been receiving additional police protection over the past year due to threats from supporters of the prime minister.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Mandelblit said the tightened security arrangements for the prosecutors was “unacceptable.”

“Benjamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of us all. He heads the government, which we serve. The state prosecution is not, God forbid, in a confrontation with the prime minister or any minister,” he said.

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan speaks at a Justice Ministry conference in Tel Aviv, on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)

Mandelblit announced on Monday that Netanyahu could continue to hold office as a caretaker prime minister despite criminal charges against him, but left open the question of whether he could legally be tasked with forming a new government in the future.

Netanyahu has vowed to stay in office while he fights the criminal charges, which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust in one case, and additional fraud and breach of trust charges in another two cases.

Mandelblit’s announcement Thursday did not include the official filing of an indictment, as the Knesset must first decide on whether to grant Netanyahu procedural immunity, a process that — due to the current political gridlock and the lack of a functioning government — could drag on for months.

The prime minister has called his devotees to his side at several recent Likud party rallies.

On Tuesday evening, a mass rally in the center of Tel Aviv by Netanyahu backers is expected to include fierce criticism of the justice system and calls to investigate the prime minister’s prosecutors.

“There are places where there is a military coup and the military removes elected officials, and there is also a legal coup that takes place above the table in front of our eyes,” Simcha Rothman, a leader of the Movement for Governance and Democracy, one of the groups sponsoring the event, told Channel 12.

Organizers say they are expecting at least 10,000 people to participate — most of whom are being bused to the nation’s liberal heartland from around the country.

The rally will begin at 8 p.m. outside the Tel Aviv Museum.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Netanyahu had not made clear whether he would address the rally. Channel 13 news said he had not yet decided.

Supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, November 23, 2019. Sign bottom right, reads ‘Investigate the investigators.’ (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Some in Likud have also expressed misgivings about the rally, with at least two ministers from the party announcing Tuesday that they would not attend. Both Culture Minister Miri Regev and Science Minister Ofir Akunis said they had prior engagements.

A Likud source speaking on condition of anonymity told The Times of Israel that the party was considering asking lawmakers not to attend in order to avoid the possibility of too many no-shows after many expressed disquiet at attending a rally that claimed a “coup” was underway.

Netanyahu’s chief political rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, slammed Netanyahu for the rally.

“The right to protest and freedom of expression are the centerpiece of democracy. In a healthy democracy a person has the right to freely express their opinion,” Gantz tweeted on Tuesday, adding, “In a healthy democracy a prime minister doesn’t organize a protest against the law enforcement system that he oversees.”

Blue and White No 2. Yair Lapid issued a scathing statement accusing Netanyahu of fomenting civil war on Monday.

“Avichai Mandelblit was assigned personal security. The state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan, was assigned personal security. Taxation and economic crimes prosecutor Liat Ben Ari was assigned personal security. They are facing death threats,” he said in a statement. “There’s no question about the cause. It’s clear Netanyahu is inciting against them. They need security because otherwise his people will hurt them. That’s what we’ve come to. He’s called on his people to go out to the streets for a violent revolt against the country.”

Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz (R) and No. 2 Yair Lapid at a faction meeting in the Knesset on November 18, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Likud’s Justice Minister Amir Ohana has attacked the state prosecution, for which he is responsible, saying in recent days that it acts unprofessionally and without oversight. “There are prosecutors breaking the law and nobody checks them,” he said. “I call on the state comptroller to look into this and examine these accusations,” he said.

Most Likud leaders have remained conspicuously silent since the Thursday announcement of the indictments, neither backing Netanyahu nor criticizing him.

The only senior Likud figure who spoke out against Netanyahu’s attacks on the justice system was his rival Gideon Sa’ar, who has launched a leadership challenge against Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s rhetoric, he has said, “harms the Likud’s statesmanlike approach” and “aims not for reform but to destroy the institutions of law enforcement.”


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