Mockingbird X.0

The Web of Slime

Eye

FAA Certifies Google's Wing Drone Delivery Company To Operate As An Airline

The Federal Aviation Administration has certified Alphabet's Wing Aviation to operate as an airline, in a first for U.S. drone delivery companies. Wing, which began as a Google X project, has been testing its autonomous drones in southwest Virginia and elsewhere."Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States," Wing said in a statement posted to the Medium website.The company has touted many advantages of using unmanned drones to deliver packages, from reducing carbon emissions and road congestion to increasing connections between communities and local businesses."This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential," Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a statement from the agency.Enlarge this imageCustomers who took part in Wing's drone delivery test program in Virginia approach their package after it was dropped on their lawn.WingIn a statement to NPR, the FAA says Wing was able to qualify for an air carrier certificate because it has shown "its operations met the FAA's rigorous safety requirements."Wing's electric drones are powered by 14 propellers, nearly all of which are top-mounted to help carry loads of up to 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). They're meant to deliver a wide range of everyday items, from food and drinks to medicine and emergency supplies.By developing delivery drones and a retail system that would connect customers with local merchants Google's parent company is directly competing with Amazon, which has been readying its own unmanned delivery system, called Prime Air.As early as 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted that the online retail giant's "octocopter" drones would start buzzing out of fulfillment centers in the coming years. At the time, Bezos said his company's drones would be built to carry around 5 pounds a weight limit that would allow about 85 percent of the products sold by Amazon to be delivered by drone.But Bezos also said it would take time to develop a safe and reliable drone system and to get federal approvals. It wasn't until late 2016 that Amazon announced its first fully autonomous Prime Air delivery. Since then, like Google, it's been testing its delivery drones.The use of unmanned aircraft in the U.S. has been growing by leaps and bounds. At the end of 2018, The Associated Press reported that "110,000 commercial drones are operating in U.S. airspace," citing government figures that also projected the number would more than quadruple in 2022.THE TWO-WAYAmazon Offers New Glimpse Of What Its Drone Delivery Could Look LikeWing has been testing its drone delivery systems from an FAA-approved test area at Virginia Tech since the autumn of 2016. With its new air carrier certification in hand, the company says it hopes to expand deliveries in southwest Virginia, recruiting businesses and potential customers in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas who want to try out the delivery system.That expansion is planned for later this year. In the meantime, Wing "will begin its first trial in Europe in the spring, delivering to homes in Helsinki, Finland," a company representative said in an email to NPR.Some of the earliest Wing drone tests took place in Canberra, Australia, in 2014. Since then, the company says, its drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights and delivered thousands of packages there.Earlier this month, Wing officially launched its commercial delivery service in northern Canberra after gaining regulatory approval. Its initial partners in that venture range from local coffee, bakery and gelato shops to chocolate makers and a taqueria.In addition to Google and Amazon, delivery companies such as United Parcel Service and DHL Express also have been developing their own drone systems. And like many human endeavors that rely on technology, a main hurdle has been a relatively simple constraint: battery life."If you have to recharge them every other hour, then you need so many drones, and you have to orchestrate that. So good luck with that," Frank Appel, the CEO of DHL parent Deutsche Post AG, told the AP last December.
source: www.npr.org

Author(s): Bill Chappell

23 Apr 19

Pedophilia Being Taught As Sexual Orientation in California Schools

Government school officials in California think it is really important to teach children about pedophilia and pederasty in the classroom because it is a sexual orientation. That is according to a top official for California's Brea Olinda School District, who admitted to parents that it was being done and that it would continue, despite the outrage. The implications are mind-blowing.The stunning admission came after a parent-information meeting last month for the Brea Olinda Unified School District (BOUSD). Stephanie Yates, founder of Informed Parents of California, asked school officials why they were teaching pedophilia in school to 9th graders. But instead of a denial that such an atrocity was taking place, a top school official confirmed it was happening and acted like there was nothing wrong with it.This is done because we are talking about historical perspectives of how gender relations and different types of sexual orientations have existed in history, said BOUSD Assistant Superintendent of Curricula Kerrie Torres in a matter-of-fact way, sounding almost oblivious to how the bombshell might sound to normal people.Horrified, the mother turned activist expressed shock at Torres admission. So sex between a man and a boy is a sexual orientation? she asked. Torres did not deny it. Its something that occurred in history, and so this is really important for us to include, the assistant superintendent said, implying that yes, sexual relations between a man and a boy properly considered rape under the laws of every state is a sexual orientation.
source: www.thenewamerican.com

Author(s): Alex Newman

23 Apr 19

Remarks on the Mueller Report

I wrote a book about the Mueller report before the report was published. The published report shows that I have overestimated the Mueller team.The report is a completely one-sided accusation against Trump, like a criminal complaint or an indictment; it is very long and written for the consumption of the media rather than legal professionals.It consists of two volumes. Volume I is devoted to the supposed subject of the investigation: the allegation of coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and any Russian in alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Its conclusion manifests in two lines: "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." Given almost unlimited power, resources, and practically two years spent on the investigation, it finally proves that there was no conspiracy and no coordination.Having found no conspiracy, the Mueller report then uses about 200 pages to fully develop a conspiracy theory. This conspiracy theory repeats almost every insinuation made by the Democratic Party, the Obama administration, and the media against Trump. The fake news publications are seriously cited as sources, even the articles that are known as information dumps by the DNC. The Washington Post is cited as a source 47 times, CNN is cited 24 times, and so on (counting both volumes). The Mueller Report also recursively cites the earlier Mueller indictments against Russian persons his team made earlier, although they were not heard in a court. Finally, it uses coerced statements that his team suborned from Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos, and other individuals during the witch hunt. Insinuations are reported as facts.Volume II attempts to make the case that Trump might have obstructed justice by exercising his duties as president. Inexplicably, it is longer than Volume I. Mark Levin called it an essay and op-ed for the liberal media, and I agree with him.The report indicates that the Mueller team accepted the talking points of the Democratic Party and Spygate perpetrators as the final truth and didn't even attempt to verify them. It also didn't investigate any of the multiple real connections between the Clinton campaign and the Russian government or the possibility that the Democratic Party courted Putin for electoral support.An unexpected discovery in the report is that Rosenstein and Mueller launched an investigation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in October 2017. It seems as if they illegally took control of the Department of Justice. Rosenstein and Mueller are called registered Republicans.(This seems to be a trick of the Democratic Party: using its supporters possibly former Republicans disguised as registered Republicans in place of real Republicans.)The Mueller report never mentions Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, Chris Steele, Bruce Ohr, or Nellie Ohr, except when quoting someone's words from 2017 or later. To be precise, the published report is slightly redacted, and some of these names might have been on the list of witnesses, which was blacked out. That doesn't affect the argument.The writers of the report seem to enjoy putting a Russian name or the word Russian in a sentence with the name of a Trump campaign member, even when the only thing they can say is that that member refused an offer to connect. Worse, even when IRA (the Saint Petersburg troll farm) accounts impersonated Republicans or the Trump campaign, Mueller counted it as contacts between the Trump campaign and "the Russians."Mueller's team collaborated with Facebook, Google, and Twitter to misinterpret the behavior of alleged IRA accounts as support for the Trump campaign, but they failed to mention their role in Skolkovo, Saint Petersburg. Some of the technology these companies helped the Russian Federation to develop there and to test on U.S. audiences are useful for interfering in U.S. elections. Neither Skolkovo nor Clinton cash was mentioned in the report. Too bad, because "Skolkovo happens to be the site of the Russian Security Service (FSB)'s security centers 16 and 18, which are in charge of information warfare for the Russian government."This quote from a 2010 article from well known security researcher Jeffrey Carr appeared in the American Thinker in August 2016. The concern has never been officially addressed. One thing is certain: publication of the Mueller report is the end of nothing. Nobody is going to just move on. The Democratic Party leaders, their accomplices, and their hangers-on bet everything on it, and they have already signaled that they won't accept this loss neither the loss of the Russian hoax nor the loss of the 2016 elections. For them, the Mueller report is a roadmap for impeachment.This is why the wheels of justice should start rotating in the opposite direction. The DOJ and FBI HQ served as a coup Petri dish for too long. It's draining time.
source: www.americanthinker.com

Author(s): Leo Goldstein

23 Apr 19

Report: Mysterious Maltese Professor Mifsud Hid Out for Months in Rome, Helped by Shady University

An Italian newspaper has revealed that Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor who vanished from the public eye in late 2017, was hiding out last year in a rented flat in Rome for several months while being sought by an Italian court -- and it was paid for by Link International, a company co-owned by Link Campus University."Mifsud lived in an apartment in Rome, in Via Cimarosa 3, owned by a Greek diplomat, and the rent was paid by Link Campus," Il Foglio reported.Link Campus University is where Mifsud in March of 2016 first met George Papadopoulos, about a week after he became a Trump foreign policy adviser. Papadopoulos now believes the university is "a training school for Western spies."G-Pap's wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos tweeted about the story on Thursday:Mifsud was hiding in Roma - precisely in Via Cimarosa n. 3 right next to the American Embassy in Rome Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos (@simonamangiante) April 18, 2019Mifsud was hiding in Rome in an Apartment paid by Link Campus. The same company that now denies any affiliation with Mifsud. The Italian vice -minister of foreign affairs DEL RE, set up an investigative commette to make clarity. Time for answers pic.twitter.com/b2tPCQcSE3 Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos (@simonamangiante) April 19, 2019In March of 2016, Papadopoulos was working for an organization called the London Center for International Law Practice (LCILP), which he has since called a "shady front group for Western intelligence." According to its website, LCILP is a think tank and consultancy firm that trains lawyers and others in the field of international law.Mifsud was also affiliated with LCILP, according to the Mueller report, "but the encounter in Rome [at Link Campus University] was the first time that Papadopoulos met him." Mifsud and Papadopoulos would go on to have several more meetings regarding Russia, as at the time, Russia was considered an important aspect of the campaign's foreign policy, according to the Mueller report. In Late April of 2016, the Mueller report alleges that Mifsud went to Moscow, and upon his return, he informed Papadopoulos that the Russian government had obtained "dirt" Hillary Clinton.The professor taught at Link Campus University, and according to Il Foglio, "owns 35 per cent of Link International, which Link Campus owns 55 per cent of (the remaining 10 per cent is owned by Roberto Lippi, domiciled in Bogot, Colombia)."On 31 October 2017, when the documents in the investigation file were made public, Mifsud was at Link Campus coordinating joint projects between the Italian university and the Lomonosov University in Moscow. Mifsud disappeared the day after and has not answered emails or phone calls since.His name has also disappeared from the website of the organisations he has been affiliated with. He is currently being sought by the Americans, the Russians and an Italian court. But nobody knows where Mifsud actually is. Link Campus might know but is unwilling to say.Il Foglio reports that while he was in hiding, Mifsud lived in an apartment in Rome owned by a Greek diplomat and that Link Campus paid the rent.Il Foglio spoke with several of Mifsud's former neighbours and understands that he moved in when he went underground. The rental contract expired last July or August and was registered to Link International: a company co-owned by Link Campus, with 30 employees and no financial statements available.According to Il Foglio, the university has repeatedly claimed that it ended its relationship with Mifsud in 2008 and resumed it later when he was given the position of visiting professor for 20172018. But Mifsud never actually held any lectures and his contract was terminated after his role in the RussiaGate investigation came to light. The university reportedly said Mifsud ended all contact with the university after November 2017.The university has no information on his whereabouts, Prof. Vincenzo Scotti, the president of Link Campus University, told Il Foglio."This assertion is incomplete, to put it mildly," the paper responded. According to Il Foglio's investigation, Mifsud played a pivotal role in creating Link's international network."We now also know that Mifsud is one of Link Campus business partners and lived in a flat paid by the university all the while being sought after by an Italian court," Il Figlio reported.The paper added: "The name of the university keeps re-surfacing, and the answers provided by its senior staff are too vague to safely assert that it has nothing to do with this international intrigue."The book The Faking of Russia-gate is co-written by Swiss lawyer Stephan Roh, who owns 5 per cent of GEM (the company which manages Link Campus) and is Mifsuds lawyer. Roh writes that he spoke to Mifsud over the phone on the advice of the professors friends on 13 January 2018, while visiting Link's main campus in Casale San Pio V, in Rome.In a conversation-interview reported in the book, Mifsud rejects all the accusations. When asked about why he disappeared, Mifsud said that the head of the Italian secret services contacted the president of Link Campus, Vincenzo Scotti, and recommended that the Professor shall disappear and stay for some time in a safe locaton.The authors write that the Professor and his friends feared for his life. It is unclear why the Italian secret services hid Mifsud and why they asked for Scotti's help. Everyone can make their own speculations. But the important issue is that, according to a Link shareholder, who also happens to be Mifsud's lawyer, the university played an active role in the disappearance of the Maltese professor, as part of an operation that has more to do with secret services than with academia.Mifsud is painted in the Mueller report as a Maltese national who maintained various Russian contacts while living in London. (Mifsud also worked as a professor at the London Academy of Diplomacy in London.)The question remains: who was was he ultimately working for -- the Russians or Western intelligence agencies?Investigative journalist Lee Smith reported at RealClearInvestigations that there is no evidence to support the claim that Mifsud is/was a Russian spy. Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services, he wrote.Papadopoulos now believes the Obama administration spied on him because of his links to Israel.Lets summarize the Mueller report:He states that warrants were targeted at me during my time before and after I joined the campaign because of my high level connections to Israel. Translation: Obama illicitly spied on me with a FISA because I was a top energy advisor. George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) April 18, 2019Facts: an FBI asset named Joseph Mifsud dropped unsolicited info in my lap about Russians having Clintons emails. I did nothing with this info. Alexander Downer, Stefan Halper and others were spying on me because of my ties to the Israeli energy business. Declass transcripts! George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) April 18, 2019.@GeorgePapa19 'impressed' and 'shocked' that #Mueller told the truth about him in report. @foxandfriends pic.twitter.com/8hkOdgf0N7 Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) April 19, 2019Il Figlio ends its report on this note: "Whoever wants to solve the Russiagate enigma whether they believe that Mifsud plotted with the Russians to help Trump or that he conspired with Western intelligence services to weaken Trump should look for evidence at Link Campus, the small university presided over by Vincenzo Scotti."
source: pjmedia.com

Author(s): Debra Heine April 19, 2019

23 Apr 19

Suspicious details in that incident where U.S. soldiers were disarmed by Mexican troops on the U.S. side of the border

A couple days ago, Mexican troops reportedly came over into U.S. territory near El Paso in an unmarked vehicle on April 13, and disarmed the U.S. soldiers on the U.S. side, sent by President Trump to support U.S. border protection operations. Weirdly, they took the U.S. soldiers' weapons they'd confiscated, and then placed them into the soldiers' own vehicles and left.Did they do that pointless exercise to show who was boss in those parts? It's hard to say. CNN had the most detailed report, beginning with:Two US soldiers were questioned by Mexican troops earlier this month while conducting a surveillance operation on the US side of the southern border, two US defense officials tell CNN."On April 13, 2019, at approximately 2 p.m. CDT, five to six Mexican military personnel questioned two U.S. Army soldiers who were conducting border support operations in an unmarked (Customs and Border Protection) vehicle near the southwest border in the vicinity of Clint, Texas," US Northern Command told CNN in a statement."The US soldiers were appropriately in US territory" during the encounter, the statement added.During the incident, the Mexican soldiers pointed their weapons at the US troops, removing a soldier's sidearm and returning it to the unmarked US vehicle, the officials said.That's an egregious violation of U.S. territory and under most circumstances would have been grounds for firing back. The report said the soldiers followed procedures, however, recognizing that there wasn't a war on, and allowed the Mexicans to disarm them to prevent an escalation. No foul on their part. That said, the facts are now out: The Mexicans were in the wrong, they were invading our territory, witting or not, they treated our soldiers like miscreants, and now they owe us an apology. That's the appropriate response. That's what decent nations do. I find no evidence they've given one. The CNN report explains the matter as a simple mixup, with Mexican soldiers not knowing where they were, but there's some grounds for skepticism. Start with how the border near Clint, Texas is delineated. The dividing line is a river - the Rio Grande. The U.S. soldiers were standing on the U.S. side which came before a border fence yet was still on the right side of the river. The Mexicans would have had to have crossed a river to get to where they could intercept a U.S. soldier and it's quite unlikely you could cross a river, even a shallow one, without knowing it. CNN reports that the river can be dry at times, and there's lots of brush in the area, meaning, it's easy to get lost. But there's also an argument to be made that the brush itself would make the river's location knowable just by observation, and even more so with basic soldier compass skills. At a minimum, the Mexicans didn't have those, which is an embarrassment on top of a blunder. But I don't think that's the only possibility as to what happened. Wikipedia reports that the Rio Grande tends to run dry at the Presidio, Texas point in the river, which is not far from Big Bend. Clint, Texas, where the incident happened, is a five-hour-drive 250 miles northwest. If Wikipedia is right, the river should have still been running. I also had a look at Rio Grande river levels in mid-April, checking with data from the National Parks Service. Average river depth in April is three feet, but that is just an average, it could be quite shallower near Clint, Texas. Here are the water readings from multiple points on the Rio Grande, according to the National Park Service - this is their list with their links: Current River Level ObservationsPresidio (Managed by International Boundary Waters Commission - reported in metric units)Castolon (Managed by the USGS - reported in feet)Johnsons Ranch (Managed by International Boundary Waters Commission - reported in metric units)Rio Grande Village (Managed by the USGS - reported in feet)Dryden (Managed by International Boundary Waters Commission - reported in metric units)Langtry (Managed by International Boundary Waters Commission - reported in metric units) Some of the river points, particularly in the north, had low readings indeed. But none showed absent levels, none showed a river dried up. There may be additional kinds of data out there that would show a dried up river. But based on what's known now, it appears that Mexican soldiers did indeed cross a river, or perhaps something muddy enough, and then claimed they thought they were lost.I suspect something else might have been going on - the Mexicans were testing whether President Trump's troops might fight at the border in response to an alien invasion or other provocation, or de-escalate, which is what happened. It may have been that they wanted that intelligence as massive caravans make their way through Mexico to the Texas border.Even more disturbing, the question is worth asking if the characters in the unmarked cars who disarmed the U.S. troops really were Mexican troops - smugglers controlled by Mexico's cartels are very organized these days. Could they have been testing the troops.Regardless of what happened, Mexico owes the U.S. an apology, particularly since its story does not appear to add up. The U.S. has an obligation to get to the bottom of it, too, and report back to us just what this strange incident means. Mexico has ;ately been loud about lecturing the U.S. to control its militia groups on its own side of the border even as it allows cartels and human smugglers to control its side of the border. We know the border is lawless and illegal immigrants are getting in. Now we are seeing Mexican troops getting in, too. What exactly is going on?
source: www.americanthinker.com

Author(s): Monica Showalter

23 Apr 19

Adam Schiff Is Finally Pressed On The Steele Dossier He Doesn't Want To Talk About It

The special counsels report has shredded the credibility of the Steele dossier, which Democrats like California Rep. Adam Schiff have touted in the past as evidence of Trump campaign collusion.But in an interview on Sunday, Schiff dodged questions about the dossier, which was funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign.Schiff refused to commit to investigating whether the dossier was the product of Russian disinformation, a theory that has gained traction in recent weeks.House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff refused to commit Sunday to investigating whether the Steele dossier is the product of Russian disinformation, a theory that has gained traction in the wake of special counsel Robert Muellers Russia report.In an interview with Foxs Chris Wallace, Schiff largely refused to discuss the dossier, a remarkable shift for the Democrat, who endorsed Steeles unverified allegations about Trump associates during a public House Intelligence Committee hearing just over two years ago.Schiff favorably cited dossier author Christopher Steele by name six times during his opening remarks at an Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, 2017.In Sundays interview, Wallace noted the Mueller report established that much of the Steele dossier was either false or impossible to verify. Wallace asked Schiff whether it was appropriate to investigate whether the dossier was the product of a Russian disinformation campaign. (RELATED: Bruce Ohrs Testimony Undercuts Adam Schiffs Defense Of FBI)U.S. intelligence officials are considering whether Russian operatives planted disinformation with Steele, a former MI6 officer who has worked in Moscow, The New York Times reported Friday. Daniel Hoffman, a former CIA chief of station in Moscow, also recently told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he believes the dossier is the product of a Russian disinformation campaign. (RELATED: Investigate Steele Dossier As Russian Disinformation, Intel Experts Say)WATCH:Dont you think the question of exactly how this investigation began, was it a Russian disinformation campaign to try to get, since they were trying to set Americans against each other, not only to tarnish Hillary Clinton, but also to tarnish Donald Trump, isnt that a legitimate source of an investigation? Wallace asked Schiff.The lawmaker dodged the question.Chris, you know, the reality is that the Republicans on our committee spent two years investigating exactly that because, frankly, they werent that interested in what Russia had done, the systemic attack on our democracy. They spent the focus of their two years investigating the investigators and investigating exactly that question, Schiff said.Wallace jumped in to point out that the Mueller report has raised new questions about the dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.We do have new information, the Mueller report discredits a lot of that, says there was no indication that Carter Page did anything wrong. Shouldnt you be looking at that just to find the truth? asked Wallace.Schiff again refused to commit to investigating Steeles report, which the FBI used to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.Well, what we are going to be looking at is were going to be looking at all the counterintelligence findings that were the genesis of this investigation, the California representative said. Let me be very clear about this, the Mueller report makes it absolutely crystal clear that the initiation of this investigation was not only warranted, but absolutely necessary because it revealed a widespread, systemic effort by the Russians to help the Trump campaign.In his report, Mueller said that Russian operatives disseminated emails stolen from the DNC and Clinton campaign. But Mueller also failed to establish that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to steal the emails or release them. Mueller also did not find evidence that members of the Trump campaign, including Page, acted as foreign agents of Russia.Muellers report specifically undercut one of the strongest allegations of collusion in the dossier. Mueller said that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen did not visit Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin insiders, as the dossier alleges.
source: dailycaller.com

Author(s): Chuck Ross

23 Apr 19

Sri Lanka bombings latest: Easter bombings were retaliation for Chris

Explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed at least 321 people and injured more than 500 on Easter Sunday. These are the latest developments: The state minister for defense said investigations show the attack was carried out in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque shootings. The death toll was revised to 321 on Tuesday morning, up from 290, according to the state minister for defense. The government says the attack was carried out by National Thowheed Jamaath, a local Islamist militant group, with suspected international assistance. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was carried out by seven fighters and targeted Christians and citizens of Crusader coalition states. A group of residents pray outside St. Anthony's Church in Kochikade on April 23, 2019, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. St. Anthony's Church was attacked during a bomb blast on Easter Sunday. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post)COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka on Tuesday described the devastating string of Easter bombings that killed at least 321 people as a response to attacks on two mosques in New Zealand last month, even as the radical Islamic State group claimed responsibility.Three hotels and three churches were attacked by suicide bombers on Sunday in an operation that was the subject of a warning days earlier in an intelligence report that circulated within the Sri Lankan government.Investigations have revealed that the attacks were carried out by Islamic extremists in retaliation for the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament. On March 15, a white supremacist killed 50 Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch.However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was more circumspect in a news conference Tuesday. It is possible [that Sundays attacks] could have been because of the Christchurch attacks, he said. We cannot say yet.There seems to have been foreign involvement, he added. Some may have traveled abroad and come back. ... So far it is only Sri Lankan citizens that have been taken in for questioning.Wickremesinghe continued: The security apparatus is of the view that there are foreign links, and there is evidence that points to that. When the ISIS claimed it, we will follow up on the claim. How terror detonated with precision across Sri Lanka VIEW GRAPHIC In a statement carried Tuesday by the Islamic States Amaq News Agency, the extremist group said Sundays attacks targeted Christians and coalition countries and were carried out by fighters from its organization. The claim could not immediately be confirmed, and the group has been known to make opportunistic claims of responsibility for previous attacks conducted without its involvement.A subsequent Islamic State communique said seven fighters took part in the attacks, which it said killed nearly 350 Christians and [wounded] 650 others, including citizens of Crusader coalition states, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.However, a photo published by Amaq of what it said was the attack group showed eight people, all wearing identical long tunics. A bearded man in the center, his face uncovered, was shown carrying an assault rifle. The faces of the others were obscured by headscarves. Three of them visibly held knives in their right hands.Wijewardene did not mention the Islamic State but said the attack was carried out by members of two local radical Islamist groups, the National Thowheed Jamaath and the little-known Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.A U.S. official said the Thowheed group has links to the Islamic State, but their significance is unclear. Investigators here and abroad were working to determine whether the group received help from overseas.Wijewardene did not offer any evidence for the connection between the attacks in Sri Lanka and New Zealand, and when later pressed, said it was because churches and foreigners were targeted. He also acknowledged there were security lapses that allowed Sundays attacks to occur.Mahinda Rajapaksa, an opposition leader and Sri Lankas former strongman president, ascribed the security failure to rivalries between the president and the prime minister.Dont take this as a joke, he said. As long as the division between the president and the prime minister exists, you cant solve this problem. My security division knew about the advance notice [of the attack]; I did not.Leaked copies of a report by intelligence officials earlier this month warned of plans by the National Thowheed Jamaath group to attack churches. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has called for the resignation of the top police official for not taking any action.By Tuesday morning, 40 people had been arrested, including three being held by the Terrorism Investigation Department, said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara.Mujibur Rahman, a member of Sri Lankas Parliament, said police have informed lawmakers that eight or nine others linked to this ring are still at large and are being sought.Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, corroborated that, telling reporters Tuesday that some people linked to the bomb plot are on the run and could be armed with explosives.He confirmed during Tuesdays news conference that a fourth hotel was targeted but said the attack failed. He refused to name the hotel.Asked how he felt when he learned that intelligence on the plot had been withheld from him, the prime minister said, I was shocked when I heard about it. He added: What has happened is a breakdown of communication. ... We have to make some changes.If the intelligence on the plot had been shared, certainly we could have prevented many of the attacks in the churches, had more security in the hotels Wickremesinghe said. We could have prevented all the attacks or reduced the attacks that have taken place.Some officials who failed to pass on information will be removed from their posts, he said.The prime minister said 32 Sri Lankan Muslims left the country to join the Islamic State. Some have been killed, but others have come back, and intelligence agents have been following them, he said. Men lay wreaths on top of graves at a mass burial site on April 23, 2019, at a mass burial plot in the village of Katuwapitiya in Negombo, Sri Lanka. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post)In the aftermath of Sundays attacks, police have been given emergency powers to detain and question suspects without a court order. Such powers were used extensively during Sri Lankas civil war but have not been employed since 2011.It was also announced that schools and universities would be closed, at least until Monday, and Masses at churches were canceled until further notice. The country has been on edge, with three bomb scares, including one at the U.S. Embassy, taking place in the last 24 hours.Police have been instructed to look out for five bikes, a cab and a van suspected of carrying more explosives.At the central morgue in Colombo, relatives of those killed continued to arrive Tuesday throughout the long, hot afternoon. Thiruchelvam, who goes by one name, came to collect the death certificate for his brother-in-law, who was killed in a blast at St. Anthonys Shrine, the largest Roman Catholic church in the capital. He said his wife was devastated by the loss of her only brother, a photographer with two young children.Thiruchelvam said he wished that the government had told its citizens what it knew about the threat. If people had known, they would have avoided the churches, he said.Funerals, meanwhile, were being held for the victims.Endless crying is how Malini Vijaysingha, 60, described the hours since the attack as she paid her respects outside one of the bombed churches. She blamed the bombings on the Islamic State. The whole world should destroy IS, she said. The links between the perpetrators and the Islamic State remain unclear.The United States pledged support for the investigation, dispatching FBI agents to help and offering laboratory experience to test bomb evidence. At least four U.S. citizens are among the dead, and several Americans were seriously injured, the State Department said Monday.The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said in an update Tuesday that 34 foreign nationals have been identified among the dead and that 14 others are unaccounted for at present and could be among the unidentified victims at a government mortuary. The confirmed fatalities include two people holding dual U.S. and British citizenship, the ministry said. Sixteen injured foreigners remain hospitalized; others have been treated and released, it said.Investigators will be looking into how the local Islamist group, whose name roughly translates to National Monotheism Organization, was able to carry out such a planned, coordinated and deadly attack and whether it had overseas help, as officials suggested Monday. President Maithripala Sirisena asked for international assistance in determining any foreign links. The funeral service of Rexy Appuhamy, a victim of the Easter Sunday bombings on April 23, 2019, at the Selekanda Catholic cemetery near Negombo, Sri Lanka. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post)As news of the supposed advance notice about the attacks spread, mourners responded with rising anger mixed with grief at funerals and other gatherings in Christian communities.This is the governments fault. They are incompetent. They knew and they did nothing, said one man who was weeping Monday outside a funeral in Negombo. He did not give his name but turned away and joined others entering a house where the coffin of a woman lay on a cloth-covered table, surrounded by silent mourners.Two officials provided The Washington Post with the three-page intelligence report that the health minister alluded to, in which a senior police official warned of potential suicide attacks by the same Islamist extremist group. The authenticity of those documents were verified by Wijewardene, Sri Lankas state minister for defense. The report also identified several members by name, including the groups alleged leader.Rahman, the member of Parliament, said he was briefed on the report and that it was based on information from Indian intelligence agencies.Authorities said the main attacks on churches and hotels were carried out by seven suicide bombers.A Sri Lankan security official characterized Thowheed Jamaath as a shell for the Islamic State and said it has been active in Kattankudy, an area in the eastern part of the country and home to one of its largest Muslim populations. The groups leadership is believed to be based there, the official said.The official said there could be additional explosives or potential suicide bombers.Right now, they are searching everywhere for possible bombs and people involved, the official said Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Islamic radical terror for the attacks. He also spoke Monday morning with Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, and pledged all possible assistance to Sri Lanka.This is Americas fight, too, Pompeo said at a news conference. Although the Islamic States caliphate has been destroyed with the collapse of the groups last strongholds in Syria, radical Islamist terror remains a threat, he said. We have to remain active and vigilant, and its going to require attention. A bulldozer carrying dirt used to cover coffins drives past an army officer on April 23, 2019, at a mass burial plot in the village of Katuwapitiya in Negombo, Sri Lanka. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post)Thowheed Jamaath wasnt on anyones radar, said Michael Leiter, who served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. He said the attack probably had an international nexus, given that not only Sri Lankans were targeted.It wouldnt surprise me either if there were at least a couple of people who had traveled to Syria, Leiter said. There was never a large Sri Lankan population there, but it only takes one or two to return and inspire a local group to align itself ideologically and tactically with a global violent jihadist organization.It might be too soon to say whether the Sri Lankan bombers had outside assistance, said Nicholas Rasmussen, a former senior director for counterterrorism on the National Security Council who also ran the National Counterterrorism Center in the Obama and Trump administrations. But it wouldnt take much a connection between Sri Lankan foreign fighters in Syria with like-minded people back home in order to create such a connection, Rasmussen said. He added that the high death toll and simultaneous attacks suggested a degree of sophistication in bombmaking and organization, which are characteristic of an established group.The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist activity online, said Monday that an unidentified Islamic State supporter distributed photos of three alleged commandos involved in the Sri Lanka attacks. The photos were posted in pro-Islamic State chat rooms, and the men, pictured holding weapons in front of Islamic State banners, were described as among the commando brothers in Sri Lanka, SITE said.The group reported Sunday that Islamic State supporters were portraying the attacks as revenge for strikes on mosques and Muslims.The highly coordinated attacks left the island nation reeling, a crushing blow after almost a decade of peace since the end of its civil war.In that time, tourism in Sri Lanka had been steadily growing, the country transformed by the apparent end of instability, bloodshed and frequent suicide bombings over the 26-year war.A three-minute silence was observed countrywide at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.Tensions remain high across the island nation. The U.S. Embassy in Colombo said in a tweet that a bomb disposal unit had verified that a suspicious package near the embassy building was not an explosive device.The incident was the third such bomb scare over the past 24 hours.
source: archive.fo

23 Apr 19

Man Accused of Stealing Over $9 Million Worth of Dash Indicted in Israel

An indictment has been filed against Afek Zard in Israel over the alleged theft of 74.990.74 Dash (over $9 million) from his roommate, local media News1 reports on April 18.According to CoinMarketCap data, the amount of coins stolen is equivalent to over 0.85% of the total circulating supply of Dash. News1 states that the reported victim, Alexei Yaromenko, was reportedly an early cryptocurrency investor who has accumulated crypto assets since 2013.Yarmolenko reportedly taught Zard about cryptocurrencies and trading them himself before the theft allegedly took place. Per the indictment document filed by attorney Giora Hazan, Zard was in possession of a key to Yaromenkos apartment and had access to the residence in Yaromenkos absence.Per the report, the coins were present in Yaromenkos wallet until March 1, when Dash was worth $82.5 per unit. The prosecutors claim that at the beginning of the month, the defendant used the alleged victims computer to steal the credentials to the crypto wallets.At this point, Zard reportedly stole the contents of Yarkomenkos wallets either himself or with the help of unspecified others and sent them to four of his own wallets. Lastly, the report specifies that Zard is accused of theft in aggravated circumstances, money laundering and penetration of a computer to commit an offense.As Cointelegraph recently reported, the Manhattan district attorney has indicted a group of individuals with allegedly selling drugs and laundering millions of dollars with bitcoin (BTC).Also, at the beginning of the current month, a 33-year old Danish man has been sentenced to four years and three months in jail for laundering over $450,000 in bitcoin.
source: cointelegraph.com

Author(s): Adrian Zmudzinski

23 Apr 19

7 Glaring Omissions In The Mueller Report That Kill Its Credibility

Robert Muellers special counsel was presented to the American public as unimpeachable. From its beginning, a distinct minority in politics and media, including several Federalist writers, were skeptical, citing the special counsels past prosecutorial abuses, the past alleged misconduct of its pivotal investigators, and the teams peculiar partisan makeup.Once in action, its seemingly limitless powers, heavy-handed usage of such powers, and more questionable if not dubious indictments, far removed from collusion, seemed to confirm our worst fears. While there is much within the Mueller report that further suggests this skepticism was well-founded, what is perhaps most probative is what the report omitted.The following are seven of the most glaring omissions from the collusion section of the redacted Mueller reportsince collusion, not obstruction, was the theory from which the investigation stemmed.1. No Attempt to Grapple with the Investigations Troubling UnderpinningsRussiagate in many ways appears to be the fruit of a poisonous tree of epic proportions. Allegations of a treasonous Russian conspiracy led to beyond novel legal theories, including the ludicrous invocation of the Logan Act, pervasive unmasking, spying on a presidential campaign by a political adversary based in part on a salacious and unverified dossier gleaned from sketchy Russian sources by a foreign agent and paid for by an opposition campaign, chicanerous circularity in the warrants backing the spying, the use of informants to perhaps entrap campaign members, a deluge of leaks (some of which were illegal), and much else.We can layer on top of these malevolent acts the biases, ethical infractions, outright criminality, and clear double standards applied by law enforcement figures common to the Trump-Russia and Hillary Clinton emails investigations.The collusion section of the Mueller special counsel report barely addresses any of the foregoing. How could such an investigation have any credibility without dealing with any, if not all of these issues?2. No Discussion of Whether the Special Counsels Appointment Was LegitimateFrom the special counsels inception, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy and others have harped on a single fundamental question: Was the special counsel appointed in accordance with Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations?A special counsel must be appointed based on a criminal investigation. The Mueller special counsel stemmed from a counterintelligence investigation. A special counsels scope must be tailored to a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The Mueller special counsel order did not seem to adhere to this standard, and in practice, its scope was virtually unlimited.The Mueller report does not even attempt to address this basic challenge to its legitimacy. Nor does it deal with the arguable conflicts of interest and improper actions taken by those associated with its creation, including former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former FBI director James Comey, and the man overseeing the special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensteinwho, as Sean Davis points out, was a participant, witness, and perhaps target of the investigation himself.3. No Discussion of Special Counsels Perceived BiasThe appearance of conflict based upon the composition of the special counsel team is striking. To highlight the affiliations of just a few members: Andrew Weissmann attended Hillary Clintons election night 2016 party and cheered on Obama DOJ holdover and former acting attorney general Sally Yates defying of a directive from President Trump.Jeannie Rhee represented Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit regarding her private emails, as well as the Clinton Foundation, and previously served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration. Aaron Zebley defended former Hillary Clinton staffer Justin Cooper, who installed her infamous private email server.Democrats with deep ties to the administration under which the Russia investigations commenced, as well as Donald Trumps presidential opponent, predominated in the special counsels office. Meanwhile, Mueller, as former FBI director, was a creature of the political establishment, and the institutions from which the investigations sprung. That his report does not grapple with any of the misconduct of the high-ranking individuals behind those investigations in and of itself raises questions.One would think Mueller would have at least sought to create the appearance of neutrality among the investigators, especially given the anti-Trump biases exposed in the investigations preceding it. Yet Mueller did not, nor did he apparently feel it necessary to address this issue in his report. In fact, he fails even to discuss the circumstances surrounding the removal from his team of its most outspoken Trump hater known to the public, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok.4. Skating Over the Papadopoulos Predicate for the Collusion InvestigationsThe Mueller report asserts that the investigation into collusion began when a foreign official (presumably unnamed former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer) told the FBI that Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos conveyed to him that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton that could help the Trump campaign. There is not even an attempt to grapple with the theory that Papadopoulos was set up, based on sketchy approaches from U.S. government informants and foreign counterparts who seemed to be fishing for validation from Papadopoulos that he had knowledge about this Russian dirt.The focus of Papadopoulos contacts is Joseph Mifsud, who is described as a London-based professor who had connections to Russia The Mueller report omits that Mifsud, who made the original claim to Papadopoulos about Russian dirt that Papadopoulos then regurgitated, also had extensive ties to Western intelligence agencies.Was Mifsud planting this information on Papadopoulos? On whose behalf? Meanwhile, such contacts seem an awfully thin starting point for such a critical investigation. Yet the Mueller report fails to give a thorough explanation for why Papadopoulos contacts justified the start of the Trump-Russia investigation.5. Never Mentions Steele or His Dossier in the Collusion SectionAmazingly, in spite of the centrality of former British intelligence agent Christopher Steeles so-called dossier to former Trump campaign advisor Carter Pages Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications, and the dossiers dissemination across the highest levels of the intelligence community and law enforcement, neither Steele nor his dossier are mentioned once in the collusion section of the Mueller report. Steele and his reporting solely appear in the obstruction section of the report, largely in passing.The paucity of attention to Steeles workand its origin, how and to whom it was disseminated, and what role it played in the collusion investigationsmacks of an attempt to downplay its significance.6. Excluding Relevant Information About Numerous ActorsIt is simply stunning the level of exculpatory evidence or at least needed context the Mueller report omits. While Steele and his dossier merit their own section, here are several other significant examples:Steeles benefactor and Fusion GPS colleague, its founder Glenn Simpson, are never mentioned by name.Relatedly, critical information about Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is missing. In relevant passages about Veselnitskaya and the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower bombshell turned dud meeting she led, the Mueller special counsel fails to mention that Veselnitskaya (i) worked with Fusion GPS on behalf of Russian clients, and (ii) met with Simpson the morning of the Trump Tower meeting, as well as the night before and after it. Was the Trump Tower meeting, as journalist Lee Smith has hypothesized, a setup? The Mueller report omits the critical details that would underpin such a theory. Also unclear, and undisclosed, is why the Justice Department granted Veselnitskaya special entry to the United States multiple times in 2015 and 2016.In discussing Pages background, the Mueller report notes his contacts with Russian agents, who supposedly tried to recruit him as an asset, beginning in 2013. The report notes that those agents were charged by U.S. authorities in 2015. What the Mueller report omits is that Page effectively served as an FBI asset in helping the bureau make the case against at least one of the agents. Further, one of the agents charged described Page in a secret recording as an idiot. Are not these facts relevant when Page was put under FISA surveillance and treated as a traitor?The Mueller report describes Felix Sater as a New York-based real estate advisor who worked with and lobbied disgraced former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen extensively in an effort to execute the Trump Tower Moscow project, touting its political benefits and the ability to garner support from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Not mentioned is Saters colorful background: The Soviet Union-born Sater spun a stock swindling conviction into a lengthy career as a major CIA, DIA, and FBI asset, participating in numerous critical operations. Was Sater planted in the Trump organization? While he disputes it, should not the special counsel have included this full background, and sought to remove all doubt?The Mueller report ties former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to Russia by way of his prior work for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Not mentioned: Deripaska had served as an asset to Muellers FBI dating back to 2009; he was sought out by senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr and FBI in 2015 to help on organized crime investigations; FBI agents reportedly floated the theory of Trump-Russia collusion to Deripaska two months before the 2016 election, which Deripaska dismissed out of hand. None of this was mentioned in the Mueller report. Why?The Mueller report references Roger Stone and Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputos contacts with a Russian citizen named Henry Oknyansky. Oknyansky and an associate supposedly came to Stone by way of Caputo seeking to sell derogatory information on Hillary Clinton. Stone rebuffed them. Left unstated: Oknyansky, according to federal court filings and 14 visa waivers, has been an FBI informant for nearly two decades. Did he approach the Trump campaign in such a capacity?Last but not least, intelligence informant on the Trump campaign Stefan Halper, who made contact with both Papadopoulos and Page, is never mentioned in the Mueller report.7. Raising Potential Russia Violations about Trump Not Applied to ClintonThe Mueller report explores the novel theory that the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior campaign officials and Veselnitskya could have had campaign finance law implications. While it ultimately declines to assert any such violations, it notes:[C]andidate-related opposition research given to a campaign for the purpose of influencing an election could constitute a contribution to which the foreign-source ban could apply. A campaign can be assisted not only by the provision of funds, but also by the provision of derogatory information about an opponent. Political campaigns frequently conduct and pay for opposition research. A foreign entity that engaged in such research and provided resulting information to a campaign could exert a greater effect on an election, and a greater tendency to ingratiate the donor to the candidate, than a gift of money or tangible things of value.The above well describes the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funding of the Steele dossier. On this basis, and considering Rosensteins desire to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian governments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, should not the special counsels office have investigated the Clinton campaign for campaign finance violations associated with the Steele dossier?The special counsel appears to have purposely sought to exclude any details pointing to an attempt to frame the Trump campaign by doctoring a Trump-Russia collusion narrative and entrapping campaign members, in spite of the fact there was no collusion, and ample evidence backing such a theory.It simply ignored the real or perceived deficiencies of the special counsels investigation. It also refused to call into question any of the defects associated with the investigations that preceded it.These takeaways challenge the idea that the special counsel engaged in anything resembling an intellectually honest, objective, and good faith investigation. Rather, it would seem to indicate that wittingly or unwittingly, this was more politicized smear job and de facto coverup.Then, although collusion was the starting point for the special counsels investigation, when the Mueller team found none it nevertheless proceeded to obstruction. But there was nothing to obstruct. The Mueller special counsel could have ended its report at Volume I because absent Volume I there could be no Volume 2.By presenting the collusion section as it did, similarly to the obstruction section, the counsel damaged the Trump administration to the greatest extent possible without affirming its criminality. It seems that Mueller pulled a Comey.We must have a thorough investigation of the investigators. The growing cacophony of attacks on Attorney General William Barr are a testament to it.
source: thefederalist.com

Author(s): Collusion; Ben Weingarten

23 Apr 19

A Mystery Agent Is Doxing Iran's Hackers and Dumping Their Code

NEARLY THREE YEARS after the mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers began disemboweling the NSA's hackers and leaking their hacking tools onto the open web, Iran's hackers are getting their own taste of that unnerving experience. For the last month, a mystery person or group has been targeting a top Iranian hacker team, dumping their secret data, tools, and even identities onto a public Telegram channeland the leak shows no signs of stopping.Since March 25, a Telegram channel called Read My Lips or Lab Dookhteganwhich translates from Farsi as "sewn lips"has been systematically spilling the secrets of a hacker group known as APT34 or OilRig, which researchers have long believed to be working in service of the Iranian government. So far, the leaker or leakers have published a collection of the hackers' tools, evidence of their intrusion points for 66 victim organizations across the world, the IP addresses of servers used by Iranian intelligence, and even the identities and photographs of alleged hackers working with the OilRig group."We are exposing here the cyber tools (APT34 / OILRIG) that the ruthless Iranian Ministry of Intelligence has been using against Irans neighboring countries, including names of the cruel managers, and information about the activities and the goals of these cyber-attacks," read the original message posted to Telegram by the hackers in late March. "We hope that other Iranian citizens will act for exposing this regimes real ugly face!"The exact nature of the leaking operation and the person or people behind it are anything but clear. But the leak seems intended to embarrass the Iranian hackers, expose their toolsforcing them to build new ones to avoid detectionand even compromise the security and safety of APT34/OilRig's individual members. "It looks like either a disgruntled insider is leaking tools from APT34 operators, or its a Shadow Brokersesque sort of entity interested in disrupting operations for this particular group," says Brandon Levene, head of applied intelligence at the security firm Chronicle, which has been analyzing the leak. "They do seem to have something out for these guys. Theyre naming and shaming, not just dropping tools."As of Thursday morning, the Read My Lips leakers continued to post names, photos, and even contact details of alleged OilRig members to Telegram, though WIRED couldn't confirm that any of the identified men were actually connected to the Iranian hacker group. "From now on, we will expose every few days the personal information of one of the cursed staff and secret information from the vicious Ministry of Intelligence so to destroy this betraying ministry," a message posted by the leakers on Thursday read.Chronicle's analysts confirm that at least the hacking tools released are in fact OilRig's hacking tools, as the leakers claimed. They include, for instance, programs called Hypershell and TwoFace, designed to give the hackers a foothold on hacked web servers. Another pair of tools called PoisonFrog and Glimpse appear to be different versions of a remote-access Trojan called BondUpdater, which researchers at Palo Alto Networks have observed OilRig using since last August.Beyond leaking those tools, the Read My Lips leaker also claims to have wiped the contents of Iranian intelligence servers, and posted screenshots of the message it says it left behind, like the one shown below.
source: www.wired.com

Author(s): WIRED Staff

22 Apr 19

Colorado schools reopen as FBI examines teen suspects past

The death of a Florida teenager who authorities say was obsessed with the Columbine school shooting and may have planned to carry out her own attack in Colorado did not end an investigation into the 18-year-old, authorities said as they examine whether the young woman acted alone and Denver-area schools prepared to reopen their doors.The body of Sol Pais was discovered in the mountains outside Denver with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday after investigators got a tip from the driver who took her there, the FBI said.Dozens of schools that closed as a precaution during the daylong manhunt planned to reopen Thursday with heightened security measures. Events planned to mark the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine attack will go on as scheduled throughout the week, including a ceremony near the school on Saturday.Two teenagers attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives. They have inspired cult-like admirers, some of whom committed other mass shootings over the decades. A growing no notoriety movement has urged news organizations to avoid naming the perpetrators of mass shootings to deprive them of the notoriety they seek.The details of Paiss travel from Florida to Colorado began to trickle out Wednesday along with some classmates confusion at her involvement. The student at Miami Beach High School dressed in black and kept mostly to herself, said Adam Charni, a senior at the school.Charni said he was baffled to learn she was the person authorities in Colorado were searching for. Another classmate, 17-year-old Drew Burnstine, described Pais as quiet and smart.But the Miami Beach high school student made troubling remarks to others about her infatuation with the 1999 assault at Columbine High and this weekends anniversary, said Dean Phillips, FBI agent in charge in Denver. He did not elaborate on what she said.Investigators will seek to learn more from Paiss social media and her other online presence, largely to ensure that she had no accessories or accomplices, Phillips said. He confirmed that the material being scrutinized includes a blog containing hand-written journal entries that occasionally feature sketches of guns or people holding large firearms.In Paiss hometown, Surfside Police Chief Julio Yero asked that the family be given privacy and a little time to grieve. Paiss parents had reported her missing on Monday night, police said.This family contributed greatly to this investigation from the very onset. They provided valuable information that led us to Colorado and a lot of things that assisted in preventing maybe more loss of life, Yero said.Pais purchased three one-way tickets to Denver on three consecutive days, then flew in on Monday night and went directly to a gun store, where she bought a shotgun, authorities said. Authorities said she did not threaten a specific school. But Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver reacted by locking their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.Were used to threats, frankly, at Columbine, John McDonald, security chief for Jefferson County school system, said when the manhunt was over. This one felt different. It was different. It certainly had our attention.McDonald described her trip as a pilgrimage to Columbine, though Pais is not believed to have been on the campus.The threats and response added an emotional burden for many with ties to the Columbine community ahead of this weekends anniversary.Frank DeAngelis, Columbines principal at the time of the shooting, said he was on campus Tuesday when the threat prompted officials to lock the high schools doors. He immediately went to check on several staff members who continue working there 20 years after the attack.The support was so great, he said. Everybody came together.Denver-area parents faced the difficult job of explaining to their children why they had the day off school without scaring them.This is definitely a challenge in their generation, and watching my kids learn how to navigate this is really hard. It is really heartbreaking, said Suzanne Kerns of suburban Arvada, whose children are 8 and 15.Kerns said she was angry about how easy it was for someone reported missing to come from out of state and buy a gun.Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said the sale of the shotgun apparently followed the states legal process. Out-of-state residents who are at least 18 can buy shotguns in Colorado. Customers must provide fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.Paiss body was found off a trail not far from the base of Mount Evans, a recreation area about 60 miles southwest of Denver, authorities said. She used the weapon she bought, Phillips said.
source: www.concordmonitor.com

Author(s): Colleen Slevin; Kathleen Foody

20 Apr 19

Violence returns to Paris 'yellow vest' protest with 200 arrests, scorched cars and tear gas

Violence returns to Paris 'yellow vest' protest with 200 arrests, scorched cars and tear gasThe Localnews.france@thelocal.com@thelocalfrance20 April 201911:31 CEST+02:00Share this article Photos: AFPAround 60,000 police and gendarmes were deployed in the French capital on Saturday to deal with the most violent "yellow vest" protest in recent weeks.Paris bus, train and metro transport disrupted Violence takes over 'yellow vest' protests 189 arrests by 5pm SaturdayAct 23 of the "yellow vest" protest movement in Paris has been marred by the violence authorities had predicted would happen, with almost 200 arrests, cars and public property set on fire and tear gas and water cannons fired by police. By 3pm, there had been 137 arrests and 14,000 searches carried out by police.By comparison, Act 22 saw a total of 15 arrests and 5,885 searches at around the same time of day. Most of the altercations took place around the Place de la Repubique area in the early afternoon. Police asked non-violent "yellow vest" protesters to disassociate themselves from those causing trouble.Anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 'ultra-jaunes' radical protesters were expected to descend on the city during Act 23 of weekend 'yellow vest' protests. Only two of the four demonstrations that were organized had been approved by city authorities.The first, which started roughly around midday, saw thousands of 'yellow vests' march through the Paris neighbourhood of Bercy in the 12th arrondissement, home to country's Ministry of Finance. The second left from Saint-Denis basilica in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis at 1pm.By 11am local time, 70 people had already been arrested in central Paris. According to police figures, by 1.30pm that number had gone up to 126 arrests. Officers had also carried out 11,000 searches by 1pm. Paris bore the brunt of Saturday's protests, but othe French cities such as Toulouse in the south also experienced tensions between protesters and police. Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law legislation that gave security forces greater powers at demonstrations but which opponents claimed violated civil liberties.One measure banned protestors from covering their faces, but France's Constitutional Council, its highest constitutional authority, refused to give its green light to one of the most contentious parts of the legislation.It would also have given the authorities the power to ban fromdemonstrations any individual "posing a particularly serious threat to public order". The first incidences of group violence were recorded at around 1pm, with a small group of protesters setting fire to public property. Police have also used tear gas to disperse some of the crowds. Since early Saturday morning, theres been a large police presence in the French capital, including at least six armoured vehicles. SEE ALSO: 'Black Saturday' -Why France fears major violence at 'yellow vest' protestsNumerous Paris metro stations were closed on Saturday since early morning:- Line 1 between La Dfense and Chtelet- Line 6 between Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and Trocadero- Line 8 between La Motte-Picquet Grenelle and Richelieu-Drouot- Line 9 between Trocadero and Saint Augustine- Line 12 between Svres Babylone and Saint-Lazare- Line 13 between Duroc and Saint-LazareOther metro stops that were affected by the protests included Victor Hugo, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and Ternes on line 2; Palais Royal-Louvre on line 7, Madeleine on line 14, Opera on line 3 and 7 and Pyramides on line 7 and 14. Several bridges in central Paris were also blocked off. Two RER stations were closed: Charles-De-Gaulle-Etoile on line A and Invalides on line C.Bus traffic was also disrupted, unfortunately on the day that Paris launched a new network with lots of route changes.
source: www.thelocal.fr

Author(s): The Local

20 Apr 19

U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report | One America News Network

U.S. intelligence has accused Huawei Technologies of being funded by Chinese state security, The Times said on Saturday, adding to the list of allegations faced by the Chinese technology company in the West.The CIA accused Huawei of receiving funding from Chinas National Security Commission, the Peoples Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, the British newspaper reported, citing a source.Earlier this year, U.S. intelligence shared its claims with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report http://bit.ly/2KT7ztd.Huawei dismissed the allegations in a statement cited by the newspaper.Huawei does not comment on unsubstantiated allegations backed up by zero evidence from anonymous sources, a Huawei representative told The Times.The company, the CIA and Chinese state security agencies did not respond immediately to requests for comment.The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid concerns in the United States that Huaweis equipment could be used for espionage. The company has said the concerns are unfounded.Authorities in the United States are probing Huawei for alleged sanctions violations.Meng Wanzhou, Huaweis chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the United States on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.She denies wrongdoing and her father has previously said the arrest was politically motivated.Amid such charges, top educational institutions in the West have recently severed ties with Huawei to avoid losing federal funding.Another Chinese technology company, ZTE Corp, has also been at the center of similar controversies in the United States.U.S. sanctions forced ZTE to stop most business between April and July last year after Commerce Department officials said it broke a pact and was caught illegally shipping U.S.-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.Reuters reported earlier this week that the United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks.
source: www.oann.com

19 Apr 19

Police In Northern Ireland Seek Journalist's Killers

Police authorities in Northern Ireland are searching for several suspects in the shooting death of a young journalist during a riot Thursday night in the city of Londonderry.Lyra McKee, 29, was killed, apparently by a stray bullet, as she was standing near a police vehicle during unrest in Londonderry's Creggan neighborhood."We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder enquiry," said Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton told reporters.Hamilton said police believe the New Irish Republican Army, a militant republican group, was responsible for McKee's death and the violent events. The violence broke out in the predominantly Catholic section of Londonderry, also known as Derry, as police were conducting searches for munitions and firearms they suspected were to be used over the Easter weekend."The New IRA is a small group who reject the 1998 Good Friday agreement that marked the Irish Republican Army's embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as 'The Troubles' that claimed more than 3,700 lives," according to the Associated Press.As NPR's Frank Langfitt reports, a dissident Irish Republican group said a volunteer gunman was responsible for McKee's death:"Saoradh is a self-described revolutionary party devoted to uniting the Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland."The group says a volunteer accidentally shot journalist Lyra McKee, while she was standing behind British police in the city of Londonderry."Police were searching houses in the neighborhood for weapons and explosives. Residents responded with Molotov cocktails."The Irish Republican group called McKee's death heart-breaking, but insisted the gunman was defending the community when he opened fire." 'The blame for last night lies squarely at the feet of the British Crown Forces,' the party said in a statement."There's at least one report that the New IRA and Saoradh are facing a backlash as residents of Northern Ireland across the spectrum condemned the journalist's slaying."Those people who carried out this attack have no place in society. Those people who carried out this attack do not have any support. Those people who carried out this attack have attacked all of us. They have attacked the community, attacked the people of Derry. They have attacked the peace process, and they have attacked the Good Friday Agreement," Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O'Neill told reporters."Heartbreaking news. A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back," said the leader of the pro-British Democratic Union Party, Arlene Foster, in a tweet.McKee was a rising journalism star at home and abroad."McKee was named Sky News's young journalist of the year in 2006, and Forbes magazine identified her as one of their 30 under 30 in media in Europe in 2016," reported the Washington Post. "She served as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry, according to her publisher. Her work appeared in the Atlantic, Mosaic Science and BuzzFeed News."In Northern Ireland, McKee is perhaps best known for a blog post "Letter to My 14-Year-Old Self," about her fear and anxiety associated with growing up gay and the subsequent acceptance she received from her family when she came out to them. The post was later made into a short film."As a writer Lyra was drawn to subjects usually met with silence," said her editor at Faber & Faber, Laura Hassan.Another volume, The Lost Boys, an investigation of children and young men who vanished during the Troubles, is due to be published next year."She should have been the future," the Guardian wrote in an editorial. "That a young life has been cut short should remind politicians on all sides that the [Good Friday] agreement cannot be taken for granted."
source: www.npr.org

Author(s): Richard Gonzales

19 Apr 19

U.S. arrests former Marine connected to North Korea embassy raid in...

U.S. authorities on Thursday arrested a former U.S. Marine who is a member of a group that allegedly raided the North Korean embassy in Madrid in February and stole electronics, according to two sources familiar with the arrest.Christopher Ahn was arrested and is expected to be arraigned on Friday in federal court in Los Angles, according to a law enforcement official and a source close to the group.The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment.In April, investigators said the intruders, self-professed members of a group seeking the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, removed computers and hard drives from the embassy before fleeing to the United States, where they handed the material to the FBI. Sources said the material had been returned by Spanish authorities to Pyongyangs mission.A group of at least 10 people stormed into the embassy in February, restrained and physically beat some personnel and held them hostage for hours before fleeing, the Spanish court said earlier.The anti-Kim group, which calls itself Cheolima Civil Defense, said the raid was not an attack and that it had been invited into the embassy.Three of the intruders took an embassy official into the basement during the raid and encouraged him to defect from North Korea, according to a detailed document made public on March 26 by the Spanish court.The document included the names of the leaders of the group, some of whom are believed to be in the United States, while others could have left for other countries. The court is seeking their extradition.
source: www.reuters.com

19 Apr 19

Kyrgyzstan Fires Head of Passport Agency Amid Corruption Probe

Kyrgyz authorities removed on Friday the head of the institution charged with issuing passports, a day after reporters published an investigation into a fraudulent tender procedure that saw a Lithuanian company winning the bid although not meeting tender requirements. Garsu Pasaulis sign (Photo: Lukas Balandis 15min.)The removal of Alina Shaikova, the head of the State Registry Service, the agency that issues passports, came also three days after law enforcement detained three agency officials involved in awarding the 940 million soms (US$13.4 million) job. The three are accused of corruption and will remain in custody until June.The investigation focuses on a State Registry Service tender to obtain biometric passport booklets. The winner was announced in February but the countrys state security agency, known as the GKNB, has accused both current and former government officials of accepting bribes from the winner in the form of payment for international travel.Five foreign companies had submitted their bids and three were rejected for failing to meet the requirements. Between the remaining two, Lithuanias Garsu Pasaulis had submitted the lower bid.Reporters from Kyrgyzstani web outlet Kloop and OCCRP found that Garsu Pausalis had also not met the tender requirements and that, in fact, its competitors had been disqualified for less.Shaikova was replaced with the ex-mayor of the small city of Almazbek Mambetov who was reently starring in another small scandal.Commenting Kyrgyz activists Facebook posts about the cutting of trees for the construction of a road, Mambetov wrote in August 2018 that dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.In his next post he said he was commenting in the capacity of the mayor.Several hours later his posts were deleted and his office wrote on its official Facebook page that Mambetovs account was hacked. His press secretary Mirgul Janserkeeva told journalists that her boss has said that he did not write the comments.This was not Mambetovs only scandal. In 2017, his predecessor Satybek Shamshudinov released an audio recording of a conversation in which Mambetov can be heard swearing and threatening Shamshudinov with a lawsuit. It is not clear form the recording why Mambetov would be suing but he did use obscene language.
source: www.occrp.org

Author(s): Alexandra Li

19 Apr 19

Triplet superconductivity demonstrated under high pressure: Researchers unlock 30-year-old mystery of how a uranium-based material acts as a superconductor

Researchers in France and Japan have demonstrated a theoretical type of unconventional superconductivity in a uranium-based material, according to a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters.By using very high pressure and a magnetic field, the team demonstrated that the uranium-based material UBe13 exhibits 'triplet superconductivity.' This is a phenomenon in which electrons form pairs in a parallel spin state. In conventional superconducting materials, electrons of opposite spins pair together, effectively cancelling out each other's spins."Until now, there have been very few clear-cut examples of triplet superconductivity, even though a number of superconductors have been discovered in various metallic systems in the past century," says Tohoku University materials scientist Yusei Shimizu. "Our pressure experiments at low temperatures have provided strong evidence for spin-triplet superconductivity in UBe13."Materials that become superconducting, often at low temperatures, allow electricity to pass through them with virtually no resistance, minimizing energy loss in the process. This phenomenon, discovered initially in some pure metals, has been found in an amazing variety of different systems. Among these, UBe13 was one of the earliest discovered 'heavy-fermion' superconductors. The electrons in heavy fermion metallic compounds appear to be 1,000 times more massive than electrons in ordinary metals.With the new insight, scientists can now explain what happens in the enigmatic uranium material UBe13 at the atomic scale and how it acts as a spin-triplet superconductor in magnetic fields.A team from Universit Grenoble Alpes in France and Tohoku University in Japan measured the superconductivity of UBe13 under varying high pressures at very low temperatures. They found that the superconducting state in this material is successfully explained by a theoretical model in which electrons form so-called Cooper pairs with parallel spins.This happens as an 'unconventional superconducting ground state' at ambient and high pressures up to six gigapascals. For comparison, diamonds melt using a high-energy laser at a pressure of 1.5 gigapascals. This peculiar superconducting state successfully explains the very puzzling nature of uranium-based triplet superconductors under high magnetic fields.Currently, superconductors require very low temperatures for peak performance, so they are used primarily in magnetic resonance imaging machines and particle accelerators. Understanding how various materials conduct electricity at the atomic scale could lead to a broader range of applications.In addition to demonstrating triplet superconductivity, the researchers note that UBe13 could help answer more general questions. For example, the surface excitations of UBe13 might be suitable for physicists to observe theoretical particles called Majorana fermions, an exotic type of composite particle that is its own anti-particle and that could revolutionize quantum computing in the future.
source: www.sciencedaily.com

19 Apr 19

Declassified Space to begin hosting 30,000 Hillary Clinton Emails

Welcome to Declassified Space.We are building a searchable database of declassified government documents.We have published 1949 documents involving 131 countries.
source: declassified.space

19 Apr 19

NXIVM sex cults alleged illegal political contributions reportedly went to Hillary Clinton

The NXIVM sex cult is facing allegations that it illegally bundled campaign donations to gain political favor with an unnamed US presidential election candidate and reports suggest that the politician is Hillary Clinton.United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue asked a federal judge to introduce evidence showing that the defendants in the sex cult case had an illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign. The court documents claim that witness testimony and documentary evidence will show that at least 14 NXIVM members, including five defendants, made the maximum campaign donation to a candidate, with the understanding that they would be reimbursed by [Claire] Bronfman or Nancy Salzman, who were involved in the cult. Salzman is the co-founder along with Keith Raniere.The documents allege that an unnamed political operative, who has pled guilty to a New York state bribery charge about campaign contributions, suggested they bundle the contributions and present them to the candidate at a fundraising event attended by Salzman.The US attorney claims a witness who was at the event will testify the contributions were made in the hope of getting political influence that included targeting Ranieres enemies. He said that evidence of similar contributions to other elected officials will be introduced. Donoghue's request was made last month but has yet to receive a response.CLINTON ALLEGATIONSA former NXIVM publicist who is now a whistleblower, Frank Parlato, told Big League Politics that the political candidate was Hillary Clinton.I was there, and I knew that the contributions were made by more than a dozen NXIVM members to Hillary Clintons presidential campaign, he said.A 2007 New York Post article reports NXIVM members donated $29,900 to Clintons presidential bid. On March 14 and April 13 of that year, over a dozen contributions were made to Clinton from NXIVM, many of which were from first-time donors giving the $2,300 maximum allowed.One of the contributions came from Bronfman, who was charged in 2018 with money laundering and identity theft in connection with NXIVM activities. Salzman and Bronfman were members of Bill Clintons Clinton Global Initiative.Bundling campaign donations is not illegal, but it can be used to circumvent campaign finance laws set out to prevent individuals from having undue influence over a candidate by donating huge amounts of money. If a bundler gathers individual donations from a group of people and presents them to a campaign, it can be seen as a way to show support and gain influence over a grateful candidate. The Center for Public Integrity reported that Obama rewarded about 200 bundlers with jobs and appointments after he won the election.When bundlers encourage people to donate to a candidate with the promise of reimbursing them later, that is illegal, and that is what the court documents allege the NXIVM donors were promised.
source: www.blacklistednews.com

19 Apr 19

Embattled attorney Michael Avenatti acted as 'consultant' for accused 'sex cult' Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman, but no longer works for her

The lawyer Michael Avenatti recently briefly acted as a consultant for Seagrams heiress Clare Bronfman in a case where she is charged with racketeering crimes related to the alleged sex cult NXIVM, she said.Avenatti is charged with an alleged effort to extort up to $25 million from Nike, and with embezzling client funds and defrauding a bank.The lawyer previously represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with President Donald Trump and his ex-personal attorney Michael Cohen.Michael AvenattiAndrew Cullen | ReutersEmbattled celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti recently briefly acted as a consultant for Seagrams heiress Clare Bronfman in a case where she is charged with racketeering crimes related to the alleged sex cult NXIVM, Bronfman said in court Thursday.But Avenatti no longer has any role in either that case, or in a civil matter pending in upstate New York where he also had served as a consultant, according to Bronfman and her other attorney, Donna Newman.However, Bronfman told a judge Thursday that she was happy to keep another lawyer, Mark Geragos, as her lead counsel in the criminal case, despite the fact that he has been identified as an alleged albeit uncharged co-conspirator of Avenattis in a purported plot to extort Nike.My understanding is that Mr. Geragos may be implicated, she said.Bronfman, 39, had dramatically fainted a day earlier at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court where Judge Nicholas Garaufis had been fuming about his previous lack of knowledge that Avenatti may have been acting at her lawyer.Bronfman received medical attention on Wednesday after her collapse. Asked whether she was feeling better, Bronfman told the judge Thursday, I am, thank you.Honestly, I was just very scared yesterday, Bronfman added.Avenatti was criminally charged by federal prosecutors in New York on Monday with trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million in exchange for not going public with claims that the companys employees made illicit payments to high school basketball players.Avenatti is the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen related to her hush money deal with them to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. The president denies having sex with Daniels.Avenatti has predicted he will be exonerated in both the Nike extortion case, and in an unreleated case also filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, who accused him of embezzling a clients funds and of defrauding a bank to obtain loans.Bronfmans lawyer, Newman, in a letter Thursday to the judge, Garaufis, said Avenattis involvement with Bronfmans case lasted just a matter of days. Avenatti, Newman added, was brought in as a consultant by Geragos, for a limited purpose.The exact nature of [Avenattis] representation was not formalized or documented, Newman wrote.And Newman said that to Ms. Bronfmans knowledge it was not contemplated that Mr. Avenatti would represent Ms. Bronfman before the court in any proceedings in the Brooklyn federal criminal case.His services on her behalf with any action have been terminated, Newman wrote. As a result, Newman argued, there was no need for the judge to hold a hearing relating to Avenattis involvement.Geragos, who himself is nationally known attorney with a deep list of celebrity clients, and Avenatti on March 19 met with prosecutors in the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of New York to discuss Bronfmans criminal case.Bronfman told Garaufis at a hearing Thursday that she was aware of Avenattis presence at that meeting.The nature of that discussion with prosecutors has not been revealed. But NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman, recently pleaded guilty to racketeering in the case.Bronfman is accused of identity theft and of money laundering while playing a key role in the self-help group NXIVM. Prosecutors say the organization was both a pyramid scheme and a vehicle for providing NXIVMs founder Keith Raniere with women who were coerced into having sex with him through threats to expose personal information about themselves that they had shared.In addition to Bronfman and Raniere, remaining defendants in the case include Smallville actress Allison Mack, and Salzmans daughter, Lauren. They have pleaded not guilty.Bronfman, under questioning by the judge Thursday, confirmed that Geragos is her principal counsel in the criminal case.When she was asked by Garaufis about Avenatti, whom he described as being targeted by prosecutors, working for her, Bronfman said, As a consultant, yes.At the hearing Wednesday, an angry Garaufis had asked about Avenattis role representing the daughter of late Seagrams CEO Edgar Bronfman, who remains free on a $100 million bond.The judge was concerned because Avenattis involvement had not been disclosed earlier to him, as Geragos role was.The lack of disclosure about Avenatti had been worrisome to Garaufis in part because he already was engaged in the process of making sure that Bronfman was aware of, and willing to waive, any claim to a conflict of interest by lawyers involved in the criminal case.Her lawyer Geragos daughter, Teny Geragos, is herself a lawyer for Bronfmans co-defendant Raniere, along with the attorney Marc Agnifilo.Both Teny Geragos and Agnifilo work in the law offices of Benjamin Brafman, who is representing Mark Geragos in connection with the criminal cases against Avenatti. Brafman was at Bronfmans hearing on Thursday.And Avenatti is being prosecuted, in two separate criminal cases, by federal prosecutors who, like their counterparts in Brooklyn, are employed by the Justice Department.Bronfmans other lawyer Newman, in her letter to Garaufis, said that a hearing about Avenattis involvement in the case is unnecessary because his role has terminated.Newman also wrote that she would object to any questions by the judge to Bronfman about whether she understands that Mr. Geragos may believe himself to have criminal exposure with the matters under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the FBI.Newman also said she would object to Bronfman being asked whether she understood that Avenatti and Geragoss meeting on March 19 with federal prosecutors in her case may be considered relevant to the prosecution of Mr. Avenatti in Manhattan federal court and any related investigation involving Mr. Geragos.But when Newman tried in court later Thursday to object about the judges questioning of Bronfmans awareness of the meeting with prosecutors last week by Avenatti and Geragos, the judge brushed her off.No, not you, Garaufis snapped. I want the answer ... I dont want a filter. I want answers.Yes, your honor, Bronfman said.She said she knew about the meeting on the day it happened.
source: www.cnbc.com

Author(s): Dan Mangan

19 Apr 19

Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman, NXIVM bookkeeper expected to plead guilty in sex cult case

Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman and the bookkeeper of a purported sex cult are expected to plead guilty in federal court Friday.It wasn't immediately known if the two have signed cooperation agreements. Prosecutors say the New York self-help group NXIVM doubled as a secret sex cult.Bronfman, 39, the daughter of late Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman, was charged with money laundering and identity theft as part of her support for NXIVM.The group garnered headlines for an initiation ritual that includes branding, its attempts to recruit celebrities, and accusations by prosecutors that members were turned into sex slaves for leader Keith Raniere.According to court documents, Bronfman allegedly committed identity theft of at least two women and illegally brought another woman into the country.RecommendedPOP-CULTUREAlleged sex cult NXIVM focus of HBO documentary seriesNEWSBobcat shot and killed after attacking golfer, horseNXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell had, like Bronfman, previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.Earlier this month, former "Smallville" actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering charges connected to NXIVM.Mack, 36, is facing up to 40 years in prison after she admitted to committing offenses that included extortion and forced labor in her role as a high-ranking member of NXIVM, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.The defendants are being charged for their roles in running the controversial group led by Raniere, who prosecutors say operated a master-slave ring within the organization. Raniere is expected to go on trial later this month.
source: www.nbcnews.com

Author(s): Tom Winter; David K. Li

19 Apr 19

California keeps a secret list of criminal cops, but says you can’t have it

Their crimes ranged from shoplifting to embezzlement to murder. Some of them molested kids and downloaded child pornography. Others beat their wives, girlfriends or children.The one thing they had in common: a badge.Thousands of California law enforcement officers have been convicted of a crime in the past decade, according to records released by a public agency that sets standards for officers in the Golden State.The revelations are alarming, but the states top cop says Californians dont have a right to see them. In fact, Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned two Berkeley-based reporters that simply possessing this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops is a violation of the law.The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training known as POST provided the information last month in response to routine Public Records Act requests from reporters for the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and its production arm, Investigative Studios.California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responds to questions from the Bay Area News Groups Opinion and Editorial Board during an interview at the San Jose Mercury News office on Monday, April 16, 2018. Becerra is seeking re-election to the Attorney Generals office. (Michael Malone/Bay Area News Group) (Michael Malone/Bay Area News Group)But when Becerras office learned about the disclosure, it threatened the reporters with legal action unless they destroyed the records, insisting they are confidential under state law and were released inadvertently. The two journalism organizations have rejected Becerras demands.Its disheartening and ominous that the highest law enforcement officer in the state is threatening legal action over something the First Amendment makes clear cant give rise to criminal action against a reporter, said David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, a San Rafael-based nonprofit that advocates for free speech and open records.The documents provide a rare glimpse at the volume of officer misconduct at a time of heightened interest over police accountability. The list includes cops who trafficked drugs, cops who stole money from their departments and even one who robbed a bank wearing a fake beard. Some sexually assaulted suspects. Others took bribes, filed false reports and committed perjury. A large number drove under the influence of drugs and alcohol sometimes killing people on the road.The Berkeley journalists chose not to publish the entire list until they could spend more time reporting to avoid misidentifying people among the nearly 12,000 names in the documents, said John Temple, director of the Investigative Reporting Program.Still, the details are stunning in a state where officials have fought for years to keep virtually any record of police misconduct a secret. And they come amid a larger battle playing out in courtrooms throughout the state over Californias new police transparency law, Senate Bill 1421. Law enforcement groups have sued to limit the impact of that law, claiming it shouldnt expose police disciplinary records created before the law took effect on Jan. 1.Becerra himself has rejected public records requests from his own agency, and he is now being sued by a prominent First Amendment group for failing to comply. Many other agencies in California have followed the attorney generals lead.Once you disclose a document thats confidential and private, you cant take it back, Becerra told reporters earlier this month. You dont get a second chance to get it right, you got to get it right the first time.While that law has garnered the most attention and a public fight over police disciplinary records, it was another law that took effect Jan. 1 that led to the disclosure of the convictions of thousands of law enforcement officers and applicants.The secret listTucked into a public safety omnibus bill last year was a provision allowing the states Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to keep information in its records showing when a current or former law enforcement officer is convicted of a felony or other crime that would disqualify them from being a cop.Police departments often check POSTs records as part of the routine background check process when hiring new officers. But until the law changed, POST only labeled someone as being disqualified from serving in law enforcement when the person was convicted and had exhausted all appeals which could take years and was difficult to track. The new law allows them to disqualify someone after a conviction, according to a POST spokesman.So at the start of this year, Becerras office provided POST for the first time a list of what the agency says are convictions of current and former law enforcement officers and people who at one time had tried to become a cop.POST provided 10 years worth of convictions nearly 12,000 names in all to the Berkeley-based investigative reporting organizations in early January in response to a public records request. Three weeks later the AGs office sent a letter saying the records were inadvertently released and were considered confidential.Attorney General Becerras office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.Nic Marais, an attorney with Keker, Van Nest & Peters representing Investigative Studios, said the states assertions that the documents had been released inadvertently was hard to believe given that POST spent four weeks weighing the reporters request. In a letter to the AG, Marais wrote that because the documents appear to be a summary of public records, the disclosure exemptions cited by POST and Attorney General Becerras Office do not apply. Finally, he wrote that state law exempts reporters from prosecution for receiving records.Snyder, of the First Amendment Coalition, argued the underlying records are in the public interest.Police officers are vested by the public with extraordinary power, he said. In order to monitor the use of that power, the public needs to know when they are over the line.But attorney Mike Rains, who represents police officers, questions why they should be singled out by such a list.To the extent the public wants that to be public record, I can understand that, said Rains, who is leading a legal fight to block the release of officer disciplinary records under the new law.Why dont we make that known for everybody? Rains said of convictions, pointing out theres no broad disclosure for lawyers, doctors, teachers and other trusted professionals.What the conviction list revealsMany of the indiscretions in the new documents released last month to the Berkeley investigative reporting organizations have never been revealed publicly until now. Some of the officers were fired from the force only after an arrest. Others remain on the job despite a criminal conviction.About 3,500 names on the list appear to match the names of police officers in state personnel databases, and about 2,250 of those have been on the force within the last five years. But without more information, the exact breakdown of which individuals were in law enforcement as opposed to applicants to become an officer is still unclear.Phil Caporale, a spokesman for POST, said his agency is using the list to check if active officers have committed crimes that should prevent them from working in law enforcement.Get breaking news and alerts with our free mobile app. Get it from the Apple app store or the Google Play store.Theres that potential. Thats what were trying to eliminate to make sure no one out there is a peace officer today who shouldnt be, Caporale said.The agency also is on the lookout for former cops with convictions who try to get back into law enforcement, he said. We want to make sure those folks dont slip through the cracks.Greg Jeong is on the list. He was an Emeryville police officer for a few months but failed his field training program. So he went to work as a dispatcher for the department. In August 2017, Jeong claimed to be a cop in order to buy a gun and three high capacity magazines in San Jose, according to court records. He was ultimately convicted of impersonating a police officer. Jeong declined to comment for this story.Related ArticlesOpinion: How public safety bill can make California safer for allDA releases records from lurid East Bay police sexual misconduct casesCalifornia use-of-force bill advancesEast Bay town manager admits to calling bull- but not assaulting copPublic Defender wants review of all cases touched by East Bay cop who filed false reportsHayward police officer Joshua Cannon also is on the list. In October 2010, Cannon was arrested for driving drunk in Alameda County with blood alcohol nearly twice the legal limit. A CHP officer clocked him going 92 mph, and when the officer tried to pull him over, Cannon quickly pulled off the highway and down a sidestreet, court records show.Cannon eventually stopped and told the CHP officer that he was a cop and carrying an off-duty weapon. According to the CHP officer, Cannon started asking me for a break, the report said. He also asked me that if I was in his situation what would I do.Cannon was convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence and remains on the force. He declined to comment for this story, citing department rules against talking to the media.The list also included a new revelation about a San Francisco police sergeant who had been the subject of numerous media reports for use-of-force complaints and shootings.View this document on ScribdIn 2014, Sgt. John Haggett was accused of helping a girlfriend dig up dirt on tenants. Internal Affairs started investigating after one of them claimed Haggetts girlfriend made a disturbing threat: My boyfriend is a police officer and will take care of you.Haggett, who is now retired, pleaded guilty in 2015 to a misdemeanor for accessing the confidential information. He did not respond to an interview request.The San Francisco Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
source: www.mercurynews.com

Author(s): Robert Lewis; Jason Paladino; mfrankel@bayareanewsgroup.com

19 Apr 19

Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman to plead guilty in Nxivm sex cult case

Seagrams heiress Clare Bronfman is set to plead guilty Friday to charges related to her role in the suspected upstate sex cult Nxivm, according to court documents.Bronfman, a longtime Nxivm board member and benefactor, is scheduled to appear in Brooklyn federal court before Judge Nicholas Garaufis for the change-of-plea hearing.The liquor scion has been charged with multiple counts of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit identity theft, in addition to a single charge of racketeering. Its unclear what charges she will be pleading guilty to.The 40-year-old heiress who used her fortune to fund the group and the whims of its leader, Keith Raniere is accused of helping Raniere steal email passwords from perceived enemies, laundering money to help a non-citizen enter the US and paying off debts Raniere racked up on the credit card of a dead girlfriend.Bronfman has been out on $100 million bond since her arrest in July 2018, and under the current charges, she faces up to 20 years behind bars if convicted.Also set to plead guilty Friday is the accused Albany-area sex cults former accountant, court documents show.Bookkeeper Kathy Russell faces two counts of racketeering conspiracy for her role in the group.The expected guilty pleas come just days before troves of potential jurors are due to return to court for more thorough questioning ahead of trial. Opening arguments are expected May 7.They also follow guilty pleas from Smallville TV actress Allison Mack, Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman.
source: nypost.com

Author(s): Emily Saul

19 Apr 19

New Mexico County declares state of emergency amid immigration influx | One America News Network

A New Mexico county has declared a state of emergency amid an influx of migration. Otero County officials unanimously voted in favor of the declaration on Thursday, demanding the governor deploy National Guard troops to the area.Hundreds of migrants have been transported to shelters in the county, but those shelters are reportedly overflowing and the countys resources are depleting.Otero officials are now giving the state a week to respond to their declaration, and plan on suing if they dont help and provide resources.Central American migrants, part of a caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, walk on the shoulder of a road in Frontera Hidalgo, Mexico, Friday, April 12, 2019. The group pushed past police guarding the bridge and joined a larger group of about 2,000 migrants who are walking toward Tapachula, the latest caravan to enter Mexico. (AP Photo/Isabel Mateos)Meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in New Mexico apprehended nearly 2,000 migrants in just one day. Agents patrolling a remote port of entry in the states Bootheel region stopped several large groups of migrants on Tuesday totaling more than 1,800 arrests.During the first six-months of 2018, authorities apprehended less than 11,000 migrants illegally crossing that section of the border, but in 2019 that number has already skyrocketed to more than 71,000.In response, the White House is considering tightening the standard for granting asylum to close the loopholes used by human traffickers.
source: www.oann.com

19 Apr 19

Gateless: A Story of Child Sex Abuse in Cambodia's Temples

Two young men sit under the shade of trees in Takeo, Cambodia; Se Bros wears a button-up shirt and jeans and Monk Ry wears his deep orange garb.Did he ever touch you?" Bros asks over the steady drone of insects, but Ry remains silent."I believe he has done something like this to a lot of other children. It's you, me, and other children," Bros says.In Cambodia, Buddhist temples are regarded as places of refuge and rehabilitation for the community, but for Bros it was the site of his sexual abuse as a child.The perpetrator was Saravuth Tan, a Cambodian-American who investigators would later find had abused at least 17 young boys sometime during his 14 years' living at the temple.Soon Bros will be testifying against Tan, who he says raped him dozens of times."I used to feel ashamed, lost all confidence, I lost focus in my studies, and lost time," says Bros. "Sometimes I felt physically sick because he used to do something bad to me."But for Monk Ry, Tan was his beloved godfather, someone who cared for him after he escaped his abusive family and became homeless. Tan provided him with food, a home and anything else he needed."He loved me as if I am his own child," Ry says. "I don't know where I'd be right now if he hadn't adopted me, maybe not where I am right now."More than 200 cases of sexual abuse in Buddhist temples have been reported worldwide in the last decade. An increasing number of temple abuse incidents have been reported in Southeast Asia but experts believe most cases remain hidden.According to Socheat Nong, a child social worker, the problem of sexual abuse in Cambodia is a silent one."In general, people in Cambodia don't believe or accept the fact that sexual abuse happens to boys," she says. "Even those who work with children, including counsellors and social workers, know very little about how to help boys who have been abused."As the Tan investigation unfolds, a more unsettling truth comes out: a chief monk says that the monks at the temple knew about the problem all along.Gateless follows two young survivors reckoning with their pasts, and what happens when child abuse is treated with a blind eye.
source: www.aljazeera.com

Author(s): Al Jazeera

18 Apr 19

Judicial Watch Uncovers More Classified Emails in Hillary Clintons Unsecure Email System - Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch today announced it received 756 pages of newly uncovered emails that were among the materials former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to delete or destroy, several of which were classified and were transmitted over her unsecure, non-state.gov email system.Hillary Clinton repeatedly stated that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order in another Judicial Watch case, she declared under penalty of perjury in 2015 that she had directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.In 2017, the FBI uncovered 72,000 pages of documents Clinton attempted to delete or did not otherwise disclose. Until the court intervened and established a new deadline, the State Department had been slow-walking the release of those documents at a rate that would have required Judicial Watch and the American people to wait until at least 2020 to see all the releasable Clinton material. The production of documents in this case is now concluded with the FBI being only able to recover or find approximately 5,000 of the 33,000 government emails Hillary Clinton took and tried to destroy.Judicial Watch obtained the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, after the State Department failed to respond to a March 4, 2015, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)) seeking:All emails sent and received by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Secretary Clinton regarding her non-state.gov email address.This final batch of Clinton emails includes five new classified emails and communications with controversial figures Lanny Davis and Sidney Blumenthal.On April 27, 2011, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent classified information discussing Palestinian issues to Clintons personal unsecure email account.On May 19, 2011, Blair again sent classified information to Clintons personal unsecure email account discussing a speech.A classified email exchange between Blair and Clinton took place from January 16, 2009 (while George W. Bush was still president) and January 24, 2009. The subject line is Re: Gaza. Blair on January 16, 2009, relayed information he learned from Middle East leaders and noted that he wanted to get something resolved before Tuesday (when Obama would be sworn in as president). Clinton responded to Blair on January 19, 2009, writing Tony We are finally moving and I am looking forward to talking w you as soon as Im confirmed, tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. Your emails are very helpful so pls continue to use this address, hr15@att.blackberry.net. Blair followed up by saying It would be great if we could talk before any announcements are made.Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane sent Clinton classified information, apparently during early 2009. The subject line of the email is redacted, but the text appears to show a discussion on information about Iraq.In September 2, 2010, email exchange marked classified, longtime Clinton confidante Lanny Davis tells Secretary Clinton that he could serve as a private channel for her to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he had a private and highly trusted communication line, unofficial and personal, to PM N[etanyahu]. Davis goes on to say [N]o one on the planet (other than your wonderful husband) can get this done as well as you. Secretary Clinton responds with classified information, saying I will reach out to you directly and hope you will continue to do the same w me. The most important issue now is [Redacted B1].In a September 18, 2010, email, Davis emails Clinton to tell her that As soon as I wrote last email, I reverted to my old role as your crisis manager and worrier about you, read the word optics I suddenly felt oops. I am registered under FARA for one or more foreign governments or businesses. I dont think it would look right. I want to avoid any even slight chance of misperception. Clinton replies, Thx for looking out for me, my friend. Ill tell Cheryl to stand down. Davis replied, 100% off-the-record.An email with the subject line Clinton-Ivanishvili Meeting shows a meeting with pro-Putin, Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was reportedly involved in a Russia-rigged election for president of the Republic of Georgia. On May 29, 2012, longtime Clinton political operative Craig T. Smith emailed Cheryl Mills, asking if a meeting between Secretary Clinton and Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was happening, saying: Would be a good thing if it can work out. Mills tells Smith shell revert and forwards the email to Jake Sullivan, Human Abedin and Lona Valmoro, asking them if they were setting up the meeting, noting that it involved meeting with the opposition and asking what she could tell Smith. Valmoro responds that the meeting with Ivanishvili was on the schedule.An undated email from former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to Clinton discusses that VP Joe Biden was thinking seriously about a Biden-Putin Commission.The documents reveal that Clinton had been assigned an official government email address with which she could have conducted government business, clintonhr@state.gov. She also reportedly had additional government addresses at her disposal: SMSGS@state.gov and SSHRC@state.gov, neither of which were configured to send or receive emails.The documents uncovered by Judicial Watch also include an email to Tamera Luzzatto, former chief of staff during Clintons tenure as U.S. Senator for New York. Clinton talks about getting a secure computer set up soon.Tamerathis is my new address, but, pls know, I cannot check it during the day unless I leave my office. I hope to have a secure computer set up soon to be able to get email during the workday. Much love, H.On October 29, 2009, a Clinton Foundation employee and close Clinton adviser Sid Blumenthal forwarded a proposal for a commercial contract related to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from retired CIA officer-turned-contractor Gary Berntsen, to Clinton (copying Cheryl Mills), saying that Berntsen had been unable to break through the bureaucracy with it. Mills then forwarded the email to Jake Sullivan. Blumenthal noted that Cody [Shearer] and I are following up. Blumenthal and Shearer were both implicated in the creation of the Obama administrations anti-Trump Russia collusion counterintelligence operation by providing reports relating to Trump-Russia collusion to the U.S. Government.On January 29, 2009, Blumenthal emailed Secretary Clinton a memo he titled Good Cop, Bad Cop, where Blumenthal informs Clinton that his sources tell him that an attack on the appointment by Obama of former Sen. George Mitchell as Special Envoy to the Middle East was coordinated by Jewish institutional leaders and carefully scripted. Also cited is Mitchells Arab descent as making him politically vulnerable. Blumenthal told Clinton that any conversations she had with Netanyahu flows directly and instantly back to top (U.S.) Jewish leadership. Further on in his memo, Blumenthal says that Netanyahu and Jewish leadership should be expected to use political means, including outsourcing personal attacks to counter Obama administration moves and said Netanyahu was deeply connected to political networks in the U.S. media, Jewish groups, Republican leaders, and right-wing Christian organizations. To provide a heat shield from Netanyahus attacks, Blumenthal advises Clinton that Obama should hire a bad cop who is organically tied to the President and a political appointee, Jewish, considered a true friend of Israel Clinton responded by saying, Thanks for these. And I will call you in the next few days.In an October 20, 2012, email exchange between top State Department and Clinton Foundation officials discussing arrangements for Bill and Hillarys trip to Haiti. That trip focused on the opening of the Caracol Industrial Park, funded by a $300 million+ grant from USAID. The Caracol Park came to be seen as a hugely wasteful disaster, that was supposed to create 65,000 jobs for Haitians but as of January 2015 only produced 4,500.On January 25, 2009, Chelsea Clintons high school friend Nicole Davison (now Nicole Davison Fox), made a hiring recommendation to Secretary Clinton for the State Department. Clinton forwarded Davisons recommendation on to Cheryl Mills, telling Mills to follow up on the wonderful recommendation. Mills replied, K.Maggie Williams, campaign manager of Clintons failed 2008 presidential bid, forwarded to Clinton a note sent to her by then-managing partner of the Gallup Organization, which said that Gallup Polls suggest Obamas plan to expedite withdrawal from Iraq could help improve some residents opinion [referring to Iraqis opinion of US leadership.] Williams proposed to Secretary Clinton sending a group of high-level State Department officials to Gallup for a presentation, including Jack Lew, Jim Steinberg, Cheryl Mills and Lissa Muscatine. Williams would later suggest adding Jake Sullivan and Anne-Marie Slaughter to the Gallup presentation.On February 18, 2009, chairman of telecom company Centurylink, Bill Owens, emailed Clinton (copying Abedin) asking if he could get a meeting with the secretary during her upcoming trip to China. Abedin responded, saying that she was talking to Owens assistant to arrange for the two of you to visit for a few minutes during Clintons trip. Owens had been appointed Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. After retiring from the Navy in 1996, he became chairman of defense contractor SAIC.In a January 3, 2011-March 1, 2011, email thread, Susanne Helmsley, a staffer at the World Economic Forum (ie, Davos) emailed leftist Christian writer-activist Jim Wallis to inform him that former British PM Gordon Brown would not be invited to the upcoming Davos meeting, because our policy (and this makes Davos distinctive) is to only invite people who are still in power. She also noted that the theme of the upcoming Davos meeting would be Shared Norms for the New Reality, noting that the discussions of values will be a major element in Davos, since norms are only sustainable if built on values. Wallis mentions his prior partnership with Bangladeshi banker Mohammad Yunus, who would be charged the next year with tax fraud and embezzling from the bank hed founded, Grameen Bank.On five occasions Clintons secretary, Lauren Jiloty, sent Clintons sensitive daily itinerary to her on her unsecure email account.On January 29, 2009, State Department official Ashley Yehl received a Judicial Watch press release from Associated Press reporter Matt Lee about a lawsuit Judicial Watch filed on behalf of State Department official David Rodearmel challenging Clintons appointment as Secretary of State. Yehl forwarded the email on to several other State people, who in turn forwarded it on to States Legal Office and official James Thessin. Thessin sent it along to Cheryl Mills who sent it on to Secretary Clinton, assuring Clinton that the Department of Justice would defend her against the Judicial Watch lawsuit.We continue to uncover classified information mishandled by Hillary Clinton in emails that she tried to hide or destroy. This is further evidence of the urgency for the DOJ to finally undertake a complete and legitimate criminal investigation, said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. Attorney General Barr should immediately order a new investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.
source: www.judicialwatch.org

Author(s): Judicial Watch

18 Apr 19

Top Mueller Report Takeaways So Far

Prosecutors closely examined whether Donald Trump or members of his 2016 campaign conspired with Russia to release emails which were damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC, and/or any involvement with the Kremlin's social media disinformation campaigns. The investigation also covered whether Trump associates operated as unregistered Russian (and in one case Israeli) agents, and whether the infamous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney violated campaign finance laws as a "thing-of-value" offered by foreign governments, or crossed any other legal boundaries. At the end of the day, Mueller and his team did not find that any Trump campaign associates were operating on behalf of a foreign government in connection with the 2016 election. Mueller did, however, find Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates guilty of crimes connected to their work for the Ukrainian government prior to their involvement with Trump. There are a mountain of pages and footnotes to go through, but here are some takeaways so far: Mueller was unable to establish that Trump committed any underlying crimes. "Unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," the report reads. Mueller considered pressing charges in connection with the Trump Tower meeting. The special counsel's office considered prosecuting the Trump Tower meeting as a campaign-finance violation, however declined because they didn't have "admissible evidence" likely to prove that Trump officials "wilfully" acted, or that the information offered by the Russians exceeded the threshold for prosecution. Interestingly - the Mueller report completely omits the involvement of Fusion GPS in the Trump tower meeting - as the Russian attorney involved in it, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was a Fusion GPS associate and met with founder Glenn Simpson before and after the Trump Tower meeting. Also noteworthy is that the Trump Tower meeting investigation "did not identify evidence connecting the events of June 9 & the GRU's hack-and-dump operation. Mueller looked at charging Trump aide George Papadopoulos as an agent of Israel. Trump worried that the Special Counsel investigation would end his presidency. According to the Mueller report, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions let Trump know about the appointment of a special counsel, Trump replied: "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm fucked," adding "How could you allow this to happen, Jeff?" Trump goes on to say: "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me."Former White House attorney Don McGahn threatened to resign.McGahn was ready to hand in his resignation as White House counsel in June 2017 when Trump directed him to tell Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein that "Mueller has to go," per the report. "In response to that request, McGahn decided to quit because he did not want to participate in events that he described as akin to the Saturday Night Massacre," during the Nixon administration. McGahn would stay on as White House counsel for for another 16 months. More takeaways:
source: www.zerohedge.com

Author(s): Tyler Durden

18 Apr 19

10 Bizarre Cases Of Blackmail That Turned Into Complete Disasters

In the lead-up to the 2006 Atlantic City mayoral election primary, city councilman and part-time Baptist minister Eugene Robinson decided to back a different candidate than the one supported by Craig Callaway, the president of the city council. The split in their political union happened because Callaway had admitted to taking bribes. Callaway took Robinsons show of support as a sign of disloyalty. As punishment, he decided to destroy Robinsons life. With the help of two of his brothers, Ronald and David, and a former municipal worker, Floyd Tally, they hired a 24-year-old prostitute and drug addict who lured Robinson to a motel room equipped with a hidden camera. They recorded Robinson giving the woman money for oral sex, which they also got on tape. After getting caught in the act, Robinson was shown the video and told that the DVD would be leaked to the media if he didnt resign. Robinson refused to resign, and the blackmailers were true to their word. One of them wore an obvious disguise and delivered a copy of the DVD to a radio station. Meanwhile, Robinson contacted the police and said he was being blackmailed. He explained that the money he gave the woman was for soda, and he thought she was a tourist. The blackmailers were all arrested and convicted. Mastermind Craig Callaway was given three years, which he served concurrently with his sentence for bribery. Tally got 12 years, Ronald Callaway was given nine years, and David Callaway got four years.As for Robinson, he didnt seek reelection at the end of his term. His health took a turn for the worse, and he said he was forced to move into a nursing home. 9Nelson Bunker HuntPhoto credit: Armin Kubelbeck, CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia CommonsEarly in 1981, Texas oil tycoon Nelson Bunker Hunt was contacted by a blackmailer who demanded a $440,000 loan. In exchange, the blackmailer wouldnt tell anyone about an $87,000 bribe Hunt had arranged for Idaho Republican Representative George V. Hansen. However, an outraged Hansen immediately went to the Justice Department, protesting his innocence. That spooked the blackmailer, Arthur Greenhill Emens III, who quickly sent a second letter telling Hunt to forget about the whole extortion thing. Unimpressed by that gambit, the FBI tracked him down anyway. It turned out that Emens was employed at an Oklahoma City commodities trading firm, where Representative Hansens wife had made $87,000 speculating in silver in 1979. Emens believed that Hunt had set the silver deal up as a way of channeling bribe money to the Hansens, although this was never proven. After Hunt famously caused turmoil in the commodities market with a disastrous attempt to corner the global silver supply, an outraged Emens launched his blackmail plan.Emens was given three years probation, but the police werent done investigating. They began to look at the relationship between the oil tycoon Hunt and Rep. Hansen. Thats when they found out that Hansen had made false statements on financial disclosure forms. This included the $87,000 that Emens wrote about in his letter. In 1984, Hansen was reprimanded by the House of Representatives, sentenced to 515 months in prison, and fined $40,000. Despite the reprimand and facing jail time, Hansen ran for reelection in 1984. With 220,000 votes cast, he lost by only 167. He still went to federal prison and served a year in total. After being released, the charges were vacated by the Supreme Court, and his money was returned to him. But the hits just kept coming. Hansen was then convicted in an entirely different case on 45 counts of bank fraud for which he spent another 40 months in prison. Hansen passed away in August 2014. 8 Cindy Crawford And Rande GerberPhoto credit: Georges BiardIn July 2009, former supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband, Rande Gerber, started getting phone calls demanding money for a compromising picture of the couples seven-year-old daughter. The picture, which was taken by the childs nanny, featured the girl wearing shorts and a T-shirt while bound to a chair and gagged. The nanny had apparently taken the picture as part of a joke that she planned on playing on the couple. She had planned on pinning it on the door with a note that read, The baby sitter went crazy and tied everyone up and they need your help! Please.The man said that he was a good person and he didnt want the picture to end up in the tabloids. So Gerber met the man, later identified as Edis Kayalar, and gave him $1,000 for the picture. A short time later, Kayalar called again, this time demanding $500,000, saying he had another copy of the picture. After this call, though, Kayalar was deported back to Germany for an immigration violation. That didnt stop him from trying to extort more money from the couple. On November 1, he called again, this time demanding $100,000. Crawford and Gerber had had enough and got the FBI involved. Kayalar was arrested and convicted in Germany. He was given two years in prison over the extortion attempts. 7 Ian Strachan And Sean McGuiganPhoto credit: David Iliff, CC-BY-SAThirty-one-year-old Ian Strachan and 41-year-old Sean McGuigan, both from London, believed they had hit the jackpot in 2006 when they met an aide to the royal family. Over five months, Strachan and McGuigan recorded eight hours of video of the aide getting drunk and doing cocaine. In the video, the aide (who was only identified as Witness D) claimed that a member of the royal family stuck his genitals in his face. Strachan and McGuigan also edited two lines of the recording together to claim that another male member of the royal family (identified as Witness A) performed a sex act on Witness D on the kitchen floor. Strachan and McGuigan tried to take their poor editing skills to the bank and approached various tabloids with the recording. Shockingly, considering the state of the British tabloids, there was no interest at all.With no tabloid buyers, the pair decided to go at it directly. Using Strachans mothers phone, they called the assistant and demanded 50,000 to prevent the release of the video. The police were brought in at this point. When Strachan and McGuigan thought they were getting a meeting with either Witness A or one of his assistants, the police went instead. The two bumbling blackmailers brought the videos to meet the undercover police officer. Unsurprisingly, they were arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. 6 John StamosPhoto credit: iDominickThe part of the story that both blackmailer and victim agree is that 17-year-old Alison Coss met actor John Stamos in Orlando in 2004. At the time, Stamos had recently separated from his wife, Rebecca Romijn. This is where the stories start to diverge. Stamos said that Coss mentioned that she was on spring break from college. He hung out with Coss and her friend in his hotel room and socialized, but that was it. Cosss version of the story is that she met Stamos at a party in a hotel room with strippers and that Stamos did cocaine. She claimed that when she sat nude in a hot tub with Stamos, he came on to her and she spent the night. After the party, Coss and Stamos kept in touch by email. But when Coss saw Stamos with his new girlfriend, Cosss emails became much more sinister. In November 2009, Coss emailed Stamos saying a man named Brian had emailed her about compromising pictures from that night. Coss said she even paid $10,000 to get one back. Then Stamos started to receive emails from someone named Brian L. Brian said he had nude pictures of Stamos doing cocaine with strippers. Brian told Stamos that tabloids had offered up to $780,000 but that he would sell the pictures to Stamos for the bargain price of just $680,000. Stamos always maintained that the night in question never happened, so no pictures existed, which made it a no-brainer when it came to contacting the authorities. The FBI told Stamos to play along with the demands, so Stamos arranged the drop at an airport in Michigan in December 2009. Coss and her accomplice, 31-year-old Scott Sippola, were arrested after Sippola made the pick-up. The FBI searched the suspects homes, computers, and storage devices and could find no evidence of the pictures. Coss and Sippola were found guilty of breaking a number of federal laws and were each given 48 months in prison. 5 Joe FrancisPhoto credit: Toglenn, WikipediaOn January 22, 2004, a masked man broke into the home of Joe Francis, who rose to fame and fortune for his Girls Gone Wild videos. The intruder tied Francis up and helped himself to a few items around the house. Then the masked man made Francis undress and placed a dildo near his naked backside. Holding him at gunpoint, he made Francis tell the camera that he was gay. Then the man stuffed Francis in the trunk of his own car and drove it a short distance away. A little later, Francis was able to free himself. He ran to his neighborhood security team, and the police were called. The next day, Francis was contacted by the home invader. He told Francis (then and in subsequent phone calls) to pay him $500,000 or else he would release the tape. Francis had a hard time deciding how to deal with the caller and often changed his mind. Sometimes, he said that he planned to pay the extortion; other times, he told the man to just release the video. After all, what did someone like Francis care about a dirty movie that he was forced to make at gunpoint? Amazingly, 10 months after the home invasion, the case was cracked wide open by none other than Paris Hilton. Hilton, who used to date Francis, pulled him aside at a party and said she knew who broke into his house and was blackmailing him. She said that a man at a late-night party in Las Vegas told her about the video involving Francis. The man said that one Darnell Riley had filmed it. Riley had been incarcerated from the age of 15 until he was 24 for killing two Korean shopkeepers in Los Angeles. Four years after being released from prison, he had worked his way into the same social circle as Hilton and Francis. Francis made Hilton talk to the police, and Riley was arrested and convicted for the home invasion and blackmail. He was given a sentence of 10 years and eight months in February 2006. 4 Mohamed ArshadSometime in 2004, 38-year-old cab driver Mohamed Arshad picked up a woman who had flagged him down in Newport, Wales. Once in the cab, 37-year-old Mussarat Nazir recognized Arshad as a childhood friend. As children, they had a rather awkward moment together. Twenty-five years prior, when Arshad was 13 and Nazir was 12, they used to walk together to school. Then one morning in 1980, Arshad made his way into Nazirs bedroom and exposed himself.One could write this off as an embarrassing youthful indiscretion, but Nazir, who was a heroin addict, decided to use this as a source of blackmail. She told Arshad to give her money so she wouldnt tell his family about the childhood incident. Arshad, who did not want to disgrace his family, agreed to pay. Over time, he forked over a total of 20,000 (US$30,000). Each time, Nazir said it would be the last time she would ask him for money, but she always came back for more. In late 2004, when Nazir asked for an additional 4,000 (US$6,000), Arshad had had enough. Instead of just publicly admitting to the incident and taking away Nazirs blackmail ammunition, he cooked up a plan. Arshad lured Nazir to a remote location and strangled her to death with a tow rope. After she was dead, he poured gasoline in her car and set it ablaze. The fiery car was found a short time later, and police had no problem tracking down Arshad, who still smelled like gasoline when they interviewed him.The odd case surrounding the chance encounter led to Arshad being sentenced to life in prison. 3 Yuan BaojingYuan Baojing was the president of the Beijing-based Jianhao Group, which was a multimillion-dollar trading house in the 1990s. At some point, the company lost 3 billion (US$11 million), for which Baojing blamed his business partner, Liu Han. Looking to get revenge, Baojing enlisted the help of former police officer Wang Xing to kill Han. Xing hired a professional hit man for the job, but when the hit went down, the gunman missed both of his shots and was arrested.Xing then saw his opportunity to blackmail Baojing. He demanded money from the tycoon in exchange for his silence about the assassination attempt. In perhaps the most predictable criminal move ever, Baojing and his brother decided to hire an assassin to kill Xing. They were better at hiring than Xing had been: Baojings assassin (his cousin) didnt miss. Xing was shot to death in October 2003.In December 2005, Baojing, his brother, and his cousin were found guilty of the murder and sentenced to death. On March 16, 2005, Baojing appeared in court for his final appeal. When he was told the ruling would be upheld, he looked agitated and apparently said, I refuse to accept it. I will inform against someone. He was led out of the court and executed 15 minutes later via lethal injection. His wife wasnt allowed to attend and was shipped the ashes after his cremation. 2 The Duke Of WellingtonPhoto credit: Thomas LawrenceArthur Wellesley, the original Duke of Wellington, is probably most famous for defeating Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. But everyone moves on from their fame eventually. Later in his life, Wellington was so tired of his marriage that he didnt even try to hide his affairs from his wife. One such affair in 1924 was with a courtesan named Harriette Wilson. Wilson had written a tell-all book about her affair with Wellington and had taken it to Joseph Stockdale, a notorious publisher of scandal and pornography. Stockdale wrote to Wellington and tried to blackmail him. He said he would give over the diary if Wellington paid him a lump sum. Wellington wrote back, saying unequivocally, Publish and be damned!The situation caught the attention of the media, and the story became very popular with cartoonists and satirists. Instead of shaming him for having an affair with a prostitute, Stockdale only helped solidify Wellingtons reputation as the Iron Duke. 1 Emily PostPhoto credit: Emil FuchsToday, Emily Post is famous for literally writing the book on American etiquette and good manners in the aptly titled book Etiquette. Post became beloved for simplifying the etiquette process. For example, she suggested that if someone picks up the wrong fork for the wrong course, perhaps the host shouldnt have put so many forks on the table.But before she became famous for Etiquette, Emily was the wife of a wealthy banker, Edwin, and mother of two. When her sons were old enough to go to boarding school, she started writing and found work with Scribners and Harpers before publishing her first novel in 1904. During this time, Edwin was having a number of affairs, often with young, struggling actresses. In 1905, a scorned lover decided to contact a popular magazine in New York about her affair with Edwin. Edwin was soon called to the editors office. The editor said they were writing a tabloid book and that it would cost Edwin $500 to stay out of it.Edwin refused to bend to the extortion demand, quite possibly because he didnt have that much money due to a string of bad investments. Instead, he went to the police. The police set up a sting in the washroom of a restaurant and caught the blackmailer red-handed. The New York Times caught a whiff of the story and portrayed Edwin as a hero. The day after the arrest, he received a standing ovation on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.While the blackmail only improved Edwins image, Emily, who was a very proud woman, was humiliated by the scandal. The marriage had been in trouble for years, but this was the final straw for her. They divorced six months after the scandal began. Finding herself single and her children away at boarding school, Post more or less wrote full-time. In 1920, she started to write Etiquette. When it was published in 1922, it was a best seller for 18 months and continued to sell well when different editions came out decades later. Even today, editions are put out by Emilys descendants. So while Emily Post had suffered unbelievable and very public humiliation because of blackmail, she very successfully vindicated herself. Her name is still synonymous with American etiquette and manners, and she was incredibly influential in American culture for generations. She passed away in 1960 at the age of 86.
source: listverse.com

Author(s): Robert Grimminck

18 Apr 19

Rosatom to conclude contract with Zvezda in 2020 to build Lider icebr

The contract with the Zvezda mega-shipyard for the construction of the Lider-class icebreaker is to be signed in 2020, Stanislav Golovinsky, deputy general director of Atomflot,a Rosatom division, told reporters on the sidelines of the TransRussia forum.Nuclear-powered ships under Project 10510 Lider will become the most powerful nuclear icebreakers in the world (120 MW). Zvezda will build new nuclear icebreakers in collaboration with other Russian shipbuilders. As previously reported, three Lider icebreakers are planned. The development of design and technical documentation for the icebreaker will cost 3 billion rubles."As for the Lider, the situation is as follows: Rosneft must conclude an agreement for the development of documents at the zero stage with the Iceberg Central Design Bureau. The [technical] project has already been finalized. Now, working design documentation needs to be developed for construction," said Golovinsky."The conclusion of the contract is scheduled for next year," he added, responding to a question about the terms for concluding a contract with the shipyard for the icebreaker."These are federal budget funds, and they need to appear in the budget," the Atomflot deputy general director said. He noted that, since the VAT increased in Russia to 20% on January 1, 2019, the cost of the icebreaker, including VAT, will be 120 billion rubles. Golovinsky also noted that the cost could change due to the fact that this is the only vessel of this type built in the Russian Federation.
source: archive.fo

18 Apr 19

FBI to test PG&E equipment in Camp Fire criminal investigation

Butte County prosecutors have collected equipment from several additional towers along the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power line suspected of starting last years deadly Camp Fire, a sign that the countys criminal investigation into the historic disaster is progressing.An attorney for PG&E told lawyers representing wildfire victims and others on Monday that the company had recently assisted local prosecutors in their collection of parts from four towers along the high-voltage Caribou-Palermo transmission line.He said the Butte County district attorneys office wanted to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation test on cross-arm sections and suspension hooks from those towers which appears to be the same kind of equipment that malfunctioned on another Caribou-Palermo tower right at the origin point of the Camp Fire.PG&E has admitted the state probably will find it responsible for the inferno, Californias deadliest and most destructive wildfire to date. The companys mounting liabilities from that disaster and 2017 blazes prompted it to file for bankruptcy protection in January.The evidence collection along additional transmission towers, revealed in a Bankruptcy Court filing on Tuesday, could indicate that local prosecutors are digging into PG&Es maintenance of the overall line as they consider criminal charges against the utility, said Millbrae lawyer Dario de Ghetaldi.Theres a lot of possibilities, but one of them is that they identified other components that were about to or likely to fail, de Ghetaldi said. They knew that there were problems with that line before the fire. They knew there were problems with that component before the fire.Dario de Ghetaldi, an attorney representing wildfire victims, was the first to call attention to the Butte County District Attorneys widening investigation.Photo: Jeff Chiu / Associated PressPG&E is already on probation because of criminal convictions arising from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. A federal judge recently expanded the probation terms by imposing several new wildfire-prevention requirements on the utility.De Ghetaldi, whose clients include Camp Fire victims, said in another Bankruptcy Court hearing last week that a Butte County grand jury was investigating potential criminal actions against PG&E.Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey would not confirm or deny the existence of a grand jury. But his office, working with state prosecutors and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, has been conducting a criminal investigation since shortly after the Camp Fire started, Ramsey said.Its plodding along, he told The Chronicle on Wednesday. Were taking it step-by-step. Were putting a lot of resources into this.Criminal charges linked to the Camp Fire could worsen PG&Es position as it negotiates its future with creditors, regulators and legislators.Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2018PG&E spokesman James Noonan said in an email that the cause of the Camp Fire was still under investigation and any related inquiries should be directed to the appropriate agencies.PG&E acknowledged in February that it had turned off the entire 56-mile Caribou-Palermo line after the company found repairs that required action.After learning about the recent transmission line collections from PG&E attorney Kevin Orsini, attorneys for insurance companies with claims against the utility raced to Bankruptcy Court.The insurers lawyers wanted to delay shipment of the evidence to the FBIs laboratory in Quantico, Va., hoping to inspect the equipment themselves or at least require PG&E to look at it and report back to them. They were concerned that the evidence could be out of their reach and of people who lost homes in the Camp Fire for too long.Orsini had told the attorneys that Butte County wanted the FBI to conduct partially destructive testing on the recently collected equipment in addition to cross arms and suspension hooks from the tower by the Camp Fire origin point that Cal Fire has possessed since November.Related StoriesCALIFORNIA WILDFIRESBY EVAN SERNOFFSKY AND ROLAND LIStill no cause released for Camp Fire, Californias most...CALIFORNIA WILDFIRESBY MEGAN CASSIDY, JOAQUIN PALOMINO AND PETER FIMRITECamp Fire 911 calls: As flames raced in, residents were told...BIZ & TECHBY J.D. MORRISLawyer: Butte County grand jury considering criminal charges...CALIFORNIA WILDFIRESBY JOEL ROSENBLATTLawyers open marketing blitz to enlist victims of Camp FireCALIFORNIA WILDFIRESBY KEVIN FAGAN, JILL TUCKER AND ASHLEY MCBRIDECamp Fire: What we know about the deadly blaze that destroyed...CALIFORNIA WILDFIRESBY J.D. MORRISCan PG&E survive the Camp Fire?CALIFORNIA WILDFIRESBY ROLAND LINumerous PG&E employees saw flames soon after Camp Fire startedBIZ & TECHBY J.D. MORRISPG&E says its probable its equipment started the Camp...Once the equipment was sent to the FBI lab, it will not be available for any further examination for the foreseeable future, Orsini said in the email. Butte County offered to let PG&E inspect the equipment on Wednesday and the company planned to do so, Orsini said.Yet PG&E decided not to accept Butte Countys offer after all in order not to have unequal access to the evidence, one of the companys lawyers told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on Wednesday. Insurers asked Montali to order PG&E to attend the inspection and relay the information back.Deputy California Attorney General Nicholas Fogg told the judge that any delay could have cascading effects on other areas of the complex Camp Fire investigation. The attorney generals office is partnering with local prosecutors in their investigation, according to Ramsey.While the insurers promised to move quickly, the state was wary of allowing any intrusion into the criminal investigation, and ultimately Montali was persuaded.I cant take the risk today of disrupting a criminal prosecution, he said in deciding against the insurers.Ramsey would not say one way or the other whether the transmission tower equipment had already been sent by Wednesday afternoon. He said the investigation and processing of evidence was confidential at this time.J.D. Morris is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jd.morris@sfchronicle.com, Twitter: @thejdmorris J.D. MorrisFollow J.D. on:thejdmorrisJ.D. Morris is a business reporter covering energy, including PG&E, Tesla and Californias clean power initiatives.Before joining The Chronicle, he was the Sonoma County government reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, where he was among the journalists awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the 2017 North Bay wildfires.He was previously the casino industry reporter for the Las Vegas Sun. Raised in Monterey County and Bakersfield, he has a bachelors degree in rhetoric from UC Berkeley.Past Articles from this Author:New PG&E CEO could earn $6 million or more, plus $3 million signing bonusPG&E still has troubling gaps in corporate safety efforts, consultant saysWildfires and PG&E: Newsom asks lawmakers to get something big doneMost PopularSF treasure Beach Blanket Babylon to close after 45 yearsSams Anchor Cafe, with 99 years on Tiburons waterfront, is set to reopen after a major remodelIs the Warriors dynasty coming to an end? It stands to reasonBallast Point Brewing cancels plans for San Francisco brewerySan Franciscos Dandelion Chocolate unveils a giant new factory in the MissionMaritime industry warns of harm from proposed Oakland As stadiumA 1906 earthquake survivor that shows how San Francisco has changed
source: www.sfchronicle.com

Author(s): J.D. Morris

18 Apr 19

All-Seeing HD Cameras Could Solve Tanks' Biggest Weakness

A new vision system for tank crews promises to cure one of the worst problems of armored warfare: poor visibility. The Multifunction Vehicle Protection (MVP) Sensor by BAE systems rings the exterior of a tank with high definition cameras, giving crews an all-around view of their surroundings. This will allow tankers to identify and deal with threats faster than ever before, increasing overall vehicle effectiveness and battling crew fatigue.Tank visibility has been a problem since the invention of the tank in the early 20th century. Soldiers inside tanks need to be able to drive their tanks and shoot at the enemy, but increased visibility makes tanks and tankers more vulnerable. The larger the window or other aperture to increase visibility, the greater the possibility it could be penetrated by incoming tank projectiles, small caliber rounds, or artillery shrapnel. As a result most tankers are restricted to viewing the world through small armored horizontal slits, showing the narrowest view of the vehicles surroundings. The view from a Soviet T-34 tank during World War II.TASSGETTY IMAGESThe MVP Sensor by BAE Systems is a system of four HD cameras installed on the hull of a tank or armored vehicle. Each camera has a 1920 x 1200 resolution, a 120 degree horizontal field of view, and a 75 degree vertical field of view. Each camera is also tuned to the longwave infrared spectrum, also known as thermal imaging or passive night vision, allowing crew members to see at night and in poor weather, and through dust, fog, and smoke. (Note the forward-facing MVP camera on BAE Systems Mobile Protected Firepower demonstrator vehicle at top, on the front of the vehicle hull.)In the past, different physical positions meant that each crew member has a slightly different view of the world. The MVP Sensor supplements that with the same, HD quality 360 degree view for each and every crew member. This could allow, for example, the tank driver to call out an object for the crews attention based on a common view of the battlefield. It could also allow crew members who typically dont engage scanning for threats, such as the main gun loader, to join in watching the feed from the MVP Sensors unblinking gaze. MVP consists of four longwave infrared HD cameras positioned around the vehicle to give 360 degree coverage.BAE SYSTEMSThe MVP Sensor is meant to be part of BAEs self-protection suite for armored vehicles. MVP can detect and track threats, then cue countermeasures to defeat them. These include hard countermeasures such as Iron Fist, an Israeli-designed active protection system that shoots down incoming rockets and grenades and was fitted to the companys vehicle demonstrator. MVP can also cue soft countermeasures like BAEs RAVEN, a directable infrared laser designed to dazzle and confuse an incoming laser-guided missile into missing its target. RAVEN is scheduled to begin testing on the Bradley fighting vehicle later this year.BAEs approach to armored vehicle defense actually mirrors its approach to aircraft defense. MVP is similar to the companys Common Missile Warning System, a network of electro-optical cameras fitted to U.S. and NATO aircraft. CMWS cameras detect incoming missiles and then attempt to blind their seekers with the Advanced Threat Infrared Counter Measure infrared laser. CMWS could also cue a flare dispenser and the aircraft version of Iron Fist, currently under development. MVP is designed to detect and track a variety of threats in all directions, from anti-tank missiles to drones.BAE SYSTEMSDuring the Arab-Israeli Wars, Israeli armored doctrine required tank commanders to sit exposed in their turrets to gain maximum situational awareness, despite the fact that commanders who did so faced heavy casualties. On the other side of the coin Russian tankers stuck in their tanks in the early years of World War II had a notoriously poor view of the outside world, an issue that contributed to their inferiority versus German tanks. An HD-quality view of the outside world while safely ensconced in the belly of a tank is almost too good to be true. A system like MVP is so useful to armored vehicle crews it will become standard on new vehicles very quickly, while gradually being fitted to older vehicles already in service.
source: www.popularmechanics.com

Author(s): Kyle Mizokami

18 Apr 19

U.S. pilot program allows online grocery shopping with food stamps | One America News Network

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday said it has launched a pilot program in New York that allows consumers dependant on food stamps to use them to buy groceries online, a move that is likely to boost sales at retailers like Walmart Inc and Amazon.com Inc.Both companies are participating in the initial pilot launch with Wakefern Food Corps ShopRite supermarket chain expected to join the program early next week, the USDA said. Walmart will offer the service in upstate New York, while ShopRite and Amazon will service the New York City area.Food stamps are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which provides free food to some 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the total U.S. population.People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food by ordering and paying for groceries online, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.Walmart, the worlds largest retailer, already has 40 stores in other parts of the country that allow shoppers to pay for groceries ordered online using food stamps.The new program will expand to Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, and additional retailers are expected to take part, the USDA said.Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman said the company has nearly 275 stores that offer grocery pickup in the nine states eligible for the pilot.Amazon, the worlds largest online retailer, in a blog post on Thursday said New York customers can shop on AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry without requiring a membership fee.Amazon believes the program will dramatically increase access to food for more remote customers and help to mitigate the public health crisis of food deserts, the retailer said.The pilot program will involve the use of electronic benefit (EBT) cards issued by New York to allow for the online purchases.
source: www.oann.com

18 Apr 19

Assange agrees to remain in custody ahead of extradition hearing

Julian Assange, 47, is being held in south-east London following dramatic arrestFaces being extradited to US over leaked classified military and diplomatic files Ecuadorian embassy kicked him out after he relied on immunity for seven yearsPresident accused him of 'despotic' behaviour and a dirty protest during his stayBy SEBASTIAN MURPHY-BATES FOR MAILONLINEPUBLISHED: 07:54 EDT, 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:34 EDT, 18 April 2019 e-mail 12shares78View comments+2Julian Assange (pictured after his arrest at the embassy) has agreed to remain in custody ahead of his extradition hearing next monthWikileaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to remain in custody ahead of his US extradition hearing next month, a court heard today.The alleged cyber criminal faces being extradited to the United States over the leak of huge amounts of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.The 47-year-old was dramatically arrested and dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy on April 11 after the country withdrew its diplomatic protection.President Lenin Moreno later accused Assange of 'despotic' behaviour and said he was responsible for a dirty protest at the embassy.The Australian will remain at maximum security Belmarsh jail in south-east London ahead of his next hearing in a fortnight.Neither Assange nor his legal team attended today's brief hearing at Wesminster Magistrates' Court.Barnaby Hone, prosecuting, told District Judge Margot Coleman: 'He has consented to be remanded in custody and produced on 2 May.'RELATED ARTICLESPrevious1NextEcuador 'tried for a YEAR to get rid of "big nuisance"...President of Ecuador claims 'discourteous' Julian Assange...SHARE THIS ARTICLEShareAssange faces up to five years in prison if extradited to the US over the leaking of nearly 700,000 confidential documents provided by former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.He also faces potential extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations from 2010, as the case may be reopened by Swedish authorities.Video playing bottom right...Click here to expand to full pageLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:05PauseUnmuteCurrent Time 0:05/Duration Time 1:02FullscreenExpandClose+2Pictured: The moment that police arrested Assange as he was kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy after a seven-year stay Last week, Assange did not enter a plea to the US charge but he was found guilty of failing to surrender.Australian-born Assange surrendered to UK police on 7 December 2010 but was later released on bail.He breached his bail after he failed to challenge the extradition proceedings and sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, which was formally granted in August 2012.Assange will be sentenced for failing to surrender at Southwark Crown Court at a future date.He was remanded in custody ahead of his next extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on May 2.
source: www.dailymail.co.uk

Author(s): Sebastian Murphy-bates For Mailonline

18 Apr 19

Trump administration targets so-called 'troika of tyranny' with wave of new sanctions

The Trump administration announced a wave of new measures Wednesday targeting Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua -- a group US National Security Adviser John Bolton previously dubbed the "troika of tyranny."First, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US will enforce a controversial provision of the decades-old trade embargo on Cuba that will allow US citizens to file lawsuits in US federal court against businesses that operate on property seized by the Cuban government during the revolution -- the first administration to do so since the law's creation in 1996.Pompeo said Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act, would be implemented in full effective May 2. He had already informed Congress of the decision, he said."Any person or company doing business in Cuba should heed this announcement," Pompeo said in remarks at the State Department. "Implementing Title III in full means a chance at justice for Cuban Americans who have long sought relief from Fidel Castro and his lackeys seizing property without compensation."Trump expected to become first President to target Cuba with this controversial policyThe move comes as the Trump administration attempts to ratchet up the pressure on Nicolas Maduro's regime in Venezuela and countries that they see as sustaining it."The Cuban regime has for years exported its tactics of intimidation, repression and violence. They've exported this to Venezuela in direct support of the former Maduro regime," Pompeo said.Speaking in Miami on Wednesday, National Security Adviser John Bolton also announced additional restrictions on Cuba, including visas and travel, as well as new sanctions on Venezuela and Nicaragua."At this moment, Havana continues to prop up Maduro and help him sustain the brutal suffering of the Venezuelan people," he said. "As President Trump has said Maduro is quite simply a Cuban puppet."Pentagon developing military options to deter Russian, Chinese influence in VenezuelaIn addition to reiterating the administration's decision regarding Title III, Bolton said the Treasury Department would "implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba.""These actions should be a signal to all that working with the Cuban military and intelligence services will not be tolerated," he said.Cuban officials have decried the increased sanctions on the communist-run island and offered to enter into negotiations to repay US companies for seized property.Cuban President Miguel Daz-Canel Bermdez on Wednesday did not explicitly mention the US but tweeted a defiant message in Spanish shortly after Bolton's remarks."It will not change the attitude towards those who hold the sword against us. We Cubans do not surrender, nor do we accept laws about our destinies that are outside the Constitution. In # Cuba we send Cubans. # Cuba trusts in its strengths and in our dignity. # SomosCuba," he said according to a translation of the tweet.Some US allies in oppositionThe decision by the Trump administration to fully implement Title III is likely to be met with opposition from European nations and Canada, whose businesses have billions of dollars of investments in Cuba.Federica Mogherini and Cecilia Malmstrom, two top EU officials involved with trade and foreign affairs, wrote to Pompeo last week and voiced their opposition to the move and threatened to launch a case with the World Trade Organization."We believe that the issue of outstanding US claims should not be conflated with the cause of furthering democracy and human rights in Cuba, or by our shared desire urgently to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela," the two EU officials wrote in a letter obtained by CNN. "We are fully invested to promote both of these objectives, and are convinced that the emergence of protracted judicial proceedings between US claimants and bona fide EU companies will not further them."In a joint statement Wednesday, Mogherini, Malmstrom, and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said they "consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.""We are determined to work together to protect the interests of our companies in the context of the WTO and by banning the enforcement or recognition of foreign judgements based on Title III, both in the EU and Canada. Our respective laws allow any US claims to be followed by counter-claims in European and Canadian courts, so the US decision to allow suits against foreign companies can only lead to an unnecessary spiral of legal actions," they said.In a separate statement, Freeland said she had met with Pompeo to register Canada's concerns.Kimberly Breier, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said Wednesday the US "has been in very deep and close contact with our allies in Europe and Canada and around the world as we consulted on this decision over the past several months."Breier said there would be no exemptions to Wednesday's actions. She said that the US government has certified approximately eight billion dollars with interest in claims over confiscated property. She said the thousands of uncertified claims could be in the tens of billions of dollars."The European companies that are operating in Cuba will have nothing to worry about if they are not operating on property that was stolen from Americans post-revolution," she said."I think it's clear if you look in the macro-sense, we have broad agreement with our allies in Europe and Canada and around the world on the policy objective, which is to promote democracy in Cuba and to free the Cuban people from the tyranny that they live under," Breier said. "We are in broad agreement on this. Where we sometimes disagree is on the best way to achieve that."'Troika of tyranny'During a speech in Miami last year, Bolton promised a tough US approach to the "troika of tyranny," his term for Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, saying they represented "the perils of poisonous ideologies left unchecked.On Wednesday, he declared that the "troika of tyranny" is "beginning to crumble."Bolton also made it clear that the Trump administration intends to keep squeezing all three countries.Specifically, he announced new sanctions on the Central Bank of Venezuela and hit Cuba over its support for the Maduro regime."Treasury is designating the Central Bank of Venezuela to prevent it from being used as a tool of the illegitimate Maduro regime, which continues to plunder Venezuelan assets and exploit government institutions to enrich corrupt insiders," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement released shortly after Bolton's remarks.Bolton also said the US will target the finances of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's regime and the Nicaraguan bank, Banco Corporativo SA (BanCorp).He described Bancorp as "the Ortega slush fund," and specifically called out Laureano Ortega Murillo, who he said "has been groomed as the successor by the regime and is engaged in vast corruption under the guise of leading Nicaragua's investment agency."
source: www.cnn.com

Author(s): Jennifer Hansler; Zachary Cohen, CNN

17 Apr 19

Peru's ex-president Garcia dies after shooting himself to avoid arrest

Perus former president Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday, hours after shooting himself in the head to avoid arrest in connection with a bribery probe, authorities said on Wednesday.Garcia was 69.A skilled orator elected president twice, first as a firebrand leftist and then as a champion of foreign investment and free trade, Garcia had been dogged by allegations of corruption in recent years that he repeatedly denied.Garcia had been one of nine people a judge had ordered to be arrested on Wednesday for alleged involvement in bribes distributed by Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company that triggered Latin Americas biggest graft scandal when it admitted in 2016 that it had paid kickbacks to politicians across the region to secure lucrative contracts.Members of his party announced his death to crowds gathered outside of hospital Casimiro Ulloa, where he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgery.President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was consternated by Garcias death, and sent his condolences to his family members.Garcia governed as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning another five-year term in 2006.He had denied wrongdoing involving Odebrecht, and blamed his legal troubles on political persecution.Others might sell out, not me, Garcia said in broadcast comments on Tuesday, repeating a phrase he has used frequently as his political foes became ensnared in the Odebrecht investigation.Interior Minister Carlos Moran said at a news conference before Garcia died that the former president had told police he needed to call his attorney after they arrived at his home in Lima to arrest him.He entered his room and closed the door behind him, Moran said. Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr. Garcia sitting with a wound in his head.Last year, Garcia asked Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving the country to keep him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation. Uruguay rejected the request.Garcia would have been the third former president in Peru to have been jailed in the Odebrecht case. Ollanta Humala spent nine months in pre-trial detention in 2017-2018 and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested without charges last week.A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from California after a judge in Peru ordered him jailed for 18 months in connection with Odebrecht in 2017.All have denied wrongdoing in connection with Odebrecht.In Peru, criminal suspects can be ordered to spend up to three years in jail before trial if prosecutors can show they have evidence that likely would lead to a conviction and the suspect would likely flee or try to interfere in the investigation.
source: www.cnbc.com

Author(s): Reuters

17 Apr 19

HILLARY'S $30,000 FANS ARE HER 'CULT' FOLLOWING

A purported pyramid-scheme operator who was run out of Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor has reinvented himself as the head of an upstate group accused of being a cult and his devotees have pumped thousands into Hillary Rodham Clintons presidential run.Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group along with their family members donated $29,900 to Clintons presidential campaign, according to federal records.On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clintons coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47.Most were from first-time political donors, each giving the $2,300 maximum.The revelation comes on the heels of the arrest of Norman Hsu, who raised $1.5 million in campaign contributions for the Clintons and other Democrats, even though he was technically a fugitive from fraud charges in California.Hsu jumped bail in early September but was nabbed and is currently locked up in California.In his previous incarnation, the Svengali-like Raniere ran a $30 million multilevel marketing business that imploded after federal agencies and regulators in 23 states alleged it was an illegal pyramid scheme.He has managed to attract famous names to NXIVM.Three of the March and April Clinton pledges came from Ranieres most high-profile followers: Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, and Pamela Cafritz, daughter of D.C. A-listers Buffy and Bill Cafritz.Cafritz shares a condo with Raniere.The Bronfman sisters are also deeply involved with NXIVM and, according to a 2003 article in Forbes magazine, have loaned millions to the group and provided use of their jet.Their father, Edgar Bronfman Sr., once took NXIVM classes but soon severed ties, telling Forbes, Its a cult.The Clinton campaign downplayed the significance of the NXIVM-related contributions.Over 100,000 people from across the country have contributed to Sen. Clintons campaign for change, and regardless of who supports her, she will always continue to stand up for what she feels is right, said campaign spokesman Blake Zeff.Hillary isnt the only Clinton NXIVM officials are attracted to.At least three of them group President Nancy Salzman and the Bronfman sisters are members of Bills charitable organization, the Clinton Global Initiative. Membership is by invitation only and requires at least a $15,000 donation per person for one year.NXIVM spokesman Frank Roberts told The Post the organization doesnt have a presidential candidate it is officially backing.Last month, the Albany Times Union reported that NXIVM associates gave $31,600 to the state Republican Senate Campaign Committee and provided $34,763 worth of air transportation.The recent campaign contributions led one close observer of NXIVM to speculate that the group is trying to curry favor for its effort to expand training centers upstate.In the 1990s, several states investigated the Raniere-run Consumer Buyline Inc., a marketing firm in which members were paid commissions for recruiting new members.A 1992 Arkansas lawsuit filed by Bill Clintons then-attorney general, Winston Bryant, charged Raniere, Cafritz and two others with fraud and business deception. Soon after, then-New York AG Robert Abrams sued CBI, branding it illegal.Raniere didnt admit wrongdoing, but agreed to pay hefty fines in both states.After closing the Albany-based CBI, he became involved in a health-food and vitamin venture that led him to Salzman. Sharing a passion for motivational training, the pair launched NXIVM.At NXIVM according to court papers, cult watchdogs and relatives of members Raniere has defrauded devotees, shattered families and drove at least one person to suicide.After four months attending NXIVMs expensive, intensive studies, Alaska resident Kristin Marie Snyder grew angry, depressed and irrational.In winter 2003, she disappeared. Her family believes she drowned herself. Her body was not recovered. Snyder was last seen leaving a NXIVM course, and police released a note she left behind.I was brainwashed and my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off, Snyder scrawled in a spiral notebook.
source: nypost.com

Author(s): Charles Hurt

17 Apr 19

COURT DOCS: Prosecutors Ask To Present Evidence That NXIVM Sex Cult L

NEWSCOURT DOCS: Prosecutors Ask To Present Evidence That NXIVM Sex Cult Leaders Illegally Bundled Money For Hillary Clinton CampaignPublished 2 hours ago on Apr 17, 2019 By Patrick Howley aSharedTweetWFlipkProsecutors have asked to present evidence in the NXIVM sex cult racketeering trial showing that NXIVM leaders including Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman illegally bundled money for Hillary Clintons 2008 presidential campaign by compelling members to donate to Clinton and then reimbursing the members. (READ: Ex-NXIVM Employees: Kirsten Gillibrands Father and Stepmother, Second Cousins, Were Very Active In The Cult, Acted As Broker To Democrat Politicians).I was there, and I knew that the contributions were made by more than a dozen NXIVM members to Hillary Clintons presidential campaign, former NXIVM employee Frank Parlato tells Big League Politics, confirming that the court documents refer to Clintons campaign. Bronfmans donations to Clinton are recorded here.Document 414 Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Governments Motion To Admit Certain Rackleteering Evidence (03.12.2019)advertisement - story continues belowTrending: Two Fox Hosts End Interviews When Guests Bring Up Pattern of Church Fires in FranceThe prosecutors state:Campaign Contribution Evidence i. Facts At trial, the government intends to introduce witness testimony and documents demonstrating that in 2007, the defendants and their co-conspirators were involved in an illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign.Witness testimony, corroborated by documentary evidence, will demonstrate that at least 14 members of the Nxivm community, including at least five defendants and co-conspirators, made the maximum campaign donation to a primary campaign with the understanding that they would be reimbursed by Bronfman or Nancy Salzman.At the suggestion of a political operative, who has since pleaded guilty to an unrelated New York state bribery charge also involving campaign contributions, the contributions were bundled and presented to the candidate at a fundraising event attended by conspirators, including Nancy Salzman.advertisement - story continues belowA cooperating witness who attended the event will testify that the defendants and their co-conspirators made the contributions in hopes of obtaining political influence to advance their own agenda, including targeting perceived enemies of Raniere. The government will also seek to introduce evidence of similar conduit contributions to other elected officials, as well as use of other political lobbyists in attempts to gain influence.ii. Admissibility The defendants and co-conspirators involvement in the conduit contribution scheme and related acts described above, is direct evidence of the charged racketeering conspiracy. Their work together to commit crimes as part of a coordinated effort to curry political favor, evidenced in part by the records of maximum contributions by members of Nxivm on the same day, demonstrates the relationship of trust among the defendants and coconspirators, which is proof of the Enterprises existence. The same evidence also demonstrates the nature of the criminal relationships between the defendants, which defendants are attempting to portray as a purely legitimate association. The evidence of the conduit contributions is also direct evidence of the existence of the Enterprise and the pattern of racketeering activity because it is probative of the defendant and co-conspirators us[e of] harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack perceived enemies and critics of RANIERE, (Indictment 6(f)).Specifically, the bundled campaign contributions were part of an attempt to curry favor with a presidential nominee to advance the goals of the defendants and co-conspirators, including by obtaining indictments against enemies and gaining advantages in litigation.The evidence of the conduit contributions also demonstrates the relatedness of the predicate acts, because it demonstrates the attitude of defendants and co-conspirators that they must cheat to win to fight the conspiracy they believed was operating against them.advertisement - story continues below Moreover, the conduit contributions is also probative of motive and intent as to the DOS-related acts and charges, because the evidence at trial will demonstrate that one of the defendants and co-conspirators purposes in forming DOS was to have a pyramid of collateralized powerful women who he could order to do things for him or order to vote in a group to turn elections.Finally, because several cooperating witnesses are implicated in the campaign contribution scheme, such evidence is also admissible to corroborate their testimony and to front issues that are expected to be raised on cross-examination.Court document passage endsI reported:Democrat senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrands family ties to the NXIVM sex cult are coming to light, raising serious questions about her relationship with the cult that she once denied knowing about.Gillibrands father and stepmother, who are second cousins, were both heavily involved in the cult in the period shortly before they got married, according to eyewitness accounts from ex-NXIVM employees who spoke on the record to Big League Politics, and according to court documents proving that Gillibrands father Doug Rutnik was employed by NXIVM.Gillibrands father served as a broker between NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere whose initials were branded on his female sex slaves and then-New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer to resolve Ranieres financial problems with the state, according to ex-employee whistleblower Joseph OHara, whose revelations are printed below.Gillibrands stepmother Gwenn Belcourt got hooked on the cult as did Bill Clintons close friend Richard Mays, according to the whistleblower. Nancy Salzman, the NXIVM president, acted as a personal guru for Gillibrands stepmother.Ex-cult employee Frank Parlato who exposed the fact that Raniere was branding women is working with Big League Politics to uncover the deep longstanding links between Gillibrand, the Clintons, and NXIVM.The very first time I ever met Gillibrand she was at an event for Hillary Clinton in the Hall of Springs in the State Park. This was in 2006. I was at a table with a Russian friend and Mike Roohan and his wife. I was on the Democratic committee at the time and was given two comp tickets. Gillibrand came up to me introduced herself and said she was running against John Sweeney. This was before all the stories of his drunken behavior came out. He was still congressman kickass at that time. I promised my support and wished her well. i than commented to Mike that with her baby voice and demeanor that she was a lightweight. Boy was I wrong. But the kicker was when the mixing was over and Clinton went to speak. Gillibrand sat with one of the front tables. Yeah the three front VIP tables were all brought by NXIVM and she was sitting with Nancy Salzman. You can quote me on that, said witness John Tighe in a statement provided to Big League Politics.Nancy Salzman has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy while her daughter Lauren Salzman admitted to enslaving a woman, stating in court, I knowingly and intentionally harbored Jane Doe 4, a woman whose identity is known to me, in a room in the home in the Northern District of New York and threatened to deport Jane Doe 4 back to Mexico if she did not complete labor requested by myself and others.JOSEPH OHARA TELLS BIG LEAGUE POLITICS HIS NXIVM STORYJoseph OHara was living in Saratoga Springs at the time, and a woman he met socially called him up out of the blue and asked for him to meet with the leaders of NXIVM.I agreed to meet with them. We met the very next day. We had coffee and thats when I was introduced to Nancy Salzman, the president of NXIVM, and she described to me the various problems they were having, OHara said, referring to lawsuits, public relations issues, and governmental issues stemming from trying to get a building permit for a NXIVM center.I said give me a day or two, OHara said. After I thought about it, I wrote back to them and said I dont think theres anything I can do personally but I can play centerfielder and pull in people you need. I think you need a bigger law firm on this. Yes I can get you a PR firm that can come in and help you. Thats what I proposed to them, that I would be a middle man.They hired me in October of 2003 and I worked for them for 15 months. At the end of 2004 a variety of issues had come up and I resigned.OHara, whose official title was consultant, said he met primarily with Keith Raniere and with bookeeper Cathy Russell and legal liaison Kristin Keefe. OHara remembers Raniere vividly.I thought he was a little strange. He was an odd fellow. Before I met him I had been told a lot about him. I guess when I met him I was a little underwhelmed, OHara said, referring to a tall tale about how Raniere supposedly tied a record in the hundred-yard dash. Raniere held volleyball games with the women in his cult, but OHara did not attend.Kirsten Gillibrands Father Doug Rutnik Acted As A Broker Between NXIVM and then-Attorney General Eliot SpitzerI had known Doug Rutnik for a number of years. He was one of the people I thought of immediately for a couple of the problems that he (Raniere) had, OHara said, including the fact that Raniere agreed to pay a certain amount of money to New York State stemming from the bankruptcy of his previous venture Consumers Buyline. Keith never made the payments. I think it was around 45 or 50 thousand dollars.I contacted Doug, and explained to him the situation. Doug could be the broker between Keith and the attorney general OHara said. The attorney general was then Eliot Spitzer.Doug and I, Nancy and Keith had lunch at a little club. Keith came in and looked like a young middle-aged business exec. Doug said lets check this out a little further, OHara remembers. NXIVM was trying to get a license for a school.The meeting occurred at the Fort Orange Club in Albany in 2004, according to OHara.OHara hired a third party attorney in Albany to take a 5-day executive course at NXIVM, and the attorney expressed concerns about the group potentially not paying taxes and living off the grid.Doug Rutniks Second Cousin, Gillibrands Future Stepmother, Got Very InvolvedDoug said I know somebody else I could send in. Its his cousin Gwenn Belcourt. She comes back with rave reviews and Doug gets hired. Keith comes up with the money and pays off the attorney general.Thus, Gillibrands father acted as the broker between NXIVM and attorney general Eliot Spitzer after Gillibrands future stepmother Gwenn Belcourt gave NXIVM her full seal of approval.Doug was the one, I dont know who he talked to, but he was the one who got the okay forNXIVM sent Doug the check, and it was expressly to resolve the issue over Consumers Buyline. And then the issue went away.Gwenn and I met. Doug said lets have Gwenn go in and take a week-long course. She went in and she wrote up a report and was extremely positive. No issues with the schooling. No issues with the curriculum at the NXIVM Center, OHara recalled.He told me this is my second cousin Gwenn. She was engaged at the time. She was a lawyer, someone Doug trusted.Things were happening, one right after the other. Gwenn comes in, she writes the report, and Doug is doing work for them.Meanwhile Gwenn does her thing and she starts taking more classes on her own. We paid for the one class she tookat some point Doug says, this is getting a little weird with Gwenn. He said she broke off her engagement because Nancy told her she needed to re-think her life. Nancy Salzman became Gwenns personal guru. She wanted to bring Gwenn in as full-time in-house counsel.I know that she was taking a lot of classes at NXIVM, OHara said of Gwenn Belcourt.NXIVM initiates a lawsuit against me and Doug, and Gwenn is still involved in NXIVM at that point. Doug goes in like a rescue mission. He finally convinces her whats going on there and she leaves NXIVM. The next thing I know all of a sudden he said Gwenn and I are dating now. Shortly after that theyre engaged.For several years, I saw them after they were married, OHara said, noting that the couple was no longer in the cult.Clinton Friend Richard Mays and Gillibrands Stepmother Gwenn Belcourt Both Got Hooked on the CultI had done work down in Arkansas, I had met Richard (Mays) down there. He had great connections with Governor Clinton. His lieutenant governor Tucker became governor. I was trying to get in to make a presentation to the governor. Richard got me the meeting. He got me the meeting with Jim Guy Tucker, OHara said.One of the other problems Keith had, he had an unpaid bill in Arkansas and he wanted to get an exoneration in Arkansas so he brought Richard Mays in and he got involved. Richard Mays started taking classes and got his daughter taking classes at NXIVM.There were people who got hooked on it. Richard Mays was one. Gwenn Belcourt was another, OHara said.I Had Created This MonsterOHara said that he uncovered Raniere evading taxes and illegally obtaining private investigator information on his enemies, which led him to quit. NXIVM then waged lawfare against him.They destroyed me. I had created this monster. They didnt know how to get political consultants. They didnt know how to hire former senator DAmato, they didnt know how to hire Richard Mays out of Arkansas, best friends with the Clintons. They had all these people now in their arsenal and they destroyed me in short order, OHara said.Raniere once admitted in a videotape pulled from the Internet, I am just a demon.PROOF RUTNIK WORKED FOR NXIVMFormer NXIVM employee Frank Parlato provided Big League Politics with copies of the court documents in NXIMs suit against Rutnik, which prove Rutniks employment by the group. (READ THE FULL DOCUMENTS HERE).I worked as the publicist, Frank Parlato told Big League Politics. We ran into a major disagreement and we split. At the time I worked for them I thought they were a little peculiar but it wasnt until the end that I realized they were a downright evil group.There are women on the record who are now adults who have accused Raniere of statutory rape and there are some very suspicious incidents where Mexican girls came under the perimeters of Ranieres control and left under suspicious circumstances. They came from Chihuahua Mexico. I reported this to the authorities, Parlato said.Her father Doug Rutnik came to work as a consultant for NXIVMhe was fired, they sued him, and he had to pay them $100,000, Parlato said, referring Gillibrands father.Parlato is the NXIVM whistleblower who blew the lid off the case, including the revelation that NXIVM leader Keith Ranieres cult was branding women with his initials.Her fathers wife, her stepmother, was also a member of NXIVMDoug got her into the cult, Gillibrands father got Gillibrands future stepmother into the cult. Doug left the cult because he was sued. Clare Bronfman after her father was sued donated money to Gillibrand. Gillibrand accepted it.One is inclined to call her a liar, Parlato says of Gillibrand.
source: archive.fo

17 Apr 19

Muslim Migrant Arrested for Smashing 800-Year-Old French Basilica Holding Tombs of French Kings - Geller Report

The judge delayed the trial and ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the Pakistani national. Apparently, Islam is a mental illness. The migrant(s) smashed the 19th century stained glass windows and the nearly 200-year-old organ. The 800-year old church holds the tomb of jihadslayer Charles Martel.Vandalism of churches across France has become a major issue, with nine churches across the country vandalised in just 11 days in February. Some of the damage had included thefts, while others featured grotesque acts such as the smearing of faeces on the walls of a church in Nmes. Just last month the second largest church in Paris was damaged by fire, which police have said was deliberately started. Dramatic images from the scene showed flames pouring out of a massive porch door and stained glass window, although fortunately the Paris Pompiers were able to put out the blaze before it spread to the rest of the building.In the aftermath of the attack on the church, French right-wing leader Laurent Wauquiez hit out at the mainstream media for ignoring the story of church attacks in France, remarking that the amount of coverage the stories got was tiny, reports Londons The Times.On Monday, another tragedy struck one of Frances most iconic cathedrals as the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire, causing widespread damage to the building. PAKISTANI MIGRANT FACES TRIAL FOR SMASHING HISTORIC CHURCH HOLDING TOMBS OF FRENCH KINGSA 41-year-old Pakistani migrant will face trial after vandalising the Saint-Denis Basilica, the home of the tombs of many French Kings including Charles Martel.By: Breitbart, April 16, 2019:The Pakistani origin male, who had arrived in France only two months ago, will stand trial in Bobigny next month, accused of causing serious damage to the main organ of the basilica as well as smashing stained glass windows in an apparent attack that took place in March, Le Parisien reports.While in court for his initial hearing, the Pakistani, who does not speak any French, said through a translator: I do not know how I am concerned with this case.When asked if he would like time to prepare his defence, he told the court he did not understand the French justice system.According to the court, the man had already been accused of vandalism of property in February and that his DNA had been found in the basilica by investigators which led to his arrest.The migrant claimed ignorance of the judicial process which forced the judge to question whether or not he was purposely trying to not understand what was occurring. As a result, the judge delayed the trial until May 10th and ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the Pakistani national.When the incident occurred in March, the damage to the organ was said to be extensive by Saadia Tamelikecht, head of the departmental unit of architecture and heritage of the heavily migrant-populated Seine-Saint-Denis suburbs.The vandalism also came just over a year after the basilica was stormed by pro-migrant activists alongside illegal migrants to protest the French governments reforms to asylum laws, with police having to forcibly remove them after around an hour of occupation.Vandalism of churches across France has become a major issue, with nine churches across the country vandalised in just 11 days in February. Some of the damage had included thefts, while others featured grotesque acts such as the smearing of faeces on the walls of a church in Nmes.Just last month the second largest church in Paris was damaged by fire, which police have said was deliberately started. Dramatic images from the scene showed flames pouring out of a massive porch door and stained glass window, although fortunately the Paris Pompiers were able to put out the blaze before it spread to the rest of the building.In the aftermath of the attack on the church, French right-wing leader Laurent Wauquiez hit out at the mainstream media for ignoring the story of church attacks in France, remarking that the amount of coverage the stories got was tiny, reports Londons The Times.On Monday, another tragedy struck one of Frances most iconic cathedrals as the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral caught fire, causing widespread damage to the building.Firefighters said the blaze had been successfully extinguished Tuesday morning, but images coming from Paris show the extent of damage to the historic fabric of the building both the total destruction of the Medieval wooden roof, but also the collapse of parts of the stone vaulted ceiling.
source: gellerreport.com

Author(s): Pamela Geller - on April 16, 2019

17 Apr 19

Exclusive: Traffickers Used Facebook Posts To Lure Migrants For Illegal Trek To U.S. - Sara A. Carter

Upon first glance, postings on a Facebook buy and sell classified page in Central America appear as innocuous travel listings for trips from Guatemala to the United States. In fact, they are anything but innocuous.These postings are operated by criminal human trafficking organizations, according to multiple sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com. Smuggling organizations use the social media platform to lure potential migrants, promising security, special rates for those traveling with minor children and financing to make the roughly 1,500 mile trek from Guatemala to the U.S. Mexico border.Guatemalan officials noted that Facebook as well as other major social media platforms are used by traffickers to coordinate and reach larger groups of potential migrants.Guatemalan authorities assured SaraACarter.com that they are working closely with U.S. counterparts. One senior Guatemalan official said , social media presents a real challenge, since monitoring is out of the question due to respect for citizens privacy, and smugglers and organized crime are taking advantage of the social media platforms and privacy settings.Facebook was contacted Monday evening after this reporter was able to confirm the posts. By Tuesday afternoon, the social media giant took immediate swift action to remove the postings, adding that the company is reviewing the issue.We have disabled this profile and removed this post for violating our policies and continue to review this issue, said Facebook spokesman Devon Kearns.Although the posts are not targeted advertisements, the smugglers cleverly use pictures of New York City, Los Angeles, Statue of Liberty, among others, as a signal to migrants that their organization can coordinate the trip. A number of posts promised food, medicine and vehicle transportation for the long journey. The smugglers also advertise special rates for migrants traveling with children, according to the posts reviewed. The posts, which are intended for Spanish speakers in Central America, were translated from Spanish to English by SaraACarter.com.The Buy and Sell PostingsFor example, one post is for people living in the Guatemalan municipality of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa. The post promises migrants a 100 percent secure journey to America.Dont risk (the journey) with anyone, we have many years of experience and can guarantee a safe trip, the posting states.The posts were located in a buy and sell listing known as Gangas Quiche, which allows people to purchase everything from used televisions, appliances, cars, homes and other products.The Coyotes PriceSmuggling organizations are much more sophisticated than they used to be, say U.S. officials.The coyotes working for these illicit trafficking organizations keep hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to the cartels operating in the regions.The postings are used by the coyotes to reach potential migrants and coordinate smuggling trips to the United States, said one source, which asked for anonymity due to security concerns. Coyote is a term used to describe human smugglers in Central America and Mexico.Some of the posts actually listed the cost of making the journey. In one post a downpayment of $7,500 Guatemalan Quetzal, which is roughly $1,000 U.S. dollars was required for the trip. Another post, required a payment of $15,000 Guatemala Quetzal, which as of Monday was $1964.19.Illegal migrants can pay on average anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 per person to be smuggled into the United States from Central America, according to ICE officials and Border Patrol agents.Guatemalan officials say they are working to stem the flow of migrants to the United States. They warn that the challenge is difficult as the number of migrants has increased over the past year with large caravans of people arriving from Honduras and other parts of the world to make their way to the U.S. border.Despite the challenges Guatemalan security forces are on the lookout for smuggling rings and their leaders and Special Interest Aliens from other countries.Special Discounts For People Traveling With Minors And FinancingMinors traveling with adults has presented a looming crisis for the Trump administration. The illegal aliens, who are briefed by the smugglers on U.S. laws, advise those traveling to the U.S. border that traveling with underaged children will almost guarantee access into the United States.It is a loophole that has allowed tens of thousands to be released into the country before they are required to appear before an immigration judge. After they are released, the illegal immigrants disappear into the fabric of America and rarely do they report back to immigration court.It is a major reason why the smugglers post that they have special rates for those traveling with children. It also puts the children in a precarious and dangerous position, as some children have been rented for the journey or are traveling with complete strangers.Whether youre alone, or with someone familiar, well finance your trip, it states. For those persons traveling with underaged children; (we have) special prices.Financing the dangerous trek to the U.S. border is extremely dangerous for migrants who may have to be in servitude to the cartels to pay off their loan once they arrive to the United States.Women and children are the most vulnerable victims of these schemes.A Border Patrol official, who works along the U.S. Mexico border in Texas, said many are raped or abused on the journey. If they end up here illegally the smugglers still have control over them. Its a vicious cycle.There is a major reason why.Under the 9th Circuit Court ruling, in what is known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, the law requires the release of family units, which means an illegal alien traveling with a minor. The family units, which are those traveling with minor children, cannot be held in detention facilities for more than 20 days. On average, however, it takes more than 45 days for the courts to hear detention cases and asylum pleas in immigration court. Family units are almost always released before they ever get to their immigration hearing and the majority never return to the courts once released.The cause and effect of the Flores Agreement is stark, say Federal law enforcement officials. Over the past five years family units entering the U.S. have increased roughly 620 percent. In 2013, U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 14,855 family units and 2018, Border Patrol apprehended 107,212.Its easier for the illegals to enter the U.S. with minors after they apply for asylum, we almost never turn them away- once they are processed they get released, said an ICE official. The cartels utilize this to their advantage.Smuggling Ad Warns No curiosity (seekers)One of the classified postings warn that only people Interested in the Trip. #No_Curios should contact them.A U.S. resident, who frequently travels to the region, said its impossible to stop the (criminal organizations) from using social media. It has become a tool to coordinate. These advertisements are lies promising safe passage and food. Its not true at all.While SaraACarter.com was covering the second caravan wave in Guatemala at the Honduran border last year, migrants interviewed said told this reporter they first were informed of the caravan through local television media outlets, as well as various social media platforms.In fact, smugglers can reach large swaths of people using social media, said Guatemalan officials.This information comes at a time when President Trump who has been working to stop the flow of illegal migrants to the United States is threatening to bus those who enter illegally to sanctuary cities, while they await to appear before an immigration judge to determine their status.
source: saraacarter.com

Author(s): Sara Carter

17 Apr 19

Men accused of beating, robbing African immigrant because of MAGA hat

Two Maryland men were arrested for beating and robbing an African immigrant because he was wearing one of President Trumps Make America Great Again hats, police said Monday.Montgomery County police collared Jovan Crawford, 27, and Scott Duncan Roberson, 25, for allegedly pummeling Togo native Atsu Mable over his Trump cap, according to cops and local media.Mable was going for a stroll April 13 when the pair accosted him and demanded to know why he was sporting the campaign gear, cops said.They were asking me, Hey bro, why did you put that hat on? And I didnt say anything, I just passed by, Mable told WJLA-TV.Then the duo began striking the victim and telling him to take the hat off and beat him until he fell to the ground, police said in a press release.They felt like a black man should not be wearing a Trump hat because its like when you are black, you have to be a Democrat, Mable said. Ill wear it again.Crawford and Roberson, who are also black, allegedly smashed a pair of Mables headphones and tried to steal his cellphone, Mable said.They ran when a good Samaritan called police and were found attempting to hide among children playing on a basketball court, police said.They both face charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, assault, and theft, according to officials. Crawford was also hit with one count of malicious destruction of property.Mable said he immigrated to the US in 2007, learned English, and became a citizen on Valentines Day 2013.He did not register a party affiliation until 2016, when Trump inspired him to become a Republican.I like everything that he does Mable said of the president. Like, I came here legally, Why cant all people come here legally then? I went through the right process, the proper channels and Im here, so why cant they do the same thing?
source: nypost.com

Author(s): Max Jaeger

17 Apr 19

Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squad

Ukraines security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday.The issue of how to deal with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, is prominent ahead of the vote, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko casting himself as the commander-in-chief Ukraine needs to defend the country.Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, the main intelligence agency, told a news conference in Kiev that seven members of the Russian group had been detained and charged and that an eighth person had been detained on Wednesday morning.Two of the groups members were Russian citizens, said Anatoly Matios, Ukraines military prosecutor, describing them as staff officers of Russias GRU military intelligence agency. The other six were Ukrainians.There was no immediate reaction from Russias GRU.The SBU has reported before that it captured groups belonging to Russian special agencies.Those detained were involved in the attempted murder of an employee of the Ukrainian defense ministrys intelligence service...in Kiev in April, said Matios, adding the group had planted a bomb beneath the mans car which had gone off prematurely, badly injuring one of the accused.The SBU released a video of the same incident which showed a man placing the bomb under a car before a big explosion. The video showed a man lying in a hospital bed with part of his right arm missing saying he was Russian and born in Moscow.
source: www.reuters.com

17 Apr 19

New Jeffrey Epstein Accuser Steps Forward In Defamation Case Against Alan Dershowitz

Another woman has come forward to accuse 'billionaire pedophile' Jeffrey Epstein and his companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, of molesting her and her then-15-year-old sister in 1996 at the Ohio mansion of billionaire "Limited Brands" CEO Les Wexner, according to court documents cited by the Miami Herald. Jeff Epstein and Ghislaine MaxwellThe woman, Maria Farmer, says she was employed by Epstein in his Upper East Side New York mansion, where she frequently saw "school-age girls" wearing uniforms enter the residence and go upstairs. According to her affidavit, she was told the girls were auditioning for modeling work.And who else did Farmer see going upstairs according to her affidavit? Epstein pal and attorney Alan Dershowitz, who has been accused of sexually assaulting Virginia Roberts Giuffre - an Epstein victim who is suing Dershowitz for defamation after she came forward with her claims. Dershowitz claims he was never in Epstein's mansion at the same time as underage girls, but Farmer said that's not true, according to her affidavit in support of Giuffre's case. Dershowitz has said that he has never seen any underage girls when he visited Epstein at the financiers various homes in Palm Beach, New Mexico and New York. But Farmer, who now lives in Kentucky, claims that one of her duties working for Epstein was to staff the front door to his New York estate and to keep track of visitors.On a number of occasions I witnessed Dershowitz at the NY mansion going upstairs at the same time there were young girls under the age of 18 who were present upstairs in the house, she said, asserting that Dershowitz was so comfortable he would walk into the mansion and go directly upstairs....Giuffre claims in the lawsuit that Dershowitz, 80, knew about and participated in Epstein and Maxwells sex trafficking operation, and that she was forced to have sex with Dershowitz and other prominent, wealthy men, when she was underage.Dershowitz has railed against the allegations for years, maintaining that he has never met Giuffre. He also says he has documents and other evidence that prove she is lying. -Miami HeraldOf note, Farmer does not say she ever saw Dershowitz with any young girls - however at least one witness, former house manager Alfredo Rodriguez, says he saw young girls in Dershowitz's presence at Epstein's Palm Beach mansion. Rodriguez was prosecuted by the FBI after he tried to sell Epstein's "black book" of friends, business associates, celebrity guests and female masseuses for $50,000. Rodriguez was fired by Epstein in 2005 and died in prison after his prosecution. Another Epstein accuser, Sarah Ransome, claims that she was "lent out" by Epstein when she was 22-years-old and living in New York, and had a threesome with Dershowitz and Nadia Marcinkova who also worked for Epstein. "I recall specific, key details of his person and the sex acts and can describe them in the event it becomes necessary to do so," Ransome said in her affidavit. Dershowitz says both Giuffre and Ransome are liars - claiming that he has the ability to "disprove" them. As The Herald notes, however, it's not clear whom Dershowitz has provided evidence to except former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, who released a 2016 statement saying he had independently reviewed Dershowitz's information and concluded that it contradicted Giuffre's. Giuffre, meanwhile, says she was never interviewed by Freeh's investigators. Dershowitz allowed the Herald review some of the documents that he says he has, but he has not released them for the Herald to substantiate the information that he gathered, including his personal calendars, that he claims prove he could not have been in the locations that Giuffre was during the time period she was with Epstein, from 1999 to 2002.In recent months, Dershowitz has alleged that Giuffres accusations against him are part of an extortion plot to blackmail an Ohio billionaire, identified in the lawsuit as Les Wexner, the CEO of the Limited Brands, which includes Victorias Secret, who was Epsteins top financial client.Dershowitz alleges that Giuffre and one of her lawyers, prominent New York attorney David Boies, falsely accused him in order to get Wexner to pay hush money so that Wexner would not be similarly exposed by Giuffre. -Miami HeraldGiuffre has hit back against Dershowitz's assertion that she's trying to extort money out of Wexner - whose Ohio mansion Farmer says she worked at in the summer of 1996, where she claims Epstein and Maxwell sexually assaulted her in a bedroom. She claims to have tried to flee the property, only to be stopped by Wexner's security staff. Giuffres sexual allegations against Dershowitz became public in 2014 as part of a court filing by Edwards and Cassell. Dershowitz publicly called for the disbarment of the two lawyers, leading them to file a defamation suit against Dershowitz which was subsequently settled, with Dershowitz paying the two lawyers a substantial amount of money, the suit says. Dershowitz falsely claimed that he was exonerated, when in fact, the settlement was reached in Edwards and Cassells favor, according to the new lawsuit. -Miami HeraldDershowitz attempted to get Giuffre to admit in a statement that she had been mistaken about being forced to have sex with him. "We should be aiming at a short simple statement such as: the events at issue occurred approximately 15 years ago when I was a teenager. Although I believed then and continued to believe that [Dershowitz] was the person with whom I had sex, recent developments raise the possibility that this may be a case of mistaken identification," Dershowitz suggested in an email. Dershowitz also played a recorded conversation for The Herald, which said they were difficult to decipher. A transcript provided by Dershowitz, however, appears to show Giuffre's lawyer David Boies conceding that Giuffre was mistaken in identifying Dershowitz. Boies says he was not taped with permission, and that Dershowitz took his comments out of context. "He conflated the conversations, and they are not in the order that they happened," said Boies - who says he was assuring Dershowitz that if they had hypothetically found evidence that Giuffre's recollections were mistaken, they would agree to issue a statement. Ultimately, Giuffre passed a lie detector test."Dershowitz...played and described excerpts from those tapes out of context to reporters to try to make it appear that Ms. Roberts lawyers hypothetical comments, and characterizations of Dershowitzs assertions represented that lawyers conclusions," according to the lawsuit. Read the rest of the Miami Herald report here and the complaint below.
source: www.zerohedge.com

Author(s): Tyler Durden

17 Apr 19

EU states force clearing of Estonian, Danish regulators over Danske...

National banking supervisors who control the European Union banking watchdog effectively forced it to clear financial regulators in Estonia and Denmark, who were investigated in relation to suspected money laundering activities by Danske Bank, a member of the European parliament said on Wednesday.FILE PHOTO: Danske Bank sign is seen at the bank's Estonian branch in Tallinn, Estonia August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File PhotoThe European Banking Authority (EBA) said in a statement on Wednesday it was closing its investigation.At a vote at its meeting on 16 April 2019 the EBAs Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal for a breach of Union law recommendation, it added.The rejection blocked any further legal action by the EBA against the Estonian and Danish supervisors and signalled EU states reluctance to let the blocs authorities investigate the exposure of their banking systems to financial crime.Danish and Estonian financial regulators have publicly blamed each other for the Danske Bank money laundering scandal, after Denmarks largest bank last year admitted that 200 billion euros (173 billion) of suspicious transactions flowed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.The EBA in February opened a formal investigation into a possible breach of EU law by the two regulators over the Danske case, which is considered by many Europes largest money-laundering scandal.All 28 national supervisors but one who sit on the watchdogs board rejected the EBAs recommendation, German MEP Sven Giegold told Reuters after talking to a person familiar with how the decision was taken.The EBA declined to elaborate on the decision of the board.The Danish and Estonian financial regulators were not immediately available for comment.Giegold, who sits in the EU parliaments committee on financial crime, called the decision scandalous and urged the EU Commission to continue the inquiry into a possible breach of EU laws by the Danish and Estonian authorities.We cannot accept the biggest money laundering scandal in Europe not being properly investigated, he said.EU states have halted a reform of the powers of EU financial supervisors which was intended to make it more difficult for states to block EU probes into a national supervisor. A watered-down overhaul was definitively adopted on Tuesday.BALTIC WOESEarlier on Wednesday the Director General of the Danish FSA Jesper Berg said he was satisfied with the closure of the EBA investigation. He said he was strengthening efforts to curb money laundering and financial crime.The Estonian FSA also said it would continue its fight against money laundering.The Danske scandal has reinforced calls by EU lawmakers for stronger European oversight of the unions banking sector and tighter scrutiny of the often close relationships between regulators and the banks they oversee.Even if no laws were formally breached, this still leaves unanswered whether regulators lived up to their responsibility and reacted to any suspicions, said Jeppe Kofod, a Dane who heads the European Parliaments Special Committee on Tax Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance.Danish lawmakers have increased penalties for money laundering eight-fold, and the government says it plans to create a more aggressive financial regulator.Adding to the pressure on European lawmakers is an investigation into Swedish lender Swedbank by Swedish and Baltic financial watchdogs after broadcaster SVT reported it processed gross transactions worth up to 20 billion euros a year from high-risk, non-resident clients, mostly Russians, through its Estonian branch between 2010 and 2016.
source: uk.reuters.com

17 Apr 19

Rosatom supports prolongation of Russias loan provided for extension of Armenian Nuclear Power Plants life

Rosatom, a Russian state corporation headquartered in Moscow that specializes in nuclear energy, supports the idea of prolongation of Russias loan provided for modernization of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant and extension of its life, Evgeny Salkov, CEO of Rusatom Service, a subsidiary of Rosatom Corporation, which is the general contractor in the repair of the nuclear plant, told Armenian journalists on the sidelines of Armexpo-2019 Forum. In his words, the Armenian finance ministry has appealed to Russia for extension of the term set for using the loan to the end of 2021 instead of late 2019, as it was implied earlier. The matter is being discussed now, Salkov said. Now a normal dialogue between our countries financial agencies is under way. Rosatom, on its side, supports the prolongation, since we understand very well that we need to ensure complete solution to these problems.Salkov confirmed that not the entire amount of the loan is already used. However, the goal is not to use the whole loan, but the goal is to carry out the whole volume of work, which will allow operating the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant safely till 2028, he said. Movses Vardanyan, CEO of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, said earlier that contracts totaling $184-million have been signed of the $270 million provided as loan and $30 million as grant. Salkov also spoke on the necessity of prolongation of the terms of the loan contract stressing that there are no problems. The amount decided at the initial stage of the project was intended for one calendar year, but new objectives have appeared in the process, more detailed plans have been worked out, which have shown that we are overstepping the year 2019, he said. In his words, the work is under way now and everything will be done. The allocated financial resources are enough for fulfilling the objectives for which the Russian side is responsible, Salkov said. The remaining things will be done by the Armenian side at its own account and also with the assistance of the European Union, American partners in the implementation of the projects aimed at enhancement of the nuclear plants security.Salkov added that the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is one of the most effective consumers of fuel, and this allows saving financial resources and spend them on enhancement of security. The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan. It was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995. In March 2014, Armenian government decided to extend the plants service life up to 2026 because of delay in building a new unit. The service life extension has become possible thanks to Russias financial resources. The country provided $270 million to Armenia as a loan and $30 million as a grant. --0--
source: arka.am

17 Apr 19

Ethiopia and Russia sign three-year nuclear power plan - News - GCR

Russia and Ethiopia have signed an agreement setting out a three-year plan to lay the ground for the construction of a centre for nuclear science and technology and a nuclear power plant, Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation said on Monday.The agreement was signed by Alexey Likhachev, Rosatoms chief executive, and Getahun Mecuria (pictured), Ethiopias minister of technology.Rosatom said in a statement: The roadmap determines specific steps in strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy. The parties have identified joint actions within the framework of a nuclear power plant construction and centre for nuclear science construction projects.Thus, a foundation is laid for training personnel and raising public awareness about atomic energy.The signing follows an earlier memorandum of understanding, signed in June 2017, that established a legal framework for nuclear cooperation.The day after agreeing the Ethiopian roadmap, Rosatom signed another with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a two-year deal that also envisages the construction of a nuclear science centre and the training of Congolese technicians. Rosatom says it has six reactor projects under way inside Russia and 36 outside. Its 11th Atomexpo forum, brought together over 1,500 foreign participants from 74 countries.
source: www.globalconstructionreview.com

17 Apr 19

Rosatom forges more links with nuclear newcomers - World Nuclear News

Rosatom and its subsidiaries have this week signed a number of agreements with countries planning to introduce nuclear power to their energy mix, including Azerbaijan, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Serbia and Uzbekistan. The documents were signed during the XI International Forum Atomexpo 2019 that the Russian state nuclear corporation is holding in Sochi. It also signed an agreement with established nuclear power country China. (Image: World Nuclear Association)Azerbaijans National Nuclear Research Centre and Rusatom International Network signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on personnel training for the joint use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. The parties also agreed to the organisation of joint scientific work.Rosatom signed a roadmap on the development of cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with the ambassador to Russia of the Republic of the Congo, and an MoU on cooperation in nuclear training and skills development with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba.With the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia, Rosatom signed a three-year roadmap for establishing cooperation on the construction of a nuclear power plant and a centre for nuclear science and technology in the African country. This follows the MoU they signed in June 2017 on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy.It signed two MoUs with the Ministry of Innovation and Technological Development of Serbia on cooperation in the field of personnel education and training, and on the principles of forming public opinion about the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.Rusatom Service and the Uzbek Agency for Nuclear Energy under the Ministry of Energy signed an MoU on the development of nuclear infrastructure in Uzbekistan, while an Agreement of Intent was signed between Rosatom Technical Academy and UzAtom.In addition, Rusatom Healthcare, Rusatom International Network and the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan signed a memorandum of cooperation in radiation technologies and nuclear medicine.With China, which has about 46 nuclear power reactors in operation, about 15 under construction, and more about to start construction, a contract on training of specialists for the Tianwan nuclear power plant was signed between Rusatom Service and Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation.
source: www.world-nuclear-news.org

Author(s): (Image: World Nuclear Association)

17 Apr 19

Shadowy dark money network behind left-wing causes exposed in new report

An expansive network of shadowy dark money donors has grown to rival the influence of the conservative Koch network -- pumping millions into left-wing causes ranging from health care to climate change to abortion -- all while flying well under the radar of public scrutiny, according to an explosive new report obtained by Fox News.The report, by conservative watchdog Capital Research Center, describes a band of nonprofits operating under the banner of Washington-based philanthropy company Arabella Advisors. Those pop up groups are housed in four Arabella-controlled sister nonprofits, according to the report: the New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Hopewell Fund and Windward Fund.EX-CLINTON OFFICIAL LEADS 'DARK MONEY' EFFORT TO BOOT KAVANAUGH FROM TEACHING GIGTogether, these groups form an interlocking network of 'dark money' pop-up groups and other fiscally sponsored projects, all afloat in a half-billion-dollar ocean of cash, the report says. The real puppeteer, though, is Arabella Advisors, which has managed to largely conceal its role in coordinating so much of the professional Lefts infrastructure under a mask of philanthropy.The report says the "hydra-like" network brought in $1.6 billion between 2013 and 2017 "to advance the political policies desired by wealthy left-wing interests," as the networks revenues grew by 392 percent. The four Arabella-controlled sister groups brought in $582 million in 2017 alone, according to the report. If the four groups were a single entity, it would make them the 22nd largest public charity in America, with higher revenues than the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood or the Clinton Foundation.The size and scope of the Arabella network of funds demonstrates far more dark money exists on the left side of the political spectrum than has been previously admitted, the report says.Arabellas website says the company was founded to provide strategic guidance for effective philanthropy and is dedicated to helping clients make a difference on the issues that matter most to them, from climate to women and girls, education, good food, and more. All told, the company represents clients with collective assets totaling more than $100 billion.But the report alleges the group blurs the line between philanthropy and political advocacy on issues such as ObamaCare, gun control, abortion and opposition to the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And it says that due to the financial arrangements and lack of donor disclosure, it is impossible to know which organization subsidizes the various campaigns and political movements spawned by Arabellas funds.VideoThe company was founded by Eric Kessler, who has worked both in the Clinton administration, where he managed conservation issues, and as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He also founded the New Venture Fund and is on the board of the Sixteen Thirty Fund.Arabella did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News. New Venture Fund President Lee Bodner told Fox News in a statement: "The New Venture Fund is proud of our work supporting charitable projects that improve peoples lives across a wide range of issues, funded by a diverse set of donors."The report claims the group runs a network of astroturf activities including as many as 340 pop up groups -- which the report says are often little more than websites created to give the appearance of grassroots campaigns. It cites the organization's activities pushing back against Republican efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare as an example of its political activism.At a glance, these groups -- such as Save My Care and Protect Our Care -- appeared to be impassioned examples of citizen activists defending ObamaCare, the report says. In reality, neither not-for-profit advocacy group appears to have paid staff, held board meetings, or even owned so much as a pen.Consequently, the report says, the groups can be used to run short-term, high intensity media campaigns targeting the news cycle such as during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. The report gave the example of activists, led by Demand Justice, waving glossy Stop Kavanaugh signs in protest of the conservative nominee's confirmation.VideoDemand Justice, led by former Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon, is very active on judicial issues -- and is more than just a website. But the report described the organization as part of the broader network, specifically a front for the Sixteen Thirty Fund.The Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to a July 2018 Politico report, was described as among the most prolific political advertisers of 2018 and aired 6,885 broadcast TV ads between January and July while spending $4.6 million on TV alone. Politico cited the group as an example of the left embracing the dark money tactics it long accused the right of weaponizing.LIBERAL 'DARK MONEY' GROUPS OUTSPENT CONSERVATIVE ONES IN 2018 ELECTIONSPolitico identified 12 groups set up through the Sixteen Thirty Fund on health care alone. By serving as those groups fiscal sponsor, Sixteen Thirty Fund manages the money and aggregates their financial activities in its tax filings -- making it hard to work out how much money was spent by the different groups and where.The new report says liberal mega-donor George Soros' Democracy Alliance, for instance, used the Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund to host several projects "that didn't disclose their original funders." The Capital Research Center report says that Arabellas nonprofit network allows it to mask the pop up groups nature, making them seem like the work of grassroots activists rather than what it calls front groups for multi-million-dollar non-profits.Conservatives, however, are still spending more "dark money" than liberals in some areas. Vice, citing a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, reported last year that groups supporting Kavanaugh's confirmation spent at least $7.3 million on TV ads, while those opposing him spent at least $2.9 million.Democrats and left-wing activists -- including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. -- have been increasingly vocal in their calls to clamp down and regulate dark money in U.S. political activities.But dark money has had bipartisan beneficiaries.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPA January report from Issue One, a bipartisan advocacy group, shows that liberal groups spent over half of the $150 million of dark money in the latest election. Conservative groups spent a third of the figure, while nonpartisan groups spent just 15 percent.And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., recently said that dark money is a problem "on both sides of the aisle," though he said it "occurs mostly on the Republican side."The Capital Research Center report warns: Before left-of-center activists and politicians demand laws to increase transparency in the funding of campaigns and public policy advocacy, they may first wish to consider voluntarily disclosing their own funding sources.
source: www.foxnews.com

Author(s): Adam Shaw

17 Apr 19

Columbine-obsessed teen Sol Pais dead after sparking massive manhunt

Sol Pais classmates shocked by manhunt for Columbine-obsessed seniorThe suspected Columbine massacre-obsessed teen who was wanted in Colorado for making violent threats to schools there is dead, according to officials.Sol Pais, 18, was found Wednesday morning near the Echo Lake Lodge at the base of Mount Evans in Clear Creek County, according to CBS4. Its not clear if she was alive when she was located.The FBIs office in Denver tweeted at 11:44 a.m. that there was no longer a threat to Colorado schools and promised more information shortly.A woman hiking near the area Wednesday morning said she was instructed to leave because a naked woman matching the description with a gun was spotted in the area running through the woods, the news affiliate reported.The FBI said the honors student boarded a plane Monday from Miami and purchased a pump-action shotgun and ammunition upon arrival to Denver.Officials said Pais was infatuated with Columbine and made credible threats to the Denver area ahead of the massacres 20th anniversary.More than 20 schools, including Columbine, were locked down Wednesday as authorities launched a massive manhunt for the wanted teen.Her family reported her missing Monday night and said she may be suffering from mental health issues.I think maybe she has got a mental problem, her father, Gardi Pais, told the Daily Mail.With Wires
source: nypost.com

Author(s): Jackie Salo

17 Apr 19

DA knew Jeffrey Epstein was a dangerous pedophile when arguing for leniency

The Manhattan DAs office had graphic and detailed evidence of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epsteins depravity when a prosecutor inexplicably argued for leniency during his 2011 sex offender registry hearing, The Post has learned.In advance of the hearing, then-deputy chief of Sex Crimes, Jennifer Gaffney, had been given a confidential state assessment that deemed Epstein to be highly dangerous and likely to keep preying on young girls, the DAs office admitted in its own appellate brief eight months after the hearing.The brief has been sealed since 2011, but The Post obtained it Thursday after suing to get it unsealed.It describes a state assessments findings that Epstein should be monitored in New York as a level three offender reserved for the most dangerous.In making its assessment, the NY state Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders evaluated the sworn, corroborated accounts of numerous young girls who had been lured into Epsteins Palm Beach, Fla., compound in 2005 and 2006.Girls aged 14 to 17 years old were recruited and paid $200 to $1,000 to give Epstein erotic massages that included sexual contact, intercourse and rape, Palm Beach cops found.Epstein pleaded guilty in Palm Beach to abusing just one of these young victims, and was required to register as a sex offender in New York since he had an Upper East Side home.Manhattan prosecutors were aware the state board had assigned Epstein a risk assessment of 130, a number that is solidly above the 110 qualifying number for level three, with absolutely no basis for downward departure, the brief notes.SEE ALSO Judge gives deadline for arguments relating to unsealing Jeffrey Epstein documentsNevertheless, Gaffney argued that he should be labeled a level one offender, the least restrictive, which would keep him off the online database.Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz sided with the board and against Gaffney in designating Epstein a level three offender. Epstein appealed, and the DAs change-of-heart brief agreeing that Epstein deserved the highest level of monitoring was filed in opposition to that appeal.The appellate division ultimately upheld that Epstein be monitored as a level three offender, and he remains on the registry.Our prosecutor made a mistake, Danny Frost, spokesman for DA Cyrus Vance Jr., told The Post in December, when news broke that Epsteins sweetheart Palm Beach deal had buried evidence he had allegedly abused some 80 girls and young women.Reached late Thursday, Frost declined to say who above Gaffney might have approved her decision to go easy on Epstein. Vances office has insisted that he was unaware of the sex-offender registry hearing at the time.Gaffney could not immediately be reached for comment.
source: nypost.com

Author(s): Susan Edelman; Rebecca Rosenberg

17 Apr 19

Man accused of sex acts on toddler arrested in Columbia, deputies say

A 49-year-old man accused of performing sex acts on a toddler was arrested in Columbia Tuesday, according to a statement from the Florence County Sheriffs Department.Roger Dale Lupo, who was wanted in Florence County on charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, is accused of the lewd acts on a child 3 years of age over the span of nearly three years, according to the statement.Lupo is accused of performing sexual acts on the toddler between August 2015 to July 2018.He was found in Columbia and arrested with the help of the Richland County Sheriffs Department and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, according to the statement. He was taken back to the Florence County Sheriffs Office to await a bond hearing.
source: www.thestate.com

Author(s): Emily Bohatch

16 Apr 19

No. 1 - 50