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USSTRATCOM, Polish Space Agency sign agreement to share space services

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Richard Correll, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) director of plans and policy, signs an agreement to share space situational awareness (SSA) services and information with the Polish Space Agency at USSTRATCOM headquarters on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., April 4, 2019. Correll signed the agreement as part of a larger effort to support spaceflight planning and enhance the safety, stability and sustainability of space operations. Poland joins 18 nations, two intergovernmental organizations, and 77 commercial satellite owners, operators, launchers already participating in SSA data-sharing agreements with USSTRATCOM.PRINT | E-MAILOFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --United States Strategic Command and the Polish Space Agency signed an agreement for space situational awareness (SSA) services and data at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 10, 2019. Agreements like these lay the foundation that allows the United States to share information with allies and partners.Rear Adm. Richard Correll, director of plans and policy for USSTRATCOM, signed the agreement, which bolsters the United States and Polands awareness in the space domain. Poland is a stalwart ally in Central Europe and one of the United States strongest partners on the continent in fostering security and prosperity regionally, throughout Europe, and the world.This agreement expands our already strong military and economic partnership into another domain, said Correll. Agreements like this one, between responsible nations, are critical to setting norms that encourage peaceful space operations.Poland joins 18 nations (the Netherlands, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, Israel, Spain, Germany, Australia, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Denmark, Thailand and New Zealand), two intergovernmental organizations (the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), and more than 77 commercial satellite owners, operators, and launchers already participating in SSA data-sharing agreements with USSTRATCOM.The agreement with USSTRATCOM will support enlarging Polish SSA capabilities, in particular developing an SSA Operations Center in Poland, which will serve to enhance safety of Polish and allied satellites in space, among other goals, said Michal Szaniawski, acting President of the Polish Space Agency. Signing the document is also a first step to broaden the SSA cooperation between Poland and the USA.SSA data-sharing agreements enhance multinational space cooperation and streamline the process for USSTRATCOM partners to request specific information gathered by Air Force Space Commands 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The data is critical for launch support, satellite maneuver planning, support for on-orbit anomalies, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation, satellite decommissioning activities and on-orbit conjunction assessments."This is a major milestone in boosting Polish-U.S. collaboration in space, said U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher. Specifically, it realizes President Trumps goals to support safe, stable and sustainable space activities.USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense and analysis and targeting.
source: www.patrick.af.mil

16 Apr 19

UN action may pave way for easier Uranium acquisition

Diplomats at the UN and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been reclassifying uranium as a critical material. That would allow countries to tap funding from the World Bank and other development institutions to ensure supply under the guise of the UNs sustainable development goals. While the change could potentially cut mining waste, it might also lead to a reduction of the scrutiny uneconomical projects get from nuclear inspectors.The biggest beneficiaries to the new rules would be countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have large reserves of phosphate and growing populations that need to be fed with the crops it fertilizes. However, the extraction process could weigh on the uranium market, where prices have stagnated since the last recession started in 2008, international media reported.The main use of phosphate is in fertilizer, but it can also contain a lot of uranium, said Harikrishnan Tulsidas, a UN official and former IAEA mining adviser who was one of the proposals authors. By turning uranium into a byproduct of phosphate, the nuclear industry could blunt boom-bust mining cycles by linking uranium supply with other industries, like agriculture, he said.Strong links between phosphate and uranium emerged as far back as the 1950s in the US, according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report co-authored by Vitaly Fedchenko. Americas earliest nuclear arsenal used uranium derived from a fertilizer plant in Florida. Countries like Israel, India and Pakistan have also looked to phosphate as a way around import restrictions for atomic material, according to Kelley, who called the method a sore on the non-proliferation landscape.To derive uranium, phosphate rocks are ground and milled at the plants before being fed into a chemical process yielding phosphoric acid. Another stage of chemical treatments yields a black uranium concentrate that can appear in powdery or sludge-like form, according to Kelley, who now advises governments from a Swedish security institute.Though in its elemental form uranium cant fuel a reactor or make a bomb it first must be enriched or turned into plutonium -- its the fundamental ingredient for all nuclear programs. BHP Group Ltd.s Olympic Dam is currently the worlds biggest uranium mine.The kingdom is pursuing nuclear power but has also has warned it could seek weapons too. Saudi Arabia is unique among countries with the potential to extract uranium from phosphate: its flush with oil money to invest and has signaled an ambition to build a nuclear program.The technology needs big financial backing. Commercial plants cost as much as $1.3 billion, according to Julian Hilton, who advocates for green nuclear fuel sources and helped draft the UNs new guidelines.This is at the center of the food, energy and water triangle thats the key to everything, Hilton said in an interview. Phosphate extraction is a win-win for everybody, resulting in cleaner fertilizer, at reduced energy intensity, with uranium collected as a valuable byproduct, he said. The risk that uranium is diverted for weapons could be reduced if countries adopted stricter international rules to safeguard uranium stockpiles. But implementing tougher rules, what the IAEA calls an additional protocol, arent required as a precondition to get aid in recovering uranium from phosphate, according to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.Thats a concern among non-proliferation experts because of the IAEAs checkered past with uranium. The agency helped Pakistan develop resources that likely went into that countrys weapons program. In Syria, under investigation since 2007 over clandestine nuclear work, the IAEA helped build a pilot extraction facility at a fertilizer plant in the city of Homs. Doing it with the IAEA and UN gives a kind of cover that allows countries to take one small step without raising suspicions, said Scott Kemp, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who advises the U.S. government on non-proliferation. If this technology is used, it begs the question what will be done with the material?Based on current prices, its cheaper for countries that want nuclear power to buy uranium on the market than it is to invest in new exaction. Over the last decade, the market for reactor fuel has been battered by safety concerns, cheap natural gas and the shift toward decentralized electricity grids powered by renewables.Recovering uranium from phosphate is not economic at the moment, said Nick Carter, a vice president at UX Consulting Co, which advises makers of nuclear fuel. Prices would have to rise three-fifths just to break even, he said.Farm demand for uranium-free phosphate fertilizers is also slack, according to Alexis Maxwell, research director of Green Markets, a fertilizer research firm owned by Bloomberg LP. The Houston-based analyst said that adopting uranium extraction would pose risks to fertilizer companies.With the UN set to issue its final uranium-resource guidelines later this year, the weapons-investigator Kelley said international monitors should pay attention to those market signals.Because this process isnt economically competitive, the IAEA should be especially cautious when assisting countries to produce uranium. Kelley said. It means theyre acquiring uranium for other purposes than power and that should raise a flag.
source: www.thenews.com.pk

Author(s): News Report

16 Apr 19

Bomb Watchers Twitching as Looser Rules Weighed for Uranium

Back in the 1970s and 1980s when he was keeping Americas nuclear weapons up to date, Robert Kelley didnt pay much attention to their source of uranium.But then he was reassigned to lead the international team that accounted for the of hundreds of tons of the heavy metal Iraq secretly extracted at a fertilizer factory to feed Saddam Husseins weapons program.That discovery at the Al-Qaim phosphate plant underscored a loophole in the global policing of nuclear materials, allowing countries without much scrutiny to derive uranium from a mineral more often used as a nutrient for soil. Its also why Kelley and his colleagues are now concerned that United Nations officials and atomic regulators are poised to loosen rules on the industry, unlocking finance to take more radioactive material out of the ground without corresponding new checks.Uranium extraction from phosphates flies under the radar, said Kelley who also inspected phosphate plants in Egypt and Syria as a director with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This isnt a theoretical risk. Its real.Diplomats at the UN and IAEA have proposed reclassifying uranium as a critical material. That would allow countries to tap funding from the World Bank and other development institutions to ensure supply under the guise of the UNs sustainable development goals. While the change could potentially cut mining waste, it might also lead to a reduction of the scrutiny uneconomical projects get from nuclear inspectors.The biggest beneficiaries to the new rules would be countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have large reserves of phosphate and growing populations that need to be fed with the crops it fertilizes. However the extraction process could weigh on the uranium market, where prices have stagnated since the last recession started in 2008.Uranium prices have languished since the last recessionSource: Data compiled by BloombergThe main use of phosphate is in fertilizer, but it can also contain a lot of uranium, said Harikrishnan Tulsidas, a UN official and former IAEA mining adviser who was one of the proposals authors. By turning uranium into a byproduct of phosphate, the nuclear industry could blunt boom-bust mining cycles by linking uranium supply with other industries, like agriculture, he said.Strong links between phosphate and uranium emerged as far back as the 1950s in the U.S., according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report co-authored by Vitaly Fedchenko. Americas earliest nuclear arsenal used uranium derived from a fertilizer plant in Florida. Countries from Israel, India and Pakistan have also looked to phosphate as a way around import restrictions for atomic material, according to Kelley, who called the method a sore on the non-proliferation landscape. His assessment of the site in Syria was triggered by concerns of John Bolton, who is now the national security adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.To derive uranium, phosphate rocks are ground and milled at the plants before being fed into a chemical process yielding phosphoric acid. Another stage of chemical treatments yields a black uranium concentrate that can appear in powdery or sludge-like form, according to Kelley, who now advises governments from a Swedish security institute.An employee holds a handful of processed diammonium phosphate (DAP) inside the processing plant at the Ras Al Khair Industrial City, operated by the Saudi Arabian Mining Co.Photographer: Simon Dawson/BloombergThough in its elemental form uranium cant fuel a reactor or make a bomb it first must be enriched or turned into plutonium -- its the fundamental ingredient for all nuclear programs. BHP Group Ltd.s Olympic Dam is currently the worlds biggest uranium mine. Moroccos OCP SA sits on the largest quantity of the heavy metal, buried in the kingdoms vast phosphate reserves.One of the countries pursuing recovery of phosphates and uranium is Saudi Arabia. Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said a year ago that the kingdom possesses significant uranium reserves that it intends to tap, but which havent been accounted for by international monitors. Saudi Arabia also has plans to mine phosphates, which it estimates could be as high as 7 percent of the worlds reserves.Saudi government officials had no comment. The state-backed producer, Saudi Arabian Mining Co., brushed aside the idea that the kingdoms phosphate could be a major producer of uranium.Our phosphate has very low uranium content, so it wouldnt be the obvious source, Darren Davis, the chief executive officer of the company known as Maaden, said in an interview. Whether its feasible or not, I think the technology as well is not well proven. Theres more work to be done on that.Where Uranium Comes With PhosphateMorocco leads the world with 6.5 million tons of uranium associated with phosphate reserves. These eight countries follow.Source: UNECENote: Saudi Arabia has yet to provide figuresThe kingdom is pursuing nuclear power but has also has warned it could seek weapons too. Saudi Arabia is unique among countries with the potential to extract uranium from phosphate: its flush with oil money to invest and has signaled an ambition to build a nuclear program.The technology needs big financial backing. Commercial plants cost as much as $1.3 billion, according to Julian Hilton, who advocates for green nuclear fuel sources and helped draft the UNs new guidelines.This is at the center of the food, energy and water triangle thats the key to everything, Hilton said in an interview. Phosphate extraction is a win-win for everybody, resulting in cleaner fertilizer, at reduced energy intensity, with uranium collected as a valuable byproduct, he said.The risk that uranium is diverted for weapons could be reduced if countries adopted stricter international rules to safeguard uranium stockpiles. But implementing tougher rules, what the IAEA calls an additional protocol, arent required as a precondition to get aid in recovering uranium from phosphate, according to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.Thats a concern among non-proliferation experts because of the IAEAs checkered past with uranium. The agency helped Pakistan develop resources that likely went into that countrys weapons program. In Syria, under investigation since 2007 over clandestine nuclear work, the IAEA helped build a pilot extraction facility at a fertilizer plant in the city of Homs.Doing it with the IAEA and UN gives a kind of cover that allows countries to take one small step without raising suspicions, said Scott Kemp, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who advises the U.S. government on non-proliferation. If this technology is used, it begs the question what will be done with the material?Peak NuclearEven as new uranium is mined, nuclear power faces long-term declineSource: BloombergNEFBased on current prices, its cheaper for countries that want nuclear power to buy uranium on the market than it is to invest in new exaction. Over the last decade, the market for reactor fuel has been battered by safety concerns, cheap natural gas and the shift toward decentralized electricity grids powered by renewables.Recovering uranium from phosphate is not economic at the moment, said Nick Carter, a vice president at UX Consulting Co, which advises makers of nuclear fuel. Prices would have to rise three-fifths just to break even, he said.Farm demand for uranium-free phosphate fertilizers is also slack, according to Alexis Maxwell, research director of Green Markets, a fertilizer research firm owned by Bloomberg LP. The Houston-based analyst said that adopting uranium extraction would pose risks to fertilizer companies.With the UN set to issue its final uranium-resource guidelines later this year, the weapons-investigator Kelley said international monitors should pay attention to those market signals.Because this process isnt economically competitive, the IAEA should be especially cautious when assisting countries to produce uranium. Kelley said. It means theyre acquiring uranium for other purposes than power and that should raise a flag. With assistance by Donna Abu-Nasr
source: www.bloomberg.com

Author(s): Jonathan Tirone

16 Apr 19

Judicial Watch Sues for Communications of Top FBI and Clinton-DNC Lawyers - Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for communications between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and Michael Sussmann, a Perkins Coie law partner and former DOJ attorney. While at Perkins Coie, Sussman represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clintons campaign during the time Perkins Coie secretly paid for the development of the anti-Trump dossier the DOJ used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.The lawsuit was filed after the FBI failed to respond to a FOIA request dated October 5, 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00573)). The lawsuit seeks:Any and all records of communication between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and former Department of Justice attorney and current Perkins Coie Partner Michael Sussman.Any and all records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to any meeting between Mr. Baker and Mr. Sussman.Any and all calendars, agendas, or similar records, either in paper or electronic format, documenting the schedule and activities of Mr. Baker.The time frame for this request is between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.Perkins Coie is reportedly responsible for retaining the opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC to dig into President Trumps background.Fusion GPS paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the anti-Trump dossier memos, which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016. Judicial Watch uncovered documents revealing that during this same period of time, the FBI also paid Steele on at least 11 occasions in 2016 as a confidential informant and later continued to receive information from Steele during 2017 through a Justice Department official even after it had fired Steele in November 2016 for leaking his relationship with the FBI to the media.Confirmation of the DNCs/Clinton campaigns funding of the dossier, labeled by former FBI Director James Comey as salacious and unverified, was revealed in a memo from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.Baker reportedly told lawmakers in two 2018 interviews that Sussmann is the Perkins Coie attorney with whom he met in September 2016, a month before the FISA warrant was approved to spy on the Trump campaign, and that Sussmann gave him documents and a thumb drive related to Russian interference in the election, hacking and possible Trump connections.This lawsuit aims to fully expose the scandalous collusion between the Obama FBI and the Clinton-DNC political operation to target Hillary Clintons political opponent, Donald J. Trump. said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. The corrupted FBI owes Americans total transparency on this scandal.In a related FOIA lawsuit filed against the DOJ in December 2018, Judicial Watch sued for records of all meetings in 2016 between Baker and the Perkins Coie law firm. The lawsuit cites a specific media report that Baker met with Perkins Coie lawyers to discuss allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. The meeting reportedly took place weeks before the 2016 election and before the FBI secured a controversial FISA spy warrant targeting then-candidate Trumps campaign.Judicial Watch previously obtained heavily redacted copies of FISA warrants used by the Obama-era DOJ to spy on the Trump campaign, which seem to confirm the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clintons campaign and the DNC were behind the intelligence used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team. One of the FISA warrant renewals was granted in June 2017 and did not expire until September 2017, some eight months after President Trump assumed office.
source: www.judicialwatch.org

Author(s): Judicial Watch

16 Apr 19

Judicial Watch Sues FBI for Records of Communications and Payments to Anti-Trump Dossier Author Steele - Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records of communications and payments between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the FBI failed to respond to a September 27, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00572)). Judicial Watch seeks:All records of communications between any official, employee, or representative of the FBI and Mr. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer and the owner of the private firm Orbis Business Intelligence.All records related to the proposed, planned, or actual payment of any funds to Mr. Steele and/or Orbis Business IntelligenceAll records produced in preparation for, during, or pursuant to any meetings or telephonic conversations between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele and/or any employee or representative of Orbis Business IntelligenceThe time frame for this request is March 9, 2017, to September 27, 2018.Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr testified to Congress that at some point during 2017, Chris Steele did speak with somebody from the FBI, but I dont know who.This is the latest Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit in an extensive investigation into the Clinton-funded, anti-Trump dossier and its use to obtain FISA warrants in order to spy on the Trump campaign.In a case seeking information between January 1, 2016, and March 8, 2017, Judicial Watch previously released FBI records showing that Steele was cut off as a Confidential Human Source in November 2016 after he disclosed his relationship to the FBI to a third party. The documents show that there were at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016.Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, reportedly paid $168,000 in 2016 to Steeles company, Orbis Business Intelligence.In a related case, Judicial Watch recently released 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the DOJ revealing Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI.How and why did the FBI pay Christopher Steele, who was already being funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC through Fusion GPS? said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. That we had to sue for this basic information shows the FBI may have something more to hide.
source: www.judicialwatch.org

Author(s): Judicial Watch

16 Apr 19

Judicial Watch Announces Depositions of Senior Obama-era Officials and Former Hillary Clinton Aides - Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch announced today a schedule of depositions of senior Obama-era State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides who have been ordered by the court to provide answers under oath to Judicial Watchs questions about the Benghazi and Clinton email scandals.In January 2019, United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered senior officials including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap to respond under oath.The court-ordered discovery comes in Judicial Watchs July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.Judicial Watchs discovery will seek answers to:Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;whether the State Departments efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; andwhether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watchs FOIA request.The confirmed discovery schedule now includes:March 12: State Departments responses to interrogatories and document requests were due.March 14: Deposition of Justin Cooper, a former aide to Bill Clinton who reportedly had no security clearance and is believed to have played a key role in setting up Hillary Clintons non-government email system.April 5: Deposition of John Hackett, a State Department records official immediately responsible for responding to requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act.April 16: Deposition of Jacob Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clintons former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff.April 23: Deposition of Sheryl Walter, former State Department Director of the Office of Information Programs and Services/Global Information Services.April 26: Deposition of Gene Smilansky, a State Department lawyer.April 30. Deposition of Monica Tillery, a State Department official.May 7: Deposition of Jonathon Wasser, who was a management analyst on the Executive Secretariat staff. Wasser worked for Deputy Director Clarence Finney and was the State Department employee who actually conducted the searches for records in response to FOIA requests to the Office of the Secretary.May 14: Deposition of Clarence Finney, the deputy director of the Executive Secretariat staff who was the principal advisor and records management expert in the Office of the Secretary responsible for control of all correspondence and records for Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials.June 11: 30(b)(6) Deposition, which will be designated by the State Department.June 13: Deposition of Heather Samuelson, the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate the State Departments receipt and release of Hillary Clintons emails.As yet to be determined is the deposition date for Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, who wrote a March 2, 2009, internal memorandum titled Use of Blackberries on Mahogany Row, in which he strongly advised that the devices not be allowed.Written questions under oath are to be answered by:Monica Hanley, Hillary Clintons former confidential assistant at the State Department.Lauren Jiloty, Clintons former special assistant.E.W. Priestap, is serving as assistant director of the FBIs counterintelligence division and helped oversee both the Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.Susan Rice, President Obamas former UN ambassador who appeared on Sunday television news shows following the Benghazi attacks, blaming a hateful video. Rice was also Obamas national security advisor involved in the unmasking the identities of senior Trump officials caught up in the surveillance of foreign targets.Ben Rhodes, an Obama-era White House deputy strategic communications adviser who attempted to orchestrate a campaign to reinforce Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.Judicial Watch is doing the heavy lifting on the ongoing Clinton email scandal, even as Congress dropped the ball and DOJ and State continued to obstruct our quest for the truth, said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. The Court in our case wants real answers on the Clinton email scandal which is why our request for basic discovery was granted.This Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.
source: www.judicialwatch.org

Author(s): Judicial Watch

16 Apr 19

Vandenberg AFB's Space Shuttle Processing Facility Now Has A Very Mysterious Mission

estled to the south of Vandenberg Air Force Base's massive 15,000-foot runway and connected to it by a long, private taxiway sits a peculiar facility encased inside two layers of security fencing, with its entrance from the taxiway only accessible via a pair of sliding gates. At first glance, its appearance is reminiscent of a high-security prison, but this facility is meant to keep people out, not keep them in. But the origins of this highly peculiar installation are far higher-profile in nature than whatever its mission is now. JOURNALISTS HAD A SURPRISE CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH AN RQ-170 SENTINEL AT VANDENBERG AFBBy Tyler RogowayPosted in THE WAR ZONEIS THIS CONCEPT ART OF A MYSTERIOUS SPACE LAUNCH MOTHERSHIP A MISSING LINK IN AREA 51'S PAST?By Tyler Rogoway and Joseph TrevithickPosted in THE WAR ZONEWHAT'S THE DEAL WITH LOCKHEED'S GABBING ABOUT THE SECRETIVE HYPERSONIC SR-72?By Tyler RogowayPosted in THE WAR ZONEBEHOLD ARGUABLY THE MOST SPECTACULAR PHOTO OF NASA'S SHUTTLE CARRIER AIRCRAFT EVERBy Tyler RogowayPosted in THE WAR ZONEEXCLUSIVE: UNIQUELY CONFIGURED RQ-170 STEALTH SPY DRONE APPEARS AT VANDENBERG AFBBy Tyler RogowayPosted in THE WAR ZONEYears ago, I wrote a feature on Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex Six (SLC-6) very colorful, but not widely known past. It was built to launch the Air Force's own Space Shuttle and was a far cry from the expansive Apollo-inherited infrastructure NASA's Space Shuttles operated from at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Instead, SLC-6 was a remarkably compact facility tucked between the California coastline and a the Santa Ynez mountain range. To put it simply, it looked like something right out of a James Bond movie, not reality.DODSLC-6 with Enterprise mocked-up on the pad. Part of the infrastructure needed for the USAF's Space Shuttle program beyond SLC-6 was an Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF). A critical piece of the Shuttle's operation, the OPF was a highly customized hangar facility designed to regenerate the Orbiter after each mission. Originally, this was supposed to include a fairly abbreviated process, allowing for continuous access to orbit on the cheap, but as the Shuttle program progressed, this operations modeland the business case that supported itdematerialized, with the Orbiters having to go through a months-long and very expensive process of rehabilitation after each use. Regardless, the USAF needed its own OPF at Vandenberg for independent operations. From what we can tell, the base's OPF was built in a very logical place, just south of the runway that would recover the Shuttle after most missions and where the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft would ferry the Orbiter to when landings at another runway were necessary. With a long private taxiway accessing the end of Vandenberg's runway, the Orbiter could be towed back to the OPF with ease, where it would be turned around for the next mission. It would then be towed to SLC-6, located 10 miles to the south, for mating with its fuel tank, boosters, and payload before launch. The thing is, none of this ever happened. By the mid-1980s, the Space Shuttle was already proving to be a far more resource-intensive capability than what was originally envisioned. Once the Challenger blew up during ascent, the Air Force canned its Space Shuttle dreams and moved to invest in other ways to access space as it needed, some of which may have been quite experimental and exotic in nature. In the years that followed, SLC-6 was repurposed, although without success, until it found the right fit in the mid-2000s, as I described when I wrote about SLC-6 in 2015:After the cancellation of the Defense Departments arm of the Shuttle Program, SLC-6 was used by multiple defense contractors with varying results (see a full launch list here). By the early 2000s, a legend that the complex was badly cursed had grown to massive proportions, as so many billions of dollars had been poured into the installation, under the guise of a whole slew of programs, with very little to show for it in the end.Finally, in the mid-2000s, Boeing took over the facility and re-utilized much of the Shuttles infrastructure for their Delta IV rocket program. The first Delta IV Medium rocket was triumphantly launched from the long-beleaguered complex in 2006. Since then, the once doomed SLC-6 has performed extremely well launching large payloads into space, most of which contain Americas most high-tech and secretive space-based spying technologies. This is somewhat of an ironic reprieve for the site as it had unsuccessfully been envisioned as facilitating just that mission for close to half a century.While we know all about the history of SLC-6 and how it eventually found success after decades of uncertainty, the Orbiter Processing Facility at Vandenberg is something of an information black hole. I wanted to follow-up on my popular SLC-6 story with a feature about the geographically separated OPF's own history and what it is up to now, but there was little to no information of any about it. This seemed very odd for something of such historic significance and that is quite large and elaborate and situated on a fairly high-profile Air Force installation. There is nothing secretive about the OPFs at Kennedy Space Center, which has three of them arranged near the gigantic Vehicle Assembly Building. After the Space Shuttle program was shuttered, those facilities have been given a whole new life. Two are leased by Boeing to support the USAF's X-37B miniature spaceplane program. The other is also leased by Boeing, but is used for their CST-100 Starliner capsule program. Yet when it comes to Vandenberg's OPF, the tenant is completely unknown. In fact, it seems as if it was never disclosed in the decades that followed the abortive military Space Shuttle program. NASAOPFs at Kennedy Space Center. Check out just how elaborate, large, and advanced the OPFs are:Vandenberg AFB seems to be quite open when it comes to its various tenants and uses for its launch facilities. There are multiple rocket assembly buildings scattered all around the base used for a number of customers and programs, but nothing as expansive as the OPF. With this in mind, I reached out to the base's public affairs shop in hopes of getting a simple answer as to what the facility is used for today, or at least about its history following the collapse of the Pentagon's Shuttle Program. It turns out, they are not willing to share any information about the facility or really even comment on its existence. So, this leaves us with an odd mystery of sorts. Secret hangar facilities working on undisclosed projects are usually the domain of remote locales, like those in the expansive deserts of the American Southwest. But really, there is no other facility that comes to mind that is better suited with operating an incredibly advanced and clandestine aircraft that needs a lot of space to operate in.First off, the facility is located deep within an already highly secure facility. This offers high security, but also far better accessibility compared to the remote options in the Nevada desert and elsewhere. Second, the OPF is basically the most 'Cadillac' of hangars ever constructed, capable of fully renovating a Space Shuttle with all its exotic materials and workshop needs. Vandenberg's OPF is even larger than those at Kennedy Space Center. In addition, it was already built and paid for by the USAF for a program that never actually materialized. GOOGLE EARTHThird, it has incredible accessibility to one of the longest runways in the United States. Whatever lives inside that hangar can taxior be towedfrom its ultra-secure roost, out directly to the end of the runway and launch without even having to use the airfield's shared aprons and taxiways. It can do the same in reverse for recovery. If the aircraft in question can be transported by airlifter in a disassembled state, moving it to and from its loading area on the base would also be an extremely secure and private affair. GOOGLE EARTHGOOGLE EARTHFinally, and most importantly, Vandenberg AFB sits on the California Coast adjacent to where vast military range facilities are located. Literally, the airspace off Vandenberg is part of gargantuan range complex that extends over the Channel Islands and far out into the Pacific and down along the Baja Peninsula. This is where the Navy and the Air Force do some of their most extensive and sensitive testing, including live missile shoots and highly integrated war games. Combined, these ranges absolutely dwarf those that exist over land, including the expansive Nellis Test and Training Range that occupies a huge chunk of Southern Nevada. In fact, from what we understand, quite a bit of testing of secretive aircraft based in the deserts of the western U.S. occurs over these over-water ranges. Being able to access them without flying over the population in itself is also a huge plus. GLOBALSECURITY.ORGThe huge range complexes that extend out from the California Coast. We also know that Vandenberg AFB does have a test function for secretive aircraft, in particular, unmanned ones. The RQ-170 program has a detachment there and the bat-winged drones fly from the base's runways fairly regularly. We also know they use the airfield's main ramp and hangar for their operations, not the expansive OPF. It's hard to stress how unique this arrangement is. Although people often think secret aircraft can be shoved in any hangar on any base, that simply is not the case. Few facilities have the ability to offer high-security and isolation, while also ease of operations and access to vast sanitized airspace like what we see at Vandenberg. So, what lives inside the historic OPF today? We have no idea, but logic points to a number of possibilities and one's imagination can pretty much run down the rabbit hole from there. Something capable of high speed, that would require the base's long runway and the huge range complex that sits adjacent to it makes a lot of sense. Sonic booms, deep rumblings in the sky, and strange contrails have been present off the SoCal coast dating back to the late 1980s. In fact, those reports continue to this very day. It's also worth noting that the D-21/M-21 combo, a parasite drone-mothership system that is part of the A-12 Oxcart/SR-71 Blackbird family of aircraft, was tested in secrecy over this range complex as over-land alternatives were far too restrictive and problematic. The utility of high-speed platforms has made a drastic resurgence as of late, with the Pentagon investing billions into hypersonic capabilities of many flavors. One of these is the much talked about 'SR-72' hypersonic unmanned strike and reconnaissance aircraft that Lockheed is working on. As I have posited in detail, it seems as if the corporate chatter we are hearing about this craft is a reflection of the past, not the present. Lockheed's competition is also interested in getting a taste of the USAF's high-speed reusable aircraft buck. Regardless of who owns it, the OPF would be perfectly suited to such a machine or a technology demonstrator progenitor to it.YOUTUBE SCREENCAPLockheed's notional SR-72 design.A reusable spacecraft launched from a larger mothership that sorties from a different location, but recovers at Vandenberg is another possibility. It's also a concept which we have delved into deeply in the past and one the USAF was interested following the collapse of the Shuttle Program. The OPF's main bay is roughly 150 feet across as measured on Google Earth, so it's not a like a massive aircraft could occupy the facility, but something the size of the Space Shuttle certainly isn't small either. On the other hand, a smaller two-stage-to-orbit space-launch system capable of putting small payloads in orbit could also possibly call the OPF home. A facility used to support a small force of experimental, autonomous, and highly networked unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) drones would also be beneficial as they could use the vast range spaces to put their capabilities to the test. The OPF's shadowy status would certainly fit with the equally puzzling status of any kind of USAF UCAV program. You can read more about this strange reality here.There are other, far more exotic possibilities to ponder as well, even if just for one's imagination's sake, one of which was actually present in the region during a notorious series of events that occurred off the Baja Coast back in 2004. On the other hand, maybe the OPF has a far more mundane purpose. But if that's the case, why not offer some details about it, especially considering the facility's historic significance?With the Space Shuttle program in America's rear-view mirror now, its story will only become more fascinating, and a large part of it doesn't have to do with NASA, it has to do with the Pentagon. Hopefully, we will find out what happened to Vandenberg's abortive Orbiter Processing Facility and how it ended up influencing the future of aerospace technology sooner rather than later.
source: www.thedrive.com

Author(s): Tyler Rogoway

16 Apr 19

A 71-year-old man has been arrested on 100 counts of child rape

A 71-year-old central Louisiana man has been arrested on 100 preliminary counts of first-degree rape, accused of sexually assaulting children in and around his hometown decades ago, authorities said.Harvey Joseph Fountain, of Pineville, was arrested April 9, eight days after an now-adult accuser told authorities that Fountain raped him or her when the accuser was a child, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office said.Investigators gathered evidence supporting that allegation, along with accusations that Fountain raped other children, the sheriff's office said.The rapes are alleged to have happened from around the early 1970s until the early 1980s, and in each case, the child was under 13, sheriff's Lt. Stephen Phillips said.Phillips said he cannot yet disclose how many children are alleged to have been raped. The investigation "is still ongoing, and more arrests are possible," the sheriff's office said in a news release.The rapes are alleged to have happened in places where Fountain lived and frequented in the area of Pineville, a city roughly a 115-mile drive northwest of Baton Rouge, Phillips said.Fountain was being held Tuesday morning in the Rapides Parish Detention Center with bail set at $1 million, the county clerk's office said. It wasn't immediately clear whether Fountain has a lawyer.A grand jury is expected to consider the casePinevilleMap data 2019 Google, INEGITerms of UseThe first accuser had given detectives names of other possible victims. Detectives also contacted them, and gathered evidence supporting the allegations, Phillips said.Fountain initially was held on 50 preliminary counts of first-degree rape, relating to more than one alleged victim. But by Friday, detectives identified other apparent victims while Fountain was in jail, and authorities re-arrested him on 50 more counts of first-degree rape.Fountain hadn't been formally charged as of early Tuesday, the county clerk of courts' office said.A grand jury is expected to consider the case and decide whether, and on which charges, to indict him, Phillips said.In Louisiana, first-degree rape includes rape of children under the age of 13.First-degree rape in that state is punishable either by death or life imprisonment.
source: www.cnn.com

Author(s): Jason Hanna, CNN

16 Apr 19

Dangerous woman' identified in threat that prompted FBI to call for lockout at Denver area schools

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has released a photo and the name of the armed and "extremely dangerous woman" accused of making a threat against the Denver metropolitan area that prompted lockouts at multiple Colorado schools. The woman, identified by the sheriff's office and FBI as 18-year-old Sol Pais, came to Colorado and "made threats to commit an act of violence," according to a Facebook post. Pais was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County and was wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots, law enforcement said. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call the FBI tipline at 303-630-6227. The public should not approach her. Mike Taplin with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said deputies first became aware of Pais through the FBI. "I believe it to be a general threat to schools, not a specific school," Taplin said. This threat prompted the Colorado Board of Education to tweet a recommendation that all area schools should go on alert. "The Department of Public Safety recommends all schools in the Denver metro area conduct a lockout and controlled release immediately," the tweet says.Almost two dozen schools in the Jefferson County Public School District were placed on lockout Tuesday afternoon. The following school districts are on lockout and conducting a controlled release:Cherry Creek.Aurora Public Schools.Jeffco Schools. ("After-school activities, sports and practices will occur as scheduled EXCEPT for Columbine High School, where all such activities are canceled," according to a post from the district.)Westminster Public Schools. "Middle and innovation schools are under a controlled release, and that there will be no bus service until updated information is released by law enforcement.")Douglas County Schools.Adams 14 School District. ("At this time, students who normally walk home will not be allowed to walk home until further notice. All after school activities will also remain on a lock out and modified accordingly," the district said in a tweet.)Adams 12. ("All middle schools & BASE programs will release as scheduled. Transportation will run on as normal > no change for those who normally walk home," the district said.)Englewood Schools. ("The buses will run normal," the district said.)Clear Creek School District announced that the Clear Creek Sheriff's Office has asked them to place all of their schools on lockdown.One Denver school Grant Ranch ECE-8 School at 5400 S. Jay Circle in Littleton has been placed on lockout, according to Denver Public Schools spokesperson Will Jones. Jones said the district is not conducting additional lockouts and that all after-school activities are occurring indoors.A lockout means that it's business as usual inside the buildings, but that entry and exit to the buildings are restricted. A controlled release means parents must show their ID when they pick up students.In general, lockouts are ordered when there is an issue outside the building, and it's most often related to police activity that could pose a threat, according to the district's website.
source: www.wltx.com

Author(s): Author: Janet Oravetz, Jacob Rodriguez, Caitlin Hendee

16 Apr 19

Facebook Leveraged User Data To Reward Friends, Punish Enemies | The Liberty Beacon

Shocking Leak Reveals Facebook Leveraged User Data To Reward Friends, Punish Enemies(ZeroHedge)As traders focused on bank earnings and the outlook for global growth, NBC News wrested the markets attention back toward Facebook by publishing a report on what appears to be the largest leak of internal documents since the data privacy scandal that has dogged the company for more than a year erupted with the first reports about Cambridge Analyticas improper leveraging of Facebook user data to influence elections.Some 4,000 pages of documents shared with the network news organization by a journalist affiliated with the ICIJ, the same organization that helped bring us the Panama Papers leaks, revealed that Facebook had employed sensitive user data as a bargaining chip to attract major advertisers and close other deals between 2011 and 2015, when the company was struggling to cement its business model following its botched 2012 IPO.The thousands of newly shared documents were anonymously leaked to the British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, who shared them with a handful of media organizations: NBC News, Computer Weekly and Sddeutsche Zeitung. Campbell, a founding member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, is a computer forensics expert who has worked on international investigations including on offshore banking and big tobacco. The documents appear to be the same ones obtained by Parliament in late 2018 as part of an investigation into Facebook. Facebook did not question the authenticity of the documents NBC News obtained.Facebook essentially offered companies like Amazon unfettered access to its data in exchange for agreeing to advertise on Facebooks platform, according to the documents, only a small fraction of which have been previously reported on. All of this was happening at a time when the company publicly professed to bee safeguarding user data.As the documents show, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his board found ways to tap the companys massive trove of user data to reward Facebooks customers and business partners.The documents, which include emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebooks trove of user data including information about friends, relationships and photos as leverage over companies it partnered with.In some cases, Facebook would reward favored companies by giving them access to the data of its users. In other cases, it would deny user-data access to rival companies or apps.Facebook also leveraged its user data as a cudgel to punish rivals whom it felt were growing too strong.For example, Facebook gave Amazon extended access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising and partnering with the social network on the launch of its Fire smartphone. In another case, Facebook discussed cutting off access to user data for a messaging app that had grown too popular and was viewed as a competitor, according to the documents.Documents showed this strategy was part of a plan to require third-parties to compensate FB, in one form or another, for access to users data. The company decided to not directly sell the data, and instead opted to dole it out to friends.But the documents show that behind the scenes, in contrast with Facebooks public statements, the company came up with several ways to require third-party applications to compensate Facebook for access to its users data, including direct payment, advertising spending and data-sharing arrangements. While its not unusual for businesses that are working together to share information about their customers, Facebook has access to sensitive data that many other companies dont possess.Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but rather to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal friends of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own valuable data, the documents show.The documents appear to have been collected as part of a lawsuit involving Facebook and California startup Six4Three, which had also surrendered some documents from the case to Parliament.After NBC contacted FB, the company reached out to the judge in the case to accuse Six4Three of leaking the documents and demanded that the companys founders be deposed. Six4Three has denied leaking the documents to NBCs source.When Facebook finally abandoned its data-patronage policy in 2015, it had devastating repercussions for thousands of developer-partners who had come to rely on the data, prompting one engineer to compare Zuckerberg to a villain from Game of Thrones. Another called the decision sort of unethical.When Facebook ultimately cut off broad access to user data in 2015, the move contributed to the decline of thousands of competitors and small businesses that relied on what Facebook had previously described as a level-playing field in terms of access to data. In addition to Pikinis, the casualties included Lulu, an app that let women rate the men they dated; an identity fraud-detecting app called Beehive ID; and Swedish breast cancer awareness app Rosa Bandet (Pink Ribbon).The strategy orchestrated by Zuckerberg had some of his employees comparing the company to villains from Game of Thrones, while David Poll, a senior engineer, called the treatment of outside app developers sort of unethical, according to the documents. But Zuckerbergs approach also earned admiration: Doug Purdy, Facebooks director of product, described the CEO as a master of leverage, according to the documents.After the Cambridge Analytic scandal exploded into view, Facebook claimed that it had changed its policies surrounding the handling of user data in 2014 and 2015 over concerns about privacy. However, the leaked documents revealed that privacy concerns were rarely discussed during that decision. Instead, Facebooks primary concern was sidelining rivals, whom it had made dependent on access to its data, to try and consolidate its power in the market.In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018 and rising awareness of the Six4Three case, Facebook has attempted to frame changes it made to its platform in 2014 and 2015 as being driven by concerns over user privacy. In statements to media organizations, Facebook has said it locked down its platform to protect users from companies that mishandled user data, such as Cambridge Analytica, as well as apps that spammed users news feeds or were creepy, such as Six4Threes bikini-spotting app Pikinis.However, among the documents leaked, theres very little evidence that privacy was a major concern of Facebooks, and the issue was rarely discussed in the thousands of pages of emails and meeting summaries. Where privacy is mentioned, it is often in the context of how Facebook can use it as a public relations strategy to soften the blow of the sweeping changes to developers access to user data. The documents include several examples suggesting that these changes were designed to cement Facebooks power in the marketplace, not to protect users.Every time the Facebook data privacy controversy seems to be dying down, some new embarrassment emerges to hammer the companys stock. Earlier this month, a team of researchers found troves of FB user information hiding in plain sight on the AWS cloud. The news sent FB shares tumbling in premarket trade.*********(TLB) published this article from ZeroHedge as compiled and commented on by Tyler Durden, with our thanks.More about Facebook from The Liberty Beacon
source: www.thelibertybeacon.com

16 Apr 19

Carlson: Valerie Jarrett's Book Sold No Copies, Makes Best Seller List

Fox News host Tucker Carlson noted on his Monday show that Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to President Barack Obama, doesnt appear to have sold many copies of her book, despite managing to top the New York Times bestseller list.So former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett has a new book out. If you didnt know that, you were not alone, Carlson said. Nobody knew that nobody cares. The book is called Finding My Voice andwere not being mean, just honestits not even in the top 1,000 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It has almost no reviews, like four reviews. (RELATED: Obama Advisors Book Is Ranked 1,030 On Amazon. How Did It Make NYTs Best Seller List?)So its not selling any copies and yet, heres the amazing part: the New York Times put it 14th on the bestseller list. So a book that sold no copies made the New York Times best seller list. So book industry insiders who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation described that as inconceivable. So inconceivable in fact that theres only one explanation for it: fraud. Turns out there are private companiesthe companies buy an authors book in bulk for a fee in order to guarantee bestseller status.Were not saying that happened. We are just strongly suggesting that it mustve happened, Carlson concluded. Until now, Jarretts accomplishments in life was being friends with Barack and Michelle Obama, but now she has a new fake achievement: best-selling author. Congrats.The segment came a day after The Daily Caller News Foundations Luke Rosiak published an article that revealed significant discrepancies in reporting book sales for the politicos first publication. Jarretts book was published April 2, and was ranked 1,030 on Amazons list of top sellers, and 1,244 on Barnes & Nobles list. Rosiak also noticed that signed copies were marked down below the original suggested sale price of the book. Despite all of this, the New York Times had the book rated number 14 on their list of best-sellers.Given the organic sales of that book and the fact that during the entire week of rollout it barely cracked the top 100 on Amazon, theres no way the book should have a place on the NYT Best Seller list. Inconceivable, one prominent book industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Theres likely an effort to game the system, its the only explanation.
source: dailycaller.com

Author(s): Phillip Stucky

16 Apr 19

Copenhagen in flames after right-wing protesters provocatively throw the Quran on the ground

Violent riots erupted in the Danish capital on Sunday when the right-wing politician and Islam critic Rasmus Paludan, leader of the party Stram Kurs (Strict Course), held a demonstration in the district of Nrrebro, Denmarks Radio reports.An angry crowd of counter-protesters showed up and attacked Paludans demonstration, and when the police intervened, they were attacked as well.We had been expecting counter-protests, but not that it would lead to the type of unrest that we have seen today, said Copenhagen police chief Jrgen Bergen Skov at a press conference in the evening, while the riots were still ongoing.People threw, among other things, paving stones, bicycles and plastic chairs against the police, and footage from Nrrebro shows how cars and other property are ablaze.The Police used tear gas and drew weapons, however, without firing any shots. On Monday morning, the police announced that 15 people had been arrested during Sundays riots, which also spread to other districts in Copenhagen.Kvllsposten states that bystanders were provoked when Rasmus Paludan and a party colleague threw a Quran back and forth and demonstratively dropped it several times.We were playing with the Quran for about two minutes before two people who looked like Somalis attacked me. One of them took the Quran, Paludan told Ekstrabladet.It is not the first time that Rasmus Paludan demonstrates in an area where many Muslims live, and he has previously caused quite a storm by burning the Quran.Danish Prime Minister Lars Lkke Rasmussen tweeted that he dissociates himself from Paladins pointless provocations, but urged people to meet him with arguments rather than violence.
source: voiceofeurope.com

Author(s): Emma R.

16 Apr 19

F-35B Allowed Essex ARG to Flex New Blue-Water Capabilities in Absence of Carrier Nearby - USNI News

The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter is not only changing the way Marine forces conduct their missions, it is also changing the way the amphibious navy can do its work in the absence of an aircraft carrier, leaders from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Essex Amphibious Ready Group said.The Essex ARG and 13th MEU were the first to deploy from the United States with the F-35B, and they operated in the Pacific and Middle East from mid-July until their March 1 return home to San Diego. The deployment not only generated lessons learned on how to operate and sustain the F-35B jets as part of the Marine unit and in support of its objectives ashore, but also how to use the new jet to support blue-water Navy missions at sea, 13th MEU Commanding Officer Col. Chandler Nelms and Amphibious Squadron 1 Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. David Mahoney told the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies on April 12.Were definitely changing the way amphibs are employed, especially on the blue side were no longer just the trucks that carry Marines that we used to be, Mahoney said. There was no carrier in 5th Fleet, for example, so a lot of the CSG-like duties we started taking over just because we had to.Petty Officer 1st Class Rey White, an aviation boatswains mate with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), directs a Marine F-35B before take-off aboard the Wasp-class Amphibious ship USS Essex (LHD-2) on May 31, 2018. US Marine Corps PhotoThough Mahoney made clear the ARG/MEU team could never replace a carrier air wing, he said the ARG is now becoming almost like a mini CSG, where as part of the warfare concept we were executing many of those duties that would normally reserve to a CVN. There was no CVN except for the last couple of weeks while we were in theater (in 5th Fleet), so we were doing that traditional role on USS Essex (LHD-2) and working with other ships too. The ARG/MEU team is definitely in high demand to fill those roles as the Navy is spreading out further and further around the globe, he said, noting that the deployed aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) was at the time focused on operations in Europe and north of the Arctic Circle rather than deploying to the Middle East as many had expected it would.We are being treated as a CSG in a lot of respects: you can see that layered defense, so we were always bringing in destroyers to help work with us East and West Coast, wherever they came from, they were integrating with the team, the operations officer continued.Its not just the two or three amphibs that we had; we were bringing in destroyers, we worked with Europeans and their ships this is what has to happen as the carriers are being sometimes sent elsewhere because the needs are rising elsewhere.An F-35B Lightning II, attached to the Avengers of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, flies over Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2) on July 24, 2018. US Navy PhotoAmphibious assault ship Essex, dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD-47) and sometimes amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) which was for a while operating on its own in the Mediterranean Sea were able to coordinate with nearby destroyers and the F-35Bs of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 to maintain air control and situational awareness in a way that an ARG/MEU couldnt have done previously with the legacy AV-8B Harrier strike airplanes.We self-supported ourselves on this deployment with combat air patrols, Nelms said, and the F-35Bs while not an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) plane could also use their sensors to provide non-traditional ISR) for the ARG/MEU team.The aircraft we had before was predominantly a close-air support weapon, so for any type of air threat we were relying either on the naval surface force ship or we were relying on purple (joint) air to provide that top cover for anti-air warfare, Nelms said.We now have an all-mission-capable aircraft thats also capable of stealth operations and has fantastic sensors at the disposal of the MEU commander when Im doing ship-to-shore operations or ashore operations, but also at the disposal of the commodore as he seeks to maintain maritime and air superiority. So the difference is vast, were still working through how we tie all that in and affecting our [tactics, techniques and procedures]. What we do have to remember is we only have a small number (of jets), right, so we have limitations on an amphibious ship thats unlike a carrier. So we dont have the number of aircraft and we dont have the flight window of a carrier we cant do 24-hour operations, we dont have 60 aircraft on the flight deck, we have a much smaller number. But when applied, when you want that capability, its there. And we can do very high-end things for limited durations in our tasking, whether its in the maritime environment or the littoral environment ship-to-shore.F-35B Lightning II, attached to the Avengers of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, sit on the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) on Sept. 4, 2018. US Navy PhotoMahoney said the Navy side is still figuring out what the presence of the F-35B means for blue-water missions, but the Essex ARG had a chance to start working on that ahead of the deployment during a Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training event. SWATTs for amphibious ships focus on all mission areas including anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare and the Essex ARG was able to embark VMFA-211 for the training event to practice using those airplanes as part of strictly blue training in those mission sets, Mahoney said.This really gave us an opportunity to start flexing that option that the 35 brings in the maritime domain, he said, calling the F-35B a much more advanced fighter than we ever had with the Harrier. As were learning through what we can do, the skys really the limit as we learn the potential. Weve just got to keep coming up with new ideas on how to employ this aircraft because its a significant improvement on what we used to have.Though the Navy still has much left to learn, Mahoney said hes sure the presence of the F-35B in an ARG/MEU will change the way the group is tasked by fleet commanders going forward.It definitely starts changing the thinking status. A lot of times amphibs are the guys who just haul Marines, kick them out, and if they need help they need to bring in some other offensive or defensive capability; whereas this is one of the first times we can really have that option to just reach out and touch somebody, whether thats supporting the colonel and the Marines ashore or as we fight to get into the fight if thats ever called upon the F-35 gives us that option to get there because we may not have control of the seas and thats definitely an option, Mahoney said.Were not a carrier air wing, of course, but who knows where the carriers going to be, and this definitely gives us a much stronger option than we had in the past. Weve already started changing the mindset of how we employ an ARG, and an LHD specifically, because the 35 gives us a lot more options than we had.An F-35B Lightning II, attached to the Avengers of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, launches from the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2) during a regularly scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) on Aug. 24, 2018. US Navy PhotoNelms and Mahoney said the deployment was notable for many other reasons. The deployment was extended by a month, keeping the sailors and Marines out for 234 days. They had a packed schedule on the transit through the Pacific, working with many partners big and small. The ARG/MEU parked in the Arabian Sea for two weeks to conduct strikes in Afghanistan the first-ever combat strikes by the F-35 and then spent more than 50 days flying more than 100 combat sorties over Syria, for a total of more than 1,200 combat hours in support of Operation Inherent Resolve alone. Anchorage sailed as far as Rota, Spain an unusual location for a West Coast ship to end up, Nelms and Mahoney said. Both the Navy and Marines brought 3D printers to begin learning lessons about printing small plastic parts at sea, as a first step forwards eventually being able to print more complex metal parts. And the aircraft maintained an average readiness rate of 70 percent, with the F-35Bs maintaining a 75-percent readiness rate.
source: news.usni.org

Author(s): Megan Eckstein

16 Apr 19

Republicans press for more Russia investigation transcripts

As lawmakers wait for the details of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Republicans in the U.S. House are stepping up their efforts to make public dozens of transcripts of interviews conducted when the GOP was in charge of the investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.In a letter sent April 10 to the Director of National Intelligence, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) - who have led Republican efforts to investigate the Russia investigators - asked for quicker action to declassify 53 interview transcripts done by the House Intelligence Committee."As the Justice Department prepares the Special Counsel's report for public disclosure, full transparency demands the public disclosure of (the panel's) witness interviews on the same subject matter," the two Republicans wrote.The GOP pressure to publicly release more interview transcripts comes as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), has been slowly releasing individual transcripts of interviews done by Congress in 2018."I am committed to making sure the American people understand what went on in the investigation of the FBI and the Department of Justice," Collins said as he released the second part of an interview with the former General Counsel of the FBI."Transparency matters. We will continue to release these transcripts," Collins added, as Republicans have cheered the unilateral moves.So far, Collins has released closed door interview transcripts with a group of very familiar names from the FBI and Justice Department who were involved in the Russia investigation: DOJ official Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, who worked on Russian research for the group Fusion GPS, which was bankrolling the author of the Steele Dossier, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, FBI counterintelligence head Peter Strzok, FBI legal counsel Jim Baker and top FBI counterintelligence official Bill Priestap.What have the details of those interviews shown? Like a lot of things in Washington, D.C., it depends what side of the ball you're on.1. The idea of Russian interference alarmed FBI/DOJ officials. One theme which is readily apparent from all of the transcripts released so far is that law enforcement officials felt the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 elections - and the chance that of possible Russian ties to members of the Trump campaign, or people tied to President Trump - clearly merited investigation. "Extremely serious," said ex-FBI General Counsel Jim Baker, as the threat of Russia obviously worried officials. "It doesn't get much more serious or grave than that," said Peter Strzok. "And if there is somebody on his team who wittingly or unwittingly is working with the Russians, that is super serious," said FBI lawyer Lisa Page. "I was very concerned," said Bruce Ohr.2. Republicans question Steele; FBI stands behind him. For Republicans, there is little in the way of credibility attached to former British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele, as they see him peddling false information to the FBI, which spurred an investigation of President Trump. But it's very clear FBI and DOJ officials are on the other side of that coin. "I think any attempt by a foreign power to gain influence over a Presidential campaign would be troubling," said Bruce Ohr, who met with Steele multiple times, and turned materials over to the FBI for him - warning them who Steele was working for. "I wanted them to be aware of any possible bias," Ohr testified. Lisa Page testified that the FBI ran the traps immediately on Steele's information. "And to the best of my knowledge, we were never able to disprove any statement in it," she said.3. FBI/DOJ: We didn't leak about the Russia investigation. As Republicans used these interviews to accuse various officials of conducting a biased investigation against President Trump, one counterpoint comes up repeatedly - the feds never leaked the existence of the Trump investigation during the 2016 campaign, knowing full well it could have been lethal for the President's bid for the White House. "That would have been improper," said Peter Strzok, who speculated that a leak about the Russia probe would have had an 'adverse impact' on the President's chances. "That's not how the FBI operates," said Lisa Page, who said, "we all had had and still have incredibly damning information which could have been released." And there was one more point. "The answer is no, I am not aware of an effort to put a spy in the campaign," said Jim Baker.4. GOP lawmakers press repeatedly for info on Steele Dossier. From the transcripts, GOP lawmakers clearly believe that the Steele Dossier was given much too much importance by the FBI. Lisa Page said she first read parts of the dossier in mid-to-late September 2016. Republicans claimed the CIA had the dossier in August. "Totally surprises me," Page said when told that by GOP lawmakers. "As of August of 2016, I don't know who Christopher Steele is," Page added. Some officials testified about how they were given the Steele Dossier - but not by Steele; Jim Baker received it from reporter David Corn. "I know that David was anxious to get this into the hands of FBI," Baker said. "And being the person at the FBI that he knew the best, he wanted to give it to me." Bruce Ohr said Steele kept after him to get information to the FBI, because he felt like U.S. officials weren't heeding his warnings about Trump-Russia connections. "I think he was very alarmed by the information that he had provided to me about contacts between the Russian Government and the Donald Trump campaign," Ohr said of Steele, who warned that Russia 'had Trump over a barrel.'5. A growing alarm within the FBI over Trump-Russia ties. The transcripts show that as Election Day neared in 2016, top officials were getting increasingly worried about what they were seeing in terms of the Russia investigation. "I grew more alarmed over time," said ex-FBI Counsel Jim Baker. Peter Strzok said, "the menace that I saw was primarily the interference of the Government of Russia in the Presidential elections." And the fact that Russia was involved made it more explosive - Lisa Page called Moscow, "our most treacherous adversary." But Page also had something very to interesting to say about the investigation and how it related to the candidate himself - "at the time that we opened the investigation, I don't have any reason to believe that it is Donald Trump himself who was colluding with the Russians."6. GOP lawmakers frustrated by refusal to answer questions. The specter of the Mueller investigation hung over most of the proceedings in the transcripts which have been released so far, as various officials - backed by FBI legal counsel in the room - refused to answer questions which might touch on the Russia investigation. "I'm not at liberty to talk about the topic," Bill Priestap said. "I can't answer that question at this time, sir," said Lisa Page. "I don't think it's appropriate for him to answer that question," one lawyer said of a question to Bruce Ohr. "I can't answer that question," Peter Strzok said when asked about the Russia probe. "It's answerable, but I, under advice of agency counsel, I can't answer that." And then there were instances where the questions got into possible legal problems for the witness, like former FBI counsel Jim Baker. "You're saying he's under criminal investigation?" asked Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). "That's why you're not letting him answer?" At some points, the frustration boiled over. "So if Mr. Jordan asks the witness, "Have you ever met Robert Mueller?" are you going to allow him to answer that question?" asked a frustrated Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).7. Those working at the FBI really don't like the Russians. One theme from these interviews is a deep-seated belief at the FBI that Russian Intelligence is not sending flowers to the United States. "I mean, most everybody who works counterintelligence at the FBI has pretty strong feelings about the Russian Federation," Lisa Page told GOP lawmakers. "Russia poses the most severe existential threat to Western democracy in the world," she added. "I think it is demonstrably true that a foreign nation clandestinely putting themselves into a Presidential election, it doesn't get much more serious or grave than that," said Peter Strzok. "If the Russian Government was attempting to influence the Trump campaign in some way, I would think that would be a national security threat," said Bruce Ohr, whose focus had been on Russian organized crime.8. Little detail on talk of wire or 25th Amendment. While Republican lawmakers were obviously alarmed by testimony that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire to talk with the President - and/or invoking the 25th Amendment to move him out of office - top FBI officials made clear it was all talk. FBI Counsel Jim Baker said, it was just not something that made any sense to do. GOP lawmakers wanted to know what kind of review the FBI did on the ideas. The answer - nothing. To my recollection, we didn't do any legal research or anything of that nature, said Baker. So then what happened? asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). You just dropped it, like, okay, no big deal? Baker's answer was the same - it just was one of these things that didn't make sense from a commonsense perspective. From the transcripts, it seems clear that both Jordan and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) clearly didn't believe that it had just been dropped - but no other evidence has surfaced so far to show that it was anything other than something mentioned by Rosenstein.Here are the links to the testimony referred to in this story:
source: www.boston25news.com

Author(s): EndPlay

16 Apr 19

CIA director helped Trump debug Oval Office

CIA Director Gina Haspel was briefing President Trump shortly after she took over the agency when the president became distracted by flies swarming around the Oval Office.After leaving the meeting, Haspel sent Trump flypaper, according to the New York Times.The gesture was described by the publication as one of the ways Haspel has used her observational spy skills to connect with the president who is often dismissive of the intelligence community. Here's who could replace Kirstjen Nielsen at Homeland SecurityWatch Full Screen to Skip AdsIt was also another instance of Trump becoming distracted by the insects during meetings in the Oval Office.The Washington Post reported in 2017 Trump once asked his then-chief of staff Reince Priebus to kill a fly buzzing overhead.The West Wing has a regular issue with flies.During the Obama years, anti-insect lights were installed in the National Security Council suite and lower press office. Staffers were given fly swatters. Former President
source: www.washingtonexaminer.com

Author(s): Caitlin Yilek

16 Apr 19

Demonoid Founder 'Deimos' is Believed to Have Passed Away - TorrentFreak

The founder of Demonoid, one of the most iconic torrent trackers in history, is believed to have passed away. Deimos suddenly disappeared without a trace last summer. According to information reviewed by Demonoid's staff, he was likely the victim of a tragic accident.As one of the oldest torrent communities, the Demonoid tracker has gone through many ups and downs over the years.The site has disappeared for months, more than once, but always reappeared.Early last year things were looking quite positive for the site. Founder and operator Deimos was committed to rebuilding the site back to the thriving community it once was, but at the end of the summer new problems emerged.Initially, there were some technical issues and isolated downtime. However, as the weeks passed on, the site disappeared completely. All the while, Deimos was nowhere to be found.This was particularly unusual as some staffers chatted with him nearly every day but that changed abruptly. Months went by without a word from Deimos. Meanwhile, some of Demonoids domains started to expire.Roughly two months ago, TorrentFreak received an anonymous tip which came as a complete shock. The short email pointed to information that suggested Deimos had passed away following a tragic accident. The information we received included several pointers that we could indirectly link to Demonoids founder. However, despite overwhelming circumstantial evidence, we were unable to confirm 100% that it was the same person. We shared this information with Demonoid staffer phaze1G, who discussed it among the team. Slowly but steadily, the realization started to sink in that all signs indeed suggested that Deimos was no longer alive. Although theres no complete certainty, phaze1G decided to inform the Demonoid community about the findings this morning. This wasnt an easy decision and took weeks of consideration and attempts to get more clarity.With great sadness, I want to announce that Deimos, the founder of Demonoid known as someone who was one of the earliest and influential people on the torrent scene since its beginning has died in an accident back on August, 2018, phaze1G writes.The date of the accident, which was the result of a panic attack, coincides with Deimos disappearance. In addition, there were further signs that suggest that Deimos was indeed the victim. Phaze1G and other Demonoid staffers are devastated by the sad news and have put up a commemoration page to remember Demonoids founder.Our comeback kid Demonoid will now rest after years of fighting along with his father, the commemoration page reads. After the initial disappearance, there were reports that someone logged in to the site under his account. In hindsight, phaze1G believes that this may have been a friend or family member, who wiped the server, perhaps after making a backup. It was someone with enough tech skills such as friends, family or Umlauf, so currently there is at least one person who holds the database of Demonoid and if it ever comes back that person will not be Deimos, phaze1G notes. For now, the remaining staff have no idea where to go next. They created a temporary forum a while ago to keep the community going, but without Deimos, the spirit of the site is gone.Demonoid Fora was formed as a reminder of Demonoid and Deimos, but I have no idea what to do next, or what to do regarding Demonoid at all. Demonoid is and always was Deimos child. Umlauf was there to help when it was hard, so without those 2 giants, there is no Demonoid.Even if we recreate it from the ground with 99% identical look and features, it will not be it without Deimos and wont have that feeling of home it once had, phaze1G adds.Deimos started the site in his early twenties. While he handed over the reins to outsiders for a few years, he took over the helm again two years ago, hoping to return the site to its former glory. In the months leading up to his disappearance, he worked on the site continuously to achieve this goal, showing the passion and commitment many staffers knew him for.Many things were happening behind the scene, he cared so much about users privacy and replied almost to everyone who private message him and asked how he was and stuff. He was really a friendly person, phaze1G says.Im glad that I had a chance to know him and I will miss him dearly, not because of Demonoid only, but because of the person, he was, he adds.
source: torrentfreak.com

Author(s): Ernesto

16 Apr 19

Former Franklin Police Captain indicted on sexual abuse of a minor charge

Former Franklin Police Captain Larry Schultz, was indicted by a Grand Jury in Simpson County on sexual abuse of a minor charge.According to the court citation, Shultz had sexual contact with a 6-year-old female in April of 2015.The former police captain is being charged with Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, victim under 12 years old.The judge set Schultz bond at $10,000 unsecured.13 News contacted the Simpson County Jail, and they said Schultz has never been an inmate there, indicating Schultz was not arrested.Schultz was with the Franklin Police Department from 2006 to July 24, 2018 when he resigned, according to officials.Franklin Police Department confirmed he was with the department as a captain, and are directing all further questions to Kentucky State Police.
source: www.wbko.com

Author(s): Kelly Dean

16 Apr 19

Man Uses AK-47 Against 5 Home Invaders, Killing 3 And Injuring 2

A man fought for his life against not one, not two, but five armed men who broke into his home. This gun owner was prepared for a fight, and utilized his AK-47 to defend his home and his life.Two masked men went into the home where the 20-year-old resident was. At first, he though it was a joke, but quickly realized that these armed men meant business.When they demanded cash, the resident complied. At least, thats what he wanted them to believe. He said that he was going for what they wanted and reached under the couch.Instead of pulling out money, he instead pulled out his AK-47 and began shooting at the suspects.Three of the men were killed, and the other two were injured. Both injured suspects were taken to the hospital and then arrested.The defender pursued the invaders into the front yard. The pile of brass in the front yard has been described as being from several different guns.The defender continued the gunfight with three occupants of the car that delivered the two home invaders. The group fled the scene in the car.The car crashed a couple of blocks away. One suspect was found in the car, dead. One wounded suspect was found at Capitol and 71st Street, he was the suspect that died at the hospital. The third suspect from the car was wounded, fled the scene, and was being treated in the hospital.via ammoland.comThe resident was not wounded during the incident, and police do not expect any charges to be filed. What this 20-year-old did was something that couldnt be done unarmed, and he very well could have saved his own life that day.He showed skill, and maintained his cool under pressure. His approach of pretend compliance is what made this self-defense as successful as it was, by completely catching his aggressors off guard, even though it was their full intention to catch their target victim in the same manner.
source: concealednation.org

Author(s): via ammoland.com

16 Apr 19

U.S. agency submits uranium import probe to White House

The U.S. Commerce Department has submitted to the White House the results of a national security investigation into uranium imports, a spokesman for the department said on Monday.FILE PHOTO: The seal of the Department of Commerce is pictured in Washington, D.C., U.S. March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File PhotoThe Section 232 probe was prompted by a petition filed by two U.S. uranium mining companies, Ur-Energy Inc and Energy Fuels Inc, complaining that subsidized foreign competitors, including Russia and Kazakhstan, have caused them to cut capacity and lay off workers.U.S. nuclear power generators oppose the federal government taking action and have argued tariffs or quotas would increase costs for the struggling industry and possibly cause some reactors to shut.The Commerce Department declined to discuss the recommendations because they are confidential.Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in July 2018 the probe would canvass the entire U.S. uranium sector from mining through enrichment and defense and industrial consumption.The uranium companies proposed two remedies in their petition - requiring that domestic uranium supply 25 percent of the U.S. market and a requirement for U.S. federal utilities and agencies to buy U.S. uranium - approximately 12 million pounds per year.It would revive the struggling domestic uranium mining industry, which in 2017 saw production fall to near historic lows. Current uranium prices are hovering in the mid-$20s/lb compared to highs over $140/lb in 2007.We believe that President Trump will recognize the danger of relying on large and increasing levels uranium imports from Russia, China and our geopolitical rivals, said Curtis Moore, a spokesman for Energy Fuels.Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy are quietly preparing for a boost in both demand and prices if the Trump administration were to set a quota for uranium imports.Energy Fuels has recently refurbished two of its mines in Utah to be able to ramp up production if Trump sets a 25 percent quota on uranium imports or imposes tariffs.Utility companies and environmental groups are opposed to government intervention to bolster domestic uranium mining, albeit for different reasons.The Ad Hoc Utilities Group, a group of electric utilities with nuclear plants in their fleets including Duke Energy Corp, Dominion Energy Inc and Entergy, said it will continue to make the case to the president - a supporter of nuclear energy - that the petition will saddle companies with millions in additional costs if they are forced to source domestic uranium.The geopolitical issues they raised have been more than adequately debunked, said David Tamsai, spokesman for the group. The petition would create a mandated market to make profits for two companies.Conservation groups are concerned that boosting domestic demand for uranium will put areas of land with uranium deposits - including acres within the now-redrawn Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and contested acres near the Grand Canyon in Arizona - in danger.There is a lot of reason to be concerned if these trade measures are taken, said Amber Reimondo of the Grand Canyon Trust. It will increase demand well beyond what current mines are capable of producing.Trump has 90 days to decide whether to act upon the recommendations.
source: www.reuters.com

16 Apr 19

Goldman Sachs to layoff 98 bank employees in New York | One America News Network

Goldman Sachs Group Inc plans to lay off nearly 100 employees in New York in the coming months, according to a filing the bank made with New York state that was made public on Monday.The 98 employees are being let go for economic reasons and their final day will be between May 29 and Sept. 28, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification that the bank filed with the New York State Department of Labor on Feb. 19.It was not immediately clear in what division of the bank the employees worked, but they have all been notified about the layoffs, according to a source familiar with the filing.Goldman Sachs is known for an annual all-staff review in which the bank fires around 5 percent of employees for reasons like missing performance targets. The bank has said that this allows it to make new hires.The bank employs around 36,000 people worldwide.Goldman Sachs reported a 13 percent slump in first-quarter revenue earlier on Monday. Declines in trading, underwriting, investment management and investing and lending revenues all contributed to the bank missing analysts expectations.
source: www.oann.com

15 Apr 19

F-35 deploys to Middle East for first time

The Air Forces most advanced fighter jet has, for the first time, been deployed to the Middle East.U.S. Air Forces Central Command said in a release that F-35A Lightning IIs from the 388th Fighter Wing and the 419th Fighter Wing, both at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates Monday.The F-35s arrival comes a little more than a month after B-1B Lancer bombers completed their deployment at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which left the Air Force with no bomber presence in the Middle East. The joint strike fighters will bolster the Air Forces firepower in the region as the coalition carries out airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and scattered remnants of the Islamic State. Air Force chief defends F-35A against critics, boasting kills at Red FlagThink of the F-35 as the quarterback of the joint team," and not simply another stealth fighter, the Air Force chief of staff said Tuesday.By: Kyle RempferWe are adding a cutting-edge weapons system to our arsenal that significantly enhances the capability of the coalition, said Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of AFCENT, in the release. The sensor fusion and survivability this aircraft provides to the joint force will enhance security and stability across the theater and deter aggressors.A 380th Air Expeditionary Maintenance Group crew chief meets an F-35A pilot at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 15. Lightning IIs have deployed to Air Forces Central Command's area of responsibility for the first time. (Staff Sgt. Chris Thornbury/Air Force)The F-35A is a stealth fighter with an advanced sensor package that was designed to replace aging air frames such as the F-16 and A-10. The Air Force said it is designed to fuse, integrate and share data with other assets on the battlefield.The F-35A provides our nation air dominance in any threat, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said in the release. When it comes to having a quarterback for the coalition joint force, the inter-operable F-35A is clearly the aircraft for the leadership role.Sign up for the Air Force Times Daily News Roundup Don't miss the top Air Force stories, delivered each afternoonSubscribeIn 2017, the fifth-generation fighter also deployed to RAF-Lakenheath in the United Kingdom and the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.The 388th is an active-duty wing, and the 419th is a reserve wing.
source: www.airforcetimes.com

Author(s): Stephen Losey

15 Apr 19

Next Marine commandant says MARSOC is vital to the Corps and US special operations

The Marine nominated to be the Corps next commandant told Congress the services special operators are vital, and showed no hesitation to proceed with budgetary plans to continue to grow the small force.Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, the current deputy commandant for Marine Combat Development and Integration, was responding to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-New York, about whether Marine Corps Special Operations Command should be disestablished, as was recommended in a recent think tank article.At this stage they have developed farther, faster than most thought possible, Berger said. I think theyre vital. I think the (Special Operations Forces) and the command are better with them there. MARSOCs tab after 13 years: 43 deaths, more than 300 valor awards, and 300 operational deploymentsMarine Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC, was founded in 2005 at the direction of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.By: Shawn SnowBerger has been tapped to take over as commandant when Gen. Robert B. Neller steps down at the end of his four-year tour later this year. The three-star is a former reconnaissance Marine.In late March another Marine veteran Dakota Wood, who now works as a senior research fellow with The Heritage Foundation, wrote a report centered on rebuilding the Marine Corps. The central theme of his research focused on how the Marine Corps has strayed from its amphibious mission.He highlighted the growth of MARSOC and the resources that he says pull from the Corps as part of that mission distraction. Wood advocated for the elimination of the command to refocus on the Corps role in its primary calling.Though a small piece of a detailed report, the below paragraph is what triggered the senators question, which Blumenthal said he wanted to continue to explore.Get the Marine Corps Times Daily News Roundup Don't miss the top Marine Corps stories, delivered each afternoonSubscribeMARSOC, while a boon to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM) and doing good work for the country, is an opportunity cost for the Corps. The Marines consistently resisted creating a special operations component until directed to do so in 2006, driven by a shortage of special operations teams needed to prosecute the global war on terrorism following the attacks of September 11, 2001. That national emergency has long been over, and the Corps should redirect its efforts to its primary role, Wood wrote.The Corps seems to have no such plans to let go of MARSOC.In its 2018 budget request, the Corps originally asked for funding to add another 368 MARSOC personnel.At that time the MARSOC end-strength goal was 3,110, MARSOC spokesman Maj. Nick Mannweiler told Marine Corps Times. MARSOC had 2,742 active-duty Marines then.The recommendations made in the paper are one aspect of a much broader conversation on Marine Corps and joint operations in response to our evolving national security challenges. MARSOC will continue to partner with our fellow Marines in enhancing lethality, interoperability, integration and interdependence as well as with our rich network of SOF and interagency partners," Mannweiler wrote in an email.Activated in 2006, MARSOC is the newest group of special operations forces under the U.S. Special Operations Command umbrella. Marines declined to form such a unit when SOCOM was founded in 1986, despite the World War II heritage of the Marine Raiders, one of the earliest modern U.S. special operations-type units.The critical skills operator job wasnt a primary MOS until 2011. The officer designation came in 2014.
source: www.marinecorpstimes.com

Author(s): Todd South

15 Apr 19

US killed No. 2 leader of ISIS-Somalia, officials say

An American airstrike in northeastern Somalia has killed the deputy leader of the Islamic State group in the country, U.S. officials said Monday.Abdulhakim Dhuqub, who was responsible for the extremist groups daily operations, attack planning and resource procurement, was killed in the vicinity of Xiriiro, in the Bari region, on Sunday.The U.S. military has been supporting the government of Somalia as it increases the competency of its security forces and pushes back against extremist groups in the country.U.S. Africa Command said that precision airstrikes support Somali security forces and allow time and space for governance to grow in the country.We continue to work with our Somali partners to keep pressure on the al-Shabab and ISIS-Somalia terror networks," said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. When it supports the strategy, we use precision airstrikes to target those who plan and carry out the violent extremist activities that put Somalis at risk.The airstrikes help to create organizational confusion within the terrorist networks in Somalia," according to Air Force Col. Chris Karns, an AFRICOM spokesman. Lightning brigade: Training advanced infantry not airstrikes is AFRICOMs primary effort in SomaliaSomalias Danab brigade is being directly trained by U.S. military forces.By: Kyle RempferBy consistently placing pressure on the terror networks, it keeps them off balance and reflects the federal government of Somalias commitment to enhancing stability and security for the Somali people, he told Air Force Times. Various levels of leadership within the terror networks are effectively being targeted and removed from doing further harm to innocent Somalis.Sign up for the Air Force Times Daily News Roundup Don't miss the top Air Force stories, delivered each afternoonSubscribeThe strike occurred in an autonomous region of northern Somalia known as Puntland. Most airstrikes have taken place in the southern part of the country. ISIS-Somalia is primarily active in Puntland and is estimated to have roughly 300 members.ISIS-Somalia is a splinter group of al-Shabab, a group the U.S. says is aligned with al-Qaida and that is also active in Somalia.At this time, AFRICOM is assessing that the airstrike killed only Dhuqub and destroyed one vehicle.Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike, officials said in a statement. Our process and procedures allow for additional information to inform post-strike analysis.U.S. airstrikes killed two civilians in an airstrike on a vehicle on April 1, 2018, in central Somalia. That revelation came after AFRICOM self-reported that an error had been made roughly a year after the strike first occurred.So far, that civilian casualty is the only such incident that has come to light.Since 2007, the U.S. has conducted airstrikes to kill militants in Somalia, but the number of strikes per year was never more than three. Beginning in 2016, airstrikes in Somalia spiked to 15. In 2018, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Long War Journal cataloged 47 strikes in-country.AFRICOM is working with the African Union Mission to Somalia to build the federal governments capabilities and expand state security.
source: www.airforcetimes.com

Author(s): Kyle Rempfer

15 Apr 19

Russia's Rosatom in talks over selling 49% in Akkuyu NPP

Rosatom is holding talks of selling a 49-percent stake in the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) construction project with investors but is not in a rush to sell, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian stat-run corporation Alexei Likhachev told reporters on Monday."We are holding talks with both state-run and private Turkish companies. Yes, we are ready to sell up to 49%. It is impossible to do without the permit of the Turkish side; therefore, the government is certainly involved in these talks. We will not hasten definitely," Likhachev noted."We have understanding of the financial plan for 2019 and for 2020; there have been no urgent challenges related to involvement of investors so far," he added.
source: tass.com

15 Apr 19

Arrest of Kevin Belcher for Child Sex Trafficking

Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI, Las Vegas Division, announced the arrest of Kevin Belcher of Reno, Nevada.On April 9, 2019, members of the FBI-led Northern Nevada Child Exploitation Task Force (NNCETF), in partnership with the Reno Police Department and State of Nevada Welfare Investigations arrested Kevin Belcher for Sex Trafficking of a Minor under the age of 18, Child Abuse, Coercion with Force or the Threat of Force, and Open and Gross Lewdness. The task force has been investigating Belcher for a significant amount of time and foresees additional charges in this case.Belcher was arrested as part of an investigation into a child sex trafficking group by the Northern Nevada Child Exploitation Task Force. This is the first arrest related to the ongoing investigation into this group.If you have information regarding Kevin Belcher or his associates, you are urged to contact the FBI at 702-385-1281 or the Secret Witness Program at 775-322-4900.
source: www.fbi.gov

15 Apr 19

Judicial Watch Sues State Department over John Kerrys Shadow Diplomacy to Prevent U.S. Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal - Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State for records of communications between former Secretary of State John Kerry and State Department officials regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also known as JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal) and/or meetings between Kerry and Iranian officials to discuss the JCPOA. (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:19-cv-00777)).On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which had been negotiated by Kerry in 2015 on behalf of the Obama State Department. In the months preceding the U.S. withdrawal, Kerry reportedly had been on a stealthy yet aggressive mission of shadow diplomacy in an attempt to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. Kerry reportedly held meetings and spoke with major players, foreign and domestic, involved in the Iran nuclear agreement who opposed the U.S. withdrawal.The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to respond to a May 7, 2018, FOIA request seeking:All records of communications, including but not limited to emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text message or instant chat, between former Secretary of State John Kerry and official of the State Department regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also known as the JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal) and/or meetings between Kerry and Iranian officials to discuss the JCPOA.During his personal campaign to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, Kerry is said to have met with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the United Nations in New York in late April 2018, their second meeting in two months, to discuss ways of preventing the deal limiting Irans nuclear weapons program from falling apart. Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo termed Kerrys meeting with the worlds largest state-sponsor of terror unseemly and unprecedented and beyond inappropriate.Kerry also met in April 2018 with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, separately had meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, both in Paris and New York, and spoke on the phone with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Additionally, Kerry was reported to have quietly lobbied members of Congress, including then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and placed dozens of phone calls just before the U.S. withdrawal.John Kerry wasnt elected president, so he should avoid colluding with Iran and other foreign government to undermine U.S. foreign policy, said Judicial Watch President Fitton. Our lawsuit is meant to discover not only what Kerry was up to but also to unearth who inside the Deep State Trump resistance were coordinating with Kerrys clandestine efforts to undermine the President Trumps Iran policy.In another Iran-related FOIA lawsuit, on May 19, 2017, Judicial Watch filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of the Treasury (No.1:17-cv-00864)) against the State and Treasury Departments regarding the Obama administrations January 2016 transfer of $400 million in foreign currency to Iran, a cash payment delivered the same weekend five American hostages were released. The Obama administration insisted at the time the cash payment was not ransom for the hostages, but several Republican lawmakers said it was too coincidental to be true. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reportedly said, Paying Iran behind our backs, incentivizing further kidnappings of Americans while providing funds for terrorism, is as ignorant as it is wrong.The State Department, just two weeks after an August 4 press conference in which President Barack Obama said the payment was not a ransom, confirmed that the U.S. handed over the cash only after Iran released the hostages. The $400 million was the first installment of a $1.7 billion cash settlement the Obama administration paid Iran to resolve an arms deal signed before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which toppled the pro-U.S. regime in Tehran.Few documents were produced to Judicial Watch in this case, and all were fully redacted.
source: www.judicialwatch.org

Author(s): Judicial Watch

15 Apr 19

Center for American Progress CEO Throws ThinkProgress Under Bus After Sanders Criticism

Liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) publicly distanced itself from a video produced by ThinkProgress, an outlet owned and funded by CAP.In a Saturday letter addressed to the CAP board of directors, 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders complained about ThinkProgress's coverage of his campaign, charging that he had been subjected to unfair "personal attacks."Sanders cited in particular an article highlighting the fact that the socialist Vermont senator is now a millionaire, which the ThinkProgress writer wrote was "very off-brand and embarrassing." He also complained about a video which noted that Sanders had dropped his trademark denunciation of "millionaires and billionaires" after making his first million, switching instead to "billionaires.""Center for American Progress leader Neera Tanden repeatedly calls for unity while simultaneously maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas," Sanders wrote. "I worry that the corporate money CAP is receiving is inordinately and inappropriately influencing the role it is playing in the progressive movement."The Sanders campaign found an ally in its crusade when billionaire liberal megadonor Tom Steyer tweeted Monday that he would use his "voice on the Center for American Progress' Board of Directors to discourage any such attacks on any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the future."Voters deserve a fair and unbiased primary election and I will use my voice on the Center for American Progress Board of Directors to discourage any such attacks on any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the future. pic.twitter.com/36wadgGnFy Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) April 15, 2019Less than half an hour after Steyer's tweet, Tanden responded in a Monday press release distancing both CAP and herself from ThinkProgress's anti-Sanders content."The orientation of CAP is to positively engage with all political leaders about the country's future," the press release said. "ThinkProgress is editorially independent of CAP and CAP Action, which is what has made it valuable as a news outlet. Similarly, we at CAP can form our own opinions of their work.""We believe the content of the ThinkProgress video critiquing Sen. Sanders is overly harsh and does not reflect our approach to a constructive debate of the issues," it concluded.
source: freebeacon.com

Author(s): Alex Griswold

15 Apr 19

The cost of restoring Notre Dame Cathedral is astronomical, but the France has a surprising plan to raise the funds.

The cost of restoring Paris most visited landmark after centuries of damage is astronomical, but the French government has devised a surprising plan to raise the funds.
source: www.bbc.com

Author(s): BBC's The Travel Show

15 Apr 19

Valerie Jarrett's New Book Doesn't Crack Amazon's Top 1,000 Yet Hits NYT Bestseller List

The former adviser to Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, released a new book, and its achieved a spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Yet, for some reason, customers have been shrugging it off on Amazon, one of the largest book dealers in America.According to the Daily Caller, Jarretts book was published on April 2 and to crack the top 100 on any site save the NYT bestseller list, which placed it at 14th. However, Amazons numbers show that the highest placement the book got was 1,030. It didnt fare much better at Barnes & Noble, where the book hit a placement of 1,244.Naturally, this raised some questions, with an anonymous book industry insider telling the DCNF that with placements this bad, theres no way it should be on the NYTs list.Given the organic sales of that book and the fact that during the entire week of rollout it barely cracked the top 100 on Amazon, theres no way the book should have a place on the NYT Best Seller list. Inconceivable, said the insider to DCNF. Theres likely an effort to game the system, its the only explanation.This game the system the anonymous insider is referring to is done via a companies that are in the game of helping authors achieve a spot on the bestseller list by buying a book in bulk, but making it seem as if individuals were purchasing them, and all within the first week of the books release:For a price, companies such as Result Source will help authors buy their way onto the bestseller list. The bestseller lists exclude bulk sales, so they work by buying large numbers of books in a way that appears as manual, individual sales. The purchases are also concentrated during one week, ensuring that its numbers are high enough to place in the top 10 during its crucial launch week, even if it means stockpiling and trying to resell those books over a long period of time.They just take three months worth of their events books, all their corporate clients and speeches, and they funnel them through this company, the editor said.Result Source generally bought between 10,000 and 11,000 copies in the first week in order to ensure a spot on the bestseller list, he said, another red flag with Jarretts 12,600 number. Is that 11,000 bulk sales and then only 1,600 copies? If Viking paid $1 million and the organic sales were 1,600 Making your book seem like an NYT bestseller is a gamble that requires you to pay a lot of money to essentially buy your own book in hopes to spur on a sales hike to cover the cost. This may or may not work, but one that you can do is call yourself a bestselling author and raise your prices to match how in demand you will likely become.Even so, the placement of Jarretts book on the bestseller list is pretty dismal, especially for the amount of money that was paid to get the book at a top spot.Viking supposedly paid seven figures for this, so they were hoping for Michelle Obama level publicity and number one bestseller, the anonymous book editor told the DCNF. Number 14 is a huge disappointment. For $1 million you want to sell 200,000 copies in order for this to work out. For a book like this that should have been publicity driven, youd want 40 to 50 thousand in the first week.Theres no demand for the book and no one is reviewing it, the editor continued. Shes gotten very little media. She doesnt know how to sell it and no one wants to sell it for her.That a book was even released by Jarrett is a surprise to many. It would appear that after the Obama administration left power, Jarretts star had fallen drastically.
source: www.redstate.com

Author(s): Brandon Morse

15 Apr 19

Mueller Report Expected To Be Released on Thursday, Justice Department Announces

The Justice Department expects to make a redacted version of special counsel Robert Muellers report on the Russia investigation public Thursday morning, a spokeswoman said Monday.The redacted report would be sent to Congress and also made available to the public, spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.As Washington counted down until the release, President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks in an eleventh-hour effort to undermine the reports findings.Trump unleashed a series of tweets on Monday including two just minutes after the Justice Departments announcement focusing on the favorable toplines in the previously released summary produced by Attorney General William Barr.The Brief NewsletterSign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. View SampleSIGN UP NOWMueller officially concluded his investigation late last month and submitted the confidential report to Barr. Two days later, the attorney general sent Congress a four-page letter that detailed Muellers principal conclusions.In his letter, Barr said the special counsel did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump associates during the campaign, but Mueller did not reach a definitive conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Instead, Mueller presented evidence on both sides of the obstruction question. Barr said he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to prove that Trump had obstructed justice.Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction, Trump tweeted. These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!In his letter, Barr noted that Muellers team did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.Democrats immediately called for Mueller to testify and for his report to be released. Portions of the report being released by the Justice Department will be redacted to protect grand jury material, sensitive intelligence, matters that could affect ongoing investigations and damage to the privacy rights of third parties, the attorney general has said.Trump and his allies are also attacking the origins of the Russia investigation, portraying it as an effort by Democrats and career officials in the Justice Department who wanted to bring down a president.The Mueller Report, which was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax. That is, never forget, the crime. Trump tweeted.Trumps long- asserted accusation though not supported by evidence that his campaign was spied upon was given new life last week when Barr, testifying before Congress, said he thinks spying did occur in 2016.Barr may have been referring to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained in the fall of 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. The warrant was obtained after Page had left the campaign and was renewed several times. Critics of the Russia investigation have seized on the fact that the warrant application cited Democratic-funded opposition research, done by a former British spy, into the Trump campaigns ties to Russia.Barr later softened his tone, adding I am not saying improper surveillance occurred.The attorney generals comments have frustrated Democrats, already anxious for the release of the full, uncensored report and concerned that Barr may withhold pertinent information. The report could provide new information that could prompt further investigations or even consideration of impeachment proceedings, a tricky political calculation since Mueller did not conclude there was collusion or obstruction.The scores of outstanding questions about the investigation has not stopped the presidents allies from declaring victory.The Russia probe began on July 31, 2016, when the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russias efforts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign and the question of whether anyone on the Trump campaign was involved. That probe was prompted by former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos contacts with Russian intermediaries, including a Maltese professor who told the young aide that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails.
source: time.com

Author(s): Michael Balsamo; JONATHAN LEMIRE / AP UPDATED: APRIL 15, 2019 1:22 PM ET

15 Apr 19

Paris' Historic Notre Dame Cathedral Goes Up in Flames

A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too."Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame," Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions.The cause of the catastrophic blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is "potentially linked" to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church's spire and its 250 tons of lead. Paris police said there were no reported deaths.Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Sights of the flames stopped passers-by in their tracks along the Seine River that passes beneath the cathedral.French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.French historian Camille Pascal told BFM broadcast channel the fire was destroying "invaluable heritage.""It's been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris", Pascal said. "Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame."He recalled that Notre Dame bells sounded the death knell following the 2015 Paris attacks."We can be only horrified by what we see", Pascal said.Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the center of Paris.Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the "terrible fire." Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with Paris diocese.
source: www.newsmax.com

15 Apr 19

Bernie Sanders: Liberal think tank 'using its resources to smear' progressives in 2020 race

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is accusing a liberal think tank of "using its resources to smear" him and other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.Sanders wrote in a letter to the Center for American Progress (CAP) on Saturday that the group has unfairly criticized him, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). I and other Democratic candidates are running campaigns based on principles and ideas and not engaging in mudslinging or personal attacks on each other," he wrote."Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress is using its resources to smear Senator Booker, Senator Warren, and myself, among others. This is hardly the way to build unity, or to win the general election," Sanders continued.Sanders wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, that the group recently published an article on ThinkProgress that criticized him "for my appearance and for the income I earned from writing a book.""Then, a day later, you published a video that dishonestly attacked me for hypocrisy in my effort to address income inequality in America," he said.He added that the group unfairly targeted Warren in 2017 and 2018 as well as Booker earlier this year for teaming with Sanders on a prescription drug bill.I will be informing my grassroots supporters of the foregoing concerns that I have about the role CAP is playing. Should your actions evolve in the coming months, I am happy to reconsider what kind of partnership we can have," Sanders wrote.CAP responded to Sanders that ThinkProgress is editorially independent from the think tank."The Center for American Progress is a research institution focused on ideas and policy. ThinkProgress is part of CAP Action: It is editorially independent of both CAP and CAP Action and has been for years. We do not suggest, edit, approve or see their stories before publishing. And, in this particular instance, no one at CAP or CAP Action knew about this article or videos existence before publication," the Center for American Progress (CAP) said in a statement."Indeed, ThinkProgress publishes articles with which we disagree. We cannot and will not muzzle ThinkProgress, an editorially independent journalistic enterprise, and we believe its wrong for any political leader to demand it do so," the group added.
source: thehill.com

15 Apr 19

How the Daring Airwave Six Exposed the Chinese Regimes Self-Immolation Hoax

As the persecution against Falun Gong intensified across China in the early 2000s fueled by a massive hate propaganda campaign, Liang Zhenxing racked his brain for an effective way to let people know that the meditation practice was not the evil cult the Chinese Communist Party had labeled it.Fearful of Falun Gongs immense popularitythe practice had 70-100 million adherents by the late 1990s then-Party leader Jiang Zemin initiated the persecution in an attempt to wipe it out.On July 20, 1999, the regime issued the order for nationwide arrests and a relentless propaganda campaign was launched to attack Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) and slander the traditional practice that teaches truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The propaganda was taken to new heights the following January, when a self-immolation was staged on Tiananmen Square in which five people posing as Falun Gong practitioners set themselves on fire, acting under state orders.Liang and his friends knew that the self-immolation, in which one person died, was an elaborate hoax staged by the Party in order to portray Falun Gong as dangerous and justify their brutal campaign of arbitrary arrest, torture, and killing. But the incident and the following propaganda blitz had the intended effectFalun Gong was now well and truly demonized in the eyes of the Chinese people.Liang Zhenxing (Minghui.org)Later, Liang was able to watch False Fire, a documentary that analyses footage of the incident and other evidence and lays bare the numerous, gaping holes in the self-immolation. It told the truth that people needed to know. But how to get that truth out there?He finally found what he was looking for after reading an article on Minghui, a website based in the West that compiles information on the persecution, which covered broadcast interruption and how to tap into a TV network and broadcast a video with a VCD player.Liang knew this would be far more impactful than handing out flyers or putting up banners at nightthe approach practitioners in China take to raise awareness about the persecution, known in the Falun Gong community as clarifying the truth.Now all he needed was a team to bring about this high-tech effort.(Minghui.org)Forming a Team, Building a StrategyLiang had already been imprisoned in his home city of Changchun for going to Beijing to appeal for an end to the persecution campaign. While there, he befriended fellow practitioners Liu Chengjun and Liu Haibo who, like Liang, remained steadfast in not renouncing Falun Gong no matter how badly they were beaten or tortured.Now that they were all released, Liang recruited them for the task he had in mind, along with more than a dozen others who had the various technical and electrical skills needed. The core team consisted of six people, complete with nicknames: Lei Little Brother Ming, Liu Great Sea Haibo, Liu Big Truck Chengjun, Hou The Monkey Mingkai, Zhou The Cook Runjun (the only woman), and Liang.The team rented a house to use as a base and began to develop their strategy.They acquired lineman hooks and learned how to climb poles at night in local neighborhoods. By day, they practiced on an abandoned electronic hub they found in a junkyard. Liu Haibo and Hou figured out a way to splice wires in advance, which meant just a quick adjustment would be needed when the time came.Lei Ming (Minghui.org)Things were progressing well, when out of the blue Liang was arrested. Somehow word had reached the police that he was up to something. The others knew the police would torture Liang for information and were waiting for that ominous knock on the door, but it never came. As always, Liang was rock-solid and withstood the abuse.The team knew they had to act fast, and by the end of February 2002, with Liu Chengjun now in the role of leader, almost everything was ready.The plan was that four sub-teams, wearing official-looking clothes and using bicycles and cabs to get around, would tap into eight cable channels in Changchun and nearby Songyuan City and broadcast Falun Gong truth-clarification videos simultaneously.Zhou Runjuns job was to get everything moved out of the house, leaving no trace that they had ever been there.Liu Haibo with his wife. (Minghui.org)You Falun Gong Are So AmazingOn March 5, 2002, 50 minutes of programming that reported the facts about the persecution campaign against Falun Gong was broadcast simultaneously on eight channels to 300,000 cable subscribers in Changchun. Nearly 100,000 households were able to watch Self-immolation or Hoax? and Falun Dafa Spreads Worldwide. Tens of thousands of cable subscribers in Songyuan City saw the same programs.In his feature article Into Thin Airwaves, author and China expert Ethan Gutmann described the reaction after the programs were aired, with many who saw them believing the persecution campaign had ended.In some neighborhoods, local Party officials grew desperate and cut the power, plunging streets into darkness. In others, such as those near Cultural Square, people spilled into the streets to celebrate. The ban is over! Falun Gong is rehabilitated! Gutmann wrote.A few practitioners emerged from factories and hideouts, openly handing out literature.Neighbors, children, random strangers, even the old ladies with the red armbands approached them, everyone talking at once, bubbling over, laughing, slapping them playfully, congratulating them. A few suspected it had not been a government broadcast, but still they smiled broadly and whispered: How did you do it? You Falun Gong are so amazing!After Liu returned to Changchun from Songuan City, he went out into the streets to see for himself what was going on. The next day, with tears in his eyes, he told every member of the team, It was a big success!! Thank you, everyone!People are talking about the truth of Falun Gong everywhere, even out in public, like on buses. The broadcast lasted more than 20 minutes on one branch and 30 minutes on the other! The videos played to the end, and people learned the truth. The whole city is in shock, he said, according to Minghui.Hou Mingkais wife and daughter. (Minghui.org)Rounds of Mass ArrestsBut the jubilation was short-lived. Furious and in a panic, the authorities dispatched every policeman in the city to search for those who had tapped into the cable network and broadcast the videos. Martial law was enacted. Liu Jing, the then vice public security minister, flew to Changchun to supervise the massive rounds of searches and arrests.In the first round of mass arrests, over 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners were detained. The interrogations and tortures began immediately to track down those involved in the cable television hijacking.Lei Ming was the first to be picked up. He was beaten at the police department, then taken to a basement room equipped with all kinds of torture devices: a tiger-bench, electric batons, plastic bags to cover the head, a red-hot iron rod, etc. After being tortured for four days and nights, he was all but dead. Sentenced to 17 years in prison, Lei was released early with severe spinal injuries, which lead to his death in 2006.Lei Ming after being released from prison. (Minghui.org)Liu Chengjun was arrested at his home, handcuffed, and beaten with wooden clubs, while his family and other villagers looked on. His uncle, aunt, and cousin were held at a detention center for 11 days, where the uncle and cousin were beaten severely. Liu was later sentenced to 19 years in prison, where he died of torture in 2003. He was only 32.Liu Haibo was arrested on the night of March 10 and died a few hours later while in custody. According to Minghui, the police inserted an electric baton into Lius rectum to shock his internal organs. He died in a few minutes.Hou Mingkai was arrested on Aug. 20, 2002, with three other practitioners. He was beaten to death that night.Zhou Runjun was sentenced to 20 years but is believed to be dead.Liang Zhenxing died on May 1, 2010, after enduring eight years of imprisonment and torture.In September 2002, 15 people were tried in the Changchun Intermediate Court for the daring broadcasts and given sentences of to up to 20 years in prison. At the time, the jail terms were the longest handed down to Falun Gong practitioners since the persecution began in July 1999.This is the last known photo of Liu Chengjun. Due to torture, he had many injuries and could no longer sit up by himself so had to lean against the wall. (Friends of Falun Gong)The Mountain Had MovedBut the sacrifice made by the groupwhich became known as the Airwave Sixto clarify the truth in such a daring way wasnt in vain. Not only did the effort conquer, however briefly, the overwhelming volume of state propaganda, but the teams work pioneered a new era of raising awareness about the persecution. The effort motivated practitioners living overseas to work on developing internet anti-blockade software, which was able to get past the Chinese regimes Golden Shield.Gutmann wrote: The mountain had moved. With names like FreeGate, UltraSurf, and Dynaweb, small cells of practitioners, operating out of offices in northern California and living rooms in North Carolina, began the process of climbing over the great Chinese firewall and forging a permanent Internet connection to China from the West.In 2006, practitioners formed the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, a U.S.-based alliance of organizations that have contributed significantlythrough deploying anti-censorship technologies for Internet users in oppressive regimesto the advancement of information freedom in China, Iran, Burma, and other closed societies.No wonder Gutmann described Liang as the man whose ingenuity spurred Falun Gongs work on internet freedom.
source: www.theepochtimes.com

Author(s): JOAN DELANEY, Epoch Times

15 Apr 19

Cultists cut off head of rival member, murder 3 others; as police arrest two suspects

Four cultists have been killed in Lekki area of Lagos as rival cult groups clashed, while the police have arrested two suspects in connection with the killings.The head of one of the cultists was cut off, the police report.According to Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Bala Elkana, on 14th April, 2019 at about 8.45am, Ogombo Police Station received a distress call that rival cult groups had a clash of supremacy along Abraham Adesanya, Lekki-Epe Expressway and that four members of Eiye cult gang were killed by Aye members.He disclosed that two suspects were arrested in connection with the case and that they confessed to the commission of the crime.One axe with blood stains was recovered from the suspects. The four corpses were evacuated and deposited at Public mortuary for autopsy.All the corpses have matchete cuts with one of the corpses head severed but not taken away. Investigation is ongoing. The Command has launched a manhunt of the other fleeing cult members, he said.
source: www.pmnewsnigeria.com

15 Apr 19

Hacker group targets FBI websites, posts personal records on law officers

Authorities were investigating Saturday the online posting by a hacker group of the personal information of hundreds of federal agents and police officers apparently stolen from websites affiliated with alumni of the FBI's National Academy.The Associated Press counted at least 1,400 unique records of employees of the FBI, Secret Service, Capitol Police, U.S. Park Police and other federal agencies as well as police and sheriffs deputies in North Carolina and Florida. The records included home addresses and phone numbers, emails and employers names.The FBI National Academy Associates said in a statement that the information, posted late Thursday, appears to come from the websites of three local chapters of the nonprofit, which claims nearly 17,000 members nationwide and in 174 countries.It said it was working with federal authorities to investigate.The group said its national database was unaffected. It said the three affected chapters were using third-party software but said it was "too early to determine if this impacted the breach.""If it is determined that there has been felonious activity, we well prosecute the culprits to the fullest extent of the law," said the group, which is based in Quantico, Virginia, home to the academy.The AP is not identifying the hackers' website. A linked Twitter account says the group is based in Ukraine.The hack was first reported by the news site TechCrunch.
source: www.wtol.com

Author(s): April 15, 2019 at 8:19 AM EDT - Updated April 15 at 8:37 AM

15 Apr 19

Leaked diocese document reveals names of more accused priests

The names of an additional 27 Catholic priests accused of misconduct emerged this week in leaked Buffalo Diocese documents showing that a review board examined allegations against the priests.A copy of the June 27, 2018 meeting agenda of the Diocesan Review Board, obtained by WKBW-TV, included the names of nearly 100 priests whose cases were being reviewed by the board.Bishop Richard J. Malone in 2018 publicly identified most of the priests on that agenda as having been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. But Malone has remained silent on 27 of those priests, including a former superintendent of Catholic schools, Monsignor Ted Berg, and a former high-ranking diocesan administrator, Monsignor Albert Rung. The Diocesan Review Boards primary purpose is to examine cases of alleged child sex abuse, but it's not clear how many of the 27 priests were accused of sexual abuse of minors or if the complaints were found to be credible.The 27 priests listed on the Buffalo Diocesan Review Board agenda in connection with misconduct complaints are:The Rev. James Bartnik, Monsignor Ted Berg, the Rev. Gerald Collins, the Rev. George Cotter, Monsignor Joseph Coughlin, Monsignor Edmund Dietzel, the Rev. John Donnelly, the Rev. John Doyle, the Rev. John J. Fox, the Rev. Ralph Frederico, the Rev. Joseph Garin, Monsignor Francis Growney, the Rev. Kiernan Haggerty, the Rev. Francis Hannah, the Rev. James H. Kasprzyk, the Rev. Francis Kealy, the Rev. Nelson Kimmartin, the Rev. William Lanphear, the Rev. Joseph M. McPherson, Monsignor Richard O'Brien, the Rev. Joseph Penkaul, Monsignor Albert Rung, the Rev. Paul Salemi, the Rev. Maurus Schenk, the Rev. CJ Westfield, the Rev. Gervase F. White and the Rev. Maurice Woulfe.PRIESTS ACCUSED OF ABUSEFEDERAL SUBPOENA SEEKS DIOCESE'S CLERGY ABUSE COMPENSATION FUND RECORDSEllicottville priest's abuse allegation referred to Vatican; others clearedDiocese keeps priests off abuser list as it offers their accusers moneyRetired Bishop Kmiec criticized for not removing accused priest'Onslaught' of allegations against priests predicted from Child Victims ActHow priest's admission to a News reporter sparked clergy sex abuse scandalWith at least 13 of those priests, the complaints involved sex abuse of minors, according to WKBW-TV's report. One complaint accused a priest of possessing child pornography; one priest was accused of sexually assault an adult woman; and another priest allegedly covered up a sexual attack on a victim, the television report found.Most of the 27 priests served years ago and are deceased. Two of the priests, Salemi and Westfield, were active in the diocese within the past decade.Lawlor F. Quinlan III, a lawyer for the diocese, said that one of the 27 priests was not publicly identified because he was cleared of abuse by a diocese investigation.Westfield, who is retired but still active in the diocese, did nothing to warrant being linked to an abuse allegation, Quinlan said.Malone issued a statement Thursday criticizing media reports that said the diocese has engaged in a cover-up of the names of accused priests. He did not directly address why he did not publicly identify each of the 27 accused priests. But he said the diocese "has made significant strides to increase transparency regarding child sexual abuse.""... I would note that by publishing names of credibly accused priests, this diocese was doing the very opposite of covering up," Malone said. "Last March, I decided, for the first time in the history of this diocese, to publish a list of diocesan priests with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse."Malone acknowledged last November that they will not publicly identify all priests accused of sexual abuse or misconduct.The diocese revealed that it had received complaints against 176 diocesan and religious order priests. But Malone released the names of less than half of those priests.Kept off the list, for example, were 48 deceased priests who each had a single allegation against them. Diocese officials said the bishop didnt want to tarnish a dead priests legacy when the priest had no chance to defend himself against a claim. If the diocese gets a second credible allegation against a priest, the priests name will then be added to the list, according to diocesan officials."The diocese presents all reports of child sexual abuse (and other kinds of reports) to the Review Board," said Quinlan. "If, after a thorough investigation it is determined that that claim is substantiated, then the priests name is added to the public list. Even if a claim cannot be investigated because, for example, the priest is deceased or belongs to a religious order, then the priests name will still be added to the list if the diocese becomes aware of more than one claim against the priest."The bishops posture on which names get publicly released and which names are withheld has puzzled abuse survivors and parishioners.Just last month, a group of lay Catholics called the Movement to Restore Trust urged Malone to be more transparent about the full depth and scale of clergy abuses in the Buffalo Diocese.The group issued a report recommending that Malone provide a fuller accounting of what priests have been accused, similar to what has been done in the Archdiocese of Boston.Since 2011, the Boston Archdiocese has kept a list of accused clergy in five categories, including those found guilty of sexually abusing a child in church (canon) law, criminal law or both; those who were laicized after having been accused of sexual abuse of a minor; those who have been publicly accused of abuse where canonical proceedings remain to be completed; and those who are deceased and were publicly accused of abuse but where criminal or canonical proceedings were not completed.The list on the archdiocese website includes links to priests assignment histories.Malone said Thursday he has already disclosed the names of more accused priests than he would have if he had followed the Boston Archdiocese policies.In the Westfield case, a man who had made a complaint to the diocese about being abused as a child withdrew the accusation because he did not know for certain who the priest was, Quinlan said."The man was sure that he had been abused as a child by a priest, but to his credit, he did not want to place an accusation against the wrong priest. When he reviewed the available information, he did not make an accusation against Fr. Westfield," he said.Quinlan called it irresponsible for WKBW-TV to "publicize an accusation that was not made, something that was very upsetting to the survivor and Fr. Westfield."
source: buffalonews.com

Author(s): Jay Tokasz

14 Apr 19

Ex-children's home boss guilty of sex abuse

Patrick Grant, 69, from Cardiff, was convicted at Inner London Crown Court of three counts of indecent assault at a south Wales home in the 1980s.Grant, the superintendent, would sneak into his victim's room at night and molest him under the bedclothes.He was also found guilty of three counts of indecently assaulting two others.One victim was assaulted between January 1976 and May 1977, while another victim was assaulted between February 1977 and February 1978.The latter offences took place at children's homes in Surrey and London.Grant was acquitted of a similar allegation in the late 1970s, and was then allowed to return to the profession.Some of the abuse for which he has been jailed occurred prior to his acquittal, but the abuse of a boy at the south Wales home took place after he had been acquitted.One victim, who was abandoned by his mother, went onto abuse glue and sniff petrol, and later turned to cannabis and heroin. He blames his behaviour on the abuse he suffered from Grant.'His words haunted me'In a victim impact statement he said he often fled from the south Wales home, and said: "Each time I ran away from the home I was picked up by the police and told them what was happening, but they did nothing."He was homeless in London for 24 years and once attempted suicide.He said: "Patrick Grant always said to me he would make me disappear. Words that have always haunted me."Recorder of Southwark Judge Usha Karu told Grant,: "You went into one boy's bedroom and touched his private parts under the bedclothes, sometimes over."Once, when he wanted to say 'stop' you put your hand over his mouth."The judge added: "Each of these three victims have been severely traumatised by what happened to them."This was undoubtedly a gross abuse of trust and use of threats, telling a child you would make them disappear and that nobody would believe them."Each suffered severe psychological harm that they will carry for the rest of their lives."Regarding his acquittal in the 1970s the judge told Grant: "It could be said there was a shot passed across your bows, but you continued to offend."
source: www.bbc.com

Author(s): BBC News

14 Apr 19

Unsealed Documents Reveal Disturbing New Details in Jeffrey Epstein Sex Abuse Case

The story of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier who was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, is a testament to how wealth and power can prevent even the most egregious offenders from being held accountable for their crimes and the latest development in the story is further proof of that sad fact.Unsealed court records from 2011 reveal that despite evidence that Epstein had sexually abused girls as young as 14, a prosecutor recommended leniency, suggesting that he be classified as a level one sex offender, thus preventing him from having to register for an online sex offender database.According to the New York Post, Jennifer Gaffney, then deputy chief of New York Citys sex crimes unit, was given a state assessment of Epstein that said he was a sexual predator and was likely to offend again. Authored by the New York State board of Sex Offenders, the assessment was based on testimony from a number of young women, who claimed that Epstein had lured them to his mansion and hired them to give him massages, only to sexually abuse them. The assessment recommended that Epstein be classified as a level three offender, which would require him to sign up for the public sex offender registry.Gaffney, however, apparently recommended leniency for Epstein, recommending in spite of the report that he be classified as a level one sex offender, which would not require him to register for the public database. A Manhattan Supreme Court justice ultimately disagreed with her decision and designated Epstein a level three offender, a decision he unsuccessfully tried to appeal.The founder of the powerful investment banking firm J. Epstein and Co., Epstein was known for socializing with high-powered individuals, such as Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. His crimes first came to light in 2005, when a woman reported to Florida police that Epstein had molested her stepdaughter. A subsequent FBI investigation unearthed multiple reports from girls as young as 14, who claimed that Epstein sexually assaulted them. The young women were also asked to recruit other girls and bring them to Epsteins home.RELATEDJeffrey Epstein Settles Suit on Morning of Jury SelectionR. Kelly: Judge Allows Cameras in Courtroom for Sex Abuse TrialIn 2008, Epstein was charged with solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. As the result of a deal he struck with then-Miami U.S. district attorney Alexander Acosta (now President Trumps secretary of labor), Epstein entered a guilty plea and only served about 13 months in a Palm Beach county jail, where he stayed in a private wing. The non-prosecution agreement also ensured that the deal would be kept secret from Epsteins victims, and that any co-conspirators men who visited Epsteins mansion and also received sexual services from very young women would be immune from prosecution.Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that the non-prosecution agreement was illegal, and had violated the Crime Victims Rights Act by ensuring that Epstein;s victims were not aware of the plea deal. The judge gave Epsteins legal team 15 days to negotiate a settlement with more than 30 women who had accused him of sexual abuse. The Department of Justice has also opened an investigation into Epsteins 2008 plea deal.
source: www.rollingstone.com

Author(s): EJ Dickson

14 Apr 19

Haitian orphanage founder arrested in Dominican Republic

Police in the Dominican Republic have arrested a Haiti orphanage founder who's accused of molesting boys in his care.National police spokesman Col. Frank Felix Duran Mejia confirmed Saturday that Michael Geilenfeld was taken into custody. He did not say whether any charges had been filed and declined to specify whether Geilenfeld would be extradited to the U.S. or another country.Seven men have accused Geilenfeld of sexually abusing them as boys.Geilenfeld is a U.S. citizen who contends the assertions have ruined his reputation, cost the Hearts with Haiti charity several million dollars in donations and led him to be falsely imprisoned for 237 days.An abuse survivors group said Friday that Geilenfeld had fled to the Dominican Republic to avoid arrest and prosecution in Haiti.
source: www.foxnews.com

Author(s): Associated Press

14 Apr 19

Trump: Send Apprehended Illegal Aliens To Sanctuary Cities, Especially California

President Donald Trump said on Saturday night that the United States has the legal right to have illegal aliens detained at the border transferred to sanctuary cities and that he wants them sent to California.Play Video"Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities," Trump tweeted. "We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!"Trump's most recent tweet came after White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Saturday night on Fox News:They are telling us you cannot keep family units who come here illegally and unlawfully at the southern border. You cant keep them at detention facilities. You cant deport them. The only thing you can do is as an administration is release them into American communitiesSo, the president said listen, there are sanctuary cities out there where Democrats have said we welcome any and all whether they criminals, whether they are here illegally, seeking asylum, regardless. Anybody who disagrees with us is racist. So the president said fine, Ive got a great idea. Wed love to work with you guys to figure out exactly the best way to transport these people were here illegally and unlawfully and into your communities and your districts and your states.On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the White House "have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of "sanctuary cities.'""The White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan was intended to alleviate a shortage of detention space but also served to send a message to Democrats," the Post added.Trump's plan was not well received by all Democrats as Democrat presidential candidate Julian Castro said on Thursday that Trump's plan to send the apprehended illegal aliens to sanctuary cities was "cruel."WATCH:"So interesting to see the Mayor of Oakland and other Sanctuary Cities NOT WANT our currently 'detained immigrants' after release due to the ridiculous court ordered 20 day rule," Trump tweeted earlier in the evening. "If they dont want to serve our Nation by taking care of them, why should other cities & towns?""Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST. If not, Sanctuary Cities must immediately ACT to take care of the Illegal Immigrants - and this includes Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds," Trump added. "CHANGE THE LAWS NOW!"On Friday, Trump tweeted: "If the Radical Left Democrats all of a sudden dont want the Illegal Migrants in their Sanctuary Cities (no more open arms), why should others be expected to take them into their communities? Go home and come into our Country legally and through a system of Merit!""Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only," Trump added. "The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy so this should make them very happy!"
source: www.dailywire.com

Author(s): Ryan Saavedra

14 Apr 19

Muslim Student Tries Burning Down Canadian Campus - Geller Report

No press coverage on this, of course. Nothing to see here, according to the enemedia. Just another Muslim trying to kill people with incendiary devices. This was a terror attack. Nasradin Abdusamad Ali built fire bombs and clearly intended to cause devastation and death. Yet all he has been charged with is arson. Nasradin Ali built at least three incendiary devices that detonated. Why no terrorism charges?Muslim Student Tries Burning Down Canadian Campus, by Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage, April 8, 2019 (thanks to Wendy):Another nightmare brought to you by Canadas immigration system.Twenty-three-year-old Nasradin Abdusamad Ali appeared in a Vancouver provincial court Friday morning.Ali , 23, was previously charged with one count of arson in relation to inhabited property and one count of possession of incendiary material at Langara College. He is accused of setting three incendiary devices at the school on April 1, two of which detonated and forced staff and students to evacuate.According to Vancouver police, Ali was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with another student on the college campus on March 7. This assault was not reported until after the April 1 incident, but police say an investigation led to an assault charge.On March 26, Ali allegedly robbed a Langara student near a bus stop on East 53rd Avenue and Fleming Street.
source: gellerreport.com

Author(s): Pamela Geller - on April 14, 2019

14 Apr 19

Trump, despite solid U.S. growth, says Fed should fire up crisis-era stimulus | One America News Network

President Donald Trump said on Sunday that actions by the U.S. Federal Reserve have nicked U.S. economic growth and stock market gains by perhaps 30 percent, and that it should begin pumping money into the economy as it did during the 2007-2009 recession.Trumps latest broadside against the central bank, delivered by Twitter and without citing any evidence, came as European Central Bank head Mario Draghi and other international officials worried that a Fed politicized by potential Trump nominees would rattle a dollar-based global system.If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4 percent instead of 3 percentwith almost no inflation, Trump said.Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite, he said, referring to the Feds monthly withdrawal last year of up to $50 billion of the bonds it acquired during the worst economic downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.Trumps suggestion the Fed return to quantitative easing would put the central bank in the position of adding monetary stimulus and expanding its presence in debt markets in an economy growing solidly and with historically low unemployment.No one at the Fed, including three Trump appointees on the board of governors and Trumps handpicked chairman, Jerome Powell, has suggested the U.S. needs the sort of central bank help launched when the economy was in freefall a decade ago, according to minutes of recent Fed meetings.The Fed has already decided to halt the drawdown of its security holdings as of September after concluding that the size of its asset holdings, likely around $3.5 trillion by that point, would be adequate given the demand by commercial banks to hold central bank reserves, the public demand for cash, and the other uses to which its assets are put.The Fed raised interest rates four times in 2018, but also has put that process on hold, leaving the target policy rate at a range of between 2.25 and 2.5 percent, still below historical averages.Trump was angered last fall when a variety of economic risks, which analysts say included slowing growth abroad, Trumps own trade policies, and communications missteps by Powell, contributed to a more than 20 percent drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from October through December.That loss has been almost completely erased as the Fed shifted gears, and the Dow is now just about 1.5 percent below the record it set on Oct. 3.Trump remains peeved with Powell, and indicated he wants to name two political allies, economics commentator Stephen Moore and businessman Herman Cain, to fill two open seats on the Feds board of governors.
source: www.oann.com

14 Apr 19

Have I got a bargain for you. For a mere $2.7M, you can buy a governo

In Oregon, all it took Michael Bloombergs Everytown for Gun Safety is $2.7M to effectively revoke the Constitutionally protected Second Amendment rights of its citizens. Campaign contributions are legalized bribery and are the primary means that the globalists use to circumvent the democratic process.
source: archive.fo

13 Apr 19

Google Makes It Hard to Find Trumps Biggest Online Fan ClubThe_Donald

If a person, by any chance, searched the words Donald Trump and Reddit together on a number of internet search engines, such as Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, he or she would find that the top spot in the results is occupied by r/The_Donaldlikely the largest and most active fan club for President Donald Trump on the internet.Making the same search on Google, however, yielded no such result when repeatedly tried by The Epoch Times on April 12. Not on the first page of the results, not on the second, not on the 10th.The phenomenon was noticed by a Reddit user QuenHen2219 within days after the news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his report finding no collusion between Trumps 2016 campaign and Russia.Now I cant definitively say this, but I noticed something weird, the user said in a March 25 post. When you would go to Google and search for Donald Trump reddit r/the_Donald would always be the first search result. Now, after the Mueller report dropped, if you Google search the same term r/the_Donald isnt listed.Other users concurred, reporting that Google returned the same result, or lack thereof, for them too.The Epoch Times conducted a series of tests on March 25, March 26, and April 12 using multiple web browsers in public and private modes, logged in or notwith the same lack of r/The_Donald in the Google results for a plethora of phrases, like Donald Trump Reddit and Reddit The Donald Trump and even Reddit The Donald.Google search results for the words donald trump reddit as shown on March 25, 2019. (Screenshot via Google)Other search engines consistently showed the page at the top of the results.DuckDuckGo search results for the words donald trump reddit as shown on March 25, 2019. (Screenshot via DuckDuckGo)Yahoo search results for the words donald trump reddit as shown on March 25, 2019. (Screenshot via Yahoo)Bing search results for the words donald trump reddit as shown on March 25, 2019. (Screenshot via Bing)The Epoch Times wasnt able to confirm whether Google used to surface the page for these search phrases in the past.A Google official commenting on the condition of anonymity denied the company took any action to impact the ranking of the page and said Google didnt remove it from its page index. The page still appears high in the results, the official said via email, when one looks for it more specifically, such as by searching The_Donald or /r/The_Donald or reddit The_Donald.The official didnt explain however, why is it only Google that makes The_Donald more difficult to find.Fringe RankingOne possible explanation came in an April 9 report by The Daily Caller, which cited internal Google documents as saying that the company has something called fringe ranking: not showing fake news, hate speech, conspiracy theories, or science/medical/history denial unless were sure thats what the user wants.Google didnt respond to questions on whether the fringe ranking applies to r/The_Donald. Left-leaning press has, however, repeatedly accused the pages users of being hateful.The page was created in June 2015, less than two weeks after Trump announced his candidacy. It has since grown to more than 730,000 subscribers and has commonly ranked as the third most active subreddit in the Reddit list ranking tool.Its content is, by definition, 100 percent supportive of the president and generally of conservatism. Its other focus is criticizing and ridiculing Trumps opponents, particularly leftist politicians, celebrities, and media. Its humor and commentary is at times insulting, inaccurate, and/or based on speculation.Bias AccusationsGoogle and other tech companies including Facebook and Twitter have been consistently accused of bias against right-leaning content. The companies have denied political bias, but a growing stack of evidence shows they may have been applying their hate speech and other policies unevenly, perhaps without being aware of doing so.Theres no intentional filtering of conservative perspectives, but many of the people in these roles [of content management] arent aware of what non-left-leaning perspectives even arethey just arent exposed to them, former Facebook senior engineer Brian Amerige previously told The Epoch Times via Facebook Messenger.The company itself acknowledged that there is no universally accepted answer for when something crosses the line of hate speech.Despite that, one Facebook engineer even mused in a leaked communication that the company has to suppress content near the perimeter of hate speech too.Journalist and commentator Tim Pool suggested having a hate speech policy reflect a left-leaning bias to begin with.I would be willing to bet that a conservative running a social network would not have a hate speech policy, he said during his March 5 interview on the Joe Rogan show with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Vijaya Gadde, Twitters global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety.BlacklistInternal Google materials leaked to media have indicated the company manually tweaks search results on topics it deems controversial and maintains a blacklist for pages that violate its misrepresentation and good neighbor policies. Such pages then dont show in the News and other infoboxes on the search result pages, The Daily Caller reported.The leaked materials appear to contradict Dec. 11 congressional testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who said the company doesnt manually intervene on any particular search result.Google doesnt appear to provide any public explanation of how a page ends up on its blacklist or how online publications like The American Spectator and Conservative tribune reportedly ended up on it when there seems to be no indication either has broken Googles content policies for News Publishers.We do not manually determine the order of any search result, nor do our algorithms or policies attempt to make any judgment on the political leanings of a website, a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement in response to the Daily Caller report.
source: www.theepochtimes.com

Author(s): Petr Svab

13 Apr 19

Why are John Legend and Chrissy Teigen advising Democrats during annual retreat?

Who knew that singer John Legend and his model/cookbook author wife Chrissy Teigen were advisers to House Democrats? The celebrity couple was hosted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an annual three-day policy retreat held in Leesburg, Virginia last week. Pelosi refers to the two of them as long-time supporters of hers and the Democrat Party.SEE ALSO: Flashback: When Michael Avenatti was the savior of the RepublicPelosi introduced Legend and Teigen Wednesday during the retreats opening night. Political commentator and Elle Magazine contributor Melissa Harris-Perry moderated a panel discussion with them that ran about an hour. You may remember Harris-Perry from her time hosting her own show on MSNBC. She infamously wore a pair of tampon earrings during one show to protest a bill signed by then-Governor Rick Perry in Texas banning late-term abortion. John Legend credits his wife with an astute sense of who exactly Donald Trump is and was even before he ran for president.TRENDING:San Jose government set to troll new airport Chick-fil-A by hanging rainbow flags near it or somethingAccording to The Hill, Democrats are meant to discuss their legislative agenda for the year at the annual gathering, and Teigen and Legend were there to kick off the opening night. At the panel, which was moderated by political commentator and ELLE contributor Melissa Harris-Perry, Legend told the crowd that Teigen knew well before a lot of America did that [Trump] was a joke and a conman and a clown. He continued, She was prescient long before he ever thought about running for president. She was on point with that.After weighing in on topics such as President Trumps immigration policy, the press was ushered out. The panel discussion had been relatively uneventful while the press was present, as the reporting goes. Then things got a little spicy as the power couple began to toss around the f-word. Harris-Perry asked Chrissy what word women should say more often. Nancy Pelosi is fond of saying that women should say non more often than they do. Teigen replied, F you. Classy, right?Teigen was able to work in some criticism of First Daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump, too, as it pertained to immigration policy. She mocked Ivankas photos on Instagram of her children. Instead of blaming the decisions made by parents trying to illegally enter America, she blames the Trump administration for the parents actions.Teigen told the crowd on Wednesday, When it comes from people, like Ivanka, I will say, that can post all day pictures of her children that are just in her home and, Oh my daughter is having trouble in her crib, or My daughter is doing this, and My daughter is doing this, there are children out there that dont have that opportunity. There are children that are completely honestly, I cannot fathom for a second how scared our children would be if they were without us.The couple is represented in Washington by Trump deranged Rep. Ted Lieu. As I wrote of him earlier this week, part of his district is Beverly Hills and the homes of lots of celebrities. They gave a shout-out to him. Teigen started raising the roof, shouting Ted, Ted, Ted, according to Politico.The retreat was to unify the party members and discuss their policy agenda going forward while marking the first 100 days of leadership in the House. These two celebrities were red meat for the audience but certainly did little to add to policy discussion. Pelosi was busy, though, answering questions about President Trumps suggestion that illegal immigrants could be shipped to sanctuary cities (shes against it) and on Rep. Omars latest Twitter ugliness. Of Omar, she told reporters she hadnt spoken to her yet but its her practice to call them in before I call them out.Some Congressmen took the opportunity to take selfies with Legend and Teigen. Rep. Adam Schiff, a fellow Californian did so while joking he may delete it later. He hasnt. It felt cute.
source: hotair.com

Author(s): Karen Townsend

13 Apr 19

Deep State FBI Agent Bill Priestap Caught in a Lie Referring to "Lisa and Peter Strzok" Affair

Former FBI Investigator and Assistant Director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap, lied in front of Congress in testimony in the summer of 2017. Priestaps lie surrounds the affair between FBI lovers Lisa and Peter Strzok.Bill Priestap held a very high position in the FBI during the years 2015 to 2018. His tenure was in place during the Trump Russia hoax and the Hillary email scandal exoneration.In his testimony in front of the House on June 5, 2018, Priestap answered a number of questions. Unfortunately we found that at least one of his answers does not add up.During his testimony Priestap notes that he and Peter Strzok were classmates (p. 30) I think once in my career I socialized with Peter Strzok. Peter was in my academy class. So once we were at the same thing, work thing or not work thing. But otherwise, nobody was a personal acquaintance. They were all professional acquaintance.During another series of questions about Peter Strzok, Priestap slipped up (p. 44) Priestap after Pete had been reporting to me for a considerable amount of time, somebody brought to my attention that that behavior might be going on. And so thats when it I became aware that that was a possibility.Q So someone who works at the FBI?Priestap Yes. Yep.Q And can you say who that person was?Priestap I , theres its going to be its going to be one of two, but I dont know which one.Mr. Boente. Okay. To the best you can.Priestap. Okay. If I recall correctly, it was either Sally Moyer and Jonathan Moffa.Q About when was this?Priestap What is today? I would guess I would guess about a year ago, but its a guess, so but a considerable amount of time I had been in the job and Pete had been reporting to me before this had brought Q Did you take any action based on that?Priestap I did.Q What action?Priestap I spoke to Deputy Director McCabe about it. I also spoke to both Pete and Lisa about it. I felt I owed it to them. Lisa did not report to me, but I felt that they ought to be aware of what was being said. I didnt ask them if it was true, but they needed to know that that impression was out there. And I dont remember my exact words. But what I was trying to communicate is this better not interfere with things, if you know whatI mean. Like, to me, the mission is everything. And so, we all have our personal lives, what have you. Im not the morality police.Q But that behavior would make them vulnerable to an intelligence service.Priestap In my opinion, yes.The highlighted phrase above is a lie. The date of the testimony in front of Congress was June 5, 2018. One year prior to that would have been June 2017. At this time, the corrupt FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his lover FBI Attorney Lisa Page were on the Mueller team. If this was before the Mueller team was in place, then why did Priestap not notify Mueller of the affair? He would have had a duty to do so!Priestaps actions related to the affair between Lisa and Peter Strzok as President Trump recently referred to them, could not have occurred at the time stated by Priestap. If they were before the lovers time on the Mueller team, Priestap had a duty to communicate the affair with Mueller.
source: www.thegatewaypundit.com

13 Apr 19

AGT International The Clinton Foundation Scandal Worse Than Uranium One Covered Up by FBI/DOJ Before 2016 Election Part XII

In 2016 the DOJ/FBI suppressed and buried a criminal investigation involving the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation and donors to the Foundation. The investigation revolved around the illegal sale of controlled US Homeland Security technology to Russia and China in the years before the 2016 election by a company named AGT International. The DOJ terminated its internal investigation in 2016 despite clear and irrefutable evidence of criminal activity and hid this investigation from the public!This Clinton Foundation scandal is similar to the Foundations Uranium One scandal. AGT Internationals actions of providing super high tech defense technology to Russia are in line with the Rosenbergs providing atomic bomb technology to the Russians. In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT International.In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR controlled products were provided and sold to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.Below is an AGT International article about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT International and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!We provided a copy of the letter to the DOJ that lists the criminal and corrupt actions taken by AGT International: In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT International in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the access controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the site.In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT International to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of sharing/selling it to the Russians. AGT International personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT International offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands.The image below shows an AGT International C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT International took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT International utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed state and Federal Law Enforcement Agents (LEAs) and former Federal and political figures in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND and other subsidiaries.AGT International management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and other subsidiaries and noted that since the blog is planned to be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names. This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.In Part VIII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International assisted a group of Chinese officials to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying their purpose, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and products from AGT International.In Part IX of our series we discussed more on AGT Internationals lubrication activities (paying off individuals and entities to initiate sales and open doors).In Part X of our Series we discussed AGT Internationals sudden exit from its market in Singapore due to its corrupt actions. (The company was kicked out of Singapore!)AGT had a presence in Singapore in 2013 as was acknowledged at that time on the companys website but then AGT International was kicked out of Singapore after it was notified from the government that they had committed a breach In Part XI of our series we showed that AGT International CEO Mati Kochavi was so close to the Clintons that on September 23, 2010, he addressed the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Kochavi discussed the Clinton efforts in Haiti and how AGT International could assist in crisis like the one in Haiti. President Bill Clinton was on stage with Kochavi. Also in attendance at the event was then Democrat President Barack Obama As noted in the first post of this series, candidate Trump noted that the people of Haiti dont want the Clintons back. There are numerous accusations of the Clintons stealing from the people of Haiti while impersonating as philanthropists with their Clinton Foundation. The Clintons and AGT International were close. The actions by both parties before and after the event in New York were criminal as noted in our prior posts.Today in Part XII of our series we show evidence of cyber-attacks that AGT executed against two international targets as part of a closed sales demonstration to high valued customers. This all took place at the Athens Astir Resort Hotel on February 27th March 2nd, 2012. See the program below The agenda for this event of top AGT International executives included presentations by its CEO Mati Kochavi and its COB Martin Edelman, both donors to the Clinton Foundation. Geoffrey Baird, Neo Burton and Garry Lenz, all noted in prior posts, were also noted in the list of presenters. Also, 4D Security Solutions, represented by Bob Paski, and Advanced Integrity Systems, represented by CEO,Khalfan aI Shamsi, from Abu Dhabi, were also on the list of AGT companies at the event.The Event Welcome Letter was as follows We have gathered over 150 key people from AGT and our partners around the world to spend several days together here in Greece. We have prepared an intense agenda many opportunities to learn about our offerings. to meet and learn about key people from all parts of the company, and to learn together about how we can take the company to the next level of our potential.I urge you to be open to absorb new ideas, to share your thoughts in open discussion, to respect the efforts and professionalism of the organizers and presenters by being on time for all sessions, to work hard and to have fun along the way. Wishing you a very fulfilling visit to Greece and a very successful 2012,Mati KochaviThe cyber attacks took place on Thursday March 1st, 2012, during the 15:00-15:45 cyber security session. The purpose of the demo was to showcase AGTs cyber-attack capabilities. The two targets that were attacked were:South African Reserve BankQatar Electricity & Water Co.Both targets were breached, the first resulted in access to the bank customer database, the second resulted in administrative access to the SCADA control dashboard. The attacks were executed on stage in front 150 people with CEO Kochavis authorization while COB Martin Edelman watched from the front row.The executive that supervised the whole operation was Ronen Hammer (bald guy in the middle of the image below).Below is a screenshot from Ronen Hammers LinkedIn account These breaches at the AGT International conference were obviously illegal.
source: www.thegatewaypundit.com

13 Apr 19

Former Venezuelan general with 'treasure trove' of intelligence...

Spanish police on Friday arrested Hugo Carvajal, a former head of Venezuelan military intelligence, who Washington believes has a treasure trove of details he is willing to share about Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) embraces retired General Hugo Carvajal as they attend the Socialist party congress in Caracas in this picture provided by Miraflores Palace July 27, 2014. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters/File PhotoCarvajal, a former general and close ally of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was arrested on drug trafficking charges on a warrant issued by the United States, a police spokeswoman said.He is, I would dare to say, the most knowledgeable person to now be outside of Venezuela and be willing and able to cooperate with ... a treasure trove of information, the U.S. administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.He will clearly be cooperating with us. Hes expressed that publicly, the official said.A court spokesman said Carvajal would appear before Spains High Court on Saturday. The court needs to decide within 24 hours of his arrest whether he will be jailed pending a decision on his extradition or if he will be set free.The U.S. Justice Department said it had asked Spain to extradite Carvajal to face cocaine-smuggling charges that were filed in 2011 and unsealed in 2014.RELATED COVERAGEEx-Venezuelan intel chief has 'treasure trove' for U.S.: senior U.S. officialCarvajal, head of military intelligence from 2004 to 2008, denounced Chavez successor Maduro in February and gave his support to Juan Guaido, who in January invoked the constitution to become Venezuelas interim president.Guaido was later recognized by the United States and dozens of governments, but Maduro remains in office with support of the military and has denounced Guaido as a U.S. puppet.Guaido has offered amnesty to military leaders who took his side.Carvajal recently said on Twitter that he would relay all the information he knows to the appropriate authorities, the senior U.S. administration official said.We look forward to receiving that information and to learning everything he knows ... about how Maduro and his mafia operate, the official said.Washington expects to learn more about Maduros ties to Cuba, Lebanons Hezbollah, and Colombias National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the official said.The arrest is very bad news for Maduro and will provide protection to Carvajal who probably had a target on his head, the senior U.S. administration official said.SECOND ARRESTThis was the second time Carvajal has been arrested on the U.S. charges, which allege that he coordinated the transportation of 5,600 kg (1,235 pounds) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico in April 2006. That shipment was bound for the United States, according to charges filed in federal court in New York.Carvajal was arrested on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba in 2014, but the Dutch government accepted Venezuelas argument that he had diplomatic immunity because he had been nominated consul to Aruba.Carvajal also was sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2008 for materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of Colombias FARC rebel group.The U.S. Treasurys Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Carvajals assistance to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia included protecting drug shipments from seizure by Venezuelan anti-narcotics authorities and providing them with weapons.Carvajal also provided FARC with official Venezuelan government identification documents that allowed its members to travel to and from Venezuela, OFAC said.In an interview with the New York Times published in February, Carvajal said any dealings he had with drug traffickers resulted from his role investigating them as intelligence chief.Carvajal said he had met with FARC members in 2001 to engage them as a government negotiator in the kidnapping of a Venezuelan businessman, a trip that had been approved by presidents in both Venezuela and Colombia.
source: www.reuters.com

13 Apr 19

The Martyrdom of Julian Assange

The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assanges rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassydiplomatically sanctioned sovereign territoryto arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States?I am sure government attorneys are skillfully doing what has become de rigueur for the corporate state, using specious legal arguments to eviscerate enshrined rights by judicial fiat. This is how we have the right to privacy with no privacy. This is how we have free elections funded by corporate money, covered by a compliant corporate media and under iron corporate control. This is how we have a legislative process in which corporate lobbyists write the legislation and corporate-indentured politicians vote it into law. This is how we have the right to due process with no due process. This is how we have a governmentwhose fundamental responsibility is to protect citizensthat orders and carries out the assassination of its own citizens such as the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son. This is how we have a press legally permitted to publish classified information and a publisher sitting in jail in Britain awaiting extradition to the United States and a whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, in a jail cell in the United States.Britain will use as its legal cover for the arrest the extradition request from Washington based on conspiracy charges. This legal argument, in a functioning judiciary, would be thrown out of court. Unfortunately, we no longer have a functioning judiciary. We will soon know if Britain as well lacks one.Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped. Assange and his lawyers always argued that if he was put in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. Once he was granted asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship the British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to the London airport, trapping him in the embassy for seven years as his health steadily deteriorated.The Trump administration will seek to try Assange on charges that he conspired with Manning in 2010 to steal the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs obtained by WikiLeaks. The half a million internal documents leaked by Manning from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of U.S. helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, provided copious evidence of the hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence, and routine use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation by the U.S. government in its foreign relations and wars in the Middle East. Assange and WikiLeaks allowed us to see the inner workings of empirethe most important role of a pressand for this they became empires prey.U.S. government lawyers will attempt to separate WikiLeaks and Assange from The New York Times and the British newspaper The Guardian, both of which also published the leaked material from Manning, by implicating Assange in the theft of the documents. Manning was repeatedly and often brutally pressured during her detention and trial to implicate Assange in the seizure of the material, something she steadfastly refused to do. She is currently in jail because of her refusal to testify, without her lawyer, in front of the grand jury assembled for the Assange case. President Barack Obama granted Manning, who was given a 35-year sentence, clemency after she served seven years in a military prison.Once the documents and videos provided by Manning to Assange and WikiLeaks were published and disseminated by news organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian, the press callously, and foolishly, turned on Assange. News organizations that had run WikiLeaks material over several days soon served as conduits in a black propaganda campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks. This coordinated smear campaign was detailed in a leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch and dated March 8, 2008. The document called on the U.S. to eradicate the feeling of trust that is WikiLeaks center of gravity and destroy Assanges reputation.Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clintons campaign chairman. The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton Foundation. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clintons repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted open trade and open borders and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements. It exposed the Clinton campaigns efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Trump was the Republican nominee. It exposed Clintons advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate. It exposed Clinton as the primary architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. Journalists can argue that this information, like the war logs, should have remained hidden, but they cant then call themselves journalists.The Democratic leadership, intent on blaming Russia for its election loss, charges that the Podesta emails were obtained by Russian government hackers, although James Comey, the former FBI director, has conceded that the emails were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by state actors.WikiLeaks has done more to expose the abuses of power and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. In addition to the war logs and the Podesta emails, it made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections. It disclosed the internal conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. It intervened to save Edward Snowden, who made public the wholesale surveillance of the American public by our intelligence agencies, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed that Assange was on a U.S. manhunt target list.A haggard-looking Assange, as he was dragged out of the embassy by British police, shook his finger and shouted: The U.K. must resist this attempt by the Trump administration. The U.K. must resist!We all must resist. We must, in every way possible, put pressure on the British government to halt the judicial lynching of Assange. If Assange is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Trump repeatedly has called the enemy of the people, to hold power accountable. The crimes of war and finance, the persecution of dissidents, minorities and immigrants, the pillaging by corporations of the nation and the ecosystem and the ruthless impoverishment of working men and women to swell the bank accounts of the rich and consolidate the global oligarchs total grip on power will not only expand, but will no longer be part of public debate. First Assange. Then us.
source: www.truthdig.com

Author(s): Chris Hedges; Chris Hedges; Chris Hedges; Chris Hedges

13 Apr 19

San Diego Has Been Turned Into A Massive Chinese-Style Public Surveillance Network (Updated)

Can you imagine a city in the United States secretly creating a Chinese-style public surveillance network that can identify everyone? Can you imagine that same city secretly creating a Chinese-style public watchlisting network?Well imagine no more because it has already happened.When I wrote about "covert facial recognition street lights coming to a city near you" last year, I never would have dreamt that my article would become a reality so quickly.A recent article in the San Diego Reader reveals how a hacker discovered emails between the Port of San Diego and BriefCam. The emails revealed that law enforcement is secretly using a network of 400 facial recognition surveillance cameras to identify everyone. (Click here to view a map of where all 3,200 spying street lights are located.)Last year, BriefCam announced a "breakthrough" in real-time facial recognition surveillance."Robust multi-camera search capabilities identify men, women, children and vehicles with speed and precision, using 25 classes and attributes, face recognition, appearance similarity, color, size, speed, path, direction, and dwell time."According to another article, the City of San Diego is using GE's CityIQ street lights to listen to everyone.In 2017, civil rights advocates sent a letter to the mayor and city council asking the city not to install GE's streetlights.Devices capable of monitoring and recording residents invade privacy, chill free speech, and disparately impact communities of color."But as the article revealed, San Diego ignored the public's concerns and secretly installed 3200 spying GE streetlights.GE's spying streetlights have effectively "turned the city into a stealthy laboratory for infrastructure-embedded intelligence collecting with devices regularly used by the DEA, ICE and other security agencies." (To learn more about San Diego's spying streetlights click here.)Updated 3/25:San Diego police was sharing license plate data with 600 federal agenciesAccording to an article in the Voice of San Diego, the San Diego Police Department was sharing everyone's license plate data with 600 federal agencies."The department had allowed the San Diego sector of Border Patrol and 600 other agencies across the country, including other agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, to access the database where the information was stored.""Initially, SDPD told VOSD that it had no control over the information, that only Vigilant Solutions could determine who sees or doesnt see the data, but later conceded that the department could elect to limit which agencies can access that data."An email from BriefCam's Western Region sales director, Erik Wade, sheds some light on who is really behind San Diego's public surveillance network."I am currently working with SDPD to deploy Briefcam at their new Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) for the entire city, which would greatly help you as some of the camera coverage would benefit each other," Wade said.Just how close is BriefCam and DHS?Last year Briefcam announced that they won the 2018 Gold ASTORS Homeland Security Award, calling it a "prestigious program that is designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions"I wish I could say that I am surprised to learn that private companies are working with Homeland Security, but this has been happening since 9/11.San Diego has created a public watchlisting networkWhat I was surprised to learn about is how San Diego law enforcement has secretly created a public watchlisting network.Buried in Briefcam's "breakthrough" announcement is an admission that boggles the mind.San Diego's law enforcement is using Briefcam to create "precise face recognition [that] rapidly pinpoints people of interest in real-time using digital images extracted from video, external image sources and pre-defined watchlists."Watchlisting people is a major selling point for BriefCam, "our scalable watchlist management enables rapid and powerful rule configuration." When I called 2018: The Year Public Watchlists Became Commonplace I was not joking and here is another smoking gun to prove it.Watchlisting hundreds of thousands of children and their families is big business.Last year BriefCam announced that they used their surveillance cameras to identify children and their families during the 2018 Little League World Series in South WilliamsPort, PA.Each year, hundreds of thousands of people come out to Williamsport to enjoy their time at the Little League Baseball World Series, said Jim Ferguson, Little League Assistant Director of Risk Management and Safety.Because who doesn't want their children to be watchlisted?As Vanity Fair warned: the real purpose behind turning our cities into a mirror image of China is to "make people more obedient" and that is surveillance politics in a nutshell.
source: massprivatei.blogspot.com

Author(s): mapi; PressurePoint; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; mapi; Unknown; mapi; mapi; mapi

12 Apr 19

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