1060: Austin Beatniks

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 55m
August 16th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Scott & Mary Beth Mackay, Sir Realist

Associate Executive Producers: Baronetess Susan Johnson, Charles Peil a.k.a Sir Uptitous, Austin Wilson, Jeremy Toth, David Fugazzotto, Thomas Wolfarth, Sir Jon Helmer

Cover Artist: Mike Riley

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Omarosa's Book's Most Shocking Allegations '' Variety
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:11
Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock
WASHINGTON '-- White House officials are reportedly ''terrified'' of what Omarosa Manigault Newman has in store next for the promotional tour for her new book, ''Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House.''
In interviews, she has claimed to have heard a tape, apparently made on the set of ''The Apprentice,'' in which Donald Trump uses the n-word multiple times.
He denies that claim, but it has again revived questions of whether such a recording actually exists, and on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she cannot guarantee that such audio will never surface.
In the book, Manigault Newman identifies Trump as her mentor and someone who had a huge role in shaping her public fame and persona, yet who, as the book title suggests, is now suffering a mental decline and is hugely unfit to occupy the Oval Office.
Like Trump, though, Manigault Newman has a penchant for generating an extra amount of publicity for her own story '-- something we've seen this week as networks have obtained tapes she secretly recorded with White House figures. On MSNBC on Tuesday, she told Katy Tur that Trump knew of hacked Democratic National Committee emails before they were released in 2016, but offered no proof to back it up.
Trump, his White House team, and the Republican National Committee are blasting Manigault Newman. Trump has called her uncredible and a ''dog.'' Sanders suggested that the White House response was motivated by the fact that the media is giving her so much exposure. As Manigault Newman was just starting her tour, Sanders put out a statement saying that the book was ''riddled with lies and false accusations.''
''It's sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.''
Manigault Newman writes in her book that ''no doubt, you've come here with prejudice about who you think I am. But all I'm asking is that you hear me out.''
Some of her claims are salacious. Some are trivial. Some are hard to determine if she has proof to back them up via other recorded conversations or documentary evidence. A number are getting pushback from the White House.
Here's a glimpse:
Trump used the n-word. In the book, Manigault Newman relays the details of an October 2016, campaign conference call in which press staffers discuss the potential fallout if a Trump tape is released in which he uses the racial epithet.
In the book, Manigault Newman claims that Katrina Pierson, a campaign spokesman, was on the conference call and said, ''Someone she knew, who knew political strategist Frank Luntz, told her that Luntz had heard it.'' Luntz has called the claim ''flat-out false'' and questioned why Manigault Newman didn't call him to try to verify the claim.
Manigault Newman also writes that Lynne Patton, an aide to Eric Trump, ''reported that she asked Trump about it on the plane, specifically whether it was possible that such a tape might exist, and he said 'no.' Then, she asked him what he wanted her to do, and he said, 'Put it to bed.'''
''Katrina cursed and said, 'He said it.''' Manigault Newman writes.
On Tuesday, CBS News ran a recording of a portion of that conference call. On CNN, Pierson claimed that Manigault Newman took ''two different audios'' that were ''conflated into one story.'' She said it was ''false'' that she ever claimed that Trump said the n-word, and that the audio excerpts provided to CBS News did not include ''hours upon hours'' of Manigault Newman talking about the alleged Trump tape.
Trump's daughter-in-law tried to buy her silence. After Manigault Newman was fired, she said she was contacted by Trump's daughter in law, Lara Trump, with an offer to come work for the Trump 2020 campaign at a salary of $15,000 per month. In exchange, she was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
The Washington Post reviewed the agreement and reported that it included a non-disparagement clause about Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their families.
''I turned down the president's offer to work for the 2020 campaign. In my response declining the position, I explained that I was not interested in working for his campaign, his company, his family, or for him directly in any capacity,'' Manigault Newman writes.
Lara Trump told Fox News this week that Manigault Newman wasted an ''incredible opportunity'' to make a difference at the White House and was showing her ''true colors.''
Trump questioned why Harriet Tubman's ''face'' should be on the $20 bill. In the ''long horrible month'' after the Charlottesville riots, Manigault Newman noted that secretary of the treasury Steven Mnuchin was non-committal when it came to replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, as had been proposed by the Obama administration.
''I know Trump wanted to dismantle Obama's legacy, but this, too?'' Manigault Newman writes. ''I quickly wrote a decision memo about the matter and gave it to Trump. While flipping through the folder, he came to the picture of Tubman, the woman who personally brought more than three hundred slaves to freedom, risking her own life every time, and said to me, 'You want to put that face on the twenty-dollar bill?'''
In an interview with ''Today'' in 2016, Trump said he thought Tubman was ''fantastic,'' but called the idea of replacing Jackson ''pure political correctness.'' ''I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can come up with another denomination,'' he said.
Mike Pence ''was too perfect to be genuine.'' Manigault Newman writes that after spending time with the vice president, ''The first thing I noticed was that people on his staff kept slipping up and calling him president '-- accidentally sometimes.'' She said that he ''asked him explicitly if he had any ambitions for the highest office after Donald completed his two terms. Pence said, 'two terms? You think two terms? That's good, I like the way you think, Omarosa. I'm here to serve the president. I'm only loyal to the president.'''
''It seemed obvious that he was too perfect to be genuine. His and Trump's personalities and worldviews were diametrically opposed,'' she writes. ''And yet, Pence agreed with everything Trump said or did. In real life, no one beams worshipfully at you all the time like that. If someone looked at you that way, you'd be disturbed and think about a restraining order.''
A spokeswoman for Pence did not immediately comment.
Trump called secretary of education Betsy DeVos ''ditzy DeVos.'' Manigault Newman describes several incidents she had with secretary of education Betsy DeVos, with whom she worked on education issues and in outreach to historically black colleges and universities.
She writes that she went with DeVos on a trip to Florida, where the education secretary gave a speech at Bethune-Cookman University and was booed. She claims that afterward, DeVos said that the speech went ''great,'' but then said of the booing students, ''They don't have the capacity to understand what we're trying to accomplish.'' Manigault Newman writes that she took that to mean that ''all these black students were too stupid'' to comprehend was DeVos was trying to do.
She also claims that the next day, she was supposed to go with DeVos to an event, but DeVos didn't show at the hotel. DeVos, she said, eventually called her and told her to tale an Uber.
''We'd been booed by the entire auditorium. People were angry. There were protesters. I'd been getting death threats daily. And she'd left me completely alone with no security?'' Manigault Newman writes.
She said she told Trump about the incident and ''he shook his head in disgust.''
''He said, 'She is Ditzy DeVos, what do you expect? In a very short period of time, I will get rid of her. Believe me, believe me.'''
Manigault Newman claims that DeVos plans to ''replace public education with for-profit schools.''
Liz Hill, the education department's press secretary, said in a statement, ''This disgraced former White House employee is peddling lies for profit. The book is a joke as are the false claims she's making about Secretary DeVos.''
Trump is militant about his tanning bed. Manigault Newman writes that, in addition to a diet of Diet Cokes and fast food, Trump ''allegedly'' tans in the morning in a tanning bed in the personal quarters. She said she heard that the dismissal of the chief White House usher Angella Reid had something to do with how she handled the procurement of the bed. Manigault Newman writes that she had concerns that his consumption of Diet Cokes could be affecting Trump's mental health, including his memory, and once tried to slip him an article on on recent research of the topic.
Trump got Omarosa to drop legal action against National Enquirer's parent company. After her brother's murder in 2011, Manigault Newman writes that National Enquirer sent a reporter, posing as a mourner, to the funeral. The Enquirer took portions of her eulogy and branded it an ''exclusive'' interview, she writes, and she pursued legal action against American Media, the Enquirer's parent company.
Manigault Newman claims that Trump, a friend of American Media's David Pecker, called her to broker a settlement.
''It came out that Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer, had called Donald Trump and said, 'Isn't Omarosa one of your mentees? Can you tell her to drop this lawsuit?''' she writes. ''As a personal favor to Pecker, Donald agreed to call me and talk me out of the lawsuit, but I was so angry they'd portrayed me as someone who'd seek publicity over my dead brother's body that I was reluctant to drop it.''
She took the deal, in which she got a job with AMI as West Coast editor. She used the story to point out the relationship between Trump and Pecker, and noted that AMI also made a deal with Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump. AMI bought her life rights but never published a story, according to a lawsuit she filed this year.
A spokesman for AMI did not immediately return a request for comment.
On the set of ''Celebrity Apprentice,'' Trump engaged in ''vile'' exchange with Gene Simmons in front of Trump's daughter Ivanka. Manigault Newman claims that during one long break on the set of ''Celebrity Apprentice,'' Gene Simmons and Trump ''engaged in language so profane, it would have raised eyebrows in prison.'' It took place in front of Ivanka Trump.
Simmons, she writes, was ''leering openly at her breasts.''
''He said, 'She's a very, very sexy, desirable young woman who I'm looking forward to getting to know much better, if you know what I mean, with all due respect.''' Trump ''egged him on,'' Manigault Newman writes, and Ivanka ''groaned dismissively and tried to get them to change subjects.''
''Everyone else in the room was shocked, not by Gene's language (we knew he was a disgusting pig), but by Donald's obvious delight in hearing it. He had complete control of the boardroom. He could have shut it down at any point. But he didn't,'' Manigault Newman writes.
Trump called Nepal ''nipple'' in a prep session before meeting with India's prime minister, report says '' VICE News
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 21:33
Donald Trump
Trump called Nepal ''nipple'' in a prep session before meeting with India's prime minister, report says
President Donald Trump has a habit of referring to countries not by their names. First, he declared a host of African nations ''shitholes.'' Then, he changed Nepal to ''nipple'' and Bhutan to ''button'' in a briefing ahead of a meeting with India's prime minister, two sources with knowledge of the meeting told Politico.
Politco's report, published Monday, listed many of Trump's ''diplomatic faux-pas,'' including those mispronunciations, awkward meetings, and joking that he would play matchmaker for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that Trump even took on an Indian accent and imitated the prime minister in another instance. He's also been calling foreign leaders in the middle of the night, sources told Politico.
''He wasn't great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn't going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time,'' a former Trump NSC official told the news outlet about Trump attempting to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the night in Japan.
''When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He's more impulsive that way. He doesn't think about what time it is or who it is,'' a person close to Trump added to Politico.
But some in government take Trump's calls at odd hours as a sign of disrespect and a lack of understanding of foreign policy. On the other hand, defenders of Trump said those criticisms are completely overblown. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Politico that Trump has close relationships with foreign leaders who ''appreciate that the president is willing to take their calls day and night.''
President Donald Trump has a habit of referring to countries not by their names. First, he declared a host of African nations ''shitholes.'' Then, he changed Nepal to ''nipple'' and Bhutan to ''button'' in a briefing ahead of a meeting with India's prime minister, two sources with knowledge of the meeting told Politico.
Politco's report, published Monday, listed many of Trump's ''diplomatic faux-pas,'' including those mispronunciations, awkward meetings, and joking that he would play matchmaker for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that Trump even took on an Indian accent and imitated the prime minister in another instance. He's also been calling foreign leaders in the middle of the night, sources told Politico.
''He wasn't great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn't going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time,'' a former Trump NSC official told the news outlet about Trump attempting to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the night in Japan.
''When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He's more impulsive that way. He doesn't think about what time it is or who it is,'' a person close to Trump added to Politico.
But some in government take Trump's calls at odd hours as a sign of disrespect and a lack of understanding of foreign policy. On the other hand, defenders of Trump said those criticisms are completely overblown. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Politico that Trump has close relationships with foreign leaders who ''appreciate that the president is willing to take their calls day and night.''
''The president has made clear that when leaders reach out for calls, [aides should] set them up right away,'' Sanders told Politico. ''He has had foreign leaders calls very late at night and never wants another leader to wait before their call is returned.''
But as other officials recounted Trump's many diplomatic foibles to Politico, the issues may go further than disregarding time zones, including finding humor in mispronouncing the names of countries, like Nepal and Bhutan. He also once struggled to pronounce Namibia.
One White House official told Politico that the mispronunciation of Nepal and Bhutan never happened, but a former National Security Council official told the outlet that Trump just avoids words and names he doesn't know how to pronounce. Others who attended the meeting said Trump's behavior went further than a mispronunciation: They told Politico the president didn't know where Nepal and Bhutan were.
''He thought it was all part of India,'' one person familiar with the meeting told Politico. ''He was like, 'What is this stuff in between and these other countries?'''
Correction 8/13 5:25 p.m. ET: The original text and headline stated that President Donald Trump reportedly called Nepal "nipple" in a meeting with India's prime minister, instead of a prep session for that meeting. The story and headline have been updated to correct this error.
Cover image: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and American president Donald Trump at the Partnership with Africa working session, the third session of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, 8 July 2017. (Michael Kappeler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
Katrina Pierson: Made taped comments because Omarosa was the 'complete epitome of annoying' - CNNPolitics
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:34
Washington (CNN) '-- Katrina Pierson, a Trump campaign official, said she was placating Omarosa Manigault Newman when
she indicated on tapethat she believed President Donald Trump had been recorded saying the n-word.
"Your viewers, I'm pretty sure, have run into an individual that is the complete epitome of annoying to where you absolutely have to finally give in in order to get on about your day," Pierson said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."
"That happened a number of times because Omarosa is a bully."
Manigault Newman
providedCBS News with audio from the 2016 campaign. In the audio played on CBS earlier Tuesday, Manigault Newman, Pierson and campaign aide Lynne Patton discussed the possible existence of a recording where Trump said the n-word, and Pierson can be heard saying, "No, he said it. He is embarrassed by it."
Pierson told CNN on Tuesday evening that Manigault Newman had brought up the possibility of the Trump n-word tape frequently, like "a dog with a bone," and that she placated Manigault Newman "a number of times because she would not let this tape go."
Patton made a similar point in a separate interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."
"There were a lot of times that we talked about this tape because Omarosa was literally obsessed with it," Patton said. "She brought it up constantly. It's clear now that the reason why she did was because she was surreptitiously recording us."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders
said earlier Tuesdaythat she could not guarantee the tape did not exist, and the interview Tuesday evening added to a
winding and ongoing storyabout the alleged n-word recording, which Trump has denied.
Pierson said for her part, she had never heard Trump say the n-word, and confirmed to CNN that she signed a non-disclosure agreement.
"I did sign an NDA with the campaign because everyone signed an NDA with the campaign," Pierson said. "I wouldn't come on this program as a black woman, Erin, and tell you that someone didn't say a derogatory term when they did. I would just leave the campaign. It's that simple."
Press Freedom
Remember when over 100 newspapers agreed to run editorials on the same day defending a free press against Obama after he spied on AP, hacked Cheryl Atkinson, got phone records of one reporter, while trying to jail another?
Boston Globe Calls For Nationwide Media Response To Trump's Attacks On The Press | WBUR News
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 11:26
The Boston Globe is proposing a coordinated editorial response from publications across the U.S. to President Trump's frequent attacks on the news media.
"We are not the enemy of the people," said Marjorie Pritchard, a deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe, referring to a characterization of journalists that Trump has used in the past.
The president, who contends he has largely been covered unfairly by the press, also employs the term "fake news" often when describing the media.
The Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a "dirty war against the free press."
As of Friday, Pritchard, who oversees the Globe's editorial page, said about 70 outlets had committed to editorials so far, with the list expected to grow. The publications ranged from large metropolitan dailies, such as the Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald and Denver Post, to small weekly papers with circulations as low as 4,000.
The newspaper's request was being promoted by industry groups such as the American Society of News Editors and regional groups like the New England Newspaper and Press Association. It suggested editorial boards take a common stand against Trump's words regardless of their politics, or whether they generally editorialized in support of or in opposition to the president's policies.
"Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming," the appeal stated, acknowledging that newspapers were likely to take different approaches.
Pritchard, who oversees the Globe's editorial page, said the decision to seek the coordinated response from newspapers was reached after Trump appeared to step up his rhetoric in recent weeks.
At an Aug. 2 political rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump told his audience that the media was "fake, fake disgusting news."
"What ever happened to the free press? What ever happened to honest reporting?" the president asked, pointing to journalists covering the event. "They don't report it. They only make up stories."
Pritchard said she hoped the editorials would make an impression on Americans.
"I hope it would educate readers to realize that an attack on the First Amendment is unacceptable," she said. "We are a free and independent press, it is one of the most sacred principles enshrined in the Constitution."
Dear Journalists: The war on what you do is escalating.
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 11:13
When the most powerful person in the world declares war on journalism, you can respond in one of two ways. The first adds up to surrender, and I'm sorry to say that some of you appear to have done so, by normalizing what is grossly abnormal and letting your enemies take advantage of the journalism craft's innate weaknesses.
The other is to find allies, inside and outside the business, and go on the offensive'Š'--'Štogether.
The glimmerings of that second option may be appearing. Dozens of newspaper editorial boards are plan to use their platforms this week to call out Donald Trump's escalating war on a free press'Š'--'Što ''educate readers to realize that an attack on the First Amendment is unacceptable,'' Marjorie Pritchard, a deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe, told the Associated Press late last week.
This is a welcome development. It's also not nearly enough.
So I'm begging my friends who work in journalism's non-commentary operations: If you don't follow up on this collective complaining with real muscle, your organizations will have demonstrated the kind of weakness that Trump and his supporters are convinced'Š'--'Šmaybe correctly'Š'--'Šthat rests at the core of the craft.
You'Š'--'Šand probably free speech'Š'--'Šcan't constantly play defense. You can't win if you rise to Trump's bait and start calling him an enemy. And as my friend Jay Rosen said the other day, you need to go way, way beyond Washington Post Editor Marty Baron's famous but too-facile admonition: ''We're not at war. We're at work.''
The Post is doing mostly excellent work. It's not enough.
Instead, I'm begging journalists in general to declare a sweeping mission. You need to fight, not against Trump, but for a free press and freedom of expression, in every possible way you can find. Most of all, you have to do more journalism, with renewed passion, skill, relentlessness, and'Š'--'Šthis is essential'Š'--'Šcollective action.
That means breaking with customs, and some traditions'Š'--'Šchanging the journalism, and some of the ways you practice it, to cope with the onslaught of willful misinformation aimed at undermining public belief in basic reality. You can start by looking at the public's information needs from the public's point of view, not just your own.
The collaboration needs to be broad, and deep, across organizations and platforms. It can be immediate'Š'--'Šsuch as an agreement among White House reporters to resist the marginalizing, or banning outright, of journalists who displease the president. If a legitimate reporter is banned from an event, or verbally dismissed in a briefing or press conference, other journalists should either boycott the event or, at the very least, ask and re-ask his or her question until it's answered. In the briefing room, show some spine, and do it together.
Much more important'Š'--'Šand something that should become a standard practice'Š'--'Šcollaborate on the fundamental journalism itself. One vital element of this should be providing the context that is so often missing. Today's short-attention-span breaking news coverage amounts to mini-scoops followed by maxi-repetition and, typically, zero explanation of where the latest bit of news fits in the larger picture'Š'--'Šthe classic focus on trees while missing the forest. As Todd Gitlin put it recently, ignoring context is like ''you are reporting a baseball game as if people in uniforms are running around a diamond and chasing a ball for no apparent reason at all.''
T he kind of collaboration I want you to do isn't entirely absent from journalism. It's definitely not a new idea. In 1976, after the assassination of Phoenix investigative reporter Don Bolles, dozens of the nation's top investigative journalists descended on Phoenix to continue his work. Earlier this year, after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, journalists launched ''Forbidden Stories'' to help send a don't-go-there-again message to the malefactors.
Meanwhile, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is doing astonishing work with a cadre of journalists and organizations around the planet on projects such as the Panama Papers. And in the U.S., ProPublica has partnered widely on focused investigations that have justly won major awards.
Again, terrific but not enough'Š'--'Šnot even close.
The collaborations we need from you even more in the Trump era should have several organizing principles. You should go deep and wide into topics that are just too big, or too diffuse, for even the best journalism organizations to tackle comprehensively on their own. The topics and issues should be of obvious interest to a large segment of the public'Š'--'Šalready the subject of some coverage, but mostly one-offs or sporadic bursts of attention that don't convey their overall importance. You should hire specialists to help you do these collaborations'Š'--'Šresearchers, data scientists, forensic accountants, lawyers, and more'Š'--'Šand invite your audiences to contribute their own knowledge. And there should be a collaborative plan to ensure that the results of these collaborations moves to the public agenda.
What kinds of topics? Here are a few, among many others I could suggest:
Broad shifts in longstanding policies, norms, and law. The Trump administration and Republican Congress are disrupting everything they touch. Every new day brings a slew of federal actions'Š'--'Šmalign or wonderful, depending on one's view of the president and his allies'Š'--'Šthat are transforming government and American life in massive ways. Give us the big picture and the specifics. Organize and display it in a way that the average person could get a much better understanding of how deeply and widely this disruption is happening. Go way beyond what the administration and the Republican Congress have done in environmental and health-care policies. This extends into every department, agency, advisory board, and more. The story is local, too, because federal actions have enormous consequences at home. Invite local news organizations into the collaboration to understand and explain the impact of all this to their own communities.Government corruption. Leaving aside the combination of political and financial sleaze in TrumpWorld's dealings with Russian interests, it's plain from the Trump family's past, and present, that there has never been a more corrupt head of government. Journalists did a half-baked job of laying it out during the campaign, though there were shining exceptions (e.g. the Washington Post's David Fahrenthold, who exposed a variety of misdeeds at the candidate's allegedly charitable foundation). Now the Trump family is monetizing the presidency in unprecedented ways, and the Washington press corps is still missing the forest for the occasional trees. Corruption is endemic in this administration. The twisted self-dealings of former EPA head Scott Pruitt were the proverbial tip of the iceberg that includes commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and many others. (Democrats are hardly immune from being corrupt, so don't make this a totally partisan tale, but this particular administration is unprecedented in its activities.) Story after story about individual bad acts don't begin to show the breadth and depth of the corruption, and it's a virtual certainty that there is much, much more to find.Voting rights. The Republican Party, with the help of the courts and massive spending by ideologues, is working relentlessly to lock in legislative majorities in both houses of Congress. The GOP has taken gerrymandering, a historically bipartisan tactic, to new extremes. Deploying an array of new laws, regulations, and propaganda, it's relentlessly worked to deny the very right to vote to people who tend to support Democrats. Moreover, amid a torrent of evidence that voting systems and technology are grotesquely insecure and untrustworthy'Š'--'Šand that foreign powers, including Russia, have penetrated some of these systems'Š'--'Šthe Republicans have blocked congressional moves to make voting secure and trustworthy. For reasons I can't fathom, all these attacks on the most fundamental element of democracy have attracted only sporadic interest from major news organizations; the serious journalism has come from places like Talking Points Memo, the Nation, and Mother Jones, which have important but limited audiences. This is a local, state, and national issue that requires the broadest kind of collaboration.Freedom of expression. I've argued in the past that journalists have to be outright activists on this topic, and the case for doing so is more obvious than ever. Don't just leave it to the editorial writers. You have the proverbial horse in this race, so act like it. Freedom of speech and expression'Š'--'Šincluding and maybe especially journalism'Š'--'Šare under attack all around the world. They're jeopardized by the power of giant technology companies that, sooner or later, are likely to come under governments' thumbs'Š'--'Šand which, in the meantime, have terms of service that supersede the First Amendment. The bad actors have poisoned the waters so thoroughly that some people whose communities depend on free speech are talking out loud about suppressing it. Journalists need to work together at every level, and especially in our communities to explain why freedom of expression is the cornerstone of freedom itself.Yes, each of these broader topics has been covered. But there's been little or no effort by journalism to put them front and center on the public agenda where they belong and in full context'Š'--'Šshowing the forest and the trees. The traditions of ''competitive'' journalism, combined with the shrinking resources news organizations are able to deploy, have turned so much of our news into a blizzard of quick hits and near-identical clickbait. (Slightly rewritten versions of other people's stories is a bane of the new world of journalism. So is needless duplication of effort, such as having hundreds of reporters show up for made-for-TV events. News organizations should routinely collaborate on pool coverage'Š'--'Šmuch more than they already do'Š'--'Što free up reporters to do real reporting.)
The kinds of collaborations I'm talking about would be difficult to set up and manage, to put it mildly. Certainly the international consortium proves it can be done brilliantly on certain kinds of stories. Can it be done right on the bigger and broader ones? Why not at least try?
This kind of effort would do best with some outside funding'Š'--'Šfor startup costs, management, researchers, accountants, lawyers, etc.'Š'--'Šin addition to the journalism provided by the news organizations. Hello, foundations and philanthropists (Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Omidyar, et al): This is in your wheelhouse.
Who'd own the output? I'd argue for publishing as much as possible under a Creative Commons license'Š'--'Šarticles, data, transcripts, documents. Make the results of the journalism be available to everyone. These are issues of essential public interest.
Do this right, and you'll achieve something we all need right now: an affirmation of why journalism still matters.
The editorial page editors in this week's loose collaboration will do their best to make that case. I wish them well, and thank them.
But the rest of us in the journalism ecosystem should use their commentaries as the launch pad for a bigger, broader, and game-changing campaign. We have a lot at stake: maybe the republic itself.
Opinion | A Free Press Needs You - The New York Times
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:49
In 1787, the year the Constitution was adopted, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to a friend, ''Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.''
That's how he felt before he became president, anyway. Twenty years later, after enduring the oversight of the press from inside the White House, he was less sure of its value. ''Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,'' he wrote. ''Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.''
Jefferson's discomfort was, and remains, understandable. Reporting the news in an open society is an enterprise laced with conflict. His discomfort also illustrates the need for the right he helped enshrine. As the founders believed from their own experience, a well-informed public is best equipped to root out corruption and, over the long haul, promote liberty and justice.
''Public discussion is a political duty,'' the Supreme Court said in 1964. That discussion must be ''uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,'' and ''may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.''
In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media '-- for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong '-- is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don't like are ''fake news'' is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the ''enemy of the people'' is dangerous, period.
These attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States, already buffeted by the industry's economic crisis. And yet the journalists at those papers continue to do the hard work of asking questions and telling the stories that you otherwise wouldn't hear. Consider The San Luis Obispo Tribune, which wrote about the death of a jail inmate who was restrained for 46 hours. The account forced the county to change how it treats mentally ill prisoners.
Answering a call last week from The Boston Globe, The Times is joining hundreds of newspapers, from large metro-area dailies to small local weeklies, to remind readers of the value of America's free press. These editorials, some of which we've excerpted, together affirm a fundamental American institution.
If you haven't already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they've done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We're all in this together.
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The Purge
How to Get Alex Jones Off Twitter Once and For All '' Shannon Coulter '' Medium-Block Together
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:41
Photo by William Iven on UnsplashThis article is a Medium-based version of a viral Twitter thread I wrote about a very specific way we can encourage Twitter's leadership to drop Alex Jones from its platform. So many people have participated in this action in a short period of time (50,000 and counting as of the morning of 8.14.18) that it made news the very first day it launched.
To encourage Twitter to drop Alex Jones, I personally blocked the Twitter accounts of every Fortune 500 company that has a Twitter presence. There's a quick and easy way you can do this too, within a few clicks. Since users' time and attention is what Twitter is selling, the idea is to remove access to that time and attention until Jones is shown the door.
The quickest, easiest way to participate is to use a free tool called Block Together, created by Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Using Block Together, I created a custom block list to which you can subscribe with just two clicks. This doesn't negate or overrule your own Twitter block list. You'll just be blocking my list in addition to your own.
To subscribe to my block list, make sure you're logged into Twitter, then click this custom link. Then click the button that says ''Block All and Subscribe.'' Then click the blue ''Authorize App'' button. Voila! You're now blocking all the companies on my list. You can just close the tab now and the app will do its work. You don't need to stay on the Block Together page for it to work at this point. The app appears to have been experiencing high volume lately so it can take some time to block all the companies, but it happens eventually.
When you're launching Block Together, you can ignore the wording that says the app will be able to post to your Twitter timeline. It won't do that. That's boilerplate copy that appears for all external Twitter apps. I've tested the tool and it doesn't do anything unexpected or unwanted. Here's the link again.
This list is comprised of Fortune 500 companies that have a presence on Twitter, plus a few other large companies like Samsung that are not in the Fortune 500 but have recently run large Twitter campaigns.
When Twitter drops Alex Jones, I'll immediately unblock all the companies on this list, which means that you will too'Š'--'Šinstantly & automatically. That's the power of this method. If enough people participate, it gives Twitter a strong incentive to change for the better!
You can also unsubscribe from the block list anytime before that on your own, for any reason. Just go to the ''Subscription'' section of Unblock Together & uncheck ''shannoncoulter.''
It's important that I say here that if you sign up for my block list at any point, I will be able to see that you have (I'll see your Twitter handle in the private list of participants), but I will never publicly reveal your participation in the action for any reason. I'd sooner go to jail. So, if you want to participate but cannot broadcast that information for any reason, I understand and support that. The information, by the way, is stored in the Block Together app. Not a Google doc. Not in email. Not locally on my computer. The fact that Block Together was created by a senior EFF technologist is important because the EFF has a longstanding commitment to Internet privacy and developer-level domain expertise in how to create it.
That said, if you still prefer not to use an external app like Block Together, you can use this public Google doc. This is the most manual, time consuming way of going about things. There are links to each company's Twitter page there, so you can manually block companies at will. Even if you only blocked the top 25 to 50 companies, that would have impact.
If you're comfortable working with .csv files, there's a third and final option for blocking the Fortune 500 on Twitter. It's pretty quick, at least on the front end of the process. Twitter lets you import a block list as a .csv file. So, you can just download this Google doc as a .csv file. This document is just a very plain list of the Twitter ID numbers of all the Fortune 500 companies. That's the required format for this method. (And yes, some of the company's ID numbers are much longer than others. I'm not sure why.)
Once you download the document as a .csv file, go to ''Settings & Privacy'' in your Twitter account. Select ''Blocked Accounts'' on left hand side. Select ''Advanced Options'' and''Import a List.'' Select ''Attach a File to Upload'' then choose the .csv file you just downloaded. When Twitter drops Jones, you'll have to manually unblock the companies one by one, so although option three is quick to set up, it's a bit more time consuming on the tail end. (If you're comfortable running scripts, there's a handy one that can unblock all at once but I recommend this option only if you have experience in this area.)
And yes. You absolutely should be willing to unblock these accounts if Twitter does get rid of Alex Jones/Infowars. These kinds of consumer actions only work if you're willing to reward the company for taking the requested action. Otherwise, the company has no incentive at all to change.
Blocking these accounts until Twitter drops Alex Jones means you'll no longer see either these companies' timeline Tweets or promoted Tweets. You'll still see their promoted hashtags, but that's not something most companies do very often.
I chose Fortune 500 companies because they likely represent the bulk of Twitter's ad revenue. As companies, they're also powerful and unintimidated enough to put real pressure on Twitter's own leadership team. Many of these companies spend enough money on Twitter that they can reach out to high level staff members at Twitter and that call will be taken. Since Jack isn't listening to users right now, I'm hoping he'll listen to his advertisers. Finally, I feel it would be neither fair nor strategic to target smaller businesses in this particular action, so I focused on the big players.
If Twitter fails to respond to this action, I will consider rolling out a much larger, expanded list of companies to block.
By the way, it's important to note here that it was technologist and activist Jeff Reifman who came up with the idea of using Block Together as a way of protesting Alex Jones' continued presence on Twitter. (Thank you, Jeff!) He had already compiled a list of 7,000 small-to-medium sized businesses that have advertised on Twitter but I wanted to see where we could get by focusing only on the Fortune 500.
Not all Fortune 500 companies have a Twitter presence but every one that does has been included. We also added a few larger companies that are not in the Fortune 500 but have run large Twitter ad campaigns in the recent past.
That's it! Ready to flex your consumer power? If you block these companies using any of the above methods, use either the #GrabYourWallet or #BlockParty500 hashtags on Twitter to let me know. And if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask! I'll try to answer all of them. Let's do this!
Block Together
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:55
User
@shannoncoulter is blocking 464 users on Twitter (updated 35 minutes ago).
If you subscribe to @shannoncoulter's block list, they will be able to see that you are a subscriber and will have the option to unsubscribe you. They will not receive a notification.
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years ago 14538 7098 19014 RaymondJames Raymond James 9 years ago 6089 422 13129 HDSupply HD Supply 5 years ago 1561 203 5856 chemours The Chemours Company 4 years ago 1842 249 5659 iHeartMedia iHeartMedia 8 years ago 1496 802 21130 AmerenCorp Ameren Corporation 9 years ago 2766 312 30504 GallagherGlobal Gallagher 8 years ago 3681 1003 6270 celanese Celanese 7 years ago 4246 153 3369 Sealed_Air Sealed Air 9 years ago 1455 719 3718 UGI_Utilities UGI Utilities 8 years ago 5241 273 2472 Realogy Realogy 9 years ago 388 104 3348 Burlington Burlington 7 years ago 5801 1540 12538 askRegions Regions Bank 6 years ago 40244 4925 21443 Securian Securian Financial 9 years ago 1111 205 1715 SPGlobalRatings S&P Global Ratings 7 years ago 11380 760 95953 TATravelCenters TravelCentersTAPetro 7 years ago 4945 115 6942 Conduent Conduent 8 years ago 5899 935 15349 MandT_Bank M&T Bank 8 years ago 2913 1448 9558 Clorox Clorox 8 years ago 7387 5341 106005 AmTrustInsured AmTrust Insurance 5 years ago 2363 2917 2609 KKR_Co KKR & Co. 5 years ago 2412 488 13541 ultabeauty Ulta Beauty 9 years ago 67509 3244 624845 yumbrands Yum! Brands 10 years ago 2379 529 18752 Regeneron Regeneron 9 years ago 3260 261 13290 FirstAm First American 6 years ago 337 122 1902 BoozAllen Booz Allen Hamilton 9 years ago 15280 905 47399 tollbrothersinc Toll Brothers, Inc. 9 years ago 4233 766 14442 wyndestinations Wyndham Destinations 2 years ago 44 29 217 Ingredion Ingredion 6 years ago 128 42 1587 ICE_Markets ICE 9 years ago 4351 3492 36344 WesternSouthern Western & Southern 9 years ago 3275 1491 3036 MagellanHealth Magellan Health 7 years ago 2044 702 1388 Windstream Windstream 9 years ago 5788 2431 20617 Cheniere Cheniere Energy Inc. about a year ago 52 154 1067 harleydavidson Harley-Davidson 9 years ago 12716 1408 416547 Fiserv Fiserv 9 years ago 9050 1334 17589 TheNTGolf THE NORTHERN TRUST 9 years ago 2280 677 10571 avonworldwide Avon Worldwide 6 years ago 6356 1169 23733 onsemi ON Semiconductor 9 years ago 4353 1085 17706 peabodyenergy Peabody 5 years ago 1678 722 8600 SimonPropertyGp Simon 7 years ago 1156 424 3713 WesternUnion Western Union 9 years ago 50283 1302 646154 NetApp NetApp 9 years ago 19435 3437 128392 VistraEnergy Vistra 2 years ago 2 0 161 ABMFacilityServ ABM Industries 6 years ago 1272 788 2020 PXDtweets Pioneer 5 years ago 144 131 616 PolarisInd Polaris Industries 6 years ago 71 16 350 CintasCorp Cintas Corporation 9 years ago 2365 1635 7055 UnSocialMe EBIN 5 years ago 10 46 317 justplncate Snake Plushkitten: Escape From Twytter 7 years ago 48699 51 506
You Can NOT Monetize The Network!
Austin FB employees are the AI
... In an Uber.
ITM Adam,
Quick sidebar to your recent discussion on FB &
Texas.
The other day I gave a ride (Uber) to a paralegal that was
traveling to Texas, she worked at FB campus in Playa Vista (Los Angeles). FB
and Google have slowly been taking over the area, Google took over the old
Howard Hughes hanger and converted it to their space.
During the ride she mentioned her travels, FB and her task
while in Texas. Of course I inquired for show Intel.
Your analysis of FB in Texas was accurate. Her task was to
go to San Antonio and train the FB employees on how to GRADE all those videos
that get posted on FB and Instagram. She said someone actually watches all
those videos. AI at its finest lol
She also mentioned FB is creating guidelines for Hollywood
production houses. They're next play is along the lines of YT and
Netflix.
ITM
Brian
The Statesman responds!
Adam-
I
emailed the douchebag that interviewed you but didn’t mention the No Agenda
Show. See his reply below, but essentially, the flow of the story was
apparently more important to him. This is obviously what they teach these days.
Sad.
Mike
Begin
forwarded message:
From: "Herrera,
Sebastian (CMG-Austin)"
Subject:
Re: Submit a Letter to the Editor [#5758]
Date:
August 14, 2018 at 8:25:53 AM PDT
Hi
Michael,
Thanks
for the email. I appreciate your readership and feedback.
As
reporters, we aren’t in the business of plugging in anybody’s show or promoting
someone’s business in our articles. Our duty is to write fact-based stories
with context and the right experts. I would argue that it wouldn’t be the best
journalistic thing to do if we were going out of our way to plug in someone’s
show, etc.
In
this case, it was a writing decision I made to only reference him as a podcast
personality in Austin. I believe that was enough context for a reader to
understand his expertise without having to name specific shows. The wording
also flowed better when I wrote it that way and got quicker to his quote, which
is ultimately the important part.
His
podcast name is the No Agenda Podcast.
Thanks
again for the email.
Sebastian
I appreciated the recent article about Alex Jones and how his
banning hasn't reduced his reach. The article used quotes from some guy named
Adam Curry. I was curious who this Adam Curry is and it turns out he's a
prolific podcaster. Why wasn't his show mentioned in the article? Isn't it
standard courtesy and journalistic practice to give a plug for a
contributor's show? Seems like either laziness or negligence, neither of
which bodes well for the American-Statesman.
The stress test continues...firewalls
Please keep me anonymous. I am a Dude Named Ben
working for a large organization, and I just discovered that the firewall we
use (Palo Alto Networks) has flagged InfoWars as having "questionable
content" and is now blocked on our internal network. It was never
blocked before, so it seems that firewall providers have also jumped on the
band wagon along with Apple, etc.. I've requested they unblock it.
Patreon and Mastercard ban Robert Spencer without explanation
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:24
(Image thanks to Caldron Pool, which has a good article about this)
Recently Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes have been banned from various social media platforms, in a desperate attempt by the Left to ensure that the 2016 election results aren't repeated in 2018. Some people say it doesn't matter that these men were deplatformed, because they don't like what they say, and what's more, these are all private companies. They are indeed private companies, but they have a virtual monopoly today over the means of communication, and once they start banning people because they don't like what they say, they've set a precedent that is inimical to the survival of a free society.
If only approved viewpoints can be aired, we live in a totalitarian state, not a free society, and the effects of this will reverberate in our lives in ways we cannot imagine. If you think that the banning will stop when those who are deemed ''crazy'' or ''extremist'' are all banned, you're in for a surprise.
Yesterday, they came for me, albeit in not yet as thoroughgoing a manner as the way they went after Jones and McInnes.
A few weeks ago the great David Wood swung by my office and helped me set up a Patreon account. We made a video in which I explained that I had come into possession of what once had been a working TV studio, and that I hoped to make it into a working studio again for regular Jihad Watch videos.
The whole endeavor had barely gotten off the ground, however, when I received this email yesterday afternoon:
April (Patreon)
Aug 14, 3:20 PM PDT
Hi Robert,
My name is April and I'm on the Trust & Safety team here at Patreon. I've been notified by Mastercard that we must remove your account from Patreon, effective immediately.
Mastercard has a stricter set of rules and regulations than Patreon, and they reserve the right to not offer their services to accounts of their choosing. This is in line with their terms of service, which means it's something we have to comply by.
I have paid out your remaining creator balance of $475.22 to you via direct deposit.
I'm sorry for the inconvenience and frustration this might cause.
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns '-- I'm here to help.
Best,
AprilPatreon Trust and SafetyMonday '' Friday9am- 6pm PST
I'd been given no warning before this of anything amiss with my account, which at the time consisted of that single video announcing the initiative, along with a note announcing that I would be starting a livestream (I had planned weekly livestreams, ''This Week In Jihad,'' and recorded one and a half, the second one being cut short by a bad hotel connection. This nascent series will now, of course, be discontinued). That was it. So what violated their rules? They hadn't explained. But when I went to my Patreon account, I got this:
So I wrote back to April:
I see my account was also disabled. Explanation, please.
No answer. Later on Twitter, however, when I announced this, Patreon responded:
Hi Robert, we emailed you earlier today which explained that unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove your account. You replied to us but if you have further questions we're happy to keep emailing.
'-- Patreon (@Patreon) August 15, 2018
And:
Hey, we've been emailing with Robert today to explain the situation as unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove his account. We will continue to email with him if he has further questions.
'-- Patreon (@Patreon) August 15, 2018
This was plainly disingenuous. They had not ''been emailing'' with me, never explained why MasterCard objected to my account or why they had to comply with MasterCard's wishes, and didn't answer my request for an explanation. I don't have a MasterCard and didn't have one attached to my Patreon account, so MasterCard really wasn't involved '-- unless it owns Patreon, which is apparently the case.
Of course, what is almost certainly going on here is that MasterCard/Patreon is deleting accounts that have been smeared by the hard-Left propaganda hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), despite the fact that the SPLC has been resoundingly discredited. The SPLC defames me as a ''hate group leader'' and ''anti-Muslim extremist.'' Here, for the record, is my response to their charges, offered despite the fact that Patreon offered no chance to appeal or rebut whatever charges got me banned.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Falsehoods about Robert Spencer
''Robert Spencer,'' https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/robert-spencer
''Spencer is one of the most prolific anti-Muslim figures in the United States.''I am not ''anti-Muslim.'' I oppose jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women, non-Muslims, and others. I am no more ''anti-Muslim'' than foes of the Nazis were ''anti-German.''
''A career anti-Muslim figure, Spencer has devoted much of his life to writing books, countless articles, and producing other content all with the goal of vilifying and maligning Muslims and the Islamic faith.''My goal is not now and has never been ''vilifying and maligning Muslims and the Islamic faith.'' My goal is to convey Islamic doctrines and beliefs accurately in order to help people understand the phenomenon of Islamic jihad terror.
''He considers these texts to be innately extremist and violent, and refuses to acknowledge nonviolent passages and centuries of adapted interpretations.''Actually, I've published online a commentary on the entire Qur'an, including the nonviolent passages, and written extensively within it about nonviolent interpretations of various passages. That's here: https://www.jihadwatch.org/quran-commentary
''Spencer argues that extremists, like Osama bin Laden and ISIS, are the most authentic interpretation and practice of Islam, despite being actively rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims. He brushes this fact off by bombastically claiming the majority of Muslims, either do not understand their own holy book or are masking their extremism.''I've never made such claims, and have in fact spoken of a spectrum of belief, knowledge, and fervor among Muslims that accounts for why most do not wage jihad.
''By painting Rauf as an extremist who was striving to build a 'victory mosque' to celebrate the destruction of the World Trade Center, the two leaders of SIOA sought to block the project while portraying all Muslims as radical '' an assertion simply not supported by facts.''Rauf had links to the Muslim Brotherhood '-- see here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2010/07/raufs-dawa-world-trade-center-rubble-andrew-c-mccarthy/
We never stated or implied that ''all Muslims'' are ''radical.''
''Spencer also attacks individuals and organizations that claim to represent mainstream Muslims. This is most commonly done through accusations of those entities acting as secret operatives to destroy the West.''In reality, I merely note the abundantly documented ties of groups such as CAIR to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. See, for example, here: https://www.investigativeproject.org/2340/federal-judge-agrees-cair-tied-to-hamas
''Spencer is known to have associations with European racists and neo-fascists. However, he claims that his contact with them is merely incidental.''I have no associations with European racists or neo-fascists, and never have. I have had some associations with people who were falsely accused of being racist and neo-fascist.
''In Spencer's 2017 book Confessions of an Islamophobe, a memoir that among other things dives into the nuances of being an anti-Muslim hate monger, he reveals he has no plans of slowing down.''In reality, the book explains why opposing jihad terror and Sharia oppression do not make one an anti-Muslim hate monger.
''Muslim Basher Robert Spencer Shows White Nationalist Colors,'' https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2011/11/09/muslim-basher-robert-spencer-shows-white-nationalist-colors
''Proving yet again that nothing is beneath him, anti-Muslim propagandist Robert Spencer has put himself firmly in the camp of open white nationalists with an article published yesterday in Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic publication.''I am not a white nationalist, openly or secretly, and that article simply criticized multiculturalism. It did not discuss race at all.
''Spencer's piece is punctuated with a recommended reading list that might have been taken from the bookshelf of John Tanton, the racist architect of the modern nativist movement.''I had nothing to do with the compilation of that reading list, and did not see it before the piece was published. None of the books on it are genuinely racist; they're simply against mass migration of non-Europeans into Europe, the devastating effects of which we are seeing now.
''Anthony M. Esolen's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization, which was published by the white nationalist Regnery Press'...''Regnery Publishing is not ''white nationalist.'' It is a leading mainstream conservative publishing house that has published books by numerous mainstream conservative figures, including David Horowitz, Dinesh D'Souza, Ann Coulter, etc.
Neocon Bill Kristol Celebrates Social Media Purge
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 17:08
Imagine my surprise.
Neocons are breaking out the champagne to celebrate the removal of Alex Jones from social media.
Goodbye, Alex, and good riddance. @JVLast'(C) pulls no punches. https://t.co/SksrZtTcya
'-- Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 8, 2018
Jonathan Last, the editor of The Weekly Standard digital edition, after defending the removal of Jones, made an interesting comment:
The conservative view isn't just that communities have the right to create standards'--we have always believed that there is wisdom and virtue in doing so. If we didn't, then we'd be libertarians.
Poor ill-educated fool. Libertarianism is all about ethical standards'--primarily the ethic that one individual (or the state) doesn't have the right to use physical violence against another individual or a group of individuals.
Neocons don't subscribe to this. In fact, they believe violence is the preferred tool for dealing with stubborn and recalcitrant foreign leaders and regimes that reject the neoliberal economic order.
The cost for imposing this order'--cheered on by Kristol and his co-conspirators'--cost a million and a half human lives. Bill and his post-Trotskyite comrades declared this as a victory and urged the same treatment for Iran, Libya (mission accomplished), Syria (500,000 dead), Afghanistan (it is reported Trump is looking for a way out), and much of Africa where murderous Saudi Wahhabi inspired terrorists kill hundreds, including school children.
Imagine the shoe on the other foot. If Bill and his comrades were ejected from social media there would be a loud hue and cry'--and, of course, the accusation that social media is run by antisemites.
Back in 2003 as the above mentioned invasion was unfolding journalist Jim Lobe wrote about the neocons and their spiritual leader, Leo Strauss. ''Strauss is a popular figure among the neoconservatives. Adherents of his ideas include prominent figures both within and outside the administration. They include 'Weekly Standard' editor William Kristol,'' Lobe wrote.
He cites Shadia Drury who at the time taught politics at the University of Calgary. According to Drury Strauss believed that ''those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right'--the right of the superior to rule over the inferior.''
Strauss and the neocons believe religion is a tool used to placate the masses. ''Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control,'' Lobe writes.
Imposing moral law'--sort of like the imams in Iran.
Or the Taliban.
''The people are told what they need to know and no more,'' says Strauss analyst Robert Locke. Drury writes (Leo Strauss and the American Right, St. Martin's 1999) that the Straussian neocons believe that without their political deception and lies the nation will fall into ''anarchy'' and nihilism.
Unlike the widely excoriated libertarians, the neocons have a friend in Thomas Hobbes. He believed human beings could only be restrained by a powerful nationalistic state. ''Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed,'' Hobbes wrote. ''Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united'--and they can only be united against other people.''
''Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in,'' writes Drury, which naturally leads to an ''aggressive, belligerent foreign policy.''
Neocons ''really have no use for liberalism and democracy, but they're conquering the world in the name of liberalism and democracy,'' Drury told Lobe.
The Straussian philosophy has no tolerance for guys like Alex Jones. In its universe of funhouse mirrors distorting reality there is no room for serious opposition.
It is quite natural for Bill Kristol and the neocons to celebrate scrubbing Alex Jones and libertarians from social media (although Jones is not a libertarian'--his lawyer describes him as a performance artist).
More celebration is likely as the social media giants take orders from the state to memory hole the opposition.
Kurt Nimmo is the editor of Another Day in the Empire, where this article first appeared. He is the former lead editor and writer of Infowars.com. Donate to ADE Here.
Ottomania
lira vs dollar chart - Google Search
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:19
About 19,200,000 results
1 Turkish lira = 0.16 United States Dollar
DisclaimerUSD TRY Chart '' Dollar Lira Rate '-- TradingViewhttps://www.tradingview.com/symbols/USDTRY/ Live U.S. Dollar / Turkish Lira chart. ... USDTRY: A great opportunity to buy in Turkish Lira. keep your eye on it. 687 1 9 .... The US Dollar vs. the new Turkish Lira. USD to TRY Exchange Rate - Bloomberg Marketshttps://www.bloomberg.com/quote/USDTRY:CUR Current exchange rate US DOLLAR (USD) to TURKISH LIRA (TRY) including currency converter, buying & selling rate and historical conversion chart. USD - TRY | Real-Time Quote | Markets Insiderhttps://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/usd-try United States Dollar - Turkish New Lira (USD - TRY) ... CONVERT USD TO TRY. Prev. Close. 6.8811. Open. 6.8841. Day Low ... Chart Options. Mountain-Chart ... Searches related to lira vs dollar chart
Armenian Genocide recognition - Wikipedia
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 18:25
United Nations Edit In 1985, the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities received a report from Special Rapporteur and Sub-Commission member Benjamin Whitaker (United Kingdom) entitled Revised and Updated Report on the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (commonly known as The Whitaker Report), in which the Ottoman systematic massacre of Armenians during the World War I was cited as meeting the criteria for the UN definition of genocide and as one of the genocides of the 20th century.[6] His report was received and noted by a resolution at the 38th session of the Sub-Commission in 1985. (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6, July 2, 1985)
Catholic Church Edit In 2015, Pope Francis said that the Armenian Genocide was "considered the first genocide of the 20th century". The word was not used again, due to strong Turkish backlash, until June 2016, when he reaffirmed and solidified his stance on it constituting a genocide and strongly condemned the enduring denial of it.[7] Turkey responded by accusing the Pope of having a "crusader mentality" against the country. The Vatican strongly denied this, claiming that the Pope had actually called for reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.[8]
International Association of Genocide Scholars Edit In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) passed a resolution unanimously recognizing the Ottoman massacres of Armenians as genocide:[9][10]
That this assembly of the Association of Genocide Scholars in its conference held in Montreal, June 11''13, 1997, reaffirms that the mass murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. It further condemns the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government and its official and unofficial agents and supporters.
'--'‰
Among the prominent scholars who supported the resolution were: Roger W. Smith (College of William & Mary; President of AGS); Israel Charny (Hebrew University, Jerusalem); Helen Fein (Past President AGS); Frank Chalk (Concordia University, Montreal); Ben Kiernan (Yale University); Anthony Oberschall (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Mark Levene (Warwick University, UK); Rhoda Howard (McMaster University, Canada), Michael Freeman (Essex University, UK), Gunnar Heinsohn (Bremen University, Germany)The IAGS recognized the 1915 genocide in three different resolutions, on October 5, 2007 extending the recognition to also include the Assyrian Genocide and Pontian and Anatolian Greek Genocide among the affected minorities:[11]
WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognised as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides;
WHEREAS the Ottoman genocide against minority populations during and following the First World War is usually depicted as a genocide against Armenians alone, with little recognition of the qualitatively similar genocides against other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire;
BE IT RESOLVED that it is the conviction of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association calls upon the government of Turkey to acknowledge the genocides against these populations, to issue a formal apology, and to take prompt and meaningful steps toward restitution.[12]
The IAGS has consistently identified the Ottoman massacres of Armenians as genocide. For example, on March 7, 2009, in an open letter to President Obama, Gregory Stanton, President IAGS stated "we urge you to 'refer to the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide in your commemorative statement,' as you urged President George W. Bush to do in a letter dated March 18, 2005".[13]
In February 2002 an independent legal opinion commissioned by the International Center for Transitional Justice, concluded that the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915''1918 "include[d] all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the [Genocide] Convention, and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them".[14]From page 2 of the report:
This memorandum was drafted by independent legal counsel based on a request made to the International Center for Transitional Justice ("ICTJ"), on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU") entered into by The Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission ("TARC") on July 12, 2002 and presentations by members of TARC on September 10, 2002.
From page 18, D. Conclusion:
'... Because the other three elements identified above have been definitively established, the Events, viewed collectively, can thus be said to include all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the Convention, and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them.
In 2007 the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity wrote a letter[15] signed by 53 Nobel Laureates re-affirming the Genocide Scholars' conclusion that the 1915 killings of Armenians constituted genocide.[16]Wiesel's organization also asserted that Turkish acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide would create no legal "basis for reparations or territorial claims", anticipating Turkish anxieties that it could prompt financial or territorial claims.[17]
European Parliament Edit On April 15, 2015, the European Parliament backed a motion that calls the massacre a century ago of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a genocide,[18] days after Pope Francis' message triggered an angry reaction in Turkey for using the same term.[19] It had previously done so in 1987,[20] 2000,[21] 2002[22] and 2005.[23]
The European Parliament commended the message the pontiff had delivered.[24][25][26] Prior to the vote, Turkish president Erdoğan declared that "Turkey will ignore any decision by the European parliament", and that "I personally don't bother about a defence because [Turks] don't carry a stain or a shadow like genocide".[27]
Council of Europe Edit The Council of Europe recognized the Armenian Genocide on May 14, 2001.[28]
American Jewish organizations Edit On November 7, 1989 the Union for Reform Judaism passed a resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[29]
In 2007 the Anti-Defamation League declared the following press statement:
We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915''1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.[30]
In 2014 the American Jewish Committee recognized the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact.[31][32]
In October 2015, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs published a resolution calling on the U.S. government to recognize the World War I-era Turkish massacres of Armenians as a genocide.[33]
Central Council of Jews in Germany Edit The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called on the German government to recognize the World War I mass murder of over one million Armenians in what was then the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.
"One hundred years ago, the government of the Ottoman Empire ordered the deportation of one million Armenians. They were murdered directly, or died of starvation and dehydration in the desert," Central Council President Josef Schuster told the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. He added: "These terrible events should be called what they were: a genocide."
Schuster said the Armenian genocide later served Adolf Hitler and his Nazis as a blueprint for the Holocaust.[34][35][36]
The Zentralrat is the German affiliate of the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
European People's Party Edit On March 3, 2015, the European People's Party (EPP) adopted a resolution recognising and condemning the Armenian Genocide as well as paying tribute to the victims in the 100th anniversary. The EPP, which is the largest European political party, has adopted the resolution following the initiative of its sister parties from Armenia. The EPP includes major parties such as the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the French Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the Spanish Popular Party (PP) and it has member parties in all the EU Member States except for the United Kingdom.[37][38]
Other Edit Other organizations which have recognized the Armenian Genocide include:
World Council of Churches[39]European Green Party[40]Mercosur Parliament[41]Latin American Parliament[42]Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy[43]European Alliance of YMCAs[44]Andean Parliament[45] Permanent Peoples' Tribunal Edit In 1984 the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal made a verdict that the Armenian genocide is "an 'international crime' for which the Turkish state must assume responsibility", and that the United Nations and each of its members "have the right to demand this recognition and to assist the Armenian people to that end".[46][47]
Presbyterian Church (USA) Edit On June 20, 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and adopting the 2015 church calendar designating April 26 as the day for its observance.[48][49] It also directed the church's Mission Agency to prepare educational and liturgical resources for member churches in preparation for this event.[49] This resolution was the first of its kind for a major American church body.[49]
Countries Edit Countries that officially recognize the events as genocide.
Countries where certain political parties, provinces or municipalities have recognized the events as genocide, independently from the government as a whole.
On May 24, 1915, during World War I, the Allied Powers (the United Kingdom, France and Russia) jointly issued a statement in which they said that for approximately a month, the Kurdish and Turkish populations of Armenia had been massacring Armenians, with the connivance and often assistance of Ottoman authorities, and that the Allied Powers would hold all officers of the Ottoman Government implicated in such crimes personally responsible for crimes against humanity.[50][51][52]
During the second half of the 20th century and the 21st century parliaments of several countries have formally recognized the event as genocide. Turkish entry talks with the European Union were met with a number of calls to consider the event as genocide,[53][54][55] though it never became a precondition.
As of April 2017[update], 29 states had officially recognized the historical events as genocide. Sovereign nations (i.e. UN member-states) officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide are:[56][57][58]
CountryYear(s) of recognitionNotes Argentina1993, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015[59] Armenia1988[60]Recognition extended by the Armenian SSR. Austria2015[61][62] Belgium1998,[63] 2015[64] Bolivia2014The resolution was approved unanimously by both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with the approval of the Foreign Ministry.[65] Brazil2015The resolution was approved by the Federal Senate.[66][67] Bulgaria2015The declaration was adopted by the Bulgarian parliament on April 24, 2015, using the phrase "mass extermination of the Armenian People in the Ottoman Empire" and declares April 24 as a Victims Remembrance Day.[68][69][70]Regarding the usage of "mass extermination" the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has specified the following:"I said it very clearly: this is the Bulgarian word or the Bulgarian words, or the Bulgarian idiom for 'genocide.'" [70]
Canada1996, 2002, 2004,[71] 2006[72] Chile2007, 2015[73][74] Cyprus1975, 1982, 1990The first country to raise the issue to the UN General Assembly. Denial of the genocide is criminalized.[75] Czech Republic2017[76]On April 14, 2015, Czech Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide Centenary.[77] On April 25, 2017 Czech Parliament approved a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide.[78] France1998, 2001[79]The French Senate adopted a bill on October 14, 2016 that made the denial of the Armenian Genocide a crime. The bill was introduced by the French Government and passed by the French National Assembly in July, and stipulates a penalty of a year in prison or a 45,000 Euro fine.[80] Germany2005, 2016[81]Resolution passed first reading in April 2015. On June 2, 2016 German Bundestag almost unanimously (with one vote against and one abstention) passed a resolution qualifying the Ottoman Era Armenian killings 'genocide'. Greece1996Denial of the genocide is criminalized. Punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine not to exceed '‚¬30,000, per 2014 act.[82] Italy2000[79][83]Denial of genocides is criminalized. It stipulates 3-year imprisonment and a fine.[84][85][86] Lithuania2005[87] Lebanon1997, 2000[79] Luxembourg2015[88]The Chamber of Deputies unanimously adopted a resolution on the recognition of the genocide of Armenian people.[89] Netherlands2004, 2015,[90][91] 2018[92][93]The Dutch government will send a Minister or State Secretary to Armenia to attend Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day every five years, starting in 2018.[94] Paraguay2015The Chamber of Senator in Paraguay unanimously adopted the resolution.[95] Poland2005[96]The Sejm of the Republic of Poland (lower house of the Polish parliament) unanimously passed a bill recognizing Armenian Genocide on April 19, 2005. Russia1995, 2005, 2015[79] Slovakia2004Denial of the genocide is criminalized. Punishable by up to 5 years in prison, per 2011 act.[97] Sweden2010[98] Switzerland2003Denial of the genocide is criminalized. Syria2015[99][100] Uruguay1965, 2004[79][101]The first country to recognize the events as genocide. Holy See2000, 2015[79][102] Venezuela2005[103] States, regions, provinces, municipalities and parliamentary committees Edit Recognition of the Armenian Genocide also includes:
AustraliaParliaments of 2 Australian states recognize the Armenian Genocide:
New South Wales: In 2007 the Parliament of the State of New South Wales passed a motion condemning the genocide and called on the Australian Federal Government to do the same.[104] South Australia: In March 2009 the Parliament of South Australia passed a similar motion to that passed in New South Wales in 2007.[105]Additionally, the City of Ryde has adopted a unanimous motion dedicated to the centenary of the Armenian Genocide at its Council Meeting on April 14, 2015. The motion further calls on the Government of Australia to recognize and condemn all genocides.[106] The City of Willoughby passed a motion recognizing the Armenian Genocide on May 11, 2015.[107]
Belgium Flanders: The Parliament of Flanders adopted resolution recognizing Armenian Genocide and called on Turkey to come to terms with its past.[108]BrazilParliaments of 4 Brazilian states recognize the Armenian Genocide:
Cear: In 2006, The Legislative Council of State of Cear, Brazil, unanimously passed a bill which recognizes April 24 as the Day of the Armenian People. The Armenian Genocide victims will be hence commemorated on this day.[109] Paran: In 2013, Parliament of Brazilian state of Paran adopted a bill recognizing the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.[110] Rio de Janeiro: The State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil recognized the Armenian Genocide on July 24, 2015 with a law, setting April 24 as "Day of recognition and memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide".[111] S£o Paulo: The Legislative Assembly of the largest Brazilian state '' S£o Paulo '' passed a law recognizing April 24 "a Commemoration Day of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide in 1915" in 2003.[112]Bulgaria Bulgaria: 5 provinces (oblasts) have recognized the Armenian Genocide '' first in 2008 was the Plovdiv Province followed by the provinces of Burgas, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Pazardzhik.Canada British Columbia: The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia Recognizes The Armenian Genocide.[113] Ontario: The Legislature of Ontario unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in 1980.[114] Quebec: Quebec was the first Province in Canada to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1980.[115]Additionally, the City of Montreal and the City of Toronto recognized the Armenian Genocide.[116]
France Corsica: On April 14, 2015, the Corsican Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.[117]Iran Iran: The Tehran regional government recognized the Armenian Genocide.[citation needed ] Unofficially, the Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly recognized the Armenian genocide.[118]Israel Israel: On August 1, 2016, the Knesset's Education, Culture and Sports Committee announced it recognizes the Armenian Genocide and urged the Israeli government to formally acknowledge the 1915 mass slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians as such.[119]ItalyParliaments of 8 Italian regions recognize the Armenian Genocide:
Abruzzo: The Italian region of Abruzzo on October 27, 2015 passed a bill to recognize the Armenian Genocide.[120] Basilicata: The Regional Council of Basilicata, Italy, unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide on September 27, 2016.[121] Emilia-Romagna: The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy adopted on July 28, 2016 a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.[122] Lombardy: The Regional Council of Lombardy in Italy unanimously adopted a motion on recognition and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 14, 2015.[123] Marche: The Regional Council of Marche, Italy, unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide on October 6, 2015.[124] Piedmont: On March 31, 2015 the Regional Council of Piedmont in Italy adopted a motion on recognition and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.[125] Sicily: The Sicilian Parliament in Italy unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide on April 20, 2016.[126] Tuscany: On March 25, 2015 the Italian region of Tuscany passed a resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[127]Additionally, almost 100 cities throughout Italy have recognized the Armenian Genocide, including Rome, Milan, Turin, Venice, Padua, Florence, Genoa, Livorno, Taranto, Trieste, Ancona, Perugia, Reggio Emilia and Parma.[128]
Netherlands Overijssel: The Dutch province of Overijssel adopted a motion recognizing the Armenian Genocide.[129]SpainParliaments of 5 Spanish regions recognize the Armenian Genocide:
Aragon[130] Balearic Islands[131] Basque Country[132] Catalonia[133] Navarre[134]Additionally, 31 Spanish cities within 7 regions have recognized the Armenian Genocide:
Andalusia: La Roda de Andaluc­a,[135]Puente Genil,[136]Benalmdena,[137]Marbella,[138]Mlaga.[139] Balearic Islands: Santa Margalida.[140] Basque Country: San Sebastin.[141] Catalonia: Santa Coloma de Gramenet,[142]Sabadell.[143] Community of Madrid: Pinto,[144]Alcorc"n.[145] Extremadura: M(C)rida.[146] Valencian Community: Manises,[147]Mislata,[148]Xirivella,[149]Silla,[150]Burjassot,[151]Betera,[152]Aldaia,[153]Alzira,[154]Carcaixent,[155]Alaqu s,[155]Elda,[155]Paiporta,[156]Alicante,[157]Torrent,[158]Petrer,[159]Villena,[160]Cullera,[161]Sueca,[162]Valencia.[163] Pilgrims commemorating the 94th anniversary of the Genocide in Margadeh, near
Deir ez-Zor in
SyriaSwitzerland Geneva: Government of Swiss canton of Geneva recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915[164] Vaud: Swiss Canton of Vaud recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey[165]United KingdomThe three devolved legislatures of the United Kingdom have recognised the Armenian Genocide.[166]
Northern Ireland[167] Scotland[168] Wales[169]United States United States: 48 U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide as of 2017.[170][171]Other Quind­o, Colombia: The department's current capital city, formerly named "Villa Holgu­n" at its foundation act in 1889, was after renamed Armenia as tribute to the genocide victims.[172] Nagorno-Karabakh Republic: The predominantly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh recognizes the Armenian Genocide.[173] The self-proclaimed republic has declared April 24 as Genocide Memorial Day.[174] Crimea: The Crimean Parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2005.[175]Position of Turkey Edit The verdict of the Turkish courts-martial of 1919''20 acknowledged the massacre of Armenians as "war crimes", and sentenced the perpetrators to death.[176] However, in 1921, during the resurgence of the Turkish National Movement, amnesty was given to those found guilty. Thereafter, the successive Turkish government, under Mustafa Kemal Atat¼rk, adopted a policy of denial.[176][177][178][179]
A major obstacle for wider recognition of the genocide in the world is the official position of Turkey, which states that there was no will to exterminate the Armenian population and the 1915 massacres were the consequences of Tehcir Law and World War I.[180]
In April 2006, the Turkish Human Rights Association recognized the events as a genocide.[181]
In December 2008, a group of Turkish intellectuals launched an online petition for people who want to apologize in a personal capacity. The writers of the petition used the word "the Great Catastrophe" regarding the events. The petition (Turkish for "We apologize"), gained upwards of 10,000 signatures in a matter of days. In the face of a backlash,[182] the Turkish president defended the petition, citing freedom of speech.[183] An opposition group soon launched a Web site raising an even higher number of signatures. The Prime Minister sided with the opposition, and a national debate ensued.[184]
Since the "I Apologize" campaign in 2008, every year on April 24, commemoration ceremonies for the genocide are held in several Turkish cities. They started at Taksim Square of Istanbul in 2008, mainly a result of the nationwide discussion that came after the Assassination of Hrant Dink and then spread to Ankara, Diyarbakır, İzmir, Malatya, and Mersin in the following years.[185] The commemorations draw increasing support each year.
Greens and the Left Party of the Future had announced that they recognized the Armenian genocide in 2014.[186]
Position of the United States Edit U.S. states that recognize the Armenian Genocide
Several official U.S. documents describe the events as genocide. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted resolutions commemorating the Armenian Genocide in 1975,[187][188] 1984[189] and 1996.[190] President Ronald Reagan also described the events as genocide in his speech on April 22, 1981.[191] The legislatures of 48 out of the 50 U.S. states have made individual proclamations recognising the events of 1915 to 1923 as genocide.[170][192] As of March 4, 2010, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs has recognized the massacres of 1915 as genocide.[193]
The United States government first acknowledged the Armenian Genocide back in 1951, in a document it submitted to the International Court of Justice, commonly known as the World Court.[6]
House Joint Resolution 148, adopted on April 8, 1975, resolved: "Authorizes the President to designate April 24, 1975, as 'National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man' for remembrance of all the victims of genocide, especially those of Armenian ancestry who succumbed to the genocide perpetrated in 1915."[188]
After the tenure of Ronald Reagan, later United States Presidents have refused to name the events as such because of concerns over alienating Turkey.[194]
The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), advocacy organizations representing the views and values of the Armenian American community in the United States, have been urging Congress and the President of the United States to recognize the genocide by Ottoman Turkey in 1915.[195] They have also asked for an increase of economic aid to Armenia.
The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved HR 106, a bill that categorized and condemned the Ottoman Empire for the Genocide, on October 10, 2007, by a 27''21 vote. However, some of the support for the bill from both Democrats and Republicans eroded after the White House warned against the possibility of Turkey restricting airspace as well as ground-route access for U.S. military and humanitarian efforts in Iraq in response to the bill.[194] In response to the House Foreign Affairs Committee's decision on the bill, Turkey ordered their ambassador to the United States to return to Turkey for "consultations".[196] The Turkish lobby worked intensely to block the bill's passage.[196]
Barack Obama's position Edit On January 19, 2008 United States Senator Barack Obama released a statement:
Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term genocide to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.[197]
After becoming president he retreated from those statements, stating only that his opinion had not changed but refused to use the word genocide. Despite his previous public recognition and support of genocide bills, as well as the election campaign promises to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide,[198] Obama abstained from using the term "genocide".[199] On April 24, 2009, he stated as president:
I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.[200]
On April 24 commemoration speeches, Obama referred only to the Armenian synonym Mets Eghern ("Mec EÄeá¹n"). On April 24, 2010 Obama stated:
On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that ninety-five years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began. In that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.
Today is a day to reflect upon and draw lessons from these terrible events. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. It is in all of our interest to see the achievement a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts. The Mets Yeghern is a devastating chapter in the history of the Armenian people, and we must keep its memory alive in honor of those who were murdered and so that we do not repeat the grave mistakes of the past.[201][202][203][204]
Also in 2012,[205] 2013,[206] 2014[207] 2015,[208][209] and 2016[210] he did not use the word 'genocide'.In April 2015, Obama sent a Presidential Delegation to Armenia to attend the Centennial Commemoration in Yerevan.[211]Susan E. Rice, Obama's National Security Advisor, encouraged the Foreign Minister Mevl¼t ‡avuşoğlu of Turkey to take concrete steps to improve relations with Armenia and to facilitate an open and frank dialogue in Turkey about the atrocities of 1915.[212]
Kurdish position Edit Some Kurdish tribes played a role in the genocide, as they were an important tool used by the Ottoman authorities to carry out the killings.[213] Among modern Kurds, including major Kurdish parties like the HDP, and KDP, most of them acknowledge the killings and apologize in the name of their ancestors who committed atrocities toward Armenians and Assyrians in the name of the Ottoman Empire.[214][215][216][217][218]
Position of France Edit Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day in
Lyon, 2015
France has formally recognized the Armenian massacres as genocide.[219]
In 2006, the French Parliament submitted a bill to create a law that would punish any person denying the Armenian genocide with up to five years' imprisonment and a fine [220] Despite Turkish protests,[221] the French National Assembly adopted a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.[222] The bill had been criticized as an attempt to garner votes from among the 600,000 ethnic Armenians of France.[223] This criticism has come not only from within Turkey,[224] but also from Orhan Pamuk.[225] However, the bill was dropped in the summer of 2011 before coming to the Senate.[226]
Since then, France has urged Turkey to recognize the 1915 massacre as genocide.[227]
The French Senate passed a bill in 2011 that criminalizes denial of acknowledged genocides, which includes both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. The bill was submitted by the parliament in 2012.[228] However, the bill was considered unconstitutional on February 28, 2012 by the French Constitutional Court: "The council rules that by punishing anyone contesting the existence of... crimes that lawmakers themselves recognized or qualified as such, lawmakers committed an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression".[229]
The French Senate adopted a new bill on October 14, 2016 that made the denial of the Armenian Genocide a crime. The bill was introduced by the French Government and passed by the French National Assembly in July 2016, and stipulates a penalty of a year in prison or a 45,000 Euro fine.[80]
Position of the United Kingdom Edit The devolved legislatures of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all formally recognised the Armenian genocide. The government of the United Kingdom does not recognize the Armenian Genocide, as it considers that the evidence is not clear enough to retrospectively consider "the terrible events that afflicted the Ottoman Armenian population at the beginning of the last century" to be genocide under the 1948 UN convention. The British government states the "massacres were an appalling tragedy" and condemns them stating that this was the view of the government during that period.[166] In 2000, an Early Day Motion recognising the Armenian Genocide by the UK Parliament was signed by 185 MPs.[230][231]
Armenian memorial unveiled in
Cardiff in 2007
However, in 2007, the position of the British government was that it condemns the massacres, but "neither this Government nor previous British Governments have judged that the evidence is sufficiently unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorised as genocide as defined by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide, a convention which is, in any event, not retrospective in application."[232] In 2009 the lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC revealed in a disclosure of Foreign Office documents entitled "Was there an Armenian Genocide?",[233] how the British Parliament has routinely been misinformed and misled by ministers who have recited FCO briefs without questioning their accuracy. As summarized by Robertson, "there was no 'evidence' that had ever been looked at and there had never been a 'judgment' at all."[234] A 1999 Foreign Office briefing for ministers said that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK and goes on to say that "The current line is the only feasible option" owing to "the importance of our relations (political, strategic and commercial) with Turkey". The Foreign Office documents furthermore include advice from 1995 to the then Conservative foreign minister, Douglas Hogg, that he should refuse to attend a memorial service for the victims of the genocide.[235] As of 2015, the United Kingdom does not formally recognise the Ottoman Empire's massacres of Armenians as a "genocide".[236]
James Bryce (1838''1922), 1st Viscount Bryce, was one of the first Britons to bring this issue to public attention.[237][238]
Position of Australia Edit Australia does not view the events at the end of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.[239] Australia is one of the countries who were at war with the Ottoman Empire at the time of the events, notably during the Gallipoli Campaign. Australia does acknowledge the tragic events had devastating effects on the identity, heritage, and culture of all the people in the areas that the events have occurred. Furthermore, in response to the motions of New South Wales and South Australia to recognize the events as genocide the Foreign Minister of Australia has clarified on June 4, 2014, that Australian states and territories have no constitutional role in the formulation of the Australian foreign policy, and that Australia does not view the tragic events at the end of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.[240]
Position of Israel Edit Officially Israel neither recognizes nor denies the Armenian Genocide. This stems from a few geopolitical considerations. First, according to The Times of Israel, "Israel is a small country in a hostile neighborhood that can't afford to antagonize the few friends it has in the region. Even more powerful states refuse to employ the 'genocide' term for fear of alienating Turkey...."[241] Second, Israel shares a "budding friendship" with Azerbaijan, a "Shiite Muslim but moderate country bordering Iran" that also strongly opposes recognition.[241] Third, according to former Israeli minister Yossi Sarid (one of the country's most vocal supporters of Armenian Genocide recognition), Israel tends to follow policies set by the United States, which has not recognized it.[242] Despite these concerns, many prominent Israeli figures from different sides of the political spectrum have called for recognition.[241][242]
In 2003, the Catholicos of All Armenian Karekin II visited the then Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger who accepted an invitation by Karekin II to visit Armenia,[243] a trip that he made in 2005, including a visit to the Tsitsernakaberd (the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan).[244] While doing so he formally recognised the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact.[245]
Israel appeared to move closer to officially recognizing the genocide in 2011 when the Knesset held its first open discussion on the matter. By a unanimous vote of 20''0, the Knesset approved referring the subject to the Education Committee for more extensive deliberation.[246] Israel's speaker of the Knesset told an Israel-based Armenian action committee that he intended to introduce an annual parliamentary session to mark the genocide.[247] A special parliamentary session held in 2012 to determine if Israel would recognize the Armenian Genocide ended inconclusively. Then''Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Cabinet Minister Gilad Erdan were among those supporting formal recognition by the government.[248] The recognition was not approved at that time and in 2015, Rafael Harpaz, Israel's ambassador to Azerbaijan, said in an interview that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has made it clear that Israel will not recognize the Armenian genocide, given Israel's hopes that its political and economic relationship with Turkey can improve.[249] Another great concern is Azerbaijan, which is Israel's main oil supplier, a buyer of Israeli arms, and a Muslim ally in the global coalition against Iran.[250]
MKs supporting recognition have acknowledged the effect it could have on Israel''Azerbaijan and Israel''Turkey relations. As then Knesset Spokesperson Rivlin said, "Turkey is and will be an ally of Israel. The talks with Turkey are understandable and even necessary from a strategic and diplomatic perspective. But those circumstances cannot justify the Knesset ignoring the tragedy of another people" and Ayelet Shaked (of the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party) said: "We must confront our silence and that of the world in the face of such horrors."[251][252] In 2000, then''education minister Yossi Sarid, chairman of the dovish Meretz party, announced plans to place the Armenian genocide on Israel's history curricula.[241] As a result of Sarid's 2000 speech to an Armenian church in Jerusalem recognizing their genocide, he became persona non grata in Turkey.[242] Meretz has long fought for recognition of the genocide.[250]Zehava Galon, a successor of Sarid as Meretz leader, has initiated several motions in the Knesset calling for the government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In 2013 she said, "Reconciliation with Turkey is an important and strategic move, but it should not affect the recognition."[252] Her 2014 motion also enjoyed much support on the Knesset floor, including that of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.[253] Galon has also paid her respects at local Armenian memorial services.[254]
Rivlin, now president of Israel, was one of the Knesset's most outspoken proponents of recognition. It was reported in 2014 that due to the sensitivities of Israel's relationship with Turkey, Rivlin was quietly distancing himself from the Israeli campaign to recognize the Armenian Genocide and chose not to sign the annual petition, which he had previously done.[255] Still, Israel has taken greater steps toward Armenian Genocide recognition under Rivlin's presidency. Rivlin was the first Israeli president to speak at the United Nations on the issue.[256] During the United Nations Holocaust Memorial on January 28, 2015, President Rivlin spoke about the Armenian tragedy.[257] It was observed that in his speech he used the phrase ר×...ח ×‘× × ×--××' ×--××¨×ž× × reáº'aḥ bnei haÊam haArmeni, which means "the murder of the members of the Armenian nation," coming close to the Hebrew term for genocide, ר×...ח ××' reáº'aḥ Êam.[258] In addition, 2015 marked the first time that Israel sent a delegation'--Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) and Anat Berko (Likud)'--to Yerevan for the official memorial event. In an event billed as the first to be held by an Israeli president to commemorate the tragedy, Rivlin also invited Armenian communal and religious leader's to his official residence on April 26, 2015. He said we are "morally obligated to point out the facts, as horrible as they might be, we must not ignore them." As he skirted using the term "genocide," some Armenian leaders were disappointed, though still thankful for the event.[258] However, it was later reported that earlier that same month, while briefing foreign journalists in English, Rivlin had in fact referred to the killings as genocide, saying:
It was Avshalom Feinberg, one of my eldest brothers, who said 25 years before the Holocaust that if we do not warn against what is going on with the Armenians, what will happen afterwards when they try to do to us'...? There is a saying that the Nazis used the Armenian genocide as something that gave them permission to bring the Holocaust into reality, according to their belief that they have to discriminate against the Jewish people. 'Never again' belongs to every one of you, all the nations. We cannot allow something like that to happen."[256]
In 2015, a group of distinguished Israeli academics, artists, and former generals and politicians signed a petition calling on Israel to follow the Pope's lead and recognize the genocide.[242] The signatories included author Amos Oz, historian Yehuda Bauer, Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former Likud minister Dan Meridor and about a dozen former MKs and ministers.[241]
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem on May 9, 2016. Concluding his speech he said, that "the Armenians were massacred in 1915. My parents remember thousands of Armenian migrants finding asylum at the Armenian Church. No one in Israel denies that an entire nation was massacred."[259]
On August 1, 2016, The Knesset Committee on Education, Culture and Sport recognized the Armenian genocide.
Position of other countries Edit The Armenian Heritage Park in downtown
Boston Armenian genocide monument in
Larnaca, Cyprus. Cyprus was among the first countries to recognize the genocide.
Azerbaijan, which is in a strategic alliance with Turkey and is in conflict with Armenia because of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, shares the position of Turkey. During the Communist rule, when Azerbaijan was a part of the USSR, a brief description of the Armenian Genocide was placed in the Azerbaijani Soviet Encyclopedia.[260]
The Ukrainian town Izyum recognized the killings as genocide on New Year's Eve 2009 but after lobbying by the Azerbaijani community of Crimea, their city council canceled that decision on April 1, 2010. This is the first case in the world when the decision on a recognition was cancelled.[261]
Denmark believes (2008) that the genocide recognition should be discussed by historians, not politicians.[262] However, on January 26, 2017 the Danish Parliament adopted a resolution regarding the Armenian Genocide, which recognizes the ''tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915''1923''.[263]
In Bulgaria activists first tried to persuade the parliament to acknowledge the genocide in 2008, but the proposal was voted down.[264] Shortly after the decision of the parliament, several of the biggest municipalities in Bulgaria accepted a resolution recognising the genocide.[265] The resolution was first passed in Plovdiv followed by Burgas, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Pazardzhik and others. In 2015 however, the Bulgarian parliament adopted a declaration recognising the "mass extermination of the Armenian People in the Ottoman Empire" in the period 1915''1922, but did not use the word "genocide".[68][266]
On March 29, 2000 the Swedish parliament approved a report, recognizing the Armenian Genocide and calling for Turkey's greater openness and an "unbiased independent and international research on the genocide committed against the Armenian people".[272] On June 12, 2008, the Swedish parliament voted by 245 to 37 (with 1 abstention, 66 absences) to reject a call for recognition of the 1915 genocide of the Ottoman Empire. On June 11 a long debate took place in the Swedish Parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish Government and Parliament to officially recognize the genocide.[273] The MPs adhered to the recommendation by the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Foreign Committee, arguing that there are "disagreements among scholars" in regard to the nature of the World War I events in Turkey, the non-retroactive nature of the UN Genocide Convention, and that the issue "should be left to historians". However, the Foreign Committee report stated that "the Committee understands that what happened to Armenians, Assyrians/Syrians and Chaldeans during the Ottoman Empire's reign would probably be regarded as genocide according to the 1948 convention, if it had been in power at the time of the event".[274] Three days prior to the debate in the Parliament, a petition, signed by over 60 renowned genocide scholars was published, calling on politicians in general, and the Swedish parliamentarians in specific, not to abuse the name of science in denying a historic fact.[275] On March 11, 2010, the Swedish parliament recognized the genocide.[276]
In 2001, Abd al-Qadir Qaddura, speaker of the Syrian Parliament, became the first high-ranking Syrian official to acknowledge the Armenian genocide when he wrote in the Book of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide Monument and Museum in Yerevan: "As we visit the Memorial and Museum of the Genocide that the Armenian nation suffered in 1915, we stand in full admiration and respect in front of those heroes that faced death with courage and heroism. Their children and grandchildren continued after them to immortalize their courage and struggle. '... With great respect we bow our heads in memory of the martyrs of the Armenian nation '-- our friends '-- and hail their ability for resoluteness and triumph. We will work together to liberate every human being from aggression and oppression." In 2014 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad became the first Syrian head of state to acknowledge the mass murders of Armenians and identify the perpetrator as Ottoman Turkey, stating, "The degree of savagery and inhumanity that the terrorists have reached reminds us of what happened in the Middle Ages in Europe over 500 years ago. In more recent modern times, it reminds us of the massacres perpetrated by the Ottomans against the Armenians, when they killed a million and a half Armenians and half a million Orthodox Syriacs in Syria and in Turkish territory." Although Assad did not use the world genocide, two days after Assad's statement Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, stated, "How about the Armenian Genocide where 1.5 million people were killed?" [277]
On September 9, 2004, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan.[278]
On June 15, 2005 the German Bundestag passed a resolution that "honors and commemorates the victims of violence, murder and expulsion among the Armenian people before and during the First World War". The German resolution also states:
The German parliament deplores the acts of the Government of the Ottoman Empire regarding the almost complete destruction of Armenians in Anatolia and also the inglorious role of the German Reich in the face of the organized expulsion and extermination of Armenians which it did not try to stop. Women, children and elderly were from February 1915 sent on death marches towards the Syrian desert.
The expressions "organized expulsion and extermination" resulting in the "almost complete destruction of Armenians" is sufficient in any language to amount to formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, although of course the crime of 'genocide' had not been legally defined in 1915. The Resolution also contains an apology for German responsibility as a then ally of Turkey.[279][280]
On September 4, 2006, Members of the European Parliament voted for the inclusion of a clause prompting Turkey "to recognize the Armenian genocide as a condition for its EU accession" in a highly critical report, which was adopted by a broad majority in the foreign relations committee of the European Parliament.[281][282] This requirement was later dropped on September 27, 2006 by the general assembly of the European Parliament by 429 votes in favor to 71 against, with 125 abstentions.[283]In dropping the pre-condition of acceptance of the Armenian genocide, (which could not be legally demanded of Turkey), The European Parliament said: "MEPs nevertheless stress that, although the recognition of the Armenian genocide as such is formally not one of the Copenhagen criteria, it is indispensable for a country on the road to membership to come to terms with and recognize its past."
On September 26, 2006, the two largest political parties in the Netherlands, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Labour Party (PvdA), removed three Turkish-Dutch candidates for the 2006 general election, because they either denied or refused to publicly declare that the Armenian Genocide had happened. The magazine HP/De Tijd reported that the number 2 of the PvdA list of candidates, Nebahat Albayrak (who was born in Turkey and is of Turkish descent) had acknowledged that the term "genocide" was appropriate to describe the events. Albayrak denied having said this and accused the press of putting words in her mouth, saying that "I'm not a politician that will trample my identity. I've always defended the same views everywhere with regard to the 'genocide'".[284] It was reported that a large section of the Turkish minority were considering boycotting the elections.[285] Netherlands' Turkish minority numbers 365,000 people, out of which 235,000 are eligible to vote.
On November 29, 2006, the lower house of Argentina's parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The bill was overwhelmingly adopted by the assembly and declared April 24, the international day of remembrance for the Armenian genocide as an official "day of mutual tolerance and respect" among peoples around the world.
On April 20, 2007, the Basque Parliament approved an institutional declaration recognising the Armenian Genocide. The Basque Parliament included six articles where it affirms the authenticity of the Armenian Genocide and declares sympathy to the Armenians, while at the same time denouncing Turkey's negation of the genocide and its economic blockade imposed on Armenia.[286]
Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev laying a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial, October 2008
On June 5, 2007, the Chilean Senate unanimously adopted a legislation recognising the Armenian Genocide and urging its government to support a key 1985 United Nations Subcommission report properly describing this crime against humanity as a clear instance of genocide.[287]
On November 23, 2007, the Mercosur parliament adopted a resolution recognising the "Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, which took 1.5 million lives from 1915 to 1923". The Mercosur resolution also expressed its support for the Armenian Cause and called on all countries to recognize the genocide.[288]
On March 5, 2010, the Catalan Parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide on the initiative of the members of Barcelona's Friendship Union with Armenia.[133]
On March 11, 2010 the Swedish Parliament voted to describe the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide. The resolution was adopted with 131 deputies voting in favour of the resolution and 130 voting against it.
On March 25, 2010 the Serbian Radical Party submitted a draft resolution to the Serbian parliament condemning the genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey against Armenians from 1915 to 1923. SRS submitted the draft so that Serbia can join the countries which have condemned the genocide.[289] As of March 10, 2014, Serbia does not recognize the events as a genocide,[290] thus it can be said the draft has failed.
On February 17, 2011, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi paid tribute to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims during his visit to Armenia. He also met with the head of Armenia's national church, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, and discussed the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[291]
Despite the fact that the Czech Republic has not formally recognized the Armenian Genocide, during his meeting with Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan in January 2014, the Czech President MiloÅ Zeman stated: "Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In 1915 1.5 million Armenians were killed."[292]
On June 20, 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and adopting the 2015 church calendar designating April 26 as the day for its observance.[48][49] It also directed the church's Mission Agency to prepare educational and liturgical resources for member churches in preparation for this event.[49] This resolution was the first of its kind for a major American church body.[49]
On June 23, 2014 the parliament of Spain's autonomous community of Navarre adopted a measure recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The measure came after a series of visits by members of the Navarre parliament to Armenia and Artsakh.[293]
On November 26, 2014, the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia unanimously passed a resolution in solidarity with the claims of the Armenian people and condemning "all denialist policy regarding the genocide and crimes against humanity suffered by the Armenian nation."[294]
On March 11, 2015, American actor George Clooney showed solidarity and support in a day of remembrance marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at an event in New York City. Clooney took to the stage and spoke about the significance of the centennial and of recognizing the genocide. Clooney was joined by his wife Amal Clooney, who went before Europe's top human rights court in January, representing Armenia, to argue against a man convicted of denying the 1915 Armenian genocide.[295]
On March 17, 2015, the People's Council of Syria -during a session dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the genocide-, condemned the Ottoman Empire for its responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. The speaker of the parliament Mohammad Jihad al-Laham issued a statement on behalf of the members, where he expressed solidarity with the Armenians worldwide in their struggle for justice.[296]
On March 27, 2015, Armenian and Greek youth held a protest in the Greek capital of Athens. Protesters demanded that European Union member states end denial policies, recognize the Armenian Genocide, and subject deniers to criminal liability. The protesters further called on the European Union to pressure Turkey to recognize the genocide and take action to compensate for the material and non-material losses and restoration of the historic rights of the Armenian nation.[297]
On April 2, 2015, the popular American band System of a Down embarked on their Wake Up The Souls Tour, which kicked off April 6 and culminates with the band's first performance in Armenia's capital city of Yerevan on April 23. "The goal is to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide, and also to put the idea into people's minds that justice can prevail, even if it's been a hundred years," said band member Serj Tankian. The group will visit a total of 14 cities across the world.[298]
On April 4, 2015, Forty-nine members of the United States House of Representatives have written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to recognize the mass killings of the Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans in 1915 as genocide, claiming that the move will help improve Turkish-Armenian relations. The lawmakers said a clear recognition of the 1915 events as genocide, as Armenians mark its centennial this year, would affirm that it is not an allegation but a "widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence." [299]
On April 6, 2015, Armenian-American reality stars Kim Kardashian and Khlo(C) Kardashian travelled to the Republic of Armenia. During their stay, the sisters visited the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial in Yerevan and in-doing so, brought global media attention to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Kim Kardashian's husband Kanye West also visited the Republic.[300]
On April 7, 2015, the Ngāpuhi leader David Rankin has called for Māori people to boycott this year's centennial ANZAC commemorations because the Turkish Government is using the event to deflect attention from the Armenian Genocide. Mr Rankin stated that "the Armenian population was slaughtered by the colonizing Turks and our involvement in the ANZAC centennial at Gallipoli is supporting the genocide of the colonizer. Mr Rankin is calling on the Maori of New Zealand and other indigenous groups to boycott this year's ANZAC Day events and as a sign of their solidarity with the Armenians, to stop wearing poppies this year.[301] The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand also supports the move to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Green Party human rights spokesperson Catherine Delahunty stated that New Zealand should be using its spot on the United Nations Security Council to advocate for genocide recognition.[302]
On April 12, 2015, Pope Francis described the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as "the first genocide of the 20th century" during an unprecedented Vatican Mass dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. Francis remembered the victims of "that immense and senseless slaughter" at the start of the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, which was attended by President Serzh Sarkisian, the supreme heads of the Armenian Apostolic Churches and hundreds of Armenian Catholics.[303] Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador to the Holy See.[304]
On April 14, 2015, the Parliament of Corsica adopted a resolution recognizing the fact of the Armenian Genocide. With this resolution, the Corsican Assembly urged Turkey to recognize the Genocide and normalize relations with Armenia. The resolution was introduced by the Femu a Corsica political coalition.[305]
On April 15, 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution by a majority vote that calls the massacre a century ago of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a genocide. The motion, which garnered support from all political groups, encouraged Turkey to "use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide as an important opportunity" to open its archives, "come to terms with its past" as well as recognize the genocide. By doing so, Turkey would pave the way for a "genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples". The document calls on Turkey to restore its diplomatic ties with Armenia, open the border and strive for economic integration.[306] The European Parliament further called on all European Union member states to recognize the Armenian Genocide.[307]
On April 17, 2015, Armenian religious and secular organizations in Georgia have petitioned the country's parliament to begin formal debates on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[308] On April 24, 2015, thousands marched in the province of Javakheti demanding that Turkey recognize the genocide. Another rally took place near the Turkish embassy in Tbilisi.[309]
On April 18, 2015, the Austrian People's Party and the Social Democratic Party of Austria presented a resolution that condemns the Armenian Genocide to the Parliament of Austria.[310] On April 21, 2015 the Austrian parliament officially adopted a statement condemning the Armenian Genocide and called on Turkey to face its past. All six factions of the Austrian parliament signed up to the statement that also emphasizes the responsibility of Austria-Hungary, as an ally of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, in the Armenian Genocide.[311]
On April 20, 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the government of Germany would support a resolution in parliament on Friday declaring the Armenian Genocide an example of genocide. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition, including the Christian Democratic Union of Germany will vote on April 24 to label the murders as genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948. The lower house vote is on the same day as leaders meet in the Armenian capital of Yerevan to commemorate the massacre that began in April 1915. Germany has been under pressure from some of its European partners to follow their example and more fully recognize the depth of the Armenian tragedy.[312]
On April 21, 2015, members of the opposition political group New Party (Serbia), submitted a draft resolution on the recognition and condemnation of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire to the Parliament of Serbia. New Party is calling on the Serbian government and citizens to observe April 24 as a day of remembrance of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The draft resolution also calls on other countries, including Turkey, and international organizations to recognize and condemn the genocide against the Armenian people in the hopes to prevent such crimes from happening in the future.[313]
On April 22, 2015, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke out strongly on the question of the Armenian Genocide in a closed session with journalists in Jerusalem. Rivlin drew a direct historical link between the world's failure to prevent the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. "The Nazis," he said, "used the Armenian Genocide as something that gave them permission to bring the Holocaust into reality." [314]
On April 22, 2015, the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan expressed his gratitude to the People's Council of Syria for its steps aimed at the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The speaker of the People's Council of the Syrian Arab Republic, Mohammad Jihad al-Laham, stated that Syria recognizes the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire.[315]
On April 23, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide ahead of his participation in upcoming official ceremonies in Yerevan to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. "One century on, we bow our heads in memory of all victims of this tragedy which our country has always perceived as its own pain and calamity," he said.[316]
On April 23, 2015, the Flemish Parliament of Belgium unanimously adopted a resolution to fully recognize the Armenian Genocide. The motion was put forward by all political parties of Flanders including the Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams party. The motion further called on Turkey to recognize the massacres as a genocide.[317]
On April 24, 2015, The President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolić, stated that the people of Serbia realize what happened to the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and that a monstrous genocide did occur. The President, along with other world leaders, travelled to the Armenian capital of Yerevan to commemorate the centennial of the genocide. The denial of historical truth adversely affects the level of awareness," the Serbian president stressed, and added: "We have not come here to be against or for someone, but to honor the memory of the victims of the people of Armenia." [318]
On April 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, more than 130,000 people took part in the March for Justice to mark the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Demonstrators started the march from the Little Armenia neighborhood and proceeded to walk six miles to the Turkish consulate. Demonstrators demanded that the killing of around 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 be recognized as a genocide.[319]
On April 24, 2015, the lights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Coliseum in Rome went dark in recognition and remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. Several media outlets reported that Europe stood with Armenia at this time.[320]
On April 25, 2015, the entire political elite of Uruguay participated in commemorating the centennial of the Armenian Genocide in Montevideo. Among the participants were President Tabar(C) Vzquez and Vice-President Raºl Fernando Sendic Rodr­guez. The high-ranking guests talked about the need for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and criticized Turkey's denial. Uruguay was the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1965.[321]
Throughout April 2015, several American states have adopted resolutions on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide centennial. Wisconsin commemorated the "Day of Remembrance for the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923 with a joint resolution. Pennsylvania unanimously passed H.R. 265 designating April 24, 2015, as "Pennsylvania's Day of Remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Tennessee passed HR 100 designating April 24 as the official day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide. The New York State Assembly passed Res.374 "intended to counter the tide of revisionist history which purports that the Armenian Genocide never took place." The House of Representatives of Georgia (U.S. state) passed Resolution H.R. 904 which declares April 24 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.[322] As of April 2015, 44 out of 50 U.S. states have, by legislation or proclamation, recognized the Armenian Genocide.[323]
On April 27, 2015, a call to recognize the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians as "genocide", was supported by the leaders of the main Irish churches. Clergy from seven Christian denominations and a representative of the Jewish Community were among those calling on Republic of Ireland to recognize the genocide. Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Dublin Raymond Field said to the Armenians "I stand in solidarity with you, and we share your pain and sadness." Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson also described the killing as a "genocide" which demanded "recognition and response".[324] On the same day, Armenia called on Ireland to recognize the genocide, the call was made by the Armenian Consul to Ireland.[325]
On April 29, 2015, members of the Kurdistan Parliament in Iraq submitted a legislative proposal to recognize the events of 1915 as the Armenian Genocide. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan extended its support of the proposal. The draft law also proposes to declare April 24 as an official non-working day in Iraqi Kurdistan.[326]
On May 6, 2015, the Chamber of Deputies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg adopted unanimously a resolution recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide.[327]
On May 30, 2015, the Young European Socialists gathered in Riga, Latvia where a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide was passed. The group also condemned Turkey's denial of the crime and called on Turkey to begin a process of reparations for the genocide.[328]
On June 2, 2015, the Federal Senate of Brazil passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The resolution expresses its "solidarity with the Armenian people during the course of the centenary of the campaign of extermination of its population" and states that "the Senate recognizes the Armenian Genocide, whose centenary was commemorated on April 24, 2015."[329]
On October 29, 2015, the Senate of the Republic of Paraguay unanimously approved an official recognition of the Armenian Genocide. "The Senate of the Republic of Paraguay recognizes the genocide of the Armenian people in the period 1915-1923, committed by the Turkish-Ottoman Empire, when commemorating this year the centenary of that crime against humanity," reads Article 1 of the statement presented by the Progressive Democratic Party.[330]
On November 30, 2015, the Parliament of South Ossetia will consider the issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as announced by Speaker Anatoly Bibilov. "We regret that South Ossetia has not recognized the Armenian Genocide until now. The issue is on the parliament agenda now, and will be put on a discussion. It's necessary to give a proper assessment to the crime committed in the Ottoman Empire and condemn the policy of denial of genocide," he said. He added that South Ossetia is not afraid of damaging ties with Turkey, as there are no relations as such.[331]
On December 2, 2015, the Parliament of Aragon in Spain, adopted a declaration recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide.[332]
On June 2, 2016, the Germany's Bundestag passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and admitting its part of responsibility for it, as the main ally of the Ottoman Empire during WW I, which led to a furious reaction in Turkey.[333] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said German lawmakers of Turkish origin who voted for the resolution have "tainted blood" and that their blood "must be tested in a lab." The president of Germany's parliament, Norbert Lammert said he was shocked that threats against the parliamentarians had been backed by high-ranking politicians, and said parliament would respond with all legal options. Also, Martin Schulz, a member of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) and president of the European Parliament condemned Erdoğan's comments.[334] German foreign ministry had warned lawmakers with Turkish origin against travel to Turkey because their safety could not be guaranteed and also they received increased police protection and further security measures for both their professional and private activities.[335]
On June 24, 2016, Pope Francis in a speech described the killing of Armenians as a genocide. Also, the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, told the reporters that "There is no reason not to use this word in this case," "The reality is clear and we never denied what the reality is." Turkey condemned the declaration as "very unfortunate" and also said that it bore traces of "the mentality of the Crusades."[336][337]
On July 1, 2016, France's lower house of parliament has unanimously voted to criminalize the denial of all crimes against humanity. The amendment covered all events which the French law defined as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or slavery, including Armenian genocide. The law set out penalties of up to one year in prison and a 45,000-euro ($50,000) fine for those who contradicted it. It is yet to be passed by France's Senate.[338][339][340] Turkish Foreign Ministry said that this law is a risk to freedom of expression[340]
On August 1, 2016, the Knesset's Education, Culture and Sports Committee announced it recognizes the Armenian genocide and urged the Israeli government to formally acknowledge the 1915 mass slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians as such.[341]
On September 17, 2016, the Andean Parliament, a legislative body composed of representatives of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, approved a resolution recognizing the "Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the authorities of the Ottoman Empire between the years 1915-1923" and condemning "any policy of denial with respect to genocide and crimes against humanity suffered by the Armenian nation."[342]
On October 14, 2016, the French Senate '--the upper house of the Parliament of France'--approved a draft law criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The bill, which was unanimously passed by the lower house of the French parliament on July 1, set out penalties of up to a year in prison and a 45,000 Euro ($50,000 USD) fine for those who publicly deny the genocide.[343]
On January 26, 2017, the Parliament of Denmark approved a resolution that condemns Turkish legislation for banning citizens and mass media to use the term 'genocide' and that it is an unreasonable restriction on academic freedom and freedom of speech. The resolution also condemned the acts of violence committed against the Armenian people.[344]
In a letter dated April 21, 2017 and addressed to the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR), Wyoming Governor Matthew H. Mead has recognized the Armenian Genocide and praised the work of Armenian American grassroots. Wyoming became the 45th U.S. State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide.[5]
On April 25, 2017, the Parliament of Czech Republic approved a resolution, condemning the genocide of Armenians and other religious and national minorities in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.[345]
On May 19, 2017, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 191, titled ''Recognizing the Armenian Genocide". Texas became the 46th U.S. State to recognize the Armenian Genocide.[346]
On August 24, 2017, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation memorializing the Armenian Genocide and declaring Oct. 2017 as ''Armenia Awareness Month'' in the Hawkeye State. Iowa is now the 47th U.S. state to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.[347]
On November 6, 2017, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a powerful proclamation memorializing the Ottoman Turkish Empire's centrally planned and executed annihilation of close to three million Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and Syriacs, making the Hoosier State the 48th U.S. state to properly recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide.[348]
On February 22, 2018, the parliament of the Netherlands adopted two resolutions on the Armenian Genocide with the absolute majority of the votes. The first resolution reaffirms the decision of the Netherlands in 2004 to recognize the Armenian Genocide, while by the second resolution the foreign minister of the Netherlands will be obliged to visit Armenia and pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide at Dzidzernagapert memorial complex every 5 years.[349]
"The Promise"
De Turkse economie is een ballon die op knappen staat '-- al is er op straat nog weinig van te merken | De Volkskrant
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:14
Ibrahim Hakki Erdem, eigenaar van confectiebedrijf Narmanli. Foto Rob VreekenParistan. Favori. Ella Bella. Lara. Strada. Arma Cool. Sondos. Viora. Ze hebben de klank en uitstraling van internationale topmerken, maar de namen die hier gevel na gevel op winkelpuien prijken, zijn van puur Turkse makelij. Zo'n vierduizend textielzaken herbergt de wijk Osmanbey in Istanbul, opeen gepropt in een tiental straten. In de etalages zien we damesmode, bruidsjurken, herenkostuums, kinderkleding, schoenen en accessoires.
Het is rustig op straat, deze vrijdagmiddag. 'Tien jaar geleden kon je over de hoofden lopen', zegt Ibrahim Hakki Erdem, eigenaar van Narmanli, een van de confectiebedrijven. 'Iedereen kwam hier.'
Met 'iedereen' bedoelt hij niet zozeer de consumenten als wel de tussenhandelaren, inkopers, leveranciers, fabrikanten. Achter de winkelfa§ades met kleurig geklede etalagepoppen gaat een andere wereld schuil op de bovenverdiepingen. De meeste textielbedrijven zijn vooral groothandel, producent, exporteur.
Grillige economieHotels zijn er volop in Osmanbey, de metro is vlakbij, het vertier van Istanbul bereik je in een kwartiertje. Een ideale plek voor handelslieden die een paar dagen zaken komen doen in de stad. Maar de confectie-ondernemers van Osmanbey voelen, meer dan andere sectoren, de grillen van de Turkse economie onder president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Die wil dat Turkije binnen vijf jaar gaat behoren tot de tien grootste economien ter wereld. Zo staat het letterlijk in het program van zijn AK-partij. Een stoutmoedig voornemen, waarover veel economen uiterst sceptisch zijn. De Turkse economie beleeft juist onzekere tijden. Zeker nu de lira afgelopen vrijdag een enorme koersval maakte na de aankondiging van nieuwe Amerikaanse importheffingen op staal en aluminium.
De onlangs herkozen Erdogan zal in zijn nieuwe ambtstermijn moeten voorkomen dat het land door zijn financile en monetaire stutten zakt. Productieve spelers als die in Osmanbey heeft hij daarbij hard nodig. Kleding was goed voor 18 procent van de 157 miljard dollar die Turkije vorig jaar verdiende aan export.
Mensen checken de wisseltarieven bij een wisselkantoor in Istanbul. Foto AFP Prªt porter voor herenBedrijven als Narmanli zijn exemplarisch voor het Turkse groeiwonder. Textiel- en meubelfabrikanten uit Centraal Anatoli en het noordoosten van Turkije konden hun vleugels uitslaan nadat topeconoom Kemal Dervis in 2001 de vrije hand had gekregen om het land uit een diepe crisis te trekken.
De maatschappelijk conservatieve, maar economisch liberale AKP, die een jaar later aan de macht kwam, zette de hervormingen met verve voort. Turkije beleefde een jaar na jaar aanhoudende groeispurt. Vooral ondernemers uit het midden en noordoosten van Turkije, het kerngebied van de partij, grepen hun kansen.
Narmanli is een typisch Turks familiebedrijf, ooit in het oosten van Turkije piepklein begonnen onder leiding van grootvader Erdem. In 1987 kwam de kleinzoon in de zaak, die toen al naar Istanbul was verhuisd. In een van de toonzalen van het pand spreekt de 54-jarige Erdem, omringd door rekken met staaltjes van degelijke herenkostuums, de ruggengraat van Narmanli. Prªt porter: inkopers die hun slag slaan, kunnen hun waar meteen meenemen.
Russen & ItalianenHij vertelt over zijn reizen naar Rusland, Iran, Afrika en Europa, waar hij vooral de beurzen in Milaan en Florence bezoekt. De Russen zijn goede klanten, al sinds de val van de Sovjet-Unie, toen voor Narmanli de gouden jaren begonnen. Vandaar dat het bedrijf de merknaam Bruno Bellini gebruikt. 'Russen zijn dol op Italiaans.'
'Mijn generatie heeft de hele ontwikkeling van Turkije meegemaakt', zegt Erdem. 'Goede tijden en slechte tijden. Tot 2011 heeft de regering veel nuttige dingen gedaan. Barri¨res geslecht, regels geschrapt. Zakendoen werd makkelijker. We konden direct de wereldmarkt op.'
Dat bracht ook nadelen. Fabrikanten en verkopers van textiel voelden de concurrentie uit landen als China. Confectiebedrijven kregen te maken met concurrenten als Zara en Bershka, onderdelen van de Spaanse modegigant Inditex, en met het Zweedse H&M. Op Istiklal, de grootste winkelstraat van Istanbul, overheersen zulke merken het gevelbeeld. 'De groten kunnen veel goedkoper werken', zegt Erdem. 'Ik word weleens zwetend wakker van Inditex.' Sinds 2009 is zijn omzet gehalveerd, naar ruim 5 miljard euro per jaar.
Comeback van inflatieMondialisering legt, naast alle goeds dat het Turkije bracht, ook de mindere kanten bloot van Erdogans beleid. Sinds 2013 komen die steeds duidelijker aan het licht.
Bovenal is daar de zwakke lira. De Turkse munt, die het al zeker vijf jaar moeilijk heeft, daalde dit jaar al bijna eenderde in waarde en bereikte afgelopen vrijdag een dieptepunt. Dat maakt importen duurder, ook voor bedrijven als Narmanli, en het jaagt de inflatie (nu 12 procent) aan. 'We dachten dat inflatie niet langer een probleem was voor Turkije, maar het is helemaal terug', zegt Osman Zaim, hoogleraar economie aan de Kadir Has Universiteit in Istanbul. Bovendien maakt de zwakke lira het moeilijker de omvangrijke buitenlandse schulden af te lossen.
Dat is het tweede structurele probleem van de Turkse economie: het land is jarenlang op de pof gegroeid. 'Turkije heeft bovenmatig geprofiteerd van de beschikbaarheid van goedkoop geld in de wereld', zegt consultant Ozan Sakar, die twaalf jaar als bankier in Londen werkte. Consumenten kochten auto's, huizen en wat al niet op krediet. Ondernemers investeerden op krediet '' van harte gestimuleerd door de regering, die zich royaal garant stelt.
Zwaard van DamoclesMaar er moet ook worden terugbetaald, en dat is Erdogans zwaard van Damocles. De buitenlandse (particuliere) schuld van Turkije bedraagt 400 miljard euro. Daarvan moet dit jaar 162 miljard worden afgelost. Daarboven moet bijna 50 miljard worden aangezuiverd op de betalingsbalans, die een groot tekort vertoont. Woorden als 'casino' en 'zeepbel' worden daarom vaak gebruikt om de stand van de Turkse economie te omschrijven. Het kan niet eeuwig zo doorgaan.
'Ik zie Turkije als een patint wiens bloedvaten geleidelijk nauwer worden', zegt econoom Selin Sayek B¶se, voormalig vicevoorzitter van de oppositiepartij CHP. 'Het bloed stroomt niet meer zo snel. De patint kan niet meer rennen. Maar het is een langzame dood, want het potentieel is er nog.'
Dat is het punt: dramatisch slecht gaat het nu nog niet met Turkije, al denken economen en analisten dat een economische crisis onafwendbaar is. 'We hebben nog steeds een sterke economie', zegt hoogleraar Zaim. Turkije was vorig jaar met een groei van 7,4 procent zelfs de snelste groeier onder de lidstaten van de G20.
Ook de bankensector, die de mondiale crisis van 2008 uitstekend doorstond, lijkt vooralsnog krachtig genoeg. De werkloosheid is dit jaar iets gedaald, naar 9,6 procent, 'Als je op straat kijkt, zie je niets van problemen', zegt Zaim. 'De mensen blijven uitgeven. Niemand wordt zijn huis uit gezet. Pensioenen en ambtenarensalarissen zijn ge¯ndexeerd.'
'Mensen blijven uitgeven', zoals hier in Mahmutpasa straat, een populaire winkelstraat in Istanbul. Foto AFP Bakstenen, bakstenen, bakstenenOp nog een zichtbare manier wekt Turkije de indruk dat het goed blijft gaan: aan de bouwmanie komt geen eind. Onder Erdogan is vijftien jaar lang grootscheeps ge¯nvesteerd in beton en infrastructuur. Woningen en flats, winkelcentra, kantoren, ziekenhuizen, treinstations: het kon '' en kan '' niet op. Het verklaart in niet geringe mate Erdogans populariteit. De explosie in de bouw bepaalde mede het groeiwonder.
De bouw is het favoriete speeltje van 'macher' Erdogan. Hij houdt van aanpakken en ziet graag tastbare resultaten - groot, veel, hoog, imposant. Het leidde tot de Gezi-protesten van 2013, ontvlamd doordat de AKP-leider het Gezipark in het centrum van Istanbul wilde volbouwen.
Er bestaat een directe link tussen Erdogans bouwdrift en zijn monetaire aanpak. Om overheid en particulieren in staat te stellen te blijven investeren, is goedkoop geld nodig. Vandaar zijn afkeer van rente.
Onder Erdogans superpresidentschap zal de bouwwoede bepaald niet verminderen. 'We blijven megaprojecten uitvoeren', stelt het AKP-partijprogramma The AK party can do it, dat in een bijlage maar liefst 35 pagina's vol projecten in de pijplijn opsomt - van snelwegen, metro's en tunnels tot musea, havens en vliegvelden.
Kanaal van MarmaraIn twee gigantische projecten in het bijzonder heeft Erdogan zijn ziel en zaligheid gelegd: het grootste vliegveld ter wereld, dat bij Istanbul uit de grond wordt gestampt, en een 45 kilometer lang kanaal dat de Zee van Marmara verbindt met de Zwarte Zee.
Rond de projecten hangt een geur van clintelisme. Contracten gaan veelal naar politieke vrienden van de president. Of omgekeerd: om een klus te bemachtigen, is het maar beter op goede voet te blijven met de AKP-leiders. Crony capitalism, vriendjeskapitalisme, noemt econome B¶se dat. En het creert een 'rentenierseconomie', waarin 'niet wordt geprobeerd iets te produceren dat echt waarde toevoegt'. Maatpakken voor de export naar Rusland, bijvoorbeeld.
Je kunt, zegt ook consultant Sakar, op de lange termijn je ontwikkeling niet grondvesten op bouw en infrastructuur. Productieve investeringen, dat is wat Turkije nodig heeft. Meer nadruk op de kenniseconomie. 'De ballon staat op knappen', waarschuwt hoogleraar Zaim.
Buitenlandse investeerder kijken nu nog even de kat uit de boom. Een goed functionerende rechtsstaat en politieke stabiliteit zijn nodig om het vertrouwen in het land te herstellen, naast verstandig economisch beleid. 'Ook onze klanten maken zich daar zorgen over', zegt confectieman Erdem. 'We moeten rust en vertrouwen hebben.'
In (C)(C)n opzicht voldoet president Erdogan sinds zijn herverkiezing aan dat verlangen naar stabiliteit. Hij heeft de touwtjes stevig in handen.
Machtspel rond lente en liraRond lira en rente speelt zich een merkwaardig machtsspel af in de hoogste regionen van het Turkse staatsapparaat. President Erdogan ziet in de fluctuaties van de lira een 'buitenlandse samenzwering' tegen Turkije. Ook is er een 'rentelobby' die hem probeert de voet dwars te zetten.
Erdogan is tegen rente. Lage rente leidt volgens hem tot lagere inflatie. 'Dat heeft geen enkele basis in de economische wetenschap', zegt consultant Ozan Sakar. 'Geen econoom deelt die visie. Als je de inflatie omlaag wil, moet de rente omhoog.'
Opeenvolgende directeuren van de Turkse centrale bank hebben tot nu hun poot stijf gehouden. Diverse malen verhoogden zij de rente, tegen de zin van Erdogan. Een onafhankelijke centrale bank is essentieel voor het vertrouwen in Turkije van buitenlandse markten en investeerders.
In de aanloop naar de verkiezingen van juni echter, waarin hij werd herkozen als president met grotere volmachten, zei Erdogan dat hij zijn greep op het monetair en economisch beleid wil versterken. Daar laat hij geen gras over groeien. De directeur van de centrale bank gaat hij voortaan zelf aanwijzen en hij benoemde zijn schoonzoon Berat Albayrak tot superminister van Financin. De lira maakte meteen een nieuwe duikeling.
De eerste signalen hebben de markten weinig vertrouwen gegeven. Op 24 juli maakte de centrale bank bekend de rente niet te zullen verhogen. Algemeen was een stijging met minstens 1 percentpunt verwacht. Waarnemers menen dat het besluit is genomen onder druk van Erdogan. Opnieuw zakte de lira verder weg.
Na de koersval van afgelopen vrijdag (en de reactie op de beurzen wereldwijd) beloofde Albayrak meer begrotingsdiscipline en een grotere onafhankelijkheid voor de centrale bank.
Why Turkey's Lira Crisis Matters Outside Turkey - The New York Times
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:23
A currency exchange in Istanbul. Foreign investors have been pulling money out of the country. Credit Chris McGrath/Getty Images Europe Investors are fretting about emerging markets again.
Turkey is the front-burner concern at the moment, but what really is getting people's attention is the prospect that the financial problems there could spread to other fast-growing but risky countries.
If history is any indication, that has the potential to quickly turn a local crisis into a global one. Or maybe not.
What's happening in Turkey?Over the last week the value of the Turkish lira collapsed by more than 20 percent, shocking financial markets.
At first glance, this seems like a problem peculiar to Turkey, as the country's economy has weakened.
At the same time, Turkey's authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been seizing greater control over the country's economic policy. He appointed his son-in-law as finance minister. He has made a series of pronouncements that undercut the independence of the country's central bank, railing against the prospect of high interest rates.
Lower interest rates tend to stoke growth '-- as well as inflation. And Turkey is already dealing with inflation running near an annual rate of 16 percent.
Foreign investors are scared. They have been pulling money out of the country. In practice, that means that they sell lira and buy dollars or other currencies. The result is that the value of the lira has plunged. And that has the potential to upend the Turkish economy and financial system.
Why does this matter to the world?Turkey's economy isn't all that large, so even if it were to collapse, that wouldn't necessarily have a huge impact on the global economy.
But elements of the Turkish saga show how other financial markets could be vulnerable to a similar exodus of foreign investors.
In recent years, investors in wealthier parts of the world, like the United States, Europe and Japan, have lent many billions of dollars to governments and companies in developing economies like Turkey, South Africa and Argentina.
That has been an attractive proposition because interest rates in the United States and other developed markets have been incredibly low, as central banks tried to nurse their economies back to health after the last recession. The higher rates on offer in countries like Turkey have acted as magnets for foreign capital.
Now, with the economy of the United States strong again, the Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates. As a result, keeping money invested in American markets looks like a better deal, and the dollar has strengthened.
The stronger dollar is bad news for foreign countries and companies that borrowed dollars. That's because currency moves are always relative. If the dollar is up, that means other currencies are down, and vice versa. A stronger dollar therefore makes it more difficult for foreigners to pay back their dollar-based loans.
Turkey is far from the only country whose economy has grown reliant on foreign lending. Argentina and South Africa are in the same boat. That's why some think that the problems underway in Turkey could be the start of something bigger.
Indeed, Argentina's central bank on Monday surprised markets by raising its interest rates by five percentage points. It was an attempt to prop up its currency by encouraging foreign investors to stick around.
How do problems spread?That is certainly how it's worked at times in the past. One highly indebted, fast-growing economy starts to unravel, and others tend to follow, as fearful investors rush for the exits. In most cases, those countries' economies aren't all that large, but the chain reactions they trigger in the financial markets can have global repercussions.
In 1994, the Mexican government devalued the peso, setting off a period of financial instability that came to be known as the Tequila Crisis. In 1997, the collapse of the Thai baht set off a financial crisis throughout East Asia.
And in 1998, the devaluation of the Russian ruble threatened to spread instability to the heart of the developed world, when it contributed to the collapse of large American hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, sending financial markets in the United States into a panic.
In past crises, one way that trouble spread was through the banking system. Foreign banks lent money to companies, investors and governments in the crisis-stricken countries. As borrowers defaulted, those loans led to deep losses that threatened to undermine the health of financial systems thousands of miles away.
There are echoes of that situation in today's Turkey crisis. A number of large European banks '-- including Italy's UniCredit, Spain's BBVA and France's BNP Paribas '-- own stakes in Turkish lenders. Other western banks are exposed to Turkey via loans to Turkish companies.
Those banking losses might not look likely to presage a broader crisis. But if other emerging-market countries follow Turkey into trouble, the losses could worsen.
''This has the potential to be a real crisis,'' said Gary N. Kleiman, an emerging-market investment consultant who argues that too many developing economies have taken on too much debt. ''Banks are overstretched, and soon you are going to see an increase in nonperforming loans. It is going to spread.''
On the other hand, events that look like they could shake the foundations of the global financial system sometimes fizzle out.
In 2013, when the Fed signaled that it was preparing to start removing some of the emergency support it had provided to the financial system, some investors panicked. Emerging-market currencies and stock markets bore the brunt of the so-called ''Taper Tantrum.''
But the sell-offs were relatively short lived. Markets recovered, and more important, the global financial system avoided a serious crisis.
Landon Thomas Jr. contributed reporting.
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Teenager is arrested in Turkey over firebombing of cars in Sweden | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:14
A teenager has been arrested in Turkey in connection with the systematic firebombing of cars across Sweden earlier this week.
The man, born in 1999, had fled Sweden yesterday and could be apprehended upon arrival in Turkey, taking the total number of arrests over the arson attacks to three.
More than 100 cars burned in several Swedish cities, including the capital Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, as gangs of masked youths went rampaging in a series of arson attacks believed to have been coordinated on social media.
A number of boys under the age of 15 have also been apprehended, but have due to their young age been released into the care of their parents.
Damage: Burned cars are pictured at Frolunda Square in Gothenburg, Sweden, the morning after a series of coordinated arson attacks
Multiple targets: A person walks past burned cars parked at Frolunda Square in Gothenburg, after a night when cars burned in all Sweden's major cities, including Stockholm and Malmo
Overnight, four incidents took place on western Sweden, including one in the same area of Gothenburg which came under attack the night before.
Two cars burned in the south-western suburb of V¤stra Fr¶lunda, and news agency TT reports that witnesses have seen two youths set the vehicles on fire before fleeing the scene.
At around the same time, a car burned in M¶lndal outside Gothenburg, and one in Bor¥s, some 40 miles west of the city. Police said these were also believed to have been set alight.
In the wake of the fires, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan L¶fven reacted with anger and did not hold back during a radio interview on Tuesday morning.
'I'm furious, for real. My question to these people is 'what the f*** are you doing?',' he told Sveriges Radio P1.
'You're ruining things for yourselves, your parents and your neighbourhoods,' Lofven said, adding the incident 'looked very coordinated, almost like a military operation'.
Dramatic footage has emerged of cars being set alight by masked attackers in Sweden
Police said they were dealing with fires at a car park near a shopping centre and specialist hospital at Fr¶lunda Torg, south-west of Gothenburg.
Around 60 vehicles had been vandalised in total, Swedish television reported, with stones also thrown at police by masked men
'Sweden has tolerated this for too long. This must end now,' Ulf Kristersson, leader of the conservative opposition party, the Moderates, wrote on his Facebook account.
In Gothenburg and surrounding towns of Lysekil, Falkenberg and Trollh¤ttan, a total of around 100 cars have been demolished.
In Stockholm, and Uppsala, some 45 miles north of the capital, a total of 13 cars were set alight in a handful locations on Tuesday morning.
Gothenburg police say they have identified some of the culprits and and two people have so far been arrested.
'What the f*** are you doing?': Prime Minister Stefan Lofven reacted with anger
'We have already started making calls to the parents of the youths who were taking part in this,' Gothenburg police spokesperson Ulla Brehm told SVT.
'We chose not to arrest anyone on the spot, but have identified them.'
Ms Brehm could not confirm that the series of identical car fires had been orchestrated via social media but said that 'the fact that it has been co-ordinated in so many places indicate it'.
All culprits in the attacks have been described by witnesses as wearing dark clothing and hoods.
Dramatic footage showed youths targeting vehicles in at a major shopping centre and hospital car park at Fr¶lunda Torg, south-west Gothenburg.
The area around Fr¶lunda Torg have seen several deadly shootings in the past two years as local gangs have been at war over drug trade in Gothenburg.
Due to the criminal gang activity and shootings, Vastra Fr¶lunda was last year deemed as one of the more violent areas in Sweden's second largest city.
The two people arrested Tuesday, aged between 16 and 21, are both from Vastra Fr¶lunda.
The largest group of youngsters apparently gathered in Kronog¥rden in Trollh¤ttan north of Gothenburg where as many as 40 people threw stones and started fires.
Kronog¥rden has also seen a rise in gang violence in recent years.
It made international news in 2015, when 21-year-old Anton Lundin Pettersson killed three people at a local school, in a racist attack targeting Kronog¥rden due to its high immigrant population.
Pictures showed cars on fire in Sweden as authorities tackled multiple blazes in the country
Police in Trollh¤ttan yesterday identified three people in connection with Monday evening's violence.
Three teenage boys were found with bangers in their pockets, but as they are all under the age of 15, they were released into the care of their parents or guardians, Aftonbladet reports.
There were also reports of young people setting cars on fire in Hj¤llbo, to the north east of Gothenburg, in Malmo, at the southern tip of the country, and in the city of Helsingborg.
Emergency services were tackling the apparent outbreak of violence with no injuries reported, Swedish police said.
The violence comes just three weeks before Swedish voters go to the polls in a general election.
Systematically setting cars on fire has become a associated with gang violence in suburbs in Sweden's major cities.
Last year, 1,457 cars were 'deliberately' set on fire across Sweden, compared to 1,641 in 2016, according to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency's figures.
Last year in February, two days after US President Donald Trump's baffling comments linking crime to immigration in Sweden, riots broke out in the immigrant-heavy northern Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby.
Dozens of youths clashed with police after they arrested a suspected drug dealer in Rinkeby. The rioters threw stones at police, burned cars and looted shops.
OTG
AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 15:51
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) '-- Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.
An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so.
Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP's request.
For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a "timeline" that maps out your daily movements.
Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects '-- such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company will let you "pause" a setting called Location History.
Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you've been. Google's support page on the subject states: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."
That isn't true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.
For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude '-- accurate to the square foot '-- and save it to your Google account.
The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google's Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.
Storing location data in violation of a user's preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer's lab confirmed the AP's findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.
"If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History,' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off," Mayer said. "That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have."
Google says it is being perfectly clear.
"There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people's experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. "We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time."
To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called "Web and App Activity" and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.
When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving "Web & App Activity" on and turning "Location History" off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the "timeline," its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google's collection of other location markers.
You can delete these location markers by hand, but it's a painstaking process since you have to select them individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.
You can see the stored location markers on a page in your Google account at myactivity.google.com, although they're typically scattered under several different headers, many of which are unrelated to location.
To demonstrate how powerful these other markers can be, the AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, who carried an Android phone with Location history off, and shared a record of his Google account.
The map includes Acar's train commute on two trips to New York and visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell's Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. To protect his privacy, The AP didn't plot the most telling and frequent marker '-- his home address.
Huge tech companies are under increasing scrutiny over their data practices, following a series of privacy scandals at Facebook and new data-privacy rules recently adopted by the European Union. Last year, the business news site Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were off. Google changed the practice and insisted it never recorded the data anyway.
Critics say Google's insistence on tracking its users' locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.
"They build advertising information out of data," said Peter Lenz, the senior geospatial analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. "More data for them presumably means more profit."
The AP learned of the issue from K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners. She noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl's, even though she had turned Location History off.
"So how did Google Maps know where I was?" she asked in a blog post .
The AP wasn't able to recreate Shankari's experience exactly. But its attempts to do so revealed Google's tracking. The findings disturbed her.
"I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle," she said. "It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated."
Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you'd only see if you turn it off '-- a popup that appears when you "pause" Location History on your Google account webpage . There the company notes that "some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps."
Google offers additional information in a popup that appears if you re-activate the "Web & App Activity" setting '-- an uncommon action for many users, since this setting is on by default. That popup states that, when active, the setting "saves the things you do on Google sites, apps, and services ... and associated information, like location."
Warnings when you're about to turn Location History off via Android and iPhone device settings are more difficult to interpret. On Android, the popup explains that "places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map." On the iPhone, it simply reads, "None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History."
The iPhone text is technically true if potentially misleading. With Location History off, Google Maps and other apps store your whereabouts in a section of your account called "My Activity," not "Location History."
Since 2014, Google has let advertisers track the effectiveness of online ads at driving foot traffic , a feature that Google has said relies on user location histories.
The company is pushing further into such location-aware tracking to drive ad revenue, which rose 20 percent last year to $95.4 billion. At a Google Marketing Live summit in July, Google executives unveiled a new tool called "local campaigns" that dynamically uses ads to boost in-person store visits. It says it can measure how well a campaign drove foot traffic with data pulled from Google users' location histories.
Google also says location records stored in My Activity are used to target ads. Ad buyers can target ads to specific locations '-- say, a mile radius around a particular landmark '-- and typically have to pay more to reach this narrower audience.
While disabling "Web & App Activity" will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. That can limit the effectiveness of the Google Assistant, the company's digital concierge.
Sean O'Brien, a Yale Privacy Lab researcher with whom the AP shared its findings, said it is "disingenuous" for Google to continuously record these locations even when users disable Location History. "To me, it's something people should know," he said.
___
AP Interactive: https://interactives.ap.org/google-location-tracking/
Facebook exec: media firms that don't work with us will end up 'in hospice' | Technology | The Guardian
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:49
A senior Facebook executive told Australian media companies that if they didn't cooperate with the social network, their businesses would die.
According to a report by The Australian, Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of news partnerships, told a group of more than 20 broadcasters and publishers that she wanted to help media companies develop sustainable business models through the platform.
''We will help you revitalise journalism '... in a few years the ­reverse looks like I'll be holding your hands with your dying ­business like in a hospice,'' she said, in comments corroborated by five people who attended the meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.
The Australian also reported that Brown said that Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, ''doesn't care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes'', although both Facebook and Brown vehemently deny this comment was made, referring to a transcript they have from the meeting.
Facebook would not release the transcript from the meeting.
During the four-hour meeting, Brown also talked about the company's decision to prioritise personal posts from family and friends over journalistic content within the news feed. The move has hit some publishers who rely heavily on referrals from Facebook hard.
''We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore. That is the old world and there is no going back '' Mark wouldn't agree to this,'' said Brown.
Related: 'Just use cat videos': New York Times boss wants Facebook to cut out news
In a statement issued on Monday, Brown said: ''These quotes are simply not accurate and don't reflect the discussion we had in the meeting. We know there's much more to do, but our goal at Facebook '' what the team works on every day with publishers and reporters around the world '' is to help journalism succeed and thrive, both on our platform and off.''
This wouldn't be the first time that Brown, a former CNN news anchor, has used blunt language in stark contrast with the mealy-mouthed corporate messaging Facebook typically delivers.
In March, she told the audience at a conference in London that threatening to sue the Guardian ahead of its Cambridge Analytica expos(C) on data harvesting was ''not our wisest move''.
Facebook hired Brown in January 2017 to help build better relations with news organisations after the social network was criticised for its role in disseminating misinformation in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.
''Right now we are watching massive transformation take place in the news business '' both in the way people consume news and in the way reporters disseminate news. Facebook is a major part of this transformation,'' she said on her Facebook page at the time.
Contact the author: olivia.solon@theguardian.com
Facebook's message to media: ''We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic'...That is the old world and there is no going back'' >> Nieman Journalism Lab
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:05
Aug. 13, 2018, 9:54 a.m.
That firehose isn't opening up again anytime soon.
The Australian '-- the Murdoch-owned national paper '-- has an interesting (and aggressively paywalled) scoop about Facebook today, based on comments Campbell Brown, the company's global head of news partnerships, allegedly made during a meeting with Australian media executives in Sydney last week.
Here are the quotes attributed to Brown in the story:
''Mark [Zuckerberg] doesn't care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,'' Ms Brown said.
''We will help you revitalise journalism '... in a few years the ­reverse looks like I'll be holding your hands with your dying ­business like in a hospice.''
I should note that Brown denied making the comments to The Australian (''These quotes are simply not accurate and don't reflect the discussion we had in the meeting''); I should also note that The Australian has five people in the meeting corroborating them.
Much of the attention given to this story by Media Twitter has focused on the ''doesn't care about publishers'' bit and the work-with-us-or-die implication of the second quote. But the story has an attached illustration that includes an alleged Brown quote that didn't make it into the final story, and in some ways that's really the most important one:
''We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals any more. That is the old world and there is no going back.''
That's the big reversal here, given that ''traffic and referrals'' were roughly 99 percent of what Facebook had to offer publishers over the past half-decade or so. It was that firehose of eyeballs that led to new editorial strategies designed for share-friendly content, as well as the thought that maybe digital advertising could pay the bills after all.
Facebook has spent most of the last year reducing the amount of traffic it sends publishers, first through unspoken tweaks in 2017 and then with a series of announced changes in early 2018. That's led to charts like this:
'...and turned charts that looked like this a few years ago:
'...to this circa 2017:
'...to this right now:
Those changes made it clear that Facebook was perfectly happy gutting the traffic it sends to publishers. And now Brown's alleged quote would seem to make it clear that's a permanent condition '-- getting more Facebook users to look at your content is ''the old world and there is no going back.''
The still-coming-into-shape Facebook Journalism Project has thus far stood out most for a local subscription accelerator that aims to drive more subscriptions to metro newspapers. And yay, I guess '-- always good to share some best practices.
But news organizations are going to win or lose their subscription battles on their own, ultimately; getting people to pony up $10 a month for a news subscription depends on them having a strong enough relationship with and commitment to the outlet that they're willing to say The giant sea of free content online isn't enough, I want more. And that's roughly the opposite of the Facebook ethos '-- it is that giant sea of free content.
In any event, if Brown's quote is real and accurately reflects Facebook's view, publishers should take it to heart. Facebook isn't interested in sending you more traffic. That's its right! But it's a reminder that the responsibility for building a sustainable model for news is on us, not on anyone in Menlo Park, Mountain View, Cupertino, Redmond, or Seattle.
What Chrome Means by 'Not Secure' - The New York Times
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:09
TECH TIP
Google's recent update to the browser warns users when websites aren't automatically protecting their communication.
In Version 68 and later, Google Chrome alerts you when a website is not encrypting your connection. Credit The New York Times Q. Why is Google Chrome giving me warnings about websites not being secure all of a sudden? Is my computer at risk?
A. The increased number of ''Not Secure'' messages you're seeing is likely the result of a recent Chrome update. Although it may have seemed like things changed overnight, Google has been on a steady march since 2016 to improve connection security for those using its Chrome browser.
But first, some background: Many sites still use the older Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to exchange information with a web browser '-- even though the data passed back and forth is visible to those who knew how to intercept it. By comparison, sites asking for sensitive data like credit-card numbers generally use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) instead, as it encrypts, protects and authenticates communications between the website and the user's browser.
Google is part of an increased security push to make these encrypted connections the default standard for websites. In 2017, the company updated Chrome to start labeling web pages with password and credit-card fields still using HTTP connections as ''Not Secure'' in order to raise awareness about data security. (The New York Times site began to shift to HTTPS connections in early 2017.)
Earlier this year, Google warned it would begin marking all sites not using HTTPS as ''Not Secure.'' The company began doing so on July 24 with an update to the Chrome browser '-- which has led to increased warnings when you visit a site using the older protocol.
Sites using HTTPS have received security certificates from trusted authorities to verify their identities, but the certificates themselves can have different validation levels, some of which are easier (and cheaper) to get than others. To stay safer online, make sure you know the company you are communicating with, and encrypt your own connection with a virtual private network and other tools to protect your data further.
Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to techtip@nytimes.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.
J.D. Biersdorfer has been answering technology questions '-- in print, on the web, in audio and in video '-- since 1998. She also writes the Sunday Book Review's ''Applied Reading'' column on ebooks and literary apps, among other things. @ jdbiersdorfer
Blind loyalty | TechCrunch
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 22:04
There is a secret behind every open office in Silicon Valley '-- and it isn't the drain on productivity.
Tech companies have been the vanguards for pushing corporate culture forward toward ''radical transparency.'' Mark Zuckerberg works in a fully transparent four-walled glass office surrounded by the rest of Facebook. Valve got rid of managers and titles so everyone can be their own boss. Startup founders host weekly town halls, Friday all-hands, and AMAs. Companies go to painstaking lengths to signal that they trust their employees '' to show that this is your company.
But while your company might adopt an open floor plan and give out free snacks so you can feel closer to your coworkers, they likely don't want you knowing how much they make, who is affected by the impending layoffs, or whether executives are making the right decisions.
The open office has never been more closed, and tech companies are no different than old corporate America in their authoritarian approach to controlling how their employees should think about issues that matter in the workplace. In fact, it may even be more insidious because it's tucked away behind the veneer of a cheerful, open office.
This is what makes social network Blind so fascinating. Raw and unfiltered, Blind is the antithesis to HR's utopic vision of a manageable and orderly corporate culture. Instead, it operates outside the walled gardens of IT with no rules and no official corporate supervision.
With Blind, users are completely anonymous, but are required to submit a verified work email to join a company channel. Inside, they are able to freely ask, discuss, prod, and complain without fear of retribution or judgment.
In short, it's HR's worst nightmare, and it's wildly successful.
Building a compelling social product Blind's engagement numbers are staggering. It has over 2 million users, including 43K at Microsoft, 28K at Amazon, and 10K at Google. In South Korea, half of all employees at companies over 200 people are active monthly. The typical monthly active user logs in three to four times per day and spends 35 minutes using the app. At the height of the Susan Fowler scandal , Uber employees were spending almost 3 hours a day on Blind. All that, and t he entire company is 38 people.
At the heart of Blind's magic is something universal to every person who has ever been employed '-- the duality between our personal selves and our ''work'' selves, and the human drive to be both intimate and in control of our relationships. There is no place more difficult to navigate this duality than the workplace, where we want to feel loved and understood, but also respected.
Hierarchy, politics, and negative career impacts burden conversations about difficult topics, and so Blind tears these barriers down one employee at a time, affording a space for uninhibited dialogue. More importantly, Blind succeeds as a resource for questions not only company-related, but also around career, family, and life decisions.
Blind is in many ways an evolution of a long lineage of ideas in social networking. It's unique achievement is the recombination of these different ideas to create a platform that is both a safe space for free and open conversation (via anonymity), along with a vetted, contextually relevant community (via workplace email authentication).
Let's walk though each of these categories to understand Blind's success.
Lack of Context (Anonymous + Individual/Personal) '' Companies like Yik Yak, Secret, and Whisper pioneered the anonymous social network on the consumer side. However, they were beleaguered by cyberbullying, and served more as a digital exhaust pipe for teenage angst and trolling. Perhaps the most successful semi-anonymous social network today is Reddit, where legions of loyal community members cover every topic imaginable. However, what all of these anonymous communities lack is the critical element of shared context and circumstance .
Put another way, your fellow community members on Reddit may share your interest in ice fishing, but they likely will not understand who you are . As Blind cofounder Kyum Kim puts it, ''it's hard for someone to complain on Reddit about feeling poor while making $200K a year without fear of backlash, but on Blind, your coworkers are in the same income bracket, and likely similar education levels, neighborhoods, etc. They can empathize with your situation.'' On Blind, there is a single community (your workplace) that spans multiple topics, and there's a baseline, tacit understanding of each other's life circumstances, allowing for deeper conversations.
Self-Promoting (Non-Anonymous + Individual/Personal) '' LinkedIn and Quora are useful professional platforms, but because individuals and brands are the stars of these platforms, posturing and self-promotion can be quite frequent. When you ask a question on Quora, you are submitting your inquiry to a body of self-proclaimed experts. While many responses can be genuine, the ultimate currency that drives the platform is credibility and brand building, which inhibit authentic and vulnerable conversations from occurring.
Self-Censored (Non-Anonymous + Employee/Work) '' On the enterprise side, Yammer, Jive, and recently Slack have attempted to upgrade the creaky company intranet into the enterprise social network. While these tools might make it easier to connect to your coworkers, the conversations happening on these platforms are no different than before '' ultimately, these tools are designed to get work done, not for questioning, debating, or reflecting on how work should be . Conversations about sensitive subjects (e.g. how to deal with a bad manager) are unlikely to happen on a non-anonymous, corporate-sanctioned platform where that same bad manager might well be watching.
Finally, we have Blind. The platform strikes a balance between the freedom of anonymity and the context of a shared workplace. The result is a forum for surprisingly rich, relevant, and authentic conversations. While company channels are accessible only to insiders, a look at Blind's public site (where you still need a verified work email, but you can chat with anyone outside your company) reveals a flavor for the types of conversations that are possible. An engineer at Amazon recently posted about how to deal with a mid-life crisis , with 42 responses of encouragement and advice. Another employee moving from India has a wife suffering from depression and is seeking help navigating the US healthcare system .
It turns out that where we work is a good proxy for who we are, and our coworkers have been an untapped community of wisdom.
Trust and safetyTowfiqu Photography via Getty Images
Blind is by no means perfect. Like all online platforms and particularly anonymous ones, it invites its share of trolls. One look at the ''Relationships'' section on Blind's public site and you'll find questions about how to deal with one-night stands with coworkers and a poll asking guys how many girls they've slept with before marriage . While these questions could certainly have come from a genuine place, they are easy fodder for trolls, and the ensuing conversations can be alienating and provide an unnecessary megaphone for toxic bro culture.
Blind acknowledges that these issues exist, but claim that they happen less frequently inside company channels. Because users authenticate with their work emails, c ofounders Sunguk and Kim believe that Blind users feel a greater sense of responsibility to each other because they are engaging a real community with shared context and goals.
The vast terrain of cyberspace might suffer from the tragedy of the commons and moral hazard, but within your workplace channel on Blind, your digital community maps onto a physical community '' even though you are anonymous. This is evidenced by the successful self-policing on the platform, where 0.5% of all posts have been removed (higher than average for a social media platform), and all of these originated from user-generated flags.
A More Perfect Union Blind's success illuminates a reality that is often overlooked: corporations aren't naturally democratic or transparent. While there are platforms to discuss our roles as individual working professionals (e.g. LinkedIn), there are very few places to gather and organize as employees of companies to collectively bargain for a better workplace.
This is by design. HR, the supposed watchdog of employee wellness, is neither elected nor truly representative, as they must balance the competing goals of being a third party resource for employees while also protecting the company against its employees.
Companies will always be incentivized to maintain an asymmetry of information. Friday all-hands and town halls are heavily scripted by companies. Rarely do we see anyone describing a healthy, transparent culture as a place where employees are freely conversing amongst themselves .
For companies with something to hide, the idea of a public square where conversations happen freely should be alarming. Blind has already been at the center of exposing two major scandals (e.g. the ''nut rage'' incident by a Korean Air executive and the news that Lyft was spying on its users .)
Blind picks up where labor unions left off and where HR has failed '-- to serve as a safeguard against corporate overreach, and to provide a protected space for employees to collaborate around solutions to improve the workplace.
A truly open office For companies, Blind's rise shouldn't be seen as bad news. Blind can be a rich source of insight where HR software falls short. While employee engagement surveys have become popular in HR circles (and a crop of well-funded HR tech companies have consequently flooded the market), these practices suffer from the same issues of hosting a town hall. The company decides on the questions asked and interprets the answers given. With Blind, for the first time, HR and executives will have a pulse on employee sentiment that is both real-time and authentic. As Moon puts it, ''no company is perfect, and if it was, Blind would not need to exist.''
In short, Blind understands more about your employees than anything in your HR stack.
Where does Blind go from here? Moon and Kyum believe they're just getting started. Today, Blind is only available in the U.S. and South Korea, and it has been focused on tech companies. Their push into more traditional industries is showing some early signs of success with Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, Barclays, and the US Navy coming online recently. There is still work to do in cleaning up different communities to ensure that conversations are inclusive and not alienating. And of course, Blind has to find a path to becoming a sustainable, revenue-generating company without compromising its integrity with users.
But one can only imagine the potential for Blind if it continues on its path upwards '-- the anonymous social network that understands who you are, the pulse survey that is authentic and real-time, and the first truly safe and open office made for employees, by employees.
St. Louis University Installs Amazon Echo Dots Campus-Wide | Fortune
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:35
The first college or university in the nation is installing Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo Dots in every single dorm room across campus.
St. Louis University, a private four-year university in Missouri's capital city, unveiled a plan to install 2,300 intelligent assistant-enabled Echo Dots in residence halls and student apartments before classes begin later this month. The Alexa-enabled Echo Dots will be programmed to answer over 100 specific questions about the campus and student activities, such as the hours for the library or a list of upcoming public lectures.
The program, the first of its kind in the nation because it will include every residence on the school's campus, is managed by Amazon's Alexa for Business and supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS), which means students don't have to know how to set up Alexa or the Echo Dot. Instead the devices will be operated by a central system not tied to any student's individual account and won't retain personal information. Additionally, the university says the Echo Dots are operated at no cost to students.
Last spring, the school conducted a pilot program, putting the devices in residence hall rooms. School administrators say students responded to the test-run with positive feedback. Arizona State University also tried something similar last year, installing 1,600 Echo Dots in engineering students' live-work spaces during the 2017-2018 school year.
Even though the pilot program received positive reviews, the school notes that students with privacy concerns about intelligent assistants like Alexa can unplug the device and store it during the school year if they feel uncomfortable having it in their rooms.
France Takes On Cellphone Addiction With a Ban in Schools - WSJ
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 14:22
PARIS'--Solal Paroux's friends all have smartphones, and the 12-year-old Parisian has been needling his parents to get him one too. But his parents are resisting.
And now they have the law on their side.
When school starts up in September, a new French law will ban students ranging roughly from ages 3 to 15 from using smartphones anywhere on school grounds, with only narrow exceptions.
The law is one of the most sweeping attempts yet to address growing concerns among parents and educators that a generation of children is growing up addicted to the mobile devices in their pockets.
''Children don't have the maturity'' for smartphones, said Val(C)rie Paroux, Solal's mother. ''Some adults don't either.''
France's education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, says the ban, which applies to the French equivalent of preschool through ninth grade, is intended to remove distractions during class and to encourage children to read a book or play outside during recreation. He says he hopes the law will serve as a symbolic message to both children and adults beyond school.
''We're not seeking to reject technological progress'--that would be absurd'--but rather to master it, to make sure man is the master of the machine,'' said Mr. Blanquer, who himself has two smartphones. ''It all begins with education.''
In recent months, complaints that big tech firms' products are too addictive, particularly for children, have started to resonate in Silicon Valley. Facebook Inc. earlier this month said it would start offering tools to show users how long they use its service and alert them to take a break.
Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google each also plans to introduce similar tools into new operating systems for iPhones and Android phones. Apple's ''Screen Time'' system will enable parents remotely to monitor the apps their children use and limit their time on devices.
Usage among children and teenagers is growing quickly. In 2017, nearly 79% of people in the U.S. from ages 12 to 17 had a smartphone, up from 62% three years earlier, according to market research firm eMarketer. In France, the figures are higher: 86% of people in that age range had a smartphone in 2017, up from 59% three years earlier, according to the country's telecom regulator.
Many places in the U.S. and abroad have partially or fully banned mobile phones in schools, but rarely on the scale France is planning. New York City banned student cellphones in public schools for a decade, but ended the unevenly enforced rule in 2015 because of complaints from parents who wanted to be able to reach their children.
There is evidence that a ban on the devices can improve academic performance. A study by researchers at the London School of Economics found standardized test scores for 16-year-olds at 91 U.K. schools measured between 2001 and 2011 rose when they instituted bans on mobile phones. The improvement, equivalent to that from an extra hour of school per week, was greater when the bans were strictly enforced, the study found.
Louis-Philippe Beland, who led the study and is now an assistant professor of economics at Louisiana State University, said France's ban could help its students. ''From our research, it seems very difficult for teachers to police mobile phones,'' Mr. Beland said. ''So that's a rationale for being more strict.''
Until now, rules in France covering mobile phones have varied widely. An older law already banned phones in class, but only about half of schools barred them elsewhere in school, according to a parliamentary report.
Under the new law, which the French parliament passed in late July, usage will automatically be barred everywhere in schools, except if teachers wish to use students' own devices during lessons or if schools establish other exceptions. But the law gives individual schools leeway to determine how exactly to apply the ban.
The education ministry says guidelines it will publish later this month will recommend, but not require, that schools install lockers where students can deposit their phones. Some schools may choose to allow children to keep phones in their bags, however. In any case, the law empowers teachers, administrators and other staff to confiscate phones.
''We want children to rediscover the real, that connection to the concrete, to nature, to do doing things with their hands, to contact with other human beings,'' Mr. Blanquer said.
Some parents, teachers and members of France's political opposition say they are concerned the approach may not be workable'--or particularly helpful.
Claire Krepper, national secretary of SE-UNSA, a teachers union, said she thinks the government should have focused its efforts on educating children to use mobile devices ''reasonably and respectfully,'' rather than banning them.
''People said television would rot our brains and make us couch potatoes,'' Ms. Krepper said. ''Banning phones won't solve anything.''
Mr. Blanquer, the education minister, responds that French schools already offer digital education with plans to expand offerings. ''There's an offensive approach and a defensive approach,'' Mr. Blanquer said. ''We can do both.''
On a recent evening, the Paroux parents expressed support for the law. For some, ''it's like they're living on social networks,'' Ms. Paroux said. ''It's sad,'' interjected St(C)phane Paroux, her husband.
Solal, for his part, agreed the ban might make it easier for him to be the kid without a phone. But he said he doubts it will be enforceable during recreation in the school courtyard.
''The teachers don't watch that closely,'' he said.
Write to Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com
Monsantooo
Curious email
Adam
Love the show. Just listened to your quick take
on the Monsanto lawsuit. Maybe add some counter information to your
thoughts.
I grew up on a family owner/run farm in Iowa.
At a young age, we (Dad, brother, Mom, and Aunt) would walk through 4-6 80 acre
soybean fields to manually hoe weeds. At roughly 10 years old, we
switched to manually spot spraying weeds with Roundup. Four of us would
ride on seats attached to a steel bar, usually every 6 feet, on the front of
our loader tractor and 'cruise' at 10 MPH through the field with a spray gun in
hand to squirt any rouge weeds in the field. That was our experience over
the course of 10 years or so.
While much faster, still very monotonous.
Eventually, you get bored and start 'accidentally' spraying the person sitting
next to you. They would then spray back and I can't count the times I
ended up with shoes/socks soaked with Roundup. Other times, the spray
wand would leak and we would get Roundup on our hands through the day. Most of my
friends/classmates had very similar experiences. I suspect most farm kids
that grew up in the '80s/'90s would have similar experiences.
Now, I can fully appreciate that maybe I am
lucky. But, if you dig deeper (which you usually do very well in your
show), you can see the jury result was based, in part, on a World Health
Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) study. That
study, however, was debunked by Reuters as being biased and not valid (see link
below) as it left out information from previous studies, cherry picked data to
make its case, and used questionable statistics to be able to claim that
Glyphosate "probably causes cancer in people." A whole lot of
manipulation for the rating "probably". And, a whole lot of
ignoring hundreds of other studies. Even a dietitian on the Joe Rogan
podcast was not against RoundUP.
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/who-iarc-glyphosate/
Another aspect of the reporting is the bias against
Roundup. The CNN article I read (https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/10/health/monsanto-johnson-trial-verdict/index.html)
was obviously written against Roundup minimizing the case for roundup and
maximizing the effect of cancer on one man's life.
I can appreciate counterpoints to what I pointed out
above, but I have a hard time comparing my (and many people like me)
experiences from 30 years ago with a man who was exposed over 2 years and
developed NHL only 2 years later. Even when, as stated in the CNN
article, "The majority of lymphoma cases are idiopathic -- meaning the
cause is unknown, according to the American Cancer Society."
I'd love to get you more information, but am a busy
man. I am, however, interested in your further thoughts on the
matter. Keep up the good work. Thank you!
Glyphosate, weed-killing Roundup chemical linked to cancer, found in children's breakfast foods - CBS News
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:59
A new report found glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical that some health authorities link to cancer, in a number of popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children. The study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered trace amounts of the most widely used herbicide in the country in oats, granolas and snack bars. Thirty-one out of 45 tested products had levels higher than what some scientists consider safe for children.
Recently, some scientists, doctors and activists around the world have worked to keep glyphosate out of crops due to concerns that it is a dangerous carcinogen.
"We're very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know," said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG. He has been working to improve food safety standards for more than a decade. He said he and his team at EWG had a lab test involving "45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats" and found glyphosate '' the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer Roundup '' in all but two.
"I was shocked," said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, who heads the Council on Environmental Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"We don't know a lot about the effects of glyphosate on children," Lowry said. "And essentially we're just throwing it at them." EWG used its own, more stringent standards to conclude that products with excessive levels of the herbicide included Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Cheerios, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back to Nature Classic Granola. Glyphosate was even found in a few organic products, though most had non-detectable levels.
The World Health Organization says glyphosate is a "probable carcinogen," and California lists it as a chemical "known to the state to cause cancer."
Monsanto disputes that, saying in a statement, "glyphosate does not cause cancer" and "has a more than 40-year history of safe use."
Of EWG's study, Monsanto says "even at the highest level reported'... an adult would have to eat 118 pounds of the food item every day for the rest of their life in order to reach the EPA's limit" for glyphosate residues.
But just last week, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay one man $289 million in damages after he claimed the company's weed killers caused his cancer. EWG's Faber is skeptical of EPA's glyphosate limits.
"We don't think it does enough in particular to protect children," Faber said.
"It is time now for them to step up and do their jobs to ban glyphosate," said Zen Honeycutt, who heads Moms Across America, a group formed to raise awareness about toxic exposures. Her family switched to an organic-only diet after her three sons developed allergies and other health problems.
"We want to trust that what is in the grocery store is safe and the shocking reality is that in many cases it's not," Honeycutt said.
In a statement Quaker said: "We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption." General Mills told CBS News: "Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow."
Big Pharma / Chantix
F.A.A. Bans Antismoking Drug, Citing Side Effects - The New York Times
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 14:24
The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it would no longer permit pilots or air traffic controllers to use the smoking cessation drug Chantix, citing potential side effects that could pose a threat to the safe operation of aircraft.
The Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory in February, saying that some Chantix users had developed a variety of serious psychiatric symptoms, and that some had committed suicide.
An F.A.A. spokeswoman, Laura Brown, said the agency had approved the use of Chantix for airline pilots and flight controllers last year, but was notifying 150 pilots and 30 air traffic controllers known to be using it that the drug was no longer acceptable and should be discontinued.
Ms. Brown said the decision was based on emerging data on the drug, including a report from a watchdog group, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, linking Chantix to a wide array of health and safety problems. They include accidents and falls, potentially lethal heart rhythm disturbances, heart attacks, seizures, diabetes and various psychiatric disturbances.
The institute's findings, which were based on an analysis of adverse events reported to the F.D.A., said that from May 2006 through December 2007, there were 227 reports of suicide attempts or suicides, 397 cases of possible psychosis and 525 reports of hostility or aggression. Those reports included 28 suicides and 41 mentions of homicidal thoughts, 60 cases of paranoia and 55 cases of hallucinations.
The data, the report said, ''provide a strong signal'' that the risks of treatment with varenicline, the active chemical in Chantix, have been underestimated. This year, Public Citizen's Health Research Group, another consumer watchdog organization, had called for a black-box warning '-- F.D.A.'s strongest drug alert '-- on Chantix.
Chantix, made by Pfizer, was approved in 2006 for sale in this country and the European Union. Worldwide sales of the drug were $883 million last year, and an estimated 6.5 million people have used it.
Pfizer issued a statement Wednesday saying that the current labeling for Chantix reflected the product's safety profile, including warnings that it had the potential to cause psychiatric problems and might impair driving.
''There are few things that provide greater health benefits than quitting smoking,'' said the Pfizer statement, issued by a company spokesman, Francisco Gebauer. ''When considering the use of Chantix for their patients, health care providers should discuss the risks of smoking, the health benefits of quitting smoking, and the product's efficacy and safety profile.''
In after-hours trading Wednesday, Pfizer's shares fell 22 cents, to $19.79, a 1.1 percent decline.
Dr. Timothy Anderson, a pharmaceutical analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, responded to Wednesday's report by downgrading estimates for Chantix sales in 2012, to $700 million, from $1.6 billion.
Chantix, taken in pill form, partly blocks and partly stimulates a nicotine receptor in the brain and in clinical studies was shown to help smokers quit. Potential problems associated with Chantix were first publicized last September when a Dallas musician, Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, was shot to death after he began behaving bizarrely while taking Chantix.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices study noted that some of the reports of adverse events it analyzed could have been spurred by that publicity and by a November 2007 early warning about the drug from the F.D.A.
An F.D.A. spokeswoman, Susan Cruzan, said the agency was also conducting a special safety review of Chantix and was requiring pharmacists to distribute a medication guide to patients, warning of the potential side effects.
The F.A.A. was also planning to notify associations representing both commercial and private pilots that Chantix was no longer permitted, Ms. Brown said.
Continue reading the main story
Armageddon
Formula 1 Heiress Flees to US from London: 'Crazy How Unsafe UK Streets Are'
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 16:57
Formula 1 heiress Petra Ecclestone has relocated her family to Los Angeles from London due to the high levels of violent crime in the UK.
"It's crazy how unsafe the UK has become '-- so much more so than 10 years ago," she said to the Sunday Times magazine.
"Talking with mums at school, there have been so many incidents, so many attacks, robberies, knives during the day. You don't feel safe walking around the neighborhood."
The crime has gotten so bad that Ecclestone hired four bodyguards, one for her and one for each of her three children.
London has overtaken New York City in violent crime rates in 2018 thanks to Mayor Sadiq Khan's lack of initiative to address the migrant-fueled wave of stabbings and acid attacks.
Instead, Khan made his priorities clear in May when he announced he would take on junk food ads across London.
The Mayor of London @SadiqKhan proposes a ban on junk food adverts on the entire Transport for London network pic.twitter.com/GSzm0I5AKy
'-- Sky News (@SkyNews) May 11, 2018Additionally, UK authorities estimated that they failed to address around 100,000 crimes - including sexual offenses - each year, which amounts to about 10 percent of all reported crimes in London alone.
(Photo: flickr, camillacarvalhofotos)
Nope, Those Aren't Mailboxes: Paris Rolls Out Sidewalk Urinals : NPR
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 23:52
A man stands at a Uritrottoir public urinal on the Žle Saint-Louis in Paris. Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images A man stands at a Uritrottoir public urinal on the Žle Saint-Louis in Paris.
Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images In Paris, authorities are taking an unusual approach to combat the scourge of public urination: Make urination even more public.
The city is experimenting with completely exposed, eco-friendly urinals.
The devices are called "Uritrottoir," which combines the words for urinal and pavement. They're not at all subtle. They're bright red and in heavily trafficked areas '-- for example, directly next to the Seine near the Notre Dame Cathedral.
And if there's any confusion, a large white and red sign with a red arrow and a cartoon of a man peeing probably clears it up.
French authorities say they are using this "surprising solution" to try to supplement existing toilets in heavily congested areas where there are urine issues. "The interest of this new urban fixture lies in its mobility, ease of installation and use, as well as its ecological dimension," city authorities said in a statement.
They introduced three of these toilets in March and added a fourth in July. They're planning to install a fifth urinal soon.
The new additions have appalled some residents, such as Paola Pellizzari, who owns a Venetian art store. "There's no need to put something so immodest and ugly in such an historic spot," she tells Reuters.
Some others view the urinals as straightforwardly sexist.
"They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves (from the bladder point of view) and so all of society has to adapt," Gwendoline Coipeault of the feminist group Femmes Solidaires tells the news service. "The public space must be transformed to cause them minimum discomfort."
The designers advertise their product as "the urban ecological solution for civilizing 'wild peeing.' "
Men pee into the receptacle, which is filled with straw and other composting materials to keep odors down. That material eventually becomes compost that can be used to fertilize plants. On top of the Uritrottoir is a small flower garden to "beautify your public spaces." City authorities even said this could reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer used.
This isn't the first time Paris has tried to tackle the "wild peeing" problem, according to The Guardian:
"In its effort to stem the flow, Paris has installed some 400 self-contained, self-cleaning, unisex public toilets known as Sanisettes, free to use since 2006. It also employs a small army of street sanitation workers who disinfect and deodorise thousands of square metres of walls and pavements every month."
Laurent Lebot, a designer of the Uritrottoir, tells the newspaper that the device isn't a complete fix to the problem.
Still, "drunk blokes just keep pissing," he said. "People may laugh at our solution, but it could just work."
Surgeons issue warning as Superdrug brings Botox to the high street for £99 - Sky News
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:47
The cosmetics chain is to offer Botox and filler treatments in its London Strand store before rolling the service out nationwide.
10:49, UK, Wednesday 15 August 2018
Image: Close up of woman receiving beauty treatment with Botox.
Superdrug is bringing Botox and fillers to the high street as doctors warn consumers may see the treatment as casual as waxing.
The cosmetics chain is starting its Skin Renew service in its store in the Strand, London, before rolling it out nationwide.
Customers will have to be at least 25 years old and will only be able to have treatments after a phone booking and consultation with a qualified nurse.
However, a surgeon has warned of the risks involved and says it's vital customers don't see the procedures as comparable to getting a wax.
Consultant surgeon and British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons spokesman Gerard Lambe said: "While Superdrug may be hiring medically trained nurses, it is crucial members of the public do not treat having Botox and dermal fillers as casual beauty treatments, like brow threading or waxing.
"Administering an injection of any kind is a very serious procedure and requires an experienced and qualified health professional.
"All kinds of risks can arise, from infection to incorrectly applied needle placement over delicate facial muscles - which can lead to paralysis."
Image: Superdrug will trial the procedures in its Strand store in London before rolling it out nationwide. File pic
Superdrug says the treatments are being offered following feedback from 10,000 customers who said they wanted anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation on the high street.
Caris Newson, head of health and wellbeing services at Superdrug, said: "We're launching this service in response to customer demand for anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation treatments.
"We're listening to what people are telling us they would like which is the reassurance that if they choose to have aesthetic treatments then it will be administered by highly qualified nurse practitioners in a private consultation room.
"Our minimum age for this service is currently 25 years old to ensure that, when supported by a full clinical consultation, our customers are able to make the best decisions about engaging in aesthetic treatments."
Mr Lambe, who runs the Reflect Clinic in Manchester, said: "Lip fillers are a real issue too and I often get women at my clinic needing corrective treatment following dangerously injected fillers.
"My advice is to always check your provider's medical qualifications, inspect the clinic for hygiene as well as health and safety, and always get proof that they are on the official Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners register which notably recently blocked beauty therapists from registering to do injectables, such is the seriousness of these procedures."
Treatments start at £99 and will be carried out in a private room in the store.
Any Collusion?
5.1 million Americans have security clearances. That's more than the entire population of Norway. - The Washington Post
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 01:35
(AFP/Getty)Critics of the country's national security apparatus say Washington is addicted to secrecy. Judging by the ballooning number of Americans with government security clearances, they might have a point.
About 5.1 million people '-- or more than 1.5 percent of the population '-- held security clearances last year, up from 4.9 million people with clearances the year before. The new figure comes via a report commissioned by President Obama and released by the Office of Management and Budget, which estimates that 60 percent of those security clearances had immediate access to confidential data.
(OMB)If the security-cleared population were its own country, it would be bigger than Norway.
Investigating candidates for security clearances also costs a pretty penny; OMB estimates that a background check for a Secret-level clearance costs between $210-$272 for each of the 3.6 million people who have them. A Top Secret clearance, meanwhile, costs the government nearly 20 times more, at an average of $3,959 per background check. At that rate, investigating the 1.5 million people with Top Secret passes may have cost as much as $5.9 billion over several years. And it gets worse: Many of the clearances currently held by federal workers have already expired.
"The most recent data show that roughly 22 percent of the population eligible for access to classified information at the TS or TS/SCI level was outdated, and no reinvestigation had been requested," OMB wrote. Translation: There are people walking around with clearances today who maybe shouldn't have them.
Many background checks are performed each year by a single contractor '-- U.S. Investigations Services, which was accused in January by the government of submitting hundreds of thousands of incomplete background checks in order to meet demand. The same company was responsible for vetting both former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.
The explosion in security clearances was also likely fueled by America's two most recent wars. From 2005 to 2013, OMB says, the cost of performing background checks for the Pentagon surged 37 percent, from $487 million to $665 million.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there was concern that the country didn't have enough manpower to connect the dots on intelligence. Now, the growing army of people with access to private information risks making the nation's secrets less, well, secret.
THE TRUMP DOSSIER '' Who really wrote it? Read the full story behind this Dirty Little Document. '' powerglobal.us '' The Conservative Voice in Global News
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 12:02
Intro by Brendan Power (Author of GET TRUMP)
While reading ''The Mechanics of Deception'' by Yaacov Apelbaum as part of my research for GET TRUMP Part 4, I became convinced that my suspicions about the true origin and motive behind the Trump (Pee) Dossier had nothing to do with Trump or Russia, but instead were all part of a desperate cover-up on the part of a sizable team of Clinton operatives within the Obama Administration.
What Yaacov has produced in his piece on The Trump Dossier is outstanding in its forensic attention to detail and leads me to a greater sense of confidence in my earlier theory.
From early 2015 when Trump announced his intention to run, Podesta and Clinton were planning first of all how to get Clinton clear to run as the Democrat candidate for President, but secondly how to assure their involvement in sparking the Arab Spring and Colour Movement Coups and attempted Coups in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Ukraine amongst others would never come to light.
It becomes clearer by the day, every piece of evidence used to fuel the Trump Russia and Russia Hacked our Election Narrative was part of a well planned and executed insurance policy hatched from late 2015 '' to Mar 2016, involving perhaps hundreds of individuals, many with deep links back into the dark Clinton past, Madeleine Albright, Podesta, Biden, Leiberman, Victoria Nuland and many others.
From Stefan Halper, Mifsud and Papadopoulos, to Steele and the Ohr's with their Trump Dossier, or CrowdStrike and the DNC hack being linked to Atlantic Council and Soros, they are all linked as long term friends, colleagues or family.
The events outlined in Gerald Stones film Ukraine on Fire involve many of the same people and I am sure any informed analysis of events in Libya, Egypt and Syria would finger the same suspects.
Hillary Clinton's home server was the spark that started the whole show, if anyone was let near the truth they were all at risk, so the great cover-up began.
Manafort or Gen Flynn knew way too much, so as soon as Trump approached them their fates were sealed.
Donald Jnr was specifically targeted for a meeting at Trump Tower in the way he was because they knew Donald Trump Snr would sniff something was up.
I thought first you might like an up front look at the sort of links that bind these anti-Trump, Anti-American forces together.
To help you understand how Fusion GPS works and where it fits in, I have selected the next few excerpts from the full text.
I will get back to you with more details when I finalise GET TRUMP Part 4, for now I leave you in the capable hands of Yaacov Apelbaum .
Brendan Power
Excerpts from ''The Mechanics of Deception'' by Yaacov Apelbaum,Fusion GPS Connections to Clinton Operatives
Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby knew Bruce and Nellie Ohr from their days at the International Assessment and Strategy Center as early as 2004. Simpson and Jacoby knew and worked with Stefan Halper at the WSJ since 1996. They also knew Steele from their days at the WSJ going back to 2009.
Jacoby knew and worked with Christopher Steele, Nellie Ohr, Peter Strzok and his wife Melissa Hodgman'--the Associate Director in SEC Enforcement Division, Peter Fritsch, Neil King Jr. and his wife Shailagh Murray, David Kramer, Jonathan Winer, and Sidney Blumenthal who worked with her at Salon in 2004.
Sidney Blumenthal's network is noteworthy because his email address book contains many of the dossier characters including Jacoby, Simpson, Winer, and others. It also contains most of the journalist involved in the 'favorable' dossier coverage. For example his friendly reporter count includes:
# News Outlet Number of reporters Blumenthal communicated with1 The Guardian 492 New Yorker 163 New York Times 504 Washington Post 60
Keeping in mind Simpson's and Jacoby's paid interest in Manafort and Yanukovich, it is important to note that Rinat Akhmetshin, the alleged facilitator of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, is married to Lyudmila Vereshchagina'--a Ukrainian national with ties to FISU who has been living in the US since 2008.
Both Akhmetshin and Vereshchagina knew and communicated with Simpson, Jacoby, and Alexandra Chalupa (the junkyard dog of the DNC) and were involved in the organization of anti-Putin/Yanukovich/Trump activity across the US.
Rinat Akhmetshin's lawyer/partner was Edward Lieberman, who concurrently worked for the Albright Stonebridge Group and used the Liebermane@dco.coudert.com email account.
The Albright Stonebridge Group is a ''Commercial Diplomacy'' firm in Washington DC that is heavily involved with Ukrainian politics and lobbying activity in the US. Even more noteworthy, is Edward Lieberman's wife, Evelyn Lieberman's senior affiliation with the Clintons, Madeleine Albright and Joseph Biden.
The following short bio illustrates her political R&R from 1988-2015.Evelyn Lieberman's Political Bio2002''2015: Director of communications and external affairs, Smithsonian Institution
1999''2001: Under secretary for public diplomacy & public affairs, for Madeleine Albright1997''1999: Director of Voice of America1996''1997: White House deputy chief of staff and assistant Bill Clinton1994''1996: White House deputy press secretary for operations Bill Clinton1993''1994: Assistant to the chief of staff in the Office of Hillary Clinton1988''1993: (5 years) Press secretary for Senator Joseph Biden
Additionally, Robert Otto was sending and receiving updates from multiple sources such as, Nellie Ohr, David Kramer, Kyle Wilsonb, Andrew Wood, Richard Dearlove, and Michael Weiss, a CNN Investigative reporter for International Affairs, who was tracking and reporting on Veselnitskaya social media activity.
Jonathan Winer from the State Department knew Steele from mid-2000s. Winer also knew and worked with Glenn Simpson and Douglas Farah, his partner at IASC in 2004. Winer and Farah even cross endorsed each other on their LinkedIn profiles.
Jonathan Winer and Glenn Simpson and Douglas Farah linkage
Nellie Ohr, Peter Fritsch, and Jonathan Clarke knew each other from the Wilson Center.Neil King Jr. from Fusion GPS is married to Shailagh Murray who was President Obama's Senior Policy Advisor. She was also Joe Biden's Deputy-Chief-of-Staff. King and Murray knew Steele, Kramer, Winer, and the Ohrs going back to the mid-2000s.
In 2010, several of the members of the future dossier team participated in a workshop dedicated to ''Racketeering in Russia''.
In 2012, Steele did some work for the US state Department and was in communication with Winer and the Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. This was done directly and through Sir Andrew Wood, who was the former British Ambassador to Russia and an employee of Orbis.
Steele's communications included over 100 reports on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. These reports were based on information from UK and Ukrainian government sources and contained political and financial data about Russian companies that was shared with Bruce Ohr at the DOJ.
When questioned about Steele's relationship with Jonathan Winer, Victoria Nuland said:''During the Ukraine crisis in 2014-15, Chris Steele had a number of commercial clients who were asking him for reports on what was going on in Russia, what was going on in Ukraine, what was going on between them. Chris had a friend [Jonathan Winer] at the State Department and he offered us that reporting free so that we could also benefit from it.''
Steele's information didn't only flow in one direction. In January 2016, before the Fusion GPS dossier project kicked-into-gear, Johantan Winer and Strobe Talbott were sharing with Steele via Orbis's Canada hosted servers and email system documents authored by Cody Shearer, who produced a 'second Trump-Russia dossier'. This document consisted of two four-page reports, one titled ''Donald Trump'--Background Notes'--The Compromised Candidate,'' the second ''FSB Interview''.
The reports are almost identical in terms of content and layout to the Steele dossier but references unnamed Turkish businessman with ''excellent contacts within the FSB'' as the source. The reports echo the same salacious claims and alleged corruption and collusion.
Cody Shearer's mysterious 'one-eyed man from Istanbul' source claims that Trump was ''filmed in Moscow in November 2013, during the Miss Universe pageant in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel''. He also said that there was a copy of the video somewhere in Bulgaria but that he couldn't get it.
Strobe Talbott is Cody Shearer's brother in law and was Cody's brother Derek's roommate in Yale. Talbott is a State Department Russian expert who served as Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration.
Talbott's wife Brooke Shearer was Hillary Clinton's personal aide and the lead investigator (nicknamed ''The Dumpster Diver'') responsible for digging-up dirt on Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct accusers.
Strobe Talbott and his wife Brooke Shearer knew and worked with Mary Jacoby, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Neil King, and Shailagh Murray since the mid 1990s. Talbott has know Steele since at least 2006.
''The Mechanics of Deception'' by Yaacov Apelbaum NOTE: The Full Article ''The Mechanics of Deception'' is available at https://apelbaum.wordpress.com/or via https://powerglobal.us/2018/08/11/the-mechanics-of-deception/
Much has been said and written about Christopher Steele's authorship of the notorious document that alleges Russia-Trump collusion. According to Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS (who plead the Fifth and only spoke through his lawyers), Steele was hired by them in June 2016 to gather information about ''links between Russia and [then-presidential candidate] Donald Trump.''
Pursuant to that business arrangement, Steele prepared a series of reports styled as intelligence briefings, some of which were later compiled into a collection of documents and published by a number of media outlets and later become known as the ''Trump dossier.''
On the face of the dossier, it appears that Steele gathered his data from multiple sources in Russia, former Soviet union (FSU) countries, and the US. He then edited the raw intelligence'--which seems to be a combination of conversations and notes'--organized it in a summarized brief format, and published/leaked it in parts or in its entirety on a spiralling schedule.
Image 1: The Dossier events and publication schedule
My initial impression reading the dossier was that the writing was sloppy and that it did not resemble an intelligence report. It exhibited multiple writing styles and writers, both English and non-English speakers, and it was assembled in haste. I also thought that in many ways, it paralleled the plot line of the Dreyfus Affair. As in the case of the ''dossier'' and the Bordereau from the Dreyfus case, the Trump dossier was presented as undeniable proof of collusion. Yet, it's uncertain who composed it, how it was collected, or even if the document is genuine.
Just like its nineteen century French predecessor, the Trump dossier too had a powerful social and political impact in the US. Its content has dominated the news and has raised substantial questions about the rule of law, the political impartiality of senior federal career bureaucrats, and the true extent of the separation of powers in government.
Russia vs. Non-Russia issues on MSNBC's news coverage
Considering all of the dossier's unusual aspects, I decided to take a little time and do a deeper dive into its structure and content. In this post, I'll demonstrate how by using readily available OSINT tools and techniques, video analytics, and writing style analysis, we can pinpoint the likely sources, methods, and the individuals involved in the creation and distribution of this document.
I would like to apologize for the lengthy and somewhat overwhelming amount of detail in this write-up. Contrary to common belief, the truth is rarely concise, pure, and never simple. As Proverbs 1:2-7 implies, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding does require an investment of time and effort. in the spirit of full disclosure, I was not paid to produce this research and I am not affiliated with democratic or republican circles. My objective in writing this posting was to provide the layman reader not otherwise versed in intelligence gathering and analysis techniques with basic facts and insight so that they can form their own educated opinions on the matter.
The Dossier Team
Even after several testimonies and investigative reports, the composition of the dossier team is still shrouded in secrecy. When Glenn Simpson testified on November 8th and 14th in front of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he was vague and evasive about the names of the people that worked on the document and just said that he hired Steele, who then: ''Use[d] his old contacts and farmed out other research to native Russian speakers who made phone calls on his behalf''.
Two of these ''native Russian speakers'' were subsequently identified as Nellie Ohr and Edward Baumgartner. But even after this revelation, there are still many unanswered questions about this team.
For example, what was the organizational structure of their network? How and where was the raw intelligence collected, stored, and transmitted? Or, how was Steele, a private British national living in England able to so quickly and effectively reach top US politicians like McCain and Pelosi, publish through and get full backing from media outlets like Yahoo, NYT and WaPo, and gain access to senior officials at the State Department, the DOJ, and FBI?
Trump Dossier Network
Glenn Simpson
(from left to right) Glenn Simpson, Mary Jacoby, Peter Fritsch, Neil King, Tom Catan
Simpson is the public face of Fusion GPS. He was the prime contact for Perkins-Coie, the US law firm that paid for the dossier on behalf of the DNC, the Clinton presidential campaign, and several other financers. Simpson controlled and managed dossier contractors like Nellie Ohr, Edward Baumgartner, Chris Steele, and Chris Burrows. From his own testimony we know that he was the ''architect of the research'' and the first contributor to it. He graduated from George Washington University in 1986 with a degree in journalism. From 1989-1994 he worked as a reporter for Roll Call, where he met his wife Mary Jacoby, and then later at The Wall Street Journal 1995-2009.
Simpson also held a number of consulting and freelance investigative positions including one in 2004 with the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC).
In 2010 Simpson, his wife Mary Jacoby, Peter Fritsch, and Benjamin Schmidt formed Bean LLC, and gave it the trade name Fusion GPS. Shortly afterwards, Neil King Jr. and Tom Catan joined the team.
According to the original Fusion GPS website (before its content was purged and replaced with a single generic paragraph): ''Fusion GPS brings to your project years of experience in collecting and sifting open source and proprietary intelligence''. They also claimed to have a ''global network of contacts and a proven record for accuracy and professionalism and having a ''high-level relationships in government and the media, legal, and policy communities''.
The statement about having a ''global network'' of resources and ''high-level relationships in government'' is interesting because Chris Steele makes this identical claim about his own company Orbis. Fusion GPS also prided itself on its team of experts that had special depth in matters of financial fraud and complex due diligence. Their value proposition was described as: ''Our work begins where routine surveys of public information leave off: we explore sources others overlook, as well as the complex human and cultural relationships crucial to investment decisions and performance''.
Image 2: Fusion GPS Website circa January 2011
The Fusion GPS mission statement was:Based in Washington, DC, Fusion also stands at the crossroads of the regulatory, policymaking and enforcement communities increasingly important to the sound allocation of capital. We know the people on the front lines of issues related to trade, technology, natural resources and security. Our specialists can provide support in matters of regulatory compliance, asset recovery and market intelligence.We have the ability to present information in powerful products written by a team of specialists trained in producing material for some of the most discerning readers in the world, including the President of the United States and the readers of The Wall Street Journal.
It is clear from Fusion GPS's own materials that in 2011 and onwards that the company was already producing ''products'' in the form of commercial, financial, and political reports that were reaching the Oval Office and were being read by the president himself.
By 2015, Fusion GPS had offices in Washington D.C., LA, and London with a headcount in excess of 22 individuals that included:1. Glenn Simpson2. Mary Jacoby3. Peter Fritsch4. Tom Catan5. Jason Felch6. Neil King Jr.7. David Michaels8. Taylor Sears9. Patrick Corcoran10. Laura Sego11. Jay Bagwell12. Erica Castro13. Jason Raymond14. Benjamin Schmidt15. Joshua Levy16. Jackie Flores17. David Ford18. Jason Schwartz
The political makeup of the team was exclusively Democrat with many of the employees and interns having a strong political connection to the Clinton or Obama administrations.
Jason Raymond, the Research Director, came from John Kerry's press office and was affiliated with USAID; Laura Seago, a senior analyst, came from the Brennan Center for Justice and was also affiliated with USAID. It's also noteworthy that the senior management had a documented history of misconduct and ethical-related issues.
Glenn Simpson has a Profane Cursing and Public Intoxication conviction; Jason Felch, a former reporter and the managing partner of the LA office, was fired from the LA Times for deceitful reporting. He was also cheating on his wife on multiple occasions with his Occidental College investigative source. Tom Catan, his wife Bego±a Segurola, and Peter Fritch were involved in vicious attacks and a character assassination campaign against a fellow reporter.
Jason Felch, the Fusion GPS LA office Managing Partner and his routing data to one of his Occidental College escapades with the School's sexual misconduct administratorChristopher David Steele and Orbis Business Intelligence
Christopher Steele
Steele is 'officially' the primary author of the dossier and a second contributor after Simpson. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1986 with a degree in Social and Political Sciences. While at college, he wrote for the student newspaper Varsity.
Steele was recruited by MI6 directly following his graduation. From 1987 to 1989, he worked in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), then from 1990 to 1993 at the UK Embassy in Moscow.
Steele returned to London in 1993 and was posted to Paris in 1998. In 1999, his cover was blown when a media leak disclosed the identity of 116 MI6 agents.
In 2009, Steele and his fellow MI6-retiree Chris Burrows and Nicholas Butcher founded the private intelligence agency HL3299 Limited, later renamed Orbis Business Intelligence. In 2014, Steele and Burrows registered Walsingham Training, with Orbis being the majority controller.
In 2017, Steele and Burrows formed the holding company Chawton Holdings Limited and renamed ''Walsingham Training'' to ''Walsingham Training Limited'', then renamed it again to ''Walsingham Partners Limited''. The majority control of the company was then switched to Chawton Holdings.
According to the Orbis website, the company draws on extensive experience at the boardroom level, in government, multilateral diplomacy, and international business to develop bespoke solutions for clients. In 2011 before the dossier affair blow up, they were also promoting their surveillance, psychological warfare expertise, and influence operations capabilities which included services such as:' Creating public opinion groundswells' Delivering targeted political media campaigns
Just like in the case of Fusion GPS, Orbis also claims to have a ''global network of senior associates which is made up of regional, industry and academic experts, as well as prominent government and business figures, their expertise and a closed network of contacts worldwide''.
The Orbis mission statement is:''Our core strength is our ability to meld a high''level source network with a sophisticated investigative capability. We provide strategic advice, mount intelligence''gathering operations and conduct complex, often cross''border investigations.''Unlike Orbis' business pitch, Walsingham Training professed to deliver full logistic and tactical intelligence agency services.
''It's a hostile world out there. Whether 'out there' is in the back streets of Kinshasa or negotiating around a table in New York, we understand this all too well. The same skills apply whether you are penetrating terrorist networks, winning over African warlords, or making nuanced corporate decisions in London or in frontier markets: you have to build a team you can trust, equip and then motivate to deliver. Fortunately, these skills can be learnt and honed so that they become second nature.''
Walsingham Training delivers bespoke training programs for our clients based off our proprietary modules:' Targeting and crafting approaches to investors or potential clients using intelligence to spot opportunities, vulnerabilities and access points.' Instrumentality persuading people using a diplomatic and psychological skill set is an essential part of manipulating personal encounters to your own advantage.' Deployment High pressure, high stakes decision-making in complex environments like Russia and China as demonstrated by former senior diplomats.' Tradecraft Understanding and mitigating the cyber and physical risk posed by hostile states, criminals and companies.' Taking risks Identifying, quantifying and managing risks in developed and frontier markets to stay ahead of the competition compliantly.
Orbis and Walsingham have an interesting association with a number of companies such as: PS21, the SETA Foundation, and Grace Electronics Limited. Grace Electronics for example, is a 40 year old PC and laptop distributer.
The now hidden Orbis/Walsingham ICANN registry lists one Alex Buckland, an employee of Grace Electronics, as the website technical and administrative contact since 2009.Registrant: Orbis Business Intelligence LimitedDomain name: ORBISBI.COMAdministrative Contact: Alex BucklandTechnical Contact: Alex BucklandEmail: alex@grace.co.ukAddress: Crowthorne Enterprise Centre Old Wokingham Road Crowthorne,Berkshire RG12 6AW GBPhone: +441344752626—0Fax: +441344777557But according to Grace Electronics, they don't provide any website support, development, nor management. Sounds like the IT equivalent of the Monty Python sketch about the cheese store that doesn't sell any cheese.
Nellie Hauke Ohr
Ohr was the third contributor to the dossier. She earned a degree in history and Russian literature from Harvard-Radcliff 1982''1983 and MA and PhD in history from Stanford 1986-1990.
Image 5: Nellie Ohr
After graduation she worked for:' Accenture iDefense (acquired from VeriSign) '' Principal Mar 2017' VeriSign iDefense '' Cyber Threat Intelligence Researcher Dec 2016 '' Feb 2017' Fusion GPS '' Analyst content Creator Mar 2016 '' Dec 2016' Miklos Systems '' Senior Analyst Mar 2015 '' Dec 2015' Plessas Experts Network '' Analyst content Creator Oct 2013 '' Jan 2015' Open-Source-Works '' Senior Analyst Sep 2008 '' Sep 2014' MITRE Corporation '' Linguist analyst Jan 2000 '' Dec 2008' Vassar College '' Assistant Professor, History Department Jan 1990 '' Dec 1998
She spent some time in Russia during the 1990s and according to at least one source, had powerful political connections there. In her book Adventures in Russian Historical Research, Cathy Frierson writes: ''Nellie encouraged me to call the Smolensk archive [the home of Russia's historical state secrets] director, assuring me that he would welcome me.''
Edward Emil Baumgartner
Baumgartner was the forth contributor to the dossier. He is a British/French national. He earned his BA in history from Vassar College in 1995 and an MA in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies from Harvard in 2000.
Image 6: Edward Baumgartner
Baumgartner specializes in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). He started as an independent consultant in the FSU focusing on research and business intelligence. From 2002 to 2005, he was a Russia consultant at a London-based public relations company. His clients included Russian and Ukrainian government-owned and private organizations.In 2008, Baumgartner founded the UK based political consultancy Baumgartner Limited. In 2010, together with Peat Austin Alexander, he co-founded the UK-based intelligence consulting firm Edward Austin.
The firm's mission statement: ''With an established network spanning the FSU and beyond, Edward Austin serves clients in the private and public sectors worldwide. We are pan-FSU. Alongside extensive work in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine '' the region's three main economies '' we have completed numerous projects on the ground in the wider Central Asia region (Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Belarus and Moldova. Reinforcing this is a global network of trusted partners, enabling us to undertake work across jurisdictions worldwide.''
The Dossier Network
The network graph analysis indicates that the fellowship of the dossier is a close-knit group; everyone knew each other long before embarking on the quest to find the alleged Russian collusion. All of the project key players are related through marriage, family relations, or work affiliations. As can be seen in images 9-10, this team collaborated in various member configurations on many other 'dossier projects' and utilized the same collection methods, materials, resources, political network, and publication channels. Some of these affiliations go back more than 30 years.Image 9: The Dossier Network, the actors, entities, and their roles
These relationships between the team members transcended their changing places of employment and job titles. The following is a short sampling of the dossier network linkage results:
Christopher Steele knew Sir Andrew Wood from his days at the UK Diplomatic Service since 1986. In 2013, Wood had a paid consulting gig with Orbis. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 who promoted the Dossier in UK, Australian, Canadian, and US government circles was Steele's boss in MI6. Steele knew and worked with Paoblo Miller in MI6 since 1994 and Luke Harding from The Guardian since 1996; Harding and Miller were also Orbis and Hakluyt contractors since 2009.
Steele and Chris Burrows worked with Stefan Halper as early as 2005. Steele knew Jonathan Clarke from his days in MI6 and communicated and met him in the US.
Burrows knew and communicated with Joseph Mifsud since 2010. Edward Baumgartner had been contracting with Orbis and Hakluyt since 2011.
Steel and Burrows knew and worked with Nigel Inkster from MI6 for over twenty years. They continued to work with him when he joined IISS and PS21. Inkster was also Sir Richard Dearlove's deputy in SIS.
Orbis hired US nationals that previously held US government positions. For example, Tatianna Duran, an Orbis Senior Intelligence Analyst, previously worked for the US State Department and had a US government ''Secret'' security clearance. Tatianna Duran and Nigal Inkster worked together at PS21 and with Ilya Zaslavskiy at the Chatham House.An example of Tatianna Duran, one of the Orbis employees, and her linkages using FR and keyword searches such as: ''Orbis'', ''PS21'', and ''Chatham House''
Chris Burrows exchanged dossier related emails with Nicholas Fishwick, the former director of PGI and an MI6 officer, and with Stefan Halper who consulted for Hakluyt, a private UK intelligence firm similar to Fusion GPS and Orbis Business Intelligence.
Steele and Burrows had a long term working relationship with several other semi-active British foreign office individuals like, Charles Crawford, a former UK ambassador to South Africa, who was stationed with Steele in Moscow in 1993 and Raymond Asquith, a former British diplomat to Russia in 2009.
Steele's and Burrows's professional network and email communications also include multiple active and retired British intelligence officers like Claire Smith, a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee who Steele knew from their joint work in Afghanistan. Steele met with Sir Richard Dearlove in person and communicated with him via email and text messaging in March 2016 and onwards regarding the dossier.Halper, Clarke, Downer, Smith, Dearlove, Crawford, Lobban, MI6, LAD, and Hakluyt Linkage
Steele worked with the FBI as early as 2010 on the FIFA investigation.
In 2016, he met them several times including at two meetings with agent Michael Gaeta, a leading FBI 'Russia corruption expert', in Rome and in London to discuss the dossier.
Gaeta coordinated and got clearance for these meetings from Victoria Nuland at the State Department. Gaeta was the FBI case officer in Europe and controlled Orbis, Stefan Halper, and the Hakluyt dossier assets.Michael Gaeta Linkage to US embassy in Rome and dossier related activity
Agent Michael Gaeta's Biography
Michael Gaeta began his FBI career in 1996 in the New York Field Office where he investigated and supervised La Cosa Nostra organized crime cases for thirteen years. In 2009, Mr. Gaeta became the supervisory special agent for the Eurasian Organized Crime squad.
Under his direction, the Eurasian Organized Crime squad aggressively addressed the Eurasian Organized Crime threat and engaged with domestic and international law enforcement partners to advance cases and develop and share intelligence.
The squad had scores of successful indictments in high profile cases that indicted fraud amounts over $400 million (USD) and indicted laundered amounts over $200 million (USD) during his tenure.
Mr. Gaeta joined the FBI's Legal Attach(C) Office in Rome as the Assistant Legal Attach(C) in May 2014. Prior to working for the FBI, Mr. Gaeta practiced law in New York City.
Baumgartner, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, and David Kramer are all Harvard alumni. Nellie Ohr knew Stefan Halper since at least 2000. Nellie Ohr also worked in the MITRE Corporation with Halper's son Marin Halper for six years from 2002-2008.
Peter Fritsch, Nellie Ohr, and Baumgartner all attended Vassar College. Nellie Ohr and Baumgartner were together at the History department at Vassar between 1991-1995, where Baumgartner was her student.
Between 2008-2014, Ohr worked for Open Source Works and Plessas Experts Network, a company specializing in OSINT. The company had a contract to provide OSINT development and training for the US Intelligence community (IC).
Both, Nellie and Kirby Plessas, the owner of the company knew each other since at least 2008. Both also communicated with each other and with Dale Walter, the director of Open Source Works using email accounts on @open-source-works.org email system.
Nellie Ohr, Kirby Plessas, Plessas Experts Network, and Open Source Works linkagesTom Catan, knew and worked with Steele, Harding, Burrows, and Baumgartner since 2011.
Catan's wife Bego±a Segurola and Fritch's former wife Beatriz ''Bea'' Hidalgo are from Spain/Mexico and the two families have known each other for over 30 years.
Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby knew Bruce and Nellie Ohr from their days at the International Assessment and Strategy Center as early as 2004. Simpson and Jacoby knew and worked with Stefan Halper at the WSJ since 1996. They also knew Steele from their days at the WSJ going back to 2009.
Glenn Simpson's wife, Mary Jacoby, founded Main Justice in 2009, a company specializing in paid corruption research and reporting. She has been the Chief Executive at Fusion GPS since 2010.
Jacoby also worked as a reporter for organizations such as GIR, and Law Business Research (which purchased Main Justice in 2015). While at Main Justice, she worked with Bruce Ohr and in fact nominated his FIFA investigation for the GIR Anti-Corruption award.
As can be gleaned from Main Justice's mission statement below, Mary and her merry band of for rent corruption fighters were assembling and selling opposition research and dossiers as early as 2009.
''Main Justice and our subscription-only site, Just Anti-Corruption, services top law firms and corporate counsel, business leaders of Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. It offers on-demand research tools, published analysis from leading practitioners, access to a preparatory searchable FCPA (The Foreign Corrupt Practice) database with links to public documents and associated news stories. We also provide profile guides, high powered VIP networking events, and the highest insight and intelligence reports.''
While working in Main Justice, GIR, Law Business Research, and the WSJ, Jacoby cultivated a large network of key Federal (FBI, SEC, and DOJ) executives that included notables such as Adam Hickey, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the DOJ who was familiar with the dossier and the FISA application and Andrew Weissmann, the Chief of the DOJ's criminal fraud section, who is now working for Robert Mueller the Special Counsel investigating the alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Adam Hickey and Andrew Weissmann presenting in one of several GIR eventsJacoby also facilitated special recognition awards for 'strategically' placed attorneys such as Leila Babaeva, a Russian speaking attorney who is now working at the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit at the DOJ and Kathryn Cameron Atkinson.
Mary Jacoby, Leila Babaeva, and Kathryn Cameron Atkinson at the 2015 GIR AwardsJacoby knew and worked with Christopher Steele, Nellie Ohr, Peter Strzok and his wife Melissa Hodgman'--the Associate Director in SEC Enforcement Division, Peter Fritsch, Neil King Jr. and his wife Shailagh Murray, David Kramer, Jonathan Winer, and Sidney Blumenthal who worked with her at Salon in 2004.
Sidney Blumenthal's network is noteworthy because his email address book contains many of the dossier characters including Jacoby, Simpson, Winer, and others. It also contains most of the journalist involved in the 'favorable' dossier coverage. For example his friendly reporter count includes:
# News Outlet Number of reporters Blumenthal communicated with1 The Guardian 492 New Yorker 163 New York Times 504 Washington Post 60
A sampling of Blumenthal's first 20 contacts (out of over 4000) shows an over 96% linkage to anti-Trump publications, most of these are from mainstream media sources.
# Name Articles1 Abbe Lowell Legal precedent clears Clinton2 Adam Goodheart Regime Change in Charlottesville3 Adam Gopnik Trump's Radical Anti-Americanism4 Al From The New Democrats and the Return to Power5 Al Gore I tried my best, but Trump can't be educated6 Alan Rusbridger Trump has gone totally off the rails7 Alex Gibney Every business Trump touched withered and died8 Alex Goldfarb How Russia Helped Trump Win9 Anatol Lieven Why Trump Is Right on Russia10 Andrew Shapiro Thank you Hillary!11 Andrew Terrill No to America First12 Ann Pincus Donald Trump, propagandist-in-chief?13 Anna Stein Lure of Greatness14 Anthony Barnett Open Democracy15 Anthony Weiner Trump ''F*ckface Von Clownstick16 Arianna Huffington Wake Up Call To The Establishment17 Arnaud de Borchgrave Washington Times '' The Trump Archives18 Art Levine Impossible to believe that Donald Trump can win19 Arturo Valenzuela Meet the Obama Holdovers20 Aviva Kempner Antidote to Donald Trump21 Becky Gardner Protest planned for Donald Trump's visit to London
On April 19, 2016, two months before the content of the dossier was leaked to the media, Jacoby spent a few hours in the White House in the company of the following five seemingly unrelated individuals:
# Name Vocation Relevant Relatives1 Scott C. Auerbach Attorney Wife '' Former Miami New Times Editor2 Ian G. Bregg Researcher Wife '' An Attorney3 Amy L. Bower Attorney-DHS Husband '' An Attorney4 Mary C. Jacoby Reporter Husband '' Co founder of Fusion GPS5 Laura K. Kwedar (Minch) Researcher Husband '' An Attorney with Koch Institute6 Eileen T. Zamkov
State Department Former Diplomat
A second degree linkage analysis revealed that despite what appears to be a random group of tourists, these six individuals were in fact related to the dossier team through:' Involvement in the Clinton Campaign' Direct contact with the core and auxiliary Fusion GPS team via email communications' Work at the State Department' Participation in news production and reporting' Had HLS and government legal services positions
It is noteworthy that all of the six members of this group's home and office address are clustered within 4 miles of each other, (see below), and that most attempted to scrub (not always successfully) their online presence and 2016 SM activity. Another interesting observation is that in two cases, it is the spouse of the individual on the list that was the link to the dossier team.
In 2007, Simpson and his wife, Jacoby, authored an article entitled: ''How Lobbyists Help Ex-Soviets Woo Washington''. This mercenary form of journalism promoted the specific political interests of one Ukrainian faction and alleged that prominent Republican politicians provided US business access to Kremlin-affiliated oligarchs and other friends of Putin. One such friend was Viktor Yanukovich who become president of Ukraine in 2010. According to the article, Yanukovich's facilitator in the US was Paul Manafort.
Manafort figures prominently throughout the article and later in the dossier.
Keeping in mind Simpson's and Jacoby's paid interest in Manafort and Yanukovich, it is important to note that Rinat Akhmetshin, the alleged facilitator of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, is married to Lyudmila Vereshchagina'--a Ukrainian national with ties to FISU who has been living in the US since 2008. Both Akhmetshin and Vereshchagina knew and communicated with Simpson, Jacoby, and Alexandra Chalupa (the junkyard dog of the DNC) and were involved in the organization of anti-Putin/Yanukovich/Trump activity across the US.
Rinat Akhmetshin's lawyer/partner was Edward Lieberman, who concurrently worked for the Albright Stonebridge Group and used the Liebermane@dco.coudert.com email account. The Albright Stonebridge Group is a ''Commercial Diplomacy'' firm in Washington DC that is heavily involved with Ukrainian politics and lobbying activity in the US. Even more noteworthy, is Edward Lieberman's wife, Evelyn Lieberman's senior affiliation with the Clintons, Madeleine Albright and Joseph Biden. The following short bio illustrates her political R&R from 1988-2015.
Evelyn Lieberman's Political Bio2002''2015: Director of communications and external affairs, Smithsonian Institution1999''2001: Under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, for Madeleine
Albright1997''1999: Director of Voice of America1996''1997: White House deputy chief of staff and assistant Bill Clinton1994''1996: White House deputy press secretary for operations Bill Clinton1993''1994: Assistant to the chief of staff in the Office of Hillary Clinton1988''1993: (5 years) Press secretary for Senator Joseph Biden
Rinat Akhmetshin's spouse, Vereshchagina, was part of Natalie Budaeva Arno's and Alexandra Chalupa's social and professional network (Natalia Budaeva Arno surveilled Veselnitskaya while she was in the US in 2016). All three were also posting a large volume of anti-Trump and Russia collusion content as early as July 2016.
Additionally, Robert Otto was sending and receiving updates from multiple sources such as, Nellie Ohr, David Kramer, Kyle Wilsonb, Andrew Wood, Richard Dearlove, and Michael Weiss, a CNN Investigative reporter for International Affairs, who was tracking and reporting on Veselnitskaya social media activity.
Jonathan Winer from the State Department knew Steele from mid-2000s. Winer also knew and worked with Glenn Simpson and Douglas Farah, his partner at IASC in 2004. Winer and Farah even cross endorsed each other on their LinkedIn profiles.
Jonathan Winer and Glenn Simpson and Douglas Farah linkageNellie Ohr, Peter Fritsch, and Jonathan Clarke knew each other from the Wilson Center.Neil King Jr. from Fusion GPS is married to Shailagh Murray who was President Obama's Senior Policy Advisor. She was also Joe Biden's Deputy-Chief-of-Staff. King and Murray knew Steele, Kramer, Winer, and the Ohrs going back to the mid-2000s.
In 2010, several of the members of the future dossier team participated in a workshop dedicated to ''Racketeering in Russia''. The event was hosted by the National Institute of Justice and featured among others:Glenn Simpson '' Senior Fellow International Assessment and Strategy CenterNellie Ohr '' Researcher Open Source WorksBruce Ohr '' Chief Organized Crime and Racketeering Section Criminal Division DOJLisa Holtyn '' Intelligence Advisor Organized Crime and Racketeering (who hosted Bruce Ohr multiple times at the White House)
In 2012, Steele did some work for the US state Department and was in communication with Winer and the Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. This was done directly and through Sir Andrew Wood, who was the former British Ambassador to Russia and an employee of Orbis.
Steele's communications included over 100 reports on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. These reports were based on information from UK and Ukrainian government sources and contained political and financial data about Russian companies that was shared with Bruce Ohr at the DOJ.
When questioned about Steele's relationship with Jonathan Winer, Victoria Nuland said:''During the Ukraine crisis in 2014-15, Chris Steele had a number of commercial clients who were asking him for reports on what was going on in Russia, what was going on in Ukraine, what was going on between them. Chris had a friend [Jonathan Winer] at the State Department and he offered us that reporting free so that we could also benefit from it.''
In June 2018, Nuland also confirmed that Steele was invited to the State Department on October 2016 (just two weeks before the elections) to give a dossier briefing. The meeting lasted over 3 hours, and included a presentation, handouts, a Q&A, and representatives form several federal agencies.
Steele's information didn't only flow in one direction. In January 2016, before the Fusion GPS dossier project kicked-into-gear, Johantan Winer and Strobe Talbott were sharing with Steele via Orbis's Canada hosted servers and email system documents authored by Cody Shearer, who produced a 'second Trump-Russia dossier'. This document consisted of two four-page reports, one titled ''Donald Trump'--Background Notes'--The Compromised Candidate,'' the second ''FSB Interview''.The reports are almost identical in terms of content and layout to the Steele dossier but references unnamed Turkish businessman with ''excellent contacts within the FSB'' as the source. The reports echo the same salacious claims and alleged corruption and collusion. Cody Shearer's mysterious 'one-eyed man from Istanbul' source claims that Trump was ''filmed in Moscow in November 2013, during the Miss Universe pageant in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel''. He also said that there was a copy of the video somewhere in Bulgaria but that he couldn't get it.
Strobe Talbott is Cody Shearer's brother in law and was Cody's brother Derek's roommate in Yale. Talbott is a State Department Russian expert who served as Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration. Talbott's wife Brooke Shearer was Hillary Clinton's personal aide and the lead investigator (nicknamed ''The Dumpster Diver'') responsible for digging-up dirt on Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct accusers. Strobe Talbott and his wife Brooke Shearer knew and worked with Mary Jacoby, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Neil King, and Shailagh Murray since the mid 1990s. Talbott know Steele since at least 2006.
Nellie Ohr's relationship with Steele goes back to the early-2000s or even earlier. Bruce Ohr's relationship with Steele began long before Trump's presidential bid. It goes back to Steele's 2009 FIFA corruption investigation. Bruce was then chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering section in the DOJ which had a keen interest in the early stages of the case.
Nellie Ohr's maintained active communications channels with a number of diplomatic, State Department, and IC members prior, during, and after the dossier publication this included the likes of Robert Otto, Chris Brot, Nathaniel Reynolds, and Donald Jensen.
L-R, Robert Otto, Chris Brot, Nathaniel Reynolds, and Donald JensenRobert Otto, who worked for Victoria Nuland's at the State Department (resigned in December 31, 2016) frequently communicated via a number off private aliased emails dossier and Russia collusion and anti-Trump content with his ''Russian Workgroup'' that among others included David Kramer, Andrew Wood, and a long list of current and former US, British, and Australian Intelligence professionals such as:
Name Email Address Job DescriptionGlenn Howard howard@jamestown.org Jamestown Foundation '' PresidentJohn Dunlop jbdunlop@stanford.edu Hoover Institute '' Senior FellowWalter Zaryckyj waz2102@caa.columbia.edu Center for US Ukrainian Relations '' CommitteeColumbia University '' Senior Russia researcherMira Kyzyk (Chalupa's Friend) mirakyzyk@gmail.com mirak@att.net Ukrainians for Obama and BidenFordham University '' Program ManagerKyle Wilson krwilson66@icloud.com Australian ONA Intelligence '' Senior Russia AnalystDavid Wall David.Wall@ona.gov.au Australian ONA Intelligence '' Senior Russia AnalystLilia Shevtsova liliashevtsova@gmail.com Chatham House '' Fellow Russia and EurasiaAndrew Wood andrewood40@gmail.com Chatham House '' Fellow Russia and EurasiaJames Nixey JNixey@chathamhouse.org Chatham House '' Head of Russia and EurasiaCooper Julian j.m.cooper@bham.ac.uk Chatham House '' Fellow Russia and EurasiaRichard Connolly r.connolly@bham.ac.uk Chatham House '' Fellow Russia and EurasiaPhil Hanson phil_hanson@btinternet.com Chatham House '' Fellow Russia and EurasiaRoderic Lyne rodericlyne@hotmail.com Chatham House '' Vice Chairman UK ambassador to RussiaBobo Lo bobolo_uk@yahoo.co.uk Chatham House '' Fellow Russia and EurasiaDeputy head of mission Australian Embassy RussiaJohn Gerson gersonjohn@me.com Foreign & Commonwealth Service '' MI6 OfficerIan Bond Ian@cer.org.uk Foreign & Commonwealth Service '' MI6 OfficerAlan Parfitt alan.parfitt@fco.gov.uk Foreign & Commonwealth Service OfficerElizabeth Teague teagueeliza@aol.com Foreign & Commonwealth Service OfficeJamestown FoundationDavid Riley david.riley@fco.gsi.gov.uk Foreign & Commonwealth Service Office British Embassy, Washington DC-Head of the Russia TeamCeleste Wallander Celeste_a_wallander@nss.eop.gov White House '' Senior Advisor to ObamaCharles Kupchan charles_a_kupchan@nsc.eop.gov White House '' Senior Advisor to ObamaMargaret Henoch m.hh1@hotmail.com Former IC Operations managerUS News and WaPo News ContributorJeffrey Edmonds jedmonds@nsc.eop.gov Former IC '' Senior Russia AnalystChris Brot Chris Brot Former IC '' Senior Russia AnalystPaul Goble paul.goble@gmail.com Former IC/State Department '' Senior Russia Analyst The Institute of World Politics '' FacultyBrannon's Friendpetercl@ucia.gov IC Undergraduate Scholar programDonald Jensen donald.jensen8@gmail.com State Department '' Former AmbassadorNathaniel Reynolds naterey80@gmail.com National Intelligence '' Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and EurasiaJulia Gurganus juliasg@dni.gov National Intelligence '' Director's Office '' Senior Russia expertRobert Otto robertotto25@gmail.com State Department '' Russia intelligence expertPeter Andreoli peter_d_andreoli@nsc.eop.gov State Department '' Senior Political OfficerDaniel Russell russell@usrbc.org State Department '' Deputy Assistant SecretaryRussia Business Council '' PresidentNicholas Berliner BrinkBA2@state.gov State Department '' Foreign Service OfficerAlexander Tratensek judithfriedberg@hotmail.com State Department '' Foreign Service OfficerKathleen Kavalec KavalecKA@state.gov State Department '' Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of European AffairsEugene Fishel FishelE@state.gov State Department '' Chief, Bureau Intelligence and ResearchRose Gottemoeller gottemoellerre@state.gov State Department '' Under Secretary of State International Security AffairsEric Green greene@state.gov State Department '' Director Office of Russian AffairsAlexander Kasanof kasanofa@state.gov State Department '' Director Office of Eastern EuropeKelly Kivler kivlerk@state.gov State Department '' Deputy National Intelligence Officer for RussiaRory MacFarquhar rory.macfarquhar@gmail.com National Security Council '' Special Assistant to Obama. Director at GoogleMark Medish mcmedish@gmail.com State Department '' The Messina Group '' PresidentCEO is Obama's former campaign managerJames O'Brien jobrien@albrightstonebridge.com State Department '' Special Presidential EnvoyAlbright Stonebridge Group '' Vice ChairMary Warlick warlickmb@state.gov State Department '' Ambassador and Principal Deputy Assistant SecretaryJohn Williams williamsjp@state.gov State Department '' Bureau of Intelligence and ResearchAndrew Weiss andrewsweiss@yahoo.com Carnegie Endowment for International Peace '' VPRAND Corporation '' DirectorSamuel Charap charap@iiss.org RAND Corporation '' Senior Russia AnalystAn example of content transmitted in July 26, 2016 via Robert Otto's ''Russia Workgroup''Many of the correspondences are addressed to and from State Department and UK government emails and indicate that the content was written and read during business hours.
One example of these emails dates to April 29, 2016 (written 6 weeks before Steele was hired by Fusion GPS) and is titled, ''Why Is Donald Trump a Patsy for Vladimir Putin?''
In this communication to David Kramer, the former Assistant Secretary of State and the Director at the McCain Institute, he wrote: ''To the degree they have attacked him on foreign policy, Trump's critics in both parties have mostly confined themselves to the themes that are digestible extensions of his personal style '-- he is ignorant, inconsistent, temperamentally unfit to lead, and a danger to blunder the country into war. All of those charges are true, yet they manage to deny something that, in a candidate without such flamboyant drawbacks, would itself be a campaign-threatening scandal: Trump is Vladimir Putin's stooge.''
Several of Otto's email correspondences also included Bruce Ohr and Nellie Ohr. From these emails, it's evident that Bruce was co-sharing his wife's AOL account. as the responses that Otto is getting back are tagged as both, ''Bruce Ohr neohr@aol.com'', and ''Nellie Ohr neohr@aol.com''.
Image 10: The Dossier Graph
So is it reasonable to assume that all of these incestuous relationships are coincidental? Ian Fleming, a naval intelligence officer and the creator of James Bond, contemplated the problem of coincidental relationships in intelligence operations and came up with the answer in his maxim: ''Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action.''
The Great Dossier Authorship Debate
The House Intelligence Committee's hearings on November 2017 attempted among other things to answer the dossier authorship question. Simpson testified that Steele used his old contacts and farmed out other research to native Russian speakers who made phone calls on his behalf. In the hearing transcripts, Simpson comes through as being evasive and ambiguous; he hemmed and hawed a lot and had problems remembering and recalling details. Despite his fogginess, however, he was crystal clear about Steele being the author of the documents.
From Simpson's testimony, we also know that while contracting for Fusion GPS in mid-2016 Edward Baumgartner was working on these two projects:' Magnisky Act '' Russian government lobbying effort to overturn the Magnisky Act. This case revolved around one Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax accountant working for Hermitage Capital who allegedly outed some Russian officials for fraud. He was arrested and detained and died in prison in 2009. The Russian on the other hand, claim that he was targeted because of a $230 million dollar tax evasions involving Hermitage Capital and its CEO William Browder. The details of the case are unclear, but Interestingly, Robert Otto and a few of his ''Russia Workgroup'' colleagues believed that the story was William Browder's PR stunt. Some of the evidence and testimonies in the case subsequently turned out to be substantially inaccurate.
In one example William Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital and the brain behind the Magnitsky act, stated in an interview on MSNBC on February 5, 2015 that ''Eight riot guards with rubber batons beat him [Magnitsky] for an hour and 18 minutes until he died.'' But the post mortem examination didn't show any evidence of beating beyond rough handcuff bruising.
Browder also suspiciously communicated and coordinated his story with several officials at the State Department and House Foreign Affairs Committee including with one Kyle Parker who was using both, his ''kyle@kyleparker.net'' and ''Kyle.Parker@mail.house.gov'' email addresses in these correspondences.
' Prevezon Money Laundering '' Russian government lobbying effort to help Prevezon''a Russian government owned company Prevezon defend itself against a US government charge alleging a 230 million dollar money laundering scheme.
During the Prevezon and Magniseky contracts which ran through October 2016, Baumgartner was the lead writer and researcher working closely in Russia and Ukraine. In his testimony, Simpson identified Baumgartner as a contributor to the dossier:
Foster: And what type of work did Mr. Baumgartner undertake for Fusion?
Simpson: Discovery mostly, helping locate witnesses. He speaks Russian. So he would work with the lawyers on gathering Russian language documents, gathering Russian language media reports, talking to witnesses who speak Russian, that sort of thing. He may have dealt with the press. I just don't remember.
Foster: So was Mr. Baumgartner also working on opposition research for Candidate Trump?
Simpson: At some point, I think probably after the end of the Prevezon case we asked him to help with I think '-- my specific recollection is he worked on specific issues involving Paul Manafort and Ukraine.
Somewhat surprising is Baumgartner's denial of Simpson's statement that he did work on the dossier. Specifically:
''I was helping them [Fusion GPS] on this other project, which was unrelated, and they mentioned it to me in July 2016, I was never made aware of Chris Steele's work or the dossier, and it was kept that way deliberately. I would have had nothing to add, anyway. I produce memos based on information that is in the public record that can be given to the feds or shared with journalists.''
But then in a contradictory statement, Baumgartner said that he produced memos that could be given to the feds. We now know that the only memos given to the feds (DOJ and FBI) by Steele and Fusion GPS were the dossier documents.
The third contributor, Nellie Ohr, was another Russia intelligence analyst working for Fusion GPS and Steele. She has not been deposed nor has voluntarily offered any insight into her role in the writing process so it's difficult to ascertain the exact part she played.
Not surprisingly, when questioned, Simpson didn't mention her. However, from a recent House Intelligence Committee memo, it's clear that Nellie Ohr was in fact ''employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump''. The memo adds that Bruce Ohr ''later provided the FBI with all of his wife's opposition research''.
Asked by intelligence panel staff if he verified Steele's ''sources in Russia'' or corroborated their information, Simpson said he'd never been to Russia himself and couldn't ''evaluate the credibility of someone on the other side of the [Atlantic]'', nor could he confirm that Steele actually spoke directly with any of his Russian sources.
Private companies like Orbis or Hakluyt (unless they are a front for SIS) lack the means to properly vet foreign intelligence sources let alone vet the source's information. But that didn't create any doubt in Simpson's and Jacoby's minds'--both former investigative reporters for the WSJ. Simpsons said that he completely deferred to Steele's expertise and did not question his findings because of his ''sterling reputation''.
The sterling reputation the he and the FBI were referring to was Steele's work on the FIFA corruption case. According to Steele, he provided investigative services and intelligence to the Interpol, DOJ, and FBI which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of a number of FIFA officials. The problem with this case's sources and methods is the same as with the dossier initiative.
The whole FIFA case revolved around England's hope to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, but FIFA awarded those tournaments to Russia and Qatar. Steele was then 'hired' in 2009 by England's Football Association to investigate allegations of corruption by FIFA. In 2015, the DOJ indicted a number FIFA affiliated individuals. Interestingly, the DOJ did not charge anyone at FIFA with bribery because US Federal bribery laws cover only payments to government officials. Bruce Ohr's team, instead alleged racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies.
Steele didn't perform any hands-on investigative work on the FIFA case himself. From the documentary evidence, a few of his contacts in MI5/MI6 shared with him some of the SIGINT, HUMINT, and FININT intercepts. He then repackaged the data and passed the file to the DOJ and FBI, all the while collecting a lot in service fees and building his credibility with them. The dossier initiative was also no altruistic act. Steele received over $270K for his report.
It is also interesting to note that the DOJ statement about Glenn Simpson ''Never advising source #1 as to the motivation behind the research'' is untrue. In his testimony in front of Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017, Simpson was very clear about having previous discussions and actively working with Steele to discredit Trump as early as 2009.
On pages 77-86 of his testimony he states: '''...we're friends [referring to Steele] and share interest in Russian kleptocracy and organized crime issues. I would say that's broadly why I asked him to see what he could find out about Donald Trump's business activities in Russia. '...it was opaque what Donald Trump had been doing on these business trips to Russia.
We didn't know what he was doing there. So, I gave Chris '-- we gave Chris a sort of assignment that would be typical for us which was pretty open ended. We said see if you can find out what Donald Trump's been doing on these trips to Russia. Since Chris and I worked together over the years there's a lot that didn't need to be said. That would include who is he [Trump] doing business with, which hotels does he like to stay at, you know, did anyone ever offer him anything, you know, the standard sort of things you would look at.''
The Dossier Structure
The dossier is 35 pages long and has the following layout and structureSection 1 '' Company intelligence report number date/running totalSection 2 '' Report subheading ''Russia/USA Growing Backlash in Kremlin'...''Section 3 '' Summary of report usually in bullet point format (the 'raw intelligence')Section 4 '' Detailed discussion of summary points with a citation of sources
The dossier reports are not sequential and are spaced unevenly. It is also unclear if the report numbering applies to the dossier or if it's a running total of all the reports produced by Orbis for multiple customers in that time frame. As can be seen from the table below, the reports also have formatting problems and data entry errors (e.g. report 86 is dated 20-Jul-2015) which suggests some haste and carelessness in their preparation.
The reports production schedule and volume is also problematic. As can gleaned from the above frequency graph, the report numbers between Oct-16th to Dec-16th 2016 spike from 135 to 166. This is an anomaly (see red trend line spike) and could indicate that Steele is gaming the numbers.
A Vast Shadow Legion of Sources
Simpson pimped Steele as a real-life James Bond with deep connections inside the Kremlin and because of this, he didn't have to corroborate any of his reports. But Steele'--his previous contacts in Russia now long gone'--had to rely on others like Ohr, Baumgartner, and Ukrainian sources to generate his so-called 'raw intelligence'.When Simpson was asked how Steele procured the intelligence he said: I don't know. I think there's been a little bit of confusion I would like to clear up. Some people were saying that he was paying people for information. I don't know whether he does or not, but that's not basically how I understand field operations to work. You commission people to gather information for you rather than sort of paying someone for a document or to sit for an interview or something like that. That's not how I understand it works.
Considering the fact the Simpson paid Steele about $160K (according to Orbis's income statement it was over $270K) for the information, it is a somewhat puzzling that he didn't' bother getting the specifics. But luckily for us, Steele was kind enough to share his methods with The New Yorker. It consisted of the following process:Orbis employs dozens of confidential ''collectors'' around the world whom it pays as contractors. Some of these collectors are private investigators; others are investigative reporters or highly placed experts in strategic positions. Depending on the task and the length of project, the fee for a collector can be as high as two thousand dollars per day.
The collectors harvest intelligence from a larger network of unpaid sources, some of whom don't even realize they are being treated as informants. These sources occasionally receive favours'--such as help in getting their children into Western schools'--but money doesn't change hands because it could violate laws against bribing government officials or insider trading.
So in other words, Orbis has a ''large network'' of highly placed government informants in Russia, that don't know that they are informants'--and none of them gets paid for the classified information because that would violate European union bribery laws. So what is the incentive of all for these FSB, Kremlin, and Russian Foreign Ministry personnel to share state secrets with Steele?
This business model also raises some serious questions. Assuming that by ''Western schools'' Steele means Ivy League and not your average local community college and that his secret compensation formula is: 'High value intelligence' = 'Getting the source's child into a Western school'
Than how is Steele able to perform this magic with the university admissions office? Is it plausible that Orbis is bribing admission committee members in Cambridge University? And who pays for these students' tuition, room, and board?
The cost of attending a school like Cambridge university for an international student is over $60k per year. How can an FSB source who draws a $10K per year salary possibly afford it? And what about the FSB's counter intelligence team? Wouldn't they have a few questions for their fellow employees regarding their children's attendance at western Ivy League schools?
And if this is the model, is this how Ivanna Voronovych, Pelosi's legislative aide got into a top US university?
The Sources
According to the dossier, it is sourced from about 34 valuable, trusted, and highly placed assets such as:
1. A senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure2. A former top Russian intelligence officer3. Several knowledgeable FSB sources4. A trusted compatriot (there are references to at least 5 of these)5. A former top level Russian intelligence officer who is still active inside the Kremlin6. A senior Russian financial official7. A close associate of Trump8. Source E (redacted)9. A female staffer at the Ritz Carlton hotel10. An ethnic Russian operative connected to the Ritz Carlton hotel11. A senior Kremlin official12. A Russian IT specialist with direct knowledge of FSB operations13. A senior Russian government figure14. An ethnic Russian who is a close associate of Trump15. A separate source with direct knowledge of Trump's investment in Russia16. A Russian source close to Rosneft President17. An official close to Presidential Administration Head Sergei Ivanov18. A Kremlin official close to Sergei IVANOV19. A trusted associate of a Russian (C)migr(C)20. Two well-placed and established Kremlin sources21. A source close to premier Dmitriy Medvedev22. A close colleague (of Steele)23. A Kremlin official involved in US relations24. A Kremlin insider25. A Kremlin advisor26. A well-placed Russian figure27. An American political figure associated with TRUMP28. A senior member of the Russian Presidential Administration (PA)29. A senior Russian MFA official30. Top level Russian official31. Two knowledgeable St Petersburg sources32. A senior Russian leadership figure33. A Russian Foreign Ministry official34. Igor Sechin's close associate
If this list of assets is genuine and so is the chain of acquisition, then Steele somehow succeeded in building a collection network in Russia that rivals any national intelligence agency. This is a pretty impressive feat for someone who left Russia in 1993 and had his cover blown in 1999.
Finding one highly placed and reliable Russian source with access to such explosive materials would be considered the equivalent of winning a multi-million dollar lottery. To have thirty four such sources is virtually impossible.
Steele's claims of access to top political and security resources in Russia also makes one wonder why would MI5 and MI6 tolerate a private firm like Orbis actively engaging in espionage against Russia from British soil. Is it plausible that the British security services just didn't know that smack dab in the middle of London and just a skip and a jump 300 feet from Buckingham Palace, Dr. Evil and his mini-me's were in a castle at Grosvenor Gardens and were remotely controlling legions of deep Russian assets and aggressively plotting against a US presidential candidate?
Simpson, Steele's handler, was asked by Congressman Trey Gowdy during the House Intelligence Committee's November 14 Hearing, (see excerpt below), if Steele had gone ''to Russia as part of this project,'' to which Simpson replied: ''No, sir'' at the time he compiled the dossier, Steele hadn't been back to Russia in 17 years.
Gowdy then asked him:Gowdy: ''How was he able to accumulate information in Russia if he didn't go?''
Simpson: '''... and generally, you have a network of sources who live in or came from the place that you're interested in. So, you know, generally speaking, you would have ''you would run a network of sub-sources or subcontractors who travel around and gather information for you. And so without getting into who his sources are, I can say generally, he hires people who can travel and talk to people and find out what's going on''.
On the possibility that he was just fed a steady diet of dezinformatsiya, according to Steele's own words that was unlikely because: ''Disinformation is an issue in my profession, it is a central concern, and we are trained to spot disinformation, and if I believed this [the dossier] was disinformation, or I had concerns about that, I would tell you [Fusion GPS] that. And I'm not telling you that. I'm telling you that I don't believe this [the dossier] is disinformation.''
So what Steele is saying here is essentially: 'I am a wise old British gentleman spy, I was trained at the Hogwarts School of spy Wizardry, and you can trust everything I'm telling you. Now, BEGONE!'
This is laughable! Vetting sources is a critical part of the evaluation and reliability of intelligence. It's such an essential part of the craft that no decisions about the information can be made without it. Given the poor quality of his raw intelligence, Steele's lack of concern for the possibility that he was being fed disinformation is alarming.
The Media Blitz and the Tradecraft
While still in the early stages of his clandestine dossier project, Steele and Fusion GPS launched a coordinated media blitz to publish the briefs. Steele was sharing the details with a handful of DOJ, FBI, State Department, and other political figures such as Kramer and his friend Winer, who even endorsed him on LinkedIn.
Steele and Simpson were also regularly briefing reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News, MSNBC, The New Yorker, and CNN.
Many of the reports betray source information. For example:''Speaking in July 2016, a Russian source close to Rosneft President confided the details of a recent secret meeting between him and'...Carter PAGE''.
In March 2017, after Steele started getting negative media coverage, Orbis came out with the following media release: Orbis Business Intelligence has an established track record of providing strategic intelligence, forensic investigation and risk consulting services to a broad client base. The nature of our business, and our high standards of professionalism dictate that we would not disclose to the public information on any specific aspects of our work.This is an almost identical copy of Hakluyt's statement: We don't ever talk about anything we do'...
Reading this statement, it's difficult to reconcile Steele's professed discretion and the vow to ''not disclose to the public information on any specific aspects of our work'' with the fact that he is a serial leaker.
Even if we assume that Steele didn't intentionally plan to burn his sources, leaking such details to the media shows total lack of craft.
In December 2016, when the story about the mysterious death of Oleg Erovinkin came out, Simpson attempted to leverage it to shut down questions about Steele's sources and methods. He was hinting that Erovinkin, a former general in the FSB, was one of Steele's deep sources. A number of other individuals within Steele's and Fusion GPS's circles were also aggressively promoting this narrative. In one example, Scott Dworkin, the head of DNC's opposition research group the 'Democratic Coalition' tweeted:
In another example, Luke Harding, who worked for Orbis and was one of Steele's collectors in Russia until he was expelled from there in 2011, in his book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win wrote:''A person close to Steele admitted that in the wake of the dossier the Kremlin did appear to be wiping out some kind of American or Western espionage network.''So in the unlikely case that the Russians were now eliminating Steele's assets, then the death of these people can be blamed squarely on his ongoing whirlwind dossier media tour and his criminal negligence.
Typos and Errors
The report contains a number of errors and inaccuracies that should have been caught and corrected at the final copyedit before publication; after all, Simpson, Jacoby, Steele, Ohr, and Baumgartner earn their living writing. You would certainly expect that one of them would read and clean up the document before it was distributed.
The errors in the briefs include the consistent misspelling of names like the ''Alfa Group'' with ''Alpha Group'' which betrays the fact that the writer is not versed in the material he is writing about. This could alternatively be written off as gangsta Ali-G style spelling, but it's odd that someone like Steele who was raised on the Queens's English is going to adopt this style of writing in an official intelligence report. It may also be of some relevance that Dworkin uses the same Alpha/Alfa alternate spelling in his publications.What Language was the Report Written in?
It's clear from the grammar, punctuation, spelling, idioms, and sentence structure that the report is suffering from some serious English language deficiencies. It is filled with sentences like:''Russians meanwhile keen to cool situation'', or ''Educated US youth to be targeted as protest'...''
Many dossier apologists point out that this is because the raw intelligence came from some 'Vlad' who 'don't speaka de English'. This is also one of the leading arguments in favor of the authenticity of the intelligence. After all, would you expect perfectly written British English prose from an FSB source? It's hard to buy this argument. It has the hallmarks of a false flag operation written all over it. Steele doesn't speak fluent Russian nor for that matter does he even read or write Russian. So, these notes could not have been the transcribed recordings or the transcripts of his conversations/communications with his sources.
According to Simpson, Steele: '''... farmed out other research to native Russian speakers who made phone calls on his behalf''.
So he wasn't personally conducting the debriefings of his assets; some other Russian speaker conducted the interviews and/or translated the written intel into English. The only other plausible members of the dossier team to be able to do this were Ohr and Baumgartner. Simpson confirmed that Baumgartner's job for Fusion GPS was the translation of Russian language documents, writing reports, and interviewing assets who speak Russian.
He said: ''So we retained Ed to'--originally in the Prevezon case'--to do some interviews in Moscow, I think, and retrieve some records from Russia. And other Russian language-related tasks.''
Baumgartner and Ohr are native English speakers with advanced degrees from Ivy League schools. So if they wrote down the bulk of the raw intelligence, then why did they dumb down their writing style and forget how to form proper English sentences? After all, Baumgartner prides himself on his flawless spoken Russian and touts his firm's translation services: ''Several blue-chip corporate names in the region retain Edward Austin to write, translate and edit their press releases, presentations and other corporate material.''
Ohr also practically lived in the Lenin Library and the Smolensk archive for almost a year reading and translating documents in Russian. She also made a name for herself as a book reviewer writing in perfect English.
Finally, assuming that the 'raw intelligence' came from some FSU sources, was it received in Ukrainian or Russian?
We can't determine this with certainty because the translation into English destroyed the fine nuances of these two similar languages. Or perhaps, it was written in British English in the first place and then rewritten in a 'Russian style' to make it look more authentic?
VC Funding and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
It is interesting that the dossier contains a significant amount of non-political and business-related activity. There is also a generous amount of emphasis on cyber warfare and cyber crime. Neither of these subjects has much to do with the stated objectives of the original research of gathering information about ''links between Russia and [then-presidential candidate] Donald Trump''.
Russian involvement in cyber-related crime is also old news. Russian, Ukrainian, and other FSU based botnets that distribute malware have been operating at full capacity since the mid-2000s. With some of the more significant players having quasi-government affiliations.
Why then the sudden increase in Russian cyber warfare related chatter in the dossier?
The reason could be that someone asked Steele to include this material in order to address the DNC internal email leak which was published in June-July 2016.
An illustration for this somewhat irrelevant cyber related material can be found in report 86 dated 26 July 2016. Under item 3 we find the following paragraph:
In terms of the FSB's recruitment of capable cyber operatives to carry out its, ideally deniable, offensive cyber operations, a Russian IT specialist with direct knowledge reported in June 2016 that this was often done using coercion and blackmail. In terms of 'foreign' agents, the FSB was approaching US citizens of Russian (Jewish) origin on business trips to Russia. In one case a US citizen of Russian ethnicity had been visiting Moscow to attract investors in his new information technology program.
The FSB clearly knew this and had offered to provide seed capital to this person in return for them being able to access and modify his IP, with a view to targeting priority foreign targets by planting a Trojan virus in the software. The US visitor was told this was common practice. The FSB also had implied significant operational success as a result of installing cheap Russian IT games containing their own malware unwittingly by targets on their PCs and other platforms.
I don't know what the term ''IT Specialist'' means in Steele's world of rent-a-spy, but for most of us in the field it describes individuals who use their technical expertise to implement, monitor, or maintain IT systems. Even if this IT Specialist was working for the FSB, IT staff in any intelligence organization is usually not privy to case files and sources and methods used to recruit agents. It doesn't take much imagination to cross-reference Steele's fictitious ''IT Specialist'' to Snowden and his fantastic exploits. In fact, Snowden describes an almost identical story where allegedly coercion and blackmail were used to turn a Swiss banker into an informant.
As for the term ''with direct knowledge'', does he mean that this IT Specialist claimed to have participated in one of these offensive cyber operations and willingly shared this information with one of Steele interviewers?
The same goes for the proposition that an ''IT Specialist'' would have firsthand knowledge of the FSB's playbook for recruitment of US citizens of (Jewish) Russian origin. The whole premise that the FSB is targeting US Jews because they are greedy and would flip for a price sounds like it was taken from Borat in the nest of the Jews or the protocols. It reeks of institutionalized anti-Semitism which could have been planted in the report deliberately to generate reader outrage.
Further more, even from the point of view of original research, its obvious that this allegation didn't come from one of Steele's FSB sources. It can be traced directly to Glenn Simpson through his testimony during the House Intelligence Committee hearing, where he stated: [Simpson] ''The Mossad, was my source for the belief that Russian intelligence has been operating through the Jewish Orthodox Chabad movement, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Orthodox church is also an arm of the Russian State now'... the Mossad guys used to tell me about how the Russians were laundering money through the Orthodox church in Israel, and that it was intelligence operations.''
This begs the obvious question of how did the subject of Simpson's alleged conversations with the ''Mossad guys'' made it into Steele's independent intelligence reports?
Steele also seems to be conflating multiple Russian intelligence services under the FSB. The FSB is the Russian equivalent of the FBI and is responsible for domestic security, they typically don't recruit and mange foreign agents. The actual Russian intelligence agencies responsible for conducting wide scale foreign surveillance and cyber operations are the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).
Another noteworthy observation is the general vagueness of the cyber section and the writer's poor understanding of computer and software terminology in frequently confusing terms like IP (intellectual property) with a code base and Trojans with Viruses.Besides, whoever wrote this section needs to make up his/her mind about which attack vector is it. A trojan? A virus? Or cheap Russian IT games (probably meant to say 'IT Utilities' like rogue anti-virus) infected with malware.
To illustrate the FSB's 'recruitment' method, Steele tells us about a US citizen who travels to Russia hoping to attract investors in his ''information technology program''. What does that even mean?
Is he talking about an executive of a US startup that is looking for seed money in Russia?
If so, the proposition is ridiculous; anyone that has ever tried to raise capital in a startup knows that because of IP and regulatory constraints, the funding source is always country specific. Also, the idea that a US executive running a US-based software company would willingly allow the FSB to plant a virus in his software is laughable and shows a childish understanding of cyber warfare practices.
You don't have to be a genius to know that when he is caught'--the question is when, not if'--the company would be destroyed and he would be looking at massive personal civil penalties and a very long jail sentence'...not to mention the likelihood that as part of his plea bargain he would sing like a canary implicating the FSB in a crime.
Recycled Content
In 2013, Bruce Ohr acting as the Assistant Deputy Director at DOJ participated in the third St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. He was a speaker at a session titled ''Criminal Matters and Allegations of Crimes in International Arbitration'', a topic connected to the Magnitsky Act. It's interesting that his lecture included many of the components of the yet-to-be dossier's: ''money laundering operations'', ''payment of large bribes and kickbacks'', ''forged documents'', and ''collusive schemes''.
In 2016, after her position with Fusion GPS ended, Nellie Ohr landed a new gig with VeriSign iDefense as threat analyst in cybersecurity. In February 2017, VeriSign sold their iDefense business to Accenture. Ohr's new title became Principal at Accenture Security. In this capacity, she delivered a presentation during the ISO-ISAC Fall 2017 session entitled: ''Ties Between Government Intelligence Services and Cyber Criminals '' Closer Than You Think?''
Ohr's presentation focused on enforcement activity in 2016-2017 and provided examples of how cyber threat actors were arrested, indicted, or identified in intelligence reports by US and European governments.
She pointed out connections and ties between government intelligence services (such as the FSB) and cybercrime actors. She discussed the drivers and mechanisms between state and criminal cooperation and offered a case study that explored how seemingly ordinary cybercrime was combined with strategic espionage.
It may also be of interest that many of the dossier's cybersecurity allegations such as the ties between the Russian government intelligence services and cybercrime actors and the drivers and mechanisms between state and criminal cooperation are repeated almost verbatim in Nellie Ohr's Accenture Security presentation that she delivered almost a year after the dossier came out in the FS-ISAC 2017 Summit.
For example, the case study in her 2017 presentation explored how seemingly for profit Romanian and Bulgarian hackers combined with strategic Russian espionage initiatives. This case study mirrors dossier report #166.
Nellie's 2017 presentation was itself recycled almost verbatim from the 2010 symposium hosted by the National Institute of Justice. The subject of that event was: Legal Racketeering in Russia and National Security Issues.
The talk raised these questions:How are international criminal organizations attempting to co-opt the state to suit its interests? How are states attempting to use international criminal organizations to advance their interests? How does international organized crime present itself as a national security threat to different types of countries?
How do links to other malevolent actors, like terrorist or insurgent groups, manifest themselves and factor into the previous questions?
So it seems that the Ohrs have been cannibalizing and presenting this ''raw intelligence'' for several years from DOJ, FBI, and other agency sources long before it made it into the dossier.
Source Credibility and Verifiability
The context of a source is an important part of all intelligence reports. It describes in greater detail the circumstances under which the source acquired the intelligence, the source's reporting history, and other pertinent details such as source's credibility (i.e. his past success and failure). None of Steele's briefs contain this information. It seems that all of his sources have the same monolithic credibility and the method of obtaining the intelligence is always shrouded in obscurity.
Every source can have a credibility ranging from 'Pathological Liar' to the 'Word of G-d'. All intelligence and law enforcement organizations have grading systems for their sources. Credibility is also a subtle thing that depends on many constantly changing factors.
The Key tradecraft for any case officer is the ability to constantly evaluate and determine the credibility of his sources. One of the glaring problems with Steele's reports is that his source credibility indicator uses vague fluffy terms like ''well-placed'', ''trusted'', ''knowledgeable, etc. Steele is not assigning sufficient granularity of trust to his sources.
None of the briefs show any doubts about the sources. The general impression is that Steele's assets are all wheat and no chaff, one hundred percent reliable and are the cream of the crop of Russian politics, security services, and the Kremlin. They read like a cast of characters from a corny John le Carr(C) novel.
What is ostensibly missing from his stellar list of informants are common everyday sources like:' Low level bureaucrats' Western intelligence sources' Reporters' Academics' Political opposition figures' Other anti-Russian FSU sources like Ukrainian and Polish intelligence' Business figures' Black-hat hackers (working as contractors for Steele)' Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)' The legions of the disgruntled and the axe-grinders
Steele also seems to be enamoured with the titles of his sources and doesn't provide any indication that he cross-verified their intelligence. In the instance of the alleged sexual acts in the Ritz-Carlton Moscow, he cites the following triple-source:' A senior staff employee at the hotel' An active FSB officer' A senior security officer at the hotel (who would likely be a former FSB or GRU officer)
With assets like this he could have easily confirmed the story by checking out the hotel's video surveillance footage from the hallway in question.
The Ritz-Carlton Moscow has been using CCTV cameras from the mid-2000's and have in fact switched to a VMS based system in 2012. Steele could have asked his ''active FSB officer'' for the specific day and time of the alleged November 2013 incident and then used his ''senior security officer'' at the hotel to use a phone to take a screenshot of the video frame showing the individuals in the hallway entering and leaving the room.
In a recent court testimony Steele has acknowledged that his final December 2016 report (# 166), contained information he never vetted.
He stated that: ''The contents of the report did not represent (and did not purport to represent) verified facts, but were raw intelligence which had identified a range of allegations that warranted investigation given their potential national security implications''.It's easy to get lost in all of these weasel words but the common term for ''raw intelligence'' that does not represent nor purport to represent credible or verified facts is called a rumour.
On the question of chain of transmission, we have the same problem as with the verifiability. When asked about his collection methods, Steele said: ''Such intelligence was not actively sought; it was merely received.''
This is a dream come true for every collection officer'--a gift of priceless information with no strings attached, no risk, no clandestine work, it's high-value actionable intelligence just tossed over the transom.
In late 2016, the FBI finally homed-in on the problem that they had when they used the dossier for the FISA applications and Steele's lack of source credibility and verifiability. They allegedly offered him about $50K to corroborate the dossier. For reasons unknown, he didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't do it.
The House of Cards
In intelligence analysis, there is a concept of a runaway feedback loop that occurs when information becomes re-iterated and rewarded in perpetual cycles.
For example, ''Analyst A'' releases a bit of dubious intel. ''Analyst B'' reads the claim and puts it in his report. ''Analyst A'' reads the intel in Analyst B's report and decides that his intel may actually be true. ''Analyst C'' picks up ''Analyst A's'' and ''Analyst B's'' reports and expands on it creatively. ''Analyst A'' and ''Analyst B'' now are certain that their original piece was accurate. Actually, none of it is accurate.
The same applies to many of Steele's briefs; they progressively build upon previous dubious intel using terms like ''Continuing on this theme''.
Information or Disinformation
The general impression of the reports is that they contain threads of truth, but also spurious content. For example, report #080 describes the Miss Universe 2013 event but then it provides a dubious account of sexual activity that even the author claims can't be verified (''all direct witnesses to this recently had been ''silenced''). Almost all of the 'valuable' intelligence in the reports exhibits the hallmarks of professional disinformation such as:' Fabricated content''Creating content that is completely false' Imposter content''Impersonating a genuine source with some made-up details' Misleading content''Misattributing valid information to a wrong topic or a person' Manipulated content''Doctoring genuine information
Syntax and Formulation
The briefs are inconsistent with Trump's name. In some, they use the moniker ''TRUMP'', in others, they uses lengthy titles like: ''Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP''. Clearly, the target audience of the reports knows who Trump is, so why is it necessary to use a 4-5 word qualifier to identify him? One possible explanation is that the information came from some foreign intelligence repository where the details on each target were stored in a structured format like:[Party affiliation][Nationality][Political office][First Name] & [Last name][Incident Details]
The briefs also contain many poorly formed sentences. For example, the subheading of Company Intelligence Report 2016/080 title is: ''Republican candidate Donald Trump's activities in Russia and compromising relationship with the Kremlin.'' The phrase is missing the word 'his' and should read: ''Republican candidate Donald Trump's activities in Russia and his compromising relationship with the Kremlin.''
One ''Summary'' phrase says: '''...So far TRUMP has declined various sweetener real estate business deals'...''
The word that the author is looking for here is sweetheart.
Another sentence begins with ''Speaking to a trusted compatriot.'' After trying to make sense of the sentence, it's clear that the writer meant ''according to a trusted compatriot.''
The ''speaking to'' jumbles the meaning.
It is difficult to explain how Steele actually wrote this. ''Chris Steele,'' known in his early days as a reporter for the Varsity Cambridge University student publication, also served as president of the Cambridge Union Society, a debating club. So the riddle is: how could a Cambridge University journalist and master English debater form such phrases and confuse a common figure of speech like sweetener with sweetheart?
Run-on Sentences and Poor Punctuation
Paragraphs like the following need no further discussion:''Alpha [Alfa] held 'kompromat' on Putin and his corrupt business activities from the 1990s whilst although not personally overly bothered by Alpha's failure to reinvest the proceeds of its TNK oil company sale into the Russian economy since, the Russian president was able to use pressure on this count from senior Kremlin colleagues as a lever on Fridman and AVEN to make them do his political bidding.''
Gilded and Sensational Language
There are many gilded passages that have no other purpose beyond creating indignation and outrage. For example, one paragraph states: ''Trump's previous efforts had included exploring the real estate sector in St. Petersburg as well as Moscow but in the end Trump had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success.''The writer could have simply noted that while in St. Petersburg on business, Trump allegedly engaged the services of prostitutes.
Besides the obvious contextual problem with this paragraph, it is difficult to logically balance ''sexual services'' and ''business success''.
So in lieu of business success, Trump settled for extensive sex? What is the significance of qualifier ''extensive''?
Does the writer mean to say 'frequent'? And what is the significance of the term ''local'' in the context of prostitutes?
Does the source know these prostitutes personally and is vouching for the fact that they are from St. Petersburg or Moscow?
It also appears that some of the report headers were written in the style of sensational newspaper headlines like in: ''Further evidence of extensive conspiracy between TRUMP's campaign team and Kremlin''.
This style doesn't fit the succinct and factual standards expected in an intelligence report.
Finally, from literary point of view, this whole episode seems to be a revival of the 2009 story about Silvio Berlusconi spending the night with a prostitute in a hotel room in Rome 'defiling' Putin's bed.
Non-English Idioms
In writing about sex, the author is particularly byzantine. He says that Russian authorities had compromised Trump by catching him in his ''personal obsessions and sexual perversion.''
In another instance, Trump was alleged to have gotten revenge on the Obamas by: ''defiling the bed where they had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' urination show.''
These archaic terms hint that the writer had some classical training because it sounds like he/she is using phraseology from Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars (see reference to Tiberius and his 'licentious indulgences and sexual perversion' and Nero's 'defiling' acts).
The usage of ''a number'' with the plural form ''prostitutes'' seems forced and is designed to emphasize the 'largeness' of the event. As far as showers go, the phrase is ''golden shower'' singular. And what is the purpose of the explanatory 'AKA' term ''urination show''? It's redundant and suggests that the writer himself didn't understand the original term.
Missing Articles
One expects to find definite and indefinite articles that are often omitted. For example, the phrase ''to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance'' is missing ''the'' before ''western alliance.'' The phrase ''anchored upon countries' interest'' should read: ''anchored upon the country's interest''. The author frequently misuses the possessive form as well.
Punctuation
Sentences that begin with the word ''however'' without a comma as in: ''However it has not as yet been distributed abroad.'' In other instances, ''however'' is followed by a comma: ''However, there were other aspects '...''. There is no consistency in the use of serial commas before or after conjunctions like 'and' and 'but''.
Multiple Authors?
The briefs suggest that there were multiple authors, one perhaps Russian/Ukrainian and one British\American. At one point, the reader is told that the Trump campaign leaked the DNC documents to WikiLeaks ''to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP.''
The ''Summary'' section cleans up the language. Now the goal is to switch voters ''away from CLINTON and over to TRUMP.''
This stenographic sleight of hand is forced and artificial. Whoever was conducting the original interview or data collection would/should have corrected this at the moment of transcription.
Russian Speaker and British Spelling
Steele is a Brit educated in British English. The document contains distinctly British spellings such as ''programme,'' ''defence,'' ''authorised,'' and ''manoeuvre.'' So, are we to assume that Steele's deep intelligence assets in the FSB and Kremlin also attended Cambridge? Or perhaps these intelligence sources did attend Cambridge and like Steele were either current of former employees British foreign service.
There are other little details that bog the mind like when the author writes: ''Things had become even 'hotter' since August on the TRUMP-RUSSIA track.'' What does the term ''hotter'' mean? Does he mean busier? More complex? And what is the significance of the quotes?
Talking Points vs. Raw Intelligence
One point that repeats itself toward the end of the document is the notion of ''Moscow's interference in the US Presidential election campaign.'' Another is Trump's perceived ''unfitness'' for office. These statements read less like raw intelligence and more like some talking points for a political speech.
Writing Style
The dossier's content and network graph are interesting, but what about the writing style? Can we find the author's fingerprints? To perform this analysis, I needed writing samples of a few hundred words from each potential author.
I've managed to get writing samples for all three dossier musketeers.
Nellie Ohr has a significant amount of book reviews and articles online.
Baumgartner was little more challenging. Most of his writings are not on-line'--which is quite an achievement for a person who claims to have been a reporter for several years. I found a depository with some of his commercial work and his Thesis. Steele's was by far the most difficult to locate. Despite his working as a reporter for the Cambridge Varsity student newspaper, all of the digitized copies of his prose have disappeared without a trace from the Cambridge library. I was fortunate enough to be able to pull a few copies of his articles from another source.
The textual analysis of the reports comprising the dossier shows some interesting results. First, I created a ground truth baseline for each of the dossier team members. The ground truth was based on writings they published prior to 2016.
Once I had a good baseline and a stylistic fingerprint, I proceeded to analyse the individual reports. Despite Steele's claim that he wrote the document, it is almost certain that it was written by another person(s), likely a foreign source, possibly Baumgartner, or Ohr. The writing style fits their writer profile in multiple categories.
There are, however, a few anomalies in the data that indicate that some of the content'--especially the latter reports that are written in an American English and have 'talking point' style'--have been written by another unidentified author(s).
Baumgartner and Social Media
In addition to the writing style analyses, I've also correlated the content of the dossier briefs with various social media sources like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. The results reinforce the conclusion of the writing style results. As you can see below, Baumgartner's tweets touch on many of the topics and phrases in the dossier such as:
Mikhail (Misha) Fridman, The Alfa group, rigging the elections, divisive campaigning,
US citizens of Russian (Jewish) origin, Kremlin buyer's remorse, and others. They also closely match the dossier composition dates.
Baumgartner social media posting history is also noteworthy because it correlates directly with his work in Fusion GPS. For example, he is re-posting information about the dossier utilizing pre-public leaked information. He's essentially betraying prior knowledge of the dossier by including these specific buzzwords in his tweets.
On October 31, 2016, Baumgartner was already retweeting the ''dossier''. Of interest are the dates. According to the date stamp on the last dossier, report # 186, it was written on 13 December 2016. So, if we to accept this chronology, then we must conclude that individual reports were leaked out as soon as they were written, indicating that the dossier was not released in a single final batch form.
After his initial retweet of the dossier, he embarks on a regular publication schedule further discussing some of the core talking points in the document.
This includes topics like ''Trump is a Russian agent''. He also makes a sheepish reference to ''Christopher Steele, ex-British Intelligence officer, said to have repared [sic] dossier on Trump'...'', and the rationale for why a private security firm (i.e. Fusion GPS and Orbis) had to do Clapper's job.
As time goes on and the dossier story fails to create a groundswell, Baumgartner starts exhibiting signs of outrage. In addition to a lot of profanity, his posts also include calls for a coup against the ''scumbag'' elected president.
Fusion GPS's Role
We know that Simpson and Jacoby played a significant role in the dossier's 'architectural', 'editorial', and 'creative' writing processes.
In his testimony, Simpson confirmed sharing his investigative research with Steele.
Obviously, he also directly supervised Ohr, Baumgartner, and several other resources. Fusion GPS's involvement certainly went beyond just coordinating SMEs and acting as the general contractor for the law firm Perkins Coie who had commissioned the report and paid them over $1.2 million for it.
Simpson and Jacoby also acted as the sources (using their original research) and intakes for some of the US political material found in the dossier that shows up in phrases like ''an American political figure'' and ''TRUMP's associate''. This included communications with: Shailagh Murray, Lisa Holtyn, Cody Shearer (who was working on a 'second Trump-Russia dossier'), and direct emails to and from Sidney Blumenthal, Jonathan Winer, and Scott Dworkin who managed the Democratic Coalition's opposition research and publication (see samples below).
Image 31: Scott Dworkin's links and dossier Tweets
Jonathan Winer himself sheds light on this information pipeline. According to his own account, he and Steele met and became friends in 2009 when both were in the business of selling intelligence about Russia. Winer went back to work at the State Department in 2013 but stayed in touch with Steele. He regularly shared Steele's work with the State Department's Russia desk.''Over the next two years, I shared more than 100 of Steele's reports with the Russia experts at the State Department, who continued to find them useful.''
Contrary to Simpson's claim that Steele leaked the dossier content on his own initiative, Fusion GPS took a leading role in the publication process. In addition to coordinating a regular stream of social media postings, they also worked the 'friendly' commercial media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, New Yorker, and Yahoo News, and published op-eds and expert reviews that supported the dossier's credibility.
One thing worth noting is that just like in the case of the core dossier network, many of these 'receptive' reporters such, David Corn, Joe Palazzolo, David Cay Johnston, Scott Dworkin and Evan Perez (images 32-33) had long incestuous relationships with Fusion GPS and it's team members.Image 32: Dworkin on multiple MSNBC News investigative interviews defending the dossier and promoting Russian collusion
Joe Palazzolo, Aruna Viswanatha, Steve LeVine, and David Johnston worked for Jacoby as early as 2010 producing Russia and corruption related reports. Between 2016-2018, Palazzolo and Viswanatha, now writing for the WSJ wrote dozens of anti-trump articles.
Their publications rate sometime reached one article a week.
Steve LeVine, who now works for Axios delivering ''trustworthy news'', wrote a lengthy apologetic article about Fusion GPS and its team, vouching for their credibility and professionalism. LeVine is just one of a dozen of 'objective' reporters that have been promoting the dossier and collusion narratives and shielding Fusion GPS, but never disclosing that they had a previous and/or a current business affiliation with Mary Jacoby, Glenn Simpson, and other Fusion GPS actors.
Steve LeVine shielding Fusion GPS in the Derwick Associates Venezuela corruption investigation
Joe Palazzolo's, David Johnston's, and Jacoby's Russia articles on the now deleted ''Just Anti-Corruption'' website
David Johnston, and Aruna Viswanatha working for Mary Jacoby in 2010
David Johnston, an Al-Jazeera reporter and a Jacoby employee since at least 2009, is one of the leading paid anti-Trump authors. He has written six books, multiple articles, and participated in dozens TV interviews that promote the dossier allegations. He and his social network also produce and distribute a large volume of Russian collusion related materials.
Image 33: Evan Perez pitching the dossier and Russian collusion on CNN News. Perez at a Fusion GPS family event and Guys' Night Out with Neil King Jr. 2012
The CNN Trump Dossier and Collusion team: Jake Tapper, Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, and Carl Bernstein receiving the Merriman Award from Jonathan Karl from ABC. Martha Ohr, was Karl's news producer at ABC Television. Karl was also at Vassar College with Peter Fritsch and Martha Ohr's sister-in-law Nellie Ohr.
A good illustration of how effective this 'rent a journalist' process is can be glanced from the activity of William Browder the CEO of Hermitage Capital and the brain behind the Magnitsky act. In April 2016, When the European parliament was about to screen Andrei Nekrasov's ''The Magnitsky Act-Behind the Scenes'' movie. Browder sent an email to Matthew Kaminski, the executive editor of Politico and a WSJ reporter (and a close friend of Kramer, Simpson, Jacoby, and Fritsch) asking him to 'cover' the upcoming event. In the email dated 4/24/16 Browder writes:'''...The filmmaker [Andrei Nekrasov] is the boyfriend of the Vice Chair of the Green Party, Heidi Hautula, who is hosting the film. We have a bunch of things planned to make this a real scandal and I'd love for Politico to report on what we're doing. Do you have time for a chat today? My mobile is +447785904192. Can you send me yours or a good time to talk? Thanks and best regards, Bill''
On 4/27/16, only three days after Browder ordered the hit, Politico published an article titled ''MEPs dragged into Russia film row''. It goes without saying that the coverage was derogatory towards the movie and director and used the same unverified Intel that Browder provided Kaminsky.
This is by no means a single isolated incident, Matthew Kaminski, just like Evan Perez, David Johnston, and other 'dossier friendly' reporters dedicate significant amount of their commercial publications as well as their own private Twitter activity to anti-Trump and Russia collusion content.
In a similar fashion to Kaminski's and Baumgartner's Twitter posts, Perez's, Tapper's, Sciutto's, and Bernstein's tweets (see below) strongly suggest that they also had early and direct access to the dossier team and were actively distributing its content as it was being written.
As far as the journalist's motivation to publish content favorable to the dossier, it's clear from the congressional records that this was certainly not due to concerns about the integrity of our republic. In at least 3 cases, Fusion GPS/other sources paid reporters five digit figures for these publications. This can be deduced from image 34, where the length of redacted payment fields for transactions 198 and 205 are the same length as a visible $91K payment in transaction 171.Image 34: Sample Fusion GPS payment records
What's with the Ham?
There is a lot of buzz on-line about Nellie Ohr's Ham radio license and her possible uses for it. On May 23rd, 2016, just as the dossier project was kicking into gear, (Steele was only hired in June), Nellie Ohr, at the ripe old age of give-or-take 55, got a Technician radio license.Her registration information was:Nellie H. Ohr,Call sign: KM4UDZ6435 Tucker AveMcLean, VA 22101USALicense Class: TechnicianLicense Issue Date: May 23 2016License Expiration Date: May 23 2026FCC Last Transaction: LIISSFCC Licensee ID: L02028239FCC FRN Number: 0025607250Latitude: 38.94, 38d 56m 24s NLongitude: -77.19, 77d 11m 24s WGrid: FM18County: Fairfax
There are a number of curious things about Ohr getting an amateur radio license so late in her career.' Her professional profile does not show her to be the techie type. She doesn't possess any hacker, computer, or engineering skills (which is what typically motivates people to get an Amateur Radio license).' She doesn't belong to any ARRL radio club in the Fairfax area' The radio clubs in her registration area have no records of administering the exam (Ham Radio exams are typically administered by the local ARRL club).' Her call sign, KM4UDZ, shows no public activity which is odd, because new Hams are typically very chatty and can't stay off the air when they first get their license.
As can be seen in Image 35, her technician rating is the lowest class of amateur radio license and has limited privileges with regard to the available frequencies and transmitter power output.
So for all of the conspiracy theorists out there that believe that Ohr was engaged in OSS style night transmissions from a secret compartment in the barn to her controller in Moscow: she wasn't. The radio class limits would only give her a line of sight range of 5-10 miles. In a repeater mode, she could push the range to 20-200 miles. If you don't think that a 10-mile range is sufficient, think again.
It is likely that Ohr's rationale for using a Ham radio was a substitution for a cell and landline phones in order to communicate with person(s) nearby. As you can see from the map below, even with a 7.5 radius she was well within the range of the entire downtown Washington D.C. area.Image 36: Nellie Ohr's Ham radio broadcast range map
We know that Nellie Ohr was the dossier's liaison to some other agencies. It's not unlikely that someone versed in SIGINT told her that she had to use a Ham radio because if the project went south, the first line of investigation would have been to subpoena all of her cell and phone records and analyze them to completely re-construct her operational network.
We know that Nellie Ohr's husband, Bruce Ohr, was the Department of Justice's contact for Steele and Fusion GPS and in fact held meetings with both about the dossier. We also know that Ohr headed a task force code named Cassandra and Operation Fast and Furious that among other things utilized cell phone tracking technology to identify money laundering, drugs, and weapon smuggling. So, it makes sense that he was aware of the need for electronic surveillance countermeasures.
But what about tracing her Ham call sign during transmission, wouldn't that eliminate her radio anonymity?
In theory, yes, but in practice, it can be circumvented. This problem could have been solved with devices like the Harris XG-75P/100P. Encrypted radio transmissions can be used to obscure the identity of the sender/receiver of the message. For example, unencrypted HSMM uses a ping packet containing the station call sign to identify the station, similar to how a 2-meter repeater periodically announces its call sign. But if HSMM is operated using WEP encryption (available as a plug-in), those packets would be obscured and the call sign of the station licensee could not be received by anyone without the keys. So, in addition to the encrypted voice the identity of the sender call signs would also be hidden.
The Modus Operandi
The dossier does not stand out as a unique document. Hakluyt seems to have used the same technique before. In 2002, they were contracted by Medusa Oil and Gas Limited to do some opposition research and dig-up dirt on a rival Czech company. Hakluyt, used UK government back channels to deliver a dossier style brief to the UK Ambassador in Prague and to the First Commercial Secretary at the British Embassy in Prague who was also a principal representative in the Czech Republic of British Trade International. The purpose of the document was to pressure the Czech government to prosecute the Czech targeted company. The letter made some defamatory claims about the company's principals and its structure closely resembled Steele's dossier. It had a bulleted layout with an intro section and a detailed discussion. Contextually, It made the same type of unverified allegation that included corruption and other crimes.
The Fusion GPS work style on the dossier is also well-documented and is based on a long track record of political and media influence operations world-wide. Alek Boyd, an investigative reporter who managed to run into the Fusion GPS buzzsaw, is a good illustration of how they operate. Boyd was reporting on Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan company that allegedly skimmed billions of dollars from rigged contracts with Hugo Chavez's regime and partnered with Gazprom, a Russian state owned oil conglomerate. Fearing US criminal charges and regulatory sanctions, Derwick Associates contracted Fusion GPS to help them spike a potential investigation and negative US media coverage.
On Monday July 21, 2014, Peter Fritsch and Adam Kaufmann, the former New York district attorney chief prosecutor, boarded a Falcon 2000 private jet at the Ft. Lauderdale''Hollywood International Airport with the destination of Caracas Venezuela. The plane was piloted by Gilbert Enrique Deleaud, an employee of Derwick Associates. The flight reservation was done through Massiel Hernandez, the pilot's domestic partner who was also an employee of Derwick Associates. The purpose of Fritsch's three day visit to Caracas was to do some damage control by meeting with Wall Street Journal reporter Jos(C) de C"rdoba who was writing an investigative article about Derwick Associates. Fritsch previously worked with Jos(C) de C"rdoba at the WSJ.
Derwick Associates linkage to aircraft, pilot, airport, and US based officesAfter the meeting, Boyd emailed Tom Catan, a partner at Fusion GPS who he knew personally and asked him about Peter Fritsch's visit to Venezuela and the meeting with the WSJ reporter. Catan denied they were working on any Venezuela related project, Boyd then sent Catan a proof of Fritsch's visit to Caracas. Catan's email response was:From: Thomas Catan <tcatan@fusiongps.com>Subject: Re: Peter FritschDate: 26 August 2014 at 14:30:31 BSTTo: alek boyd alek.boyd@gmail.comThis is really creepy, Alek. You conducting surveillance these days or wtf?
Received-Spf none (google.com: tcatan@fusiongps.com does not designate permitted sender hosts) client-ip=209.85.213.173;Delivered-To alek.boyd@gmail.com
A reservation record for Peter Fritsch at the Lido Hotel in Caracas. The reservation was booked by Kim Norwood of the MacNair travel agency in Alexandria VA through the Miami based Diamond Stay, a travel agency specializing in South American destinations.Shortly after the publication, Boyd had his London apartment broken into and his two laptops stolen.
A vicious social media smear campaign followed and included social media posting labeling him as a pedophile, drug addict, and thief. Someone even created blogger site with a fake Spanish police arrest warrant and Twitter account under his name with postings of photos of him walking around London with his daughters.Conclusion
So who researched and wrote the core parts of the dossier? It looks like it was a team effort.
Most of the textual evidence points to Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby as the architects of the dossier framework. This can also be gleaned from Jacoby's June 24, 2017 Facebook posting (which was deleted promptly with most of her SM activity after the project derailed) where she brags about her husband's leading role in its composition and vents her frustration about Steele monopolizing the limelight.
When it comes to the research, promotion, and distribution work, the linkage shows that a fair amount of 'staging' activity took place in both the US (in the pre dossier stages) and the UK and involved individuals such as, Stefan Halper, Jonathan Clarke, Richard Dearlove, Charles Crawford, Iain Lobban, and Alexander Downer.
It is also interesting that many of Robert Otto's ''Russia Workgroup'' pen pals include the same Australian and UK diplomatic and IC actors that by July 2016 aggressively promote the dossier and vouch for its authenticity.
The same type of staging and delivery took place in the US through the State department sources like Robert Otto and the political and PR work of Alexandra Chalupa, Natalie Budaeva, and Ilya Zaslavskiy and their pro-Ukraine 'Free Russia Foundation' NGOs.
It is notable that a lot of this activity dates to first week of April-May 2016, almost 8 weeks before Steele's official June 2016 contract with Fusion GPS.
This strongly suggests that there was a proto-dossier in place and that there was a wider coordinated effort between the US and UK teams with Orbis Business Intelligence likely acting as a front for Hakluyt & Co.
The existence of a proto-dossier that predates Steele's work is further supported by an email written by Robert Otto to John Williams, the director of the Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
In this email titled ''the fried document'' and dated May 1, 2016, Otto comments on some of the building blocks of the future dossier including how effective or damaging various claims would be.
For example, on the subject of ''Fridman'' and ''Alfa'' (see Dossier page 25 report 112) he writes:'... It's not clear that Aven/Fridman's investments in Ukraine are in line with Kremlin policy. Alfa is a bank; banks issue loans. So what's the big deal with its loans to UVZ? It's a loss making enterprise and Alfa has threatened bankruptcy proceedings over non-payment. I fail t see how that's at the Kremlin request. '...I know nothing about Karimova's ties to Alfa. She has them to Usmanov. And it's Usmanov and Shvidler (Abramovich) who allegedly bribed Shuvalov, not Alfa'... '...A search in Integrum on ''magnitskiy'' and ''al'fa'' gets five hits.
Not a one is about Alfa laundering Magnitskiy money, let alone a central role.
Why repeat something so easily checkable. Was it some sort of Alfa subsidiary? If so, name it. See above on Shuvalov '' some of the money may have went through Alfa, but that's not what went public. (tidbit: one of the folks exposing Shuvalov is Natalya Pelevin that same who shared Kasyanov's bed and chatted about an anti-Navalnyy front) '...A very serious allegation that requires investigation'...We have former Alfa fellows working in the building.
Otto's comment that ''We have former Alfa fellows working in the building'' also suggests that other active State Department Intelligence resources were privy to these conversations.
Ilya Zaslavskiy's early 2016 activity in the UK also shows some of the Trump dossier themes such as the business relationship with the ''Alfa-Bank'' in several of his anti-Russian Oligarch campaigns.
Ohr's and Baumgartner's roles were likely to research specific Russian content and re-write the narrative in 'Russian style' in order to make it appear authentic.
The 'hard' intelligence probably came from British and Ukrainian sources who may have also provided some of the juicy gossip.
Nellie Ohr utilized DOJ and State Department documents that pertained to Russian organized crime, cybersecurity, corruption, and opportunistically incorporated them into the dossier briefs.
This careful mixture of partial truth and fiction explains all of the titbits of information in the report that are marginally plausible and give the dossier a first-person witness quality and a thin veneer of creditability.
Simpson alludes to this when he said in the testimony: We ''you know, they [Steeles network of resources] identified -one memo identified a Russian guy who worked for an NGO called Rossotrudnichestvo, which is ''you know, I didn't know it at the time, but I was able to learn from looking at it that the FBI considers that to be a front for the SVR. So, you know, either the people were extremely knowledgeable about a lot of obscure intelligence stuff or, you know, they ''what they're saying had some credibility.
When it comes to the bulk of the literary work, Simpson, Jacoby, Baumgartner and Ohr likely authored it and Steele'--if he did any actual writing'--just formatted the reports in order to tag them with his scent and make them look spyish by using terms like ''Source X'' and redacting some phrases.
Nellie Ohr's, Shailagh Murray, and Mary Jacoby also played a secondary organizational role and acted as the liaisons between the Fusion GPS team, State Department, DOJ, and the White House, and possibly as a cut-outs to other agencies.Image 38: The Steele Dossier Timeline
Anyone who has ever worked in intelligence knows that a good brief should answer the who, what, when, where, how, and why questions. Almost none of the allegations in the dossier offer hard corroboration. It is mostly based on generalizations, truisms, and a lot of materials that were circulating on the internet and Ukrainian circles since the mid 2000s.
The writers of the dossier anticipated this criticism and countered it by building-in plausible deniability for most of the allegations through statements like:''but key witnesses silenced and evidence hard to obtain'' or ''all direct witnesses to this recently had been ''silenced'''...''
It seems that the real dossier story is not the scandalous insinuations that it makes, but rather it's the funding sources, the teams that worked on it, and its compilation and distribution channels. At peak capacity, the dossier team must have consisted of at least 25 individuals who worked on it for over 6-12 months.
Assuming a modest $200 per hour rate per person, some first/business class travel and accommodations, media, consulting, IT, and legal services, this project most have cost an upwards of 5-10 million dollars. According to Simpson's testimony and documents, Fusion GPS was only paid about a million dollars by the DNC and Clinton campaign, which begs the questions of what was Hakluyt's cut and where did the rest of the money go?
Simpson and Steele did far more than simply conduct sordid opposition research for the Clinton campaign. By various machinations, they successfully reached the most influential people in UK and US politics, the media, and federal government agencies and shaped/influenced the narrative of the 2016 presidential elections.
There is little doubt that Simpson/Jacoby and their US political/media network and Steele with his enablers in Hakluyt, the British media, and the Foreign Office successfully waged a full-scale influence operation against the US and are continuing to do so even now.
In the end, this modern version of the ''Black Hand Society'' failed to deliver the goods and as the Elections of 2016 came to an end, Baumgartner posted this tweet:
It is just this sort of Machiavellian statement that you might expect from a sleazy literary hitman. In response, I must point out that after you, Monsieur Edward Emil Baumgartner'--indeed'--did come the flood!
NOTE: The Full Article ''The Mechanics of Deception'' is available at https://apelbaum.wordpress.com/or via https://powerglobal.us/2018/08/11/the-mechanics-of-deception/
(C) Copyright 2018 Yaacov Apelbaum, All Rights Reserved.
Devin Nunes: Clinton campaign colluded with 'nearly every' top official at the DOJ and FBI
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:17
| August 12, 2018 12:24 PM
H ouse Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes declared Sunday that Hillary Clinton's campaign "colluded" with nearly every top official in the Justice Department and FBI.
An interview on Fox News had turned to the topic of Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and his ties to Bruce Ohr, a high-level DOJ official who fed the FBI information from the ex-British spy even after he was cut as a source for providing confidential information to the media.
The dossier, published last year by BuzzFeed, contains unverified claims about the Russians having information on President Trump that could be used as leverage. Republican investigators are concerned the FBI deceived a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court when it used information from the dossier without disclosing its Democratic benefactors to gain the authority to spy on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
[Also read: Trump blames 'fake news media' for not covering meetings between dossier author and Bruce Ohr]
Clinton's campaign, as well as the Democratic National Committee, retained Fusion GPS' anti-Trump research through October 2016 after it was initially funded, then dropped by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication.
Nunes, R-Calif., blamed the media for largely ignoring the revelations surrounding the origins of the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and stressing that the American people "need to know it" called for the declassification of "an unprecedented amount of information."
Ohr, who was the fourth-highest ranking official in the Justice Department, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Aug. 28 ''to answer why he had 60+ contacts with dossier author, Chris Steele, as far back as January 2016," Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., announced on Twitter late Friday.
Trump himself has condemned the media for not covering Ohr more, using it as yet another avenue to label special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation a "witch hunt."
"The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele's many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly. It was Fusion GPS that hired Steele to write the phony & discredited Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC," he tweeted last week. "Do you believe Nelly worked for Fusion and her husband STILL WORKS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF 'JUSTICE.' I have never seen anything so Rigged in my life. Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action. It is all starting to be revealed - not pretty. IG Report soon? Witch Hunt!"
Trump also warned on Saturday that he "may have to get involved" if the FBI doesn't provide conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch and others with text messages of former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whom he has accused of harboring a bias against him. McCabe's wife, Jill, accepted thousands of dollars in donations for a Virginia state Senate election in 2015 from a political action committee headed by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is close to the Clinton family and chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential run. McCabe assisted overseeing the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails after Jill McCabe's bid for the state Senate ended in failure. The FBI, led by then-Director James Comey, did not recommend that Clinton face criminal charges for how she managed classified information. Among other FBI officials Trump has criticized are Comey, whom he fired last year, and FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who exchanged anti-Trump text messages.
Ohr's wife, Nellie, was employed by Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier in an effort that was funded in part by Democrats, to assist in the cultivation of research on then-candidate Trump. Nunes stressed the need to have her testify too.
"She also was working for Fusion GPS, working for the Clinton campaign," he said. "So here you have information flowing from the Clinton campaign from the Russians, likely I believe was handed directly from Russian propaganda arms to the Clinton campaign, fed into the top levels of the FBI and Department of Justice to open up a counter intelligence investigation into a political campaign that has now colluded [with] nearly every top official at the DOJ and FBI over the course of the last couple years. Absolutely amazing."
Nunes and fellow GOP chairmen Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., have pressed the DOJ for months for documents related to the Russia and Hillary Clinton emails investigations, with some success. However, Nunes complained that the DOJ has been slow to comply.
He also said there needs to be "an investigation into these top-level people as to how somebody concocted the idea that it's okay to take information from one political campaign and use it to open up an investigation on the other political '-- on somebody else's opposing political party."
Nunes and other Trump allies in Congress have said they have seen no evidence that would have justified the Obama administration to open up a collusion investigation into the Trump campaign.
Asked if there will be accountability in the DOJ and FBI, Nunes declined to say if he expects there to be prosecutions, but did emphasize his call to the president to release the unredacted FISA warrant applications to spy on Page.
"The only way there could be accountability is one step at a time and it deals with full and complete transparencies," Nunes said. Full sunlight on as many of the documents that don't endanger national security, which from our committee members, we've sent a letter to the president, we don't believe they're going to jeopardize any sources or methods. And I think people I have said many times are going to be shocked as to what went into a FISA warrant against Carter Page and even more importantly, what did not go into the FISA application, that was not presented to the court involving the information that they had on Carter Page."
Democrats have pushed back on what they say is a GOP effort to discredit the Mueller probe.
Page surveillance warrant documents were released in July, but in redacted form, after which Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, argued that Page's suspicious contacts with the Russians justified FBI scrutiny. The applications "underscore the legitimate concern FBI had about Page's activities as it was investigating Russia's interference," Schiff, D-Calif., said.
SJWBLMLGBBTQQIAAPK
World-renowned lesbian NYU professor suspended after probe finds she sexually harassed gay male student, report says | Fox News
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 23:51
A world-renowned New York University professor was reportedly suspended for the upcoming school year after she was found to have sexually harassed a gay male student.
Avital Ronell, 66, who is a lesbian, was found to have made unwanted sexual advances and sent sexually charged emails to Nimrod Reitman, 34, according to a Title IX report obtained by The New York Times on Monday. Ronell, an expert in German and comparative literature, had denied the claims against her.
Reitman, who is married to a man, accused Ronell of kissing him and touching him repeatedly and sending him emails in which she called him, ''Sweet cuddly Baby,'' ''my most adored one,'' and ''my astounding and beautiful Nimrod,'' among other names.
''Our communications '-- which Reitman now claims constituted sexual harassment '-- were between two adults, a gay man and a queer woman, who share an Israeli heritage, as well as a penchant for florid and campy communications arising from our common academic backgrounds and sensibilities,'' she said in a statement to The New York Times.
Reitman filed the Title IX complaint two years after graduating from NYU. He brought up allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and retaliation, but the university cleared her for every offense except sexual harassment, The Times reported. Reitman claimed Ronell would retaliate against him if he didn't succumb to her alleged sexual pressure.
A group of scholars came out in defense of Ronell soon after the university made its decision to suspend her.
''Although we have no access to the confidential dossier, we have all worked for many years in close proximity to Professor Ronell,'' the scholars wrote and posted on a philosophy blog. ''We have all seen her relationship with students, and some of us know the individual who has waged this malicious campaign against her.''
Reitman, who's now a visiting Harvard fellow, said he never meant to become a public figure
Ruby Rose Deletes Twitter Account Following 'Batwoman' Backlash | IndieWire
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 03:48
The hashtag #RecastBatwoman began circulating after the "Orange is the New Black" breakout was cast in The CW's upcoming superhero series.
Ruby Rose
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
The CW announced August 7 that Ruby Rose, the Australian actress best known for her breakout role on ''Orange is the New Black,'' would be leading its upcoming ''Batwoman'' television series in the title role, but not every fan of the comic book superhero was thrilled with the casting announcement. Angry ''Batwoman'' fans took to social media in the days following Rose's hiring to slam the decision by using the hashtag #RecastBatwoman. Fans complained that Rose was the wrong LGBTQ actor to play the superhero and noted that, unlike the character in the comics, Rose is not Jewish.
Rose, currently starring on the big screen in ''The Meg,'' responded to the backlash by removing herself from Twitter. Rose deleted her Twitter account after sending out one final message to her followers (via Vulture): ''I am looking forward to getting more than four hours of sleep and to break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next two projects. If you need me, I'll be on my Bat Phone.''
Before exiting the social media platform, Rose reacted to the backlash in disbelief. ''Where on earth did 'Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can't be Batwoman' come from?'' she asked her followers. ''[It] has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I've ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with 'she's too gay.' How do y'all flip it like that? I didn't change.''
''When women and when minorities join forces we are unstoppable, when we tear each other down it's much more hurtful than from any group,'' Rose continued. ''But hey/ love a challenge I just wish women and the LGBT community supported each other more.''
Following her American breakthrough on Netflix's ''Orange Is the New Black,'' Rose went on to star in films such as ''John Wick: Chapter 2,'' ''Pitch Perfect 3,'' and ''xXx: Return of Xander Cage.'' Rose is hardly the first actress to remove herself from social media because of toxic fandom. This year alone, ''Star Wars: The Last Jedi'' actress Kelly Marie Tran wiped her Instagram clean because of harassment, while ''Stranger Things'' star Millie Bobby Brown deleted her Twitter account for the same reason.
IndieWire has reached out to Rose for further comment.
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This Article is related to: Television and tagged Batwoman, Ruby Rose
'Not gay enough': Ruby Rose, gatekeeping, and toxic fandom | SYFY WIRE
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:57
On Monday, Ruby Rose joined the ranks of Kelly Marie Tran and Anna Diop by abandoning social media in the wake of aggressive harassment. A group of'... let's call them ''fans'' only because I have to'... were enraged that Rose had been cast as Batwoman in the CW's next DC crossover annual, as well as a standalone series.
And what exactly, pray tell, were those "fans" angry about? Oh, lots of things. They claimed Rose wasn't a good enough actress; that Rose was too femme; the fact that straight women love her means she's too mainstream; and that Rose was bisexual and thus not queer enough (One: Rose is a lesbian and two: DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF? BECAUSE BISEXUAL PEOPLE CAN). One of Rose's last tweets before abandoning Twitter expressed bafflement over being, essentially, called not gay enough to play Kate Kane.
Yeah, just let that one sink in for a moment. A high profile genderfluid lesbian actress, whose resum(C) covers both stealing women's hearts (Orange is the New Black) and frenetic action (John Wick 2), was cast as one of the highest profile lesbian superheroes, whose resum(C) also covers both of those things. And she got chased off of social media by ''fans'' for not being gay enough.
I'm so furious I could spit teeth.
Monday's clusterfluff aligns two of the most aggravating forces in any queer nerd's life: toxic fandom and queer gatekeeping (or "gaytekeeping," if you will). Unfortunately, by this point, we're all familiar with toxic fandom. For our straight readers, gaytekeeping is'... well, replace the ''geek'' in ''fake geek girl'' discourse with ''gay,'' and you're halfway there.
Since time immemorial, there have been some in the LGBTQI community whose response to meeting a new member of the community is a sneering ''Oh, so you're gay, huh? Prove it!'' There is perhaps no more iconic rhetoric for this garbage attitude than the idea of the ''gold star lesbian'''--a lesbian who has never had sex with a man. Valuing this particular kind of life experience over others is a huge problem, because it tells women loving women that their identity as a lesbian doesn't count if it's taken them years to figure it out, if they've dated men for any reason, or if their identity has shifted and evolved for any reason. Essentially, it punishes lesbians for not having had their whole situation figured out before they jumped into the pool, so to speak. It punishes us for being human.
And that's the tippity tip of the gaytekeeping iceberg. Nonbinary folks deal with comments about their gender should their presentation that day skew more towards one side of the spectrum than the other (or, heaven forbid, include the whole dang spectrum in a week!). Bisexual folks worry about what ending up in a straight-looking relationship means not only about the community, but about them. Trans women have to ask if a woman-only space actually, you know, includes all women. There's even an upcoming documentary about one of the oldest gaytekeeping lines in the book, usually thrown at gay men: No Fats, No Femmes.
One of the ''accusations'' thrown at Rose was that she was too femme to play Kate Kane. (Kate Kane, who meticulously maintains a crimson bob and loves a bold lip in dresses and tuxedos. That Kate Kane. Okay.) Rose doesn't even identify as femme. She identifies as genderfluid, and her interviews and comments about her gender are a great addition to the conversation, especially given the platform she has. She's not femme.
But I am.
I don't often talk about my gender identity because, as an able-bodied, cisgendered white woman, I am well aware that it comes off as ''I Enjoy Being a Girl.'' But it's been a long, weird road to get to femme. (It involves Noel Fielding and Eddie Izzard, but that is another story for another time, my friends.) Nowadays, it's a joyous and active part of my identity; the same joy a masculine-identified friend might feel smoothing down a vest over a binder is the same rush I get once armored up in my metallic teal lipstick, huge sunnies, and voluminous black garments. And I hate that this hard-won and hard-loved part of myself makes me feel ''not gay enough'' in queer spaces. I hate it because I've dealt with it all my life: the idea that I, a fairly standard run-of-the-mill lesbian (I like girls! Tall girls, short girls, cis girls, trans girls, all the girls, all the time, please! I am but a humble and simple lesbian!), don't count as what I am because of how I choose to style my hair, because I don't have tattoos, or because I didn't figure out I was gay until college like the eighties throwback I am.
I hate it because I used to believe it.
Part of the queer experience is navigating through the trials and travails of Straight World, ranging from discrimination in housing to families refusing to treat longterm partners as anything more than just ''friends'' to the microaggressions you experience on a daily basis. A shopgirl recently complimented me on my ''RUDE AND GAY'' pin, only to ask if I wore it ''for the guys,'' and I wanted to fulfill the prophecy of my pin by shrieking, turning into a bat, and flapping off into the mid-afternoon. Imagine wading through all of that garbage, big and small, to find safe harbor with your own kind, the people most suited to understand, only to be told ''sorry, you just don't look gay enough/you've dated too many straight men/I refuse to recognize and respect your gender/you don't subscribe to my narrow and specific ideas about what counts as queer'' to be counted among the people who should have your back.
It just breaks your damn heart.
This is why we need deep and varied representation across the board'--for those kids turned away at the door for being too femme, too big, too ''ethnic,'' too much, or not enough. We need trans roles to be played by trans actors, we need more butch representation, we need to see more queer people of color telling their own stories without worrying about being palatable to a white audience. We need to see so many different stories of what being queer means, because being queer means so many things and takes on so many forms. It's important for queer folks of all ages to see their own stories reflected back, and know that if their story is a little different than the standard coming out narrative, then it doesn't make them any less queer.
Which is is why a genderfluid lesbian actress playing one of the most important lesbian superheroes out there is so important. This is not the end of the road, but we should be able to stop and celebrate this kind of progress'--getting queer talent in front of the camera to tell queer stories in speculative fiction'--as we move forward. Throwing Rose under the bus in order to pursue some unattainable ideal of ''the perfect lesbian'' (Joe Carstairs is dead, y'all, she's not coming back) is counterproductive and, I'll say it, dumb.
Well, friends, there are gatekeepers both geeky and queer that prefer to hole up in their fortresses rather than build community and celebrate their fellows. And that sucks. But even if all you know is ''I don't think I'm straight and I love Dungeons and Dragons,'' there's room for you at my table'--and on my couch, for the premiere of Batwoman.
MLS2ATX | Bringing Major League Soccer to Austin, TX
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The Tyranny of the Exclamation Point Is Causing Email and Text Anxiety - WSJ
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:54
John Witkowski was trying to make some progress on a work project one day this summer when he fired off more than two dozen emails. The 30-year-old tax accountant from Cleveland ended each message with: ''Thanks in advance for your help with this project.''
''She was like, 'You're not your normal, cheery, bubbly self,' '' Mr. Witkowski said. '' 'You're not using exclamation points.' '' She told him she felt his emails came off as more demanding than usual.
''I didn't really know how to react,'' he said.
Exclamation points are stressing people out. Years of rampant use have both diluted the punctuation mark's meaning and inflated its significance. It's especially bad in the workplace, where an exclamation point can suggest anything from actual excitement or gratitude, to general friendliness, to reassurance that 2 p.m. works for a meeting, to'...I'm not mad about the other day. I swear, it's fine!
There are various types of exclamation-point anxiety. Using the punctuation mark when other people don't can lead to self-consciousness. The absence of an exclamation point can send some recipients into a tizzy. Others have had enough and would like things to go back to the way they used to be when there wasn't so much hinging on this tiny little torture device. It's just too much!
After being called out by his manager, Mr. Witkowski decided he would no longer mimic the exclamation-point use of others in his emails'--which he previously did to not seem rude.
''I was like, maybe I should be more standardized in what I use and just stick with periods and commas,'' he said. His long-term strategy is to ''give people that baseline expectation of no exclamation points.''
Mel DeCandia, 24, is a summer associate at a law firm who lives in Westfield, N.J. Early on, she wanted everyone to be aware of her excitement about working there. When emailing a higher-up about her first assignment, the note was long and full of exclamation points.
''I definitely never used more than one per sentence, but I probably used three or four,'' she said. ''It was really overzealous.''
She came to regret them after the response she got, which was, ''Thx.''
While everyone seems to be emoting more these days, previous research has shown that women used exclamation points more than men. One 2006 study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication said they often used them to convey friendliness. In a 1993 ''Seinfeld'' episode, Elaine argued with a boyfriend when he failed to use an exclamation point in a note.
Ms. DeCandia said she was probably more worried about how she comes off in written communications as a young woman in a male-dominated field. After the ''Thx'' email, she went cold turkey on exclamation points at work. She said it has been freeing.
''When I stopped using exclamation points, I somehow also stopped worrying about what people thought I was saying in my emails,'' she said.
An absent exclamation point once caused Hannah Wagle, 24, to fear she was getting fired. She had texted her boss one day to say she was sick and working from home. Her boss replied with, ''That's fine.''
''The period kind of stared me in the face and told me that my career had just ended,'' said Ms. Wagle, who writes for a veterinarian trade publication. ''I called my boyfriend and I was like, 'This is it. I just lost my job.' ''
Her boyfriend wasn't much help in calming her down, so she reached out to a co-worker to gauge their boss's mood. The co-worker said everything seemed OK, but she used a period. More worry!
Ms. Wagle's boss, Portia Stewart, understands how her message may have been misinterpreted: She normally includes exclamation points and thinks they create ''a safer place.'' But in the response to Ms. Wagle, she was heading to a meeting and was brief.
''Email communication is so flat,'' said Ms. Stewart, 41, who pointed to the lack of body language and voice intonation. ''You can tend toward angry accidentally.''
A 2016 study of 126 undergraduates by Binghamton University-State University of New York found that ending sentences with periods in a text was interpreted as abrupt and insincere. Since email and texts have become substitutes for spoken conversation, people started using punctuation for emphasis and tone instead of just as a way to mark the end of a sentence, according to Dr. Celia Klin, a professor of psychology who researches psycholinguistics and co-authored the study.
Because it is so easy to misunderstand each other without cues like tone of voice, facial expressions and pauses, ''We needed to replace that,'' she said.
Andrew Carlsen, 41, a multimedia producer in Washington, has noticed how the overuse of exclamation points at his office is affecting his own writing.
''There is definitely peer pressure to use more than I feel is maybe always appropriate,'' he said. ''If I'm explaining something and there's four different thoughts, and every one of them is followed by an exclamation point, I'm just like, this is ridiculous. But then it's like, which one do I remove?''
Mr. Carlsen recalled a ''happy birthday'' group email chain among co-workers a few months ago: Between the subject and the body of the email, someone had used 14 exclamation points.
''I just thought, that's a lot,'' he said.
Michael Lawrence, 41, an entertainment lawyer who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., leads a double life when it comes to his punctuation marks. When communicating with clients in the music industry, he uses lots of exclamation points; with fellow attorneys, he doesn't. What he would like is something between an exclamation point and a period.
''Sometimes the punctuation mark that I'm using doesn't really express what I want to convey,'' he said. ''The exclamation point seems over the top, but at the same time, the period just seems like kind of a curt response, or an unempathetic ending.''
In these instances, he finds there's no great solution.
''My options are limited,'' he said. ''You have to spell out in actual words what you were trying to convey.''
EuroLand
Vandaag wordt duidelijk: mag een vergiet wel of niet? | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:01
De zaak is aangespannen door Mienke de Wilde uit Nijmegen. De vrouw is pastafari, oftewel een aanhanger van de Kerk van het Vliegende Spaghettimonster. Toen de vrouw twee jaar geleden een identiteitskaart en een rijbewijs aanvroeg, werden haar pasfoto's geweigerd door de gemeente.
De Wilde had namelijk een vergiet op haar hoofd. In de regels voor pasfoto's staat dat het hoofd gedeeltelijk bedekt mag zijn, maar alleen om religieuze redenen, zoals een hoofddoek of een tulband. Dat was bij haar ook het geval, zei de vrouw, en ze stapte naar de rechter. Die wees haar eis af. Daarop ging ze naar de Raad van State.
Mienke de Wilde spande een zaak aan waarover de Raad van State zich nu buigt.
''¸ Facebook
De Kerk van het Vliegende Spaghettimonster is begin deze eeuw bedacht door een Amerikaan, uit protest tegen gevestigde godsdiensten. Aanhangers vereren een godheid die gemaakt is van spaghetti en gehaktballen. Om hem te eren, dragen ze een vergiet op hun hoofd.
Het geloof heeft geen geboden, maar acht zogeheten liever-nieten. De hemel bestaat uit een biervulkaan en strippers en opwarming van de aarde komt volgens gelovigen door het verdwijnen van piraten. Praat-Als-Een-Piraatdag is een officile feestdag van de pastafari's.
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2TTH / HAG
Investigative Journalist Found Dead in D.C. Hotel Room Weeks After Reporting Bill Clinton to FBI & DHS for Allegedly Raping Boy '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 18:35
Featured Politics SecurityInvestigative Journalist Found Dead in D.C. Hotel Room Weeks After Reporting Bill Clinton to FBI & DHS for Allegedly Raping BoyInvestigative Journalist Jen Moore was found dead in a suburban Washington D.C. hotel room Monday, according to police and shocked and distraught friends and colleagues.
Moore died of an apparent seizure. Police are closely investigating the cause of death after former FBI Agent Robyn Gritz, a friend of Moore's, made inquiries with homicide detectives Monday afternoon in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Preliminary reports from police said the death was not the result of suicide.
Moore's body was found by employees at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Washington, D.C. East '' in Capitol Heights, Maryland. The investigation is ongoing. An autopsy had not been scheduled as of late Monday.
Moore, an advocate who investigated abused and trafficked children, had been in the process of investigating allegations by a 26-year-old man that '-- as a young boy '-- he was sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and pimped out at private sex parties attended by other D.C. elites.
In fact, just four weeks before her death, Moore filed details of the alleged victim's claims with the Department of Homeland Security, detailing the allegations against Clinton. Moore contacted Homeland Security beginning on July 6th through July 9th, records show. A week later, she contacted the FBI with identical details about the victim and the shocking allegations against Clinton.
FBI sources report no case has been opened on the evidence supplied by Moore. Homeland Security officials could not be reached for comment.
Moore had approached True Pundit's Thomas Paine in June with the allegations against Clinton. Paine conducted a series of face-to-face interviews with Moore and the alleged victim in various locales. By July, the victim agreed to tell his story to Paine. But Moore and the traumatized victim wanted to contact Homeland Security and the FBI first to see if they would open a criminal case against Clinton prior to publicizing the claims.
''Jen thought that with a criminal probe, federal agents could use the victim possibly to dangle in front of Clinton to see if he made a mistake or tried to pay him off,'' Paine said. ''She was worried about the safety of the victim and was working to find him safe harbor until this story broke.
Now she is the one who turned up dead.''
Paine and True Pundit were vetting the details provided by the victim. Paine said the allegations were ''credible'' and the victim's testimony and details were beyond convincing.
Paine said Moore accepted the risks with the story and understood things could get very ugly very fast. Per conversations with True Pundit's Paine:
''She was worried about the victim because he was the first to break the ice,'' Paine said. ''There were others waiting to tell their stories but he was the catalyst.
Did she think she could be harmed? Absolutely. This woman was fearless. Absolute warrior. A former cop. I don't think she was afraid of anyone or anything.''
According to interviews, the victim in this case claimed he was sexually assaulted by Clinton on a yacht in New England and knows the identities of several other child victims who were subjected to identical abuses. The victim also confirmed he witnessed other children and people being sexually and physically abused and possibly worse on numerous ''boat parties.'' These parties were attended by elite members of D.C. political class, according to Moore and the victim.
Both young boys and young girls, the victim said.
Moore supplied these details to federal agents and documented the interactions with a number of alleged victims. Within a month, she is dead.
In the exchange below, Moore discusses an extended stay with the alleged Clinton victim after his interview with Paine. During the interview, the victim sporadically vomited and shivered as he recalled details of his alleged abuse, Paine said.
This story is developing.
More on Wednesday.
Help Support True Pundit's Independent Voice by Contributing Today!FOLLOW US!
Space Force!
Mystery Russian satellite's behaviour raises alarm in US
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 22:27
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The US says it does not know what the satellite is or why it is behaving strangely A mysterious Russian satellite displaying "very abnormal behaviour" has raised alarm in the US, according to a State Department official.
"We don't know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it," said assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Switzerland on 14 August.
She voiced fears that it was impossible to say if the object may be a weapon.
Russia has dismissed the comments as "unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions".
The satellite in question was launched in October last year.
"[The satellite's] behaviour on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities," Ms Poblete told the conference on disarmament in Switzerland.
"Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development," she added, citing recent comments made by the commander of Russia's Space Forces, who said adopting "new prototypes of weapons" was a key objective for the force.
Ms Poblete said that the US had "serious concerns" that Russia was developing anti-satellite weapons.
Alexander Deyneko, a senior Russian diplomat, told the Reuters news agency that the comments were "the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on".
He called on the US to contribute to a Russian-Chinese treaty that seeks to prevent an arms race in space.
'Lasers or microwaves'Space weapons may be designed to cause damage in more subtle ways than traditional weapons like guns, which could cause a lot of debris in orbit, explained Alexandra Stickings, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.
"[Such weapons may include] lasers or microwave frequencies that could just stop [a satellite] working for a time, either disable it permanently without destroying it or disrupt it via jamming," she said.
But it was difficult to know what technology is available because so much information on space-based capabilities is classified, she added.
She also said it would be very difficult to prove that any event causing interference in space was an intentional, hostile action by a specific nation state.
Ms Poblete's comments were particularly interesting in light of President Donald Trump's decision to launch a sixth branch of the US armed forces named Space Force, added Ms Stickings.
"The narrative coming from the US is, 'space was really peaceful, now look at what the Russians and Chinese are doing' - ignoring the fact that the US has developed its own capabilities."
A spokesman for the UK's Ministry of Defence said he could neither confirm nor deny any tracking of Russian satellites.
"There are a range of threats and hazards to all space capabilities in what is an increasingly contested domain," he said.
"These include the development of counter-space weapons by a number of nations.
"The UK is working closely with international allies, including the US, to re-enforce responsible and safe behaviours in space and to build knowledge, understanding and resilience."
US 'Suspicious' of Russian Space Weapons - News From Antiwar.com
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:57
US officials at a UN conference expressed ''deep suspicion'' of Russia for its advancement in the creation of ''space weapons.'' Assistant Secretary of State Yleem Poblete called Russia's developments ''disturbing.''
Russian officials dismissed the claims as ''unfounded and slanderous,'' saying they want to avoid a new arms race in outer space. US officials say a new Russian satellite is acting ''abnormal'' and they are alleging that to be evidence of weaponry.
In reality, the US interest in hyping Russian space weapons is fairly transparently an attempt to bring new attention to the militarization of space, as President Trump has been very keen to establish an enormous Space Force, and failed to get Congressional funding.
Selling the Space Force to the public and the legislature is contingent on it being used for something. Barring an alien invasion, there just isn't a lot of use for a Space Force that is ''separate but equal'' to the Air Force. That's true even with Russia and China having some limited anti-satellite lasers, but the Space Force seems particularly important to the administration, and those lasers are all they have to hype.
Last 5 posts by Jason DitzAfghan Rights Group: Many War Crimes Committed in Ghazni Battle - August 15th, 2018US to Send More Marines to Norway, Angering Russia - August 15th, 2018Gaza Ceasefire Goes Into Effect, Israel Opens Border Crossing to Goods - August 15th, 2018Slain Bus Full of Children Raises Questions About US Role in Yemen War - August 15th, 2018US Military Spending Bill Could Target al-Jazeera as 'Foreign Agent' - August 15th, 2018
DEW
Microwave weapons no longer Conspiracy Theory - Now deployed in China - Veterans Today | News - Military Foreign Affairs Policy
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:15
[ Editor's note: Clearly the unfortunate American who suffered a 'mild brain injury' was the victim of an attack using a microwave weapon and no doubt, this was the work of someone in the intelligence community.
The CIA have long admitted to possessing microwave weapons; and the research into the exploitation of the microwave portion of the frequency spectrum dates all the way back to WW2 and the early developments in centimetric radar.
The invention that made a practical centimetric radar system possible took place in Britain, at Manchester University. The device was called a cavity magnetron, and it made possible for the first time the generation of microwave frequencies at high power levels.
Today, the cavity magnetron is at the heart of every microwave oven. It is also to be found in all forms of high frequency equipment for telecomms; anywhere where you need to generate a high frequency signal. Add an antenna and a wave guide and you have yourself a microwave weapon.
In the 1950s, British researchers discovered that many frequencies in the microwave spectrum had effects on the human body; certain frequencies could cause very serious health effects, particularly to the brain. Given sufficient exposure, you could induce all kinds of injuries, including strokes.
This research lead to the development of microwave weapons that were covertly deployed during the Cold War. British expert Barrie Trower has lectured widely on the dangers of microwaves, and his work is well worth studying. Ian ]
________ Haaretz U.S. Warns Citizens in China After Consulate Worker Suffers Sonic Brain Injury
An American citizen working at the U.S. consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has reported suffering from ''abnormal'' sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the U.S. embassy said on Wednesday.
The embassy, which issued a health alert to Americans living in China, said it could not link the case to health issues suffered by U.S. government staff in Cuba dating back to late 2016.
However, later on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers that the ''sonic attack'' in China was ''medically similar'' to the incidents in Cuba.
The unnamed American citizen assigned to the consulate in Guangzhou had reported a variety of ''physical symptoms'' dating from late 2017 to April this year, the U.S. embassy in Beijing said in an email.
The worker was sent to the United States for further evaluation. ''The clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),'' the embassy said.
The State Department was taking the incident very seriously and working to determine the cause and impact, the embassy said. Pompeo said that medical teams were heading to Guangzhou to investigate the incident.
The State Department added the Chinese government told the embassy it is also investigating and taking appropriate measures.
''We cannot at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities,'' a U.S. embassy official told Reuters.
China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. government on Wednesday issued a health alert to Americans in China, warning them about the incident it described as ''subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure''.
''While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present,'' the emailed alert said.
The U.S. government in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States for what it said was Cuba's failure to protect staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana from mysterious health incidents at one point thought to possibly have been acoustic ''attacks''.
Staff there reported symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive issues, though Cuban officials dismissed the idea of acoustic strikes as ''science fiction'' and accused Washington of slander.
The cause of those incidents remains unresolved.
The Canadian government in April said it would remove families of diplomats posted to Cuba after Canadian personnel there in 2017 also reported similar health symptoms.
Cuban 'acoustic attack' report on US diplomats flawed, say neurologists | World news | The Guardian
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:06
Claims that US diplomats suffered mysterious brain injuries after being targeted with a secret weapon in Cuba have been challenged by neurologists and other brain specialists.
A medical report commissioned by the US government, published in March, found that staff at the US embassy in Havana suffered concussion-like brain damage after hearing strange noises in homes and hotels, but doctors from the US, the UK and Germany have contested the conclusions.
In four separate letters to the Journal of the American Medical Association, which published the original medical study, groups of doctors specialising in neurology, neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology described what they believed were major flaws in the study.
Among the criticisms, published on Tuesday, are that the University of Pennsylvania team which assessed the diplomats misinterpreted test results, overlooked common disorders that might have made the workers feel sick, or dismissed psychological explanations for their symptoms. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania defended their report in a formal response in the journal, but the specialists told the Guardian they stood by their criticisms.
The US withdrew more than half of its Havana diplomats last year and expelled 15 Cubans after 24 embassy staff and family reported a bizarre list of symptoms, ranging from headaches, dizziness and difficulties in sleeping, to problems with concentration, balance, vision and hearing. Many said their symptoms developed after they heard strange noises, described as cicada-like chirps, grinding, or the buffeting caused by an open window in the car.
The accounts led Washington to claim the diplomats had been victims of ''acoustic attacks'', though an FBI investigation found no evidence that sonic weapons were involved. Physicists have voiced doubts that such weapons were even feasible.
At the request of the US government, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania ran checks on 21 diplomats and investigated six with a further 37 tests. Led by Doug Smith, the director of the university's centre for brain injury, the team concluded that the patients had concussion-like injuries caused by damage to ''widespread brain networks''. The state department now cites the medical report on its travel advice pages and urges people to reconsider visiting Cuba.
The doctors who contacted the journal disagreed with the diagnosis. Robert Shura, a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist at Salisbury veterans affairs medical centre in North Carolina, and two colleagues, said Smith's team had misinterpreted cognitive tests performed on the diplomats.
It is standard practice to compare people's scores on such tests with others in the population. A score in the bottom 5% would typically mean there is a problem. But Shura pointed out that the diplomats were found to be ''impaired'' if they scored in the bottom 40% in any one of the tests. In their letter, the doctors said it was ''inappropriate'' to conclude that any of the patients were impaired. ''It is more likely than not that all six of the patients whose data are reported had normal neuropsychological profiles,'' Shura told the Guardian. Other specialists have published the same criticism.
In another letter, doctors including Gerard Gianoli from the Ear and Balance Institute in Louisiana argued that the test results pointed to inner ear damage rather than concussion and called for more thorough testing. ''Given that almost all of the patients complained of hearing loss and balance problems, I am extremely suspicious of an inner ear insult in this group of patients,'' Gianoli said. ''I do wish they would be more thoroughly evaluated.''
In a third letter to the journal, Jon Stone, a consultant neurologist, and Alan Carson, a consultant neuropsychiatrist, both at the University of Edinburgh, argue with Stoyan Popkirov, a neurologist in Bochum, that Smith's team too easily dismissed so-called functional neurological disorders. These can be triggered by sudden noises which, combined with anxiety and heightened attention, lead to real and persistent neurological problems.
One such disorder is the ''acoustic shock'' that affects telephone operators who hear sudden loud noises in their headsets. ''Functional neurological disorders are common genuine disorders that can affect anyone, including hardworking diplomatic staff,'' the doctors wrote.
In a further letter, Robert Bartholomew, an Auckland-based expert on mass psychogenic illness, argued that Smith's team failed to rule out a psychological explanation for the sickness affecting the diplomats. Mass psychogenic illness arises in stressful situations, but can start slowly and last for months and years, he wrote, and often features neurological symptoms. ''There are several cases in the annals of mass psychogenic illness that parallel the audio perceptions and symptoms reported in the Cuban embassy subjects,'' he said.
In response, the University of Pennsylvania team stood by their report, adding that they did not have room to give full details of every test they performed. More brain scans are underway in the hope that the images will ''identify structural brain changes that may underlie the neurological manifestations'', they wrote. Smith did not respond to a request for comment.
Shut Up Slave
Los Angeles to be first US city to install subway body scanners
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 09:46
August 15, 2018 | 1:10am | Updated August 15, 2018 | 9:00am
Modal Trigger One of the body scanners to be implemented across Los Angeles public transportation AP
LOS ANGELES '-- Los Angeles' subway will become the first mass transit system in the U.S. to install body scanners that screen passengers for weapons and explosives, officials said Tuesday.
The deployment of the portable scanners, which project waves to do full-body screenings of passengers walking through a station without slowing them down, will happen in the coming months, said Alex Wiggins, who runs the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's law enforcement division.
The machines scan for metallic and non-metallic objects on a person's body, can detect suspicious items from 30 feet away and have the capability of scanning more than 2,000 passengers per hour.
''We're dealing with persistent threats to our transportation systems in our country,'' said Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske. ''Our job is to ensure security in the transportation systems so that a terrorist incident does not happen on our watch.''
On Tuesday, Pekoske and other officials demonstrated the new machines, which are being purchased from Thruvision, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom.
''We're looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event,'' Wiggins said. ''We're looking for explosive vests, we're looking for assault rifles. We're not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don't have the ability to inflict mass casualties.''
In addition to the Thruvision scanners, the agency is also planning to purchase other body scanners '-- which resemble white television cameras on tripods '-- that have the ability to move around and home in on specific people and angles, Wiggins said.
''We really want to be effective and we need the ability to have a fixed field of view, but we also need to be able to move that field of view as necessary,'' Wiggins said. ''Deploying these technologies together gives us that accuracy and minimizes any delays.''
Wiggins would not say how many of the machines were being purchased, but said they would be rolled out in subway stations in the ''coming months.'' Employees and police officers first have to be trained on how to use the equipment.
Signs will be posted at stations warning passengers they are subject to body scanner screening. The screening process is voluntary, Wiggins said, but customers who choose not to be screened won't be able to ride on the subway.
But some passengers saw the screening as an added layer of security.
''I guess it is a good, precautionary thing,'' said Andrea Kirsh, a 22-year-old student from Corvallis, Oregon, who was traveling through Los Angeles' Union Station on Tuesday. ''It makes me feel safe. As a civilian, I think we often don't know what to look for or what we would be looking for.''
Passengers who rode down an escalator to ride the Metro Red Line at Union Station in Los Angeles on Tuesday were screened as Pekoske and other officials looked on. But after the news conference and media demonstration, officials packed up the equipment and carted it off.
The TSA tested body scanners in New York's Penn Station in February and has also conducted tests at Union Station in Washington, DC, and at a New Jersey Transit station during the 2014 Super Bowl.
In December, a Bangladeshi immigrant injured himself by setting off a crude pipe bomb strapped to his chest in a subway passageway near Times Square in New York City.
Metro has previously tested several different types of body scanners, including airport-style screening systems where passengers walk through a scanner. The pilot program was meant to evaluate the accuracy and capacity of the portable machines.
About 150,000 passengers ride on Metro's Red Line daily and the subway system counted more than 112 million rides last year, officials said.
Unique and patented | thruvision
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:56
HomeAboutSolutionsTechnologyInvestorsDownloadsContact UsHomeAboutSolutionsTechnologyInvestorsDownloadsContact UsHarnessing in excess of $70 million of long-term research and development
Based on patented TeraHertz imaging research work completed by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the European Space AgencyUniquely operates at far infrared 250GHz frequency giving best combination of clothing penetration and stand-off range performanceSubstantial accumulated satellite-grade manufacturing ''know-how'' delivering superior imaging performanceback(C) 2018 Thruvision Ltd. All rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA - MIT Technology Review
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:59
A View from Emerging Technology from the arXivA new model of the way the THz waves interact with DNA explains how the damage is done and why evidence has been so hard to gatherOctober 30, 2009Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation thatfills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves andthe infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conductingmaterials such as clothes , paper, wood and brick and socameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into livingrooms and ''frisk'' people at distance.
The way terahertz waves are absorbed and emitted can also be used to determine thechemical composition of a material. And even though they don't travelfar inside the body, there is great hope that the waves can be used tospot tumours near the surface of the skin.
With all that potential, it's no wonder that research on terahertzwaves has exploded in the last ten years or so.
But what of the health effects of terahertz waves? At firstglance, it's easy to dismiss any notion that they can be damaging.Terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds orionise atoms or molecules, the chief reasons why higher energyphotons such as x-rays and UV rays are so bad for us. But couldthere be another mechanism at work?
The evidence that terahertz radiation damages biological systemsis mixed. ''Some studies reported significant genetic damagewhile others, although similar, showed none,'' say BoianAlexandrov at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos NationalLaboratory in New Mexico and a few buddies. Now these guys think theyknow why.
Alexandrov and co have created a model to investigate how THzfields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they've found isremarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny,resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA,creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantlyinterfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.That's a jaw dropping conclusion.
And it also explains why the evidence has been so hard to garner.Ordinary resonant effects are not powerful enough to do do this kindof damage but nonlinear resonances can. These nonlinear instabilitiesare much less likely to form which explains why the characterof THz genotoxiceffects are probabilistic rather thandeterministic, say the team.
This should set the cat among the pigeons. Of course, terahertz waves are a natural part of environment, just like visible and infrared light. But a new generation of camerasare set to appear that not only record terahertz waves but also bombard us with them. And if our exposure is set to increase, the question thaturgently needs answering is what level of terahertz exposure is safe.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0910.5294:DNA Breathing Dynamics in the Presence of a Terahertz Field
Terahertz nondestructive evaluation - Wikipedia
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:58
Terahertz nondestructive evaluation pertains to devices, and techniques of analysis occurring in the terahertz domain of electromagnetic radiation. These devices and techniques evaluate the properties of a material, component or system without causing damage.[1]
Terahertz imaging [ edit ] Terahertz imaging is an emerging and significant nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technique used for dielectric (nonconducting, i.e., an insulator) materials analysis and quality control in the pharmaceutical, biomedical, security, materials characterization, and aerospace industries.[2] It has proved to be effective in the inspection of layers in paints and coatings,[3] detecting structural defects in ceramic and composite materials[4]and imaging the physical structure of paintings[5] and manuscripts.[6][7] The use of THz waves for non-destructive evaluation enables inspection of multi-layered structures and can identify abnormalities from foreign material inclusions, disbond and delamination, mechanical impact damage, heat damage, and water or hydraulic fluid ingression.[8] This new method can play a significant role in a number of industries for materials characterization applications where precision thickness mapping (to assure product dimensional tolerances within product and from product-to-product) and density mapping (to assure product quality within product and from product-to-product) are required.[9]
Nondestructive evaluation [ edit ] Sensors and instruments are employed in the 0.1 to the 10 THz range for nondestructive evaluation, which includes detection.[9][10]
Terahertz Density Thickness Imager [ edit ] The Terahertz Density Thickness Imager is a nondestructive inspection method that employs terahertz energy for density and thickness mapping in dielectric, ceramic, and composite materials. This non-contact, single-sided terahertz electromagnetic measurement and imaging method characterizes micro-structure and thickness variation in dielectric (insulating) materials. This method was demonstrated for the Space Shuttle external tank sprayed-on foam insulation and has been designed for use as an inspection method for current and future NASA thermal protection systems and other dielectric material inspection applications where no contact can be made with the sample due to fragility and it is impractical to use ultrasonic methods.[9]
Rotational spectroscopy [ edit ] Rotational spectroscopy uses electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range from 0.1 to 4 terahertz (THz). This range includes millimeter-range wavelengths and is particularly sensitive to chemical molecules. The resulting THz absorption produces a unique and reproducible spectral pattern that identifies the material. THz spectroscopy can detect trace amounts of explosives in less than one second. Because explosives continually emit trace amounts of vapor, it should be possible to use these methods to detect concealed explosives from a distance.[10]
THz-wave radar [ edit ] THz-wave radar can sense gas leaks, chemicals and nuclear materials. In field tests, THz-wave radar detected chemicals at the 10-ppm level from 60 meters away. This method can be used in a fence line or aircraft mounted system that works day or night in any weather. It can locate and track chemical and radioactive plumes. THz-wave radar that can sense radioactive plumes from nuclear plants have detected plumes several kilometers away based on radiation-induced ionization effects in air.[10]
THz tomography [ edit ] THz tomography techniques are nondestructive methods that can use THz pulsed beam or millimeter-range sources to locate objects in 3D.[11] These techniques include tomography, tomosynthesis, synthetic aperture radar and time of flight. Such techniques can resolve details on scales of less than one millimeter in objects that are several tens of centimeters in size.
Passive/active imaging techniques [ edit ] Security imaging is currently being done by both active and passive methods. Active systems illuminate the subject with THz radiation whereas passive systems merely view the naturally occurring radiation from the subject.
Evidently passive systems are inherently safe, whereas an argument can be made that any form of "irradiation" of a person is undesirable. In technical and scientific terms, however, the active illumination schemes are safe according to all current legislation and standards.
The purpose of using active illumination sources is primarily to make the signal-to-noise ratio better. This is analogous to using a flash on a standard optical light camera when the ambient lighting level is too low.
For security imaging purposes the operating frequencies are typically in the range 0.1 THz to 0.8 THz (100 GHz to 800 GHz). In this range skin is not transparent so the imaging systems can look through clothing and hair, but not inside the body. There are privacy issues associated with such activities, especially surrounding the active systems since the active systems, with their higher quality images, can show very detailed anatomical features.
It should be noted that active systems such as the L3 Provision' and the Smiths eqo' are actually mm-wave imaging systems rather than Terahertz imaging systems like Millitech' systems. These widely deployed systems do not display images, avoiding any privacy issues. Instead they display generic "mannequin" outlines with any anomalous regions highlighted.
Since security screening is looking for anomalous images, items like false legs, false arms, colostomy bags, body-worn urinals, body-worn insulin pumps, and external breast augmentations will show up. Note that breast implants, being under the skin, will not be revealed.
Active imaging techniques can be used to perform medical imaging. Because THz radiation is biologically safe (non ionisant), it can be used in high resolution imaging to detect skin cancer.[10]
Space Shuttle inspections [ edit ] NASA Space Shuttle inspections are an example of this technology's application.
After the Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003, Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendation R3.2.1 stated ''Initiate an aggressive program to eliminate all External Tank Thermal Protection System debris-shedding at the source'....'' To support this recommendation, inspection methods for flaws in foam are being evaluated, developed, and refined at NASA.[1][9][10]
STS-114 employed Space Shuttle Discovery, and was the first "Return to Flight" Space Shuttle mission following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. It launched at 10:39 EDT, 26 July 2005. During the STS-114 flight significant foam shedding was observed. Therefore, the ability to nondestructively detect and characterize crushed foam after that flight became a significant priority when it was believed that the staff processing the tank had crushed foam by walking on it or from hail damage when the shuttle was on the launch pad or during other preparations for launch.
Additionally, density variations in the foam were also potential points of flaw initiation causing foam shedding. The innovation described below answered the call to develop a nondestructive, totally non-contact, non-liquid-coupled method that could simultaneously and precisely characterize thickness variation (from crushed foam due to worker handling and hail damage) and density variation in foam materials. It was critical to have a method that did not require fluid (water) coupling; i.e.; ultrasonic testing methods require water coupling.
There are millions of dollars of ultrasonic equipment in the field and on the market that are used as thickness gauges and density meters. When terahertz nondestructive evaluation is fully commercialized into a more portable form, and becomes less expensive it will be able to replace the ultrasonic instruments for structural plastic, ceramic, and foam materials. The new instruments will not require liquid coupling thereby enhancing their usefulness in field applications and possibly for high-temperature in-situ applications where liquid coupling is not possible. A potential new market segment can be developed with this technology.[9][10]
See also [ edit ] References [ edit ] ^ a b Anastasi, RF; et al. (May 2007). Terahertz NDE for aerospace applications (Chapter title:) . Book title: Ultrasonic and advanced methods for nondestructive testing and material characterization. World Scientific Publishing. pp. 279''303. ISBN 978-981-270-409-2. ^ Ospald, Frank; Wissem Zouaghi; Rene Beigang; Matheis Carster (16 December 2013). "Aeronautics composite material inspection with a terahertz time-domain spectroscopy system". Optical Engineering. 53. Bibcode:2014OptEn..53c1208O. doi:10.1117/1.OE.53.3.031208. ^ Petkie, Douglas; Izaak V. Kemp; Carla Benton; Christopher Boyer; Lindsay Owens; Jason A. Deibel; Christopher D. Stoik; Matthew J. Bohn (5 October 2009). "5 October 2009" (PDF) . SPIE Proceedings. 7485. doi:10.1117/12.830540. [permanent dead link ] ^ Jonuscheit, Joachim. "Technical ceramics: tracking down defects" (PDF) . Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-15. ^ Walker, Gillian; Bowen, John W.; Matthews, Wendy; Roychowdhury, Soumali; Labaune, Julien; Mourou, Gerard; Menu, Michel; Hodder, Ian; Jackson, J. Bianca (27 March 2013). "Sub-surface terahertz imaging through uneven surfaces: visualizing Neolithic wall paintings in ‡atalh¶y¼k". Optics Express. 21 (7): 8126''8134. Bibcode:2013OExpr..21.8126W. doi:10.1364/OE.21.008126. ^ Pastorelli, Gianluca; Trafela, Tanja; Taday, Phillip F.; Portieri, Alessia; Lowe, David; Fukunaga, Kaori; Strlič, Matija (25 March 2012). "Characterisation of historic plastics using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy and pulsed imaging". Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 403 (5): 1405''1414. doi:10.1007/s00216-012-5931-9. PMID 22447218. ^ "Terahertz for Conservation of Paintings, Manuscripts and Artefacts". TeraView. ^ Hsu, David; Kwang'Hee Im; Chien'Ping Chiou; Daniel J. Barnard (23 July 2010). "An exploration of the utilities of terahertz waves for the NDE of composites". AIP Conference Proceedings. 30: 533''540. doi:10.1063/1.3591897. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. ^ a b c d e Nondestructive inspection method uses terahertz energy. ^ a b c d e f Sensors and Instrumentation and Nondestructive EvaluationArgonne test facility.Nondestructive EvaluationHomeland Security Applications. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Energy. '' Please see above links ^ Guillet, Jean-Paul; Recur, Benoit; Frederique, Louis; Bousquet, Bruno; Canioni, Lionel; Manel-Honninger, Inka; Desbarats, Psacal; Mounaix, Patrick (28 February 2014). "Review of Terahertz tomography techniques". Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves. 35 (4): 382''411. Bibcode:2014JIMTW..35..382G. doi:10.1007/s10762-014-0057-0. Further reading [ edit ] "Pharmaceutics, Coatings, Process Research" (Online web page) . University of Cambridge. 2011 . Retrieved 2011-06-23 . On this page also see the sections that follows for use of the Terahertz domain: Small Organic Molecular Crystals / Materials Properties (Glasses etc.), Understanding of Vibrational Modes at Terahertz Frequencies, Quantum Cascade Laser Applications, Implementation of Novel Sensing Paradigms, and Dynamics in Biomolecules.Stoik, Christopher; Bohn, Matthew; Blackshire, James (2010). "Nondestructive evaluation of aircraft composites using reflective terahertz time domain spectroscopy". NDT & E International. 43 (2): 106''115. doi:10.1016/j.ndteint.2009.09.005. Original PhD. dissertation by Christopher D. Stoik, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF. December 2008.Hosako, Iwao; Oda, Naoki (2011). "Terahertz imaging for detection or diagnosis". SPIE Newsroom. doi:10.1117/2.1201105.003651. Free online article.
Wi-fi could be used to detect weapons and bombs - BBC News
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 14:50
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The system is cheaper and requires fewer staff than traditional security systems Ordinary wi-fi could be used to detect weapons and explosives in public places, according to a study led by the Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Wireless signals can penetrate bags to measure the dimensions of metal objects or estimate the volume of liquids, researchers claim.
Initial tests appeared to show that the system was at least 95% accurate.
It could provide a low-cost alternative to airport-style security, researchers said.
Image copyright Data Analysis and Information Security Lab Image caption The suspicious object detection system uses common wi-fi The team behind the research tested 15 types of objects and six types of bags.
The wi-fi system had success rates of 99% for recognising dangerous objects, 98% for metal and 95% for liquids.
When objects were wrapped inside bags, the accuracy rate dropped to about 90%.
The low-cost system requires a wi-fi device with two or three antennas and can be integrated into existing wi-fi networks.
The system works by analysing what happens when wireless signals penetrate and bounce off objects and materials.
It could be utilised in museums, stadiums, theme parks and schools or wherever there is a perceived public risk.
"In large public areas, it's hard to set up expensive screening infrastructure like what is in airports," said Yingying Chen, co-author and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Rutgers-New Brunswick School of Engineering.
"Manpower is always needed to check bags and we wanted to develop a complementary method to try to reduce manpower."
She added: This could have a great impact in protecting the public from dangerous objects. There's a growing need for that now."
The peer-reviewed study received a best paper award at the 2018 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security on cyber-security.
It included engineers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Binghamton University.
#MeToo
Judge refuses to toss lawsuit accusing Harvey Weinstein of sex trafficking
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 19:44
Page Six
By Kaja Whitehouse
August 14, 2018 | 12:56pm
Harvey Weinstein Steven Hirsch / New York Post
A Manhattan federal judge has OK'd a lawsuit that accuses Harvey Weinstein of being a sex trafficker.
The judge gave the thumbs-up Tuesday to the suit, which was filed by aspiring British actress Kadian Noble, claiming that the ''Shakespeare In Love'' producer violated federal laws against sex trafficking when he lured her to his Cannes, France, hotel room with false promises of an acting role for the purpose of sex.
Weinstein sought to squash the civil lawsuit by arguing that letting it proceed ''would unfairly expand the federal sex-trafficking statute to all sexual activity occurring between adults in which one party holds a superior position of power and influence,'' court papers show.
Weinstein also claimed that Noble's assertions that he engaged in a ''commercial sex act'' don't apply to her case because nothing of value was exchanged.
Noble sued Weinstein last year, saying he set her up for an unwanted sexual encounter when they met in London, where he told her that ''he had a role in mind for her and that 'it will be good for you.'''
When they met again in February 2014 in Cannes, the movie producer asked Noble to come to the Le Majestic Hotel to discuss her film reel, the lawsuit said.
Instead, he began massaging her and instructed her to ''walk up and down the room for him'' as part of an ''audition'' before assaulting her in the bathroom, she claimed.
''Everything will be taken care of for you if you relax,'' Noble claims he told her when she resisted his advances.
Judge Robert Sweet's ruling noted that other courts have applied civil claims of sex trafficking to ''defendants who have lured women, under false pretenses, with lucrative promises for sexual purposes.''
''Here the pattern of behavior '... alleged a knowing and understanding that Harvey would use fraudulent means to entice Noble to engage in a sex act with him,'' Sweet said.
''The promise of a film role, the interview '... for the film role, and the assurances that 'everything will be taken care of for you if you relax,' including as he forced her to masturbate him, support this,'' the judge said.
But the judge did agree to drop Weinstein's brother, Robert Weinstein, as a defendant, saying that the lawsuit doesn't successfully claim that he knew about his brother's shenanigans.
What Happens to #MeToo When a Feminist Is the Accused? - The New York Times
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:55
Nimrod Reitman accused his former N.Y.U. graduate school adviser, Avital Ronell, of sexually harassing him, and the university found her responsible. But some leading feminist scholars have supported her in ways that echo the defenses of male harassers. Credit Caitlin Ochs for The New York Times The case seems like a familiar story turned on its head: Avital Ronell, a world-renowned female professor of German and Comparative Literature at New York University, was found responsible for sexually harassing a male former graduate student, Nimrod Reitman.
An 11-month Title IX investigation found Professor Ronell, described by a colleague as ''one of the very few philosopher-stars of this world,'' responsible for sexual harassment, both physical and verbal, to the extent that her behavior was ''sufficiently pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of Mr. Reitman's learning environment.'' The university has suspended Professor Ronell for the coming academic year.
In the Title IX final report, excerpts of which were obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Reitman said that she had sexually harassed him for three years, and shared dozens of emails in which she referred to him as ''my most adored one,'' ''Sweet cuddly Baby,'' ''cock-er spaniel,'' and ''my astounding and beautiful Nimrod.''
Coming in the middle of the #MeToo movement's reckoning over sexual misconduct, it raised a challenge for feminists '-- how to respond when one of their own behaved badly. And the response has roiled a corner of academia.
Soon after the university made its final, confidential determination this spring, a group of scholars from around the world, including prominent feminists, sent a letter to N.Y.U. in defense of Professor Ronell. Judith Butler, the author of the book ''Gender Trouble'' and one of the most influential feminist scholars today, was first on the list.
''Although we have no access to the confidential dossier, we have all worked for many years in close proximity to Professor Ronell,'' the professors wrote in a draft letter posted on a philosophy blog in June. ''We have all seen her relationship with students, and some of us know the individual who has waged this malicious campaign against her.''
Critics saw the letter, with its focus on the potential damage to Professor Ronell's reputation and the force of her personality, as echoing past defenses of powerful men.
''We testify to the grace, the keen wit, and the intellectual commitment of Professor Ronell and ask that she be accorded the dignity rightly deserved by someone of her international standing and reputation,'' the professors wrote.
Mr. Reitman, who is now 34 and is a visiting fellow at Harvard, says that Professor Ronell kissed and touched him repeatedly, slept in his bed with him, required him to lie in her bed, held his hand, texted, emailed and called him constantly, and refused to work with him if he did not reciprocate. Mr. Reitman is gay and is now married to a man; Professor Ronell is a lesbian.
Professor Ronell, 66, denied any harassment. ''Our communications '-- which Reitman now claims constituted sexual harassment '-- were between two adults, a gay man and a queer woman, who share an Israeli heritage, as well as a penchant for florid and campy communications arising from our common academic backgrounds and sensibilities,'' she wrote in a statement to The New York Times. ''These communications were repeatedly invited, responded to and encouraged by him over a period of three years.''
Two years after graduating from N.Y.U. with a Ph.D., Mr. Reitman filed a Title IX complaint against his former adviser, alleging sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and retaliation. In May, the university found Professor Ronell responsible for sexual harassment and cleared her of the other allegations.
Mr. Reitman's lawyer, Donald Kravet, said he and his client have drafted a lawsuit against N.Y.U. and Professor Ronell and are now considering their options.
Both Mr. Reitman and Professor Ronell's descriptions of their experiences echo other #MeToo stories: In Mr. Reitman's recollection, he was afraid of his professor and the power she wielded over him, and often went along with behavior that left him feeling violated. Professor Ronell said that Mr. Reitman desperately sought her attention and guidance in interviews she submitted to the Title IX office at N.Y.U., which The New York Times obtained.
The problems began, according to Mr. Reitman, in the spring of 2012, before he officially started school. Professor Ronell invited him to stay with her in Paris for a few days. The day he arrived, she asked him to read poetry to her in her bedroom while she took an afternoon nap, he said.
''That was already a red flag to me,'' said Mr. Reitman. ''But I also thought, O.K., you're here. Better not make a scene.''
Then, he said, she pulled him into her bed.
''She put my hands onto her breasts, and was pressing herself '-- her buttocks '-- onto my crotch,'' he said. ''She was kissing me, kissing my hands, kissing my torso.'' That evening, a similar scene played out again, he said.
He confronted her the next morning, he said.
''I said, look, what happened yesterday was not O.K. You're my adviser,'' he recalled in an interview.
Image Professor Ronell's defenders pointed to her ''keen wit'' and her ''international standing and reputation,'' after she was accused of sexual harassment.When he got to New York, the behavior continued, he said, when after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, Professor Ronell showed up at his apartment because her power had gone out. He said that, despite his objections, she convinced him that they could both sleep in his bed together. Once there, she groped and kissed him each night for nearly a week, he said.
''Professor Ronell denies all allegations of sexual contact in their entirety,'' Mary Dorman, Professor Ronell's lawyer, wrote in a submission to the Title IX office. Professor Ronell said she only stayed for two nights after the hurricane, at Mr. Reitman's invitation.
The Title IX report concluded that there was not enough evidence to find Professor Ronell responsible for sexual assault, partly because no one else observed the interactions in his apartment or her room in Paris.
In the semesters that followed, Mr. Reitman said he was expected to work with Professor Ronell, often at her apartment, during lengthy work sessions nearly every weekend. Professor Ronell frequently detailed her affection and longing for him, according to emails from her that Mr. Reitman provided to The New York Times.
''I woke up with a slight fever and sore throat,'' she wrote in an email on June 16, 2012, after the Paris trip. ''I will try very hard not to kiss you '-- until the throat situation receives security clearance. This is not an easy deferral!'' In July, she wrote a short email to him: ''time for your midday kiss. my image during meditation: we're on the sofa, your head on my lap, stroking you [sic] forehead, playing softly with yr hair, soothing you, headache gone. Yes?''
In a submission to the Title IX office, Professor Ronell said she had no idea Mr. Reitman was so uncomfortable until she read the investigators' report.
Mr. Reitman also said that Professor Ronell retaliated against him for complaining to her about her behavior, in part by sending pro forma recommendations on his behalf, thwarting his job prospects. But the Title IX report found that her recommendation letters ''were comparable to those for other former students'' and he did secure two postgraduate fellowships.
Professor Ronell and some who are backing her have tried to discredit her accuser in familiar ways, asking why he took so long to report, and why he seemed so intimate with Professor Ronell if he was, in fact, miserable. Maybe, Professor Ronell suggested, he was frustrated because he just wasn't smart enough.
''His main dilemma was the incoherency in his writing, and lack of a recognizable argument,'' Professor Ronell said in a January 2018 interview submitted to the Title IX office.
Diane Davis, chair of the department of rhetoric at the University of Texas-Austin, who also signed the letter to the university supporting Professor Ronell, said she and her colleagues were particularly disturbed that, as they saw it, Mr. Reitman was using Title IX, a feminist tool, to take down a feminist.
''I am of course very supportive of what Title IX and the #MeToo movement are trying to do, of their efforts to confront and to prevent abuses, for which they also seek some sort of justice,'' Professor Davis wrote in an email. ''But it's for that very reason that it's so disappointing when this incredible energy for justice is twisted and turned against itself, which is what many of us believe is happening in this case.''
Title IX was intended to address a long history of sexual harassment and assault of women at school, according to Dana Bolger, a co-founder of Know Your IX, a national advocacy group that teaches students about their Title IX rights.
''I would say that the vast majority of Title IX cases are protecting male victims from male perpetrators, or female victims from male perpetrators,'' Ms. Bolger said.
In addition to the suspension, which the university never publicly announced, N.Y.U. is investigating further claims of retaliation related to the professors' letter.
John Beckman, a spokesman for the university, wrote in a statement to The Times that N.Y.U. was ''sympathetic'' to what Mr. Reitman has been through.
But, Mr. Beckman added, ''given the promptness, seriousness and thoroughness with which we responded to his charges, we do not believe that his filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the university would be warranted or just.''
Both Professor Ronell and Mr. Reitman feel they have been miscast in this #MeToo story.
Mr. Reitman said he never intended to become any kind of public figure in a national conversation about gender, and that he started the process before the movement took off. ''It didn't come from #MeToo,'' he said.
In March 2018, Professor Ronell pointedly complained that Mr. Reitman had a penchant for ''comparing me to the most egregious examples of predatory behaviors ascribable to Hollywood moguls who habitually go after starlets.''
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Poppie$
Government's Own Report Shows Tax Dollars Spent in Afghanistan Have Boosted Opium Production
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 17:06
(Support Free Thought) -
As the longest war in United States history approaches yet another anniversary, the U.S. is being forced to admit that after pouring billions of dollars into ''counternarcotics efforts'' in Afghanistan, the result has been an overwhelming increase in opium production.
The recent report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reveals that U.S. taxpayers spent $8.62 billion in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2017'--solely on combatting poppy cultivation and drug production. The result was an absolute failure, and the report confirmed that ''Afghanistan remains the world's largest opium producer, and opium poppy is the country's largest cash crop.''
''SIGAR's analysis revealed that no counternarcotics program led to lasting reductions in poppy cultivation or opium production. Eradication efforts had no lasting impact, and eradication was not consistently conducted in the same geographic locations as development assistance. Alternative-development programs were often too short-term, failed to provide sustainable alternatives to poppy, and sometimes even contributed to poppy production.''
The report also claimed that ''the Afghan drug trade has undermined reconstruction and security, including by financing insurgent groups and fueling government corruption.''
The reality is that if the $8.62 billion the U.S. has spent on countering drug production and trade in Afghanistan has actually helped it immensely, then the U.S. is literally undermining the ''reconstruction'' efforts it claims to have spent the last 17 years pursuing.
Ironically, before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, poppy cultivation was actually at a low. Now, as the war rages on with no end in sight, production has reached an all-time high.
According to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan's Ministry of Counter Narcotics, published in November 2017, the ''area under opium poppy cultivation increased by 63% since 2016, reaching a new record high.''
''The total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 328,000 hectares in 2017, a 63% increase or 127,000 hectares more compared to the previous year. This level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high and exceeds the formerly highest value recorded in 2014 (224,000 hectares) by 104,000 hectares or 46%. Strong increases were observed in almost all major poppy cultivating provinces.''
As a result of the increase, the UN report acknowledged, ''The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates will probably further fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan. More high quality, low-cost heroin will reach consumer markets across the world, with increased consumption and related harms as a likely consequence.''
The record-setting poppy cultivation levels just happened to coincide with a significant increase in United States troops stationed in Afghanistan. U.S. troops have been caught guarding the plants, fueling the belief that the U.S. government cares more about controlling a major cash crop than it does about ''defeating terrorism'''--neither of which the U.S. has any business trying to control.
The impact of U.S. intervention has been staggering'--for both American and Afghani civilians. Under supervision from the U.S., Afghanistan is now responsible for producing 90 percent of the world's opium supply, and the massive increase in production has fueled an on-going opioid crisis in the United States that has ensnared more than 2.5 million Americans in heroin addiction.
As whistleblower and former FBI contractor Sibel Edmonds noted, before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, there were around 189,000 heroin users in the United States. By 2016, that figure increased to 4.5 million'--an estimated 2.5 million heroin addicts and 2 million casual users.
The number of heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. also skyrocketed with a 533 percent increase from around 2,000 deaths in 2002 to more than 13,200 deaths in 2016. The is part of more than 64,000 deaths attributed to drug overdoses in 2016, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The idea that the Afghanistan War has any kind of ''humanitarian'' purpose can be debunked just by looking at the current results and how much civilians have suffered from enduring the effects of years of U.S. intervention.
More than 31,000 civilian deaths have been documented, and it should be noted that over the last few years, civilian deaths have substantially increased'--which serves as a reminder that the situation is only getting worse.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting civilian casualties in 2009. The combined number of civilians who were killed and injured that year was nearly 6,000. The number has steadily increased over the years, and in 2016, it reached a record high with nearly 3,500 killed and nearly 8,000 injured.
The latest report from SIGAR clearly states after 15 years ''no counternarcotics program led to lasting reductions in poppy cultivation or opium production.'' Instead, U.S. efforts have actually contributed to opium production and made the problem worse.
The report claims that ''improved security, governance, and economic growth'' are needed to make a lasting difference, which means that after spending more than $1 trillion, the government still believes throwing money at the problem is what is needed to solve it.
When will Americans realize that it is finally time to bring the troops home and to declare an end to the Afghanistan War?
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Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017 - The New York Times
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 10:00
Fentanyl is a big culprit, but there are also encouraging signs from states that have prioritized public health campaigns and addiction treatment.
Drug overdoses killed about 72,000 Americans last year, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10 percent, according to new preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. The death toll is higher than the peak yearly death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun deaths.
Analysts pointed to two major reasons for the increase: A growing number of Americans are using opioids, and drugs are becoming more deadly. It is the second factor that most likely explains the bulk of the increased number of overdoses last year.
The picture is not equally bleak everywhere. In parts of New England, where a more dangerous drug supply arrived early, the number of overdoses has begun to fall. That was the case in Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island; each state has had major public health campaigns and has increased addiction treatment. Preliminary 2018 numbers from Massachusetts suggest that the death rate there may be continuing to fall.
But nationwide, the crisis worsened in the first year of the Trump presidency, a continuation of a long-term trend. During 2017, the president declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, and states began tapping a $1 billion grant program to help fight the problem.
''Because it's a drug epidemic as opposed to an infectious disease epidemic like Zika, the response is slower,'' said Dan Ciccarone, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies heroin markets. ''Because of the forces of stigma, the population is reluctant to seek care. I wouldn't expect a rapid downturn; I would expect a slow, smooth downturn.''
A large government telephone survey suggests that around 2.1 million Americans had opioid use disorders in 2016, but that number may be an undercount because not all drug users have telephones and some may not mention their drug use because of the stigma. Dr. Ciccarone said the real number could be as high as four million.
The number of opioid users has been going up ''in most places, but not at this exponential rate,'' said Brandon Marshall, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health. ''The dominant factor is the changing drug supply.''
Strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its analogues have become mixed into black-market supplies of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and the class of anti-anxiety medicines known as benzodiazepines. Unlike heroin, which is derived from poppy plants, fentanyl can be manufactured in a laboratory, and it is often easier to transport because it is more concentrated.
Unexpected combinations of those drugs can overwhelm even experienced drug users. In some places, the type of synthetic drugs mixed into heroin changes often, increasing the risk for users. While the opioid epidemic was originally concentrated in rural, white populations, the death toll is becoming more widespread. The penetration of fentanyl into more heroin markets may explain recent increases in overdose deaths among older, urban black Americans; those who used heroin before the recent changes to the drug supply might be unprepared for the strength of the new mixtures.
''Even when you think you're doing better, all it takes is one bad batch of fentanyl in any state and you're going to have deaths,'' said Mark Levine, a physician and the health commissioner of Vermont, which has made major investments in addiction treatment but still experienced a spike in deaths in 2016. Last year, deaths fell slightly there.
According to the C.D.C. estimates, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids rose sharply, while deaths from heroin, prescription opioid pills and methadone fell.
In much of the West, overdose deaths have been flatter as the epidemic has raged in parts of the East and Midwest. That geographical pattern may be a result of the drug supply. Heroin sold west of the Mississippi tends to be processed into a form known as black tar that is difficult to mix with synthetic drugs. The heroin sold toward the east is a more processed white powder that is more easily combined with fentanyls.
Overdose deaths rose sharply in several mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. In Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia, where the opioid death rate has been high for years, overdose deaths increased by more than 17 percent in each state. In New Jersey, they rose 27 percent.
The C.D.C. numbers for 2017 are an estimate, not a final count. The federal government collects death records from states throughout the year. But some deaths can take longer to investigate than others. The C.D.C. adjusts early numbers based on the number of deaths still under investigation by assuming a predictable proportion of them will turn out to be drug overdoses based on past experience. Using deaths that are confirmed, the agency measured a 10.2 percent increase in overdose deaths between 2016 and 2017. Using its adjusted data, the increase was 9.5 percent.
There are reasons for optimism that the recent increases in overdose deaths will not continue. The monthly C.D.C. numbers suggest that deaths might have begun leveling off by the end of the year. Continuing funding may help more states develop the kind of public health programs that appear to have helped in New England.
''There's a lot of money going into the system, and it takes some time for this to translate into new infrastructure,'' said Chris Jones, the director of the national mental health and substance use policy laboratory. ''That's particularly true for places where it wasn't already there.''
In Dayton, Ohio, a hot spot for the epidemic, public health officials are seeing signs of progress. After instituting a new emergency response strategy '-- and drawing from new federal and state grant funds '-- the county health department has documented reductions in overdose deaths, emergency room visits and ambulance calls of more than 60 percent between January 2017 and June of this year.
The county has reduced medical opioid prescribing; increased addiction treatment resources; expanded community access to an anti-overdose drug called naloxone; and provided addiction treatment to prisoners in its county jail, among other measures.
Barbara Marsh, the assistant to the Dayton and Montgomery County health commissioner, says she hopes the trend will hold, and provide some lessons for other parts of the state. ''It's definitely wait and see,'' she said. ''We want to continue seeing a decline.''
Congress is debating a variety of bills to fight the epidemic. Many of the measures, which have passed the House but have not reached the Senate floor, are focused on reducing medical prescriptions of opioids, and are meant to reduce the number of new drug users. But the package also includes measures that could expand treatment for people who already use opioids.
The epidemic could also intensify again. One worrying sign: Dr. Jones said there is some early evidence that drug distributors are finding ways to mix fentanyl with black tar heroin, which could increase death rates in the West. If that becomes more widespread, the overdose rates in the West could explode as they have in parts of the East.
Margot Sanger-Katz is a domestic correspondent and writes about health care for The Upshot. She was previously a reporter at National Journal and The Concord Monitor and an editor at Legal Affairs and the Yale Alumni Magazine. @ sangerkatz ' Facebook
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War on Balloons
Plastic Bags and Straws Are Banned in Some Places. Here's Why Balloons Could Be Next
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 01:10
NEW YORK '-- Now that plastic straws may be headed for extinction, could Americans' love of balloons be deflated?
The joyous celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them. So as companies vow to banish plastic straws, there are signs balloons will be among the products to get more scrutiny, even though they're a very small part of environmental pollution.
This year, college football powerhouse Clemson University is ending its tradition of releasing 10,000 balloons into the air before games, a move that's part of its sustainability efforts. In Virginia, a campaign that urges alternatives to balloon releases at weddings is expanding. And a town in Rhode Island outright banned the sale of all balloons earlier this year, citing the harm to marine life.
''There are all kinds of alternatives to balloons, a lot of ways to express yourself,'' says Kenneth Lacoste, first warden of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, who cites posters, pi±atas and decorated paper.
Following efforts to limit plastic bags, the push by environmentalists against straws has gained traction in recent months, partly because they're seen as unnecessary for most. Companies including Starbucks and Disney are promising to phase out plastic straws, which can be difficult to recycle because of their size and often end up as trash in the ocean. A handful of U.S. cities recently passed or are considering bans. And the push may bring attention to other items people may not have considered '-- like festive balloons.
''The issue of straws has really broadened the marine debris issue,'' says Emma Tonge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. People might not realize balloons are a danger, she says, because of their ''light and whimsical'' image.
Balloons are not among the top 10 kinds of debris found in coastal cleanups, but Tongue says they're common and especially hazardous to marine animals, which can also get entangled in balloon strings.
Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor of ecology at the University of Toronto, says people should think systemically about waste and pollution, but that efforts to bring attention to specific products shouldn't be dismissed as too minor.
''If we said that about everything, we wouldn't get anything done,'' she says.
Already, a few states restrict balloon releases to some extent, according to the Balloon Council, which represents the industry and advocates for the responsible handling of its products to ''uphold the integrity of the professional balloon community.'' That means never releasing them into the air, and ensuring the strings have a weight tied to them so the balloons don't accidentally float away.
Lorna O'Hara, executive director of the Balloon Council, doesn't dispute that marine creatures might mistake balloons for jellyfish and eat them. But she says that doesn't mean balloons are necessarily causing their deaths.
Clean Virginia Waterways still thinks balloons can be harmful. Included in its report last year: A photo of a soaring bird with a deflated balloon trailing behind it.
The report addresses the ''rising concern'' of balloons, which also often use helium, a non-renewable resource. It notes the difficulty of changing a social norm and that even typing ''congrats'' in a Facebook post results in an animation of balloons. It even claims the media play a role and that some groups conduct balloon releases ''just so reporters will cover the event.''
''We don't want to say don't use them at all. We're saying just don't release them,'' says Laura McKay of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.
Some states such as California ban balloon releases for other reasons. Pacific Gas & Electric, which serves northern and central California, says metallic balloons caused 203 power outages in the first five months of this year, up 22 percent from a year ago.
Lacoste thinks other towns, particularly those along the coasts, will also ban balloons as people become more aware of environmental issues. He notes that plastic bags were once seen as harmless, but many places now ban them.
War on Cash
FBI warns of massive ATM 'cash-out' heist that could soon steal millions | Big Think
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:16
The FBI has recently warned banks that a group of criminals might be planning a large-scale 'ATM cash-out' that could steal millions of dollars.
''The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cybercriminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an 'unlimited operation','' reads a confidential alert, reported by the c ybersecurity blog KrebsOnSecurity , that the FBI shared with banks last week.
chris-voss-get-a-no-to-win-at-negotiations
In the potential attack, criminals would first install malware on a payment card processor or bank network to gain access to card numbers and other information. They'd then use this access to remove fraud controls on ATMs, such as withdrawal limits. Finally, the group of criminals would use 'clone cards''--plastic cards with customized magnetic strips'--to withdraw money from ATMs in person at a predetermined time, likely on the weekend when banks are closed.
''Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities,'' the alert read. ''The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future.''
In July, the KrebsOnSecurity blog broke a story ''about an apparent unlimited operation used to extract a total of $2.4 million from accounts at the National Bank of Blacksburg in two separate ATM cashouts between May 2016 and January 2017.''
Another unlimited operation hit India's Cosmos Bank just this weekend when criminals withdrew millions of dollars from ATMs in 29 countries in a two-hour timeframe.
''During the malware attack, a proxy switch was created and all the fraudulent payment approvals were passed by the proxy switching system,'' the bank said.
So, how should bank customers protect themselves?
''They should be signed up for fraud alerts on their account,'' Paul Benda, senior vice president of risk and cybersecurity policy at the American Bankers Association, told USA Today. ''They should be monitoring their accounts for activity, and they should look for any unusual activity. If they see anything they should report it. A bank would much rather hear about a potential fraudulent charge that turns out to be something that you don't remember buying versus not hearing about that at all.''
brian-behlendorf-how-the-blockchain-revolution-will-end-corruption
Agenda 2030
Toxic algae's deadly trail of marine animals triggers state of emergency in Florida - Chicago Tribune
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:06
Florida's governor this week made official what residents of southwest Florida already knew: The bloom of toxic algae that has darkened gulf waters is an emergency. The red tide has made breathing difficult for locals, scared away tourists, and strewn popular beaches with the stinking carcasses of fish, eels, porpoises, turtles, manatees and one 26-foot whale shark.
Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, late Monday declared a state of emergency in seven counties stretching from Tampa Bay south to the fringe of the Everglades. Scott promised $1.5 million in emergency funding.
The governor is facing Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, this fall at the ballot box in a contest for the Senate seat Nelson has held for three terms. Each has accused the other of not tackling the red-tide calamity and the simultaneous bloom of a different type of algae that is clogging rivers and canals and putting a scum on top of Lake Okeechobee.
Residents in crowded retirement communities are reporting respiratory distress from the vapors of the microscopic red-tide organism called Karenia brevis. A recent study found a 50 percent spike in hospital visits resulting from respiratory problems during red-tide blooms.
The red tide has been gradually moving north, to the mouth of Tampa Bay, according to state data tracking the red tide. For many places, the daily reports continue to say "Water Color: Dark" and "Respiratory Irritation: Intense." Worst of all are the reports that state "Dead Fish: Heavy."
Rick Bartleson, a research scientist with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, said water samples offshore show lethally high concentrations of algae.
"There's no fish left. Red tide killed them all," he said. "All of our concentrations of red tide are still high and would still kill fish if they were out there."
The algae is found in marine environments for most of the year, but the past two months have produced high concentrations, said Kelly Richmond, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The duration of blooms can be affected by sunlight, nutrient and salinity content, she said.
The toxins can aerosolize in the wind that drifts ashore, triggering respiratory problems or worsening conditions such as asthma. That has incited many tourists and some locals to flee.
Scott's declaration came one day after thousands of Floridians engaged in a grass-roots action on Florida beaches. At 10:15 a.m. Sunday they lined up at the water's edge and held hands, an image captured by drones. They were trying to grab public attention.
"I can't even let my cats out on the lanai," said Amy Ernst, a Sarasota printmaker who lives near the beach. "Eyes burning, throat burning, sinus problems."
Adrienne Miceli-Trask, 52, a salon owner who helped organize the Hands Along the Water protest in Sarasota, said: "It's not just on the beach. It's in our intracoastal waterway. It's in the air. It's toxic. Somebody's backyard on the intracoastal is totally filled with dead fish. It's disgusting."
Scientists are trying to figure out why, exactly, the current red tide along the Gulf Coast has been so protracted and deadly. State officials and scientists point out that, at base, this is a natural phenomenon. Fish die-offs were noted by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and have been well documented since the 1840s.
But the incidences of red tides seem to have increased since the 1950s and 1960s. Climate change could be a factor '-- warmer waters, up to a certain point, are congenial to algal growth. The Gulf of Mexico's surface temperature has warmed by about two degrees Fahrenheit since 1977.
There is a more direct human handprint on the current crisis: Florida's landscape and the flow of water have been radically altered by agriculture, canals, ditches, dikes, levees and the sprawling housing developments that have sprouted as the state's population has boomed.
In the old days, Bartleson said, rainwater slowly filtered into the aquifer or seeped into estuaries. Now it rushes rapidly, unfiltered, into rivers and bays and into the gulf, typically loaded with agricultural nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which feed the algae.
Hurricane Irma struck the state head-on last September, and the red-tide bloom began about a month later. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was forced to release massive amounts of nutrient-laden water from Lake Okeechobee to prevent the overtopping of the venerable Hoover Dike.
Those nutrients fueled green algae in the inland canals and rivers and flowed through the Caloosahatchee River into the shallow waters along the Gulf Coast. It is plausible that fueled the red-tide bloom. Some scientists hesitate to declare a direct cause and effect, although Bartleson said of the current red tide, "It's on steroids with our nutrients."
Historically, algal blooms become more prevalent in the fall and decline in late winter and spring. Less rainfall and increased wind could potentially ease this deadly red tide.
For now, there's no end in sight.
The Washington Post's Angela Fritz contributed to this report.
First published by The Washington Post
BTC
Kim Dotcom says dump 'worthless' dollar in favor of gold & crypto as US debt spirals out of control '-- RT Business News
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 15:21
Controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has called for the ditching of the US dollar, which, he says, is doomed to depreciation, and investing into gold and cryptocurrencies.
The huge US debt will destroy the American economy and lead to a global economic collapse, which is just around the corner, the founder of the now defunct Hong Kong-based online company Megaupload tweeted on Sunday.
Trust me. Buy crypto and gold. Your USD will become worthless. With US economic collapse all old money currencies will crash.Times will get tough. But you'll be fine if you hedge some of your assets in preparation for the crash.
The big crash is coming 100%.
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) August 12, 2018Dotcom had previously said that the US debt burden has become unmanageable with the government increasing the already huge figure by a trillion dollars annually, and will never be paid.
''The average unfunded liability in the US is now at $938,000 per taxpayer. Anyone who thinks US debt can be solved with economic growth, new debt or printing more dollars is an idiot. US Empire will default,'' he tweeted.
The average total debt per family in the US is now at 845000 USD.The average unfunded liability in the US is now at 938000 USD per taxpayer.
Anyone who thinks US debt can be solved with economic growth, new debt or printing more dollars is an idiot. US Empire will default.
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) August 12, 2018In his previous tweets Dotcom cited Russia's finance minister saying that the country had reduced its investment in US assets, and considered the US dollar a ''risky tool for payments.'' The businessman urged people to watch the greenback when China starts dumping its holdings of the US Treasury securities.
''We have significantly reduced our investment in US assets. In fact, the dollar, which is considered to be the international currency, becomes a risky tool for payments'''-- Finance Minister of Russia
The US debt burden has become unmanagable. Watch USD when China drops US debt.
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) August 12, 2018The German-Finnish entrepreneur is currently living in New Zealand under residency permission. US authorities are currently seeking to extradite Kim Dotcom to the US on fraud charges related to Megaupload. Dotcom rejects all of the accusations.
Last month, the New Zealand Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's earlier ruling to hand Dotcom over to US authorities. Kim's lawyer is planning to appeal the decision to the country's Supreme Court.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
The Great Inflation Of The 1970s | Investopedia
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 15:25
It's the 1970s, and the stock market is a mess. It loses 40% in an 18-month period, and for close to a decade few people want anything to do with stocks. Economic growth is weak, which results in rising unemployment that eventually reaches double-digits. The easy-money policies of the American central bank, which were designed to generate full employment, by the early 1970s, also caused high inflation. The central bank, under different leadership, would later reverse its policies, raising interest rates to some 20%, a number once considered usurious. For interest-sensitive industries, such as housing and cars, rising interest rates cause a calamity. With interest rates skyrocketing, many people are priced out of new cars and homes.
Interest Rate CasualtiesThis is the gruesome story of the great inflation of the 1970s, which began in late 1972 and didn't end until the early 1980s. In his book, "Stocks for the Long Run: A Guide for Long-Term Growth" (1994), Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel, called it "the greatest failure of American macroeconomic policy in the postwar period."
The great inflation was blamed on oil prices, currency speculators, greedy businessmen and avaricious union leaders. However, it is clear that monetary policies, which financed massive budget deficits and were supported by political leaders, were the cause. This mess was proof of what Milton Friedman said in his book "Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History", inflation is always "a monetary phenomenon." The great inflation and the recession that followed wrecked many businesses and hurt countless individuals. Interestingly, John Connolly, the Nixon-installed Treasury Secretary who did not have formal economics training, later declared personal bankruptcy.
Yet these unusually bad economic times were preceded by a period in which the economy boomed, or appeared to boom. Many Americans were awed by the temporarily low unemployment and strong growth numbers of 1972. Therefore, they overwhelmingly re-elected their Republican President Richard Nixon, and their Democratic Congress in 1972; Nixon, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve failed them.
How and WhyUpon his inauguration in 1969, Nixon inherited a recession from Lyndon Johnson, who had simultaneously spent generously on the Great Society and the Vietnam War. Congress, despite some protests, went along with Nixon and continued to fund the war, and increased social welfare spending. In 1972, for example, both Congress and Nixon agreed to a big expansion of Social Security, just in time for the elections.
Nixon came to office as a supposed fiscal conservative. Still, one of his advisors would later classify Nixonomics as "conservative men with liberal ideas," (Stein, 1984). Nixon ran budget deficits, supported an incomes policy and eventually announced that he was a Keynesian.
John Maynard Keynes was an influential British economist of the 1930s and 1940s. He had advocated revolutionary measures: governments should use countercyclical policies in hard times, running deficits in recessions and depressions. Before Keynes, governments in bad times had generally balanced budgets and waited for badly allocated business investments to liquidate, allowing market forces to bring a recovery.
Nixon's other economic about-face was imposing wage and price controls in 1971. Again, they seemed to work during the following election year. Later on, however, they would fuel the fires of double-digit inflation. Once they were removed, individuals and business tried to make up for lost ground.
Nixon's deficits were also making dollar-holders abroad nervous. There was a run on the dollar, which many foreigners and Americans thought was overvalued. Soon they were proved right. In 1971, Nixon broke the last link to gold, turning the American dollar into a fiat currency. The dollar was devalued, and millions of foreigners holding dollars, including Arab oil barons with tens of millions of petrodollars, saw the value of dollars slashed.
Winning ElectionsStill, President Nixon's primary concern was not dollar holders or deficits or even inflation. He feared another recession. He and others that were running for re-election wanted the economy to boom. The way to do that, Nixon reasoned, was to pressure the Fed for low-interest rates.
Nixon fired Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin and installed presidential counselor Arthur Burns as Martin's successor in early 1971. Although the Fed is supposed to be solely dedicated to money creation policies that promote growth without excessive inflation, Burns was quickly taught the political facts of life. Nixon wanted cheap money: low-interest rates that would promote growth in the short-term and make the economy seem strong as voters were casting ballots.
Because I Say So!In public and private Nixon turned the pressure on Burns. William Greider, in his book "Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs The Country" reports Nixon as saying: "We'll take inflation if necessary, but we can't take unemployment." The nation eventually had an abundance of both. Burns, and the Fed's Open Market Committee which decided on money creation policies, soon provided cheap money.
The key money creation number, M1, which is total checking deposits, demand deposits and traveler's checks, went from $228 billion to $249 billion between December 1971 and December 1972, according to Federal Reserve Board numbers. As a matter of comparison, in Martin's last year, the numbers went from $198 billion to $203 billion. The amount of M2 numbers, measuring retail savings and small deposits, rose even more by the end of 1972, from $710 billion to $802 billion. (Read more in Formulating Monetary Policy.)
It worked in the short term. Nixon carried 49 out of 50 states in the election. Democrats easily held Congress. Inflation was in the low single digits, but there was a price to pay in higher inflation after all the election year champagne was guzzled.
In the winters of 1972 and 1973, Burns began to worry about inflation. In 1973, inflation more than doubled to 8.8%. Later in the decade, it would go to 12%. By 1980, inflation was at 14%. Was the United States about to become a Weimar Republic? Some actually thought that the great inflation was a good thing. (For more information, read our Tutorial on Inflation.)
The Bottom LineIt would take another Fed chairman and a brutal policy of tight money, including the acceptance of a recession before inflation would return to low single digits. But, in the meantime, the U.S. would endure jobless numbers that exceeded 10%. Millions of Americans were angry by the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Yet few remember Burns, who in his memoirs, "Reflections of an Economic Policy Maker (1969-1978)," blames others for the great inflation without mentioning the disastrous monetary expansion. Nixon doesn't even mention this central bank episode in his memoirs. Many people who remember this terrible era blame it all on the Arab countries and oil pricing. Still, the Wall Street Journal, in reviewing this period in January 1986, said, "OPEC got all the credit for what the U.S. had mainly done to itself."
Inside the 'Hunger Games' of Porn: A Reality Series Where Adult Stars Compete for Crypto
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 17:33
Pornhub, the adult video platform, is an indisputable internet titan, ranking seventh on a list of America's most visited websites and averaging some 81 million visitors per day, according to their 2017 year in review. The gargantuan porn marketplace fancies itself at the frontier of digital innovation, and not without good reason.
Two years ago, they partnered with a company called ''BaDoinkVR'' and became one of the first adult websites to offer a virtual reality category. Later that year, they introduced another category called ''Described Video,'' which made their content accessible to the visually impaired. They've since added encryption by switching to HTTPS, released a covert photo sharing app called ''TrickPics,'' launched an AI geared toward identifying performers, began offering a free VPN, and announced a partnership with Verge, the anonymous cryptocurrency.
In the website's latest ploy for online conquest, they are rolling out the first ever ''Pornhub Awards'' on September 6, an awards show aiming to challenge the long-standing AVN Awards for the title of ''the Oscars of Porn.''
Unlike the AVN Awards, whose winners are chosen by a panel of industry experts, Pornhub's selection process will be, like their business as a whole, internet-oriented, using a combination of likes, comments and views to determine who takes home the trophies. And in order to promote their fledgling awards show, Pornhub launched an ''Olympics-style'' reality series that has managed to bundle most of their digital innovation into one extremely-online package.
''Once the first, second and third-place winners are chosen, they will be awarded their prize money'--not in American dollars, but in a boutique cryptocurrency called Vice Industry Token, or VIT.''
The ''Pornhub Games'' follows six female performers over the course of as many episodes, as they spar in categories starting with pole dancing and escalating into more mature content. Adult industry journalist Kelli Roberts said the show strove to find a ''diverse'' range of candidates and skill sets (the contestants are all white, but they range in age, including both a ''MILF'' and a rookie).
Like so many combative series, in each round, the players battle for ''advantages'' that will give them a head start in the subsequent episodes. The pilot aired on August 2, but no contestants have been eliminated'--and they won't be. All six performers will stay in the game until the end. The ''Pornhub Games Champion'' will be crowned at the awards show in September, once millions of viewers have chosen their favorite.
In order to watch the episodes when they air, viewers must create avatars on a brand new ''virtual-reality ecosystem'' called Oasis. Oasis, which describes itself as a ''digital paradise,'' opened its ''virtual doors'' the day the Pornhub Games premiered. Ultimately, the platform's designers hope it can become a place where users can live the company's motto'--''Be Yourself!'''--through their animated, Sim-like avatars. For now, the ecosystem is more or less an online island, where users visit beaches, bars, clubs and'--on Thursdays at 5:30 pm PST'--a virtual cinema to watch a screening of the Pornhub Games, with live commentary from its contestants, all from the comfort of their own VR goggles.
Once the first-, second- and third-place winners are chosen, they will be awarded their prize money'--not in American dollars, but in a boutique cryptocurrency called Vice Industry Token, or VIT. The relatively new crypto is still quite small'--at publication time, it ranked 770th on market capitalization charts. But the Penthouse-backed currency has made headlines since its February launch for a partnership with Stormy Daniels' official website and unique business model, promising users they can ''get paid to watch porn.'' When the Pornhub Games champs are crowned, they'll each walk off with $10,000, $7,500 and $5,000 worth of VIT respectively.
The mastermind behind this feat of cybersexuality is'--unusually in the porn world'--a woman. The Games began as the brainchild of the production team at HoloFilm Productions, a British-Columbian virtual reality studio specializing in adult content. The company was founded by Anna Lee, a ''VR porn pioneer'' and two-decade veteran of the industry, who directed the Games throughout their shoot in June and July, and will be running the VR streaming of the PornHub Awards in September.
Lee said she pitched the idea late last year, put out a casting call this past spring, and was soon after inundated with applications, before deciding on the show's six contestants: Cherie DeVille, Elena Koshka, Kimber Woods, Lily Lane, Paige Owens and Tiffany Watson'--none of whom, Lee says, are adult superstars just yet, but will likely be soon.
That's the sheer force of the Pornhub brand, Lee said. The organization has conquered a massive corner of the online world. ''There's going to be 80 million kids,'' Lee said, ''logging on every day, looking at these games.''
New Bakkt Venture Could Make Bitcoin As Mainstream As Starbucks
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 18:31
NEW YORK, NY '' AUGUST 13: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Warren Buffett recently made headlines by comparing Bitcoin to rat poison and predicting that cryptocurrencies will ''come to bad endings.'' The Google search string ''warren buffett bitcoin rat poison'' returns nearly 1 million hits.
Meanwhile, Jeff Sprecher's announcement of his new cryptocurrency venture, Bakkt, went virtually unnoticed outside of the crypto-fanatic world. (A Google search of ''sprecher bakkt'' returns less than 15,000 hits). Given Buffett's near legendary status in the investment community, this lopsided attention is not overly surprising.
But if Sprecher's venture works, he will easily surpass Buffett's position in the Wall Street pantheon.
Buffet has a problem with Bitcoin as an investment because he dislikes investing in assets that do not literally produce value. He told CNBC :
[Bitcoin] itself is creating nothing. When you're buying nonproductive assets, all you're counting on is the next person is going to pay you more because they're even more excited about another next person coming along.''
Leaving aside whether rat-poison-producing companies produce anything of value, perhaps Buffett is onto something. Far be it from me to suggest that Warren Buffett change his investment strategies.
Still, his point is practically irrelevant to the underlying use value of cryptocurrency. Appealing to value-investors did not spur the development of Bitcoin. He's missing '' or perhaps doesn't care '' about two larger points.
First, cryptocurrencies now function as a money substitute and a payments system, even though they have yet to reach widespread acceptance relative to national currencies. The second point, and it's related to the first, is that cryptocurrencies have the potential to drastically reduce transaction costs relative to existing payment systems.
These two points are why Sprecher and his partner, Kelly Loeffler, are on the brink of bringing cryptocurrency to Main Street.
First, an introduction is in order.
Sprecher is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. He is a '' disrupter par excellence '' and '' stands alone as the leading force in modernizing the world's exchanges in recent years from open-outcry pits into super-efficient electronic marketplaces .''
In layman's terms, he saved the New York Stock Exchange.
Loeffler has worked in various roles at ICE since 2002, and she recently ran point on ICE's digital assets group. She is now going to serve as the CEO of Bakkt, the new venture that aims to bring cryptocurrency into the mainstream. To achieve this vision, ICE is partnering with, among others, Microsoft and Starbucks. According to Loeffler :
Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant, and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security, and utility.''
The first part of Loeffler's sentence bears highlighting: Bakkt aims to serve (1) institutional investors; (2) merchants; and, (3) consumers.
Not to slight Microsoft's role, but the fact that Starbucks, with its massive retail presence, has been a leading player in mobile payments instantly gets the ball rolling with merchants and consumers. While it may be less obvious, it is no less significant to this venture that merchants and institutional investors are also tied together.
The importance of this connection between institutional investors and merchants cannot be overstated. This connection is the very reason that ICE's role is so critical.
ICE can offer the crypto world something that it currently lacks, something that many crypto enthusiasts steadfastly reject: a trusted third party. But if crypto purists take a deep breath, they'll see that Bakkt could be the third party that indirectly helps to maintain consumers' ability to use Bitcoin as a decentralized currency'--the way Bitcoin was originally envisioned.
The key is that ICE '' operates two of the largest commodities futures exchanges on the planet'--ICE Futures U.S., and ICE Futures Europe .'' These federally regulated exchanges provide clearing services that effectively eliminate credit risk for the buyers and sellers and that legitimize the transactions for institutional players. (The name Bakkt is a play on words, as in backed by a stalwart institution, or backed by other assets.)
This arrangement is critical because no sane hedge-fund manager, no matter how much he wants or needs a gamble in his portfolio, is going to buy cryptocurrency without being able to ensure he's not buying it from a terrorist.
Why does this matter for gaining Bitcoin's acceptance as a currency?
Because a retailer like Starbucks will not accept cryptocurrency as payment from millions of customers unless it can be sure it will be able to do something with all those digital tokens. And institutional investors live to buy large quantities of assets, provided they can do so legally and as safely as they possibly can conduct such transactions.
So ICE provides the perfect match.
Bakkt plans to provide a trading platform for Bitcoin using the ''one-day futures'' contract, a contract typically reserved for illiquid assets. This move will allow trades to settle in one day, the same as in the cash market. In other words, investors and merchants can get in or out of their positions as quickly as they need to, thus mitigating the risk of price volatility. In industry terms, Bakkt will provide the necessary infrastructure for regular institutional trading.
Once Bakkt has tons of digital tokens stored in its ''warehouse,'' institutional investors can trade all day without having to report transactions to the blockchain. But while all of this is going on in the background, retail customers can simply buy Bitcoin as they always have, and then use those bitcoins to buy a cup of coffee.
The institutional players are relying directly on the third party; the consumers are relying directly on the decentralized network.
It is difficult to overstate how transformative this gambit could become. Every year, U.S. consumers use credit and debit cards to buy trillions of dollars in goods and services with their national currency. That currency depreciates a bit every year (sometimes more than a tiny bit), and various intermediaries collect roughly 3 percent in fees on those transactions.
Cryptocurrencies provide a clear advantage via lower transaction fees, and offer the potential advantage of a more sound currency whose value does not constantly depreciate.
One major impediment to realizing this potential is that, compared to national currencies, merchants do not accept cryptocurrencies on a wide scale.
Bakkt could change that situation. It could be the venture that really does transform Bitcoin '' or some other cryptocurrency '' into full-fledged money.
Many people may have missed it, but last week's official unveiling of Bakkt is a much bigger story than Warren Buffett's rodent problem.
Norbert J. Michel is the director of The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, where he specializes on issues pertaining to financial markets and monetary policy.
I am a Research Fellow in Financial Regulations in The Heritage Foundation's Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. I also research monetary policy and other issues'...
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U.S. investor sues AT&T for $224 million over loss of cryptocurrency
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 22:29
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. entrepreneur and cryptocurrency investor Michael Terpin filed a $224 million lawsuit on Wednesday against telecommunications company AT&T (T.N ), accusing it of fraud and gross negligence in connection with the theft of digital currency tokens from his personal account.
An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
In a 69-page complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Terpin alleged that on January 7, 2018, the tokens were stolen from him through what he alleged was a ''digital identity theft'' of his cellphone account. In the complaint, he said AT&T was his service provider.
In an emailed response, an AT&T spokesman said: ''We dispute these allegations and look forward to presenting our case in court.''
At the time of the theft, the three million stolen tokens were worth $23.8 million, the complaint said. Terpin is also seeking $200 million in punitive damages.
The complaint said that AT&T had been previously contacted by law enforcement authorities about such frauds.
Cryptocurrencies have a market capitalization of about $200 billion, according to data from virtual coin tracker coinmarketcap.com. Nine years after bitcoin came into existence, the market has seen the emergence of more than 1,800 digital currencies.
Terpin, represented by Los Angeles litigation firm Greenberg Glusker, claimed in the lawsuit that after the theft of the digital currency, his cellphone account was transferred to an international criminal gang.
Terpin co-founded the first angel group for bitcoin investors, BitAngels, in early 2013, and the first digital currency fund, the BitAngels/Dapps Fund, in March 2014. He is a senior advisor to Alphabit Fund, one of the world's largest digital currency hedge funds.
The complaint claimed that the theft of the tokens occurred through what is called a SIM swap fraud. SIM stands for subscriber identification module, and SIM cards are used to authenticate subscribers on mobile phones.
SIM swapping consists of tricking a provider into transferring a subscriber's phone number to a SIM card controlled by someone else. Once that person gets the phone number, it can be used to reset the subscriber's passwords and access online accounts.
Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Nick Zieminski
Clips
VIDEO - CNN's Berman to Rep. Wilson: 'Do You See a Racial Chinge' to Trump's 'Dog' Comment? | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 14:45
During Tuesday's edition of CNN's New Day, co-host John Berman interviewed Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), one of the President's most vocal critics. He could not resist asking her to weigh in on President Trump's reference to Omarosa as a "dog," in addition to bringing up his references to Rep. Wilson and Omarosa as "wacky." Berman asked "Do you see a racial chinge to those comments like you clearly see something racial with the dog statement?" After Wilson called President Trump and some of the people who work with him white supremacists, Berman asked her "what distinguishes him, in your mind, from the people who marched in Washington the other day in this alt-right Neo-Nazi rally?"
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VIDEO - Cash machines could be mass-hacked in global cyber attack, FBI warns
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 14:08
B anks have been warned of an imminent threat that their cash machines could be mass-hacked by cyber criminals.
In a confidential alert on Friday, America's Federal Bureau of Investigation told international banks that criminals are plotting a concerted global malware attack on cash machines in the next few days.
The FBI issued a warning about a highly choreographed fraud scheme known as an ATM "jackpotting", in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to take out millions in just a few minutes.
UK-based banks with large international operations, such as HSBC and Barclays, are among those thought to have been made aware of the...
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VIDEO - People in LA are pooping on electric scooters and setting them on fire - YouTube
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:21
VIDEO - Omarosa on Her Secret Tapes & Trump's Biggest Weakness | The Daily Show - YouTube
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 13:00
VIDEO - Watch '' Antifa Chants Death to America: 'No Borders! No Wall! No USA at All!'
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:45
Open borders protesters and members of the left-wing anarchist group Antifa chanted death to America during a counter-protest in Washington, DC, on Sunday.In a video by Breitbart News' Ian Mason, Antifa members and open borders activists can be heard and seen marching down streets throughout Washington, DC, demanding an end to the United States.
''No border, no wall, no USA at all!'' Antifa and open borders activists chanted.
The mob of left-wing activists carried red flags and wore all black with masks and helmets on their heads as a counter-protest to the ''Unite the Right 2'' protest that took place in Lafayette Park.
Though Antifa labels itself as ''anti-fascists,'' the group is known for attacking and threatening onlookers, police, and supporters of President Trump.
Ian Mason and Matt Perdie contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Los Angeles is first in US to install subway body scanners | abc7.com
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:52
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 01:44PM
LOS ANGELES (KABC) --
Los Angeles' subway system is the first in the country to install subway body scanners that screen passengers for weapons and explosives.
Passengers at Union Station Tuesday may have noticed the new step L.A. Metro is taking toward safety.
The scanners are purchased from Thruvision, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom. The machines scan for metallic and non-metallic objects on a person's body, can detect suspicious items from 30 feet away and have the capability of scanning more than 2,000 passengers per hour.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the first public transportation system in the country to use this. It will serve as the extra layer of protection to make sure you're safer on public transportation.
Here's how it works -- commuters walk by the small, mobile machine and they're scanned for weapons. This new technology was tested and tweaked by the Transportation Security Administration for more than a year. Then, Metro jumped on the opportunity to bring it to Southern California.
MORE: Metro testing new passenger screening system at Union Station in downtown LA
"This is a completely noninvasive and portable screening system that passively screens weapons or individuals for weapons or explosive devices," said Phillip A. Washington, Metro's CEO.
At Union Station, commuters came down the escalator and passed by the machine -- there was no delay.
We still don't know how many of these machines will be purchased or the cost -- that's all being worked out with the TSA.
The Thruvision scanners are mobile, so they can be rolled into place where they're needed.
"Anything we can do that will add even a little bit of security to make sure that people feel safe and are safe when they're riding public transportation, I think it's so important that we do it," said LAPD Deputy Chief Phillip Tingirides.
Training to utilize the scanners starts immediately. In the next few months, commuters will see the machines deployed at different stations around Los Angeles County.
Metro has previously tested several different types of body scanners, including airport-style screening systems where passengers walk through a scanner. The pilot program was meant to evaluate the accuracy and capacity of the portable machines.
About 150,000 passengers ride on Metro's Red Line daily and the subway system counted more than 112 million rides last year, officials said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(Copyright (C)2018 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Alex Jones, election security and regrets
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:39
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday defended the company's decision this week to put Infowars' Alex Jones in a seven-day ''timeout'' after Jones urged his viewers to ready their ''battle rifles'' against the media.
Dorsey said he resisted banning Jones, the embattled conspiracy theorist and radio host, despite calls to do so, some of which came from inside Twitter.
''We can't build a service that is subjective just to the whims of what we personally believe,'' Dorsey told NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview.
Dorsey said he believes the suspension can be effective and is consistent with the company's policies.
''I feel any suspension, whether it be a permanent or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,'' Dorsey said.
When asked by Holt if he believes Jones will change his behavior, Dorsey said he did not know.
''Whether it works within this case to change some of those behaviors and change some of those actions, I don't know,'' Dorsey said. ''But this is consistent with how we enforce.''
Watch the interview Wednesday evening on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
Jones was banned or restricted from using the services of at least 10 tech companies this month, including Facebook and YouTube. Twitter had been the most high-profile holdout, until it announced on Tuesday that Jones was suspended from posting for seven days.
Dorsey later clarified on Twitter that he was "speaking broadly about our range of enforcement actions" with regards to the company's use of timeouts.
"I don't assume everyone will change their actions. Enforcement gets tougher with further reported violations," Dorsey tweeted.
Dorsey's interview comes after months of scrutiny on both him and Twitter for what critics say has been a sluggish response to systemic problems on the platform, including harassment, bots and hate speech. In the interview, Dorsey offered insight into the company's decision-making process, but also showed that it is still struggling to figure out how to manage the platform it created.
In response to a question about Jones, Dorsey said that ''the most important thing for us is that we are consistent in applying our enforcement.''
But in a follow-up question on weighing the importance of Twitter's rules versus its moral obligation, Dorsey said the company has ''to put the safety of individuals first in every single thing that we do, and we need to enforce our rules and also evolve our rules around that.''
Dorsey said trying to strike a balance between consistency and moral obligation had led the company to consider a policy around dehumanizing speech '-- one that could potentially ensnare Jones, who was banned from Facebook for what the social network called dehumanizing speech directed at Muslims, immigrants and transgender people.
Dorsey also said that he personally felt that other companies had been inconsistent with how they dealt with Jones.
"I think some of the actions have been, in my own personal view, a little bit inconsistent," Dorsey said.
Jones, who has peddled a litany of conspiracy theories over the years including the idea that the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre was a hoax, will be free to continue tweeting and broadcasting from the Twitter-owned video-streaming service Periscope next week, where he often livestreams.
Dorsey said he feels ''terrible'' at the pain Jones has caused the Sandy Hook families and acknowledged that the company had been slow to respond.
''I think we have felt behind and we have felt that we have moved too slow in a lot of our actions,'' he said.
Jones may be Twitter's latest scandal, but the company continues to deal with an older problem '-- how to clean up the platform after it was weaponized by Russian bots that pushed misinformation and divisive content in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. election.
''Election integrity is our first priority this year,'' Dorsey said.
A big part of that effort has been combatting bots, which are automated accounts used to manipulate the discourse on Twitter. The company is using technology to fight back, and it is showing progress. Last month, Twitter said its technology was capable of identifying more than 9.9 million potential spam accounts per week and shutting them down.
Dorsey said the system is still being improved and noted that the company is considering other solutions as well.
''We need to make sure that we are considering not just policy changes, but also product changes to help alleviate some of these concerns,'' he said.
As Twitter tries to combat the weaponization of its platform, the company is also feeling the heat from the country's political divide, especially when its most prominent user is the president of the United States.
Dorsey has appeared particularly sensitive to claims that Twitter suppresses conservative voices. Twitter came under fire last month after President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers claimed that Twitter was burying certain conservative accounts, a process that has been referred to as "shadow banning."
In a radio interview with the conservative personality Sean Hannity last week, Dorsey spoke directly to a Republican audience and said Twitter does not ban accounts based on political ideology.
When asked by Holt if Dorsey felt the rhetoric from conservatives was more extreme than from liberals, Dorsey demurred and instead said it was important to focus on actions rather than words.
''We need to look at behaviors, when people are trying to shut down the voices of others,'' Dorsey said. ''People are trying to harass others. And that's independent of a viewpoint.''
Dorsey said that while the company has been working toward improving the health of the conversation on Twitter, he's cognizant of what the company has done '-- or not done '-- in the past and that it has had a negative effect on some people.
''Three years ago, we prioritized health and safety as our No. 1 priority in the company,'' he said ''And we're coming from 10 years of not doing that. So there is a lot of debt that we have to pay down. There is a lot of infrastructure that we have to change. There's a lot of policy that we have to look critically at.''
VIDEO - Tinder exec: I had to protect the company from my own story
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 11:01
A lawsuit filed by ten current and former Tinder executives accuses former CEO Greg Blatt of groping and sexually harassing a vice president of the company. The suit also claims that Tinder's corporate parent did nothing about the incident because Blatt was a key figure in its plan to minimize Tinder's valuation and deny early employees billions of dollars in stock options. The lawsuit accuses Blatt of groping and sexually harassing Rosette Pambakian, Tinder's vice president of marketing and communications, at a company holiday party in 2016. In a statement to CNN, Pambakian said she felt conflicted about reporting the incident, because, as the head of communications since 2012, her job was to protect the company's reputation.
"My biggest nightmare had come to life in that moment ... and my job as Tinder's head of communications was to protect the company and make sure we were always portrayed positively in the press," she said. "The irony that I had to now protect the company from myself was not lost on me."
The allegation appears in a lawsuit brought by Tinder co-founder Sean Rad, Pambakian, and eight early employees of the popular dating app. They are suing the service's current owners, alleging that they manipulated the valuation of the company to deny them of billions of dollars they were owed.
The suit, filed Tuesday in state court in New York, seeks at least $2 billion in damages from Match Group ( MTCH ) and its parent company, IAC/InterActiveCorp ( IAC ) . The plaintiffs are represented by Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn, who has represented some of the biggest companies in tech, including Facebook ( FB ) , Apple ( AAPL ) and Uber.
Four of the plaintiffs, who still work at Tinder, were put on paid administrative leave by the company on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the matter.
IAC denied the claims and issued a statement calling the suit "meritless" and saying it would "vigorously defend" itself against it.
A spokesperson for Match Group said in a statement, "The Match Group Board takes allegations of workplace misconduct extremely seriously. We investigate reports of misconduct, including sexual harassment, promptly and thoroughly, and take appropriate action, including swift termination of those responsible for such behavior.
"As it relates to the matter alleged in the lawsuit, an incident occurred in late 2016 and was reported at the end of April 2017. The Match Group Board -- with the assistance of experienced outside counsel from two nationally recognized law firms -- promptly conducted a careful and thorough investigation under the direction of independent Board members, concluded, among other things, that there was no violation of law or company policy, and took appropriate action."
Pambakian said she was never questioned by an outside firm, only Match executives, and believes Blatt was protected as part of the alleged "scheme" to deny early employees millions of dollars.
CNN has learned more details surrounding the alleged incident, which occurred during Tinder's 2016 holiday party at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles.
According to Pambakian, the party coincided with Blatt's being named CEO. She said Blatt started behaving inappropriately, including saying at one point, "I get hard every time I look at you."
According to Pambakian, Blatt then said, "let's get out of here."
"In that moment, I thought, 'My boss actually thinks I'm going home with him,'" she said. "I basically bolted, found two people I knew and said, 'Hey, let's go up to your room.'"
They gathered in that hotel room, one of several the company had booked for the evening.
Pambakian said Blatt showed up soon after, although she does not know if he was aware she was there.
She said she was sitting on the bed when Blatt entered the room and, without saying anything to anyone else in the room, pushed her back onto the mattress, climbed on top of her, and began kissing and fondling her.
Blatt did not respond to a CNN request for comment.
Related: Tinder co-founders and 8 others sue dating app's owners, claiming they're owed $2 billion
A source familiar with the matter told CNN the allegation was investigated and found that Blatt had been invited to the room by one of the people there and that "this was a one-off consensual error in judgment."
"From what we understood from interviews and investigations, there was consensual cuddling taking place," the source said.
Pambakian strongly disagrees. "It wasn't consensual -- there was no opportunity, no 'hi,' 'hello,' before I even knew it, Greg Blatt was on top of me in a hotel room," she said.
Word of the incident soon spread among Tinder employees, according to Pambakian. Because she reported directly to Blatt, she reported the incident to executives at Match.
Two sources who spoke to Pambakian within days of the alleged incident said she appeared visibly distraught over it. "She was crying when she told me," one source told CNN. "She genuinely seemed upset."
Pambakian, who has led Tinder's communications since 2012 and joined the company full time in 2014, told CNN she felt conflicted about how to handle the alleged incident. Her role leading the company's communication strategy required her to protect the company's image, not make herself the story.
Pambakian said she was hesitant to discuss the matter publicly because she didn't want it to define her. She also worried that it would stall her career. But she found that position increasingly untenable as word of the incident spread and journalists -- including me -- started asking questions and rumors began circulating at the company.
"The self-loathing that followed was almost unbearable, and frankly, indescribable," Pambakian said. "I couldn't understand why I was protecting a company that did not protect me when I needed it most."
Pambakian was reluctant to share details of the incident publicly at the time, she said, because "I didn't want any public attention the incident received to overshadow my contributions and achievements to building a massively successful brand."
Rad, who attended the party but didn't witness any interactions between Pambakian and Blatt, said he learned of the allegations months later and asked Pambakian about them. According to the suit, he reported the incident to Jared Sine, Match's general counsel. According to the suit, Sine told Rad that Match's board of directors -- of which Blatt was Chairman -- "would run its own investigation."
"Defendants refused and covered up Blatt's conduct," the suit states. "Defendants even allowed Blatt to contact Pambakian and one of the eyewitnesses directly, whom Blatt then pressured to conceal his misconduct."
Rad said he alerted IAC officials to the allegations in mid-2017; the suit alleges that they did nothing and kept Blatt on as CEO because he was key to their plan to downplay the company's valuation. Rad also told CNN that he confronted Blatt. "I was told, 'If you take me down, I'm going to take you down with me,'" Rad said.
Pambakian said she received sympathy from senior executives at the company who heard about the incident but nothing was ever done.
"No outside firm questioned me," she said. "Multiple IAC and Match executives apologized profusely to me for Greg Blatt's conduct on the night of the holiday party." According to Pambakian, she was also asked to sign an NDA that would have required her to never speak publicly about the incident in exchange for compensation, but she refused.
Pambakian says Blatt's behavior wasn't an isolated incident. According to her, many other women were subjected to "pervasive sexual harassment and misogyny by Match executives."
Pambakian said that when she asked about a budget for activities to boost company morale, an executive relayed a message from Blatt, who said the company didn't need a budget for that because she and and two other women on her team were "company morale." The executive said another woman on the team wasn't included in that category because she "had peaked," Pambakian told CNN.
That same executive, according to Pambakian, told her it was "strategic" that a woman on her team was wearing a skirt the day she asked her boss for a raise, and said he also told her he was sweating looking at her. According to Pambakian, that executive also referred to a female colleague at a Match Group party as a "bathroom bang."
A source described her own experience with that executive, who was her senior. She said that at a company happy hour, after she rejected his advances, he called her "unattractive" and said she looked like a "Russian prostitute."
According to that source, the executive resigned a year later after HR conducted an investigation.
"As it relates to the Tinder executive, we completed a thorough investigation into his behavior within days of it being reported, after which he was promptly removed from the Company," a Match Group spokesperson said.
This is not the first time there have been allegations of sexual harassment at the executive level at Tinder.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit also include Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, who was accused of sexual harassment by former employee Whitney Wolf in 2014, claiming he harassed her and that Rad allowed the harassment to take place. It settled without an admission of wrongdoing by any of the parties. CNN has reached out to Mateen and Wolf for comment.
Although Blatt resigned as Tinder's CEO in in 2017, he is vice chairman of the Match Group board of directors.
The suit alleges that IAC and Match allowed Blatt to continue as CEO until the Wall Street banks completed their valuation, which placed Tinder at $3 billion. Blatt left the company with a "golden parachute" worth "hundreds of millions of dollars," the suit states.
As to why she's speaking up now, Pambakian said she feels an obligation to the 40 people, most of them young women, she leads. "I absolutely cannot allow them to be subjected to the things I experienced," she said.
Pambakian still works at Tinder.
"Why should I be the one to leave my job that I love when I did nothing wrong?," she said in a statement to CNN. "Why is it that the men responsible for this type of behavior are allowed to quietly resign with a hefty severance package while no one is the wiser? Why are they being protected while I fear for my future and reputation for blowing the whistle?"
CNNMoney (New York) First published August 15, 2018: 9:35 PM ET
VIDEO - CRTV on Twitter: "When you're a Democrat running for Vermont governor and you have no idea what socialism is'... ðŸ¤-- https://t.co/4h6cUCLmmc"
Thu, 16 Aug 2018 10:20
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VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "Andrew Cuomo: "We are not going to make America great again. It was never that great." https://t.co/JG3PV45Vj0"
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:55
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VIDEO - YouTube - Q video of Trump's promise
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:21
VIDEO - Twitter suspends conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for one week
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:02
Twitter has suspended far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platform for one week. The news was first shared by an InfoWars personality, who tweeted a screenshot of Jones' Twitter account -- indicating the company limited some of Jones' account features temporarily.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the screenshot. The spokesperson said the content which prompted Twitter to suspend Jones was a video published Tuesday in which he said, "Now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag."
On Friday, one day after a CNN investigation found that Jones' Twitter accounts appeared to have repeatedly violated the company's rules, Twitter said the accounts belonging to Jones and his fringe media organization InfoWars would remain online.
At the time, a Twitter spokesperson said the company concluded that of the more than a dozen tweets included in CNN's Thursday report, seven were found to have violated Twitter's rules. Twitter would have required those tweets to be deleted, if they were to have remained up.
But after CNN's investigation was published, the tweets cited in it were almost immediately deleted from the social media website. Jones said on his program that he had instructed his staff to do so and "take the super high road," though he contested whether the tweets violated any Twitter rules.
Related: Twitter admits InfoWars violated its rules, but says it will remain on the platform
Twitter is one of the only major social media companies that has not scrubbed its platform of Jones or InfoWars. Recently, Jones has seen the vast majority of the social media infrastructure for his media empire crumble. Apple has removed the full library of his podcasts, Facebook has unpublished his pages, YouTube terminated his account, and other technology companies took similar action.
However, InfoWars apps remain available through the Google Play store and Apple's app store.
CNNMoney (New York) First published August 14, 2018: 10:21 PM ET
VIDEO - Losing Faith Fast, Istanbul Merchants Throw in Towel on the Lira - Bloomberg
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:17
Even in Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey, patriotism has its limits.
As economists speculate on the policy makers' range of options in the face of a market meltdown, Turks are throwing in the towel on their national currency.
President Erdogan's repeated calls for citizens to convert their considerable foreign-exchange deposits to support the lira are falling on deaf ears. Anyone who obeyed those pleas in the past lost money. And at the heart of Istanbul's merchant capital, in the world's oldest covered market, there are signs it's starting to damage his credibility and chipping into his support.
''I have respect for our president, but I can't sell my gold and foreign currency just because he made that call," said Sevin Temur, a 58-year-old retiree. ''I've cut down on food for those savings."For a leader who prides himself on having made Turks more prosperous during his 15 years in power, the failure to back his lira demands with any policy action comes as a surprise, and a betrayal. Since Erdogan first began making the call in mid-December of 2016, the lira has been the world's worst currency, losing about half its value against the dollar and euro. On Friday alone, the currency depreciated by 14 percent.
''I've lost about 1 million liras," says 48-year-old jeweler Cahit Bas, referring to a figure that's worth about $155,000 now, but $340,000 in mid-2016. ''I think we're heading for a crisis even worse than the previous one."
Bas noted that you wouldn't notice any signs of trouble if you were following the mostly government-controlled media, but said Turks were feeling it. Two merchants at the bazaar committed suicide in the past week alone, he said.
New Team''I'm so regretful I didn't buy dollars, I feel like a fool," said Bulent Ucuran, a 36-year-old shopkeeper. ''When we have so many experienced people, leaving the entire economy to the son-in-law created insecurity," he added, referring to Erdogan's decision to name his daughter's 40-year-old husband, Berat Albayrak, minister of a newly combined treasury and finance ministry on July 9.
That appointment also unnerved international investors, who were used to dealing with steady hands on the economy even as Erdogan's personal pronouncements became increasingly unpredictable and further outside the mainstream. And they didn't give Albayrak much of a chance: Turkish bank shares dropped almost 20 percent in the week after his appointment, and the lira 5 percent.
U.S. SpatThen a row with America made things even worse, ultimately triggering a currency plunge that risks turning into a full-blown financial crisis, according to investors. Turkey's refusal to release American citizens and diplomatic employees imprisoned in the aftermath of a coup attempt against Erdogan in 2016, including Pastor Andrew Brunson, led the U.S. to begin imposing sanctions earlier this month. More are likely to come if Turkey keeps them in jail.
''The economy was so bad anyway, then came the priest," said Bas, the jeweler. ''They should give up the priest immediately, they should have put him on the plane with the last delegation to the U.S. and said: 'Here, take him!'"
His colleague Abdis Akbulut had similar sentiments about Erdogan's managing of foreign affairs.
Read here for more on Erdogan's defiance as crisis grows
''Turkey's a very big country, but we can't fight with everyone in the international arena," he said. ''You can't go out and fight one day with America and the next with Germany. Every outburst by Erdogan explodes on us."
Basak Genc, 38, said she was trying to deal with the turmoil by pulling all of her money out of the bank.
''We couldn't get any foreign currency out yesterday: we wanted to take out $50,000 but they directly said 'no,'" she said. ''We couldn't carry out an EFT either," she said, referring to an electronic funds transfer.
But not everyone placed the blame on the government. Okan Aksut, 28, walked into the bazaar with a bag full of gold he was looking to exchange, both to take advantage of what he thought was a selling opportunity, and in response to Erdogan's call. ''If the lira goes to 10, it doesn't matter," he said. It traded at 6.43 to the dollar on Friday.
Turning EastOsman Sutuna, who sells items like rugs and cloth bags to tourists, said it was time for a wholesale revamp of Turkey's foreign policy that would divorce it from the West, in line with a camp of pro-government policy wonks who see its future as a leader in the Islamic world, rather than an aspiring member of the European Union. Turkey should hold a referendum on leaving NATO, he said. ''Doing business with the U.S. is like sleeping with a python: you don't know when you're going to get bit."
Sutuna was interrupted by an eavesdropper from across the way.
''So we all deserve this, and from now on I'm going to vote for Erdogan -- I'm going to sell everything I have to support him!" the person yelled sarcastically, declining to give his name out of fear of possible retribution. ''Since you all want a caliphate, bring it on and let's all just relax about it."
VIDEO - Colorado school district slashes Mondays, begins 4-day school week | Fox News
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:17
Colorado school district begins four-day weeksSchool District 27J says they will save about $1 million per year by eliminating school on Mondays. Parents say the change will end up costing them if they need to pay for care of their children.
A Colorado school district is attempting a $1 million science experiment -- cutting its school week to four days.
District 27J officially slashed Mondays off the school calendar and started a four-day school week in a move designed to cut costs and attract teachers -- but parents are concerned it will cost them money instead.
Students who attend school in the district had their first day of school on Tuesday. Middle and high school students will attend school from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays and be off on Mondays, FOX 31 reported. Teachers will have to attend work one Monday a month, but only for half the day.
MOLLIE TIBBETTS SEARCH NOW FOCUSING ON CAR WASH, TRUCK STOP AND AREAS IN AND AROUND BROOKLYN, IOWA
The school district, which serves about 18,000 students in Brighton, Commerce City, Henderson, Thornton and Aurora, said the move will save about $1 million per year in costs that would have otherwise gone to paying substitute teachers and running school buses.
Monday was chosen because it gives the students an extra ''day to prepare,'' District 27J Superintendent Chris Fiedler said.
"We really feel like Monday is the day to prepare and to be better for kids," Fiedler told USA Today. "This will give people a chance to have a weekend and then come in on Monday '-- whether they're paid to or not because they're doing that work anyway to be prepared for kids and to be better for kids."
NEW YORK SUBWAY RIDERS ATTACK CONDUCTOR AFTER ANNOUNCEMENT TRAIN WOULD BE MAKING ONLY EXPRESS STOPS
However, some parents were concerned about who would watch their child on Mondays while they were at work, FOX 31 reported. The district said it would offer child care for children under 12 for $30 on Mondays, KHOU 11 reported.
District 27J is not the first school district to implement four-day school weeks. Several school districts in Oklahoma, Montana and Oregon have also made the change, NBC News reported.
Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.
VIDEO - YouTube - pooping and burning scooters
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 23:49
VIDEO - NBC News on Twitter: "JUST IN: White House Press Sec. Sanders says she can't guarantee that a recording of the president using ''the N-word'' will never be heard by the American people. It remains unclear if such a recording exists. https://t.co
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 19:40
Log in Sign up NBC News @ NBCNews JUST IN: White House Press Sec. Sanders says she can't guarantee that a recording of the president using ''the N-word'' will never be heard by the American people.It remains unclear if such a recording exists.
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VIDEO - Breaking911 on Twitter: "WATCH: CNN's Chris Cuomo Defends Violence By Antifa: ''All Punches Are Not Equal...'' https://t.co/mlAmwcmzt8"
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 18:38
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VIDEO - Nancy Pelosi twists an old McConnell quote into a 'racist statement' - The Washington Post
Tue, 14 Aug 2018 11:44
''Let me re­mind you that when the Re­pub­lic­ans took pow­er when President Obama was president of the United States, what Mitch McConnell said is, 'The most im­port­ant thing we can do is to make sure he does not suc­ceed.' If that wasn't a rac­ist state­ment. That is un­think­a­ble.''
'-- House Mi­nor­i­ty Leader Nan­cy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in an inter­view on MSNBC, Aug. 12, 2018
Well, a zom­bie claim em­er­ges from the dead a­gain. But it's even ugli­er than usu­al.
As an ex­am­ple of Republican in­tran­si­gence, Democrats love to bring up some long-ago re­marks by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). But they of­ten get the tim­ing and the con­text wrong, even if they get the quote '-- that McConnell want­ed to keep Obama a ''one-term'' president '-- right.
In this case, Pelosi got the tim­ing most­ly right '-- McConnell made his re­marks on the eve of the mid­term elec­tions in 2010, just be­fore House Re­pub­lic­ans took pow­er. (U­su­al­ly Democrats sug­gest he said it af­ter Obama first won e­lec­tion in 2008.) But she twists his words out of con­text '-- and states it was a ''rac­ist state­ment'' as well.
Let's take a look.
The FactsMcConnell made his com­ments in an inter­view that ap­peared in the National Journal on Oct. 23, 2010. The inter­view was rel­a­tive­ly short, so we will print it in its en­tire­ty, with key por­tions high­light­ed.
NJ: You've been studying the history of presidents who lost part or all of Congress in their first term. Why?
McConnell: In the last 100 years, three presidents suffered big defeats in Congress in their first term and then won reelection: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and the most recent example, Bill Clinton. I read a lot of history anyway, but I am trying to apply those lessons to current situations in hopes of not making the same mistakes.
NJ: What have you learned?
McConnell: After 1994, the public had the impression we Republicans overpromised and underdelivered. We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being reelected, and we were hanging on for our lives.
NJ: What does this mean now?
McConnell: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, ''Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.''
NJ.: What's the job?
McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
NJ: Does that mean endless, or at least frequent, confrontation with the president?
McConnell: If President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he's willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it's not inappropriate for us to do business with him.
NJ: What are the big issues?
McConnell: It is possible the president's advisers will tell him he has to do something to get right with the public on his levels of spending and [on] lowering the national debt. If he were to heed that advice, he would, I imagine, find more support among our conference than he would among some in the Senate in his own party. I don't want the president to fail; I want him to change. So, we'll see. The next move is going to be up to him.
So, seen in con­text, McConnell was say­ing that if Re­pub­lic­ans want­ed to achieve their goals, such as re­peal of the Af­ford­a­ble Care Act, they can't just win the midterms '-- they also need to ensure that Obama does not win reelection. It's less of ''an an­nounce­ment'' than a state­ment of fact.
McConnell further el­abo­rat­ed on his re­marks in a speech at the Her­it­age Foundation af­ter the 2010 e­lec­tion, in which the GOP won con­trol of the House:
''Let's start with the big picture. Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office. But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won't veto any of these things.''
Of course, Obama did not be­come a one-term president, and the GOP did not take con­trol of the Senate until 2014. And even when Re­pub­lic­ans took the presi­den­cy in 2016, they still could not eliminate Obamacare.
Let's go back to Pelosi. She made her com­ments in re­sponse to this ques­tion: ''You've worked with Speaker Ryan, you know Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, why do you think they ha­ven't spok­en up as lead­ers in the United States against some­thing as per­ni­cious as white su­prem­a­cy and rac­ism?''
(Note: McConnell on Aug. 16, 2017, is­sued this state­ment when white sup­rema­cists were re­port­ed to be plan­ning a ral­ly in Ken­tucky: ''We can have no tol­er­ance for an i­de­ol­o­gy of ra­cial ha­tred. There are no good neo-nazis, and those who es­pouse their views are not sup­port­ers of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to stand against hate and vi­o­lence, wher­ev­er it rais­es its evil head.'')
Pelosi did not di­rect­ly an­swer but in­stead harked back to this 2010 inter­view. But nowhere in McConnell's com­ments can we find a line like: ''The most im­port­ant thing we can do is to make sure he does not suc­ceed.'' Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman, said it was a par­a­phrase of this line: ''The sin­gle most im­port­ant thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.''
Hmmm. That ig­nores the rest of the con­ver­sa­tion: ''If he's will­ing to meet us half­way on some of the big­gest issues, it's not in­ap­pro­pri­ate for us to do busi­ness with him. '... I don't want the president to fail; I want him to change.''
In re­sponse to our ques­tions, Hammill said: ''The leader's lar­ger point is that President Obama was treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly than oth­er pres­i­dents by Republican lead­ers like McConnell. They under­mined him at every turn, ob­struct­ed his a­gen­da at lev­els not seen in the history of our coun­try and turned nor­mal­ly bi­par­ti­san mat­ters like gov­ern­ment fund­ing, in­fra­struc­ture, etc., into cri­ses over and over a­gain.''
But we found nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples of when Obama thanked McConnell for his help in pass­ing leg­is­la­tion. McConnell worked with Obama on making the George W. Bush tax cuts per­ma­nent and on free trade. Those are poli­cies that Pelosi at the time op­posed, but they are also good ex­am­ples of Obama and McConnell meet­ing halfway on key issues.
Hammill's re­sponse: ''This is the leader's o­pin­ion based on her firsthand experience.''
In 2015, we should note, the New York Times pub­lished a leng­thy ar­ti­cle on McConnell's ''nuanced, some­times sur­pris­ing, some­times con­ten­tious record on ci­vil rights that has placed him a­part from some Republican col­leagues and from some voters in his home state, Ken­tucky.''
The Pi­no­cchi­o TestWe ob­vi­ous­ly don't fact-check o­pin­ion. But clear­ly Pelosi's par­a­phrase bears little re­la­tion­ship to what McConnell ac­tu­al­ly said in 2010 '-- he even said he did not want Obama to fail '-- and we are flum­moxed how this an­o­dyne po­lit­i­cal state­ment then is twist­ed into be­ing an allegedly rac­ist state­ment. McConnell was a tough cus­tom­er for Obama, his po­lit­i­cal op­pos­ite, but they did cooperate when their in­ter­ests were in sync.
Democrats have some­times placed McConnell's ''one-term'' com­ment in the wrong year, but we are un­aware of a seni­or Democrat bun­gling the ac­tu­al quote so much in serv­ice of an in­cen­di­ar­y charge. Pelosi earns Four Pinocchios.
Four Pinocchios (A­bout our rat­ing scale)
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[game type="src" src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/pelosi-racist/27b84605-251f-43c4-8668-0002ca5e8cea_pollEmbed?outputType=ssiSingle"]
VIDEO - Pelosi: Trump's Whole Thing Is 'Make America White Again' | Breitbart
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 14:52
Sunday on MSNBC's ''AM Joy,'' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said President Donald Trump's ''whole thing is 'Make America White Again.'''
Pelosi said, ''We're going backward, and the president with all of his statements is the master of the dog whistle. Everything he has done, whether it's taking babies out of the arms of their moms, whether it's issues that relate to health care in our country, access to services and the rest is '-- his whole thing is 'Make America White Again.' That's his thing. He can say a nice thing today in a tweet, but the fact is his actions speak louder than his words.''
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO - Horizon Air employee had security clearance, specialized training | king5.com
Mon, 13 Aug 2018 12:32
LOCAL A Horizon Air employee who stole an airplane Friday night had a higher clearance than other ground agents.
A 3 ½ year employee of Horizon Air had specialized training and security clearance, helping him carry out his plan to steal a Horizon Air passenger jet from its parking spot at Sea-Tac Airport on Friday evening.
''He worked his shift yesterday. We believe he was in uniform. His job is to be around airplanes,'' said Brad Tilden, CEO of Horizon's parent company Alaska Airlines.
Richard Russell, 29, flew the plane for over an hour before it crashed on Ketron Island in south Puget Sound. There were no other people on board, and the man piloting the plane has not been recovered.
WATCH: Who is Richard Russell
Airline officials said the ground service agent had a certification to tow aircraft, which results in a higher clearance than other ground agents.
Authorities say Russell used a tow vehicle in the airport's Cargo 1 area to turn around a Q400 prop plane 180 degrees and prepare it for take-off.
Former co-workers, who asked not to be named, described Russell as "super nice and super chill."
One colleague said, "People did not see him as a threat."
According to his blog, the 29-year-old grew up in Alaska, met his wife in Oregon, and moved to Sumner, Washington three years ago. That's when he got a job at Horizon Air as a ground service agent, a job that allowed him to travel.
"Most importantly I get to visit those I love most," Russell said in a video he produced on YouTube.
Airline and airport officials would not say during a briefing to reporters Saturday exactly when airport staff determined the plane was in the process of being stolen. They said they wanted to review video recordings, which are called tower tapes, to determine the plane's precise movements during taxing and takeoff.
LISTEN: Cockpit audio from worker who stole empty plane from Sea-Tac Airport
Authorities are still piecing together how Russell gained a working knowledge of the cockpit and flight procedures. They also seemed to marvel at his stunt flying once airborne.
''To my knowledge, he didn't have a pilot's license,'' said Horizon CEO Gary Beck.
Beck said flying the ''complex machine'' would be more difficult than a private plane.
''I don't know how he achieved the experience he did,'' Beck said.
WATCH: Stolen plane flies erratically over Puget Sound
The FBI's special agent in charge of the Seattle office, Jay S. Tabb, said up to 40 FBI agents were working the case overnight.
When asked about Russell's mental condition Tabb replied, ''It's too early to comment on that.''
An FBI official said they were in touch with the deceased employee's family last night after the crash.
WATCH: Aerials of crash scene on Ketron Island
(C) 2018 KING
VIDEO - Media Matters on Twitter: "Sean Hannity lies about the Russia investigation at night on Fox News, Shep Smith debunks his false claims during the day https://t.co/lOoOxuD2IH"
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 22:06
Log in Sign up Media Matters @ mmfa Sean Hannity lies about the Russia investigation at night on Fox News, Shep Smith debunks his false claims during the day
pic.twitter.com/lOoOxuD2IH 12:59 PM - 15 Aug 2018 Twitter by: Media Matters @mmfa Pam Ryan @ 1liesalot
2h Replying to
@mmfa Why would he even have the damn thing in the first place?
View conversation · G-Man @ gmansteelers
2h Replying to
@mmfa Sean is bought and paid for
View conversation · Doyouhaveaflag @ Doyouhaveaflag
2h Replying to
@mmfa Its when the Ambien takes hold...
View conversation · Kevin Barry Boyle @ KevinBarryBoyl1
2h Replying to
@mmfa The only honest person on Fox
View conversation · Albatross @ CurtGaudi
2h Replying to
@mmfa Good cop bad cop.
View conversation · Yankeesfan66 @ rangersfan1966
2h Replying to
@mmfa A deplorable informed me yesterday that Shep Smith is the only one wrong on Fox News...ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
View conversation · Jan @ Jaelaine7
2h Replying to
@rangersfan1966 @mmfa Of course they did.
View conversation · Yankeesfan66 @ rangersfan1966
2h Replying to
@Jaelaine7 @mmfa They are such giving people, always willing to reply to your tweets, with free entertainment to make you laugh...ðŸ‹
View conversation · jimmy craig @ threepeaksexp
2h Replying to
@mmfa Fox is one schizophrenic network
View conversation · jimmy craig @ threepeaksexp
2h Replying to
@mmfa Fox news network is like an elderly person suffering from early onset dementia. Most of the day they seem fine and coherent...then the sun goes down and the batshit crazy comes out
View conversation · MarLouThom @ MareLouThom
2h Replying to
@mmfa Fox sheeple must be confused.
View conversation · Bring Back The HS Rifle Clubs @ Itches657
2h Replying to
@mmfa @ShepNewsTeam @realDonaldTrump @ShepNewsTeam thinks that
@realDonaldTrump has to disprove the allegations in the dossier Which is not only anti American it's plain ignorant of how our Republic operates which is why I assume you're advocating for him
View conversation · Ran @ NF_Palm_Coast
2h Replying to
@mmfa Some day soon, you guys and Shep can share a box of Kleenex.
View conversation · Cliff H @ voidlogic
2h Replying to
@mmfa @ShepNewsTeam Credit to Shep Smith, he really is the only person at Fox News who consistently has integrity.
@ShepNewsTeam View conversation · #PissOffPutinElectHillary 🇺🇸 🌠🌊 @ VettingBernie
2h Replying to
@mmfa The Treason Trump White House is the first in 50 years (!) to not have a black senior staffer. Unsurprising: Drama Queen Donnie is a birther who retweeted fake crime stats about blacks, smears black athletes, and praised tiki torch Nazis.
#Hillary2020🇺🇸
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