1193: Blafrican

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 49m
November 24th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Randall Myers, Sir Dwayne Melancon, Grand Duke of the Pacific NW, Sir Justin Karsk of Jobber's Canyon, Sir Hank Scorpio of the Electrical Grid

Associate Executive Producers: Texas Dragon, Sir McQueen of Blighttown, Dame Astrid Duchess of Japan and all the Disputed Islands in the Japan Sea, Wesley Clark, Jason Maloney

Cover Artist: Data


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I have insurance': Rudy Giuliani warns Trump against throwing him 'under the bus' | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 21:16
President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday that he has 'insurance' should Donald Trump try to throw him 'under the bus' over the Ukraine scandal.
Giuliani covered a breadth of topics during an interview with Fox News, including the implication that he has compromising information on the Commander-in-Chief should their relationship ever flounder.
While railing against 'fake news,' Giuliani warned Trump against abandoning him - even as the former mayor becomes more deeply embroiled in the scandal.
Rudy Giuliani (pictured) said President Donald Trump would not turn on him during the impeachment inquiry, but said he had 'insurance' if so
'I see things like, ''he's going to throw me under the bus." I say he isn't, but I have insurance,' Giuliani said with a shrug.
Giuliani did not specify what the 'insurance' entailed, but insisted he has a 'very, very good relationship' with Trump anyway.
Prior to that, Giuliani dismissed suggestions he could be indicted as a result of the impeachment inquiry.
'How long have you known me?,' Giuliani asks the host.
'Do you think I'm afraid? Do you think I get afraid? I did the right thing. I represented my client in a very, very effective way.'
Despite the admission, Giuliani says his relationship with Trump is 'good'
Giuliani is currently dealing with his own investigation federal investigations following claims that he possibly engaged in illegal lobbying and campaign finance violations.
Documents released late Friday show Donald Trump´s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the months before the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled.
The State Department released the documents to the left-wing activist group American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on March 26 and March 29.
Each of the calls lasted about four minutes, and they came before and after Giuliani passed Pompeo a packet of information from his freelance investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter's dealings in Ukraine.
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, claimed the documents reveal 'a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani´s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.'
Documents released late Friday show Donald Trump´s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in March
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch (above) told House impeachment investigators she felt 'kneecapped' by a 'smear campaign' Giuliani led against her
Last week, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators she felt 'kneecapped' by a 'smear campaign' Giuliani led against her.
She was withdrawn from her post in Ukraine in May.
The documents released Friday also include materials that appear to be the information packet that Giuliani handed off to the State Department.
The report includes Trump hotel stationery, and appears to summarize a January 23, 2019, phone interview that Giuliani had with Ukraine´s former prosecutor general, Victor Shokin.
In the interview summary, Shokin claims he was removed from his position under pressure from then-Vice President Biden, after being warned by U.S. diplomats to break off investigations into Burisma, the gas company where Biden's son Hunter sat on the board.
Biden has bragged openly of how he threatened to withhold loan guarantees to ensure Shokin was removed from office in early 2016.
The documents released Friday also include summary of an interview that Giuliani had with Ukraine's former prosecutor general, Victor Shokin (above)
Giuliani is seen with fixer Lev Parnas, who assisted with translation in the Shokin interview. Parnas is now under indictment on campaign finance charges
Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, has pursued the theory that Shokin was removed to end investigations into Burisma.
Biden supporters dismiss that claim as a conspiracy theory, saying that Biden put pressure on Ukraine to oust Shokin was because the prosecutor failed to tackle corruption.
The interview summary released on Friday says Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.
The men had key roles in Giuliani´s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
A second memo appears to be a summary of an interview with Yuri Lutsenko, also a former prosecutor general of Ukraine, conducted in the presence of Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman.
Lutsenko is quoted saying that he believes Hunter Biden received millions of dollars in compensation from the Ukrainian oil company Burisma.
The documents released Friday include this summary of Giuliani's interview with Shokin
(1) Rudy Giuliani on Twitter: "TRUTH ALERT: The statement I've made several times of having an insurance policy, if thrown under bus, is sarcastic & relates to the files in my safe about the Biden Family's 4 decade monetizing of his office. If I d
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 17:02
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JustOneMinute: Not The Bombshell I Was Waiting For
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:33
The NY Times sneak previews the long awaited IG report investigating the investigators. If we can believe the Times - IF! - there will not be fireworks:
Russia Inquiry Review Is Said to Criticize F.B.I. but Rebuff Claims of Biased Acts
A watchdog report will portray the pursuit of a wiretap of an ex-Trump adviser as sloppy, but it also debunks some accusations by Trump allies of F.B.I. wrongdoing.
WASHINGTON '-- A highly anticipated report by the Justice Department's inspector general is expected to sharply criticize lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, but to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump, according to people briefed on a draft.
More broadly, Mr. Horowitz's report, to be made public on Dec. 9, portrays the overall effort to seek the wiretap order and its renewals as sloppy and unprofessional, according to the people familiar with it. He will also sharply criticize as careless one of the F.B.I. case agents in New York handling the matter and say that the bureau and the Justice Department displayed poor coordination during the investigation, they said.
At the same time, however, the report debunks a series of conspiracy theories and insinuations about the F.B.I. that Mr. Trump and his allies have put forward over the past two years, the people said, though they cautioned that the report is not complete. The New York Times has not reviewed the draft, which could contain other significant findings.
Hmm. Their source may well be a Resistance figure providing a generous gloss on this. I guess we see soon enough.
New York Times Confirms Peter Strzok Team Underling, Kevin Clinesmith, is FBI Lawyer Who Altered FISA Application'...
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:42
The New York Times is confirming that Kevin Clinesmith is the ''low-level lawyer'' within the FBI who doctored evidence within the Carter Page FISA application.
As anticipated, the DOJ and FBI 'small group' leaks are from their individual review of a heavily compartmented IG report; and now they are being selectively shaped by the favorite 'small group' media network: NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, Politico et al.
Remember, each of the principals only was able to see the draft of the IG report specific to their outline therein. All principal reviews were very compartmented. No principal has any idea what the bottom line conclusions are from the totality of the assembled compartments. An example of this is in the very first paragraph.
The New York Times article is purposefully heavy on narrative engineering. However, given how the accountability trends are identified by the specifics of the narrative construction, that's not a bad thing. As CTH outlined in anticipation of this phase, take the first wave of media justification with a grain-of-salt. There are two clear angles visible in the narrative assembly. First, here is the New York Times:
WASHINGTON '-- A highly anticipated report by the Justice Department's inspector general is expected to sharply criticize lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, but to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump, according to people briefed on a draft.
One can read that from the perspective of accountability and become frustrated. However, notice the construction closely: ''to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump'''... or put another way, there was an ''abuse of power'', but that abuse cannot specifically be attributed to bias against the President. Key point: there was an ''abuse of power'', it is in the motive for that abuse where narratives step in.
Secondly on this point'... CTH has specifically, intentionally and repeatedly outlined how the ''bias'' issue was a foregone conclusion ever since the July 2018 IG report of FBI conduct in the Clinton investigation outlined the same position. If the IG report of the DOJ/FBI conduct in the ''mid-year-exam'' found no overarching political bias; and all of the principals were exactly the same in the 2019 report on the Carter Page surveillance issue; it stands to reason that same lack of bias conclusion would extend.
['...] Investigators for the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, uncovered errors and omissions in documents related to the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page '-- including that a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap, the people said.
Mr. Horowitz referred his findings about Mr. Clinesmith to prosecutors for a potential criminal charge. Mr. Clinesmith left the Russia investigation in February 2018 after the inspector general identified him as one of a handful of F.B.I. officials who expressed animus toward Mr. Trump in text messages and resigned about two months ago, after the inspector general's team interviewed him.
Three points here: (1) While Clinesmith, as a normal function of his FBI job, did not report to Peter Strzok, when the teams were assembled for MYE, Crossfire Hurricane, and Robert Mueller investigation, Clinesmith DID work directly for Peter Strzok. When the teams were selected, Kevin Clinesmith reported to Peter Strzok. Therefore when the inappropriate behavior was identified; and when the action of manipulating FISA evidence was done; Kevin Clinesmith was reporting directly to FBI supervisory agent Peter Strzok.
(2) Kevin Clinesmith remained in the FBI during the entirety of the Horowitz investigation. He was not released until the investigation was complete and the draft report was submitted. So the FBI knew they had a problem with Clinesmith back in February of 2018 and he was allowed to continue work until September of this year. It would seem obvious he was being monitored.
(3) Clinesmith's status during the investigation aligns with another Main Justice employee also connected to the FISA process who was similarly in position throughout and also left in September 2019. That would be Tashina Guahar.
['...] More broadly, Mr. Horowitz's report, to be made public on Dec. 9, portrays the overall effort to seek the wiretap order and its renewals as sloppy and unprofessional, according to the people familiar with it. He will also sharply criticize as careless one of the F.B.I. case agents in New York handling the matter, they said.
In my opinion, the report is going to be much more than that. Why? Because they didn't just get a 'wiretap', they got a Title-1 FISA authorized surveillance warrant; the most extensive and intrusive form of surveillance warrant possible. A Title-1 warrant allows any and all surveillance. Wiretaps, bugs, electronic surveillance, physical surveillance, the works. A Title-1 warrant is used against suspected terrorists in the U.S.
['...] In particular, while Mr. Horowitz criticizes F.B.I. leadership for its handling of the highly fraught Russia investigation in some ways, he made no finding of politically biased actions by top officials Mr. Trump has vilified like the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey; Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy who temporarily ran the bureau after the president fired Mr. Comey in 2017; and Peter Strzok, a former top counterintelligence agent.
Notice the contradiction and the parsing: ''in some ways he made no finding of politically biased actions'''... Some ways? So there are findings of bias, just not in all ways. Notice how they repeat a needed narrative tone, yet simultaneously contradicting their lead paragraph.
Again, take this stuff with the proverbial grain of salt. This is the ''small group'' selling their narrative through their media allies. They are trying to make an argument that they are simultaneously undermining. That's what happens in the narrative engineering process.
This entire NYT article is fraught with the intent to be obtuse.
['...] The early accounts of the report suggest that it is likely to stoke the debate over the investigation without definitively resolving it, by offering both sides different conclusions they can point to as vindication for their rival worldviews.
['...] The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court first approved wiretapping Mr. Page, who had close ties to Russia, as a suspected unregistered agent of a foreign power in October 2016, after he had left the campaign.
The Justice Department obtained three renewal orders. The paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa, the people briefed on the draft report said.
''and vice versa'', meaning there was information that should have been included. Yes, that would be the exculpatory information'.... the absence therein speaks to the motive of assembly.
The email Mr. Clinesmith handled was a factor during the wiretap renewal process, according to the people.
Mr. Clinesmith took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email's author, when it was instead his own understanding.
Mr. Clinesmith included this altered email in a package that he compiled for another F.B.I. official to read in preparation for signing an affidavit that would be submitted to the court attesting to the facts and analysis in the wiretap application.
The details of the email are apparently classified and may not be made public even when the report is unveiled.
['...] Additionally, Mr. Clinesmith worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation. He was among the F.B.I. officials removed by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, after Mr. Horowitz found text messages expressing political animus against Mr. Trump.
Wait, the article just said, including the lead paragraph, Horowitz found no evidence of political bias?
Shortly after Mr. Trump's election victory, for example, Mr. Clinesmith texted another official that ''the crazies won finally,'' disparaged Mr. Trump's health care and immigration agendas, and called Vice President Mike Pence ''stupid.'' In another text, he wrote, in the context of a question about whether he intended to stay in government, ''viva la resistance.''
In a June 2018 report by Mr. Horowitz about that and other politically charged texts, which identified him as ''F.B.I. Attorney 2,'' Mr. Clinesmith said he was expressing his personal views but did not let them affect his official actions.
The inspector general apparently did not assert in the draft report that any of the problems he found were so material that the court would have rejected the Justice Department's requests to continue surveilling Mr. Page. But the people familiar with the draft were uncertain about whether Mr. Horowitz said the problems were immaterial, or instead avoided taking a position on that question.
['...] The report is also said to conclude that Joseph Mifsud, a Russia-linked professor who told a Trump campaign official that Russia had damaging information on Mrs. Clinton in the form of hacked Democratic emails '-- a key fact used to open the investigation '-- was not an F.B.I. informant. That undercuts an assertion of conservative critics of the inquiry.
No-one in conservative critic circles said Mifsud was an ''FBI informant.'' The concern is whether he is a CIA, or Western Intelligence, operative'.... not FBI.
You can continue reading the NYT article here. The bottom line is there is going to be much more than presented in these weak defenses and media constructs.
Having read the initial round of justifications and defenses, CTH is more optimistic than a week ago on the issue of accountability. It won't stop at Kevin Clinesmith.
Trump Carries Out Sting Operation Against Coup Plotters Via UKRAINEgate '-- Part 2 | SOTN: Alternative News, Analysis & Commentary
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 07:16
''Trump knew he risked impeachment by exposing multiple Democrat scandals in the Ukraine. However, he had no choice. Trump knows his vindication lies with revealing the Deep State corruption perpetrated in Kiev by the Obama administration. The Biden Crime Family set up a full-blown criminal enterprise with Burisma warranting a RICO prosecution. Plus, the CrowdStrike server proving the DNC hacked their own servers is housed in the Ukraine. More importantly, if there was a highly organized foreign conspiracy to steal the 2106 election, it was executed by the Democrats in Ukraine. Then there was the Clinton scheme to start WW3 against Russia by using Kiev to attack Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.'' '-- Intelligence Analyst & Former U.S. Military OfficerTrump tricks the Democrats into blowing UKRAINEgate wide openState of the Nation
Truly, it all comes down to the Ukraine. Or, rather, UKRAINEgate.President Trump has known this all along, but he's been biding his time before blowing it all wide open '... which he has now done'--BIG TIME!
In order to properly understand what's really going on with UKRAINEgate, the following expos(C) provides critical background info and relevant history.
Trump Carries Out Sting Operation Against Coup Plotters Via UKRAINEgate '-- Part 1 The preceding link spells it all out. Trump had to make himself vulnerable in order to expose his enemies and especially the enemies of the American Republic.
Having done so, it's now just a matter of execution, both figuratively and literally. The various unparalleled scandals associated with the Ukraine will each be revealed in graphic detail henceforth.
With the gory details of each CIA-coordinated criminal conspiracy to commit high crimes and misdemeanors by Obama's lawless administration, the noose will surely tighten around the necks of so many Democrat corruptocrats, Deep State traitors, Intelligence Community coup plotters, Big Tech corporate criminals and Mockingbird Media cover-up artists.
BIDENgateIf the following bombshell news report foreshadows just a fraction of the rampant crime and corruption carried out by the Biden Crime Family, Joe and Hunter are in big, BIG trouble.
Ukraine's Upcoming Criminal Referral Cites Hunter Biden for ''money raised through criminal means and money laundering'' and ''money stolen from citizens''The sheer depth and breadth of the Biden crime spree committed over two Obama terms in the Ukraine is as stunning as it is inconceivable. That the Vice President of the United States '-- JOE BIDEN '-- would state so brazenly state that he got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired who was ready to investigate his own son for committing crimes against the state and its citizens is quite incomprehensible. Nevertheless, there you have it: Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukrainian Prosecutor Fired (Video).
Of course, there are very good reasons why point man Rudy Giuliani is taking so much heat. Not only is Rudy Trump's personal counselor, he's also his PI for ferreting out the numerous criminal conspirators who attempted to steal so many Ukrainian assets and citizen wealth. Hence, compared to the previous bombshell report, the one below is like the ''Mother of all Neutron Bombs'' where all the career crooks are taken out while the buildings are left standing.
BOMBSHELL REPORT: U.S. diplomats were working for George Soros running massive ''massive pay-for-play'' schemes in Ukraine (Video)Now that BIDENgate has been blown wide open, surely SOROSgate and CROWDSTRIKEgate will quickly follow.
KEP POINT: What Soros did to the Ukraine he does in collusion with the U.S. State Department around the globe. When the U.S. gives a $400 million aid package to the Ukraine, most of that money is taken in the form of outright graft, kickbacks, bribes, inflated contracts with the Military-Industrial Complex and other types of financial malfeasance. One thing is certain: that kind of money ends up right back in the pockets of the hopelessly corrupt American politicians, lobbyists, lawyers and banksters who are anywhere near the scene of the crime spree.
SOROSgateIt doesn't get any bigger than SOROSgate.
How George Soros has avoided scrutiny (and prosecution) when so much corrupted U.S. foreign policy comes down to his malevolent influence is a case study in the ponerization of American government. See PONERIZATION: How the American Republic was taken over by political cliques of criminally insane psychopaths
No other nation in Eurasia has been so abused and misused by the Soros Crime Syndicate as the Ukraine. Soros has in fact taken advantage of the endemic and paralyzing corruption that Ukraine has experienced over several decades.
The long-time Soros MO is first to take over the U.S. State Department personnel where it concerns each and every nation-state that the Soros Crime Syndicate aims to first exploit and then take over. See: Soros Controls Large Swaths of the U.S. Department of State '-- Former U.S. Attorney
There's no department within the U.S. Federal Government that is as powerful and influential throughout the planetary civilization as the State Department. The power elite know this quite well and have, therefore, strategically stationed consummate manipulators like Soros. Soros is a flaming front-man for the International Banking Cartel; in fact, there are many other bagmen who have likewise taken over different parts of the U.S. State Department.
The U.S. State Department has its own Very Deep StateCROWDSTRIKEgateAs far as the President is concerned, CROWDSTRIKEgate is the real megillah. Once that Democrat criminal conspiracy and immense fraud perpetrated against the American people is fully disclosed, everything changes in a day and a night.
As for the back story, the following link presents many of the most pertinent details and criminal elements.
CROWDSTRIKEgate: A Massive Deep State Scandal that Will Collapse the Democrat PartyAfter the mainstream media is compelled to publish the many inconvenient truths and hard evidence associated with CROWDSTRIKEgate (under threat of being prosecuted as a co-conspirator), Trump will be able to show the whole world that the RUSSIAgate hoax was itself an enormous criminal conspiracy fabricated by the highest echelons of the Obama administration and U.S. Intelligence Community.
Once that happens, President John F. Kennedy's greatest vow will come to pass through the deliberate and justifiable executive actions of President Donald J. Trump. What timing that these extraordinary revelations have occurring around November 22, 2019, the 56th anniversary of JKF's assassination by his own Central Intelligence Agency.
How fitting it is that the C.I.A. will be the first institution within the U.S. Federal Government to be dissolved in this presidential undertaking to drain the swamp. After all, it's now been proven that the entire impeachment scam is nothing but a SUPER-PSYOP! The whole thing was set up as a CIA-directed presidential entrapment scheme.
KEY POINT: The pure genius of Trump in triggering the Democrats to blow wide open their own scandal will go down in the history books as the greatest sting operation'--EVER! It's entirely true, however, that the Deep State had no choice but to go after Trump. After all, when CROWDSTRIKEgate is exposed, they know that the communist Democrat Party will effectively cease to exist. Moreover, the secret plan to start the hot phase of World War III with Russia will also be outed. This is why hardcore Russophobe Adam Schiff was put in charge of the impeachment inquiry.
ConclusionVery few folks are aware, but there is much more at stake here than fending off the ongoing soft coup, or even averting a full-scale violent coup d'(C)tat. As follows:
Deep State's Impeachment Coup Much More Than Overthrowing Trump'....Not only is Trump determined to take back the country from those who have stolen it, he's also thwarting the premeditated collapse of the American Republic.
However, there are HUGE obstacles to be overcome if the POTUS is to be successful. These challenges can only be met with the full support of the Patriot Movement as the time will certainly come when the Democrat traitors and Deep State co-conspirators will find themselves cornered. That's where the rubber meets the road, and every patriot needs to be locked and loaded'--FOR REAL.
BOTTOM LINE: State of the Nation November 21, 2019
Responding to Lt. Col. Vindman about my Ukraine columns '... with the facts | John Solomon Reports
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 07:37
I honor and applaud Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman'sservice to his country. He's a hero. I also respect his decision to testify atthe impeachment proceedings. I suspect neither his service nor his testimonywas easy.
But I also know the liberties that Lt. Col. Vindman fought onthe battlefield to preserve permit for a free and honest debate in America, onethat can't be muted by the color of uniform or the crushing power of the state.
So I want to exercise my right to debate Lt. Col. Vindman aboutthe testimony he gave about me. You see, under oath to Congress, he asserted allthe factual elements in my columns at The Hill about Ukraine were false, exceptmaybe my grammar
Hereare his exact words:
''I thinkall the key elements were false,'' Vindman testified.
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y, pressed him about what he meant. ''Just so I understand what you mean when you say key elements, are you referring to everything John Solomon stated or just some of it?''
''All theelements that I just laid out for you. The criticisms of corruption were false'....Were there more items in there, frankly, congressman? I don't recall. I haven'tlooked at the article in quite some time, but you know, his grammar might havebeen right.''
Such testimony has been injurious to my reputation, one earned during 30 years of impactful reporting for news organizations that included The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Daily Beast/Newsweek.
And so Lt. Col. Vindman, here are the 28 primary factual elements in my Ukraine columns, complete with attribution and links to sourcing. Please tell me which, if any, was factually wrong.
Fact 1: Hunter Biden was hired in May 2014 by Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, at a time when his father Joe Biden was Vice President and overseeing US-Ukraine Policy. Here is the announcement. Hunter Biden's hiring came just a few short weeks after Joe Biden urged Ukraine to expand natural gas production and use Americans to help. You can read his comments to the Ukrainian prime minister here. Hunter Biden's firm then began receiving monthly payments totaling $166,666. You can see those payments here.
Fact 2: Burisma was under investigation by British authorities for corruption and soon came under investigation by Ukrainian authorities led by Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
Fact 3: Vice President Joe Biden and his office were alerted by a December 2015 New York Times article that Shokin's office was investigating Burisma and that Hunter Biden's role at the company was undercutting his father's anticorruption efforts in Ukraine.
Fact 4: The Biden-Burisma issue created the appearance of a conflict of interest, especially for State Department officials. I especially refer you to State official George Kent's testimony here. He testified he viewed Burisma as corrupt and the Bidens as creating the perception of a conflict of interest. His concerns both caused him to contact the vice president's office and to block a project that State's USAID agency was planning with Burisma in 2016. In addition, Ambassador Yovanovitch testified she, too, saw the Bidens-Burisma connection as creating the appearance of a conflict of interest. You can read her testimony here.
Fact 5: The Obama White House invited Shokin's prosecutorial team to Washington for meetings in January 2016 to discuss their anticorruption investigations. You can read about that here. Also, here is the official agenda for that meeting in Ukraine and English. I call your attention to the NSC organizer of the meeting.
Fact 6: The Ukraine investigation of Hunter Biden's employer, Burisma Holdings, escalated in February 2016 when Shokin's office raided the home of company owner Mykola Zlochevsky and seized his property. Here is the announcement of that court-approved raid.
Fact 7: Shokin was making plans in February 2016 to interview Hunter Biden as part of his investigation. You can read his interview with me here, his sworn deposition to a court here and his interview with ABC News here.
Fact 8: Burisma's American representatives lobbied the State Department in late February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company, and specifically invoked Hunter Biden's name as a reason to intervene. You can read State officials' account of that effort here
Fact 9: Joe Biden boasted in a 2018 videotape that he forced Ukraine's president to fire Shokin in March 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid. You can view his videotape here.
Fact 10: Shokin stated in interviews with me and ABC News that he was told he was fired because Joe Biden was unhappy the Burisma investigation wasn't shut down. He made that claim anew in this sworn deposition prepared for a court in Europe. You can read that here.
Fact 11: The day Shokin's firing was announced in March 2016, Burisma's legal representatives sought an immediate meeting with his temporary replacement to address the ongoing investigation. You can read the text of their emails here.
Fact 12: Burisma's legal representatives secured that meeting April 6, 2016 and told Ukrainian prosecutors that ''false information'' had been spread to justify Shokin's firing, according to a Ukrainian government memo about the meeting. The representatives also offered to arrange for the remaining Ukrainian prosecutors to meet with U.S State and Justice officials. You can read the Ukrainian prosecutors' summary memo of the meeting here and here and the Burisma lawyers' invite to Washington here.
Fact 13: Burisma officials eventually settled the Ukraine investigations in late 2016 and early 2017, paying a multimillion dollar fine for tax issues. You can read their lawyer's February 2017 announcement of the end of the investigations here.
Fact 14: In March 2019, Ukraine authorities reopened an investigation against Burisma and Zlochevsky based on new evidence of money laundering. You can read NABU's February 2019 recommendation to re-open the case here, the March 2019 notice of suspicion by Ukraine prosecutors here and a May 2019 interview here with a Ukrainian senior law enforcement official stating the investigation was ongoing. And here is an announcement this week that the Zlochevsky/Burisma probe has been expanded to include allegations of theft of Ukrainian state funds.
Fact 15: The Ukraine embassy in Washington issued a statement in April 2019 admitting that a Democratic National Committee contractor named Alexandra Chalupa solicited Ukrainian officials in spring 2016 for dirt on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in hopes of staging a congressional hearing close to the 2016 election that would damage Trump's election chances. You can read the embassy's statement here and here. Your colleague, Dr. Fiona Hill, confirmed this episode, testifying ''Ukraine bet on the wrong horse. They bet on Hillary Clinton winning.'' You can read her testimony here.
Fact 16: Chalupa sent an email to top DNC officials in May 2016 acknowledging she was working on the Manafort issue. You can read the email here.
Fact 17: Ukraine's ambassador to Washington, Valeriy Chaly, wrote an OpEd in The Hill in August 2016 slamming GOP nominee Donald Trump for his policies on Russia despite a Geneva Convention requirement that ambassadors not become embroiled in the internal affairs or elections of their host countries. You can read Ambassador Chaly's OpEd here and the Geneva Convention rules of conduct for foreign diplomats here. And your colleagues Ambassador Yovanovitch and Dr. Hill both confirmed this, with Dr. Hill testifying this week that Chaly's OpEd was ''probably not the most advisable thing to do.''
Fact 18: A Ukrainian district court ruled in December 2018 that the summer 2016 release of information by Ukrainian Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko and NABU director Artem Sytnyk about an ongoing investigation of Manafort amounted to an improper interference by Ukraine's government in the 2016 U.S. election. You can read the court ruling here. Leschenko and Sytnyk deny the allegations, and have won an appeal to suspend that ruling on a jurisdictional technicality.
Fact 19: George Soros' Open Society Foundation issued a memo in February 2016 on its strategy for Ukraine, identifying the nonprofit Anti-Corruption Action Centre as the lead for its efforts. You can read the memo here.
Fact 20: The State Department and Soros' foundation jointly funded the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. You can read about that funding here from the Centre's own funding records and George Kent's testimony about it here.
Fact 21: In April 2016, US embassy charge d'affaires George Kent sent a letter to the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office demanding that Ukrainian prosecutors stand down a series of investigations into how Ukrainian nonprofits spent U.S. aid dollars, including the Anti-Corruption Actions Centre. You can read that letter here. Kent testified he signed the letter here.
Fact 22: Then-Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said in a televised interview with me that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during a 2016 meeting provided the lists of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups she did want to see prosecuted. You can see I accurately quoted him by watching the video here.
Fact 23: Ambassador Yovanovitch and her embassy denied Lutsenko's claim, calling it a ''fabrication.'' I reported their reaction here.
Fact 24: Despite the differing accounts of what happened at the Lutsenko-Yovanovitch meeting, a senior U.S. official in an interview arranged by the State Department stated to me in spring 2019 that US officials did pressure Lutsenko's office on several occasions not to ''prosecute, investigate or harass'' certain Ukrainian activists, including Parliamentary member Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin, the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and NABU director Sytnyk. You can read that official's comments here. In addition, George Kent confirmed this same information in his deposition here.
Fact 25: In May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions sent an official congressional letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking that Yovanovitch be recalled as ambassador to Ukraine. Sessions and State confirmed the official letter, which you can read here.
Fact 26: In fall 2018, Ukrainian prosecutors, using a third party, hired an American lawyer (a former U.S. attorney) to proffer information to the U.S. government about certain activities at the U.S. embassy, involving Burisma and involving the 2016 election, that they believed might have violated U.S. law. You can read their account here. You can also confirm it independently by talking to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan or the American lawyer representing the Ukrainian prosecutors' interests.
Fact 27: In May 2016, one of George Soros' top aides secured a meeting with the top Eurasia policy official in the State Department to discuss Russian bond issues. You can read the State memos on that meeting here.
Fact 28: In June 2016, Soros himself secured a telephonic meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to discuss Ukraine policy. You can read the State memos on that meeting here.
Lt. Col. Vindman, if you have information that contradictsany of these 28 factual elements in my columns I ask that you make it publiclyavailable. Your testimony did not.
If you don't have evidence these 28 facts are wrong, I ask that you correct your testimony because any effort to call factually accurate reporting false only misleads America and chills the free debate our Constitutional framers so cherished to protect.
Russia Inquiry Review Is Said to Criticize F.B.I. but Rebuff Claims of Biased Acts - The New York Times
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:33
A watchdog report will portray the pursuit of a wiretap of an ex-Trump adviser as sloppy, but it also debunks some accusations by Trump allies of F.B.I. wrongdoing.
Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department's inspector general, will release a report on aspects of the F.B.I.'s investigation into Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign. Credit... Erin Schaff for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- A highly anticipated report by the Justice Department's inspector general is expected to sharply criticize lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, but to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump, according to people briefed on a draft.
Investigators for the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, uncovered errors and omissions in documents related to the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page '-- including that a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap, the people said.
Mr. Horowitz referred his findings about Mr. Clinesmith to prosecutors for a potential criminal charge. Mr. Clinesmith left the Russia investigation in February 2018 after the inspector general identified him as one of a handful of F.B.I. officials who expressed animus toward Mr. Trump in text messages and resigned about two months ago, after the inspector general's team interviewed him.
Though Mr. Trump's allies have seized on the messages from Mr. Clinesmith and his colleagues as proof of anti-Trump bias, Mr. Clinesmith has not been a prominent figure in the partisan firefight over the investigation. His lawyer declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Mr. Horowitz.
More broadly, Mr. Horowitz's report, to be made public on Dec. 9, portrays the overall effort to seek the wiretap order and its renewals as sloppy and unprofessional, according to the people familiar with it. He will also sharply criticize as careless one of the F.B.I. case agents in New York handling the matter and say that the bureau and the Justice Department displayed poor coordination during the investigation, they said.
At the same time, however, the report debunks a series of conspiracy theories and insinuations about the F.B.I. that Mr. Trump and his allies have put forward over the past two years, the people said, though they cautioned that the report is not complete. The New York Times has not reviewed the draft, which could contain other significant findings.
In particular, while Mr. Horowitz criticizes F.B.I. leadership for its handling of the highly fraught Russia investigation in some ways, he made no finding of politically biased actions by top officials Mr. Trump has vilified like the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey; Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy who temporarily ran the bureau after the president fired Mr. Comey in 2017; and Peter Strzok, a former top counterintelligence agent.
The early accounts of the report suggest that it is likely to stoke the debate over the investigation without definitively resolving it, by offering both sides different conclusions they can point to as vindication for their rival worldviews.
The wiretap of Mr. Page emerged as a political flash point in early 2018, though it was one relatively narrow aspect of the sprawling inquiry that found that Moscow sought to help Mr. Trump win the election and that his campaign expected to benefit, but found insufficient evidence to charge any conspiracy with the Trump campaign.
Rod J. Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general who oversaw legal matters related to the 2016 election, asked Mr. Horowitz to scrutinize the wiretap and broader issues related to the investigation, absorbing pressure from Mr. Trump and his allies.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court first approved wiretapping Mr. Page, who had close ties to Russia, as a suspected unregistered agent of a foreign power in October 2016, after he had left the campaign.
The Justice Department obtained three renewal orders. The paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa, the people briefed on the draft report said.
The email Mr. Clinesmith handled was a factor during the wiretap renewal process, according to the people. Mr. Clinesmith took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email's author, when it was instead his own understanding.
Mr. Clinesmith included this altered email in a package that he compiled for another F.B.I. official to read in preparation for signing an affidavit that would be submitted to the court attesting to the facts and analysis in the wiretap application.
The details of the email are apparently classified and may not be made public even when the report is unveiled.
The investigators' referral of its findings on Mr. Clinesmith went to John H. Durham, a prosecutor assigned by Attorney General William P. Barr to also re-examine the Russia case and its origins. The referral from Mr. Horowitz's team appears to be at least in part the basis for the elevation of Mr. Durham's inquiry from an administrative review to a criminal investigation, the people said.
Additionally, Mr. Clinesmith worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation. He was among the F.B.I. officials removed by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, after Mr. Horowitz found text messages expressing political animus against Mr. Trump.
Shortly after Mr. Trump's election victory, for example, Mr. Clinesmith texted another official that ''the crazies won finally,'' disparaged Mr. Trump's health care and immigration agendas, and called Vice President Mike Pence ''stupid.'' In another text, he wrote, in the context of a question about whether he intended to stay in government, ''viva la resistance.''
In a June 2018 report by Mr. Horowitz about that and other politically charged texts, which identified him as ''F.B.I. Attorney 2,'' Mr. Clinesmith said he was expressing his personal views but did not let them affect his official actions.
The inspector general apparently did not assert in the draft report that any of the problems he found were so material that the court would have rejected the Justice Department's requests to continue surveilling Mr. Page. But the people familiar with the draft were uncertain about whether Mr. Horowitz said the problems were immaterial, or instead avoided taking a position on that question.
CNN first reported that the draft accused a lower-level lawyer of altering a document. Mr. Clinesmith's identification and details about the findings have not previously been reported.
In a phone call on Friday to ''Fox & Friends,'' Mr. Trump played up the initial revelations to claim that ''they were spying on my campaign and it went right to the top and everybody knows it and now we're going to find out'' and ''they tried to overthrow the presidency.'' The accounts of Mr. Horowitz's findings do not support that assertion.
And in other crucial respects, the draft inspector general report is said not to corroborate conspiracy theories and insinuations offered by Mr. Trump and his allies about the early stages of the Russia investigation, before Mr. Mueller was appointed as special counsel and took it over.
For example, the draft report also concludes that the F.B.I. had enough evidence to meet the legal standard for opening the investigation, though Mr. Horowitz emphasized that the bar is low, the people said.
The report is also said to conclude that Joseph Mifsud, a Russia-linked professor who told a Trump campaign official that Russia had damaging information on Mrs. Clinton in the form of hacked Democratic emails '-- a key fact used to open the investigation '-- was not an F.B.I. informant. That undercuts an assertion of conservative critics of the inquiry.
None of the evidence used to open the investigation came from the C.I.A. or from a notorious dossier of claims about Trump-Russia ties compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent whose research was funded by Democrats, the report concludes, according to the people briefed on it.
Mr. Trump's allies have complained about how the Justice Department used information from the Steele dossier in the wiretap applications. Along with evidence from other sources, the filings cited some information from Mr. Steele's dossier about meetings that Mr. Page was rumored to have had with Kremlin representatives during a trip to Russia that year.
Republicans have criticized any use of political opposition research in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act wiretaps, which are among the most intrusive tools investigators have and are highly regulated. But the people briefed on the draft said Mr. Horowitz does not criticize them for the basic fact that they used the information.
Still, people familiar with questions asked by Mr. Horowitz's investigators have suggested that he is likely to conclude that the filings exaggerated Mr. Steele's track record in terms of the amount of value that the F.B.I. derived from information he supplied in previous investigations. The court filings in the Page wiretap application said his material was ''used in criminal proceedings,'' but it was never part of an affidavit, search warrant or courtroom evidence.
But it remains unclear what other judgments Mr. Horowitz is preparing to render about related disputes related to the use of Mr. Steele's information in the surveillance materials.
The wiretap applications contained a lengthy footnote telling the judges that Mr. Steele's research was believed to have been commissioned by someone seeking information that would damage the Trump campaign. But it did not specifically identify the funders '-- the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
The original October 2016 application said investigators did not know the identity of Mr. Steele's patrons. But even in 2017, after they specifically learned that Democrats paid a research firm to unearth material that could hurt Mr. Trump, law enforcement officials did not update the language in the renewal applications.
Defenders of the bureau's inaction argued that the original footnote was sufficient to alert the surveillance court that Mr. Steele gathered the information in a political context and noted that it is standard practice to keep names of individual Americans or organizations out of such documents.
It also remains unclear what the inspector general concluded about Mr. Steele's contacts with Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official. Mr. Ohr, an expert on Russian organized crime and himself a frequent target of Mr. Trump, spoke with Mr. Steele several times after the F.B.I. terminated its relationship with him. Mr. Ohr briefed the bureau about those conversations. His wife also worked for the opposition research firm that hired Mr. Steele.
In his comments to Fox on Friday, Mr. Trump appeared to be looking past Mr. Horowitz's report and potentially anticipating its complex findings. ''Perhaps even more importantly,'' he said, ''you have Durham coming out shortly thereafter.''
STUNNING if True '' NYT Reports U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer Blackmailing President Trump'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:27
The initial jaw-dropping compromise within the Pentagon was first noted when Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, on assignment to the National Security Council, admitted during his deposition to defying White House policy and delivering countermanding instructions to his colleagues in the Ukraine government.
Alex Vindman compromised his position, compromised his leadership, and made himself an issue for National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. However, it wasn't what Vindman did per se', but rather what the Dept. of Defense didn't do that was more alarming. Immediately upon notification of the compromise Defense Secretary Mark Esper (above left) was under the obligation to remove the compromise, yet he did nothing.
The Vindman example was/is a concerning lack of action by Defense Dept. leadership, and that situation is made all the more alarming today as the New York Times is reporting Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer is now openly blackmailing CiC President Donald J Trump and rebuking civilian authority and oversight.
New York Times ['...] The secretary of the Navy and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if plans to expel a commando from the elite unit in a war crimes case are halted by President Trump, administration officials said Saturday.
The Navy is proceeding with the disciplinary plans against the commando, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who counts Mr. Trump as one of his most vocal supporters. After reversing a demotion in recent days, the president suggested on Thursday that he would intervene again in the case, saying that the sailor should remain in the unit.
The threats by the Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, and the commander, Rear Adm. Collin Green, are a rare instance of pushback against Mr. Trump from members of the Defense Department. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, scrambled to come up with a face-saving compromise this past week in the hope that Mr. Trump could be persuaded to change his mind.
['...] One argument that officials said may be relied on is the assumption that a tweet does not constitute a formal presidential order. Mr. Esper and General Milley conveyed to the president that if he followed up that tweet with a direct order, there would be huge consequences: Mr. Trump would lose Mr. Spencer and Admiral Green, further infuriate his top military leadership and do untold damage to decades of military justice doctrine, according to administration officials. (read more)
Let's cut through the chaff and fog.
The military, nor any person therein, does not get to ''threaten'' the President of The United States. The President is the Commander in Chief of all armed forces. It is not President Trump who would be doing ''untold damage to decades of military justice doctrine'', but rather the insubordination of flag officers who are duty bound to carry out legal and constitutional instructions from the President.
The DoD inaction surrounding Lt. Col Vindman was a precursor, a visible symptom few were paying attention to; indicating a political cancer within the unified chain of command. The U.S. Secretary of the Navy threatening the U.S. President is an even more alarming symptom.
A military officer does not get to threaten his leadership with a 'do what I demand or I will quit' approach. Any senior level military officer who would express such a sentiment would be regarded as unstable, compromised and unfit to hold a leadership rank.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Former FBI lawyer under investigation after allegedly altering document in 2016 Russia probe - CNNPolitics
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:35
By Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez, CNN
Updated 12:36 PM EST, Fri November 22, 2019
Washington(CNN) A former FBI lawyer is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, several people briefed on the matter told CNN.
Yet the situation did not sway an independent Justice Department watchdog from finding the surveillance was valid, sources said.
Still, the possibility of a substantive change to an investigative document is likely to fuel accusations from President Donald Trump and his allies that the FBI committed wrongdoing in its investigation of connections between Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign.
The findings are expected to be part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review of the FBI's effort to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. Horowitz will release the report next month.
Horowitz turned over evidence on the allegedly altered document to John Durham, the federal prosecutor appointed early this year by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a broad investigation of intelligence gathered for the Russia probe by the CIA and other agencies, including the FBI. The altered document is also at least one focus of Durham's criminal probe.
It's unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI's investigation of Page. The alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document's meaning and came up during a part of Horowitz's FISA review where details were classified, according to the sources. It did not change Horowitz's finding that the FISA application had a legal basis, The Washington Post first reported.
Some witnesses who have been interviewed in Horowitz's investigation have said they expect the inspector general to find mistakes in the FBI's handling of the FISA process, but that those mistakes do not undermine the premise for the FBI's investigation.
American intelligence agencies and the Justice Department have not swayed from their finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election by hacking the Democrats and spreading pro-Trump propaganda online. And even former top Trump campaign officials have corroborated special counsel Robert Mueller's finding that the Trump campaign planned some of its strategy around the Russian hacks, and had multiple contacts with Kremlin-linked individuals in 2016.
Horowitz's investigators conducted more than 100 witness interviews in their review. During one of interviews this year, they confronted the witness about the document. The witness admitted to the change, the sources said.
The lawyer, who was a line attorney, is no longer working at the bureau, said a person familiar with the matter. A line attorney is a lower level lawyer within the FBI.
No charges that could reflect the situation have been filed publicly in court.
The Justice Department and inspector general's office declined to comment.
Horowitz reportHorowitz is expected to release his report on December 9 and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee two days later.
The internal, independent investigator so far, over several reports, has criticized top members of the FBI for their actions leading up to and during the Russia investigation. Those IG reports have looked at situations including former FBI Director James Comey's handling of his personal memos about meetings with the President and former official Peter Strzok's anti-Trump text messages.
A finding of alleged wrongdoing from Horowitz could further fuel Republican criticism and conspiracies about previous investigators' targeting of Trump associates. It could also provide them a political boost at a moment where Democrats' impeachment investigation into Trump's political quid pro quo with Ukraine has battered the President.
The report is said to cover the FBI's approach to foreign surveillance during the Russia investigation, including of warrants used to wiretap Page, who had advised the Trump campaign in 2016. Witnesses are currently reviewing Horowitz's findings.
Horowitz has shared information from his review with Durham, CNN previously reported.
The Justice Department has been tight-lipped on outlining exactly what Durham has been looking at. But the attorney general himself said soon after appointing him that he was concerned officials acted inappropriately as they oversaw the counterintelligence probe of the 2016 Trump campaign.
Barr's embrace of these theories aligns with Trump's chief grievance that he was the victim of a "deep state" spy operation that has clouded his presidency.
The New York Times, CNN and other outlets have reported that Durham's investigation had become a criminal investigation.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the official is a lawyer who is no longer with the FBI. It has also been updated with information about the impact of the matter under investigation.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.
Graham Announces DOJ Inspector General Report to be Released on December 9, Testifies Before the Senate on December 11 | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 20:18
November 21, 2019
WASHINGTON '' Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced that Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz has accepted an invitation to testify before the Committee on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
Graham also announced that the Inspector General's report on the investigation into DOJ and FBI's conduct during the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant process as it relates to the 2016 presidential election would be released on Monday, December 9, 2019.
The report release date was detailed in a letter from IG Horowitz to Graham. Click HERE to read the letter.
''Mr. Horowitz's report will be released on December 9 and our hearing will be on December 11. I appreciate all the hard work by Mr. Horowitz and his team regarding the Carter Page FISA warrant application and the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.
''I look forward to reviewing the report and hearing Mr. Horowitz's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he will deliver a detailed account of what he found regarding his investigation, along with recommendations as to how to make our judicial and investigative systems better.''
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Handwriting Expert Analyzes Trump: Shows 'Sign of a Liar' - Rolling Stone
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 15:10
President Donald Trump's ''I want nothing'' notes went viral this past week '-- a sheet of paper scrawled with ''I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO,'' which Trump brought to this week's impeachment hearings. While the notes don't say all that much, the way the president wrote them apparently tells us a lot about his mindset, according to forensic handwriting examiner Sheila Lowe.
''Some of the Os have little stabby strokes coming into the middle, such as in 'word,''' she tells Rolling Stone in an email. ''This is a special area of communication in handwriting and should be clear. When there are such interferences, the usual interpretation is '-- wait for it '-- the sign of a liar.''
Lowe has been analyzing Trump's handwriting since the early Nineties, she says, and notes that the president almost always uses a Sharpie, which ''suggests someone who is attracted to the trappings of luxury but wants it without having to put in a lot of effort to obtain it.''
As for the large, blocky writing, Lowe attributes that to him being ''someone who has a strong need for security and to be in control, to be looked up to.'' The way the letters disconnect point to ''someone who was unable to assimilate the difficulties he experienced in childhood, which leaves him open to life's various adversities. He lacks good coping mechanisms and has trouble relating fully to himself and to others.''
And his famously spiky signature? ''There's a certain arrogance, confirmed by his signature, [which] looks like a barbed wire wall, whose many sharp angles are hostile,'' Lowe says. ''At the end of the signature, the final stroke on the 'p' turns back and slashes through the signature, which, because one's name represents the self, is self-destructive.''
Forensic handwriting analysis should not be seen as definitive, however. A recent study found that ''the overall error rate even for experts is large enough as to raise questions about whether their estimates can be sufficiently trustworthy for presentation in courts.''
Thursday was the last impeachment hearing on the docket at this time. It ended with Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) allowing that Trump mentioning a ''favor'' and ''Biden'' on his July 25th call with Ukraine's president was ''inappropriate'' and showed a ''misguided foreign policy.'' Still, he finished with ''I have not heard evidence proving that the president committed bribery or extortion,'' indicating that he won't be voting yes when it comes to Trump's impeachment.
The Washington Post Helps Identify FBI Lawyer Who Altered FISA Docs'... | The Last Refuge
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:17
At 8:15pm last evening Washington Post journalist Devlin Barrett posted a supportive article for the CNN (Manu Raju) news exclusive that outlined an ''FBI Official'' who was under criminal investigation as an outcome of the inspector general review of FISA.
The original WaPo article by Devlin Barrett noted the FBI official was actually a ''line-level'' lawyer who worked ''under FBI Agent Peter Strzok.''
At 12:15am, the WaPo article was significantly edited, two more journalists (Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky) were added to the byline. Unfortunately, no explanation or notation of the changes were given.
~ Above: 8:15pm Washington Post Screen Grab prior to 12:15am edit ~
However, that said, the edit(s) help to identify the identity of the FBI lawyer. The updated article removed the references to Peter Strzok, and identifies the line-level lawyer thus:
['...] The person under scrutiny is a low-level FBI lawyer who has since been forced out of the agency, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss material that has not yet been made public.
The employee was forced out of the FBI after the incident was discovered, two U.S. officials said. Horowitz found that the employee erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application. He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim, they said. (link)
If you have followed the case closely, the intentional removal of Peter Strzok in combination with the explanation of the lawyer's FISA responsibilities; and in combination with prior reporting of FBI lawyer 2; it seems pretty obvious the line-level lawyer was Kevin Clinesmith.
If the WaPo article had added all the detail and left in how the line-level attorney worked for Peter Strzok everyone would have known who it was. Hence they put in more details about his activity but removed the Strzok reference.
Kevin Clinesmith was one of the key FBI small group members on the original Clinton investigation known as the ''mid-year exam'', or in text messages the ''MYE''.
Within the MYE Clinesmith was one of the key legal staff working with Peter Strzok. Clinesmith was lawyer #2 for Strzok who eventually transferred to the subsequent Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Clinesmith was also previously reported to be having an intimate relationship with another member of the FBI team, Sally Moyer, though that is uncertain. [Tashina ''Tash'' Guahar was also a key legal figure on the Main Justice side of the MYE team.]
Sally Moyer was FBI unit chief in the Office of General Counsel (counterintelligence legal unit within the FBI Office of General Counsel).
Ms. Moyer was responsible for the legal compliance within the FBI counterintelligence operations that generated FISA applications.
When the MYE investigation finished, the Carter Page FISA construction is where Kevin Clinesmith and Sally Moyer come together in their next assignment, the FBI investigation of Trump.
Additionally, Tashina ''Tash'' Guahar was then Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in the Department of Justice National Security Division (DOJ-NSD) with responsibility over the assembly of FISA applications in Main Justice. In essence the FISA lawyer.
[ Related Sidebar : Current ICIG Michael Atkinson, the IG who modified the whistle-blower forms and allowed a hearsay CIA whistle-blower complaint, was the chief legal counsel for the head of the DOJ-NSD at the time all of this was happening. Yeah, sketchy]
This is what it looks like put together:
In the Carter Page FISA application FBI line-level lawyer Clinesmith is responsible for the underlying evidence. FBI unit chief lawyer Sally Moyer is responsible for the citations (the ''woods file'') that identifies the underlying evidence. And then DOJ Tashina Guahar is responsible for the final application assembly; then it goes off to the top level DOJ and FBI superiors for signatures and submission to the court.
The WaPo article cites Clinesmith: ''erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application. He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim.'' That ''back up citation'' would be where his girlfriend Sally Moyer puts the Woods File citation.
This FISA assembly process: Clinesmith to Moyer to Guahar, took place in October 2016.
Almost three years later, Inspector General Michael Horowitz finishes his investigation and notes the issue with the documentation that supports the Woods File requirement.
This is part of Horowitz draft report as delivered to Attorney General Barr in September. According to the Washington Post the lawyer was ''forced to resign.'' Further confirmation of the identity is found within the LinkedIn profile for Kevin Clinesmith, which shows he left the FBI in September. Sally Moyer has unknown status. However, when Horowitz delivered his initial report Tashina Guahar was still at DOJ-NSD.
Shortly after IG Horowitz delivers the draft of his investigative report to AG Bill Barr, Tash Guahar quietly leaves the DOJ-NSD {Go Deep} and is reported to have taken a job with Boeing Corp. In hindsight the reason for Guahar's mysterious exit makes sense.
According to both the CNN and Washington Post report, the issue with the underlying 'Woods File' evidence has led U.S. Attorney John Durham to conduct a criminal investigation. That investigation would include Kevin Clinesmith, the ''line-level lawyer''.
A concerning part of the Washington post report is this:
['...] That conduct did not alter Horowitz's finding that the surveillance application of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had a proper legal and factual basis, the officials said.
That sounds like a white-wash outcome; mistakes were made, move along etc. etc. But, if we look back upon the status of our research when the Sally Moyer transcript was released, that outcome was actually predictable.
FromMAY 2019:
Sally Moyer was FBI unit chief in the Office of General Counsel (counterintelligence legal unit within the FBI Office of General Counsel). Moyer reported to an unnamed section chief, who reported to Trisha Beth Anderson, who was deputy legal counsel to James Baker.
Ms. Moyer is responsible for the legal compliance within the FBI counterintelligence operations that generated FISA applications:
Pictured Above: Ms. Sally Moyer
A review of the Moyer transcript clarifies a few aspects:
First, the DOJ/FBI team, ''the small group'', specifically the legal officials who were ultimately participating in the process that permits politicization and weaponization of government intelligence systems, was also the exact same legal group who reviewed (and approved) the 2018 inspector general report into FBI conduct during the 2016 election outlining the DOJ and FBI activity.
In essence, the DOJ/FBI bureaucratic corruption is so widespread, the corrupt officials involved are the same people who are the decision-makers in the amount of sunlight the Office of Inspect General is allowed to put forth. Now the disconnect between the OIG executive summary and the body of content material makes sense:
Secondly, Ms. Moyer explains how FBI verification of the FISA application used against U.S. Person Carter Page is essentially just making sure the citations align to show who is making the claims.
The underlying FISA application material does not need to be verified; rather the FBI source material is just accurately cited and attributed. Note that's where Clinesmith comes in.
Ultimately what this testimony reveals is that any U.S. person can be subjected to a Title-1 FISA surveillance warrant so long as the FBI (and DOJ) can accurately cite the reason for the underlying suspicion. The FBI citation is the ''Woods Procedure'', and it is in this citation process where Kevin Clinesmith is said to have made false documents to support the citation(s).
Sally Moyer infers the merit of the accusation has nothing to do with the citation for the claim. However, this is where the IG report is taking issue with the FBI citation:
'...Horowitz found that the employee [Kevin Clinesmith] erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application. He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim'... (link)
If he's altering an email, it sounds to me like Clinesmith is modifying communication with an FBI source to construct a citation for a claim within the FISA application; perhaps that FBI source is Christopher Steele.
Again, it's circular.
Judicial Watch Obtains Strzok-Page Emails Showing FBI's Special Accommodation of Clinton Email Witnesses
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:21
November 22, 2019 | Judicial Watch(Washington, DC) '' Judicial Watch announced today it received 35 pages of records of communications between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page that show the attorney representing three of Hillary Clinton's aides met with senior FBI officials.
Two March 2016 emails show then-FBI General Counsel James Baker and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had discussed meeting with attorney Beth Wilkinson, who was representing Clinton aides Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines. The FBI officials discussed holding ''discreet'' meetings with Wilkinson in secure locations that were set up to avoid any ''stakeouts'' by the press. (In a separate Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said that he was ''dumbfounded'' that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity and was allowed to accompany former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her FBI interview:
I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in '-- by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case. So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview.)
In an email exchange with Deputy Assistant Director in the Counterintelligence Division Jonathan Moffa, Strzok discusses Clinton aides' laptops, and that Wilkinson said that the laptops in the FBI's possession did not contain Clinton's 60,000 emails. She also said that the two laptops that had them are the personal laptops of Mills and Samuelson that were still in use at that time.
The document production is in response to Judicial Watch's January 24, 2018, lawsuit filed after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a December 4, 2017, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)).
Strzok and Page were lead investigators in the Clinton email and Russia collusion investigations. The records include:
On March 1, 2016 an unidentified official from the FBI Office of General Counsel asks Baker if he'd had a chance to speak with Wilkinson, noting ''CES [Counterespionage Section] wants to reach out to discuss scheduling additional interviews but wanted some feedback from you first.'' Baker replies, ''Just did'... She appreciated the heads up about the pending press articles. She wants to meet with the DD [Deputy Director] but can only meet on the weekends right now. I will check his availability tomorrow.''
In a follow up email thread on March 4, Wilkinson tells Baker that she would be able to do the meeting with McCabe that day. Baker forwards the note to McCabe, saying ''Andy, do you want to try to do this today?'', and copies numerous top FBI officials, including Michael Steinbach, Bill Priestap, Trisha Anderson, and Page. Page forwards the note to Strzok. Strzok then tells Page that he's been ''Talking to DOJ, they ([George] Toscas and CES) have strong opinions about it. Call me.'' Page replies, ''He's not calling. Don't worry about it.'' Strzok then adds, ''Also you need to know what [redacted] and she discussed. I can tell you over lunch'...''
In a March 4, 2016, email with the subject line ''Interview,'' Baker emails the same top FBI officials, saying that he's just spoken with Wilkinson and ''I think we are now back on track. She is going to call [redacted] today or tomorrow about scheduling the next interview. Given the witness's personal schedule, Beth said that it may not happen for a few weeks but she will work that out with [redacted]. We also discussed making sure that this is done in a secure location in a discreet way; she will work with [redacted] and the FBI team on that as well but I said that we will make sure that it happens in a high quality way.''
In a follow-up email sent only to Strzok, Baker writes, ''She understands that it needs to be in a SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility]. She seems more comfortable with NYFO [New York Field Office], but I think would be open to WFO [Washington Field Office] if she can get in and out in a discreet manner (i.e., no chance of a press stakeout or too many people in the office seeing them and having awareness of what is going on). Is there an offsite somewhere in the DC area that might be better? If so, don't tell me where it is.''
On March 20, 2016, Strzok emails FBI Deputy Assistant Director Moffa, writing: ''Big news of the day? Beth [presumably Wilkinson] said none of the laptops we have had the original 60k [presumably Hillary's 60,000 emails]. The two that did were '' and are '' the personal laptops of Cheryl [Mills] and Heather [Samuelson]. [Redacted] That they are still using now. Funny that never cane [sic] up before now.'' Strzok forwards this email with Moffa on to Page with the note: ''My frustration.''
The new documents show Strzok expressing concern about the office of DNI using private email in an exchange containing information regarding a sensitive U.S.-European Community information sharing agreement. On January 31, 2016, Strzok writes: ''GIVEN EVERYTHING GOING ON WHY IS [redacted] USING A YAHOO! ACCOUNT FOR THIS? [Emphasis in original] (Actually, apparently a Yahoo! account from [redacted] iPad'') Make him stop!!!!!!''
Page responds: ''What do you want me to do?!''
Strzok replies, ''I have no idea. It's not clear what account [redacted] iPad used. [Redacted] at DNI is the one with the Yahoo! account. Maybe tell [redacted] with the IC IG [Intelligence Community Inspector General] investigating use of private servers and webmail, perhaps it's not an opportune time for he/DNI staff to be doing the same? I don't know.'' (Judicial Watch had previously reported that FBI officials used unsecure devices in discussing how the U.S. could improve the sharing of sensitive data with the European Union top executive governing commission.)
In a February 29, 2016 email exchange Strzok tells Page he tried to reach ''Bill'' [presumably Strzok's boss, Bill Priestap, Assistant Director of FBI Counterintelligence] to get him to pass some information to Baker but was unable to via email. Page says, ''Just call him.'' Strzok replies, ''I can't. This isn't life or death and I need to give the chain of command a few minutes to work.'' Further along, Page agrees, saying, ''I totally get it. I completely hate this about our organization, but it is what it is. Np.'' Strzok responds, ''It's necessary to have a chain of command and gatekeepers. Otherwise you'd have 790 idiots calling the GC, EADs, and DD every day.''
The FBI will continue producing Strzok-Page documents through 2021.
''These documents show that the Hillary Clinton team had advocates at the top of the Obama FBI '' no wonder the investigation was a sham,'' stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''With explosive material such as this, no wonder the FBI is slow-rolling the release of Strzok-Page documents to Judicial Watch '' wanting to wait until late 2021 to produce records!''
Joe Biden's Stutter, and Mine - The Atlantic
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:29
H is eyes fall to the floor when I ask him to describe it. We've been tiptoeing toward it for 45 minutes, and so far, every time he seems close, he backs away, or leads us in a new direction. There are competing theories in the press, but Joe Biden has kept mum on the subject. I want to hear him explain it. I ask him to walk me through the night he appeared to lose control of his words onstage.
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''I'--um'--I don't remember,'' Biden says. His voice has that familiar shake, the creak and the croak. ''I'd have to see it. I-I-I don't remember.''
We're in Biden's mostly vacant Washington, D.C., campaign office on an overcast Tuesday at the end of the summer. Since entering the Democratic presidential-primary race in April, Biden has largely avoided in-depth interviews. When I first reached out, in late June, his press person was polite but noncommittal: Was an interview really necessary for the story?
Then came the second debate, at the end of July, in Detroit. The first one, a month earlier, had been a disaster for Biden. He was unprepared when Senator Kamala Harris criticized both his past resistance to federally mandated busing and a recent speech in which he'd waxed fondly about collaborating with segregationist senators. Some of his answers that night had been meander­ing and difficult to parse, feeding into the narrative that he wasn't just prone to verbal slipups'--he's called himself a ''gaffe machine'''--but that his age was a problem, that he was confused and out of touch.
Detroit was Biden's chance to regain control of the narrative. And then something else happened. The candidates were talking about health care. At first, Biden sounded strong, confident, presidential: ''My plan makes a limit of co-pay to be One. Thousand. Dollars. Because we'--''
He stopped. He pinched his eyes closed. He lifted his hands and thrust them forward, as if trying to pull the missing sound from his mouth. ''We f-f-f-f-furthersupport'--'' He opened his eyes. ''The uh-uh-uh-uh'--'' His chin dipped toward his chest. ''The-uh, the ability to buy into the Obamacare plan.'' Biden also stumbled when trying to say immune system.
Fox News edited these moments into a mini montage. Stifling laughter, the host Steve Hilton narrated: ''As the right words struggled to make that perilous journey from Joe Biden's brain to Joe Biden's mouth, half the time he just seemed to give up with this somewhat tragic and limp admission of defeat.''
Several days later, Biden's team got back in touch with me. One of his aides gingerly asked whether I'd noticed the former vice president stutter during the debate. Of course I had'--I stutter, far worse than Biden. The aide said he was ready to talk about it. Last night, after Biden stumbled multiple times during the Atlanta debate, the topic became even more relevant.
''S o how are you , man?''
Biden is in his usual white button-down and navy suit, a flag pin on the left lapel. Up close, he looks like he's lost weight since leaving office in 2017. His height is commanding, but, as he approaches his 77th birthday, he doesn't fill out his suit jacket like he used to.
I stutter as I begin to ask my first question. ''I've only '... told a few people I'm '... d-doing this piece. Every time I '... describe it, I get '... caught on the w-word-uh stuh-tuh-tuh-tutter.''
''So did I,'' Biden replies. ''It doesn't'''--he interrupts himself'--''can't define who you are.''
Mark PeckmezianMaybe you've heard Biden talk about his boyhood stutter. A non-stutterer might not notice when he appears to get caught on words as an adult, because he usually maneuvers out of those moments quickly and expertly. But on other occasions, like that night in Detroit, Biden's lingering stutter is hard to miss. He stutters'--­if slightly'--on several sounds as we sit across from each other in his office. Before addressing the debate specifically, I mention what I've just heard. ''I want to ask you, as, you know, a '... stutterer to, uh, to a '... stutterer. When you were '... talking a couple minutes ago, it, it seemed to '... my ear, my eye '... did you have '... trouble on s? Or on '... m?''
Biden looks down. He pivots to the distant past, telling me that the letter s was hard when he was a kid. ''But, you know, I haven't stuttered in so long that it'shhhhard for me to remember the specific'--'' He pauses. ''What I do remember is the feeling.''
I started stuttering at age 4.
I still struggle to say my own name. When I called the gas company recently, the automated voice apologized for not being able to understand me. This happens a lot, so I try to say ''representative,'' but r's are tough too. When I reach a human, I'm inevitably asked whether we have a poor connection. Busy bartenders will walk away and serve someone else when I take too long to say the name of a beer. Almost every deli guy chuckles as I fail to enunciate my order, despite the fact that I've cut it down to just six words: ''Turkey club, white toast, easy mayo.'' I used to just point at items on the menu.
My head will shake on a really bad stutter. People have casually asked whether I have Parkinson's. I curl my toes inside my shoes or tap my foot as a distraction to help me get out of it, a behavior that I've repeated so often, it's become a tic. Sometimes I shuffle a pen between my hands. When I was little, I used to press my palm against my forehead in an effort to force the missing word out of my brain. Back then, my older brother would imitate this motion and the accompanying sound, a dull whine'--something between a cow and a sheep. A kid at baseball camp, Michael, referred to me as ''Stutter Boy.'' He'd snap his fingers and repeat it as if calling a dog. ''Stutter Boy! Stutter Boy!'' In college, I applied for a job at a coffee shop. I stuttered horribly through the interview, and the owner told me he couldn't hire me, because he wanted his caf(C) to be ''a place where customers feel comfortable.''
Stuttering is a neurological disorder that affects roughly 70 million people, about 3 million of whom live in the United States. It has a strong genetic component: Two-thirds of stutterers have a family member who actively stutters or used to. Biden's uncle on his mother's side'--''Uncle Boo-Boo,'' as he was called'--stuttered his whole life.
In the most basic sense, a stutter is a repetition, prolongation, or block in producing a sound. It typically presents between the ages of 2 and 4, in up to twice as many boys as girls, who also have a higher recovery rate. During the develop­mental years, some children's stutter will disappear completely without intervention or with speech therapy. The longer someone stutters, however, the lower the chances of a full recovery'--­perhaps due to the decreasing plasticity of the brain. Research suggests that no more than a quarter of people who still stutter at 10 will completely rid themselves of the affliction as adults.
''Mr. Buh-Buh-Buh-Biden, what's that word?,'' a nun asked Joe Biden in front of his seventh-grade classmates.The cultural perception of stutterers is that they're fearful, anxious people, or simply dumb, and that stuttering is the result. But it doesn't work like that. Let's say you're in fourth grade and you have to stand up and recite state capitals. You know that Juneau is the capital of Alaska, but you also know that you almost always block on the j sound. You become intensely anxious not because you don't know the answer, but because you do know the answer, and you know you're going to stutter on it.
Stuttering can feel like a series of betrayals. Your body betrays you when it refuses to work in concert with your brain to produce smooth speech. Your brain betrays you when it fails to recall the solutions you practiced after school with a speech therapist, allegedly in private, later learning that your mom was on the other side of a mirror, watching in the dark like a detective. If you're a lucky stutterer, you have friends and family who build you back up, but sometimes your protectors betray you too.
Joe Biden (back) with his brother James and his sister, Valerie, at her First Communion (Random House)A Catholic nun betrayed Biden when he was in seventh grade. ''I think I was No. 5 in alphabetical order,'' Biden says. He points over my right shoulder and stares into the middle distance as the movie rolls in his mind. ''We'd sit along the radiators by the window.''
The office we're in is awash in framed memories: Biden and his family, Biden and Barack Obama, Biden in a denim shirt posing for InStyle. The shelf behind the desk features, among other books, Jon Meacham's The Soul of America. It's a phrase Biden has adopted for his campaign this time around, his third attempt at the presidency. In almost every speech, Biden warns potential voters that 2020 is not merely an election, but a battle ''for the soul of America.'' Sometimes he swaps in nation.
Joe Biden: 'We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation'
But now we're back in middle school. The students are taking turns reading a book, one by one, up and down the rows. ''I could count down how many paragraphs, and I'd memorize it, because I found it easier to memorize than look at the page and read the word. I'd pretend to be reading,'' Biden says. ''You learned early on who the hell the bullies were,'' he tells me later. ''You could tell by the look, couldn't you?''
For most stutterers, reading out loud summons peak dread. A chunk of text that may take a fluent person roughly a minute to read could take a stutterer five or 10 times as long. Four kids away, three kids away. Your shoulders tighten. Two away. The back of your neck catches fire. One away. Then it happens, and the room fills with secondhand embarrassment. Someone breathes a heavy sigh. Someone else laughs. At least one kid mimics your stutter while you're actively stuttering. You never talk about it. At night, you stare at the ceiling above your bed, reliving it.
''The paragraph I had to read was: 'Sir Walter Raleigh was a gentleman. He laid his cloak upon the muddy road suh-suh-so the lady wouldn't soil her shoes when she entered the carriage,''Š'' Biden tells me, slightly and unintentionally tripping up on the word so. ''And I said, 'Sir Walter Raleigh was a gentle man who'--' and then the nun said, 'Mr. Biden, what is that word?' And it was gentleman that she wanted me to say, not gentle man. And she said, 'Mr. Buh-Buh-Buh-Biden, what's that word?''Š''
Biden says he rose from his desk and left the classroom in protest, then walked home. The family story is that his mother, Jean, drove him back to school and confronted the nun with the made-for-TV phrase ''You do that again, I'll knock your bonnet off your head!'' I ask Biden what went through his mind as the nun mocked him.
''Anger, rage, humiliation,'' he says. His speech becomes staccato. ''A feeling of, uh'--like I'm sure you've experienced'--it just drops out of your chest, just, like, you feel '... a void.'' He lifts his hands up to his face like he did on the debate stage in July, to guide the v sound out of his mouth: void.
By all accounts, Biden was both popular and a strong athlete in high school. He was class president at Archmere Academy, in Claymont, Delaware. His nickname was ''Dash'''--not a reference to his speed on the football field, but rather another way to mock his stutter. ''It was like Morse code'--dot dot dot, dash dash dash dash,'' Biden says. ''Even though by that time I started to overcome it.''
I ask him to expand on the relationship between anger and humiliation, or shame.
''Shame is a big piece of it,'' he says, then segues into a story about meeting a stutterer while campaigning.
I bring it back up a little later, this time more directly: ''When have you felt shame?''
''Not for a long, long, long time. But especially when I was in grade school and high school. Because that's the time when everything is, you know, it's rough. They talk about 'mean girls'? There's mean boys, too.''
Bill Bowden had the locker next to Biden's at Archmere. I called Bowden recently. ''It was just kind of a funny thing, you know?'' he told me. ''Hopefully he wasn't hurt by it.'' Bob Markel, another high-school buddy of Biden's, went a little further when we spoke: '''Š'H-H-H-H-Hey, J-J-J-J-J-Joe B-B-B-B-Biden''--that's how he'd be addressed.'' Markel said the Archmere guys called him ''Stutterhead,'' or ''Hey, Stut'‰!'' for short. He fears that he himself may have made fun of Biden once or twice. ''I never remember him being offended. He probably was,'' Markel said. ''I think one of his coping mechanisms was to not show it.'' Bowden and Markel have remained friends with Biden to this day.
Before collecting from customers on his paper route, Biden would preplay conversations in his mind, banking lines'--a tactic he still sometimes uses on the campaign trail, he says. ''I knew the one guy loved the Phillies. And he'd asked me about them all the time. And I knew another person would ask me about my sister, so I would practice an answer.''
After trying and failing at speech therapy in kinder­garten, Biden waged a personal war on his stutter in his bedroom as a young teen. He'd hold a flashlight to his face in front of his bedroom mirror and recite Yeats and Emerson with attention to rhythm, searching for that elusive control. He still knows the lines by heart: ''Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books.''
Biden performs the passage for me with total fluency, knowing where and when to pause, knowing how many words he can say before needing a breath. This is what stutterers learn to do: reclaim control of their airflow; think in full phrases, not individual words. I ask Biden what his moment of dread used to be in that essay.
''Well, looking back on it, 'Meek young men grow up in li-li-libraries,''Š'' he begins again. '''Š'Li''--the l.''
''That kind of sound, the l sound, is like the '... r sound,'' I say.
''Sometimes I've noticed, watching old clips, it looks like you do have a little trouble on the r. It's your middle initial.''
''Like 'ruh-ruh-ruh-remember,''Š'' I say, intentionally stuttering on the r.
''Well, I may. I-I-I-I-I haven't thought I have. But I-I-I-I don't doubt there's probably ways people could pick up that there's something. But I don't consciously think of it anymore.''
Biden says he hasn't felt himself caught in a traditional stutter in several decades. ''I mean, I can't remember a time where I've ever worried before a crowd of 80,000 people or 800 people or 80 people'--I haven't had that feeling of dread since, I guess, speech class in college,'' he says, referring to an under­graduate public-speaking course at the University of Delaware.
This is when I ask him what happened that night in Detroit.
After saying he doesn't remember, Biden opines: ''I'm everybody's target; they have to take me down. And so, what I found is'--not anymore'--I've found that it's difficult to deal with some of the criticism, based on the nature of the person directing the criticism. It's awful hard to be, to respond the same way in a national debate'--especially when you're, you know, the guy who is characterized as the white-guy-of-­privilege kind of thing'--to turn and say to someone who says, 'I'm not saying you're a racist, but '...' and know you're being set up. So I have to admit to you, I found my mind going, What the hell? How do I respond to that? Because I know she's being completely unfair.''
I eventually realize that he's describing the moment from the first debate, when Harris criticized his record on race.
''These aren't debates,'' he continues. ''These are one-minute assertions. And I don't think there's anybody who hasn't been taking shots at me, which is okay. I'm a big boy, don't get me wrong.''
Listening back to that part of the conversation after our interview made me feel dizzy. I can only speculate as to why Biden's campaign agreed to this interview, but I assume the reasoning went something like this: If Biden disclosed to me, a person who stutters, that he himself still actively stutters, perhaps voters would cut him some slack when it comes to verbal misfires, as well as errors that seem more related to memory and cognition. But whenever I asked Biden about what appeared to be his present-day stuttering, the notably verbose candidate became clipped, or said he didn't remember, or spun off to somewhere new.
I wondered if I reminded Biden of his old self, a ghost from his youth, the stutterer he used to be. He and I are about the same height. We happened to be wearing the exact same outfit that day: navy suit, white shirt, no tie. We both went to all-male prep schools, the sort of place where displaying any weakness is a liability.
As I listened to the recording of our interview, I remembered how I used to respond when people asked me about my stutter. I'd shut down. I'd try to change the subject. I'd almost always look away.
In early September, I got in touch with my high-school speech pathologist, Joseph Donaher, who practices at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I hadn't heard Donaher's voice for almost 15 years. Immediately, I was transported back to the little window­less room in the hospital where we used to meet. Donaher was the first therapist'--­really the first person'--­who ever leveled with me. I can still see his face, the neutrality in his eyes on the day he looked at me square and said the sentence my friends and parents had avoided saying my entire life: You have a severe stutter.
Donaher and his colleagues try to help their patients open up about the shame and low self-worth that accompany stuttering. Instead of focusing solely on mechanics, or on the ability to communicate, they first build up the desire to communicate at all. They then share techniques such as elongating vowels and lightly approaching hard-consonant clusters, meaning just touching on the first sound in a word like stutter'--the st'--to keep the mouth and throat from tensing up and interfering with speech. The goal isn't to be totally fluent but, simply put, to stutter better.
This evolution in treatment has been accompanied by a new movement to destigmatize the disorder, similar to the drive to view autism through a lens of ''neuro­diversity'' rather than as a pathology. The idea is to accept, even embrace, one's stutter. There are practical reasons for this: Research shows, according to Donaher, that the simple disclosure ''I stutter'' benefits both the stutterer and the listener'--the former gets to explain what's happening and ease the awkward tension so the latter isn't stuck wondering what's ''wrong'' with this person. Saying those two words is harder than it seems. ''I'm working with people who spend their whole lives and are never able to disclose it,'' Donaher told me.
Biden says his father taught him about ''shouldering burdens with grace.'' Specifically, he told his son, ''Never complain. Never explain.''Eric S. Jackson, an assistant professor of communicative sciences and dis­orders at NYU, told me he believes that Biden's eye movements'--the blinks, the downward glances'--are part of his ongoing efforts to manage his stutter. ''As kids we figure out: Oh, if I move parts of my body not associated with the speech system, sometimes it helps me get through these blocks faster,'' Jackson, a stutterer himself, explained. Jackson credits an intensive program at the American Institute for Stuttering, in Manhattan, with bringing him back from a ''rock bottom'' period in his mid-20s, when he says his stutter kept him from meeting women or speaking up enough to reach his professional goals. Afterward, Jackson went all in on disclosure: Every day for six months, he stood up during the subway ride to and from work and announced that he was a person who stutters. ''I had this new relationship with my stuttering'--I was like Hercules,'' he told me. At 41, Jackson still stutters, but in conversation he confidently maintains eye contact and appears relaxed. He wishes Biden would be more transparent about his intermittent disfluency. ''Running for president is essentially the biggest stage in the world. For him to come out and say 'I still stutter and it's fine' would be an amazing, empowering message.''
Occasionally, Biden has used present-tense verbs when discussing his stutter. ''I find myself, when I'm tired, cuh-cuh-­catching myself, like that,'' he said during a 2016 American Institute for Stuttering speech. Biden has used the phrase we stutterers at times, but in most public appearances and interviews, Biden talks about how he overcame his speech problem, and how he believes others can too. You can watch videos posted by his campaign in which Biden meets young stutterers and encourages them to follow his lead. They're sweet clips, even if the underlying message'--­beat it or bust'--is out of sync with the normalization movement.
Emma Alpern is a 32-year-old copy editor who co-leads the Brooklyn chapter of the National Stuttering Association and co-founded NYC Stutters, which puts on a day-long conference for stuttering de­stigmatization. Alpern told me that she's on a group text with other stutterers who regularly discuss Biden, and that it's been ''frustrating'' to watch the media portray Biden's speech impediment as a sign of mental decline or dishonesty. ''Biden allows that to happen by not naming it for what it is,'' she said, though she's not sure that his presidential candidacy would benefit if he were more forthcoming. ''I think he's dug himself into a hole of not saying that he still stutters for so long that it would strike people as a little weird.''
Biden has presented the same life story for decades. He's that familiar face'--Uncle Joe. He was born 11 months after Pearl Harbor and grew up in the last era of definitive ''good guys'' and ''bad guys.'' He's the dependable guy, the tenacious guy, the aviators-and-crossed-arms guy. That guy doesn't stutter; that guy used to stutter.
''My dad taught me the value of constancy, effort, and work, and he taught me about shouldering burdens with grace,'' Biden writes in the first chapter of his 2007 memoir, Promises to Keep. ''He used to quote Benjamin Disraeli: 'Never complain. Never explain.''Š''
Jill and Joe Biden, shortly after they first met, with his two sons, Beau and Hunter (Steven Goldblatt / Random House) Stephen Colbert launches across the Ed Sullivan Theater stage, as if from a pinball spring. It's early September, and his Late Show taping is about to begin. To warm up, he takes a few questions from the studio audience. Someone asks what he'd want in a potential new president. ''Empathy?'' Colbert deadpans. ''A soul?''
Colbert tapes in Midtown Manhattan on the same stage where the Beatles made their American television debut 55 years ago, when Joe Biden was a mere 22. Biden struts out to a standing ovation and throws up his hands in amazement: For me? A brief ''Joe! Joe! Joe!'' chant erupts.
At first, Colbert lobs softballs, and Biden touches on the key parts of his 2020 stump speech: Why voters must stand up to the existential threat of Trumpism and how the Charlottesville, Virginia, white-supremacist rally crystallized his decision to run. Then Colbert goes for it.
''In the last few weeks, you've confused New Hampshire for Vermont; saidBobby Kennedy and MLK were assassinated in the late '70s; assured us, 'I am not going nuts.' Follow-up question: Are you going nuts?''
''Look, the reason I came on the Jimmy Kimmel show was because'--''
The audience howls. Biden flashes a flirty smile. Colbert adjusts his glasses, sticks his pen in his mouth, and nods in approval. The joke was probably canned, but Biden landed it.
Colbert continues to press him about accuracy issues in his storytelling. The studio audience is silent; I'm watching from the balcony and can hear the theater's air-conditioning humming overhead.
''I-I-I-I-I don't get wrong things like, uh, ya know, there is a, we, we should lock kids up in cages at the border. I mean, I don't'--'' People applaud before Biden can finish.
When the interview is over, Biden receives a second standing ovation. He peers up toward the rafters, using his hand as a visor against the bright lights. A white spotlight follows him offstage. Several minutes later, he glides through the stage door and out onto West 53rd Street. People call to him from the sidewalk. ''Joe! Joe Biden!'' He climbs into the back of an idling black SUV, and the doorsclunk close.
Read: Tyranny of the 70-Somethings
I follow Biden for a couple of days while he campaigns in New Hampshire. His town halls have a distinctly Norman Rockwell vibe. One takes place in the middle of the day on the third floor of a former textile mill, another on a stretch of grass as the wind whips off the Piscataqua River. His crowds are predominantly older, filled with people who stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and wait patiently to ask questions. After he speaks, Biden typically walks offstage to Bruce Springsteen's ''We Take Care of Our Own,'' then saunters down the rope line for handshakes and hugs and selfies. One voter after another tells me they're unaware of Biden's stutter. ''Knowing that he has had something like that to deal with and overcame it, as well as other really sad things that have happened'--­­it just makes me like him more,'' says 70-year-old Grace Payne.
Back in New York, I start to wonder if I'm forcing Biden into a box where he doesn't belong. My box. Could I be jealous that his present stutter is less obvious than mine? That he can go sentences at a time without a single block or repetition? Even the way I'm writing this piece'--­keeping Biden's stammers, his ums and pauses, on the page'--seems hypocritical. Here I am highlighting the glitches in his speech, when the journalistic courtesy, convention even, is to edit them out.
I spend weeks watching Biden more than listening to him, trying to ''catch him in the act'' of stuttering on camera. There's one. There's one. That was a bad one. Also, I start stuttering more.
In September, before the third Democratic debate, in Houston, I called Michael Sheehan, a Washington, D.C.''area communications coach whose company website boasts clients ranging from Nike to the Treasury Department. Sheehan worked with President Bill Clinton while he was in office and began consulting on and off for Biden in 2002, when he was in the Senate. On the day we spoke, he was in Wilmington, Delaware, doing debate prep with Biden.
Sheehan and I traded stories of daily indignities'--­­he stutters too. ''I remember exactly where the deli was; it was on 71st and First Avenue,'' he said with an ache in his voice. He lamented the interventionists, the people who volunteer, '''Š'You know, why don't you speak more slowly?' I always want to say 'Holy shit! Why didn't I think of that? Thank you!''Š''
Sheehan's own stutter improved, but didn't fully go away, when he took up speech and debate in high school. This eventually led him to the theater, which is a common, if surprising, place where some stutterers find that they're able to speak with relative ease. Taking on a character, another voice, the theory goes, relies on a different neural pathway from the one used in conversation. Many successful actors have battled stutters'--Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, James Earl Jones. In 2014, Jones, whose muscular baritone is the bedrock of one of the most quoted lines in film history, told NPR that he doesn't use the word cured to describe his apparent fluency. ''I just work with it,'' he said.
At an August town hall, Biden briefly blocked on Obama, before subbing in my boss. The headlines afterward? ''Biden Forgets Obama's Name.''Sheehan was extremely careful with the language he used to describe Biden's speech patterns'--''I can't say it's a stutter'''--­though he noted his friend's habit of abruptly changing directions mid-sentence. ''I do hear those little pauses, but I really don't hear the stuff that you would hear from me or I would hear from you,'' he said. A few minutes into our conversation, he choked up while discussing Biden's tender­ness toward young stutterers. ''Sometimes I feel when he goes a little long on a speech, he's just making up for lost time, you know?''
Sheehan told me about a night when he came home with his wife and saw the answering-­machine light blinking: ''Hey, Michael, it's Joe Biden. I just was watching The King's Speech with my granddaughter, and I just thought I'd give you a call, because it made me think of you. Goodbye!'' He says the message felt like a secret fraternity handshake: ''You and I have both been there, and only people in that society know what that is about.''
In Biden's office, the first time I bring up his current stuttering, he asks me whether I've seen The King's Speech. He speaks almost mystically about the award-winning 2010 film. ''When King George VI, when he stood up in 1939, everyone knew he stuttered, and they knew what courage it took for him to stand up at that stadium and try to speak'--and it gave them courage '... I could feel that. It was that sinking feeling, like'--oh my God, I remember how you felt. You feel like, I don't know '... almost like you're being sucked into a black hole.''
Presidential candidates usually don't speak about their bleakest moments, certainly not this viscerally. It resembles the way Biden writes in his memoir about the aftermath of the 1972 car accident that killed his first wife and young daughter and critically injured his two sons, Beau and Hunter: ''I could not speak, only felt this hollow core grow in my chest, like I was going to be sucked inside a black hole.''
Related Stories Joe Biden Is Schr¶dinger's Candidate Is Joe Biden 'Too Old'? The President's Cognitive Decline A few weeks later, I ask Jill Biden what she remembers about sitting next to her husband during the movie. ''It was one of those moments in a marriage where you just sort of understand without words being spoken,'' she says.
As he watched The King's Speech, Biden accurately guessed that the screenwriter, David Seidler, was a stutterer. ''He showed me a copy of a speech they found in an attic that the king had actually used, where he marks his'--it's exactly what I do!'' Biden tells me, his voice lifting. ''My staff, when I have them put something on a prompter'--I wish I had something to show you.''
He pulls out a legal pad and begins drawing diagonal lines a few inches apart, as if diagramming invisible sentences: x words, breath, y words, breath. ''Because it's just the way I have'--the, the best way for me to read a, um, a speech. I mean, when I saw The King's Speech, and the speech'--I didn't know anybody who did that!''
Biden is running for president on a simple message: America is not Trump. I'm not Trump. I'll lead us out of this. With every new debate, with every new ''gaffe,'' the media continue to ask whether Biden has the stamina for the job. And with every passing month, his competitors'--namely Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg'--have gained on him in the polls.
A stutter does not get worse as a person ages, but trying to keep it at bay can take immense physical and mental energy. Biden talks all day to audiences both small and large. In addition to periodically stuttering or blocking on certain sounds, he appears to intentionally not stutter by switching to an alternative word'--a technique called ''circumlocution'''--­which can yield mangled syntax. I've been following practically everything he's said for months now, and sometimes what is quickly characterized as a memory lapse is indeed a stutter. As Eric Jackson, the speech pathologist, pointed out to me, during a town hall in August Biden briefly blocked on Obama, before quickly subbing in my boss. The headlines after the event? ''Biden Forgets Obama's Name.'' Other times when Biden fudges a detail or loses his train of thought, it seems unrelated to stuttering, like he's just making a mistake. The kind of mistake other candidates make too, though less frequently than he does.
During his 2016 address at the American Institute for Stuttering, Biden told the room that he'd turned down an invitation to speak at a dinner organized by the group years earlier. ''I was afraid if people knew I stuttered,'' he said, ''they would have thought something was wrong with me.''
Yet even when sharing these old, hard stories, Biden regularly characterizes stuttering as ''the best thing that ever happened'' to him. ''Stuttering gave me an insight I don't think I ever would have had into other people's pain,'' he says. I admire his empathy, even if I disagree with his strict adherence to a tidy redemption narrative.
In Biden's office, as my time is about to run out, I bring up the fact that Trump crudely mocked a disabled New York Times reporter during the 2016 campaign. ''So far, he's called you 'Sleepy Joe.' Is 'St-St-St-Stuttering Joe' next?''
''I don't think so,'' Biden says, ''because if you ask the polls 'Does Biden stutter? Has he ever stuttered?,' you'd have 80 to 95 percent of people say no.'' If Trump goes there, Biden adds, ''it'll just expose him for what he is.''
I ask Biden something else we've been circling: whether he worries that people would pity him if they thought he still stuttered.
He scratches his chin, his fingers trembling slightly. ''Well, I guess, um, it's kind of hard to pity a vice president. It's kind of hard to pity a senator who's gotten six zillion awards. It's kind of hard to pity someone who has had, you know, a decent family. I-I-I-I don't think if, now, if someone sits and says, 'Well, you know, the kid, when he was a stutterer, he must have been really basically stupid,' I-I-I don't think it's hard to'--I've never thought of that. I mean, there's nobody in the last, I don't know, 55 years, has ever said anything like that to me.''
He slips back into politician mode, safe mode, Uncle Joe mode: ''I hope what they see is: Be mindful of people who are in situations where their difficulties do not define their character, their intellect. Because that's what I tell stutterers. You can't let it define you.'' He leans across the desk. ''And you haven't.'' He's in my face now. ''You can't let it define you. You're a really bright guy.''
He's telling me, in essence, that my stutter doesn't matter, which is what I want to tell him right back. But here's the thing: Most of the time, Biden speaks smoothly, and perhaps he sincerely does not believe that he still stutters at all. Or maybe Biden is simply telling me the story he's told himself for several decades, the one he's memorized, the one he can comfortably express. I don't want to hear Biden say ''I still stutter'' to prove some grand point; I want to hear him say it because doing so as a presidential candidate would mean that stuttering truly doesn't matter'--for him, for me, or for our 10-year-old selves.
Now his aide is knocking, trying to get him out of the room. I push out one more question, asking what he saw reflected in that bedroom mirror as a kid.
He goes off into a different boyhood story about standing against a stone wall and talking with pebbles in his mouth, some oddball way to MacGyver fluency. I do the thing stutterers hate most: I cut him off. ''What did that person look like?''
Biden stops. ''He looked happy,'' he says. ''You know, I just think it looked like he'sin control.''
This article will appear in the January/February 2020 print edition with the headline ''Why Won't He Just Say It?''
John Hendrickson is a senior editor on
The Atlantic's politics team.
How a Facebook Employee Helped Trump Win'--But Switched Sides for 2020 - WSJ
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 15:51
After the 2016 presidential election, Republican Party officials credited Facebook Inc. with helping Donald Trump win the White House. One senior official singled out a then-28-year-old Facebook employee embedded with the Trump campaign, calling him an ''MVP.''
Now that key player is working for the other side'--as national debate intensifies over Facebook's role in politics.
James Barnes left Facebook this spring, and said he is now dedicated to using the digital-ad strategies he employed on behalf of the Trump campaign to get President Trump out of office in 2020. Mr. Barnes, who had been a lifelong Republican, has registered as a Democrat and recently started working with a progressive nonprofit called Acronym, where former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is on the board.
In a series of interviews over the past three weeks, Mr. Barnes discussed how he helped the Trump campaign leverage some of Facebook's powerful tools and products to extend its reach. He talked about the pressure he felt behind the scenes, both from the Trump campaign and some colleagues at Facebook. His account sheds new light on Facebook's role in the Trump campaign and what Democrats are trying to learn from it going into the next presidential election.
Mr. Barnes said he remains supportive of Facebook's mission but is uneasy about the company's influence on political discourse. One question that has nagged him over the past three years about his time at Facebook: ''Did I actually do the right thing?''
Social-media platforms are sure to be a critical battlefield in 2020, with political spending on digital advertising expected to hit $2.9 billion, up from $1.4 billion in 2016, according to consulting firm Borrell Associates Inc. The Trump re-election campaign is already pouring money into Facebook ads, and Democratic candidates are ramping up.
Facebook has openly grappled with its approach to political advertising in the wake of revelations that Russian entities purchased digital ads designed to influence the results of the 2016 presidential election. It has also faced criticism for giving political campaigns access to sophisticated targeting tools, which in some cases allowed political actors to single out groups of users for misleading ads. In response, Facebook has made changes to slow the spread of misinformation and eliminated commissions for employees who sell political ads. The company is also considering ways to make it harder to target political ads to very small groups of people.
Another big change that came out of this reckoning: Last year, Facebook said it would no longer embed its employees with political campaigns, as Mr. Barnes had done.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has discussed his own soul-searching around whether Facebook should accept political ads at all, eventually deciding that it should and that it wouldn't fact-check those messages as it does other content.
Facebook has played an increasingly large role in each of the last three U.S. presidential elections. In 2008, Barack Obama's campaign was lauded for using Facebook to help reach young voters. In 2012, President Obama's re-election campaign created an app that plugged into the Facebook developer platform and allowed users to prod friends in swing states to vote.
The company's political ad strategy was initially modeled on its playbook for top corporate clients: Facebook employees offered on-site support to the U.S. presidential candidates who were considered the presumptive nominees for their parties.
Mr. Barnes joined Facebook's political ad sales team in June 2013 in Washington, following a stint at a digital consulting firm that worked for John McCain's two presidential campaigns.
Like other tech companies, Facebook divvies up its political ad sales team by party. Republican employees usually work with Republican clients; Democrats work with Democrats. Mr. Barnes was part of the team that exclusively dealt with Republicans.
In many ways, Mr. Barnes is the archetype of a Silicon Valley tech worker. He's analytical and measured. He's earnest and idealistic, describing on multiple occasions his desire to do good in the world. He fasts intermittently, sometimes going 72 hours between meals.
In other ways, he cuts against type. He grew up in Hendersonville, Tenn., in an evangelical family that attended church on Wednesday nights. His mother, Tami West, says he was an Alex P. Keaton type: independent and staunchly Republican.
By the time the 2016 campaign was heating up, the developer platform used by the Obama campaign was mostly closed off, as part of a shift in Facebook's strategy, but Facebook's ad-targeting tools had grown more sophisticated.
Mr. Barnes became the Trump campaign's go-to resource for figuring out how to maximize those tools. In April 2016, after a weekend at the Coachella music festival in California, he and his manager flew to San Antonio to meet with Brad Parscale, who became the digital director of the Trump campaign. In Mr. Parscale's office, and later at Bohanan's, a local steak house, they discussed how Facebook could help the campaign.
One of the first things Mr. Barnes and his team advised campaign officials to do was to start running fundraising ads targeting Facebook users who liked or commented on Mr. Trump's posts over the past month using a product now called ''engagement custom audiences.''
The product, which Mr. Barnes hand-coded, was available to a small group, including Republican and Democratic political clients. (The ad tool was rolled out widely around Election Day.) Within the first few days, every dollar that the Trump campaign spent on these ads yielded $2 to $3 in fundraising dollars, said Mr. Barnes, who added that the campaign raised millions of dollars in those first few days.
Mr. Barnes frequently flew to Texas, sometimes staying for four days at a time and logging 12-hour days. By July, he says, he was solely focused on the Trump campaign. When on-site in the building that served as the Trump campaign's digital headquarters in San Antonio, he sometimes sat a few feet from Mr. Parscale.
The intense pace reflected Trump officials' full-throated embrace of Facebook's platform, in the absence of a more traditional campaign structure including donor files and massive email databases.
The Trump campaign would give Mr. Barnes certain videos or images, such as a video of Donald Trump Jr. urging voters to build the border wall. Mr. Barnes would experiment with different ways to display the ad. One ad might say ''donate'' while another would say ''give.'' Some videos would be vertical; others were square. Buttons could be highlighted in red or green.
Each variation of the ad would be targeted to certain demographics. It could be as specific as 18-to-24 year old men who visited the Trump campaign donation page and made it to the third step but never finished, according to Mr. Barnes. They tested all the variations and doubled down on those that raised the most money.
Trump campaign officials have said that some days the campaign churned out 100,000 separate versions of Facebook ads. Mr. Parscale is overseeing the Trump re-election campaign this year.
One official from the 2016 Trump campaign said it primarily relied on Mr. Barnes for troubleshooting and complained to Facebook about periodic technical issues that the campaign argued hurt the campaign's performance. The official, who is also working on Mr. Trump's re-election campaign, declined to comment further.
Mr. Barnes's Democratic counterparts at Facebook weren't getting the same reception. Tatenda Musapatike, a former Facebook employee who worked with Democratic PACs and other independent expenditure groups in 2016, said she felt many Democrats held Facebook at arm's length.
''For James, he'd suggest something and they'd say, 'Sure, let's try it,' '' said Ms. Musapatike. ''It was a battle for us to get anything accepted at a much smaller scale.''
Hillary Clinton's campaign didn't have Facebook employees stationed on site, according to people familiar with the campaign. One former Clinton campaign official said the campaign didn't want to give Facebook staffers a ''24/7 opportunity'' to sell more ads by embedding with the staff. A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton didn't respond to a request for comment.
Facebook referred to its prior comments on the embed program. Last year, Facebook told lawmakers that it didn't assign anybody ''full-time'' to either campaign and that it offered ''identical support'' to both sides.
Mr. Barnes said the experience was exhilarating but isolating. He was thrilled that the tools he helped build were working. But while he had a good relationship with Mr. Parscale and the campaign's digital advertising director, Gary Coby, at times Mr. Barnes had reservations about Mr. Trump's tone and rhetoric.
Still, Mr. Barnes said he felt he had a responsibility to help Facebook follow through on its commitment to help candidates regardless of their politics.
''I used to describe my job as defending Trump to Facebook and defending Facebook to Trump,'' he said.
Internally, Facebook staffers questioned the company's role in politics. Sometimes they would ask why Facebook was offering assistance to the Trump campaign in the first place, according to Mr. Barnes and other former Facebook employees.
The critiques wore on Mr. Barnes. ''It felt really isolating and lonely that I was at the nexus of all of this stuff,'' he said.
During the campaign, Trump campaign officials frequently threatened to go to the press if Mr. Barnes and other Facebook employees failed to address problems to their satisfaction, he said.
For example, the Trump campaign needed a large credit line from Facebook, according to Mr. Barnes and others familiar with the situation. This issue posed unique challenges. Facebook sometimes extends credit to a select group of digital agencies, but Mr. Parscale's outfit didn't qualify for a large line because it didn't have a track record with Facebook, according to people familiar with the matter. The Trump team also wanted to pay for ads with a credit card, but Facebook's payments system wasn't set up to handle payments of as much as $300,000 to $400,000 a day on a credit card, according to Mr. Barnes and others familiar with the matter.
As employees looked for ways to mend the problem, Mr. Parscale texted Mr. Barnes to say Mr. Trump would go on TV and ''say Facebook was being unfair to him'' if the issue wasn't resolved quickly, Mr. Barnes said. Eventually, Facebook came up with a fix.
Mr. Barnes said he felt responsible for protecting Facebook from these potential attacks.
Mr. Barnes said he ultimately voted for Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Musapatike said Mr. Barnes was in a funk after the election. ''He had a difficult time reckoning with the impact of the election and his work,'' she said.
A few days after the election, Mr. Coby directly praised Mr. Barnes on Twitter. In a now-deleted tweet, he said ''@jameslbarnes of FB was a MVP.''
Being called out by name at a time when Trump supporters were being targeted by threats online was ''terrifying,'' Mr. Barnes said. Facebook's security team called him with instructions on how he could protect himself and his privacy online.
Months later Mr. Barnes moved to San Francisco, joining a team that helped retailers like Macy's use Facebook's products. He tried to forget politics.
In December 2017, Mr. Barnes said, he was interviewed for nine hours by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller. At one point they asked him if he noticed any Russians hanging around the campaign, he said. ''You wanna make a joke in that scenario,'' he said, but ''it's not the opportunity to make a joke.'' He told them he didn't see Russians.
Mr. Barnes said he also spoke to the Securities and Exchange Commission about the company's connection to Cambridge Analytica, which purchased data of about 87 million users of Facebook from a researcher without the consent of Facebook or the users.
Mr. Barnes doesn't think Cambridge Analytica uploaded any illicitly gained Facebook user data to target ads, but that it wasn't the norm for Facebook employees to ask for such details. Former Cambridge Analytica officials have denied using the data for the 2016 election. The SEC declined to comment.
At one point, in mid-2018, Mr. Barnes helped design Facebook's much-touted war room for managing election integrity in the U.S. and abroad. Shortly before a press junket to showcase the effort, he said, two Facebook public-relations officials advised him to stay away from the event in case journalists raised questions about his role helping the Trump campaign.
That week, as he sat at his desk surrounded by empty seats, his frustration reached a breaking point. ''[I'm thinking], when am I going to stop paying the price for this?''
In early 2019, Mr. Barnes took advantage of a Facebook perk called ''recharge'' which gives employees 30 days off after they have been at Facebook for five years.
He considered going back to Facebook, but opted to take an active role opposing Mr. Trump's re-election. In a private Facebook post on Aug. 5, he wrote that Mr. Trump's slogan, Make America Great Again, was about ''activating the deepest, darkest, soul of white nationalism.''
One of his calls was to former colleague Ms. Musapatike, who left in March to join Acronym as its senior director of campaigns overseeing the group's online voter registration and mobilization programs. Chris Cox, Facebook's former chief product officer, is now an informal adviser to Acronym and, people familiar with the matter say, one of its donors.
Ms. Musapatike warned Mr. Barnes that he might be viewed with suspicion at Acronym because of his work for Mr. Trump. She vouched for Mr. Barnes with Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym.
Mr. Barnes decided he liked Acronym's goal to beat Mr. Trump at his own game, online and on Facebook. This month, Acronym and its affiliated PAC announced plans to spend $75 million on digital ads. Mr. Barnes oversees Acronym's analytics, helping Acronym understand if its ads work.
Mr. Plouffe believes the former Facebook employee gives Democrats a secret weapon as part of a revamped effort to meet Mr. Trump on the social-media battlefield.
''He understands the most dominant platform in politics exceedingly well,'' Mr. Plouffe said of Mr. Barnes. ''He thinks differently from someone who grew up in politics a decade or more ago.''
'--Jim Oberman and Emily Glazer contributed to this article.
Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com
The Democratic ticket Trump doesn't want in 2020 | TheHill
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 20:55
Pete Buttigieg Peter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegClimate change protesters stage sit-in at Mayor Pete Buttigieg's office Yang slams lack of speaking time during debate Bloomberg readies .5M ad campaign as he mulls 2020 run MORE 's recent popularity surge in Iowa and New Hampshire has many speculating that President Trump Donald John TrumpApple CEO Tim Cook promises to fight for DACA, user privacy DOJ urges Supreme Court to side with Trump in ongoing legal battle over tax returns Giuliani associate willing to inform Congress of meeting between Nunes and former Ukrainian official: report MORE could face a Democratic ticket in 2020 that he doesn't want and fears the most '-- the South Bend, Ind., mayor and another candidate recently in the spotlight, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tulsi GabbardThe Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment looms large over Democratic debate NYT sexist Tulsi smear Warren support dips among college students in new poll MORE of Hawaii.
Despite what the ''experts'' might say, it's certainly possible. Like weather forecasters and economists, political pundits often are proved embarrassingly wrong. Voters from both parties have a tendency to recalibrate rather quickly, and quite unexpectedly, toward candidates they believe actually might have a chance of winning.
In 2004, for example, Democratic voters threw the preening pundits a curveball when, during the primary process, they suddenly tapped on the brakes, took a much longer and harder look at front-runner Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, and turned in the slightly more ''establishment'' direction of Sen. John Kerry John Forbes KerryGraham requests State Department documents on Bidens, Ukraine So long as Iran dominates the Middle East, a new Baghdadi will rise As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target MORE of Massachusetts.
Four years later, Democratic primary voters most certainly went counterintuitive again when they bypassed the pundit-approved and -predicted Sen. Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham ClintonDOJ watchdog expected to say FBI erred, but absolve top leaders of anti-Trump bias: report Intel officials told senators Russia wanted to pin election meddling on Ukraine: report Trump says Pompeo would 'win in a landslide' if he ran for Senate MORE of New York for the relatively unknown Sen. Barack Obama Barack Hussein ObamaFar-right, anti-Islam group plans to hold event at Mar-a-Lago club Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates Hill says Soros conspiracy theories are 'new Protocols of the Elders of Zion' MORE of Illinois.
The instincts of those primary voters almost won the Democratic Party the White House in 2004 and for sure got them a very popular two-term president in 2008.
In 2016, Republican primary voters made fools of an army of political pundits and pollsters who '-- even very late into the primary process '-- declared continually that Donald Trump had no chance of getting the Republican nomination.
Once he became the nominee, many of those same ''experts'' and Never Trumpers told us he had zero chance of beating Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Coming up on the end of the third year of his presidency, President Trump still delights in reminding those pundits and pollsters how earth-shatteringly wrong they were.
Today, many of these same political strategists tell us the Democratic nominee most likely will be either former Vice President Joe Biden Joe BidenGiuliani associate willing to inform Congress of meeting between Nunes and former Ukrainian official: report Yang slams lack of speaking time during debate Biden on Bloomberg entering 2020 race: 'I welcome the competition' MORE or Sen. Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Ann WarrenYang slams lack of speaking time during debate Krystal Ball lays out Sanders's path to victory in 2020 Warren adds Ayanna Pressley as campaign co-chair MORE of Massachusetts.
OK, unless the voters say otherwise '-- again.
As one who was involved in three winning presidential campaigns, I have watched the ever-evolving Democratic primary campaign for 2020 with growing interest. Over the course of the past year, I've discussed with a number of friends and political operatives from both parties that the two Democrats who should strike the most fear in Trump are Buttigieg and Gabbard.
Gabbard has been in the news lately after Clinton viciously and unfairly attacked her. Even though Gabbard has broken a number of ''glass ceilings'' and served her country with honor as a member of the United States Army in Iraq and Kuwait, Clinton hinted that she is an asset of the Russians who is being ''groomed as a third-party candidate.''
An asset of the Russians? Truly despicable.
Gabbard fired back at Clinton, who had no proof to offer for her smear: ''Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.''
As irony would have it, Clinton unintentionally gave Gabbard just the boost she needed to potentially keep her going deep into the primary process.
This primary campaign '-- like the one in 2008 '-- is starting to also showcase another young, smart, well-spoken and relatively inexperienced candidate from the Midwest: Mayor Pete. He began his political career as a volunteer for Obama in 2007, before joining the Navy Reserve and serving the nation with distinction in Afghanistan. He's also openly and proudly gay.
Because of that, many are asking the expected question: Is America ready to elect a gay president? The answer, for me at least, is that America is more than ready to do so, just as the nation was more than ready to elect a black president and is more than ready to elect a female president.
As Obama demonstrated, it still comes down to the candidate '-- can he or she connect with the American people? And Democratic voters finally are paying attention to the connections that Gabbard and Buttigieg can make, she as a more centrist candidate and he more left of center.
As a package, those two candidates, with their various skill sets and experiences, do speak to a great many communities and demographics across the country. Two young veterans who served their nation in Iraq and Afghanistan now are catching the attention of American voters.
If I were in the Trump White House or campaign, that ticket would send chills down my spine.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.
Steve Marchand 🧠on Twitter: "#BoycottMSNBC, or at least do this: In honor of the MSNBC moderators taking 32 minutes to ask @andrewyang a question in last week's debate, let's all agree that we'll tune in for any @MSNBC half-hour program 32 minutes int
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 21:45
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Leading white Democrats court black votes; some find trouble
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 12:20
ATLANTA (AP) '-- Coming out of their debate in a key center of black America, the leading Democratic presidential contenders aimed for the party's crucial black and minority vote, with the scramble putting internal party tensions on display.
Full Coverage: Election 2020From black protesters disrupting Elizabeth Warren to the lone black woman in the race chiding white, upstart Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the dynamics in Atlanta highlighted the push for crucial black and other minority support with less than three months before primary voting begins. They further underscored some candidates' vulnerabilities in trying to assemble the coalition necessary to win the nomination '-- and defeat President Donald Trump in the general election.
Warren electrified a raucous and racially diverse crowd in the Clark-Atlanta University gymnasium as she tries to expand her support beyond the white liberal base that boosted her in the primary polls this summer. But the Massachusetts senator had to endure protests of a black school-choice group that threatened to overshadow her message aimed squarely at black women '-- Democrats' most loyal faction.
Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who leads caucus polls in overwhelmingly white Iowa, spent the day defending remarks relating his experience as a gay man to the systemic racism facing African Americans. Kamala Harris, the California senator and only black woman in the race, blasted his approach as ''naive.''
Like Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders invoked his biography, as the child of an immigrant family with casualties in the Holocaust, to connect with African Americans' struggle against oppression and white supremacy. Harris, still lagging the front-runners, has not criticized the way Sanders talks about race, but the Vermont senator still must prove he can get more black votes than he did in losing the 2016 nominating fight.
All those contenders are trying to catch Vice President Joe Biden, whose considerable lead among black voters leaves him atop most national polls. Biden spent Thursday meeting with black Southern mayors, led by Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottoms, one of his top campaign surrogates. But it wasn't all smooth for Biden, as immigration activists interrupted him in South Carolina demanding he pledge to halt deportations on his first day in office. Biden refused.
For those chasing Biden, Warren offered perhaps the strongest display Thursday.
Before an energetic crowd at Clark-Atlanta, the senator called for a ''full-blown national conversation about reparations'' for slavery, and she praised black women for helping build the country and advancing social and economic justice. She bemoaned structural impediments beyond slavery, naming Jim Crow segregation, modern-day mass incarceration and red-lining practices that make it harder for minorities to get mortgage loans.
''Black history is American history,'' Warren said. ''And American history teaches us that racism has for generations shaped every crucial aspect of our economic and political system.''
She offered a litany of policy proposals: new spending at historically black schools, legalizing marijuana, overhauling federal housing policy, student loan debt forgiveness, even repealing the 1994 crime law '-- which Biden sponsored as a Delaware senator.
''I am not afraid,'' she said to roars. ''And you cannot be afraid, either.''
Yet for a time, it looked as if Warren might not be able to deliver the rare formal speech that aides had built up as a seminal moment in her campaign. Moments into her address, dozens of black protesters from a school-choice group interrupted. They stood down only after Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley took the microphone from Warren.
''The senator is here to talk about fighters like you,'' said Pressley, who is black. In drowning out Warren, she said, the group was keeping the senator from telling the story of black women already marginalized.
Buttigieg, meanwhile, found no such defender as he enjoys a newfound lead in Iowa, the first-caucus state, but shows negligible black support in more diverse primary states that follow. So, he was left to contend with Harris alone.
Their flap spun off the mayor saying Wednesday during a debate segment on race that he has ''felt like a stranger'' in his own country because his civil rights as a gay man were left to the whims of politicians.
During a post-debate event, Harris lambasted Buttigieg for comparing the struggles of black and LGBTQ communities. A Democrat who wants a winning coalition, she said, ''should not be ... saying one group's pain is equal than or greater'' than another's.
Buttigieg pushed back, telling reporters, ''There's no equating those two experiences,'' and maintaining that he hadn't done so.
Sanders understands as well as any candidate that Democratic presidential politics demands more than just enthusiastic white support. The Vermont senator battled Hillary Clinton to a surprise draw in Iowa in 2016 and trounced her in New Hampshire, another mostly white Democratic electorate. Yet with overwhelming black support, Clinton then dominated Sanders in South Carolina and across the Deep South, building an early delegate lead she never relinquished.
This time, he's intent on building black support earlier in the campaign, and on Thursday, he noticeably leaned more on biographical details than he did for much of his 2016 campaign, even as he ticked through his usual list of progressive policy remedies.
Now 78, he told the crowd '-- gathered around a statue of Morehouse alumnus Martin Luther King Jr. '-- of his 1960s activism, describing himself and his fellow white students as ''not quite so brave'' as black citizens in the more dangerous Jim Crow South. But, Sanders said, ''I was arrested and went to jail fighting housing segregation in Chicago.''
And he wanted them to know his family history.
''Some of you know, I'm Jewish,'' Sanders said. ''My father came to this country from Poland. He came fleeing anti-Semitism. A lot of people in my father's family did not make it out of Poland.
''They were murdered by the father of white supremacy, Adolf Hitler,'' Sanders continued. ''So, I learned at a very young age what racism and white supremacy and Aryanism and all that crap is about.''
Far from the campaign trail, former President Barack Obama offered advice to Democrats considering those varied approaches. The first black president, speaking at a party fundraiser in California, warned against absolute judgments as candidates navigate a fraught issue.
''There's a way of talking about race that says 'we can be better,' and there's a way of talking about race that says 'you are bad' or that 'you don't get it,''' he said, later adding, ''When we invite people to their better selves, we tend to bring people in.''
Ronayne reported from Sacramento, Calif. Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko in Los Altos Hills, Calif., and Meg Kinnard in Greenwood, S.C., contributed to this report.
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, ''Ground Game.''
Booker and Harris Warn Democrats About Ignoring Black Voters - The Atlantic
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:10
''We've got to re-create the Obama coalition to win,'' Harris continued, ''and that means women, that's people of color, that's our LGBTQ community, that's working people, that's our labor unions. But that is how we are going to win this election, and I intend to win.''
Read: The Democratic Party apologizes to black voters
Buttigieg noted that he leads a diverse city and that while he has never experienced discrimination based on the color of his skin, he's had, as a gay man, ''the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country.'' Harris did not back down, however, from her larger implied argument against Buttigieg'--that Democrats need, as they had in Barack Obama, ''a leader who had worked in many communities, knows those communities, and has the ability to bring people together.''
When Booker next got a chance to speak, he jumped back to that discussion, drawing laughs when he noted that he had been excluded the first time around. ''I have a lifetime of experience with black voters. I've been one since I was 18,'' he said. ''Nobody on this stage should need a focus group to hear from African American voters.''
''Black voters are pissed off, and they're worried,'' he continued. ''They're pissed off because the only time [their issues are paid attention] by politicians is when people are looking for their vote '... We don't want to see people miss this opportunity and lose because we are nominating someone that isn't trusted, doesn't have authentic connection. And so that's what's on the ballot.''
Booker then pivoted to an attack on Biden, who this week reiterated his opposition to legalizing marijuana and seemed to be summoning the drug wars of the 1980s and '90s when he called it a ''gateway drug.''
''I thought you might have been high when you said it,'' Booker said, again to laughs. ''Marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people. The War on Drugs has been a war on black and brown people.''
Biden protested that he supports decriminalizing marijuana and would release those currently serving time in federal prisons on low-level charges. But then he stumbled, claiming that ''I come out of the black community in terms of my support'' and asserting that he has an endorsement from ''the only African American woman that'd ever been elected to the United States Senate.''
''No ... the other one is here,'' Harris interjected, as Biden tried to clarify that he meant the first black woman, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois.
Harris and Booker couldn't have made their point better if they had tried. Biden's claim to black support'--while backed up in polls at the moment'--seemed to come out of an earlier era, when the ''first black president'' was not Barack Obama but Bill Clinton, and when white politicians relied on endorsements over authentic experience to prove their connection to the black community.
After shutting off the spying processes the win10 side is almost dead! Leading me to beliveve it's actually usually processing what I AM DOING
the entire Linux movement and projects is proof that Humanity can be beautiful
1.2 billion people exposed in data leak includes personal info, LinkedIN, Facebook
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:47
On October 16, 2019 Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia discovered a wide-open Elasticsearch server containing an unprecedented 4 billion user accounts spanning more than 4 terabytes of data.
A total count of unique people across all data sets reached more than 1.2 billion people, making this one of the largest data leaks from a single source organization in history. The leaked data contained names, email addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIN and Facebook profile information.
What makes this data leak unique is that it contains data sets that appear to originate from 2 different data enrichment companies.
How Does Data Enrichment Work?For a very low price, data enrichment companies allow you to take a single piece of information on a person (such as a name or email address), and expand (or enrich) that user profile to include hundreds of additional new data points of information. As seen with the Exactis data breach, collected information on a single person can include information such as household sizes, finances and income, political and religious preferences, and even a person's preferred social activities.
Each time a company chooses to ''enrich'' a user profile, they are also agreeing to provide what they know about the person to the enriching organization (thereby increasing the validity of the organization's future results). Despite efforts from social media organizations like Facebook, the resulting data continues to be compounded, creating a situation with no oversight that ultimately allows all of a person's social and personal information to be easily downloaded.
The Open Elasticsearch ServerThe discovered Elasticsearch server containing all of the information was unprotected and accessible via web browser at No password or authentication of any kind was needed to access or download all of the data.
Elasticsearch stores its information in an index, which is similar to a type of database. The following is a screenshot of the different indexes (databases) available on the discovered server.
The majority of the data spanned 4 separate data indexes, labeled ''PDL'' and ''OXY'', with information on roughly 1 billion people per index. Each user record within the databases was labeled with a ''source'' field that matched either PDL or Oxy, respectively.
Company 1: People Data Labs (PDL)Based on our analysis of the data, we believe the data in the PDL indexes originated from People Data Labs, a data aggregator and enrichment company.
De-duplicating the nearly 3 billion PDL user records revealed roughly 1.2 billion unique people, and 650 million unique email addresses, which is in-line with the statistics provided on their website. The data within the three different PDL indexes also varied slightly, some focusing on scraped LinkedIN information, email addresses and phone numbers, while other indexes provided information on individual social media profiles such as a person's Facebook, Twitter, and Github URLs.
According to their website, the PDL application can be used to search:
Over 1.5 Billion unique people, including close to 260 million in the US.Over 1 billion personal email addresses. Work email for 70%+ decision makers in the US, UK, and Canada.Over 420 million Linkedin urlsOver 1 billion facebook urls and ids.400 million+ phone numbers. 200 million+ US-based valid cell phone numbers.Attribution to PDLAfter notifying PDL, we were informed that the server in question does not belong to them. This is consistent with our research as the server in question resided on Google Cloud, while PDL API appears to use Amazon Web Services.
In order to test whether or not the data belonged to PDL, we created a free account on their website which provides users with 1,000 free people lookups per month.
The following is a partially redacted sample of my personal record, downloaded from the server.
{  "id": null,  "status": "created",  "guid": null,  "positions": [{    "id": null,    "title": "security evangelist, hacker, principal consultant",    "description": null,    "location": "saint louis, missouri, united states",    "position_type": "Current",    "company_name": "night lion security",    "company_url": "twitter.com/nightlion",    "start_date_year": 2015,    "end_date_year": null,    "start_date_month": 9,    "end_date_month": null,    "company_website": "nightlionsecurity.com",    "company_size": "1-10",    "company_industry": "information technology and services"  }],  "source": "PDL",  "scheduled": null,  "full_name": "vinny troia",  "first_name": "vinny",  "last_name": "troia",  "url_profile": "https://www.linkedin.com/in/vinnytroia",  "id_external_profile": "vinnytroia",  "short_bio": "ceo, federal cyber / risk mgmt pro, hacker, problem solver, boundary breaker - featured: fox / cnbc / abc at night lion security. ceo, it risk management pro, hacker, problem solver, boundary breaker - featured: fox / cnbc / abc. cyber security pro | fedramp, fisma, nist guru | ethical hacker, hacking forensic investigator. cyber security pro | hacking forensic investigator | risk management, nist, fedramp. hacker, phd, cyber evangelist, keynote speaker, nist csf dissertation author. hacker, cybersecurity keynote speaker, osint, dfir, security evangelist. hacker, cyber evangelist, keynote speaker, nist csf dissertation author. health, environment and safety. greater st. louis area.",  "is_deleted": false,  "created_id": 1111,  "created_dt": 1565870400000,  "updated_id": 1111,  "updated_dt": null,  "timezone_id": null,  "timezone_name": null,  "timezone_geocoding_latitude": null,  "timezone_geocoding_longitude": null,  "lip_location": "ballwin, missouri, united states",  "is_tc": null,  "is_payment": null,  "headline": null,  "industry": "computer & network security",  "linkedin_recruiter_profile_url": null,  "location_shape": {    "coordinates": [-90.54, 38.59],    "type": "point"  },  "location_level": null,  "emails": "vinnytroia@*, vinny@****, vt@***",  "phone_numbers": "314*******,941*******,3146696569,1-636-825-2744",  "experience_years": 4,  "is_scheduled": null}Almost 100% Data MatchThe data discovered on the open Elasticsearch server was almost a complete match to the data being returned by the People Data Labs API. The only difference being the data returned by the PDL also contained education histories. There was no education information in any of the data downloaded from the server. Everything else was exactly the same, including accounts with multiple email addresses and multiple phone numbers.
To confirm, we randomly tested 50 other users and the results were always consistent.
An Interesting and Unique MatchOne of the phone numbers returned for my profile was 1-636-825-2744. I do not remember ever having this phone number, so I decided to look into it. Roughly 10 years ago I was given a land line as part of an AT&T TV bundle. The landline was never used and never given to anyone '' I never actually owned a phone, yet somehow this information appears in my profile.
When I checked my account on PeopleDataLabs.com, the returned results were identical '' including that phone number.Since I have never seen this phone number appear in any of my previously breached/leaked records, this is a very good indication that the leaked database originated from PDL.
Company 2: OxyData.io (OXY)After some basic sleuthing, I came across OxyData.io, another data enrichment company. OxyData's website claims to have 4TB of user data (exactly the amount discovered), but only 380 million people profiles.
OxyData AnalysisAnalysis of the ''Oxy'' database revealed an almost complete scrape of LinkedIN data, including recruiter information.Upon contacting OxyData, I was also informed that the server did not belong to them. Oxy was not willing to give me access to their API to test/compare profiles, but they were nice enough to send me a copy of my own record for analysis. The data they sent contained mostly scraped LinkedIN profile, and appears to be a match for the data data.
Who is Accountable?This is an incredibly tricky and unusual situation. The lion's share of the data is marked as ''PDL'', indicating that it originated from People Data Labs. However, as far as we can tell, the server that leaked the data is not associated with PDL. This raises a number of other questions. First, how did this mystery organization get the data? Are they a current or former customer? If so, the data discovered on the server indicates that this company is a customer of both People Data Labs and OxyData.
If this was a customer that had normal access to PDL's data, then it would indicate the data was not actually ''stolen'', but rather mis-used. This unfortunately does not ease the troubles of any of the 1.2 billion people who had their information exposed.
If this was not a breach, then who is accountable for this exposure?
The Problem of AttributionIdentification of exposed/nameless servers is one of the most difficult parts of an investigation. In this case, all we can tell from the IP address ( is that it is (or was) hosted with Google Cloud.
Because of obvious privacy concerns cloud providers will not share any information on their customers, making this a dead end.Agencies like the FBI can request this information through legal process (a type of official Government request), but they have no authority to force the identified organization to disclose the breach.
One could argue that because PDL's data was mis-used, it is up to them to notify their customers. One could also argue that the owner of is responsible and liable for any potential damages. But legally, we have no way of knowing who that is without a court order.
Due to the sheer amount of personal information included, combined with the complexities identifying the data owner, this has the potential raise questions on the effectiveness of our current privacy and breach notification laws.
About Data ViperData Viper is a next-generation threat intelligence platform, providing organizations, investigators, and law enforcement with the ability to search across thousands of data breaches, with full historical visibility into private, deep, and darkweb hacker channels, pastes, and forums. Data Viper is designed for both brand monitoring and threat actor intelligence research. For more information on how we can help in data breach and cyber criminal investigations, please contact us.
Why is Instagram deleting the accounts of hundreds of porn stars? - BBC News
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 07:01
Image copyright Ginger Banks; Getty Images Image caption Adult performers Ginger Banks (left) and Alana Evans Hundreds of porn stars and sex workers had their Instagram accounts deleted this year, and many say that they're being held to a different standard than mainstream celebrities.
"I should be able to model my Instagram account on Sharon Stone or any other verified profile, but the reality is that doing that would get me deleted," says Alana Evans, president of the Adult Performers Actors Guild and one of the leading voices in the battle that adult stars are waging to stay on the platform.
Ms Evans' group has collected a list of more than 1,300 performers who claim that their accounts have been deleted by Instagram's content moderators for violations of the site's community standards, despite not showing any nudity or sex.
"They discriminate against us because they don't like what we do for a living," Ms Evans says.
Image copyright @sabrinathebunny Image caption Performers say that even posts such as these are consistently reported as inappropriate - and they have no idea why The campaigning led to a meeting with Instagram representatives in June, followed by the establishment of a new appeal system for removed accounts. During the summer, however, the talks halted and accounts belonging to adult performers have continued to be deleted.
'Last straw'Ms Evans was particularly upset when the account of porn star Jessica Jaymes was removed after her death in September.
"When I saw that Jessica's account was deleted, my heart sunk. It was the last straw," she says.
The account, which is followed by more than 900,000 people, was later reinstated.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jessica Jaymes at the 2019 XBIZ Awards In late 2018, adult performers say, an individual or a number of individuals started a co-ordinated campaign to report accounts to social media platforms, with the clear intent of having them removed.
This was often followed by harassment and intimidation, in the form of abusive messages. An anonymous individual - known in the industry as "Omid" - frequently boasted of being personally responsible for hundreds of deletions.
Subscribe to the BBC Trending podcast via BBC SoundsAdult performer and sex workers' rights activist Ginger Banks was one of the first targets of the campaign.
"When you put time and effort into building an account with over 300,000 followers and it gets deleted, that makes you feel defeated," she says. "Even if you're following the rules, you still have your account deleted. And that's the part that's frustrating."
Ms Banks says that removing adult performers and sex workers from social media is another way of marginalising these groups by removing them from their primary - or, in some cases, only - marketing channel.
"The people reporting us don't understand that people's incomes are affected, or they don't care. They think that we shouldn't be doing this job or it shouldn't exist."
Image copyright @Omid91679072 Image caption Anti-porn campaigner Omid has claimed responsibility for getting accounts removed Tech revolutionThe technological revolution that has transformed the pornography industry has opened new channels and allowed many porn stars and sex workers to operate independently, using webcam sites, subscription services and custom video platforms. Most use Instagram to showcase themselves and promote their personal brands.
Adult production houses often consider the size of a performer's Instagram following when casting for new scenes. When a performer has their account deleted, they lose access to the fans and the business connections they've built up - with a potentially significant impact on their income and livelihood.
Many posts leave little to the imagination, but performers contend that the guidelines are too vague and inconsistent in their enforcement.
Crucially, they claim famous celebrities are allowed to be much more explicit on their accounts than porn stars or sex workers, without getting sanctioned.
"I've never posted explicit images on Instagram. But even a picture of me wearing leggings could be extremely provocative to someone, and worthy of being reported," says Ginger Banks. "We're letting these businesses determine what is art and what is pornography, and then punish us."
Image copyright @Busty_Von_Tease Image caption Adult performers say they are unfairly treated compared with mainstream models and celebrities. The portion of the quoted post at the bottom, which is cropped off, contains sexually suggestive images Facebook respondsA spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told the BBC: "With such a globally diverse community, we have to put rules in place around nudity and sexual solicitation to ensure content is appropriate for everyone, particularly young people.
"We will take action on content reported to us if it breaks these rules. We give people the opportunity to appeal the decision and will reinstate content if we mistakenly remove something."
The latest version of Facebook's community guidelines tells users they cannot offer or ask for nude images, sexual content or sex chat using "commonly sexual emojis", "regional sexualised slang", or a host of other content or images.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption "Commonly sexual emojis" can't be used in sexual solicitation conversations on Facebook and Instagram The training materials used by moderators to enforce these guidelines, however, are not public. Sex workers fear that Facebook places being acceptable to the most conservative audiences around the world before fairness and freedom of expression.
Adult entertainment journalist Gustavo Turner, news editor at industry publication XBIZ, calls this the "lowest moral common denominator".
"There is also a culture in Silicon Valley that tends to infantilise the audience," he says. "Facebook is launching a dating service called Crushes, while having strict rules about sexual chat, even between consensual adults and [even when it is] non-commercial."
Art caught in the netAdult stars and sex workers aren't the only ones affected. Rachel Rabbit White, a writer, poet and artist, had her account deleted for sharing pictures from an exhibition titled The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York.
"I posted these archival, very important historic images of lesbian erotica from an esteemed gallery," she says. "I was careful not to get any of the ones that had nipples or genital nudity. But a couple of hours later my account was gone." It has since been reactivated.
Pole dancer and blogger Bloggeronpole is one of the founders of EveryBODYVisible, a campaign started after Instagram took action against pole dancing hashtags this summer. Hashtags such as #poledancing and #femalefitness returned zero results in search. The platform has later apologised and changed its policy, but it still blocks or restricts hashtags that might be used to share content in violation of the guidelines.
Campaigners call this excessive censorship, and say it disproportionally affects sex workers, sex educators and the pole dance community.
"Celebrities keep their pictures, but we can't even post a video of us working out in a bikini," says Bloggeronpole. "If you are using your body in one way or another, even for education or to promote body positivity, you can't do it anymore because of the way social media is being run."
Another London-based pole dancer, Cinderella Jewels, says she uses Instagram to showcase her "pole journey", but the removal of the first account she created and the disappearance of posts from searches affected her work and self-confidence.
"It makes you feel like you're not supported, that people are against you for what you do," she says.
Image copyright @unitedstripper Blog by Thomas Fabbri
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Internet Society sells .org to private equity firm - Finance - Cloud - Networking - iTnews
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 10:21
In a surprise move, the Internet Society said it has sold the Public Interest Registry (PIR) that manages the .org domain name space to private equity firm Ethos Capital, sparking registration price-rise concerns.
ISOC won the bidding to run .org in 2002 from the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the contract was renewed in June this year.
Orginally .org was aimed at a non-commercial organisations and charities, although anyone can register a domain in the name space now.
Google for example uses a .org domain for its not-for profit efforts.
PIR was set up by ISOC to manage the name space, which is one of the internet's original top-level domains along with .com, .net, .edu, .gov and .mil. The first .org domain was registered in 1985.
Few details of the deal between ISOC and Ethos Capital were published, including how much PIR sold for.
According to figures published by PIR, there are 10.3 million .org registrants currently, each paying a capped US$9.95 a year.
However, ICANN in July this year removed the cap on .org domain registration charges, despite opposition to the move.
PIR's latest annual report shows steadily rising revenue over the past five years, with the registry bringin in US$93 million in 2018, resulting in an operating income of US$45.9 million.
Over the same period of time, PIR has contributed between US$30 million to US$70 million approximately per year to ISOC's coffers.
In December 2017, PIR used a cash surplus to fund an additional one-off contribution to ISOC of US$43 million.
Afilias is paid US$18 million a year by PIR to run the registration business backend for .org.
As part of the deal, PIR will consider moving away from being a not-for-profit to become a B or benefit corporation, a new type of United States business entity that allows for other missions than turning a profit.
Ethos Capital was set up this year by Erik Brooks who oversaw private equity firm Abry Partners acquisition of domain name registrar Donuts last year, along with former ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehad(C) who in May appears to have registered ethoscapital.org.
The chief executive of PIR, Jonathon Nevett, co-founded Donuts, and left his role at the domain registrar in October 2018.
Former president of ICANN's Global Domains Division, Akram Atallah, was appointed chief executive at Donuts after Abry Partners acquisition of the registrar.
Working with Brooks at Ethos Capital as the equity firm's chief purpose officer is former ICANN senior vice president Nora Abusitta-Ouri.
After .org moved to the standard ICANN registry agreement in May with registraion cost caps removed, PIR was at pains to point out that it had the option of raising prices by ten per cent a year.
PIR said it had not done so the past three years, and sought to assure registrants that it would not hike prices unreasonably.
Brooks said that Ethos Capital will continue PIR's goal of making .org accessible and reasonably priced, and would never hike costs dramatically.
Vint Cerf, former chairman of the ICANN board and the founding president ISOC said PIR had exercised its stewardship to the benefit of registrants, and the Internet Society's mission.
"I am looking forward to supporting Ethos Capital and PIR in any way I can as they continue to expand the utility of the .org top-level domain in creative and socially responsible ways,'' Cerf said in a statement.
iTnews has sought comment from ISOC and PIR on the sale.
Off-Grid Cyberdeck! The Raspberry Pi Recovery Kit '-- BACK7.CO
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:24
The concept often feels like something out of a science fiction movie or a doomsday prepper's handbook- and while this device can work in both scenarios, it's also about understanding resiliency for your projects and being a good steward of the systems in place today.
I've been posting the progress of this project on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all month, and this is my full build log of the project. You'll find the parts list at the bottom of this article. They are affiliate links that help me make more cool stuff, and by using them you don't pay any more than usual- so thank you for supporting my projects, even just a little bit.
I posted about a month ago on my retrospective from four years ago when I made the Raspberry Pi Field Unit, which was generously shared on Hackaday then, and I posted a follow-up on Reddit several weeks back. There's a few common issues that I came across:
There was no keyboard!
The solution isn't truly waterproof
Numerous holes in the case would make ingress of water or moisture even more common
My wiring on the original project was a mess
The display took up too much room and was too hard to mount
The project was too hard to maintain or fix
Several connectors were very fragile
Material choices for the internal structure were not good- I picked plastics that were too brittle, and the overall structure was poor
No EM shielding from the preppers in the audience
I could go on and on, but those are the key points. I'll address each of these below:
No keyboardIn 2014 I wasn't aware of any reduced footprint keyboards, and I did look. Even looking today there wasn't any that fit common search terms, but as a lurker in /r/mechanicalkeyboards I did find out and had already bought a Plaid keyboard kit. As luck turns out, it was a perfect fit. It's my first orthagonal keyboard, but it matches the cyberdeck feel of the project. I'm using DSA Beyond keycaps and Cherry MX Silent switches, all hand-soldered. More pics are here, but here's a shot below:
Waterproofing IssuesTo state it up front, I did not intend to make something fully submersible for long periods. This is a hobby project and in order to do that, you end up using high-end adhesives. No thanks. Instead, I chose to move all the components and connectors inside the Pelican case. While not all Pelican cases seem to be rated to be waterproof, I'm at least not drilling any holes into this one.
WiringMy wiring abilities from several years ago were pretty poor- notably I just randomly selected lengths of wire and shoved in what didn't fit. Two simple rules seem to have helped me wire this project better. First, use only the length of wire needed, but make sure there's slack to do connecting and soldering, and make sure wires are equal length when connecting to the same part. All of those more or less go together, but help reduce the amount of clutter. Second, I try to zip tie cables that route together. Zip ties can be the enemy, but in small confined spaces they're very important. By grouping cables logically, it's easier to trace cables when troubleshooting. On this project I also grouped the smaller groups together, since I had to route around some of the internals. All in all, I'm really happy how it came out.
The display on the old project is front and center, mostly because that was all that would fit. This led to compromises on internal design and connector placement. This time I used a smaller display, a 7'' Official Raspberry Pi display. There's a few benefits to this display- it has great mounting hardware and it's also a touchscreen. That really makes it easier to skip using a mouse, which would have used a USB port- and those are in short supply on a build like this. The display also runs off 5V, so I didn't need any of the 12V circuitry like I did on the last build. Reducing component costs is something I try to keep an eye on, and by reducing component count, I reduced wiring and the space the power circuitry used.
With all I've gone over so far, it should be obvious the original version was very complex- I still have it and love it, but it's nearly impossible to maintain. The wiring is a mess, and some of the components are discontinued. This means maintaining it is something I've just plain avoided. I mentioned poor material choices, and that included using a thin plastic sheet. Even though it was precision cut over at Big Blue Saw all these years ago, I didn't leave enough tolerance from the edges, and I picked a material that was too brittle. If I had to go back again, I'd probably use sheet aluminum and cover it with vinyl- that alone would get me quite a bit of space.
Instead, this time I printed all of the internal parts on a 3D printer, namely a Prusa I3 MK3/S. That gave me the ability to iterate quickly and test more risky designs, but it also meant that some parts like the main frame I printed 3 or 4 times, and each took more than 24 hours to print.
ConnectorsThis time I still used two mil-spec connectors from McMaster Carr, despite their price. I already had them on hand from another project, and their panel mounting options are really solid. As you can see in the photo below I crammed as many connectors is as I could.
I also had to offset some of the connectors or switches based on their depth to make sure they were still usable while still being able to close the lid. This time the connectors are very functional, the mil-spec ones can be easily remapped to whatever Pi pins you want with a simple flat head screwdriver.
Most of the other connectors I used this time are pretty affordable, coming from either Adafruit or Amazon. I really wanted to add a USB C connector, but the panel mount options for USB C were simply too big to make sense on the panel.
EMP ShieldingElectromagnetic pulse shielding is something spent quite a bit of time thinking about. I could have lined the inside with copper, but any EMP shielding would also block WiFi signals. There's no great option for external antennas on the Raspberry Pi, so it was either have WiFi or EMP shielding in the case.
I ended up making a compromise and shielded the box that I store the project in. You can see the gallery below of how I cut the box at the seams, turned it inside out and re-glued it, then lined it with copper foil and distressed the box:
New FeaturesFinally, there are several cool features I added that I am really proud of. That includes a wire handle at the top to make it easy to pull from the enclosure. It's also a considerable length of wire, so it can be used as spare wire in an emergency.
I also added an internal battery with a custom frame- this battery is giving me some trouble so I may replace it. I also did the same trick with the wire handle- it's essentially a twisted wire with heat shrink to keep it from unraveling.
I added locking switches this time too, and my favorite new feature is the ability to turn all components on and off individually, and to switch power between the internal battery and an external one.
I added the network switch too- no heavy mods here besides splicing the power adapter to re-use the barrel connector.
I also added cooling vents- the internal Pi 4 has a fan on it, but it needed vents too- so if you look close you can see vents above the connector panel and above the display.
Finally, with the best for last, a little trick that I used created an effect I love- the use of two colors on the printing of the panel. The panel is mostly grey, but the raised lettering is printed in white. I'm really happy with the result.
PGP: 'Serious' flaw found in secure email tech - BBC News
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 14:57
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption PGP is used for encrypting various kinds of data - including emails A widely used method of encrypting emails has been found to suffer from a serious vulnerability, researchers say.
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a data encryption method sometimes added to programs that send and receive email.
Details about the vulnerability were released by the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper prior to a scheduled embargo.
Previously, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had advised immediately disabling email tools that automatically decrypted PGP.
The problem had been investigated by Sebastian Schinzel, at Munster University of Applied Sciences.
After the embargo on releasing details about the vulnerability was lifted, Mr Schinzel and colleagues published their research revealing how the attack on PGP emails worked.
A website explaining the issue has also now been made public.
Mr Schinzel has been contacted by the BBC for comment.
There was initially concern among cyber-security researchers that the issue affected the core protocol of PGP - meaning that all uses of the encryption method, including file encryption, could be made vulnerable.
However, one provider of software that can encrypt data using PGP explained the problem specifically concerned email programs that failed to check for decryption errors properly before following links in emails that included HTML code.
The issue had been "overblown" by the EFF, said Werner Koch, of GnuPG.
His colleague Robert Hansen said on Twitter that the issue had been known about for some time.
He argued it wasn't really a vulnerability in the OpenPGP system but rather in email programs that had been designed without appropriate safeguards.
'Real secrets' riskedSecurity expert Mikko Hypponen, at F-Secure, said his understanding was that the vulnerability could in theory be used to decrypt a cache of encrypted emails sent in the past, if an attacker had access to such data.
"This is bad because the people who use PGP use it for a reason," he told the BBC.
"People don't use it for fun - people who use it have real secrets, like business secrets or confidential things."
Alan Woodward, at the University of Surrey, agreed, adding: "It does have some big implications as it could lead to a channel for sneaking data off devices as well as for decrypting messages."
The researchers have said that users of PGP email can disable HTML in their mail programs to stay safe from attacks based on the vulnerability.
It is also possible to decrypt emails with PGP decryption tools separate from email programs.
Tenants call for better laws after stopping facial recognition from moving in - CNET
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:23
Tenants fought off facial recognition technology at their apartment complex and are pushing for legislation to protect others.
James Martin/CNET After fighting their landlord for more than a year, tenants at the Atlantic Plaza Towers in Brooklyn, New York, won a small victory by stopping facial recognition from moving into their building. But the real battle against facial recognition and surveillance technology has just begun.
Nelson Management Group President Robert Nelson, whose company owns multiple properties across New York, including the Atlantic Plaza Towers, told tenants at the apartment complex on Tuesday that he's backing down on his plan to install facial recognition technology there. The decision was first reported by Gothamist on Thursday.
Tenants are skeptical of the promise. They've yet to receive official paperwork documenting the decision and also worry that Nelson will install the surveillance technology at one of the many other properties he manages.
"Nelson Management Group has withdrawn its Modification of Services application with the state to implement facial recognition technology at Atlantic Plaza Towers," Nelson said in a statement. "I appreciate feedback from residents and stakeholders throughout this process, and look forward to continued progress on upgrades at Atlantic Plaza Towers."
Fabian Rogers, one of the tenants behind the pushback at the building, is calling for legislation to protect people from facial recognition in residences. It should guarantee protection against the surveillance technology, not just for his apartment building, but everyone, he said.
"That's why we're so on top of thinking about official documentation and official legislation so no one has to go through the same fight again like we did," Rogers said.
Now playing: Watch this: Facial recognition: Get to know the tech that gets to...
Some property managers want to install smart home systems and technology like facial recognition because they consider it a convenience for tenants and a security measure. The technology could deter thieves from entering the building, while also making it easier for residents to get inside.
Tenants worry the technology is a new way for landlords to keep a close eye on people in their homes. In New York, a smart intercom system was being pitched to landlords as a way of catching and evicting tenants going against the building's code of conduct.
Property technology is essentially unregulated because it's relatively new. There are no laws covering it, though members of Congress have proposed a bill to keep facial recognition out of federally funded housing. Tenants worry about surveillance and privacy when smart home systems are in place, and have sued landlords for the right to use physical keys.
When Rogers attended a New York City Council meeting in October, he was struck by how little local officials knew about property technology and how little protection tenants actually had.
At the meeting, he learned that the city's Department of Buildings and Department of Information Technology didn't keep track of how many properties in New York were using smart home surveillance systems.
"We talked to City Council members, and they had not even understood this was going on," Rogers said. "You've had buildings that have had this installed since 2013, and they've been unsanctioned this whole time."
He considers his landlord backing down a victory, but only a "half-step" until legislation is passed protecting all tenants from facial recognition.
The tenants' successful advocacy could serve as a model for other residents, said Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, author of The Rise of Big Data Policing and a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia.
"There aren't many successes in pushing back against surveillance technology, so when you see one, there are lessons from it," Ferguson said. "Hopefully it will inspire others to also push back if they're uncomfortable with this facial recognition surveillance technology coming into their homes."
Until legislation passes, attorneys from Brooklyn Legal Services, which represented the tenants at the Atlantic Plaza Towers, said they're assisting tenants who want to challenge landlords looking to install facial recognition.
"The tenants' fight is far from over. We continue to encounter tenants across the city whose landlords are subjecting them to facial recognition technology without protection or oversight and we should all be deeply concerned over the collection of tenants' biometric data," Samar Katnani, an attorney at Brooklyn Legal Services' Tenant Rights Coalition, said in a statement. "Until these invasive and biased technologies are banned from residential spaces altogether, tenants and advocates across the city will continue to fight them."
Hong Kong & China -- Ted Cruz Threatens to Override Possible Trump Veto of Hong Kong Legislation | National Review
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:48
Sen. Ted Cruz(Joshua Roberts/Reuters)Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) threatened on Friday to override a potential Trump veto of sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials accused of human rights abuses related to their handling of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters.
The sanctions form the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which passed both chambers of Congress with a veto-proof majority. The Senate signed off on the bill on Tuesday.
''President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party cannot silence the United States Congress,'' Cruz said in a statement. ''In case they aren't familiar with how our Constitution works, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed the House and Senate by overwhelming veto-proof majorities and it will become law.''
Cruz's comments were directed toward President Trump, who did not indicate if he would sign the bill in a Friday interview on Fox and Friends.
''I stand with Hong Kong, I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do,'' Trump said in the interview, ''But we are also in the process of making the largest trade deals in history.''
Trump went on, ''we have to stand with Hong Kong, but I'm also standing with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping].''
The U.S. and China are currently in the midst of a trade war, with each side imposing tariffs on imports from the other and blocking some imports entirely. President Trump has sought to ink a far-reaching trade deal with China to stabilize the situation, however the signing process might not begin until next year.
Speaking at a conference in Beijing on Wednesday, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger said the U.S. and China were in the ''foothills of a cold war.''
''If conflict is permitted to run unconstrained the outcome could be even worse than it was in Europe,'' Kissinger said. ''World War I broke out because a relatively minor crisis could not be mastered.''
China's spy Wang Liqiang defects to Australia, offers ASIO trove of information on CCP espionage tactics
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:34
Mr Wang is currently at an undisclosed location in Sydney on a tourist visa and seeking urgent protection from the Australian government '' a plea he says he has passed on in multiple meetings with ASIO.
In interviews with The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes, he has revealed in granular detail how Beijing covertly controls listed companies to fund intelligence operations, including the surveillance and profiling of dissidents and the co-opting of media organisations.
He has given previously unheard details about the kidnapping of five booksellers from Hong Kong and their rendition to the Chinese mainland. His testimony shows how Beijing's spies are infiltrating Hong Kong's democracy movement, manipulating Taiwan's elections and operating with impunity in Australia.
ASIO has repeatedly warned that the current threat of foreign interference is ''unprecedented'' and that the number of foreign intelligence officers currently operating in Australia is higher than it was during the Cold War. ASIO has never publicly named China as a primary source of its concerns, as the government grapples with how to balance public awareness with the risk of diplomatic and economic retaliation.
However, on Friday, former ASIO boss Duncan Lewis said the Chinese government was seeking to "take over" Australia's political system through its "insidious" foreign interference operations.
Among his key revelations, Mr Wang said he had met the head of a deep-cover spy ring operating with impunity in Australia.
A protester stands in front of a noose that reads: "Kidnapping" during a protest against the disappearance of five booksellers in Hong Kong in 2016. Credit: EPA
Mr Wang said he was part of an intelligence operation hidden within a Hong Kong-listed company, China Innovation Investment Limited (CIIL), which infiltrated Hong Kong's universities and media with pro-Chinese Communist Party operatives who could be activated to counter the democracy movement. He says he had personal involvement in an October 2015 operation to kidnap and abduct to the Chinese mainland a Hong Kong bookseller, Lee Bo, and played a role in a clandestine organisation that also directed bashings or cyber attacks on Hong Kong dissidents.
His handlers in China issued him a fake South Korean passport to gain entry to Taiwan and help China's efforts to systematically infiltrate its political system, including directing a ''cyber army'' and Taiwanese operatives to meddle in the 2018 municipal elections. Plans are underway to influence the 2020 presidential election - plans that partly motivated him to defect to Australia.
Mr Wang said the Chinese Communist Party under Xi Jinping ''infiltrates all countries in areas such as military, business and culture, in order to achieve its goal.''
''You shouldn't underestimate our organisation ... We were cultivated and trained by the organisation for many years before taking up important positions''. The Chinese Communist Party ''wants to ensure no one threatens its authority''.
Hong Kong's Mr BigMr Wang claimed his cover in Hong Kong was as a businessman working for CIIL, which he described as a front company used by various Chinese intelligence agencies and Communist Party officials. His boss, Xiang Xin, was a senior intelligence operative, he said.
Mr Wang's main task was coordinating the relationships between his organisation and other intelligence agencies and ''collecting information related to pro-independence'' activists. He took instructions from Chinese military intelligence officials.
A key area of operations, he said, were Hong Kong universities. Mr Wang claimed his organisation had ''infiltrated into all universities, including student associations and other student groups and bodies.'' He had responsibility for recruiting mainland students using scholarships, travel grants, alumni associations and an education foundation.
Students have led the recent protests in Hong Kong against encroaching Chinese influence. Credit: AP
''I influenced them with patriotism, guiding them to love the country, love the Party and our leaders, and fight back strongly against those independence and democracy activists in Hong Kong.''
His organisation directed cyber and physical attacks on independence movement leaders.
''We sent some students to join the student association and they pretended to support Hong Kong independence,'' Mr Wang said. ''They found out information about those pro-independence activists '... and made public all their personal data, their parents' and family members'.''
He said he personally helped to organise the infamous kidnapping to the mainland of Causeway Bay Bookshop owner Lee Bo. Mr Wang says one of the aims of his intelligence work and the targeting of dissidents was to spread fear: ''to make all troublemakers in Hong Kong terrified.''
Wang Liqiang, a Chinese spy who has defected to Australia. Illustration: Mark Stehle, Portrait: Steven Siewert Credit:
A spokesman for CIIL said Mr Xiang did not want to answer questions from The Age, the Herald and 60 Minutes over the phone, because he had never spoken to the journalists who were calling, and when questions were emailed to Mr Xiang, the spokesman said Mr Xiang would not answer because he could not verify that the email was not sent covertly by the Australian government in order to obtain intelligence.
After the story was initially published, an email response from a man called Edison Li said, "Anyone with a little common sense will know that these problems are ridiculous and untrue, and the accuser very likely did this for economic purposes. We will refer the matter to the lawyer."
Infiltrating the mediaMr Wang claimed his organisation had infiltrated Hong Kong media outlets, financing some and planting operatives in others. A senior manager at a major Asian television network ''is a current military cadre with a Division Commander rank,'' said Wang.
''He was the one responsible for organising the agents to kidnap and persecute Hong Kong democracy activists,'' he said.
In Taiwan, Mr Wang said his intelligence operation was in contact with media executives in order to influence Taiwan's political system as part of a systemic election meddling campaign being waged by Beijing to topple candidates (including President Tsai Ing-Wen) considered hostile. He said his operation had backed presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu.
Mr Wang said he was responsible for coordinating a ''cyber army'' to shift political opinion, similar to Russia's cyber interference operations in the US elections.
''Our work on Taiwan was the most important work of ours '' the infiltration into media, temples and grassroots organisations,'' said Wang.
Mr Wang said his operation successfully meddled in the ''nine-in-one'' elections in Taiwan in 2018, leading to victories for pro-Beijing candidates. In May, he was given a fake South Korean passport and ordered to commence an operation on the ground in Taipei to influence the 2020 presidential elections with the aim of bringing down President Tsai Ing-wen.
''I was requested to change my name and whole identity to go to Taiwan and be a spy there,'' he says.
Mr Wang said he had also met a high ranking intelligence operative he believed was conducting spy operations in Australia via a front company in the energy sector.
''He told me at the time he is based in Canberra. I know his position is very important.''
Mr Wang said that his organisation had dealings with several significant Australian political donors, including a one-time staffer in a federal MP's office. Mr Wang provided bank account transactions to back his claims.
More on Chinese operations in Australia in The Sunday Age, The Sun-Herald, 60 Minutes and The Age and the Herald on Monday.
Nick McKenzie is an investigative reporter for The Age. He's won seven Walkley awards and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.
Paul is a reporter for The Age.
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FCC bans use of federal funds in purchases of Chinese telecom
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:47
By Mark RockwellNov 22, 2019 The Federal Communications Commission blocked U.S. telecommunications providers from using an $8.5 billion subsidy fund to buy Chinese-made telecommunications gear deemed a national security threat to critical infrastructure.
The commission on Nov. 22 voted to adopt a new rule that bans the use of its Universal Service Fund (USF) to buy Huawei and ZTE telecommunications gear, particularly wireless 5G equipment.
The new rules also would require telecommunications carriers that use the fund to certify their equipment is made by vendors other than ZTE and Huawei. It also sets up a process to audit carriers' equipment to enforce the new rule.
Typically, the USF is tapped by small and rural telecommunications companies that provide service in underserved and low-income areas across the U.S. Small telephone companies that service those areas have found the low prices of Huawei and ZTE gear attractive and have already installed a good deal of it.
In adopting the new rules, the FCC said it was also pursuing additional regulations that would require providers that tap the USF and already have Huawei and ZTE equipment installed on their networks to rip it out and replace it with gear from acceptable companies. The new rules proposal also asks for ideas on how to pay for those removals and replacements.
Federal regulators, intelligence and law enforcement officials have said that given Huawei and ZTE's close relationship and legal obligations to the Chinese government, their gear poses a threat to telecommunications critical infrastructure, as well as to national security. They say the equipment may have backdoors that could allow the Chinese government to meddle with U.S. critical network infrastructure or open the door to massive, crippling data theft.
In a Nov. 22 statement on the new rule, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Huawei and ZTE ''pose a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.''
''Given the threats posed by Huawei and ZTE to America's security and our 5G future, this FCC will not sit idly by and hope for the best,'' said Pai.
''Today, we not only ensure that the federal funds in the USF are not spent on equipment or services from these suppliers, but we also propose a process to remove such equipment already deployed in USF-funded networks,'' he said.
U.S. telecommunication service provider and equipment industry representatives applauded the new rules.
''With 5G technology ushering in unprecedented connectivity, ensuring global networks are safe and reliable is more important than ever before,'' said David Stehlin, CEO at the Telecommunications Industry Association. ''We believe this is a necessary step to safeguard the U.S. national telecommunications network and establish a system of diverse, competitive and trusted suppliers.''
''Securing the nation's communications supply chain and infrastructure against the growing global cyber threat is a top priority for USTelecom and our members,'' said Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom, in a Nov. 22 statement.
''Let's be clear," he said. ''A cohesive national policy on supply chain requires a 'whole of government' approach, which the FCC has appropriately embraced.''
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Text - H.Res.543 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Stand with Hong Kong Resolution | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:50
H. Res. 543 In the House of Representatives, U. S.,
October 15, 2019.
This resolution may be cited as the ''Stand with Hong Kong Resolution''.
Whereas the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (Public Law 102''383) states'--
(1) ''[s]upport for democratization is a fundamental principle of United States foreign policy'';
(2) ''the human rights of the people of Hong Kong are of great importance to the United States and are directly relevant to United States interests in Hong Kong [and] serve as a basis for Hong Kong's continued economic prosperity''; and
(3) ''Hong Kong must remain sufficiently autonomous from the People's Republic of China to justify a different treatment than accorded to the People's Republic of China under United States law'';
Whereas the United States maintains substantial economic and political interests in Hong Kong, with more than 1,200 United States firms operating in the Special Administrative Region, due largely to Hong Kong's strong business environment, predicated on respect for the rule of law and an independent judiciary;
Whereas the United States supports Hong Kong's ''high degree of autonomy'' promised by the Joint Declaration between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of the Hong Kong (''Joint Declaration'') in accordance with the ''One Country, Two Systems'' framework through bilateral agreements, the promotion of trade and investment, and the bolstering of educational, academic, and cultural links;
Whereas the Department of State reported in its 2019 Hong Kong Policy Act Report, dated March 21, 2019, that the People's Republic of China has carried out a number of actions inconsistent with China's commitments in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (''Basic Law'') and the Joint Declaration, which have diminished Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy;
Whereas China has increasingly constrained Hong Kong's freedoms in violation of the ''One Country, Two Systems'' framework by, among other actions, supporting the restriction of entry into Hong Kong for individuals critical of the Communist Party of China, instructing to the Hong Kong Government to refuse a United States extradition request in May 2018, and abusing the national security rationale to justify interference with matters related to Hong Kong politics and governance;
Whereas on April 3, 2019, the Government of Hong Kong introduced the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (commonly known as the ''extradition bill'') that would amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance by expanding the existing extradition arrangement to include mainland China, allowing for the handover of any persons in the territory of Hong Kong, residents and non-residents, as well as any materials in their possession;
Whereas the Department of State issued a statement on June 9, 2019, warning that the lack of procedural protections in the bill could negatively impact Hong Kong's longstanding protections of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic values;
Whereas on June 9, 2019, as many as 1,000,000 people protested against the bill, and on June 12, 2019, tens of thousands staged a protest near the Legislative Council building to express opposition to the bill;
Whereas on June 12, 2019, the Government of Hong Kong took advantage of the acts of a small group of protesters to classify the largely peaceful protest as an unlawful assembly and a ''riot'', a charge that can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years for those who were arrested;
Whereas the police's excessive use of force on June 12, 2019, as seen in video footage, to disperse the protestors, including the use of tear gas, bean bag rounds, rubber bullets, batons, and pepper spray, caused severe injuries to protesters;
Whereas the excessive use of force fueled tensions and contributed to the worsening of violence;
Whereas on June 16, 2019, as many as 2,000,000 people peacefully gathered in the Admiralty district, which is likely the largest protest in Hong Kong's history;
Whereas on July 21, 2019, a group alleged to be linked to organized crime violently attacked protestors, innocent bystanders, and journalists with sticks and metal bars in Yuen Long, which resulted in the hospitalization of forty-five people, with one person in critical condition;
Whereas the Hong Kong Police Force have been slow to take meaningful action against those who attacked the protestors on July 21, 2019, suggesting the police may be complicit in their actions;
Whereas the protestors' demands included'--
(1) the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill;
(2) the implementation of universal suffrage in the election of the Chief Executive and all members the Legislative Council;
(3) the establishment of an independent commission to investigate police conduct during the protests;
(4) the declassification of the protests as a riots; and
(5) the dropping of all charges against persons who participated in any protests;
Whereas on July 27, 2019, nine people were injured when police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators in Yuen Long who were protesting the July 21 violent attacks against protestors and the lack of a police response to them;
Whereas on July 29, 2019, China's spokesman for the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office issued a statement referring to the protesters as ''radical elements committing evil and criminal acts'';
Whereas on July 30, 2019, China's Foreign Ministry falsely claimed that the pro-democracy protests are the ''work of the United States'', alleging that American officials have interfered in Hong Kong's internal affairs;
Whereas the Chinese Communist Party has called the protests ''absolutely intolerable'', ''terrorism'', and ''terror atrocities'', raising fears that China may use the People's Liberation Army or the People's Armed Police to violently suppress the protestors;
Whereas on August 5, 2019, teachers, aviation workers, finance employees, and civil servants went on strike across seven districts, the largest citywide strike in decades, which evolved into a wave of demonstrations and resulted in the police firing approximately 800 tear gas rounds to clear the protestors, almost as many as were used in the previous 8 weeks combined;
Whereas on August 5, 2019, a mob violently attacked demonstrators with sticks and metal bars in North Point after the demonstrators were dispersed by police from the Admiralty district, and again the police did not respond to the ambush;
Whereas on August 6, 2019, a Chinese Communist Party official threatened the demonstrators by stating, ''those who play with fire will perish by it'', and ''as for their [the demonstrators'] punishment, it's only a matter of time'';
Whereas on August 7, 2019, Chinese state media began publishing articles accusing the Political Counselor to the United States Consulate General in Hong Kong of being ''a black hand creating chaos in Hong Kong'', as well as publicly identifying family members of the Consulate General staff;
Whereas on August 11, 2019, Hong Kong police beat fleeing protesters with batons and fired pepper ball rounds at them at close range;
Whereas on August 11, 2019, it was reported that a young woman, allegedly a medic, who has since become a symbol for the protest movement, sustained a serious eye injury from a bean-bag round after the police fired a projectile into the crowd;
Whereas on August 18, 2019, as many as 1,700,000 Hong Kong people attended a peaceful rally against police brutality;
Whereas on August 31, 2019, Hong Kong Police Force Special Tactical Squad officers beat with batons protesters and train passengers at Prince Edward station; and
Whereas on September 4, 2019, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the Government would withdraw the extradition bill from the Legislative Council's agenda when it reconvenes in October 2019: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives'--
(1) calls on the Government of Hong Kong to begin negotiations to address the demonstrators' remaining demands, which include'--
(A) the formal withdrawal of the bill from the Hong Kong Legislative Council;
(B) the implementation of universal suffrage;
(C) the establishment of an independent investigation into police conduct during the protests;
(D) the declassification of the protest as a riot; and
(E) the dropping of all charges against persons arrested during the protests;
(2) condemns'--
(A) the Hong Kong police's use of force against the demonstrators in ways that are inconsistent with international standards for the use of such equipment and in violation of citizens' rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly; and
(B) the Hong Kong Government for tolerating the use of violent force against protesters by police;
(3) calls on the Administration to review the appropriateness of sales by United States firms of munitions and crowd-control equipment to Hong Kong, to ensure that they are not used to repress peaceful protests;
(4) condemns efforts by the Hong Kong and Chinese Governments to characterize the protests as ''riots'' and to falsely accuse the United States of orchestrating political instability that they alone created;
(5) shares the concerns of the people of Hong Kong that the Hong Kong Government's proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, if adopted, would negatively impact the territory's long-standing protections of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic values as enshrined in the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration;
(6) recognizes that the ''One Country, Two Systems'' framework and the Basic Law require that Hong Kong is afforded a high degree of autonomy with respect to economic and trade matters and the rule of law;
(7) condemns Chinese state media for targeting staff and family members of the United States Consulate General in Hong Kong;
(8) calls on the Government of Hong Kong and all governments'--
(A) to protect the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;
(B) to condemn all acts of violence against those seeking to further their democratic rights; and
(C) to refrain from the use of violence; and
(9) calls on the Government of Hong Kong and the Government of China to abide by the provisions of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.
Trump said Hong Kong would be 'obliterated' without him - POLITICO
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:49
The comment comes as U.S. trade talks with China have yet again hit a snag, despite indications that a limited deal was close to being signed. The protests roiling Hong Kong are also emerging as a potential source of friction. Congress recently approved legislation that could remove Hong Kong's special trade status if Beijing encroaches too much on the territory's semi-autonomous status.
Trump ducked a question about whether he would veto the bill, which China has demanded, declaring he stands with both the protesters seeking more control over their government and his ''friend,'' Chinese President Xi Jinping.
''Well I'll tell you, we have to stand with Hong Kong but I'm also standing with President Xi,'' he said. ''He is a friend of mine. He is an incredible guy, we have to stand. I would like to see them work it out. We have to see them work it out. I stand with Hong Kong, I stand with freedom, I stand with all the things we want to do.''
Trump doubled down on his assertion that he is single-handedly saving lives in Hong Kong through his ongoing trade negotiations with China, saying ''thousands of people'' would be dead without the trade talks.
''If it weren't for me, thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now,'' he concluded. ''And you wouldn't have any riots. You would have a police state. But thousands of people. The only reason he is not going in because I'm saying it is going to affect our trade deal. You don't want to do that. I speak to him.''
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rebuked Trump's refusal to commit to signing the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, calling the decision "bewildering."
''Make no mistake: President Trump's words today do not reflect what the American people or the Congress think about President Xi's oppressive policies toward the people of Hong Kong," Schumer said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "For a guy who promised to be tough on China, President Trump's reliable deference to President Xi is all the more bewildering. Being tough on China when it comes to human rights will also help us win the battle on trade.''
Ex-CIA officer gets 19 years in China spy conspiracy | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 19:35
Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, was sentenced to 19 years in prison on Friday
A former CIA case agent was sentenced to 19 years in prison for an espionage conspiracy in which prosecutors say he received more than $840,000 from China to divulge the names of human sources and his knowledge of spycraft.
The sentence imposed on Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, by a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday was significantly longer than the 10-years sought by defense attorneys.
Lee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage in May, but prosecutors and defense lawyers disagreed about whether there was proof Lee carried out any actual espionage.
Lee´s lawyers disputed that their client´s conduct was anywhere near as severe as the government described.
Prosecutors say Chinese intelligence officers gave Lee more than $840,000 over a three-year period beginning in 2010, and that Lee likely gave them all the information he had from a 13-year career as a CIA case officer. They sought a prison term of more than 20 years.
Lee (pictured right, blue tie, on October 13, 2017 at an unveiling of a painting in Christie's, Hong Kong) was accused of handing the identities of American agents to the Chinese
Defense lawyers say the government never proved that the money came from China or that Lee ever carried out any plans to deliver government secrets.
'What the government is describing is their worst possible nightmare,' said defense lawyer Nina Ginsberg, but she argued that the government could only speculate that its nightmare scenario actually occurred.
Prosecutors acknowledged they had no direct evidence to prove what was transmitted, nor proof that the $840,000 in cash that Lee deposited into his bank account came from Chinese intelligence.
But prosecutors said Lee was never able to come up with a good explanation for where he got the cash. He ran a tobacco business in Hong Kong, but it was essentially a failure, prosecutors said.
'The only logical conclusion,' said prosecutor Neil Hammerstrom, is that that Chinese intelligence 'must have been getting top-drawer, high quality (information) from this defendant.'
Prosecutor Adam Small said the government believes Lee turned over information that was found in a notebook and thumb drive that were found in his possession. That included the names of eight CIA clandestine human sources, Small said, people that Lee himself recruited and handled in his years as a CIA case agent from 1994 to 2007.
Small said the Chinese intelligence officers who met with Lee also gave him more than 20 'taskings' in which they sought details of CIA spycraft, like how they communicate with sources and maintain their cover.
'Everything he knew would have been highly valuable to the PRC,' Small said.
At Friday´s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III sided largely with prosecutors. He said he agreed with the conclusion that at least some of the money Lee put into his bank must have come from China, and that he in turn must have divulged at least some classified information.
'I do think something of value changed hands. I just can´t be certain,' Ellis said. At a sentencing hearing, though, Ellis said prosecutors need not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an act occurred for him to take it into consideration. He can consider it if prosecutors prove it to be more likely true than not.
Ginsberg said there´s no evidence that any of the sources identified in Ginsberg´s notebook were harmed or compromised in any way.
'I dare to say the government would certainly know if their agents had been exposed,' Ginsberg said.
At a press conference after the sentencing, though, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger disputed that assertion. He acknowledged that the U.S. might know if one of its sources suffered physical harm, but could have no idea if the Chinese used that information in a more subtle way.
'We have very talented adversaries,' he said. 'It could be used in a multitude of ways.'
Terwilliger said Lee joins the 'wall of infamous traitors' who have been prosecuted for spying at the Alexandria courthouse, which has jurisdiction over the CIA and large parts of the intelligence community.
In particular, Lee´s case drew comparisons to Kevin Mallory, a former CIA officer who was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year for disclosing secrets to China in exchange for $25,000.
Prosecutors said the money Lee received dwarfed what Mallory got and shows that Lee´s activities were even more severe. Defense lawyers responded that nothing disclosed by Lee exceeded the 'Secret' classification level, while some of what Mallory disclosed was classified as Top Secret.
Lee, for his part, apologized for his actions.
'I take full responsibility for my conduct,' said Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated to Hawaii from Hong Kong with his family when he was 15.
OK Boomer
OK Boomer
So, I'm showing my 18 year
old daughter the clip from Animated No Agenda, "Ok, Boomer" because
she called me a Boomer...(I am 36 years old).
Half way through the brilliantly animated clip,
when you mentioned the year 1964, she hit the pause button and said,
"...this is inaccurate. A Boomer is anyone over 30!"
Flabbergasted, I asked for a source! She said,
PewDiePie and Jacksepticeye........ .... ........
PewDiePie is over 30, and now calls himself a
Boomer...I guess that's the joke.
We're "drowning in sarcasm" just as
Neil Postman stated.
Generation Jones - Wikipedia
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 08:42
Generation Jones is the social cohort[1][2] of the latter half of the Baby boomers to the first years of Generation X.[3][4][5][6] The term was first coined by the cultural commentator Jonathan Pontell, who identified the cohort as those born from 1954 to 1965 in the U.S.[7] who came of age during the oil crisis, stagflation, and the Carter presidency, rather than during the 1960s, but slightly before Gen X.[8] Other sources place the starting point at 1956[9] or 1957.[10][11] Unlike older baby boomers, most of Generation Jones did not grow up with World War II veterans as fathers, and for them there was no compulsory military service and no defining political cause, as opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War had been for the older boomers.[12]
The name "Generation Jones" has several connotations, including a large anonymous generation, a "keeping up with the Joneses" competitiveness and the slang word "jones" or "jonesing", meaning a yearning or craving.[13][14][15][16] It is believed[by whom? ] that Jonesers were given huge expectations as children in the 1960s, and then confronted with a different reality as they came of age during a long period of mass unemployment and when de-industrialization arrived full force in the mid-late 1970s and 1980s, leaving them with a certain unrequited "jonesing" quality for the more prosperous days of the past.
The generation is noted for coming of age after a huge swath of their older brothers and sisters in the earlier portion of the baby boomer population had come immediately preceding them; thus, many complain that there was a paucity of resources and privileges available to them that were seemingly abundant to older boomers. Therefore, there is a certain level of bitterness and "jonesing" for the level of freedom and affluence granted to older boomers but denied to them.[17]
The term has enjoyed some currency in political and cultural commentary, including during the 2008 United States presidential election, where Barack Obama (born 1961) and Sarah Palin (born 1964) were on the presidential tickets.
Cultural, economic and political dimensions [ edit ] Generation Jones has been covered and discussed in newspapers and magazines and on TV and radio shows.[18][19][20][21] Pontell has appeared on TV networks such as CNN, MSNBC, and BBC, discussing the cultural, political, and economic implications of this generation's emergence.[22][23][24]
In the business world, Generation Jones has become a part of the strategic planning of many companies and industries, particularly in the context of targeting Jonesers through marketing efforts.[25][26][27][28][29][30] Carat UK, a European media buying agency, has done extensive research into Generation Jones consumers.[31][32]
Politically, Generation Jones has emerged as a crucial voting segment in Western elections.[33][34] In the U.S. 2006 congressional and 2004 presidential elections, and the 2005 U.K. elections, Generation Jones's electoral role was widely described as pivotal by the media and political pollsters.[5][19][35][36] In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, Generation Jones was again seen as a key electoral segment because of the high degree to which its members were swing voters during the election cycle. Influential journalists, like Clarence Page[33] and Peter Fenn,[34] singled out Generation Jones voters as crucial in the final weeks of the campaign.[37]Numerous studies have been done by political pollsters and publications analyzing the voting behavior of GenJonesers.[38][39][40]
The election to the presidency of Barack Obama, born in 1961, plus Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, born 1964, focused more attention on Generation Jones. Many journalists, publications, and experts '-- including Jonathan Alter (Newsweek),[41] David Brooks (The New York Times) and Karen Tumulty (Time) '-- have characterized Obama as a member of Generation Jones.
Key characteristics assigned to members are pessimism, distrust of government, and general cynicism.[39][42]
See also [ edit ] List of generationsCusperXennialsReferences [ edit ] ^ Howe, Neil (December 7, 2008). "Who is the Real 'Dumbest Generation'?". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 2, 2017 . Retrieved February 7, 2019 . ^ Hendricks, Jon (March 1, 2012). "Considering Life Course Concepts". The Journals of Gerontology. B. 67B (2): 226''231. ^ Jensen, J. B. (2007). Future consumer tendencies and shopping behaviour: The development up until 2015-17. Research paper No. 1. Denmark: Marianne Levinsen & Jesper Bo Jensen. pp. 13''17. Archived from the original on 2013-01-22. ^ Seigle, Greg (April 6, 2000). "Some Call It 'Jones ' ". The Washington Post . Retrieved February 18, 2007 . ^ a b "Press Release: Generation Jones is driving NZ Voter Volatility". Scoop Independent News (NZ). September 13, 2005 . Retrieved February 18, 2007 . ^ Wastell, David (October 15, 2000). "Generation Jones comes of age in time for election". The Daily Telegraph. London . Retrieved June 12, 2009 . ^ Williams, Jeffrey J. (March 31, 2014). "Not My Generation". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on October 9, 2017 . Retrieved January 27, 2019 . ^ Williams, Jeffrey J. (January 1, 2016). "Generation Jones and Contemporary US Fiction". American Literary History. 28 (1): 94''122. ^ FNP Interactive - http://www.fnpInteractive.com (December 19, 2008). "The Frederick News-Post Online '' Frederick County Maryland Daily Newspaper". Fredericknewspost.com. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009 . Retrieved 2010-08-02 . CS1 maint: unfit url (link) ^ "Jump up". The Frederick News-Post. December 19, 2008. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010 . Retrieved August 2, 2010 . ^ "In Obama, many see an end to the baby boomer era". Chicago Sun-Times. January 11, 2009. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009 . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ Buck, Stephanie (November 3, 2017) "This niche generation within the Baby Boom is a highly coveted'--and persuadable'--voting bloc". ^ Anne, Braly (January 18, 2009). " ' Generation Jones' soon to have its man in Washington". Chattanooga Times Free Press. ^ Button, Eileen (April 5, 2009). "Generation Jones has a few good reasons to be suspicious of technology". The Community Newspapers. ^ Stuart Wells, Amy (4 March 2009). "Commentary - From Obama's Generation The Audacious Hope of More Racially Diverse Public Schools". Education Week. ^ Rohan, Virginia (June 30, 2008). "Baby Boomers ready for next challenge". North Jersey Media Group. [permanent dead link ] ^ Pontell, Jonathan (2007). "Generation Jones". The Jonathan Pontell Group. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011 . Retrieved October 30, 2012 . ^ Lang, John (January 8, 2000). "Generation Jones: Between the Boomers and the Xers". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on January 15, 2005. ^ a b Rowan, David (May 2005). "A guide to electionspeak". Archived from the original on April 7, 2007. ^ "Political analyst Jonathan Pontell on what political party different generations vote for and why". Talk Radio News Service. October 30, 2006. Archived from the original on September 11, 2011 . Retrieved December 7, 2008 . ^ Aguilar, Louis (December 2000). "Many in the 35-46 Age Bracket Identify with 'Generation Jones ' ". Denver, Colorado: The Denver Post. ^ Generation Jones discussion on CNN day before ElectionDay'08. YouTube. January 15, 2009 . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ Generation Jones conversation on Canada's most popular national TV talk show. YouTube. February 27, 2009 . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ Ollivier, Debra (December 15, 2011). "So You Think You're A Boomer? Think Again". The Huffington Post . Retrieved February 10, 2014 . ^ Campanelli, Melissa (September 20, 2007). "How to Reach 'Generation Jones' Online". eMarketing & Commerce . Retrieved July 9, 2009 . [permanent dead link ] ^ Wells, Ellen C. (September 2005). "Keeping Up With The Jonesers" (PDF) . Today's Garden Center: 44''45 . Retrieved July 9, 2009 . ^ Green, Brent (2006), Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers, Paramount Market Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9766973-5-0 ^ Welch, Jim; Bill Althaus (2007). Grow Now. The Growth Leader, Inc. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-934144-02-2. ^ Stroud, Dick (2007). The 50 plus market. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-7494-4939-1. ^ "Toops Scoops: Keeping up with the Jonesers". foodprocessing.com . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ "Who is Generation Jones?". Project Britain. Carat UK. Archived from the original on February 15, 2005 . Retrieved February 10, 2014 . ^ Dutta, Kunal (January 23, 2006). "Carat taps into singleton spending". MediaWeek . Retrieved February 10, 2014 . ^ a b Page, Clarence (October 22, 2008). "Generation Jones is in play". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008 . Retrieved December 7, 2008 . ^ a b Fenn, Peter (October 23, 2008). "Why the 'Generation Jones' Vote May Be Crucial in Election 2008". The Hill's Pundits Blog. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009 . Retrieved December 7, 2008 . ^ "Key to election is 'keeping up with Joneses ' ". epolitix.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008 . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ "Pollster says Generation Jones tipped election for Bush". publicradio.org. December 9, 2004 . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ Paulsen, David (October 26, 2008). "Attention GenY'ers! Talk To Your Parents! Don't Let GenJonesers Vote Against Themselves!". Politics. The Huffington Post . Retrieved December 7, 2008 . ^ "Generation Jones could be key to 06 midterm election results". research2000.us. November 1, 2006. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. ^ a b Rentoul, John (April 10, 2005). "Introducing Generation Jones voters who hold the key to No 10". The Independent. London. ^ "Generation Jones Women are Swing Voters". Rasmussen Reports'. October 27, 2004 . Retrieved September 19, 2015 . ^ Alter, Jonathan (February 11, 2008). "Twilight of the Baby Boom". Newsweek . Retrieved December 7, 2008 . ^ Derbyshire, David (November 24, 2004). "Generation Jones is given a name at last". The Daily Telegraph. London . Retrieved May 3, 2010 . External links [ edit ] Generation Jones news website
Harvard OK Boomer
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 15:47
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'Window is Closing': US Lawmakers Push for Nord Stream 2 Sanctions as Project Nears Completion - Sputnik International
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 07:00
US13:43 24.11.2019(updated 15:28 24.11.2019) Get short URL
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The US Congress plans to block the further construction of the Russia-sponsored Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline by passing a defence bill that would extend sanctions on the project's European partners, the US Defenсe News media outlet reported, citing US Senator Jim Risch.
Risch, who is the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the media outlet that the committee added sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project to the draft 2020 National Defence Authorisation Act.
"The reason for the push is that this window is closing. A lot of Nord Stream is done already. ... It will cost them dearly. I think if those sanctions pass [the companies] will shut down, and I think the Russians will have to look for another way to do this if they can do this", Risch said.The senator added that the addition to the bill reflects an agreement between the US administration, the US House and Senate, and banking committees.
In late October, US Senator Ted Cruz called on the Senate to pass the bill, saying that it had just a few short months to halt the construction of a pipeline that would threaten US energy security.
Nord Stream 2
Nord Stream 2
The Nord Stream 2 project is a joint venture between Russia's Gazprom and five European companies '-- France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile-long twin pipeline will carry up to 1.942 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Europe.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 2 could possibly start before the New Year.
The US and its allies, including Poland and the Baltic States, have repeatedly raised concerns about the project, urging European countries to break the deal with Moscow citing security issues. Washington insists its threats are only aimed at "protecting" Europe from becoming overly dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Report: Nike to release Kaepernick signature shoe in December | theScore.com
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:25
by Caitlyn Holroyd Nov 21, 7:11 PM Colin Kaepernick is getting a signature shoe.
As part of its endorsement deal with the free-agent quarterback, Nike will release a Kaepernick shoe in early December, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports. It's unknown how many shoes Nike plans to roll out, but sources told Robinson the brand increased its production figures during development due to strong projected demand.
Kaepernick appeared to be wearing a pair of the shoes while stretching at his workout in Georgia on Saturday. His former teammate, Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, also shared a photo of the shoes on Instagram.
The signature shoe follows the release of Nike's limited-edition Kaepernick "Icon" jersey, which sold out online within a few hours of its release earlier this year.
'Frightening' online transphobia has real-life consequences, advocates say
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 16:35
Trystan Reese, a transgender man and community advocate, thought social media would be a great place to share his pregnancy story with the world. Little did he know, he would face several years of ''extreme backlash'' for doing just that.
''I was pretty excited for the opportunity to start to add more positive stories to the sort of public narrative around what it can mean to be transgender today,'' Reese, whose pregnancy story was covered by NBC News and countless other news outlets in 2017, explained.
Biff Chaplow, left, and Trystan Reese before the 2017 birth of their youngest child. Kevin TruongOver the past two and a half years, however, Reese '-- who lives in Portland, Oregon, with his husband and three children '-- has dealt with online transphobia and misinformation circulating about his family. One example of this pervasive harassment involves a photo of Reese while pregnant along with a transgender woman friend. This happy image, shared on Instagram by his friend, was then used without permission in a number of fake stories and memes that appeared across the internet. Reese said the intentionally cruel posts mocked and misgendered them both and falsely claimed his friend was the biological parent of Reese's child.
''People assume that's true and run with it, and share with their friends,'' Reese said of the transphobic posts, which, after being flagged by NBC News, were removed by Facebook for violating its policies. ''People send us ugly transphobic memes that have been made of the best moments of my life.''
Social media: A double-edged sword for trans communitySocial media platforms have been vital spaces for transgender people to gather and form a community, according to Gillian Branstetter, a trans advocate and the former spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality. However, she added, the hostility they frequently face on these platforms make trans individuals more apprehensive about using them.
''The internet was life-changing for transgender people,'' Branstetter said. ''It's critical that platforms are providing a safe place for transgender people to find community.''
Reese shared a similar sentiment, saying social media is ''both the best thing that ever happened to the transgender community, and it's also the worst.''
''We're able to provide immediate, real-time, lifesaving support to transgender people and their families, any time of the day or night, but we are also open to more scrutiny and direct one-on-one harassment and abuse than ever before,'' Reese said.
Trystan Reese, right, and Biff Chaplow with their children, from left, Riley, Leo and Hailey, in 2017. Kevin TruongAccording to a recent report from the anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label and its analytics partner, Brandwatch, 1.5 million (or 15 percent) of the 10 million transgender-related comments on social media platforms over a three and a half year period starting in 2016 were found to be transphobic.
"The scale of it is quite frightening, and it was quite shocking,'' Toryn Glavin, a transgender advocate at the London-based LGBTQ nonprofit Stonewall, said of the report's findings. ''The conversations, how nasty they've turned, and how we've seen society really kind of polarized in the last few years, and we've seen trans communities be one of the scape goats that are thrown under that bus.''
Brennan Suen, the LGBTQ program director for Media Matters, a progressive nonprofit that monitors and analyzes misinformation across U.S. media outlets, singled out Facebook as ''one of the biggest bad actors.'' He said much of the anti-trans rhetoric found on social media has been spread by far-right publications whose content has gone viral on the platform.
Suen accused the social media titan of ''blatantly'' allowing The Daily Wire, a popular news outlet founded by conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, to break Facebook's rules in order to make the site's content go viral.
''If you look at an analysis of headlines with the word 'transgender' in them, the most engaged-with website on that issue was The Daily Wire,'' Suen said. ''It's a very successful tactic for them.''
''They know that they can build outrage, they know that they can scare people, and they know that people don't understand the issue very well,'' Suen added. ''So they can spread misinformation about [transgender issues], and also get a lot of clicks.''
A recent report from Popular Information '-- a newsletter created by journalist, lawyer and ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum '-- found that 14 Facebook pages with a combined 7.5 million followers are exclusively posting articles from The Daily Wire, which regularly publishes anti-LGBTQ stories. The administrators for those pages claim to be unaffiliated Facebook users but appear to be centrally controlled by The Daily Wire, which would be a violation of Facebook's community standards against inauthentic behavior. The pages frequently share the same articles simultaneously and help the conservative outlet's content go viral. In September, The Daily Wire received 15,283 engagements per story on Facebook compared to 1,871 for The New York Time, 2,119 for The Washington Post and 6,824 for The Huffington Post, according to the Popular Information report.
In a statement to NBC News, Jon Lewis, the vice president of The Daily Wire, claimed the company has ''always worked to comply with Facebook policy.''
''We do not believe that the audience for any page that we operate has been deceived as to Daily Wire's relationship with these pages, nor did we intend any such deception; indeed, it would be exceedingly difficult to miss that all the posts were from Daily Wire,'' Lewis stated.
''In an average month, less than 5% of our total Facebook traffic comes from pages other than Daily Wire or our talent pages '-- primarily Ben Shapiro,'' he added, though NBC News was unable to verify his claims. ''Facebook has announced a new transparency initiative, and like other publishers, we have been working to implement it on schedule.''
A Facebook spokesperson told NBC News the company announced the new transparency policy earlier this month that it is applying to the 14 pages exclusively promoting The Daily Wire's content, but the spokesperson did not confirm how the policy would be applied or whether the pages would removed.
''Since the launch of our new page transparency policy, we are actively reaching out to and reviewing various/numerous networks,'' the spokesperson stated.
Get breaking news and insider analysis on the rapidly changing world of media and technology right to your inbox.
The Daily Wire, however, is far from the only conservative outlet publishing transgender-related articles to Facebook that are false, misleading, blatantly transphobic or some combination of the three '-- and many of these stories have gone viral in recent months. Suen estimates that a large portion of the ''millions'' of engagements received by anti-trans articles '-- many of which he said paint trans issues as hostile to women and children '-- come from Facebook.
In September, a story first covered by the Catholic news outlet Lifesite News falsely claimed that hormone blockers used by doctors to delay puberty in transgender teenagers are linked to cancer. The story went viral on Facebook and Twitter and was covered by other conservative outlets, including the Christian Post and The Daily Wire. NBC News later published an article poking holes in these claims.
Then in late October, The Daily Signal, a ''multinews arm'' of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with a history of fighting against LGBTQ rights, and the Christian Post both circulated a story about a mother claiming to have lost her college-age children to what she described as ''the trans cult'' after they transitioned.
Earlier this month, a custody dispute between a Texas couple who disagreed about the gender identity of their 7-year-old child received widespread media attention, which eventually spilled over into state politics. Many right-wing media outlets falsely claimed the child's mother, Anne Georgulas, a pediatrician, was forcing the child to live as a girl and to medically transition. Following the misleading coverage, a rock was thrown through Georgulas' window while her children were asleep, and she was forced to close her business after dead animals were left on its doorstep, according to her representative, Karen Hirsch.
Transphobia goes beyond the far-right mediasphere. Katelyn Burns, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who is transgender, said she regularly deals with harassment on social media, most of it from ''trans-exclusionary radical feminists,'' commonly referred to as ''TERFs'' or ''gender critical feminists.''
Burns said an image of her and her two young children was mysteriously uploaded to a ''gender critical'' Reddit in 2017 that she described as a ''hive'' of virulent anti-transgender feminists. She said members of the group mocked her and her children's appearances. She said moderators eventually removed the image after she contacted them.
Burns said online harassment is frustrating because anonymous abusers work together to bully trans people across social media platforms.
''Once the harassment starts, it's really hard to stop it,'' she said. ''You just have to ride it out until it ends on its own.''
On Twitter and Reddit, also in 2017, a number of accounts circulated another photo of Burns alongside the term ''autogynesmile,'' a label adopted from ''autogynephilia,'' a widely criticized and controversial theory invented by sexologist Ray Blanchard that claims trans female identity is linked to a sexual fetish. According to Burns, so-called gender-critical feminists concocted the term ''autogynosmile'' to mock the way trans women look in selfies. At one point, Burns said, if you searched ''autogynesmile'' on Google, her picture would be among the first images to pop up.
A number of trans-exclusionary organizations purporting to be progressive feminist groups, including the Women's Liberation Front, are joining forces with conservative groups to oppose trans rights and spread the narrative that trans activism is hostile to women's rights. The Hands Across the Aisle Coalition, for example, is an alliance of self-proclaimed ''radical feminists, lesbians, Christians and conservatives'' who claim to be ''tabling our ideological differences'' in order to ''oppose gender identity ideology.''
Heron Greenesmith, a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, an organization that tracks anti-transgender rhetoric in mainstream media, said far-right organizations are leveraging gender-critical feminists, whose views Heron said do not reflect the wider feminist community, to give credence to anti-LGBTQ policies and agendas.
"Here in the U.S., mainstream Christian right and Evangelical right organizations have been platforming anti-trans feminists to give anti-trans advocacy the veneer of a much broader base of support than it actually has,'' Greenesmith said. ''This is a tactic that the right uses all the time: Find a minority member of a marginalized group who are willing to throw other marginalized folks under the bus, in the name of scarcity mindset."
Whether it's from the political right, left or center, online transphobia and the spread of false and misleading narratives can have dangerous, real-life consequences, transgender advocates say.
''There's been a significant amount of research showing a close relationship between online violence and physical violence, and given the steep relationship of mistrust between transgender people and law enforcement, understanding the scope of the threat that people feel is critical,'' Branstetter said.
Jari Jones and her girlfriend, Corey. Emma TimThis relationship between online harassment and physical violence is real-life fear for Jari Jones, a black trans activist who recently starred along with her girlfriend, who is also trans, in the YouTube series ''My Trans Life.''
''Media is very powerful, and if we allow that, allow hate, and allow violent behavior with words, people think it's OK, and that creates an atmosphere of violence for trans people,'' said Jones, whose YouTube show received many abusive comments that attacked her gender identity.
''People are more willing to attack a trans person, because they see it on TV, they're more willing to attack a trans person or say whatever they want to a trans person or a queer person, because they see this online, nobody's checking them for it,'' she added.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost half of the survey's 27,715 respondents reported being denied equal treatment, verbally harassed and/or physically attacked in the past year for being trans. And the FBI's latest hate crimes report, which was released earlier this month, found a 34 percent increase in reported hate crimes against trans people from 2017 to 2018.
LGBTQ advocates, including Branstetter and Suen, say the persistent '-- and often unfairly depicted '-- focus on more polarizing issues, like trans women in competitive sports, deflect public attention away from the high-levels of discrimination and violence the trans community experience.
''There's so many issues like access to housing, access to economic opportunities, being able to live without the threat of violence, that are never talked about or seen by a wide majority or a wide swath of the country,'' Suen said.
Transphobia in the form of ''comedy'' is still transphobia.Also: Trans women are harassed, fired from their jobs, denied housing/health care/shelter spaces & MURDERED at a rate exponentially higher than their peers, but please, tell me one more time to take a joke....#TransWeek https://t.co/qwDycaqnUe
'-- The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) November 16, 2019 'Those people got in my head'Social media platforms say they have taken steps to limit hate speech and harassment, but many civil rights and anti-bullying advocates say they haven't gone far enough.
In a statement to NBC News, a Facebook spokesperson said the company doesn't allow ''attacks based on gender identity, including violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, and calls for exclusion or segregation.'' The spokesperson stated the platform removed ''7 million pieces of content for violating our hate speech policy, of which we proactively detected 80 percent before people reported it to us'' in Q3 2019.
In a June statement, YouTube stated that the company removes content if it determines ''the primary purpose of the video is hate or harassment.''
YouTube allowed Steven Crowder, notorious for his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, to keep his channel, which has over 4 million subscribers, but said it stopped the conservative pundit from running ads after seeing ''the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior.''
And earlier this month,YouTube removed a video from The Daily Signal in which Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician, stated, ''See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you're mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you're transgender.'' YouTube said it removed the video because Cretella's statement violated its hate speech policy, according to news reports.
Cretella is the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls ''a fringe anti-LGBT hate group that masquerades as the premier U.S. association of pediatricians to push anti-LGBT junk science.''
Katrina Trinko, editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal, accused YouTube of censorship in commentary published Nov. 5.
''We are especially disappointed with YouTube's decision because other social media platforms have allowed the video on their platforms,'' Trinko wrote. ''In fact, the video has more than 70 million views on Facebook. It might have even more if Facebook hadn't temporarily removed it in July 2018. After our appeal to Facebook, it was quickly restored and remains on The Daily Signal's page today.''
Last year, Twitter made ''misgendering'' and ''deadnaming'' users '-- referring to a trans person as their sex assigned at birth or by their given name, if different from their chosen name '-- against its hateful conduct policy. A number of users, including Meghan Murphy, founder of the Canadian radical feminist website The Feminist Current, were banned from Twitter for violating these rules. Murphy disputes she violated Twitter's rules and unsuccessfully sued the company over the ban.
Burns said she has shielded herself from abuse on Twitter by subscribing to blocklists and by limiting her notifications to only accounts that follow her, but she said abuse has been more difficult to avoid on Facebook. After Burns wrote a viral story for Vox about ''gender-critical feminists,'' she said a Facebook user angered by the story tagged her in an abusive post on the platform, which then generated ''hundreds'' of abusive replies from other users. Burns said she reported the online harassment to Facebook, but the company said it would not remove the initial post because, as a journalist, Burns is considered a public figure.
''I couldn't write again for like two weeks afterwards, because those people got in my head,'' Burns said. ''They say things, and you start believing it after enough people have said it.''
Reese said reporting abuse to Facebook feels ''completely useless.''
''I flag them as hateful, I flag them as untrue, I flag them as bigotry,'' he said, adding that the process is like ''trying to use my thumb to stop a damn.''
Both Burns and Reese said they use social media to do their jobs, which makes abandoning these platforms impossible.
While preventing online abuse altogether may be impossible, Glavin said social media companies should join forces with trans people to help minimize the online abuse they experience.
''I think really the way forward for social media companies is to work with trans communities and to kind of sit down with trans communities and figure out what is happening, what is the current situation, what are the kind of things that they should watch out for, what are the signs and symptoms that that kind of transphobic bullying is happening, and then trying to build policies around that,'' Glavin said.
Reese lamented that there does not seem to be a ''coordinated interest'' from social media companies in protecting the voices of trans people who are ''desperately trying to tell our stories.''
''We're desperately trying to answer all of our direct messages from trans youth who think they have no hope,'' Reese said. ''We're trying so hard to do this positive, life-affirming work, and we're doing it against brutal odds.''
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Patriot Act
Dems Sneak PATRIOT Act Renewal Past the American People - Liberty Nation
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:00
Why was the surveillance bill steamrollered through the House '' and could Trump become the next civil liberties champion?
House Democrats have voted to keep funding the PATRIOT Act in a flurry of partisan hypocrisy. The surveillance legislation that should have every person fearing for their rights and privacy was recently shoehorned through the House, folded into a resolution to keep the federal government funded for three more months. The spending bill was pushed through with not a single Republican vote.
The PATRIOT Act passed in 2001 during the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack, but it was originally conceived by former Vice President Joe Biden as the 1995 Omnibus Counterterrorism Act; the law has long been regarded as a major infringement on civil liberties and a reactionary piece of legislation which has passed its time in the sun.
HypocrisyThe re-authorization was introduced late and offered lawmakers only 72 hours to read the entire continuing resolution. High-profile members of the progressive ''Squad,'' Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who had previously spoken out against the act, were among those who voted to renew it. On her website, Ocasio-Cortez bemoans the creation of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency as part and parcel of the PATRIOT Act and its associated legislation. She opines:
''The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was created in 2003, in the same suite of post-9/11 legislation as the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Its founding was part of an unchecked expansion of executive powers that led to the widespread erosion of Americans' civil rights.''
Why, then, would she now choose to cast a vote extending said powers?
A Whiff of 2020?Every Democrat in the House of Representatives voted for the resolution bar two, who abstained. The fact that those few who demurred were not brave enough to vote against the extension tells us something of interest: This was a party whip. It appears the upper echelons determined that the spending would go through come hell or high water, and woe betide those who go against the party leadership. Is there perhaps an element of self-interest at play here? Each decision made and vote taken in Congress sets a permanent record for individual members; is it beyond the party machine to lay traps for primary candidates who the management team does not view as ''suitable''? Or perhaps the whole exercise was designed to test loyalty to the party line?
For a group that touts itself as being the defender of civil rights, it was a bold decision for Democrats to publically place themselves in the firing line of those who see the PATRIOT Act as an invasive, right-wing Trojan Horse.
An Opportunity for Trump?If the partisan vote in the Senate matches that in the House, Republicans will decline to pass this resolution. The GOP will get the blame if a budget is not passed by midnight Thursday, in time for President Trump's signature '' but perhaps this could be a vote winner in 2020.
If the president rallies Republican senators to shoot the bill down, he can lay claim to a position in defence of civil liberties and drag along with him the Fourth Estate, which would have a hard time advocating a Bush-era policy that it has argued against for almost two decades. Add in a smattering of social media, and Trump could become the Civil Rights President '... at least until the next storm in a teacup is served.
Read more from Mark Angelides.
Remember to check out the web's best conservative news aggregator Whatfinger.com Watch Now Mark Angelides Mark Angelides is Managing Editor of Liberty Nation.com. Hailing from the UK, he specializes in EU politics and provides a conservative/libertarian voice on all things from across the pond. During the Brexit Referendum campaign, Mark worked to promote activism, spread the message and secure victory. He is the editor and publisher of several books on Ancient Chinese poetry.
Trump signs continuing resolution, averting a midnight shutdown -- FCW
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 09:29
Trump signs continuing resolution, averting a midnight shutdown By Adam MazmanianNov 21, 2019President Donald Trump signed a bill to keep government open through Dec. 20 while lawmakers hash out their differences over funding.
The current stopgap funding measure keeping government open was set to expire at midnight on Nov. 21.
The Senate passed the continuing resolution by a 74-20 vote on Nov. 21.
The measure, which had already passed in the House of Representatives, mostly maintains spending at fiscal 2019 levels but contains a spending boost for the Census Bureau as it prepares for its 2020 population count and a 3.1% pay raise for uniformed military. The bill also extends several health care programs and certain surveillance authorities in the Patriot Act well into next year. Those authorities were scheduled to expire at the end of 2019, and the policy fight over their renewal on Capitol Hill will be punted until next March.
"This measure keeps the government open and allows our discussions on the fiscal 2020 process to continue," Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in a statement. "I am hopeful that we can reach a resolution soon so we can provide government agencies -- our military, in particular -- the funding and flexibility they need to operate efficiently and effectively."
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said it was "time for senators on both sides of the aisle to put the appropriations process back on track. We owe it to the American taxpayers to complete the government funding process before December 20 and avoid a senseless government shutdown."
The House has its own road map of how to spend the $1.37 trillion agreed by Congress as the top-line spending cap for fiscal year 2020 and has passed 10 of 12 appropriations bills. On the Senate side, things are moving more slowly. While a set of non-controversial funding bills has passed, the Senate still hasn't agreed on how funds will be distributed across the 12 appropriations bills.
The big issue this year, as it was last year when there was a shutdown, is funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Democrat-controlled House is opposed to both funding the wall and restoring funds to the Defense Department and military construction projects that were diverted to the wall under an emergency declaration by President Donald Trump.
Shelby told reporters that talks over spending levels have "improved vastly" and said that "we're getting close to the numbers." However he acknowledged that the wall looms large in the funding debate. That issue "is going to have to be resolved before we get some type of legislation," he said.
This story was updated Nov. 21 with new information.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.
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Johnson promises Brexit for Christmas in manifesto - Reuters
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:51
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will promise to bring his Brexit deal back to parliament before Christmas when he launches his Conservative Party's manifesto on Sunday, the cornerstone of his pitch to voters to ''get Brexit done''.
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson wears a construction helmet reading "Prime Minister" during a visit to Wilton Engineering Services, part of a General Election campaign trail stop in Middlesbrough, Britain November 20, 2019. Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS
With less than three weeks before Britain heads to the polls on Dec. 12, the governing Conservatives and opposition Labour are trying to tempt voters with different visions but several pledges to spend more on public services.
Johnson's manifesto aims at drawing a distinction with Labour, which has promised to raise taxes on the richest and big businesses to fund a big expansion of the state, by vowing not to increase taxes if the Conservatives win the election.
Opinion polls show Johnson's Conservative Party commands a sizeable lead over the Labour Party, although large numbers of undecided voters means the outcome is not certain.
''My early Christmas present to the nation will be to bring the Brexit bill back before the festive break, and get parliament working for the people,'' Johnson will say, according to excerpts of his speech that he will make at an event in the West Midlands region of England.
Contrasting with Labour's unabashed tax-and-spend approach, Johnson's manifesto - titled ''Get Brexit Done, Unleash Britain's Potential'' - will pledge to freeze income tax, value-added sales tax and social security payments.
Johnson will also announce a 3 billion pounds ($3.85 billion) National Skills Fund to retrain workers and an extra 2 billion pounds to fill pot-holes in roads. He will also pledge to maintain the regulatory cap on energy bills.
Finance minister Sajid Javid told Sky News that the Conservatives' plan will be accompanied by a very detailed financing document and that the governing party would balance day-to-day spending and keep debt low.
But Labour spokesman Andrew Gwynne said Johnson's plans were ''pathetic''.
''This is a no hope manifesto, from a party that has nothing to offer the country, after spending ten years cutting our public services,'' Gwynne said.
Think tanks like the Institute for Fiscal Studies have raised questions about the credibility of plans to fund investment from both the Conservatives and Labour.
Held after three years of negotiations to leave the European Union, the December election for the first time will show how far Brexit has torn traditional political allegiances apart and will test an electorate increasingly tired of voting.
In a heated campaign where the Conservatives have been criticised for disseminating misleading social media posts, Johnson, 55, will say he will ''turn the page from the dither, delay and division'' of recent years.
Labour has said it will negotiate a better Brexit deal with the EU within six months that it will put to the people in a new referendum '-- one which will also offer the choice of remaining in the bloc.
Corbyn has said he would remain neutral in such a vote, something his finance policy chief John McDonnell described as the Labour leader adopting the role of ''an honest broker''.
Johnson will criticise the stance.
''We now know the country can be carbon (neutral) by 2050 and Corbyn neutral by 2020, as the leader of the opposition has decided to duck the biggest issue facing our country today,'' Johnson will say.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
Green New Deal
I Got a Vasectomy Because of Climate Change | Outside Online
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:12
Indefinitely Wild Getting one was, by far, the most powerful personal action I could take for our planet I took this photo of Dr. Skenazy performing the procedure. It really just is just quick, easily, and painless. (Photo: Wes Siler)
I've always struggled to combine the idea of personal responsibility with the overwhelming need for human society to address the threat posed by climate change. Since at least the 1970s, the massive energy corporations responsible for the vast majority of our carbon emissions have known about, and done nothing to mitigate, the harm they cause. Because they own politicians worldwide, there doesn't appear to be any will to take government-level action. But I'm supposed to turn off a light? What possible impact could that ever have? And why is all this on my shoulders and not theirs?
When I got engaged, my fianc(C)e, Virginia, and I started planning for the future. It wasn't just my dog Wiley and me against the world anymore. All of a sudden, I started thinking ten to 20 or more years ahead.
Children are an obvious thing to plan. With a sudden focus on responsible decision-making, it no longer made sense to leave hypothetical future offspring up to chance. When should we have them? What did our careers look like on that timeline? Who'd be responsible for staying home and raising them? Couldn't we just have one of the dogs do that?
We got engaged in June 2018, a couple months before a wildfire destroyed an entire town in California and another one wiped out sections of Malibu. Shortly after that, most of the Mississippi River basin flooded, something that might be the new normal, virtually eliminating the future for industrial agriculture throughout a region that produces much of this nation's food. And, of course, the whole Donald Trump thing has been going on.
Is this a world we want to bring kids into? Is this a world it's responsible to bring kids into?
It looks like the pace of climate change is speeding ahead of science's ability to understand or forecast it. Thinking about hypothetical Wes Jr.'s life as far into the future as I've already lived'--38 years'--it's tempting to try to forecast stuff like so many feet of sea-level rise or the extinction of some keystone species. But that may not be possible. The future might be worse than any of us currently fear.
Then Virginia and I started talking about something we could do'--for ourselves and to make a meaningful impact on the bigger problem. We could just forego the whole kid thing altogether.
The image of personal climate change action doesn't really match the reality. If I gave up my 15 mpg pickup truck'--basically the mascot for climate inaction'--and rode my bicycle everywhere, I'd save the planet 2.4 tons of carbon emissions a year. That'd be a massive sacrifice, but it's nowhere near the carbon emissions I'll save by skipping becoming a daddy, which comes in at around 58 tons annually, per kid. Any other action we could take, even all the actions we could ever possibly add up together, pale in comparison.
That's because there are simply too many humans on this planet. We've all been told that driving an electric car or putting solar panels on our roofs will help, but that involves buying more stuff, which has a terrible impact on the environment, no matter how green the image. Two people deciding to make fewer humans eliminates the entire cycle of consumption that would fuel that kid's life.
All those people ultimately represent the greatest climate change''related threat. Burning forests and flooded beach houses are sad and all, but it's the human conflict created by dwindling resources needed to sustain the population that stands to really change life on this planet. We're already fighting wars for oil. Many think wars for water will be next, and those are going to hit closer to home.
So, we're not having kids. I found a colleague's brother here in Bozeman who performs vasectomies and made an appointment. I was afraid of getting my scrotum operated on, but the procedure ended up being quicker and less invasive than most dental appointments. I took off my pants, laid on a bed, received a local anesthetic, chatted with the doctor while he made a few incisions, then got a ride home. Once the anesthetic wore off, it felt like someone had kicked me in the balls pretty good, a feeling that dissipated over the next seven days. I took a Valium before the surgery and a few handfuls of ibuprofen afterward but otherwise didn't need painkillers or even an ice pack. The worst part was taking a week off from the gym; I'd been making good progress.
It might not be enough to save the polar bear, and it might not prevent the next Camp Fire, but this is the absolute biggest difference we can make. We need fewer humans, and getting there voluntarily will be an awful lot less painful than doing it with war, famine, and natural disaster.
More Culture
23 Questions for Greta Thunberg, 19th-Century Gold Miner and Time Traveler
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:16
Here, Greta Thunberg in the current day and her again in 1898.Photo: Getty/University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, [HEG467] Some might say that individuals like Greta Thunberg , the teen climate activist from Sweden, are one of a kind. Well, then, tell me what to make of this archived image showing a Thunberg look-alike in the year 1898. If there is only one blessed Thunberg, what the hell is she doing in 19th-century Yukon mining gold?
That is, of course, what many are asking after a tweet calling Thunberg a time traveler from the future here to save us went viral. And I'm kinda into it. The similarities are uncanny: They both even rock the signature Thunberg braid! And look, Thunberg's done a hell of a lot for a 16- year old. She not only helped make ''climate strike'' and ''climate emergency'' words of the year, she also took this form of protest global to help elevate the urgency of the climate crisis. She won the International Children's Peace Prize Wednesday, and that comes after a Nobel Peace Prize nomination that she didn't win'-- which was for the best '--and declining another award last month.
Thunberg is truly remarkable, so who's to say she's not a time traveler? She handles the climate crisis with more maturity than most adults I know. Maybe that's no coincidence, after all. She sits before the United Nations with the kind of poise I still lack at 26. And she's supposed to be 10 years younger than me?! No way. These conspiracy theorists may be onto something, man. Time-traveling is supposed to delay aging because it involves outer space , right?
I put together a list of questions for Thunberg if she is, in fact, a 19th-century gold miner and time traveler. Earther will update if this ''teen'' (yeah, right) comes back with some answers.
So, wait, are you actually a teen?How does time travel even work?Do your parents time travel with you? Are you even still a child?Is your time-traveling machine carbon-free?How can we believe anything you say now that we know we've been lied to?!Were you actually mining gold in this photo? Or was it'... coal?!? Coal mining did begin in this area in the 19th century. Could the photographer have been mistaken?Exactly how much coal did you mine, Greta?!Okay, let me chill. You're a goddamn climate hero. You wouldn't be mining coal'... unless you still didn't know it fueled climate change! Right?Speaking of, when did you discover climate change would become the biggest threat to humanity?But, wait, how the fuck did you wind up working in gold mines? Child labor is a stain on human history, but so is climate change, so I guess people have always sucked.Actually, have people always sucked?Have you been to the future?Do we still suck there?Does Twitter still exist? Please tell me no.Does U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez become president? Please tell me yes.Can you still travel to the past?If so, would you mind visiting the 1970s to stop oil companies like Exxon from hiding their climate science and fueling the climate denial machine that still has the American public brainwashed? Please?How about going back to the start of the Industrial Revolution to let everyone know about the greenhouse effect?Too far? How about 2016 to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president of the United States and killing our climate policies ?On second thought, do you mind never time-traveling again? I think the current timeline needs you if we're actually going to solve this mess.
Sexed-up dossier furore over alleged poison gas attack by Assad | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:11
A leaked email last night dramatically indicated that the UN's poison gas watchdog had butchered and censored a critical report on an alleged chemical attack in Syria. If substantiated, the revelations will be severely embarrassing for Britain, France and America, which launched a massive military strike in retaliation without waiting for proof that chemical weapons had actually been used.
Unconfirmed reports and videos, showing the corpses of adults and children foaming at the mouth in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, shocked the world in April 2018 and led to a joint Western attack on the supposed culprit, Syria, in which more than 100 missiles, including nearly 70 Tomahawk cruise missiles, were fired.
Although the reports and films could not be independently verified, as the alleged events took place in a war zone then under the control of brutal Islamist militants, Western governments, and many Western media, took them at face value.
President Donald Trump tweeted at the time: 'Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!'
A leaked email last night dramatically indicated that the UN's poison gas watchdog had butchered and censored a critical report on an alleged chemical attack in Syria. If substantiated, the revelations will be severely embarrassing for Britain, France and America, which launched a massive military strike in retaliation without waiting for proof that chemical weapons had actually been used. (Above, an RAF Tornado over Damascus during the coalition attack)
President Donald Trump tweeted at the time: 'Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria.' Britain's then Premier, Theresa May, was equally confident of her facts, saying after the missile launch: 'Last Saturday up to 75 people, including young children, were killed in a despicable and barbaric attack in Douma, with as many as 500 further casualties'
This image released early on April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following the alleged poison gas attack. However, a dissenting scientist, employed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says in a leaked email that investigations on the ground at Douma have produced no hard evidence that the alleged gas attack took place
Britain's then Premier, Theresa May, was equally confident of her facts, saying after the missile launch: 'Last Saturday up to 75 people, including young children, were killed in a despicable and barbaric attack in Douma, with as many as 500 further casualties. We have worked with our allies to establish what happened.
'And all the indications are that this was a chemical weapons attack '... We are also clear about who was responsible for this atrocity. A significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian regime is responsible for this latest attack.'
But a dissenting scientist, employed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says in a leaked email that investigations on the ground at Douma have produced no hard evidence that the alleged gas attack took place.
It appears that these facts were deliberately suppressed in published OPCW reports.
The email makes no attempt to suggest what did happen in Douma. It simply points out that hard evidence, gathered and examined by non-political scientists, does not support the officially endorsed version. And it claims that this resulted in the OPCW redacting the report to the extent that its conclusions were misrepresented.
The revelation appears to be the worst instance of 'sexing-up' in support of war since the invasion of Iraq and Tony Blair's doctored dossiers. A whistleblower has made public the astonishing email of protest which was sent to senior officials at the OPCW. It says that the independent scientists' official report on the Douma incident had been slashed and censored so severely that it:
Misrepresented the facts '' by leaving out key information; Hid the fact that the traces of chlorine found on the site were merely tiny trace elements, in parts per billion, and in forms that could have been found in any household bleach; Contained major deviations from the original report submitted by impartial experts, so that it had 'morphed into something quite different'; Suppressed a total mismatch between the symptoms allegedly displayed by victims at the scene, and the effects of the chemicals which were actually found. The symptoms seen on harrowing videos shown at the time of the incident simply did not match the symptoms which would have been caused by any material found at the site. The Mail on Sunday has seen the email of protest which one scientist at the OPCW submitted to his superiors. It refers to the original expert report from Douma which the email says was savagely censored.
This original report, if it had been published as written, would not have supported widespread claims that poison gas was used at Douma on April 7, 2018. If any such gas was used, it was not a gas known to, or detected by the scientists who visited the scene, examined the buildings and soil and carefully checked the samples.
A source has told me that the OPCW report, which was eventually published on July 7, 2018, was stripped of a vital fact at the last minute: the traces of chlorinated material which were found at the site were so small, and so easily available, that they could simply not be said to show that chlorine gas was employed.
The Mail on Sunday has also been told that, in the days before the original document was due to be published, a second report shorn of many of its most important findings was prepared behind the backs of most of the OPCW scientists.
A source inside the OPCW says that this move was discovered at the last minute. It was then met with protests from scientists, including the email sent to two senior OPCW officials, which The Mail on Sunday has seen. The source says a compromise was offered in which the truth about the tiny traces of chlorine would be told, though the report would still be heavily redacted.
This original report, if it had been published as written, would not have supported widespread claims that poison gas was used at Douma on April 7, 2018. If any such gas was used, it was not a gas known to, or detected by the scientists who visited the scene, examined the buildings and soil and carefully checked the samples. (Above, a baby has its face wiped following the alleged chemical attack in Douma)
Western support for the Syrian rebels against the Assad regime in Damascus has been politically awkward, as many of these rebels are Islamist extremists, in some cases linked to Al Qaeda. Claims that Assad has used poison gas against his own people have been important in persuading the Western public to back the policy. (Above, President Assad last week)
The scientists accepted this. But even this promise was then broken, and a third version of the document was issued which left out the vital fact. The wording of this report was so vague that news organisations around the world concluded '' incorrectly '' that it said that chlorine gas had been used or might have been used. If the key material had been left in, they could not have done this.
Since then, dissenting scientists have sought for months to find a way of setting the record straight, inside the OPCW. But all their efforts have failed, leading to the leak of the email.
It has been a long struggle. The original email of protest was sent to senior executives at the OPCW (whose names we know but have been asked not to publish) on June 22, 2018. The third (interim) report was published on July 6, 2018. A fourth report, even more mealy-mouthed, but still heavily censored, emerged in March this year.
The leak follows other alarming developments concerning the OPCW's report on Douma, which suggest an organisation in severe crisis. Last May, another leak from the OPCW's HQ in the Hague cast grave doubt on claims that gas cylinders found at the Douma site had been dropped from the air, a vital part of the Western case against Syria.
An OPCW engineering and ballistics expert called Ian Henderson (who was not the leaker) had strongly suggested that two gas cylinders found in Douma and examined by the OPCW's Fact-Finding Mission had been 'manually placed'.
This vital detail too was left out of the OPCW's own published report, which implied strongly that they had been dropped from the air. This was crucial as Syrian government helicopters were the only aircraft in the area. On this occasion the OPCW revealed that the Henderson document was genuine, probably unintentionally, by announcing a leak inquiry on May 16.
Shock: How we reported the blitz launched by Western allies
The OPCW '' whose member nations meet in The Hague for a major conference tomorrow '' is also in severe turmoil after reports of further whistleblowing on the radical US website Counterpunch. Its account was written by the veteran journalist Jonathan Steele (formerly a senior foreign correspondent at The Guardian, twice named International Reporter of the Year), based on the account of a whistleblower who he codenamed 'Alex'.
'Alex' said that dissenting experts, protesting against the doctoring of their work, were invited to a meeting with three American officials who were 'cursorily introduced without making clear which US agencies they represented'. He recounted that the three 'told them emphatically that the Syrian regime had conducted a gas attack.'
The Mail on Sunday approached the OPCW for comment on the protest email on Wednesday, November 13, more than ten days ago. We supplied them with a complete text. Despite several further requests by phone and email, the OPCW had not responded by last night.
The OPCW has been in severe disarray before, precisely because its rulings are so sensitive.
In 2002, in the lead-up to the Iraq war, the OPCW's then director, the Brazilian diplomat Jose Bustani, was forced from office by intense US pressure. The US's then ambassador to the UN was the ferocious pro-war hawk John Bolton, famed for his brusque and bullying manner to subordinates.
He is thought to have objected to Bustani's plans to get Iraq to agree to OPCW inspectors going there to search for WMD. These inspections might have got in the way of US plans to go to war against Iraq at all costs, a decision which had already been made by the White House.
The same John Bolton was Donald Trump's National Security Adviser at the time of the alleged outrage in Douma and the missile attacks on Syria, which took place a week later. He left the post in September after falling out with President Trump.
The OPCW is nominally independent, but its annual budget of roughly £75 million is supplied by member states, with much of the money coming from the USA and EU and NATO members, many of them heavily committed to supporting the rebels in Syria.
Western support for the Syrian rebels against the Assad regime in Damascus has been politically awkward, as many of these rebels are Islamist extremists, in some cases linked to Al Qaeda. Claims that Assad has used poison gas against his own people have been important in persuading the Western public to back the policy.
Counterpunch asked the OPCW's media office to explain why the chlorine levels were excluded from the interim and final reports but they did not respond.
The OPCW is nominally independent, but its annual budget of roughly £75 million is supplied by member states, with much of the money coming from the USA and EU and NATO members, many of them heavily committed to supporting the rebels in Syria. (Above, Douma on April 6, 2018)
The leaked email in full From: ********
Sent: 22nd June 2018 08:27
To: *********
Subject: Grave concern about the 'redacted' Douma report
Dear ******,
I wish to express, as a member of the FFM (Fact Finding Mission) team that conducted the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April, my gravest concern at the redacted version of the FFM report, which I understand was at the behest of the ODG. (Office of the Director General). After reading this modified report, which incidentally no other team member who deployed into Douma has had the opportunity to do, I was struck by how much it misrepresents the facts. Many of the facts and observations outlined in the full version are inextricably interconnected and, by selectively omitting certain ones, an unintended bias has been introduced into the report, undermining its credibility . In other cases, some crucial facts that have remained in the redacted version have morphed into something quite different to what was initially drafted. If I may, I will outline some specific aspects to the redacted report that are particularly worrisome.
The statement in paragraph 8.3 of the final conclusions 'The team has sufficient evidence at this time to determine that chlorine, or another reactive chlorine-containing chemical, was likely released from cylinders', is highly misleading and not supported by the facts. The only evidence available at this moment is that some samples collected at Locations 2 and 4 were in contact with one or more chemicals that contain a reactive chlorine atom. Such chemicals could include molecular chlorine, phosgene, cyanogen chloride, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride or sodium hypochlorite (the major ingredient of household chlorine-based bleach). Purposely singling out chlorine gas as one of the possibilities is disingenuous . It is also worth noting that the term 'reactive chlorine-containing chemical' used in the redacted report is, in fact, inaccurate . It actually describes a reactive chemical that contains chlorine which itself (the chlorine) is not necessarily reactive e.g. chlorophenol. The original report uses the more accurate term 'a chemical containing reactive chlorine'.
The redacted report states that the gas was likely released from the cylinders (in Locations 2 and 4). The original report purposely emphasised the fact that, although the cylinders might have been the source of the suspected chemical release, there was insufficient evidence to affirm this. It is possible the error was simply a typo. This is a major deviation from the original report.
Paragraph 8.2 states that 'based on the high levels of various chlorinated organic derivatives, [...] detected in environmental samples'. Describing the levels as 'high' likely overstates the extent of levels of chlorinated organic derivatives detected. They were, in most cases, present only in parts per billion range, as low as 1-2 ppb, which is essentially trace quantities.
The original report discusses in detail the inconsistency between the victims' symptoms, as reported by witnesses and seen in video recordings. Omitting this section of the report (including the Epidemiology which has been removed in its entirety) has a serious negative impact on the report as this section is inextricably linked to the chemical agent identified. It either supports or detracts from the confidence in the identity of any possible chemical. In this case the confidence in the identity of chlorine or any choking agent is drawn into question precisely because of the inconsistency with the reported and observed symptoms. The inconsistency was not only noted by the FFM team but strongly noted by three toxicologists with expertise in exposure to CW (Chemical Weapons) agents.
The original report has extensive sections regarding the placement of the cylinders at both locations as well as the relative damage caused to the impact points, compared to that caused to the cylinders suspected of being the sources of the toxic chemical. These sections are essentially absent from the redacted report. This information was important in assessing the likelihood of the 'presence' of toxic chemicals versus the 'use' of toxic chemicals.
A feature of this investigation and report was the robust and extensive scientific basis for sampling plans and analysing the data collected. A comprehensive bibliography of peer-reviewed scientific literature was attached to support and enhance the credibility of the work of the mission. This has unfortunately been omitted from the redacted report.
By singling out chlorine above other equally plausible substances containing reactive chlorine and presenting it as a fact in isolation creates, I believe, a level of partiality that would negatively impact on the perceived credibility of the report, and by extension that of the Organisation. I am requesting that the fact-finding report be released in its entirety as I fear that this redacted version no longer reflects the work of the team . The original report contains facts and observations that are all equally valid. The fact that inconsistencies are highlighted or observations not fully understood does not justify their omission. The inconsistencies and observations are based on the evidence and data collected. Further information in the future may help resolve them but the facts as they stand at present will not alter and need to be reported.
If the redacted version is to be released, I respectfully request to attach my differing observations, in accordance with the spirit of paragraph 62 of part II of the Verification Annex of the CWC.
Yours sincerely
(Key passages emphasised by Mail on Sunday)
Battery car
Tesla adds solar panels to Cybertruck for daily range boosts
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 18:27
Tesla's Cybertruck may be as polarizing as Elon Musk previously suggested, but its combination of affordable price, killer specs, and crazy performance makes it a rather unusual-looking yet potentially formidable entry into the pickup truck segment. Yet, amidst all these capabilities, it appears that Tesla is also looking to make its pickup as the ultimate vehicle for camping and overlanding.
Images of the Cybertruck released online show that the vehicle will have an attachment that transforms the pickup into a camper, complete with a small kitchen and a table. Looking at the image shared by Tesla, it appears that the company has included as many features as it can into the Cybertruck, except the kitchen sink. Considering Elon Musk and Tesla's tendency to adopt some humor in their creations, it would not be too farfetched if later iterations of the Cybertruck's portable kitchen ends up getting an actual working sink.
Vehicles that engage in activities such as camping or Overlanding tend to stay in one location for several days. This means that if the Cybertruck were to be used for such purposes, the vehicle will likely remain parked in an outdoor location for extended periods. Tesla, if Elon Musk's recent tweets are any indication, actually has a plan for this, with the CEO stating that the Cybertruck's rear will have a Solar Powered tonneau cover, allowing the vehicle to recharge its batteries while it's exposed to the sun.
The Tesla CEO provided some details on this design element in a response to a Tesla Model 3 owner on Twitter. In his response, Musk stated that Tesla will introduce an option to add solar power to the Cybertruck, allowing the massive pickup to generate about 15 miles of range per day on its own. Fold-out solar wings could also be added later, which would generate about 30-40 miles of range per day. This, according to Musk, actually covers the average miles per day traveled by drivers in the United States.
Will be an option to add solar power that generates 15 miles per day, possibly more. Would love this to be self-powered. Adding fold out solar wings would generate 30 to 40 miles per day. Avg miles per day in US is 30.
'-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2019Musk's recent tweets suggest that Tesla's Cybertruck is a vehicle that has been a long time coming. By providing the Cybertruck with a way to generate power on its own (albeit in limited quantities), the addition of a built-in PV system into the pickup would enable the vehicle to gain more range as it stays parked in an outdoor spot. Such a system could even be useful for homeowners whose Cybertrucks will be parked at the driveway, where the vehicles will likely be exposed to the sun on a regular basis.
Elon Musk has stated multiple times in the past that the Tesla Cybertruck would be a polarizing vehicle that looks like it came out of the set of the Blade Runner franchise. Its design suggests that this was the case. That being said, the pickup is very impressive, with its ultra-hard stainless steel exoskeleton, Tesla Armor Glass, a 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds for its top trim, up to 500 miles of range per charge, and a premium, tri-motor AWD variant. Yet, for all its special features and unique look, the Cybertruck is very aggressively priced, with the base variant starting at a very reasonable $39,900.
ðŸ--´Tesla Truck Unveil Event LIVEðŸ--´ - YouTube
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:55
War on Weed
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Sat, 23 Nov 2019 07:41
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Cannabis Stocks Soar After House Committee Votes to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:00
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Internet Explorer 5 and above Select Internet Options from the Tools menu. In Internet Options dialog box select the Security tab. Select the earth(Internet) icon. Click the Custom Level... button. The Security Settings dialog box will pop up. Under Active Scripting category select Enable. Click OK twice to close out. Finally, Refresh your browser. Internet Explorer 5.X for Mac OS X Select Preferences from the Explorer menu. Click the arrow next to Web Browser. Click Web Content. Under Active Content check Enable Scripting. Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Internet Explorer 5 for Mac OS 9 Select Preferences from the Edit menu. Click the arrow next to Web Browser. Click Web Content. Under Active Content check Enable Scripting. Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Internet Explorer 4.X Select Internet Options from the View menu. Click the Security tab. Click Custom. Click Settings. Scroll down to locate Scripting. Click Enable for Active Scripting. Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Firefox (Windows) Select Options from the Tools menu. Click the Content icon/tab at the top of the window. Check Enable JavaScript. Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Firefox (MAC) Select the Firefox menu item from the Apple/System bar at the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, select Preferences... Select the Security icon/tab at the top of the window. Check the Enable Javascript checkbox under the Web Content category. Close the Options window to save your changes. Finally, Refresh your browser. Netscape 7.X Select Preferences from the Edit menu. Click the arrow next to Advanced. Click Scripts & Plugins. Check Navigator beneath "Enable Javascript for". Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Netscape 6.X Select Preferences from the Edit menu. Click Advanced Check Enable JavaScript for Navigator Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Netscape 4.X Select Preferences from the Edit menu. Click Advanced. Check Enable JavaScript Check Enable style sheets Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Netscape 4.X for Mac OS 9 Select Preferences from the Edit menu. Click Advanced. Check Enable JavaScript Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. Opera (Windows) In the Tools drop-down menu at the top of the window, select Preferences... Select the Advanced tab at the top on the Preferences window. Find the Content item in the list on the left-side of the window and select it. Check the Enable JavaScript checkbox. Click OK to save your changes and close the Preferences window. Finally, Refresh your browser. Opera (MAC) Select the Safari menu item from the Apple/System bar at the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, select Preferences. Select the Content icon/tab at the top of the Preferences window. Check the Enable JavaScript checkbox. Click OK to save your changes and close the Preferences window. Finally, Refresh your browser. Safari (MAC) Select the Safari menu item from the Apple/System bar at the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, select Preferences. Click Security icon/tab at the top of the window. Check the Enable JavaScript checkbox. Close the window to save your changes. Finally, Refresh your browser. Safari (Windows) In the Edit drop-down menu at the top of the window, select Preferences... Select the Security icon/tab at the top on the window. Check the Enable Javascript checkbox. Close the window to save your changes. Finally, Refresh your browser. Chrome (Windows) Select Customize and control Google Chrome (wrench Icon) to the right of the address bar. From the drop-down menu, select Options. Select the Under the Hood tab at the top of the window. Under the Privacy heading, select the Content settings button. On the left, under the features heading, select JavaScript. Select the Allow all sites to run JavaScript radio button. Finally, close both preference windows, and refresh the browser. Chrome (MAC) Select the Chrome menu item from the Apple/System bar at the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, select Options. Select the Under the Hood tab at the top of the window. Under the Privacy heading, select the Content settings button. On the left, under the features heading, select JavaScript. Select the Allow all sites to run JavaScript radio button. Finally, close both preference windows, and refresh the browser. Mozilla 1.X Select Preferences from the Edit menu. Click the arrow next to Advanced. Click Scripts & Plugins. Check Navigator beneath "Enable Javascript for". Click OK. Finally, Refresh your browser. AOL 7.0 and above Select Preferences from the Settings menu. Click Internet Properties (WWW) under Organization. Click the Security tab. Check the Custom Level button. Scroll down to locate Scripting. For Active Scripting click Enable. Click OK, and then OK again to close all dialogs. Close the Preferences window, and then Reload the page.
'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر on Twitter: "Israel's AG has decided tp press charges against PM Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the 4000 case, fraud and breach of trust in the 2000, 1000 cases >>> Full
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:46
Log in Sign up 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider Israel's AG has decided tp press charges against PM Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the 4000 case, fraud and breach of trust in the 2000, 1000 cases >>>Full Statement in Hebrew
facebook.com/tal.schneider/'... 8:46 AM - 21 Nov 2019 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
5h Replying to
@talschneider Attached are the first 3 pages out of the 63 indictment pages. The State of Israel against Benjamin Netanyahu.
pic.twitter.com/bmmJcpZygr View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
5h Replying to
@kikarhashabat AG Mandelblit an hour ago at his chambers at the Justice Department, JerusalemCredit: Chaim Goldberg,
@kikarhashabat pic.twitter.com/vKtk7gDXEp View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
4h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 One of Israel's most prominent publishers and owner of a popular paper Yedioth Aharonot is charged with bribing the PM (story in Hebrew
@globesnews by
@chenmaanit7 ) -
globes.co.il/news/article.a'... View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
4h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 Mr. Sheldon Adelson, huge GOP donor and Publisher of Israel biggest newspaper Israel Hayom, mentioned several times at the 63p indictment:
#Netanyahu_Indictment pic.twitter.com/9fUJCXCGOs View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
4h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 On p27: Netanyahu contacted Adelson and asked him to postpone publication of Israel Hayom's weekend edition as he thought that a success by a paper backing him so strongly will generate negative press from rival Yedioth Ahronoth>
#Netanyahu_Indictment pic.twitter.com/OAU02ZDxb7 View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
3h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 On p28: During 6 meetings, Netanyahu and Yedioth Publisher Moses concluded that Moses will work for a positive coverage in exchange for Netanyahu's attempt to get Adelson to limit distribution of Israel Hayom.>>
#Netanyahu_Indictment pic.twitter.com/crGDzF4Dqe View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
3h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 On P.32 Continuing discussions btw Netanyahu, Moses and attempts to pursue Adelson to cutback on Israel Hayom circulation in exchange for withdrawal of a Knesset bill (that was aimed to put pressure on Adelson banning freebie papers).
#Netanyahu_Indictment pic.twitter.com/GmpEjq0FMe View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
3h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 Side Note: Netanyahu has claimed for years that he worked hard to shield Israel Hayom from evil seekers politicians who were trying to "shut down" the only "right-wing paper" (a fact that is not true) in Israel, >>
View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
3h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 whereas according to the indictment, he was the one who initiated the bill to curtail a paper that was established for his behalf
View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
3h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 On p32, Netanyahu has requested the prominent Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan to tap in and help him convince Adelson
#Netanyahu_Indictmentthe end (for now)
pic.twitter.com/Eefq1MSp9Q View conversation · 'Tal Schneider ××' ×(C)× ×××'ר تا٠شنايدر @ talschneider
2h Replying to
@kikarhashabat @globesnews @chenmaanit7 Full Announcement of Indictment Against Netanyahu in English: AG Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, has decided to indict the Prime Minister, MK Benjamin Netanyahu ("Mr. Netanyahu"), for offenses of taking a bribe, breach of trust >>
facebook.com/tal.schneider/'... #Netanyahu_Indictment View conversation · Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
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HUGE: Epstein Prison Guard Cooperating With Investigators, Wants to Give Up Key Info
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 20:22
Follow Matt on TwitterTova Noel, one of the prison guards who was on duty the night that Jeffrey Epstein mysteriously died, was charged on Tuesday with falsifying records. Noel is now coming forward, stating that she plans on cooperating with investigators and wants to give them information about the events surrounding the night Epstein died.
The prison guard just so happened to go missing for two hours when Epstein allegedly hung himself in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Check out what the Daily Wire reported:
Noel and her fellow prison guard Michael Thomas were arrested Tuesday and charged with criminal conspiracy and falsifying official records ''for allegedly fudging 'count slips' while failing for hours to check on Epstein and other inmates in the MCC's ninth-floor Special Housing Unit,'' according to the Post.
Epstein had attempted suicide by hanging just a week before and had only recently been moved off suicide watch when Noel and Thomas decided to abrogate their duties and spend the evening ''goofing off,'' as the Post put it. When they returned to duty at 6:30 a.m. to deliver breakfast to the accused pedophile and child trafficker, they found him dead, hanging in his cell, having used strips of cloth ripped from his bedsheet to form a makeshift noose.
''As alleged, the defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center,'' U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. ''Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction.''
On Wednesday, Noel and her lawyers made it clear that they were searching for a plea deal.
''In fact, Ms. Noel remains available to fully and truthfully cooperate with the Inspector General's investigation, which is also geared toward uncovering the many problems that existed from the commencement of her employment which continue to plague the Metropolitan Correctional Center,'' her lawyer said.
You can read more from our friends over at TrendingPolitics.com
Jeffrey Epstein's Former Jail Mate Believes He Was Taken Off Suicide Watch 'Intentionally'
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:26
There may always be questions surrounding his sudden death. Before Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell on August 10, 2019, due to an apparent suicide, the disgraced businessman had already attempted to kill himself once. So why was he taken off suicide watch not long before he died? Episode 11 of ''Epstein: Devil in the Darkness'' explores some of the mystery around Epstein's death '-- and the opinion of several experts and other sources who aren't so sure it was suicide.
In July 2019, Epstein was arrested and indicted for sex trafficking of underage girls. He was accused of sexually exploiting and abusing ''dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations.'' That would have made him pretty unpopular in jail, according to prison expert Cameron Lindsay.
''Here's a guy who's a convicted pedophile, super high publicity, everybody in the world probably knew he was a convicted pedophile,'' Lindsay explains. ''He was further being accused of human trafficking, sexual assault of young girls '... and he knew a lot about a lot of very important people.'' He claims, ''I n the world of jails and prisons, it's a badge of honor for an inmate to kill somebody like Epstein.''
Epstein was placed in the general population at Metropolitan Correctional Center along with prisoners accused of everything from murder to serious drug offenses and extreme violence. His former lawyer Alan Dershowitz says on the podcast, ''These pre-trial detention facilities are terrible, and they have driven more than Jeffrey Epstein to suicide.''
His jail mate speaks out on the podcast about those facilities, and about how badly the financier was treated during his time at MCC. He claims, ''The guards didn't like Epstein because he was always asking for special treatment '... Epstein would have to wait two weeks before he actually got anything, worse than any other inmate that was there.''
The fellow inmate continues, ''One time, I heard Epstein's bunkie call for help from the guards. I think that was the first time he had tried to kill himself. When they carried Epstein out of the cell, man, yo, they dropped him on his face '... I heard it hit the floor with the loudest thud. I'll never forget it, man, because it was sickening, but Epstein didn't make a sound because he was out cold.''
That incident was likely Epstein's first alleged attempt at suicide on July 23, just five days after he was denied bail. He was found semiconscious in his jail cell and had injuries to his neck and claimed he was assaulted by his cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione. But Tartaglione said Epstein had tried to commit suicide, and later, an internal prison investigation reportedly cleared Tartaglione of any assault.
That incident led to Epstein being placed on suicide watch. Lindsay explains on the podcast, ''At some point, it was determined by the Bureau of Prisons that Epstein engaged in a legitimate suicide attempt. So they '... put him on suicide watch. When an inmate is placed on suicide watch, he or she is removed from either the general population or the special housing unit (SHU), and they're moved into a specially designed suicide prevention cell in the health services department.''
''When you're on suicide watch in an institution like the Metropolitan Correctional Center, there is a guard literally sitting in a chair outside your cell watching what goes on in your cell at all times,'' former MCC inmate Richard Stratton reveals. ''He was being watched very, very carefully.''
But Epstein didn't get that treatment for long and was taken off suicide watch just six days later. ''In the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it's a policy that only the chief psychologist '... can remove an inmate from suicide watch,'' Lindsay explains. ''I believe Epstein manipulated his way off of suicide watch, and that was a mistake.''
''The only reason they would take him off suicide watch is so that he could be murdered without anybody being there to say, 'Well, we didn't see it happen,''' Stratton claims.
Afterward, Epstein was moved to the 9 South area of the jail, a special housing unit which is also a lockdown unit and heavily surveilled. So how did the late businessman end up dead less than two weeks after the move? His former jail mate believes, ''I think they took him off of suicide watch intentionally. The guards were happy Epstein was trying to kill himself.''
Another reason some are skeptical Epstein killed himself is that news of his death was seemingly posted in an online forum ''before any of the traditional media outlets had a clue he'd died,'' claims reporter Andy Tillett on the podcast. An anonymous 4chan user allegedly posted about the death 38 minutes before it officially broke on ABC News. ''It was a complete bolt from the blue,'' Tillett continues. ''The obvious question is: Did [the unidentified 4chan user] have anything to do with his death?''
''When you're in supermax, virtually nothing can happen without some complicity on the behalf of the staff,'' Stratton says. ''You're totally under the control of staff at all times '... for a guy like Epstein to have supposedly killed himself in this institution '... Why was he taken off suicide watch? He was taken off suicide watch so that someone could get in there and kill him, as clear as day.''
Epstein's former personal chauffeur claims on Episode 11 that Epstein was paranoid about threats to his life even before his time at MCC. ''He was afraid that somebody was going to try to kill him,'' he claims. The businessman's former business partner, Steven Hoffenberg, agrees: ''He was trying to negotiate a deal with the government. Why would a man with $600 million trying to turn state's evidence against the rich and the powerful kill himself? '... If you weigh the facts and look at the events, they do not add up.''
Even some of Epstein's victims don't believe his death was by his own hand. Attorney Spencer Kuvin, who is representing many of Epstein's alleged victims in their ongoing civil cases, says of his clients, ''Their reaction '... was skepticism. Can it really be true? Did he really commit suicide? Is he really dead? With a certain measure of, 'I hope he is because now he will never be able to do this to someone else again.'''
Gloria Allred, who is also representing several of Epstein's alleged victims, expresses similar feelings. ''The highest-profile criminal suspect in the country, who was under the care and supposedly the protection of the federal jail in New York, the Metropolitan Correctional Center, how could that have happened?''
Of course, all of these opinions remain speculation because Epstein's official cause of death was ruled a suicide by hanging as of August 16, according to the New York medical examiner. The Bureau of Prisons had already called his death an ''apparent suicide.''
There's a chance we may never know exactly what happened at the end of Epstein's life, but clues continue to trickle out. For instance, on November 19, two federal correctional officers were charged with ''making false records and conspiring to make false records and to defraud the United States'' in connection to his death.
The guards allegedly created records falsely stating they completed the requested checks of inmates at MCC in the SHU on the night Epstein committed suicide, when those tasks were not, in fact, done. As a result, they found Epstein's body far too late to do anything about his death. Will we continue to learn more about his suspicious passing as time goes on?
''Epstein: Devil In Darkness'' is produced by the creators of ''Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood.'' The series was named to Apple Podcasts' Most Downloaded New Shows of 2018 and received a 2019 Webby Best Series honoree nod from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
''Epstein: Devil In Darkness'' releases new episodes every Thursday.
Jerry Sandusky resentenced to 30 to 60 years, same as before
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 14:24
By MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press &nbsp|&nbsp
Posted: Fri 6:52 AM, Nov 22, 2019 &nbsp|&nbsp
Updated: Fri 2:59 PM, Nov 22, 2019
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) '-- Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was resentenced Friday to 30 to 60 years in prison, the same penalty as before, for sexually abusing children.
Sandusky, 75, was sentenced by Judge Maureen Skerda at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. He wore a yellow jumpsuit and entered court with his hands cuffed in front of him.
Sandusky again asserted his innocence, choked up twice in brief remarks to the judge and told his supporters he loves them.
A state appeals court this year turned down most of Sandusky's arguments seeking a new trial but said laws mandating sentence minimums in place at the time of his October 2012 sentencing had since changed.
Under the new law, according to Jacklin Rhoads, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a jury would not have the power to go below the minimum sentence.
The Superior Court opinion in February cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said any fact that increases the sentence for a given crime must be submitted to jurors and established beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012 and sentenced to 30 to 60 years. Skerda's new sentence was the same.
Eight young men testified during the 2012 trial that Sandusky, who founded a charity for at-risk youth, subjected them to a range of abuse, from grooming to violent attacks.
Sandusky has maintained his innocence, and his lawyers in October initiated a federal court action seeking a new trial or release from prison.
His November 2011 arrest prompted the firing of Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno and the ousting of then-university President Graham Spanier.
The university has subsequently paid more than $100 million to people who said they had been abused by Sandusky.
Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Intelsat stock drops as FCC will auction satellite spectrum for 5G
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 10:21
Ajit Pai
Brad Quick | CNBC
The Federal Communications Commission announced on Monday that it will publicly auction off a valuable telecommunications asset, in a move investors viewed as a blow to U.S. satellite communications provider Intelsat.
Shares of Intelsat dropped 40% in heavy trading volume after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a tweet that his agency "must free up significant spectrum" for 5G telecommunications. The FCC told CNBC that it expects an auction to happen "before the end of 2020."
"I've concluded that the best way to advance these principles is through a public auction of 280 megahertz of the C-band," Pai said. "I'm confident they'll quickly conduct a public auction that will give everyone a fair chance to compete."
C-band spectrum is a key telecommunications wavelength the FCC regulates. Four satellite operators, including Intelsat, provide C-band services in the U.S. to about 120 million households. The FCC wants to repurpose the C-band spectrum for 5G and an auction is expected to raise tens of billions of dollars. But a public auction would see the proceeds go to the government, an option the satellite operators '' organized as the C-Band Alliance '' have opposed.
"The fundamental issue here is that there's the ideal and there's the practical. Everyone recognizes the best use of this spectrum is for 5G services '' but what is the most economical and timely way to do that?" Chris Quilty, president of satellite financial services firm Quilty Analytics, told CNBC. Quilty formerly led Raymond James' coverage of sattellite communications and the broader space industry for 20 years.
The C-Band Alliance has been pushing for a private auction. The group on Friday gave a proposal to the FCC where the satellite operators would keep some of the proceeds while paying taxes on the sale, as well as contributing at least $8 billion to the U.S. Treasury and possible helping fund a rural 5G network.
"The private auction would generate billions in proceeds for Intelsat and the other C-band operators," Quilty said. "The potential C-band proceeds gave Intelsat a path for deleveraging, which has otherwise escaped the company for the past 10 years."
Intelsat had a market value of about $1.8 billion before trading began on Monday. Even before the latest drop, Intelsat's stock had declined more than 10% on three consecutive trading days as the tide shifted against the C-Band Alliance. The FCC's announcement of a public auction means the satellite companies may not recoup the value of their C-Band investments, such as the expensive satellites.
"What we'll likely see happen, which is the worst case scenario, is that the satellite operators have every incentive to drag their heels and take this to the courts, because they're no longer being compensated for this spectrum," Quilty said. "People are assuming they're still going to get something but they're not going to get the $8 billion to $10 billion windfall they were expecting."
War on Vaping
White House holds vaping roundtable with President Trump - CNET
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:28
US President Donald Trump held a roundtable on vaping.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images The White House is holding a roundtable on vaping with President Donald Trump on Friday, with the discussion focused on whether menthol should be banned along with other flavors. It comes as the number of vaping-related deaths and lung injuries continues to rise. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed 47 vaping-related deaths in the US, with more deaths under investigation. The youngest victim was 17.
You can watch the vaping roundtable live on CNET sister site CBS News. Also at the discussion are Utah Senator Mitt Romney and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, as well as stakeholders and experts including the American Lung Association.
Several stakeholders spoke about how vaping has caused a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine who otherwise would not have started using it.
Multiple stakeholders agreed with the Trump administration's original suggestion back in September to ban all flavored vaping products. Vaping giant Juul stopped selling mint-flavored products on Nov. 7. In the US, the flavors Juul now sells are Virginia tobacco, classic tobacco and menthol.
"The flavors have hooked the kids," one said. "Leave tobacco flavor for adults."
The CDC also said Thursday that there were 2,290 cases of vaping-related lung damage as of Nov. 20. These "EVALI" cases have occurred in every state except Alaska. Cases have also been reported in the District of Columbia and two US territories, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. EVALI stands for e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury.
The roundtable follows a Nov. 1 Axios report that the Trump administration was considering a ban on all flavors except for tobacco and menthol, which could be spared because they are less appealing to minors. However, Trump then reportedly backed down from the ban earlier this week; according to The New York Times, he "resisted moving forward" with the ban due to "potential pushback from his supporters."
"President Trump and this administration are committed to responsibly protecting the health of children," Judd Deere, a spokesperson for the White House, told CNET in an emailed statement this week. "At this time, we are in an ongoing rulemaking process, and I will not speculate on the final outcome."
The CDC announced on Nov. 8 that vitamin E acetate could be the cause of vaping-related lung illnesses. Federal health officials said tests conducted on the lung fluid of 29 patients revealed the presence of the substance, which is an additive in some THC-containing products.
Originally published Nov. 22, 1:22 p.m. PT. Update, 1:45 p.m.: Adds more information.
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VIDEO - Former AAG Matthew Whitaker Discusses Upcoming IG Report on FISA Abuse and Trump Campaign Surveillance'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:35
Following leaked revelations that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith manipulated evidence to attain a Title-1 surveillance warrant against U.S. person Carter Page to conduct political espionage against the Trump campaign, former AAG Matthew Whitaker discusses the IG investigation and upcoming IG report.
Whitaker notes the bigger issues are how the FISA process generally has been abused and potentially long-term ramifications. It is also worth remembering it wasn't just ''wiretaps'' that were gained, the FBI requested and received full Title-1 surveillance authority including: wiretaps, electronic surveillance, the use of bugs and tracking devices, physical surveillance, electronic and satellite geolocation surveillance and much more. The FBI requested a type of surveillance generally reserved for tracking suspected terrorists.
When Mr. Clinesmith manipulated evidence to attain the warrant he was working under the guidance of FBI supervisory agent Peter Strzok. ''Political Espionage''.
VIDEO - DOJ says Chicago gang leader radicalized by ISIS | National | wdel.com
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 06:22
39° Cloudy Wilmington, DE (19810) TodayRain showers this morning with some sunshine during the afternoon hours. High 47F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Higher wind gusts possible..
TonightMostly clear. Low around 35F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.
Updated: November 24, 2019 @ 7:01 am
Full Forecast Listen News Middletown's Drew Fry threw three of his five touchdown passes to Glasgow's Mike Credle in Fry's first collegiate start, a dominating 58-21 win over Framingham State.
Sports Middletown's Drew Fry threw three of his five touchdown passes to Glasgow's Mike Credle in Fry's first collegiate start, a dominating 58-21 win over Framingham State.
Traffic Weather Programs Podcasts WDEL's Sean Greene speaks with Wesley's standouts after the Wolverines' 58-21 victory over Framingham State in the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament 0:00 - HC Chip Knapp (1st NCAA Victory) 3:40 - QB Drew Fry (1st Career Start, 5 TD passes) 7:55 - WR Mike Credle (1st Career 3 TD game)
In this often unsettled world in which we live, it's easy to forget the simple decency of the man '-- and television icon '-- Fred Rogers. A recently released motion picture starring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers '-- "It's a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood" '-- captures the more than three-decade leg'...
The new book HUMANIMAL by Christopher Lloyd (What On Earth Books) has been reviewed by School Library Journal as, "A fun and thought-provoking look at animals that are just like us. An excellent choice for any nonfiction collection." WDEL's Allan Loudell speaks at length with the author, who'...
Features Duo Extreme stops by the Delaware Art Museum as part of their Connected Series bringing with them the sounds of the Caribbean Thursday night.
Contest Rules Events More Published Nov 22, 2019 at 12:48 am | Updated Nov 23, 2019 at 10:32 am The Department of Justice say a Chicago man, who is the purported leader of the "AHK Street Gang" in Chicago, allegedly attempted to provide material support to ISIS. CNN affiliate WBBM reports.
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We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Contact the WDEL Newsroom: wdelnews@wdel.com or (302) 478-8898.
VIDEO-Whiskey_warrior_556 : ATF confrontation - YouTube
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 00:49
VIDEO-Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized with chills and a fever - YouTube
Sun, 24 Nov 2019 00:43
VIDEO - Kenneth P. Vogel on Twitter: "WOW: @RudyGiuliani seems to suggest he has dirt that would prevent TRUMP from turning on him: ''I've seen things written like 'he is going to throw me under the bus.' When they say that, I say 'he isn't, bu
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 22:22
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VIDEO - (3) Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Spies Has Assassinated People in Australia - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 21:48
VIDEO - John Cusack on Twitter: "Be clear MSNBC You did this to yourself no one made you parade neocons & neoliberal pundits to slander & smear a people's movement that you KNOW is not radical but a return to FDR politics @BobSmith4152: I'll jus
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 21:45
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VIDEO - Zach and Matt Show 🧠on Twitter: "Andrew Yang speaks out on the #MSNBCYangBlackout: "It's about the 300,000 plus Americans who've donated to and support my campaign." #BoycottMSNBC https://t.co/b5zDOFRXAW" / Twitter
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 21:44
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VIDEO - (3) Privileged Yale And Harvard Students Storm Field During Football Game To Protest Fossil Fuels - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 20:57
VIDEO - Why Is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare SO AWESOME?! And... BAD?! - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 16:10
VIDEO - (14) Divest Harvard ðŸ--¶ on Twitter: "Statement from Wesley Ogsbury, captain of the Harvard Crimson, on today's #NobodyWins disruption by us and @FossilFreeYale: https://t.co/tDjAdR7TTy" / Twitter
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 15:47
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VIDEO - U.S. judge awards nearly $180 million to Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian held by Iran - CBS News
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 15:28
Jason Rezaian on Iran imprisonment, Trump
A U.S. federal judge has awarded a Washington Post journalist and his family nearly $180 million in their lawsuit against Iran over his 544 days in captivity and torture while being held on internationally criticized espionage charges.
The order in the case filed by Jason Rezaian came as Iranian officials appeared to begin restoring the internet after a weeklong shutdown amid a security crackdown on protesters angered by government-set gasoline prices sharply rising. The U.S. government has sanctioned Iran's telecommunications minister in response to the internet shutdown.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington entered the judgment late Friday in Rezaian's case, describing how authorities in Iran denied the journalist sleep, medical care and abused him during his imprisonment.
"Iran seized Jason, threatened to kill Jason, and did so with the goal of compelling the United States to free Iranian prisoners as a condition of Jason's release," Leon said in his ruling.
The judge later added: "Holding a man hostage and torturing him to gain leverage in negotiations with the United States is outrageous, deserving of punishment and surely in need of deterrence."
In this Sept. 25, 2019 photo, Jason Rezaian participates in a panel discussion on media freedom at United Nations headquarters. Seth Wenig/AP Iran never responded to the lawsuit despite it being handed over to the government by the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which oversees U.S. interests in the country. Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.
Rezaian and his lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. Martin Baron, the executive editor of the Post, said in a statement that Rezaian's treatment by Iran was "horrifying."
"We've seen our role as helping the Rezaians through their recovery," Baron said. "Our satisfaction comes from seeing them enjoy their freedom and a peaceful life."
Rezaian's case, which began with his 2014 gunpoint arrest alongside his wife Yeganeh Salehi, showed how the Islamic Republic can grab those with Western ties to use in negotiations. It's a practice recounted by human rights groups, U.N. investigators and the families of those detained.
Despite being an accredited journalist for the Post with permission to live and work in Iran, Rezaian was taken to Tehran's Evin prison and later convicted in a closed trial before a Revolutionary Court on still-unexplained espionage charges.
Iran still focuses on the case even today, as a recent television series sought to glorify the hard-liners behind the arrest.
It remains unclear how and if the money will be paid. It could come from the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which has distributed funds to those held and affected by Iran's 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and subsequent hostage crisis. Rezaian named Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, this year designated as a terrorist organization by the Trump administration, as a defendant in the case.
The order comes a week after the Nov. 15 gasoline price hike, which sparked demonstrations that rapidly turned violent, seeing gas stations, banks and stores burned to the ground. Amnesty International said it believes the unrest and the crackdown killed at least 106 people. Iran disputes that figure. A U.N. office earlier said it feared the unrest may have killed "a significant number of people."
VIDEO - French minister criticizes US over 'unanswered' Iran attacks
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 14:28
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) '-- France's defense minister criticized the U.S. on Saturday over what she described as ''unanswered'' attacks in recent months threatening the Persian Gulf, warning that the decades-long American deterrence in the oil-rich region appeared to be losing its power.
Florence Parly separately said France ''deplored'' both U.S. President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal of America from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that led to the re-imposition of crushing sanctions, as well as Tehran recently breaking the deal's enrichment, stockpile and centrifuge limits.
While saying France would continue to talk to Iran, her speech before the annual Manama Dialogue in Bahrain struck a muscular tone for Paris, which maintains a naval base in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. She said France would push for a European-organized maritime security force in the region that would cooperate with but be separate from an American-organized force.
''We've seen deliberate, gradual U.S. disengagement,'' she said at the summit organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. ''It had been in the cards for a while but it became clear when fighter jets remained on the tarmac in 2013 after the Syrian chemical attacks or later, after the downing of a U.S. UAV and the bombing Saudi oil facilities.''
''With the cornerstone moving, the edifice has started shaking,'' she said.
Since the summer, there have been a series of attacks in the region, starting first with the suspected mining of oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. blames Iran for the attacks, something Tehran denies. Iran did shoot down a U.S. military surveillance drone and seize oil tankers.
A September drone-and-cruise-missile attack on Saudi oil fields halved the kingdom's crude oil production, shocking energy markets. The U.S. blames that attack on Iran as well, something Iran denies. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed the attack, but analysts say the weapons used likely would not have the range to reach the sites from rebel-held territory and appeared to come in from the north of the Persian Gulf, not from the south toward Yemen.
''When the mining of ships went unanswered, a drone got shot (down). When that in turn went unanswered, major oil facilities were bombed,'' Parly said. ''This is dangerous, even for those who think they gain. Because bold is never far from daring and daring never far from reckless.''
VIDEO - (42) The FANTASY of Being An ENTREPRENEUR - Gary Vaynerchuk | Motivational Speech - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 08:54
VIDEO - ADL International Leadership Award Presented to Sacha Baron Cohen at Never Is Now 2019 - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 08:33
VIDEO - Latuda TV Commercial, 'Bipolar Depression' - iSpot.tv
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 08:04
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VIDEO - Mass shooting research finds several common trends - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 07:58
VIDEO - U.N. Rapporteur: Julian Assange Has Faced Psychological Torture; He Should Not Be Extradited to U.S. | Democracy Now!
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 07:52
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN : This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, as we turn to the case of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Earlier this week, Swedish prosecutors have for the third time dropped an investigation into sexual assault allegations that Assange has long denied. The move comes as Julian Assange's legal team is fighting his possible extradition to the United States where he faces up to 175 years in prison on hacking charges and 17 counts of violating the rarely-invoked World War I-era Espionage Act for his role in exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. A full extradition hearing will take place in February. Julian Assange has been locked up at London's Belmarsh prison since April when he was dragged out of the Ecuadorean embassy by London police. He had taken refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy for over seven years to avoid extradition.
Later in the program, we will speak to Tariq Ali and Margaret Ratner Kunstler, co-editors of the new book In Defense of Julian Assange. But first, I want to turn to Nils Melzer, United Nations special rapporteur on torture. He recently spoke at Columbia University.
NILS MELZER : About a year ago when'--well, December, it was'--when Julian Assange's lawyers first contacted me and asked me to intervene on his behalf with [inaudible[ governments, I was very hesitant to get involved because I had this visceral reaction. I didn't know anything about the man. I had never dealt with the case. But I had this visceral reaction of ''Oh, this is this narcissist, this rapist, this hacker, this spy. He's going to manipulate my mandate, and I'm not going to get into this case.''
Because I have received, as you know, [inaudible] we receive in our mandates, we receive about ten to 12 to 15 requests per day of potential victims of torture or other human rights violations to intervene on their behalf. So we have to make a selection, because we can maybe deal with two, with the resources we have. So I wasn't going to get into this case. And it took me another three months when his lawyers came back to me and said, ''Well, there are rumors that he might be expelled from the embassy of Ecuador in London imminently and please, look just at a few documents, and then make up your mind.''
And so I somehow felt I owed it to my professional integrity to at least look at these documents. And I have to admit that as soon as I scratched the surface a little bit, immediately, things didn't add up with the images I had in my mind of this man. And the deeper I got into this, the more fabrication I saw. And I just saw that there was nothing to back up all these'--this public narrative that had been spread about Julian Assange in the media, mainly. Or that's at least where I got it from, almost passively, almost through osmosis. It was kind of this constant thing over the years. So that started to intrigue me.
And I looked into this case and I decided, if I get into this'--this is a very politicized case'--I need to'--and a very publicly'--obviously publicized case'--I need to make sure I have a solid basis. So I requested the British authorities after his arrest to allow me to visit him and I took two medical experts with me, a psychiatrist and a forensic expert. Both of them have worked with torture victims for decades and advised courts in distinguishing symptoms that might come from ill treatment from other symptoms'--psychological ones, physical ones,. They really know how to distinguish these things.
And we visited Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison on the 9th of May for four hours. I spoke with him for an hour just to get a good first impression, then we had a physical examination for an hour by our forensic expert and then we had the two-hour psychiatric examination. And all three of us had the same impression'--and, well, I had certainly an impression and the medical doctors had a diagnosis, that they'--we all came to the conclusion that he showed all the symptoms that are typical for a person that has been exposed to psychological torture over an extended period of time. So now, I had this result.
And I have to say'--well, also personally, when I met him the first time'--the only time I met him, actually'--he made a very rational impression. A lot of anxiety I could feel. He was certainly extremely stressed and on a stress level where he could never relax, and something that reminded me of many of the victims of torture I had seen at interrogation centers that had been indefinitely detained for a long time, intellectuals that have been in isolation for a long time that would show that kind of reaction pattern. Asking me questions and when I just started to answer, he would already come to the next questions. And very intelligent questions but he would not even be able to compute my answers. So he was already kind of beyond that point.
And it put me'--because he had been in a very controlled environment for more than six years, we could identify the causes. And there was just a number of causes of factors that could have influenced his life. It was not someone that we picked up on a battlefield and we didn't know what happened to them the last three months. The last six or seven years, he had been exposed to this precisely same environment that obviously evolved, but it was fairly easy to make the calculation and conclude what were actually the causes that have produced these symptoms.
Now, we also have to be clear from a torture and ill treatment perspective, not everything that is'--not every anxiety and stress level or pain and suffering is torture. Just because you show that symptoms does not necessarily mean that someone tortured you. Because there is an exception in the torture definition. So essentially, torture is the deliberate and purposeful infliction of severe pain and suffering in order to achieve some kind of a purpose'--coercion, confession, intimidation or something like that. But there is an exception where there is pain and suffering that is inherent in lawful sanctions. So when you have a lawful, legal proceeding and someone is lawfully detained, obviously they will be stressed, and the longer it lasts, the more they will be stressed. That obviously is a level of anxiety that is just inherent in a lawful measure.
So the question was, was his detention lawful? And when I looked at all the evidence'--and I'm not going to go obviously into every single detail here'--but if this were about applying the law, then he would not have been sentenced to a 50-week imprisonment simply for bail violation in the U.K. for a case that at the time was not even pending anymore. The Swedes at the time had terminated that case, had dropped the case. And he had violated that bail condition because he had received asylum from political persecution, given by a U.N. member state, Ecuador. And that is not a grave violation of the bail conditions. In the U.K., bail violations don't routinely lead to prison sentences. It is just a fine or maybe a minor sentence that might not even be served in the end. So that was clearly excessive. So that was not about applying the law regularly.
Then we also saw that British judges showed from the first day when he was arrested [inaudible], they showed extreme bias against him. They called him narcissist, although in that hearing he said nothing except ''I plead not guilty.'' And I'm a professor at a British university, and I consider the U.K. a rule-of-law state and one of the leading ones. And to me, that was very odd. And then I saw'--so we have an excessive sentence. We have judges calling'--insulting him for saying nothing, basically. We had a judge leading the extradition proceedings until recently who had a documented conflict of interest. Her husband had been exposed by WikiLeaks. And his defense lawyers had tried to make that case and that was simply ignored.
And until two weeks ago, I believe, Julian Assange never had access to legal documents. So how do you prepare a defense, which is a basic human right when you're facing all of these proceedings, and you don't even have access to your legal documents? When in the extradition hearing, the judge asks him, ''Sir, how do you react to the U.S. indictment?'' And he said, ''Well, I haven't received it.'' That is not the rule of law. This is not about applying the law. That is not a lawful proceeding.
Then we look at the Swedish proceedings. It's the same thing. It's totally arbitrary when a state conducts a preliminary investigation. He has never been charged of anything in Sweden. He is not charged of sexual offenses. Never been. The case has been opened, three days later has been closed because there was no evidence for any offense at all. Chief prosecutor of Stockholm saying that. And a different prosecutor takes it up again, based on the statement of the purported victim, which had been adapted, changed by the police without consulting the victim in order to have a stronger basis for the rape case.
And it goes on and on and on. Strange evidence, condoms that have no DNA on them, but which supposedly have been used. And it goes on and on and on. It's one contradiction after the other. And Sweden never gets beyond the stage of a preliminary investigation, which simply means someone has alleged rape and they have still not decided whether they want to charge him or not, after nine years. And that's what has kept him in detention in Ecuador, in the Ecuadorian embassy, for so long and under that constant pressure.
And then we see the U.S. proceedings. With all due respect, but you have'--you know, the grand jury proceedings have their own particularities, right? Secret evidence, jury selection, which obviously in that area will result in a certain amount of bias within the jury. We have the history of the so-called espionage court, which has its own problematics. Seventeen of the 18 charges, basically, refer to activities that are the basic business of any investigative journalist, which brings in the whole freedom of press and freedom of opinion problematic here. And the 18th charge, the first one that the U.S. disclosed, refers to Julian Assange supposedly having attempted to help Chelsea Manning to decode a password but not succeeded. So if every time someone tries to type in a password and decode it and it doesn't work, you get extradited to the U.S. for espionage, there's something slightly disproportionate in this.
I mean, something just doesn't add up in all these proceedings, when it's about depriving or terminating the asylum of Julian Assange by Ecuador and terminating citizenship. That is done without any legal proceeding whatsoever. The president just decides, ''That's what we're going to do today.'' He is being informed. He is kicked out of the embassy or arrested by the Brits in the embassy that very day'...
So we see that there, we have no due process proceeding whatsoever. And so U.K., U.S., Ecuador, Sweden'--all these legal proceedings, severe violations of due process consistently. This is not about prosecuting someone for an offense. This is not about applying the law. The story''we have to take a step back. What has the man done? He has disclosed enormous amounts of information that governments wanted to stay secret, to remain secret. And obviously, we know obviously most famously or most infamously, the Collateral Murder video, which is in my view as a former ICRC legal advisor, having worked with the law of war for many years, it's evidence for war crimes.
And what is the scandal in this case is that everybody focuses on Julian Assange and his cat and his skateboard, and having allegations that are'--having smeared feces on the wall and all these types of things that are not'--there's no evidence whatsoever for any of these, and as if these were war crimes, even if they were true. But no one looks at the war crimes. And I think that's the big story here.
And that's why I get passionate about this case, because here is someone who discloses evidence for war crime, including torture, murder, all kinds of corrupt activities going on, and everybody focuses on Julian Assange and his domestic obligations in the embassy. And therefore, there is no justification for detaining him in isolation and having him under this constant pressure where he knows he cannot trust anybody [inaudible] and no official authority.
He will be certainly exposed to an arbitrary trial in the U.K., extradition trial. The choreography is clear. Whatever his lawyers say, in the end, the U.K. judges will say, ''Yes, of course, we cannot extradite him if there is death penalty or torture or treatment, so please U.S., make assurances.'' The U.S. will obviously make these assurances, and then the U.K. will say, ''Then we have no reason not to trust the U.S.'' And they will extradite him to the U.S. That's what I foresee. And that's what he'--expect him here. That's the crux here.
In addition to the ill treatment he has already suffered, I am absolutely convinced that he will not get a fair trial. He will get a show trial in East Virginia, and he'll end up in prison under inhumane conditions for the rest of his life. That needs to be prevented.
AMY GOODMAN : That's Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, speaking about Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, speaking at Columbia University this past October 15th. When we come back, we will speak with Tariq Ali in London and Margaret Kunstler here in New York, editors of the new book In Defense of Julian Assange. Stay with us.
VIDEO- NANCY -The Ingraham Angle 11/22/19 | Breaking Fox News November 22, 2019 - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 00:44
VIDEO-Trump calls into 'Fox & Friends' amid impeachment probe, upcoming FISA report - YouTube
Sat, 23 Nov 2019 00:20
VIDEO - [VIDEO] Levin Brilliantly Compares Impeachment Hearings to Pearl Harbor 'You've Just Awakened a Sleeping Giant'
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 22:22
PoliticsConservative pundit Mark Levin opened up a can of whoop-a*s on Adam Schiff and his impeachment sham.
The public hearings wrapped up yesterday with gutter-low ratings and no evidence that President Trump did anything wrong. As a matter of fact, the hearings did more to prove that Obama and Biden and the Dem Party used Ukraine to line their pockets and interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Levin ripped Schiff, comparing him to Admiral Yamamoto, who after Japan attacked Pearl Habor said. 'I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve'.''
Levin told Schiff, ''you know, Adam Schiff, you are in some ways Admiral Yamamoto: You just awakened a sleeping giant. You threw everything you had at the president, at the Republicans, at 63 million voters who voted for this president.''
Desperate and Pathetic Man: [VIDEO] Desperate Adam Schiff Goes For an 'Academy Award' With His Totally Bonkers Closing Statement
He went on to say, ''this is the best you have? You have nothing'...You are the Democratic Party's Yamamoto.''
Levin added that there is ''no smoking gun'' and reminded Schiff that after all his hard work trying to destroy Trump the polls are actually going up for President Trump.
''It was Trump who got the Ukrainians the weapons that they needed. It was Trump who stopped the Russians. It was Trump who put the most severe sanctions in modern history on the Russians. It was Obama who appeased the Russians. It was Obama under whose presidency the Russians invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea.''
This will be your ''feel good'' video of the day. ENJOY!
You can watch the video below:
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2019
Attn: Wayne Dupree is a free speech champion who works tirelessly to bring you news that the mainstream media ignores. But he needs your support in order to keep delivering quality, independent journalism. You can make a huge impact in the war against fake news by pledging as little as $5 per month. Please click here Patreon.com/WDShow to help Wayne battle the fake news media.
VIDEO - Kabamur on Twitter: "That's quite a glitch. 🧐 https://t.co/gytsNo57AK" / Twitter
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:24
Welcome home! This timeline is where you'll spend most of your time, getting instant updates about what matters to you.
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VIDEO - Trump electronic cigarettes: President holds vaping meeting at White House - watch live stream today - CBS News
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:28
Updated on: November 22, 2019 / 4:07 PM / CBS News
Trump holds meeting about vaping in U.S.
President Trump suggested raising the age to buy vaping products to 21 in a White House meeting on vaping Friday afternoon. Utah Senator Mitt Romney and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were among those attending the roundtable, which included stakeholders and experts.
In September, Mr. Trump said his administration was reviewing electronic cigarettes , which have contributed to lung-related disorders and deaths in recent months. Mr. Trump announced that month his administration would work to ban all non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market, but there has not yet been significant movement from the administration.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at the time the FDA planned to develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors except plain tobacco from the market.
A 2018 survey showed about 1 in 5 high school students used e-cigarettes. That's more than three million kids '-- 78% more than in 2017.
More than two-thirds of those teenage vapers used flavored products. And while a recent spike in serious lung illnesses may involve combining vaping with substances like THC, the administration plans to ban most flavored vaping products to make them less appealing to children.
VIDEO - (36) Jayapal: Trump 'Trying to Use the Court System' Is 'Obstruction of Justice' - YouTube
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:07
VIDEO - Animated No Agenda - Stone vs Brazile - YouTube
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 14:00
VIDEO - William Barr Should Recuse Himself in Jeffrey Epstein Case | Time
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:39
Jeffrey Epstein is dead. His victims will never have their day in court, at least not with this defendant. It is critical that the Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of his death. But how it is handled is also critical to the integrity of DOJ. That is why Attorney General William Barr needs to recuse himself.
Epstein was charged in July by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. They claimed he exploited and abused dozens of minors, with victims as young as 14, and was so focused on keeping his pipeline of victims flowing that he resorted to paying some of them a fee to recruit more girls.
Six months before that, at his confirmation hearing, Barr was asked if he would investigate the handling of a decade-old Florida plea deal that let Epstein escape responsibility for his conduct. He said he thought his former law firm was involved in the case so he might have to recuse. Although Barr did ultimately recuse from an investigation into the Florida case, he did not from SDNY's case.
This is concerning. In addition to the law-firm conflict, Alex Acosta, who served in Donald Trump's Cabinet with Barr, was the U.S. Attorney in Miami when Epstein received his travesty of a plea deal. And Barr's father was the headmaster of an elite New York City school that hired college dropout Epstein to teach math and physics. Do these circumstances amount to a conflict of interest requiring mandatory recusal? Barr, apparently after consulting with career ethics officials at DOJ, concluded they did not. But the appearance of impropriety, particularly given the President's past relationship with Epstein and concerns that Barr had acted as the President's lawyer rather than the people's with regard to the Russia investigation, should have dictated that he recuse from the SDNY case.
Barr's tenure as Attorney General has left a large segment of the country with questions, not just about DOJ but also about where his personal loyalties lie. Given his misleading summary of the Mueller report, no matter how objective his leadership is in this matter, there will be doubts about the outcome. Conspiracy theories, including those retweeted by the President, will continue to circulate, and we will have one more situation that erodes the already ebbing faith that people are willing to place in the institution Barr leads.
We are in a dangerous place if people no longer trust that the Justice Department is doing justice.
And yet if the past is prologue, he will not recuse. When it emerged during his confirmation process that he had sent an unsolicited memo to DOJ and the White House arguing that it cannot be obstruction of justice when a President does ''facially-lawful'' acts that involve an exercise of his constitutional authority, like firing an appointee, many people, myself included, suggested he take himself out of the running to replace Jeff Sessions. He did not.
It is often said that DOJ's integrity is like a reservoir, slow to fill but easily emptied by a small leak. The reservoir is leaking. The day after news of Epstein's apparent suicide broke, a tweet from the partisan podcast Mueller, She Wrote articulated the worst case: ''Whether you believe there are nefarious forces within the DoJ that assisted with or turned a blind eye to the Epstein death, the bigger point is no one trusts the department of justice. No one.'' We are in a dangerous place if people no longer trust that the Justice Department is doing justice.
''Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered,'' Barr said in a statement. ''In addition to the FBI's investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein's death.'' But as Attorney General, Barr would still be the ultimate authority over the investigation.
Get The Brief. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. Thank you! For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.
How did a high-profile, high-risk prisoner have access to items he could use to hang himself? What procedures were and weren't followed? These questions must be answered. If Barr cares about DOJ's reputation, he should step aside and let career people conduct and oversee the investigation. If he does this, and if the investigation is exhaustive with results promptly made public, it would be a step in the long process of restoring faith in our justice system. All of us '-- especially Epstein's victims, who have already been subjected to unthinkable trauma '-- are entitled to no less.
Contact us at editors@time.com.
VIDEO - Nicolle: 'It's gonna take a dead Russian hooker at the bottom of the Hudson before Republicans wake up'
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 12:23
While discussing the likelihood that Republicans would would turn on President Trump and vote for his impeachment and subsequent removal, Nicolle Wallace shares a theory of what it would take for them to do so. Nov. 21, 2019
VIDEO-Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Cancelled for 2019 Officially | Fortune
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:52
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VIDEO-Trump's Golden Shower: Therapy for the Trumpocalypse - YouTube
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:48
VIDEO-Fights erupt as 1000+ antifa-like protesters swarm Ann Coulter event at UC Berkeley -- Society's Child -- Sott.net
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:27
Over 1000 antifa-type protesters surrounded a building on the Berkeley campus where conservative provocateur Ann Coulter was speaking,
blocking ticket-holders from entering. At least 6 were arrested after a fight broke out.
The mass of chanting and shouting protesters blocked dozens of students from entering the hall, forming a human chain across both entrances and verbally abusing anyone who tried to pass. Some of the abuse was reportedly physical as well, though the protest did not feature the outbreaks of mob violence that characterize some antifa appearances.
Six or seven protesters were arrested, according to a campus spokesman, one for slipping inside the hall and screaming at Coulter while she spoke.
All but one were given a citation and sent home. The protester who was held had started a fight and "failed to follow instructions from officers," according to University of California Police Department chief Margo Bennett.
Eventually police parted the human sea, creating a gap for students and visitors who'd paid up to $75 to hear the controversial pundit speak, but many had already gone home discouraged. The protesters conned at least one woman out of her ticket by pretending to offer her a way out of the chaos.
When the speech had concluded, police formed a wall to allow attendees to leave safely. That didn't stop protesters from continuing to scream from behind the cops, however.
While Berkeley once had a reputation as a bastion of freedom of speech, protesters insist Coulter's speech - or that of the other conservatives whose speeches antifa types have turned out to oppose - is dangerous to immigrants. Coulter has caused a scuffle at Berkeley before. A 2017 speaking engagement was cancelled by the organization hosting her, Young Americas Foundation, which said they couldn't guarantee her safety. This time, it was Berkeley's own College Republicans who paid for her appearance, selling tickets to make up the fee and raise money for their club.
Not that anyone would call this calm.
VIDEO-Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter: "You're right the impeachment inquery hasn't been going on for 3 years.ðŸ Here's a refresher on this bullshit and why the media has no credibility. https://t.co/2OPgmxOKZS" / Twitter
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 20:35
Log in Sign up Donald Trump Jr. @ DonaldJTrumpJr You're right the impeachment inquery hasn't been going on for 3 years.ðŸ Here's a refresher on this bullshit and why the media has no credibility.
pic.twitter.com/2OPgmxOKZS 2:10 PM - 21 Nov 2019 Twitter by: Erick Erickson @EWErickson Mankrik's wife @ Marty_Shannon
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr Inquiry* you absolute dolt
View conversation · DC Capital🎤🇺🇸 @ DCtheCapital
4h Replying to
#HunterBidensBaby twitter.com/dcthecapital/s'... View conversation · chris romano @ ChrisMRomano
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr ''Beginning of the end'' ''tipping point'' ''walls closing in'' ''bombshell'' Looks like they all got the same script.
View conversation · Ranger Point Precision @ ranger_point
3h Replying to
@ChrisMRomano @DonaldJTrumpJr Exhausting Propaganda! "Beginning of the end'' ''tipping point'' ''walls closing in'' ''bombshell''.
#thematrixx #propaganda #coup #DeepState View conversation · Dave Cooperman @ comicdavecooper
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr The beginning of the end of the bombshells and walls closing in...They can't even be remotely original in being fake.
View conversation · Dave Cooperman @ comicdavecooper
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr side note - quick video on a genuine Oscar speech:
youtube.com/watch?v=GsM4dH'... View conversation · besus @ CarlHunngus
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@DonaldJTrumpJr @jack @jack ......That edit buttonI know it's somewhere
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@CarlHunngus @DonaldJTrumpJr @jack How can they be that bad at spelling? Honestly? And a familial trait?
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VIDEO - (26) Listen To Pilot's Epic Meltdown Before Plane Takes Off 2 Hours Late - YouTube
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 17:09
VIDEO-Blackmail Exclusive | Narativ | Blackmailing America
Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:28
Exclusive: An ex-Israeli intelligence agent reveals Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were not only Israeli intelligence assets, they were allegedly entrapping U.S. politicians with minors. The sexual victims have come forward, but why have none of the blackmail targets?
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It has been six weeks since Jeffrey Epstein died in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan.
''Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy''. Despite assurances from Attorney General Bill Barr '' who presides over prisons and justice in the U.S. '' we are no closer to knowing the truth about Epstein, his money, or his crimes than we were the day he mysteriously died.
I've reported before that Epstein was an intelligence asset for Israel. This was confirmed by two independent sources. Now, one of those sources, a former senior member of the Israeli intelligence community, has gone on the record to confirm this about Epstein and is making significant claims about Epstein's human trafficking operation.
Ari Ben-Menashe is an Iranian-born Israeli consultant and former arms dealer who also served as a senior executive for Israel's Directorate of Military Intelligence (1977 to 1987). This puts Ben-Menashe in a unique position to know about Epstein and also Ghislaine Maxwell. He met them both 40 years ago, when Ben-Menashe when he worked for Israel alongside Maxwell's father, Robert Maxwell.
Robert Maxwell was a British media baron turned KGB and Mossad spy. He fell to his death from his yacht ''The Lady Ghislaine'' under mysterious circumstances in 1991.
In the '80s, Ben-Menashe and Robert Maxwell ran a covert Israeli operation transferring arms to Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. That's how Ben-Menashe says he first met Jeffrey Epstein. According to Ben-Menashe, Maxwell wanted to include Epstein in his arms-dealing operation.
I have vetted the portions of the interview included below as best I can, but in a world which is all about subterfuge, there is no way of knowing if what he is saying is true. Nor can I determine if Ben-Menashe's motives are to influence the narrative. He is a consultant for various countries including Russia and South Sudan and worked with Zimbabwe's late Robert Mugabe. He claims he conducted this interview freely and not on behalf of any clients.
While some journalists have cautioned not to take his assertions at face value, he has proven to be a fairly accurate source over the years. I've only shared portions that have secondary sourcing. Nevertheless, keep his history in mind as you read on. The interview first aired on the Narativ podcast.
Ghislaine, Robert and Betty Maxwell at Cannes film festival in 1987.Intelligence AssetsBen-Menashe makes two significant claims. The first is that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were both intelligence assets of Israel.
Interviewer: You spoke about Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell as being a part of Israeli Military Intelligence. Do you know specifically which unit?
Ari Ben-Menashe: Because of Robert Maxwell, they worked directly with military intelligence. I don't know who they answered to.
Interviewer: Would you say she was an agent as well?
Ari Ben-Menashe: Yes.
Interviewer: Military intelligence as well?
Ari Ben-Menashe: Yes, yes.
The second claim is that Epstein and Maxwell specifically sought out powerful politicians, scientists and public figures to entrap them in not only compromising but criminal situations.
Ari Ben-Menashe: [Epstein and Ghislaine] were blackmailing American and other political figures.
Interviewer: For the Israelis?
Ari Ben-Menashe: Yeah
Interviewer: For most people it's hard for them to think of Israel as'... blackmailing their leaders in the United States, it's a very '...
Ari Ben-Menashe: You're kidding? [laughs]... It was quite their M.O.
Ari Ben-Menashe talking to Narativ's Zev Shalev. Hear him tell the story of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in his own words. Epstein and Maxwell Recruited Minors to Entrap Politicians. Ben-Menashe claims Epstein and Maxwell specifically sought out underage girls for their famous friends.
Ari Ben-Menashe: Sleeping around is not a crime, it may be embarrassing, but it's not a crime, but sleeping with underage girls is a crime.
Ben-Menashe also reveals a previously unknown connection between Epstein and Robert Maxwell. He says Maxwell wanted Epstein to join their Iranian arms trading operation.
Ari Ben-Menashe: What happened was Maxwell introduced him to us, and he wanted us to accept him as part of our group. [He said] 'and your Israeli bosses have already approved.'
Maxwell had an extensive network in Israel at the time, which included the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to Ben-Menashe. Despite Maxwell's introduction and endorsements from his superiors, Ben-Menashe claims Epstein didn't appear competent and ''wasn't accepted'' by him or Nick Davies, the Daily Mirror's Foreign Editor, who was also a part of the arms operation.
In November 1989, Ben-Menashe was arrested for violating the Arms Export Control Act for trying to sell three Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to the Iranians. This became the basis for the Iran-Contra Affair. He spent almost a year in the same U.S. federal prison in which Epstein is said to have committed suicide.
Ben-Menashe was acquitted, and he says his experience at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan leads him to question the official version of how Epstein died.
Ari Ben-Menashe: I spent eleven months and three weeks in the same place as Epstein. It would have been impossible to commit suicide [in a cell].
Ari Ben-Menashe: I have theories about who wanted him dead. Probably there's quite a number of people in the States wanted him dead, but I would think mainly the Israelis.
The official reason for Epstein's death according to Bill Barr and the New York Medical Examiner is suicide.
Virginia Guiffre on NBC News Dateline says she was directed to have sex with prince Andrew by Epstein and Maxwell.''Potentially Blackmail''Virginia Guiffre, one of Epstein's accusers, gave her first television interview to Dateline NBC this weekend. She told NBC that Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell directed her to sleep with Britain's Prince Andrew and other public figures on several occasions.
What NBC didn't reveal, but is made clear by Guiffre from an affidavit she filed in 2015, is that she believes Epstein and Maxwell put her in those situations to compromise public figures with blackmail.
In the 2015 affidavit, Guiffre claimed Epstein told her he set up his friends with minors so that they would ''owe him,'' they would ''be in his pocket,'' and he would ''have something on them.''
She said Epstein required her to ''describe sex'' with politicians, bankers and celebrities ''presumably so that he could potentially blackmail them.''
Guiffre writes explicitly about Epstein seeking details of Prince Andrew's fetishes, claiming Epstein was collecting ''private information about [Prince Andrew].''
There are additional claims in police documents and testimony that Epstein's homes in New York City and Palm Beach were wired for video surveillance.
When authorities executed a search warrant on Epstein's Manhattan mansion, they also found CDs labelled ''Young [name] +[Name]'' in a locked safe, according to the detention document.
Become a Patron!No Physical Trail of BlackmailDespite what appears to be the makings of a blackmail operation, and Ben-Menashe's revelations, there is no publicly available evidence of any blackmail attempts. Part of the reason for this may be that the acts were not only compromising in nature, but also potentially criminal. Or maybe there was no blackmail at all.
Another explanation for a lack of clarity around the potential blackmail scheme, might be that Epstein and Maxwell were not just your run-of-the-mill criminals. They worked for one of the most respected and feared intelligence agencies in the world.
Remember how Epstein was able to get off so lightly for his crimes?
According to the Daily Beast, when former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta was being interviewed by Trump's transition team, he was asked specifically about the Non-Prosecution Agreement he cut with Epstein's lawyers in 2008 (as the US federal prosecutor in charge of that case). Acosta's response to the transition team was that he had ''been told'' to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade: ''I was told Epstein belonged to intelligence and to leave it alone.''
So, what were Epstein and Maxwell doing as assets or agents? Was their ''project'' for them to entrap powerful American men with underage girls, as Ben-Menashe asserts?
No public figures have come forward with any claims of this nature. Until one does, or a court makes their names public, the details of any alleged blackmail operation will remain secret.
Daddy's Girl According to Ben-Menashe, Epstein met Ghislaine Maxwell almost a decade earlier than previously reported, and that they were romantically linked. Again, Ben-Menashe says he was introduced to Epstein by Ghislaine's father, Robert, in the early '80s.
Ari Ben-Menashe: [Epstein] wasn't very competent. He didn't seem to be a competent guy, he doesn't seem to be. But he was a good looking guy. And Miss Maxwell '...
Interviewer: Ghislaine, yeah.
Ari Ben-Menashe: '... fell for him.
Interviewer: That early, the 1980's?
Ari Ben-Menashe: That early. How old was she?
Ghislaine was 20, Epstein was 26 in 1980.
Interviewer: She was young.
Ari Ben-Menashe: Yeah.
Interviewer: But most of the reporting about her and him only started in 1991 when they got to the United States.
Ari Ben-Menashe: Yeah, I realize that. But they were already '...
Interviewer: They were already dating.
Ari Ben-Menashe: Call it dating or whatever.
Interviewer: So he was part of the family business?
Ari Ben-Menashe: Yeah, and Maxwell sort of started liking him. And my theory is that Maxwell felt that this guy is going for his daughter.
Another business associate of Epstein from the '80s confirms Ben-Menashe's account. Steven Hoffenberg is the former publisher of the New York Post and spent 18 years in jail for a Ponzi scheme which he claims was also Epstein's work. Hoffenberg was introduced to Epstein by Douglas Leese, a British arms dealer.
Hoffenberg tells me that Epstein met Ghislaine Maxwell at a party and fell for him instantly. She saw in Epstein the same characteristics as her father, Hoffenberg says, and introduced the two men.
Bill Barr faces yet another conflict of interest in the Jeffrey Epstein case. This time for his role in the cover-up of Iran-Contra. Maxwell and Ben-Menashe were central figures in the affair. Another Conflict for Bill Barr While many people had good reason to want the details of this story to die with Epstein, the victims deserve better.
Ben-Menashe and Robert Maxwell's involvement in Iran-Contra raises new questions about Attorney General Bill Barr's continued oversight of the Epstein case. Why? Because Barr played a significant role in the Iran-Contra cover-up.
During his first stint as A.G. for President George HW Bush (who was also swept up in Iran-Contra, while serving as Vice President to Reagan), Barr sided with the President and granted clemency to Reagan administration officials who participated in the scandal. As prosecutor James J. Brosnahan characterized him, ''If you want a presidential cover-up, Barr is your guy.''
Despite what appears to be a blackmail scheme, there is no physical trail of the blackmail. One source tells me that's because Epstein didn't offer his bosses anything that useful. It may be that the blackmail was a means to accessing other things, like money, science or technology. Or it may have been traded with other countries' intelligence agencies or on the black market.
Only one person knows for sure: Ghislaine Maxwell.
Liked it? Take a second to support Zev Shalev on Patreon!


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na 903-jcd impeachement from Fabian.mp3
Nicolle Wallace MSNBC 'It's gonna take a dead Russian hooker at the bottom of the Hudson before Republicans wake up'.mp3
Pelosi says using courts is obstruction of justice -2- Jayapal Reiterates.mp3
Pelosi says using courts is obstruction of justice.mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -1- FBI changed FISA - prediction of yuge political scandal [1000's of indictments].mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -2- All the way to the top [Obama] and the scam explained.mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -3- Trump and Russia [] Schiff is sick - Crazy Nancy - Trumpka - USMCA.mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -4- The accusations are [] Why is USA always the sucker.mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -5- Rudi Gulliani is a hero.mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -6- About Ambassador Yivanovic.mp3
Trump Fox and Friends -7- With no experience I defeated the Bush Clinton Obama Dynasties [] again IG report tease.mp3
Fox teases December 9 IG report as deconstructed by NYTimes.mp3
Giuliani THREATENS Trump ON AIR if he was to ever turn on him.mp3
Biden vs Harris - Joe was right - she's not Blafrican American.mp3
Eric Swalwell 2020 Run Again EOS Jesse Coy Nelson.mp3
SNL cold open -2- Tulsi the villan - Princess.mp3
SNL cold open Bloomberg Jewish Billionaire running a media company.mp3
Andrew Yang boycots MSNBC MSNBCYangBlackout.mp3
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Spies Has Assassinated People in Australia.mp3
DOJ says Chicago gang leader radicalized by ISIS - Six Week Cycle.mp3
Biden confronted by immigration protestors DN.mp3
billionaire in malta kills journalist.mp3
Bombshell walls medley to sept 2018.mp3
Cost of War report lots dead DN.mp3
coulter protests SPLC chimes in DN.mp3
fiona hill and the russians DN.mp3
guy kills himself woman guilty CBS.mp3
impeachment Bolton coming CBS.mp3
Man on the street Brexit talk.mp3
Nancy Pelsoi gaffe funny.mp3
Netnyahu indicted DN.mp3
RIOTS Bolivia DN.mp3
RIOTS colombia DN.mp3
romain lettuce fiasco CBS.mp3
trvel over thkgiving CBS.mp3
UAW strike nissing info PBS.mp3
vote for trump DN.mp3
Assange update DN.mp3
Ben Sasse book One age segregation.mp3
Ben Sasse book slamming millens.mp3
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Biased news is dangerous to our democracy MEDLY.mp3
Kapernick speaks out after his workout for NFL scouts - I'm Ready Nike Campaign.mp3
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Iliza Slezinger on the term Amaaazing.mp3
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    clause as in as in Hillary's clause atom
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    John C. Dvorak assassination episode 11
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    93 this is no agenda state in the
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    morning everybody
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    I'm Adam curry and from northern Silicon
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    Valley where we're all over Mike
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    Bloomberg I'm John Cena for almost
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    perfect but you said kitty
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    instead of GT I uh I say kitty that's
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    Jeff where was it last night oh it was
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    it was actually on SNL they had this
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    whole cold open you know where they were
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    doing the debate and Camelot was to come
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    LA Harris yeah she said I'm just here to
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    make memes
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    thanks for the jiff I was like wow she
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    said Jeff that was cool
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    instead of gift yeah was his wits Brown
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    she's got a pronounced right the guy who
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    invented the grass yes he says doormat
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    yes calls it Jeff yes I know why do
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    people say well you're wrong language
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    changes language changes the other way
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    language changes yeah so of course we
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    heard this is interesting I got a note
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    from Dame Jaime early this morning she
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    said da bloomers can announce at 10:10
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    a.m. Eastern go check it out she was
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    right yeah I've heard like gotten a lot
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    of these emails about things happening
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    but check it out make sure you watch and
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    this time it was right but it was kind
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    of already signaled Saturday night last
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    night on Saturday Night Live they had an
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    all-star cast
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    they had Will Ferrell was hosting they
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    had Fred
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    what's-his-name Arneson what's this
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    they had who else's they have well
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    Trump supporters come up with a
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    not making that stick
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    I thought that was really funny yeah
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    that's like the number one conspiracy
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    the protocols of the Elders of Zion
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    rolling it right out there and then
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    right after that they brought in Tulsi
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    at which I thought was also a very good
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    good takeoff on what she's doing
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    underdog candidate and tonight's villain
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    Tulsi Gabbard Thank You Rachel
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    what an honor it is to be on this stage
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    with my fellow candidates aren't you to
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    know that I smell your fear and it makes
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    me stronger I'm wearing the white suit
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    of your fallen hero Hillary Clinton
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    the white suit and that put me in my
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    place about the white suit oh yeah if
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    you look at it that way yeah although
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    one of our producers said hey man you
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    got to understand this appeals to the
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    Princess Leia generation oh okay oh no
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    yes say Mike Bloomberg appeals to the
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    doors to the who to the dwarfs yeah
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    not saying it's bad oh okay
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    you're gonna make those sorts of things
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    yeah all right so there's a there's a
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    number of different things that went on
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    since we last met and I would have to
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    say I don't know if you saw it but the
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    president called into Fox & Friends in
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    the morning
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    and they did and spoke for about an hour
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    with them did you see they can't seem to
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    get him off they don't know how to tell
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    him to get off no presidents ever pull
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    this stunt cuz you know as far as far as
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    show and he'll do it yeah you can and
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    they can't get rid of him because they
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    don't know how to this is the funniest
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    thing about it I think they also didn't
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    want to get rid they wanted to keep
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    changing the topic because you know he
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    does yeah you got the guy and you know
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    you're not gonna get rid of him you must
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    like grill him and he does he does 50
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    did take the liberty of clipping a few
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    who was playing yeah cuz when I cuz I
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    it's just the three you know the the the
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    Three Stooges of Fox and Friends sitting
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    their lap or eating the president's on
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    the phone so I listen to it because I
  • 5:56
    was making dinner I was like and that
  • 5:58
    actually was as a podcast it would have
  • 6:00
    been great but as as a prime-time
  • 6:02
    morning TV show I'm not so sure but it
  • 6:04
    was almost everything we've discussed
  • 6:07
    differing the Trump presidency the
  • 6:10
    sealed indictments Ukraine deserve all
  • 6:14
    of it all of it was in there and so I
  • 6:16
    just pulled those choice bits out so I
  • 6:18
    have we can share them the first is this
  • 6:21
    first clip is it's kind of what we've
  • 6:25
    been waiting for it you know we have
  • 6:26
    this Inspector General report now due on
  • 6:30
    December 9th this is where we get
  • 6:34
    thousands of sealed indictments and the
  • 6:37
    president is kind of propagating that
  • 6:39
    these media outlets are saying that the
  • 6:41
    FBI lawyer manipulated and altered key
  • 6:43
    documents related to that warrant
  • 6:45
    application so that they could get
  • 6:47
    permission to surveil Carter page he was
  • 6:50
    on with Maria warnings with Maria a few
  • 6:52
    minutes ago and he says it's a cover-up
  • 6:54
    how does this compare with what happened
  • 6:56
    with that Ukraine conversation Democrats
  • 6:57
    want to impeach you because of that
  • 6:59
    conversation but this looks pretty bad
  • 7:01
    so my conversation was a perfect
  • 7:04
    conversation and the Ukrainian president
  • 7:06
    said by the way in the beginning he's
  • 7:09
    still kind of Trump with his arms
  • 7:11
    flailing around and you know half
  • 7:12
    sentences but then he got better as he
  • 7:15
    went along
  • 7:15
    what are they talking about they must
  • 7:17
    think we're nuts in this country and
  • 7:19
    this conversation was flawless it was
  • 7:22
    appropriate it was perfect it was nice
  • 7:25
    it was everything and they even said
  • 7:26
    that they came out and said it now
  • 7:28
    compare that as they try it impeach and
  • 7:30
    by the way they've looked like fools
  • 7:31
    over the last five days these interviews
  • 7:34
    were and these were their witnesses
  • 7:36
    these were this was the best they've got
  • 7:38
    now Adam Schiff is a sick puppy he's a
  • 7:42
    it's been incredible now what you're
  • 7:45
    going to see I predict will be perhaps
  • 7:48
    the biggest scandal in the history of
  • 7:50
    our country political scandal but I
  • 7:52
    guess that's the biggest because what's
  • 7:54
    more important than he thought what do
  • 7:55
    you mean by that so you have a FISA
  • 7:57
    report coming out which the word is its
  • 8:00
    historic that's what the word is that's
  • 8:02
    what I hear
  • 8:03
    and from Joe digenova he told it its