1217: The Elders

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 1m
February 16th, 2020
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Mike Bloomberg wants Hillary Clinton a running mate, say sources
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 12:17
Mike Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate, source says Polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force to take on Trump in the race for the White House Bloomberg is said to be considering changing his official residence because the electoral college makes it tough for president and VP to reside in the same state 'We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation,' Bloomberg's campaign has said Mike Bloomberg is considering making Hillary Clinton his running mate, a source close to his campaign has told Drudge Report.
Polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force to take on Trump in the race for the White House, the source said.
Former New York City Mayor and Democratic candidate Bloomberg is said to be considering even changing his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida - where he also has homes - because the electoral college makes it difficult for US president and vice-president to reside in the same state.
Under the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution, which provides the procedure for electing the president and vice-president, it states that the two people could not both inhabit the same state as the elector.
Bloomberg's campaign would not confirm or deny the reports when DailyMail.com reached out for comments.
'We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation,' Communications Director Jason Schechter said in a statement.
Mike Bloomberg (above)Hillary Clinton (above) Hilary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg are pictured taking part in a New York City pride parade Former New York City Mayor Bloomberg is said to be considering even changing his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida because the electoral college makes it difficult for a US president and vice-president to reside in the same stateClinton's primary home is in Chappaqua, New York.
This comes as two new Democratic primary polls show Bloomberg in the lead in Florida, while Sen. Bernie Sanders tops the field in Texas.
Both Bloomberg and Sanders have teeny tiny leads over former Vice President Joe Biden, who took a beating in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
The Florida poll shows Bloomberg with just a one-point lead over Biden, with the ex-mayor receiving 27 per cent support from Florida Democrats compared to Biden's 26 per cent support.
Bloomberg's edge comes from having about a 10-point lead over Biden among white survey respondents. The former mayor gets the support of 28 per cent of white Floridians, versus the 18.5 per cent who selected Biden as their first choice for Democratic nominee.
Former first lady Clinton previously said she faced calls to run for president in 2020 after she lost out to Trump in the 2016 election, but she has repeatedly said she won't join the race.
However, she stopped short of denying she was considering running for vice-president alongside one of the Democratic candidates earlier this month.
'I never say never because I do believe in serving my country, but it's not going to happen,' she told Ellen DeGeneres.
In January, Donald Trump made the strange claim that Clinton had promised Bloomberg the job of secretary of state should she be elected president in 2016, to keep him from running four years ago.
Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg pictured together in New York in 2017'He had a deal with Hillary Clinton that he was going to become secretary of State. It was very simple. People knew that,' Trump said during an interview on CNBC filmed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The president then suggested Bloomberg would have been double-crossed.
'Wasn't going to happen. It was giong to go to Terry McAuliffe,' Trump said, name-dropping the former governor of Virginia who's been a close Clinton friend.
'I mean, so they were playing with Michael,' Trump alleged. 'And - it's too bad, but he's spending a fortune.'
Bloomberg had endorsed Clinton over Trump in 2016, saying at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016 that though 'there are times when I disagree with Hillary,' the country must unite to 'defeat a dangerous demagogue'.
'Let's elect a sane, competent person with international experience,' Bloomberg said at the time.
It's been a busy week for Bloomberg as he was forced to apologize after a recording was leaked online of him talking bluntly about his stop-and-frisk policies.
'Ninety-five percent of your murders - murderers and murder victims - fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops,' Bloomberg is heard saying in the recording.
Bloomberg had endorsed Clinton over Trump in 2016, saying at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016 that though 'there are times when I disagree with Hillary,' the country must unite to 'defeat a dangerous demagogue'. The possible allies are pictured here with Vogue Editor Anna Wintour Former first lady Clinton stopped short of denying she was considering running for vice-president alongside one of the Democratic candidates earlier this month'They are male minorities, 16 to 25. That's true in New York. That's true in virtually every city.'
'And that's where the real crime is. You've got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed.'
President Trump tweeted 'WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!', as he tries to woo black voters to the Republican side.
On Thursday, Bloomberg apologized for endorsing the stop-and-frisk policy.
'There is one aspect of approach that I deeply regret, the abuse of police practice called stop and frisk,' Bloomberg said.
'I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn't understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids.'
'I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it,' he continued. 'I didn't, and for that, I apologize.'
Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 78
Entered race: April 25, 2019
Career: No current role. A University of Delaware and Syracuse Law graduate, he was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 1969, then won upset election to Senate in 1972, aged 29. Was talked out of quitting before being sworn in when his wife and daughter died in a car crash and served total of six terms. Chaired Judiciary Committee's notorious Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Ran for president in 1988, pulled out after plagiarism scandal, ran again in 2008, withdrew after placing fifth in the Iowa Caucuses. Tapped by Obama as his running mate and served two terms as vice president. Contemplated third run in 2016 but decided against it after his son died of brain cancer.
Family: Eldest of four siblings born to Joe Biden Sr. and Catherine Finnegan. First wife Neilia Hunter and their one-year-old daughter Naomi died in car crash which their two sons, Joseph 'Beau' and Robert Hunter survived. Married Jill Jacobs in 1976, with whom he has daughter Ashley. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. Hunter's marriage to Kathleen Buhle, with whom he has three children, ended in 2016 when it emerged Hunter was in a relationship with Beau's widow Hallie, mother of their two children. Hunter admitted cocaine use; his estranged wife accused him of blowing their savings on drugs and prostitutes
Religion: Catholic
Views on key issues: Ultra-moderate who will emphasize bipartisan record. Will come under fire over record, having voted: to stop desegregation bussing in 1975; to overturn Roe v Wade in 1981; for now controversial 1994 Violent Crime Act; for 2003 Iraq War; and for banking deregulation. Says he is 'most progressive' Democrat. New positions include free college, tax reform, $15 minimum wage. No public position yet on Green New Deal and healthcare. Pro-gun control. Has already apologized to women who say he touched them inappropriately
Would make history as: Oldest person elected president
Slogan: Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead
Age on Inauguration Day: 78
Entered race: November 24, 2019
Career: Currently multi-billionaire CEO of Bloomberg PL, the financial information firm he founded in 1981 and which remains a private company. Educated at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, he became a Wall Street trader at investment bank Salomon Brothers and was laid off in 1981, walking away with $10m in stock which he used to set up his own financial information firm, now one of the world's largest. Three times mayor of New York 2002 to 2013, running first as Republican then as independent; had to get term limits suspended for final term. Once flirted with running for mayor of London where he has a home; holds an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth. Has spent large amounts on philanthropy in line with his political views as well as on political campaigns
Family: Born in Brookline, MA, to first-generation Jewish immigrant parents whose own parents had fled Russia. Divorced wife of 18 years, Susan Brown-Meyer, in 1993; former couple have daughters Emma, who has a son with her former boyfriend, and Georgina, who has daughter Zelda with her husband Chris Fissora. The child has a portmanteau surname, Frissberg. Partner since 2000 is Diana Taylor, former New York state banking commissioner, 13 years his junior
Religion: Jewish
Views on key issues: Self-professed fiscal conservative, although painted as a Democratic moderate by other conservative groups. Opposed to Medicare for all. Social progressive who backed gay marriage early, but has flip-flopped on marijuana legalization, most recently opposing it.. Wants firm action on climate change. Fiercely in favor of gun control. As New York mayor banned smoking in public places and tried to outlaw large sugary drinks. Backs increased immigration. Apologized for his stop-and-frisk policing strategy as mayor
Would make history as: Oldest person elected president; first Jewish president; richest president ever; first New York mayor to become president
Slogan: Fighting For Our Future
Age on Inauguration Day: 39
Entered race: Announced formation of exploratory committee January 23, 2019. Formally entered race April 14, 2019
Career: Currently mayor of Sound Bend, Indiana. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who got a second degree from Oxford before working as a McKinsey management consultant and being commissioned as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. Elected South Bend mayor in 2011 and served in combat in 2013, won re-election in 2015
Family: Came out as gay during second mayoral run and married husband Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher in 2018. Parents were University of Notre Dame academics; his father was Maltese-American. Surname is pronounced BOOT-edge-edge
Religion: Raised as a Catholic, now Episcopalian
Views on key issues: Has said Democratic party needs a 'fresh start'; wrote an essay in praise of Bernie Sanders aged 17; backed paid parental leave for city employees; other policies unknown
Would make history as: First openly gay and youngest-ever president. First veteran of post-World War II conflict
Slogan: A Fresh Start For America
Age on Inauguration Day: 39
Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019
Career: Currently Hawaii congresswoman. Born on American Samoa, a territory. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012
Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit.
Religion: Hindu
Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory
Would make history as: First female, Hindu and Samoan-American president; youngest president ever
Slogan: Lead with Love
Age on Inauguration Day: 60
Entered race: Announced candidacy February 10, 2019 at snow-drenched rally in her native Minneapolis
Career: Currently Minnesota senator. Yale and University of Chicago law graduate who became a corporate lawyer. First ran unsuccessfully for office in 1994 as Hennepin, MI, county attorney, and won same race in 1998, then in 2002, without opposition. Ran for Senate in 2006 and won 58-38; re-elected in 2012 and 2018
Family: Married to John Bessler, law professor at University of Baltimore and expert on capital punishment. Daughter Abigail Bessler, 23, works fora Democratic member of New York City council. Father Jim, 90, was a veteran newspaper columnist who has written a memoir of how his alcoholism hurt his family; mom Rose is a retired grade school teacher
Religion: Congregationalist (United Church of Christ)
Views on key issues: Seen as a mainstream liberal: says she wants 'universal health care' but has not spelled out how; pro-gun control; pro-choice; backs $15 minimum wage; no public statements on federal marijuana legalization; has backed pro-Israel law banning the 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' movement; spoke out against abolishing ICE
Would make history as: First female president
Slogan: Let's Get To Work
Age on Inauguration Day: 79
Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19
Career: Currently Vermont senator. Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment - for which he has apologized - and criticized for its 'Bernie bro' culture
Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deborah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O'Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England.
Religion: Secular Jewish
Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party's left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East
Would make history as: Oldest person elected president; first Jewish president
Slogan: Not me. Us.
Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 63
Entered race: July 9, 2019
Career: Currently retired. New York-born to wealthy family, he was educated at elite Phillips Exeter Academy, and Yale, then Stanford Business School. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs banker who founded his own hedge fund in 1986 and made himself a billionaire; investments included subprime lenders, private prisons and coal mines. Stepped down in 2012 to focus on advocating for alternative energy. Longtime Democratic activist and donor who started campaign to impeach Trump in October 2017. Net worth of $1.6 billion has made him one of the Democrats' biggest single donors
Family: Married Kathryn Taylor in 1986; they have four adult children who have been told they will not inherit the bulk of his fortune. Announced last November he and his wife would live apart. Father Roy was a Nuremberg trials prosecutor
Religion: Episcopalian
Views on key issues: On the left of the field despite being a hedge fund tycoon. Backs single-payer health care, minimum wage rises and free public college. Previously spoke in favor of Bernie Sanders' agenda. Aggressive backer of climate change action, including ditching fossil fuels
Would make history as: Richest Democratic president ever
Slogan: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Age on Inauguration Day: 71
Entered race: Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018
Career: Currently Massachusetts senator. Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary's running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016
Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American
Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church
Views on key issues: Was a registered Republican who voted for the party but registered as a Democrat in 1996. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for 'dreamers'; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare - although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling
Would make history as: First female president
Slogan: Warren Has A Plan For That
MICHAEL BENNET, Colorado senator
Entered race: May 2, 2019 Quit: February 12, 2019, evening of New Hampshire primary CORY BOOKER, New Jersey Senator
Entered race: February 1, 2019 Quit: January 13, 2020 STEVE BULLOCK, Montana governor
Entered race: May 14, 2019 Quit: December 2, 2019 JULIN CASTRO, former Housing Secretary
Entered race: January 18, 2019 Quit: January 2, 2020 KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, New York senator
Entered race: January 16, 2019 Quit: August 28, 2019 BILL DE BLASIO, New York City mayor
Entered race: May 16, 2019 Quit: September 20, 2020 JOHN DELANEY, former Maryland Congressman
Entered race: July 8, 2017 Quit: January 31, 2019 MIKE GRAVEL, Former Alaska governor
Entered race: April 2,2019 Quit: August 2, 2019 KAMALA HARRIS,California senator
Entered race: January 21, 2019 Quit: December 3, 2019 JOHN HICKENLOOPER, Former Colorado governor
Entered race: March 4, 2019 Quit: August 15, 2019 JAY INSLEE, Washington governor
Entered race: March 1, 2019 Quit: August 21, 2019 WAYNE MESSAM, mayor of Miramar, Florida
Entered race: March 28, 2019 Quit: November 20, 2019 SETH MOULTON, Massachusetts congressman
Entered race: April 22,2019 Quit: August 23, 2019 RICHARD OJEDA, former West Virginia state senator
Entered race: November 12, 2018 Quit: January 25, 2019 BETO O'ROURKE, former Texas congressman
Entered race: March 14, 2019 Quit: November 1, 2019 DEVAL PATRICK, former Massachusetts governor
Entered race: November 13, 2019 Quit: February 13, 2019, morning after New Hampshire primary TIM RYAN, Ohio congressman
Entered race: April 4, 2019 Quit: October 24, 2019 JOE SESTAK, former Pennsylvania congressman
Entered race: June 23, 2019 Quit: December 1, 2019 ERIC SWALWELL, California congressman
Entered race: April 8, 2019 Quit: July 8, 2019 MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, author
Entered race: November 15, 2018 Quit: January 10, 2020 ANDREW YANG, entrepreneur
Entered race: November 6, 2018 Quit: February 12, 2019, evening of New Hampshire primary
Drudge floats the implausible: A Bloomberg-Clinton ticket - POLITICO
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:55
As outlets from CNBC to the New York Post to the U.K.'s Daily Mail played up Saturday's story, Bloomberg's campaign downplayed the report, but didn't deny it.
''We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation,' Jason Schechter, the campaign's communications director, said in a statement.
Drudge also reported that the billionaire was looking to change his residency from New York, where Clinton also resides, to ''homes he owns'' in Colorado or Florida. Although subject to interpretation, the Constitution's 12th Amendment states that presidential and vice presidential candidates shall not be an inhabitant of the same state.
By Saturday afternoon, Drudge was linking from his own homepage to the report carried in the Daily Mail citing Drudge's own as yet unconfirmed scoop.
News of the possible Bloomberg-Clinton ticket drew swift reaction online, with Trumpworld figures relishing the idea.
''I can think of absolutely NOTHING that would make @realDonaldTrump and his supporters happier,'' conservative commentator Candace Owens tweeted. ''Do it, @HillaryClinton. Make our day.''
Others, including former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller, threw cold water on the prospect of Bloomberg selecting the Democratic 2016 presidential candidate as his running mate, calling it a ''smokescreen'' to ensure other Democratic candidates don't receive attention.
''Crooked would add partisan lightning rod dynamic Bloomberg *currently* avoids in the general,'' Miller wrote.
Some also pointed out that Drudge had recently lost some legitimacy in Trumpworld after running a series of stories criticizing the president. Could it be a way to get back onside with the president and his supporters '-- or was it typical Drudge mischief-making?
Others, meanwhile, noted the report clouded the news cycle after the New York Times and Washington Post released deep-dive stories on Saturday morning that detailed Bloomberg's philanthropy-for-influence network and history of alleged sexist comments respectively.
By Saturday afternoon, Clinton had not publicly responded to the report.
But earlier this month, Clinton told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that she ''probably'' wouldn't be asked to be a vice presidential candidate. ''Never say never,'' Clinton said, but ''it's not going to happen.''
Meanwhile, Trump himself has yet to weigh in on two of his pet subjects on Saturday: gossip concerning his erstwhile political nemesis, and his newer rivals on the 2020 trail.
Nevada’s Democrats Settle on a New System for Caucus Results After Iowa Debacle
Nevada’s Democratic Party will use iPads, Google web forms and telephone hotlines to report results in next week’s caucuses, a process devised in the 10 days since the party ditched an app similar to the one that failed in Iowa.
The state party said Thursday that the new system, which will have paper backups, has undergone some security testing, that volunteers are being trained and that more testing and training are planned ahead of the Feb. 22 caucuses.
(6) Samuel D. Finkelstein II on Twitter: "The Nevada Democratic Party just hired a paid Buttigieg organizer to be their ''Voter Protection Director'' https://t.co/SNXmGttgpW" / Twitter
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:07
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Facebook reverses on paid influencers after Bloomberg memes
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 18:26
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a campaign rally at the Buffalo Soldier Museum in Houston, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stands at right. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)Facebook has decided to let political campaigns pay online influencers to spread their messages, a practice that had sidestepped many of the social network's rules governing political ads.
Friday's policy reversal highlights difficulties tech companies and regulators have in keeping up with the changing nature of paid political messages.
The change comes days after Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg exploited a loophole to run humorous messages promoting his campaign on the accounts of popular Instagram personalities followed by millions of younger people.
The Bloomberg posts weren't much more than self-deprecating humor used to sell the candidate's old guy appeal, using a tactic that until now was largely used to sell skin care products or clothing-subscription services. But the lack of oversight and clear rules around influencer marketing, not to mention their effectiveness in reaching younger audiences, makes them ripe for misuse.
Bloomberg's effort skirted many of the rules that tech companies have imposed on political ads to safeguard U.S. elections from malicious foreign and domestic interference and misinformation. Online political ads have been controversial, especially after it was revealed Russia used them in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. In response, Facebook has rolled out a number of rules to prevent a repeat of that, though it has declined to fact-check political ads and refuses to ban even blatently false messages from politicians.
Before the explosion of social media, it was clearer what's an ad and what isn't'--and thus what's subject to disclosures and other rules. With social media, a campaign can pay celebrities and other influential users to spread a message on their behalf, without ever buying an ad and be subject to its rules.
"This is a new kind of activity that simply didn't exist when the rules for internet political communications were last updated," said Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub of the Federal Election Commission.
Friday's policy change involves what Facebook calls "branded content"'--sponsored items posted by ordinary users who are typically paid by companies or organizations. Advertisers pay the influential users directly to post about their brand.
Facebook doesn't make money directly from such posts and doesn't not consider them advertising. As a result, branded content wasn't governed by Facebook's advertising policies, which require candidates and campaigns to verify their identity with a U.S. ID or mailing address and disclose how much they spent running each ad.
Until Friday, Facebook tried to deter campaigns from using such branded content by barring them from using a tool designed to help advertisers run such posts on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. The rule change now allows campaigns in the U.S. to use this tool, provided they've been authorized by Facebook to run political ads and disclose who paid for the sponsored posts. Campaigns that avoid using the tool, as Bloomberg had, risk having their accounts suspended.
In this March 29, 2018 file photo shows the logo for Facebook at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. Facebook on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, decided to allow a type of paid political message that sidesteps many of the social network's rules governing political ads. Its policy change comes days after presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg exploited a loophole to run such humorous messages promoting his campaign on the accounts of popular Instagram personalities followed by millions of young voters.(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)"After hearing from multiple campaigns, we agree that there's a place for branded content in political discussion on our platforms," Facebook said in an exclusive statement to The Associated Press. "We're allowing U.S.-based political candidates to work with creators to run this content."
Politicians still won't be required to disclose how much they paid the influencers to run the posts. And the posts won't appear in Facebook's ad library, which publicly catalogs political ads and allows other campaigns, journalists and watchdog groups to view the type of messages politicians are pushing in the election.
Facebook's new rules won't apply to someone merely creating or sharing a post about a politician without getting paid.
Facebook said it is asking the influencer accounts that posted the Bloomberg memes to retroactively use the tool meant for such posts. After this happens, the posts will be labeled as a "paid partnership" with Bloomberg.
The Bloomberg campaign had taken the unconventional step of paying social media influencers'--individuals with huge followings'--to post Bloomberg memes using their Instagram accounts. Different versions of the sponsored posts from the Bloomberg campaign ran on more than a dozen influential Instagram accounts, each of which have millions of followers.
The Bloomberg campaign's memes showed the 78-year-old candidate, in a tongue-in-cheek awkward fashion, chatting with popular social media influencers with names like "Tank Sinatra," asking them to help him raise his profile among younger folk.
"Can you post a meme that lets everyone know I'm the cool candidate?" Bloomberg wrote in one of the exchanges posted by an Instagram account with nearly 15 million followers. The candidate then sent a photo of him wearing baggy chino shorts, an orange polo and a zip-up vest. The reply: "Ooof that will cost like a billion dollars." The billionaire candidate responded by asking where to send the money.
With the sponsored posts, Bloomberg's campaign said it was reaching those who might not be normally interested in the day-to-day of politics.
"You want to engage people at every platform and you want them to feel like they're not just getting a canned generic statement," campaign spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said of the campaign's strategy.
The Bloomberg campaign declined to say how much it paid for the sponsored posts, or if it had more in the works.
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Malta and the CIA
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 15:50
The BBC is starting a series of programmes to spotlight the workings of the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA. It is in the nature of the CIA that it does not bare its soul. Its clear objective is clear enough: to safeguard the security interests of the USA. Among other things the agency collects intelligence abroad, using what it calls "elements of the intelligence community" and "high leveraged technology for intelligence purposes".
The agency does not publicise the identity of its operatives abroad. Some suggest that an American embassy tends to house at least one unobtrusive CIA agent. It was never established whether that was the case with the US embassy in Malta over the years.
I cannot imagine CIA agents among the ambassadors who have served here, especially political appointees beginning with the affable George Feldman, appointed after Malta became independent. In the past I did come across one or two American embassy members who tended to play the drinks-sponge role but would snap out of their haze into sharp alert to register information dropped from the loosened mouth of Maltese guests also imbibing energetically.
Nowadays, with the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, Russia's changed circumstances and the return of Libya to the fold of international relations, the CIA might not feel a need for much of a presence here. But who knows? China too is considering acquiring new premises for its embassy here. Though it may cost substantially less than the $50 million the US government has allocated to build its own at Ta' Qali, China's local seat too is likely to be state-of-the-diplomatic art.
China, like Libya, is in the international fold and a beacon for foreign direct investment, including from the USA. But it remains very Communist and is fast emerging as a major economic power, allocating considerable resources to its military. America's security watchers will be scrutinising every nook and cranny to see how the ambitions of that mammoth people's republic will develop.
Malta remains on the doorstep of a Middle East which is of perennial concern to American political and military strategists, oil supplies and the threat of terrorism being two main motivators.
For all that, though some do suggest a quiet name, I do not believe the CIA is currently active within Malta. The US has little to worry about as regards both the actual government and its alternative. Neither was eager to query aspects of the current relationship which do not at all gel with the role of a haven of peace Malta has tried to fill out after centuries serving as an island fortress.
The CIA, though, did surface in the local context recently. There were suggestions that flights carrying individuals whom the agency picked to drill for terrorism stopped over in Malta as the CIA transported them to locations not too queasy about interrogation techniques. It now turns out that, verily, there may have been a link.
The American embassy did not confirm or deny it, fuelling suspicions in the process. The Opposition, so far, has targeted, not the US, but the Malta government over the reports. It accused the administration of deception when it declared that no CIA flights had landed in Malta. The government carefully reiterated that no public official or holder of public office had been involved in any CIA flight, whether by action or omission - "as far as is known". The qualification is loaded. To which add the government's request for information, from both the US and the British governments.
There is a disturbing possibility across these positions. It is that the CIA may in fact have used Malta, to one extent or another, for its possibly not pretty purposes - without seeking clearance from the Malta government. One awaits that aspect of the story to be made clear, for its implication to Malta-US relations. An unambiguous statement from the US embassy would help.
Meanwhile, the BBC's forthcoming analysis should be of considerable relevance for those who take an interest in diplopolitical games.
Exclusive: Mysterious professor at heart of Trump-Russia scandal heard for the first time
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:48
Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious professor at the heart of the Trump-Russia scandal, can today be heard talking about his involvement for the first time in Crossfire, a new podcast from The Telegraph.
Prof Mifsud, whose alleged remark triggered the investigation into ties between Donald Trump's campaign and the Kremlin before the 2016 election, disputes the central claim and denies links to the Russia government.
Asked whether he told a Trump campaign adviser that the Russians had "dirt" on Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, as US officials have claimed, Mr Mifsud is heard saying "absolutely this is not true".
You can listen to the clip below:
The professor, believed to be aged around 60, also pushes back on the suggestion he has Russian connections, noting he does not own a visa that would allow him to travel freely across the border.
The remarks were made in Oct 2017 to a Telegraph reporter and are being released today as part of a new six-part podcast series from this newspaper called Crossfire, which investigates the UK angles to the scandal.
Mr Mifsud, pictured below, whose actions and motives have been of intense interest to US investigators, has gone to ground and has never been heard before talking about the meetings in London that kick-started the probe.
Comments allegedly made by Joseph Mifsud to a Trump campaign adviser triggered the FBI's probe into Russian election meddlingThe Russian meddling investigation was launched by the FBI before the 2016 election. It was eventually taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller and hung over the Trump presidency for almost two years.
Mr Mueller concluded Russia had systematically interfered in the election, trying to help Mr Trump and hinder Ms Clinton, but said there was no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
The specific trigger for the probe came when Prof Mifsud met with George Papadopoulos, a young Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, in the five-star Andaz Hotel in east London.
Mr Papadopoulos, pictured below, was trying to set up a summit between Mr Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Prof Mifsud, who had just returned from Moscow, allegedly told Mr Papadopoulos that the Russians had "dirt" on Ms Clinton.
The meeting was on April 26 2016 - critically, before the release of hacked Democratic emails which roiled Ms Clinton's campaign.
George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser in 2016, met with Prof Mifsud a number of times in London Credit : Rupert ThorpeWhen Telegraph reporter Robert Mendick contacted Prof Mifsud on Oct 30 2017, the day his involvement was detailed in court filings, he confirmed talking to Mr Papadopoulos, saying ''we met a couple of times in London'' and ''went for a coffee or something like that''.
However he denied making the comment. "Absolutely this is not true", Prof Mifsud can be heard saying when told he was being accused of saying Russia had dirt on Ms Clinton. "Absolutely, absolutely", he adds.
Prof Mifsud also dismisses the idea he said "we have dirt". "Why would I say 'we''', Prof Mifsud says. "My visits to the Russian Federation are visa by visa because I don't even have a multiple entry visa to Russia.
''The last visa that I got to Russia was given to me through the Saudis because I was there for the seminar on Yemen. So it has nothing to do with the Russians.''
That account is disputed by Mr Papadopoulos, who gave an interview revealing his recollections for the Crossfire podcast, and US investigators who have since detailed what they believe happened.
Mr Papadopoulos said Prof Mifsud told him of Russia that ''they have thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails''. He also described his reaction to hearing the comment.
Mr Papadopoulos said: "I was just looking at him thinking, how did you get this information? And what I got was 'they told me, they told me'. So no names, no, nothing. Just 'they told me'."
He added of his reaction: ''There are many thoughts going through your head, many thoughts. And that's why I call it 'the bomb', because I had a flash of thoughts going through my head. And most of it was actually panic, at that moment.''
Mr Mueller's 448-page report on Russian election meddling, published in March 2018, also concludes Prof Mifsud made the comment.
"Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with high-level Russian government officials during his recent trip to Moscow," one part read. ''Mifsud also said that, on the trip, he learned that the Russians had obtained 'dirt' on candidate Hillary Clinton.''
Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, upending expectationsMr Mueller's report also claims Prof Mifud "maintained various Russian contacts". Names are redacted but one is said to have worked for the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll factory that bombarded US voters with disinformation.
Prof Mifsud's current whereabouts are unknown but he remains a focus of constant speculation. Trump allies have suggested Prof Mifsud may have been a Western intelligence agent deliberately compromising the Trump campaign.
William Barr, the Trump-appointed US attorney general overseeing a probe into the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation, recently travelled to Italy where he reportedly asked intelligence figures about Prof Mifsud.
Prof Mifsud's comment only became known because Mr Papadopoulos allegedly mentioned it during drinks with an Australian diplomat called Alexander Downer in London.
When Mr Downer later realised its significance he alerted the FBI, who then opened their probe. Mr Trump has always dismissed the Russia meddling investigation as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt" pushed by his political enemies.
Mr Mueller ultimately concluded there was no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 vote.
Subscribe to Crossfire for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts or search 'Crossfire' on your podcast app.
Kung Flu
Professor JJ Update
Dear AC,
Things are MUCH worse. There is no problem with infections
and illness. Rather the crackdown on travel and commerce has dropped off
to a trickle in certain places.
In Wenzhou, a metro area of 10.6 million, people are locked inside
their apartment complexes. When I asked a friend if she could
"escape" be saying that she wanted to go to a hospital, she said that
she would be arrested.
The high speed train no longer stops at Wenzhou. Hence,
unless people have a car, they cannot leave the city - and I trust that the
highways are blocked off.
The stores and markets are not getting new supplies.
My friend in Hefei - about 230 miles ENE of Wuhan - is on lock
down. He works at an international school and they LOCKED him in!
They let him leave the compound once a week - to buy food.
Relatively, I am living in paradise in Shanghai. All the
markets are open and well-stocked.
One more MAJOR issue with the school closings. Technically
kids are in school - online. They have assignments or video lectures etc.
But the British exams (IGCSE and A-levels) are coming this spring
and many students will not be prepared. That means a huge number of
Chinese kids, who would otherwise attend university in the UK, Europe, Canada,
the U.S., and Australia, will not be eligible.
So that is another effect of the "just in time" model of
modern assembly line society.
Coronavirus Latest: Virus Risk Sees China Quarantines Cash - Bloomberg
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:30
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Chinese bank notes quarantined in COVID-19 coronavirus crisis | Euronews
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:29
By Euronews with AFP • last updated: 15/02/2020 - 09:37
China has quarantined used bank notes to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Chinese central bank announced on Saturday.
Notes will be disinfected with X-rays or high temperatures before being put aside in a safe for 7 to 14 days, explained Fan Yifei, the vice-governor of the Chinese central bank.
The quarantine period of bank notes will depend on the seriousness of the crisis in each region, Fan Yifei said.
After their quarantined period is over, the bank notes will be circulated again.
"We must protect the security and the health of cash users", Fan Yifei said, adding that bank notes exchanges between Chiense provinces are suspended for now.
This decision follows a rise in Chinese people's reluctance to use cash for fear of the virus.
Before China's New Year annual holiday, the country's central bank issued "emergency cash" worth 4 billion yuans (around 530 million euros) for the Hubei provincem where the coronavirus originates.
Fan Yifei said China's central bank would go on with its "prudent" monetary policy, despite some analysts saying the country could ease it to revive its economy, which had dwindled because of the epidemic.
The central bank has renewed its support to the country's businesses which are struggling due to the coronavirus crisis.
'American Factory': Netflix Debuts Its Obama Manifesto | National Review
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:14
Netflix's American Factory(Sundance Institute) The media celebrate the arrival of the new ministers of propaganda. T his week's widespread media blitz heralding Netflix's broadcast of its first Obama-endorsed presentation, American Factory, was more than synchronicity. It felt as though U.S. publicists and journalists collectively exhaled their relief at finally regaining the bully pulpit.
Reviews of American Factory, a doc by indie veterans Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, failed to accurately convey the film's shortcomings. Its lack of focus following a Chinese manufacturer's takeover of a former General Motors plant in Ohio '-- a move that fails to relieve working-class anxieties but, instead, predicts job-market doom '-- didn't faze flacks and reviewers. The media class saw Reichert and Bognar's facile, generalized survey as a chance to take on President Trump's trade policy; many jettisoned film critique to try their hand at economic and moral analysis instead.
Those in power have usurped the old bromide ''speaking truth to power.'' They now speak rhetoric to the masses.
This deliberate misinterpretation of American Factory was, in fact, amplification of the political design that, no doubt, was always part of Netflix's game plan when it signed Barack and Michelle Obama jointly to an impresario contract. (The monetary figure remains undisclosed, but the timing of Netflix's offer corresponded with the Obamas' well-publicized $65 million publishing agreements, proof of the media industry's enthusiastic support of the former White House occupants in their role as cultural influencers.)
The Netflix-Obama nexus is stranger and more significant than American Factory itself. Calling their curator unit ''Higher Ground,'' Netflix and the Obamas remind us of Michelle's fraudulent 2016 campaign boast ''When they go lower, we go higher.'' What could be lower than an ex-president and his mate perpetuating a counter-offensive to the successive administration? Could Juan and Evita Per"n, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu have matched the divisiveness '-- or such wealth and potency '-- implicit in that lofty moniker? The Clintons were never considered tasteful like the Obamas, whose supposed classiness and erudition reflect the flip side of racial condescension.
Articles about American Factory breathlessly quoted bombast from a Higher Ground PR video featuring the Obamas and the filmmakers. Michelle says, ''You let people tell their own story. American Factory doesn't come in with a perspective; it's not an editorial.'' This is actually the opposite of how the film works, so her comment is either disingenuous, or ignorance disguised as praise.
Obama's own orotundity was smoother:
Let's see if we can all elevate a little bit outside of our immediate self-interest and our immediate fears and our immediate anxieties and kind of take a look around and say huh, we're part of this larger thing. And if we can do that through some storytelling, then it helps all of us feel some sort of solidarity with each other.
Cunningly pairing the words ''self'' and ''solidarity'' is union-leader talk. That's the usual Obama imposture: articulacy mistaken for honesty.
This rhetorical styling is a perfect example of the elite prevarication that the media spent eight years praising as ''presidential.'' Now it's back as part of Netflix's hard sell, transforming film culture into television-streaming culture '-- flattering its 175 million subscribers' sense of advancement '-- all the while hewing to liberal-progressive sentiment.
''The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative,'' a famous historical figure once explained. And the Obama imprimatur '-- like those reading lists and favorite streaming-music lists that the press likes to cite as celebrity news '-- works similarly. Upcoming films (dubious ''storytelling'') from Higher Ground amount to a cultural manifesto. Hollywood partisanship is peddled as what used to be called social consciousness.
But it is not film consciousness. American Factory confirms that the doc genre has long been a leftist fortress, or commune, even before Michael Moore trashed the genre's journalistic integrity and objectivity with Roger and Me (1987) and Fahrenheit 911 (2004).
Film reviewers forget that the subject of workers' rights vs. the means of production was handled with wit, depth, and relevance in Ron Howard's best film Gung Ho (1986), which gave genuine insight into American working-class customs. American Factory, by contrast, evaluates Yankee fecklessness from a globalist perspective. Reviewers also neglect pointing out that Reichert and Bognar's social-justice pretenses never rise to the level of imaginative expression found in Alexander Dovzhenko's Soviet masterpieces Arsenal (1929) and Earth (1930).
American Factory reveals another angle of the mainstream media's political slant since 2016. Most networks have become shameless platforms for liberal ideology. The media have been anxiously awaiting a message from the Mount Kalorama compound, the Obamas' exclusive and wealthy enclave. None dare call it what it is, but Netflix's Higher Ground mindhive looks like the new Ministry of Propaganda.
1000's of sealed indictments
Justice Dept. Is Investigating C.I.A. Resistance to Sharing Russia Secrets - The New York Times
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 00:08
The prosecutor was assigned by the attorney general to scrutinize the agents and analysts who sought to understand Russia's covert operation to help Donald J. Trump win the 2016 election.
John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director under President Barack Obama, testifying before Congress in 2013. A federal prosecutor may be investigating whether Mr. Brennan had preconceived notions about Russia and hid intelligence from other agencies. Credit... Stephen Crowley/The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- Trump administration officials investigating the government's response to Russia's election interference in 2016 appear to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow's covert operation, according to people familiar with aspects of the inquiry.
Since his election, President Trump has attacked the intelligence agencies that concluded that Russia secretly tried to help him win, fostering a narrative that they sought to delegitimize his victory. He has long promoted the investigation by John H. Durham, the prosecutor examining their actions, as a potential pathway to proving that a deep-state cabal conspired against him.
Questions asked by Mr. Durham, who was assigned by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize the early actions of law enforcement and intelligence officials struggling to understand the scope of Russia's scheme, suggest that Mr. Durham may have come to view with suspicion several clashes between analysts at different intelligence agencies over who could see each other's highly sensitive secrets, the people said.
Mr. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result '-- and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal, the people said.
But officials from the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency have told Mr. Durham and his investigators that such an interpretation is wrong and based on a misunderstanding of how the intelligence community functions, the people said. National security officials are typically cautious about sharing their most delicate information, like source identities, even with other agencies inside the executive branch.
Mr. Durham's questioning is certain to add to accusations that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies, like Mr. Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of the president. Mr. Barr, who is overseeing the investigation, has come under attack in recent days over senior Justice Department officials' intervention to lighten a prison sentencing recommendation by lower-level prosecutors for Mr. Trump's longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.
A spokesman for Mr. Durham declined to comment. The C.I.A. and the National Security Agency also declined to comment. The people familiar with aspects of Mr. Durham's investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.
Appearing on MSNBC's ''Hardball'' on Thursday evening, Mr. Brennan was asked to respond to this article. He both dismissed Mr. Durham's apparent line of inquiry and portrayed it as dangerous.
''It's kind of silly,'' Mr. Brennan said. ''Is there a criminal investigation now on analytic judgments and the activities of C.I.A. in terms of trying to protect our national security? I'm certainly willing to talk to Mr. Durham or anybody else who has any questions about what we did during this period of 2016.''
But, Mr. Brennan added, ''It clearly, I think, is another indication that Donald Trump is using the Department of Justice to go after his enemies any way he can.''
The Durham investigation has rattled current and former intelligence officers. Little precedent exists for a criminal prosecutor to review the analytic judgment-making process of intelligence agencies, said Michael Morrell, a former acting C.I.A. director who left the government in 2013.
''This whole thing is so abnormal,'' Mr. Morrell said.
Prosecutors are ill equipped to assess how analysts work, he added. ''The bar for making a legal judgment is really high. The bar for an analytic decision is much lower,'' Mr. Morrell said. ''So he is going to get the wrong answer if he tries to figure out if they had enough information to make this judgment.''
But other intelligence officials, according to an American official, are reserving judgment about Mr. Durham, who previously spent years investigating the C.I.A. over its torture program and its destruction of interrogation videotapes without charging anyone with a crime. Two detainees died in the agency's custody.
Mr. Durham is a longtime federal prosecutor who has repeatedly been asked, under administrations of both parties, to investigate accusations of wrongdoing by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Mr. Trump appointed him as the United States attorney for Connecticut in 2018.
The Justice Department has declined to talk about Mr. Durham's work in meaningful detail, but he has been said to be interested in how the intelligence community came up with its analytical judgments '-- including its assessment that Russia was not merely sowing discord, but specifically sought to help Mr. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The Justice Department inspector general, who released the results late last year of an inquiry into aspects of the F.B.I.'s Russia investigation, found no documentary or testimonial evidence senior law enforcement and intelligence officials had engaged in a high-level conspiracy to sabotage Mr. Trump, the narrative the president and his supporters continue to embrace.
Mr. Durham's questions shed additional light on where he may be going.
In recent months, Mr. Durham and his team have examined emails among a small group of intelligence analysts from multiple agencies, including the C.I.A., F.B.I. and National Security Agency, who worked together to assess the Russian operation. Investigators have interviewed those analysts and their supervisors about the motivations behind several episodes in which some sought access to delicate information from the other agencies and were told '-- initially, at least '-- that they could not see it.
One fight, they said, concerned the identity and placement of a C.I.A. source inside the Kremlin. Analysts at the National Security Agency wanted to know more about him to weigh the credibility of his information. The C.I.A. was initially reluctant to share details about the Russian's identity but eventually relented.
But officials disagreed about how much weight to give the source's information, and the intelligence community's eventual assessment apparently reflected that division. While the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. concluded with ''high confidence'' that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was specifically trying to help Mr. Trump win the election, the National Security Agency agreed but said it had only ''moderate confidence.''
The informant and his family were extracted from Russia in 2017 and resettled in the United States. Notably, the source had initially refused to leave when American officials proposed getting him out for his own safety, raising suspicions about whether he might be a double agent. It is not clear whether Mr. Durham has interviewed the informant.
A second fight that Mr. Durham is focused on, the people said, centered on a certain data set. The nature of the data and of the dispute remains unclear, though one person suggested that the disagreement concerned whether N.S.A. analysts could see the raw information or whether the C.I.A., before sharing it, needed to filter the data to mask names and other identifying details about Americans and American organizations.
The filtering process is a routine part of how spy agencies share foreign intelligence with each other under guidelines imposed by the attorney general. The rules permit exceptions in cases where the identities are necessary to understand the information, which can lead to disputes about whether that standard has been met.
Officials also differed over access to unclassified emails of American officials that the Russian government had previously hacked, including at the White House and State Department.
A foreign ally's intelligence service had obtained its own copy of the stolen messages and provided drives with another reproduction of them to the United States government. Investigators, including at the F.B.I., wanted to look at those files. They argued that the Russian hackers' chosen focus while the Kremlin's election interference operation was gearing up might shed light on that operation.
But an index of the messages compiled by the unnamed foreign ally showed that they included emails from President Barack Obama as well as members of Congress. Mr. Obama's White House counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, decided that investigators should not open the drives, citing executive privilege and the possibility of a separation-of-powers uproar if the F.B.I. sifted through lawmakers' private messages.
One problem in making sense of these disputes between the intelligence agencies nearly four years later, several people said, is that officials did not caveat their emails with detailed descriptions of their motivations and rationales for balking. That has left the messages open to multiple potential readings.
The analysts could have been engaged in standard bureaucratic behavior like obeying the filtering process or hoarding sensitive information. Or perhaps they were trying to cover something up. The questions asked by Mr. Durham and his team suggest they are looking for any potential basis to support making the latter reading, officials said.
Mr. Durham also asked questions that appear aimed at understanding how analysts reached their conclusion and who drove that process, the people said, and whether and how information from foreign governments or the C.I.A. played any role in stoking suspicions at the F.B.I. about Trump campaign links to Russia.
Standards issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence require analysts to follow procedures aimed at ensuring objective, neutral and independent evaluations of the facts.
Mr. Durham has interviewed F.B.I. officials and agents who worked on the bureau's Russia investigation, called Crossfire Hurricane, and for the special counsel who took over the inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III. They have also interviewed C.I.A. analysts.
Mr. Durham and his team also interviewed around a half-dozen current and former officials and analysts at the National Security Agency, including its former director, the retired Adm. Michael S. Rogers, last summer and again last fall. The Intercept first reported the interviews of Admiral Rogers.
But Mr. Durham has not interviewed the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, his onetime deputy Andrew G. McCabe or Mr. Brennan. Mr. Durham has requested Mr. Brennan's emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A. to learn what he told other officials, including Mr. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.'s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.
Mr. Trump has targeted all three former top officials as he has sought to foster a narrative that it was illegitimate for government investigators to scrutinize links between his campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks and that he was the victim of a ''deep state'' conspiracy to sabotage him for political reasons '-- a push that led to the Durham inquiry.
Lead Juror In Roger Stone Case Ran For Congress As A Democrat In 2012 | The Daily Caller
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:51
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The FBI Corruption is Far Worse Than We Currently Imagine '' President Trump Authorized His Own Surveillance'...
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 00:26
NOTE: Article updated 4:00pm to resolve conflict between Exec. Order 13787 / Exec. Order 13775 on DOJ succession and FISA authorities.
Last month the DOJ admitted to the FISA court that two of the four FISA warrants used against Carter Page were fraudulently obtained.
The ''DOJ assesses that with respect to the applications in [April and June 2017] ''if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter]Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.'''' (link)
However, what the DOJ did not admit publicly was how the current FBI Chief Legal Counsel, Dana Boente, participated in obtaining the April 2017 warrant. In hindsight this story explains the ongoing issues within the FBI.
The original FISA application was October 21st, 2016. The first FISA renewal was January 12, 2017 (84 days from origination) and prior to the inauguration of President Trump. The second renewal was April 7, 2017 (85 days from prior renewal). The third renewal was on June 29th, 2017 (83 days from prior renewal).
The originating FISA and first renewal were authorized by the Obama administration officials. However, it was the second renewal -now identified as fraudulent- on April 7th 2017, under the Trump administration, when the conniving FBI ran into a problem.
Here's what happened.
On January 30th, 2017, Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend the Trump travel ban from extremist countries. Yates was replaced on January 31st by the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dana Boente. There wasn't an existing AG because Loretta Lynch had left.
As a result of Yates exit and Dana Boente's entry, Boente was Acting Deputy Attorney General, and in charge until Jeff Sessions was confirmed on February 8th, 2017.
On February 9th, 2017, President Trump issued executive order 13775 changing the line of DOJ succession, moving the EDVA up, and granting Boente the full legal authority to carry out the duties of the Deputy AG until a permanent replacement was confirmed.
When Jeff Sessions became Attorney General, Dana Boente became Acting Deputy AG, a role Boente would retain until Rod Rosenstein was confirmed on April 25th, 2017. (Note: Boente also remained EDVA U.S. Attorney)
On March 2nd, 2017, Dana Boente was one of a small group who participated in a conversation that led to the recusal of Jeff Sessions from anything related to the 2016 election. This recusal included the ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane, which was later picked up by Robert Mueller.
The other attendees for the recusal decision-making meeting (see above schedule) included Sessions' chief of staff Jody Hunt; Criminal Chief in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, Jim Crowell; Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in the Department of Justice National Security Division Tash Gauhar (FISA lawyer); and Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools. [Note: Tash Gauhar was lawyer for FBI Clinton case; and Scott Schools was part of drafting Clinton exoneration letter.]
Boente, Crowell, Gauhar and Schools convinced AG Jeff Sessions he must recuse himself. In hindsight each of the people giving Sessions advice was connected to previously corrupt activity within Main Justice that included the Clinton and Spygate operations. Not knowing the conflict each advisor was carrying Sessions took their advice and recused himself; a big mistake.
With AG Jeff Sessions recused from anything involving the 2016 election; which included the Russia investigation; effective the evening of March 2, 2017, FBI Director James Comey now reported to Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente.
Technically, as this point in March 2017 Boente is still U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) and is only 'acting' as Deputy AG. With Sessions recused Boente would be needed when the Carter Page FISA would be up for renewal (April, 2017).
With Sessions recused from the Russia investigation, and without a confirmed Deputy AG able to authorize, all of the material the FBI investigators needed from Main Justice would have to flow through Dana Boente. [Note: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein was not confirmed until April 25th.]
The January 12th FISA renewal was going to expire on April 12th, 2017 (90-days). FBI Director James Comey had to work with and brief Dana Boente on the sensitive issues around the Russia investigation; including discussions with Boente about President Trump as a target of that investigation, and surveillance issues; if he was going to extend the FISA warrant with DOJ approval.
Toward the end of March 2017 FBI Director Comey was in discussions with Dana Boente about the issue.
We discover the hand-written notes later on as they were leaked to MSNBC, almost certainly leaked by the people within the Mueller investigation in April 2018. [You'll see how we know in a minute] However, at the time of the 2018 leak there was no context for the notes that Boente was taking.
It was only after the FISA application was declassified in July 2018 that Boente's hand-written notes and the topic therein made sense. To date no-one has connected this issue'... until now. (Pay attention to the date, Comey March 30th, 2017):
''Cloud as a result of Russia bus. '' This makes running the country difficult.''
Note Boente puts the next note in quotations, implying a direct quote from Comey:
''''what can I do to relieve the cloud!''''Then:
''Kept coming back to it. makes it hard to difficult do best. For the country''''-We will do the work well.''
''-Reminded him we are not invest. agency''''''-Moft would be great to get out''''
-Told AG, before recusal, I [cannot] be speaking [with] the Pres. Alone..Obviously these notes are from a conversation between then Acting AG Dana Boente and FBI Director James Comey on March 30th, 2017. It appears to be a phone call.
In hindsight the subject matter almost certainly relates to the issue of the Russia investigation, the sensitivity of administration being under that investigation, and James Comey sharing his interactions with President Trump with Dana Boente.
With Jeff Sessions recused, it is now Acting AG Dana Boente approving whatever James Comey needs from Main Justice. James Comey wants the Carter Page FISA extended.
AG Jeff Sessions is recused (incapable); there is no Deputy AG in position; therefore the U.S. Attorney for the EDVA holds authority to perform the duties of the office. Dana Boente is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
After the February 9th executive order initiating the change of DOJ succession was signed Dana Boente can now officially sign the Carter Page FISA application renewal. Which is exactly what happens a week after their March 30th call when James Comey and Dana Boente sign the admittedly fraudulent FISA renewal '' April 7th, 2017:
(Page #271 '' Carter Page FISA Application)
Do you see what just happened here? President Trump signed an executive order that facilitated the FBI continuing to spying on his administration.
But wait, it gets worse'.... Much worse'.... This dynamic would later become even more important as the notes Boente took from conversations with James Comey became evidence for Mueller's expanded obstruction investigation. ALSO Look at the DATES :
[Washington Post Link]
Now look at the date of Rachel Maddow's leak exclusive: April 10th, 2018:
The special counsel team leaked the Dana Boente notes to Rachel Maddow.
RECAP: Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente advised AG Jeff Sessions to recuse himself (March 2nd, 2017). Then Acting DAG Boente and FBI Director Comey signed a renewal of the fraudulent Carter Page FISA application (April 7th, 2017) permitting the FBI to continue surveillance on the Trump administration.
Keep in mind the Inspector General outlined that in January 2017, ''shortly after'' the application was first renewed the FBI knew the Steele Dossier; which was the only evidence underpinning the FISA application; was false.
There is absolutely no doubt that the FBI knew in January 2017 the Dossier was not valid evidence that should have been included in any FISA application. The FBI was told again, with even more emphasis in March 2017:
So when FBI Director James Comey is making contact with Acting DAG Dana Boente on March 30th, 2017, for issues relating to the need for a FISA renewal in April 2017, the FBI was absolutely certain there was no validity to the underlying evidence within the FISA application.
Yet the FBI team was so determined to get the fraudulent FISA reauthorized, they ignored all of the evidence that undermined their objective.
Think about the scale of deceit and corruption involved.
But it doesn't end'.... it gets worse.
On April 25th, 2017, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is confirmed. Rosenstein now takes over the responsibilities held by Acting DAG Dana Boente; this includes the FBI counterintelligence probe.
On May 9th, 2017, FBI Director James Comey is fired.
On May 10th, 2017, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe opens a criminal 'obstruction of justice investigation' of President Trump to parallel the ongoing counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign and administration.
Dana Boente now becomes the Asst. Attorney General and head of the DOJ National Security Division (DOJ-NSD). Simultaneously retaining role as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of VA. At that moment, guess who is Dana Boente's legal counsel '' Michael Atkinson.
Yes, that's the same Michael Atkinson who is the current ICIG who facilitated the Whistle-blower complaint; was senior legal counsel to Dana Boente while he headed the DOJ-NSD.
On May 16th, 2017, Rosenstein takes Robert Mueller to the White House to meet President Trump. On May 17th, 2017, Rosenstein appoints the Robert Mueller special counsel probe. And we're off to the Trump-Russia-Collusion-Obstruction races'...
On June 29th, 2017, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe reauthorize that same fraudulent FISA application for Robert Mueller and his corrupt team of 19 special prosecutors and now 40 FBI agents to continue to exploit.
Dana Boente is still head of DOJ-NSD from May 11th, 2017 through end of October 2017 when he officially announced his intent to retire. But wait,'... On January 23rd, 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray announces Dana Boente has shifted over to the FBI to be Chief Legal Counsel (replacing James Baker).
Yes, that is correct. As Mueller is using 19 lawyers, and 40 FBI investigators, Boente now becomes a legal adviser to Christopher Wray, inside the FBI, while the Mueller probe is ongoing'..... Oh, and as you can see from his participation with Mueller, Dana Boente is also now a fact witness within the Mueller investigation.
It gets better, who do you think is in charge of the 40 FBI agents now conducting the third year of that fraudulent Mueller investigation?'...
'...Yup, the very same Dana Boente!
This is staggeringly unreal. It's no wonder FBI Director Christopher Wray appears detached, disconnected and completely unfazed by the scale and scope of the corrupt enterprise he is in charge of. His own chief legal counsel was a key player in the operation to remove the president.
It always seemed odd that White House Counsel Don McGahn left in 2018; until you look at the bigger picture. The Carter Page FISA Application was officially declassified and made public in late July 2018. No doubt as McGahn looked at the FISA issues from his unique perspective, he likely realized in hindsight how the FISA issues crossed-over two administrations and what the executive orders on DOJ succession was really all about.
In his position as White House Counsel, Don McGahn would now be a fact witness if anyone started investigating. Approximately two weeks after the FISA applications were declassified and made public, in August 2018, Don McGahn submitted his resignation.
PS. The deadline for the FBI and DOJ to inform the FISA Court about their sequestration and recovery effort [ie. a proverbial search for the fruit of a poisonous tree. Where is it?] was February 5th.
John Durham (lawyer) - Wikipedia
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:23
American federal prosecutor
John Henry Durham (born 1950)[3][4] has been the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut since February 2018. Durham had been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in various positions in the District of Connecticut for 35 years. He is known for leading an inquiry into allegations that FBI agents and Boston police had ties with the mob,[5] and his role as special prosecutor in the 2005 CIA interrogation tapes destruction.[3] In May 2019, U.S. Attorney General William Barr tasked Durham with overseeing a review of the origins of the Russia investigation and to determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was "lawful and appropriate".[6]
Education and volunteer work [ edit ] Durham received a B.A. degree with honors from Colgate University in 1972.[7] He received a J.D. degree in 1975 from the University of Connecticut School of Law.[3]
After graduation, he was a VISTA volunteer for two years (1975-1977) on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana.[8]
Career [ edit ] Connecticut state government [ edit ] After Durham's volunteer work, he became a state prosecutor in Connecticut. From 1977 to 1978, he served as a Deputy Assistant State's Attorney in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney. From 1978 to 1982, Durham served as an Assistant State's Attorney in the New Haven State's Attorney's Office.[8]
Federal government [ edit ] Following those five years as a state prosecutor, Durham became a federal prosecutor, joining the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut.[7] From 1982 to 1989, he served as an attorney and then supervisor in the New Haven Field Office of the Boston Strike Force in the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. From 1989 to 1994, he served as Chief of the Office's Criminal Division. From 1994 to 2008, he served as the Deputy U.S. Attorney, and served as the U.S. Attorney in an acting and interim capacity in 1997 and 1998.[8][9]
In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of Enrico Tameleo, Joseph Salvati, Peter J. Limone and Louis Greco because they had been framed by the agency. In 2007, the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men, who had died in prison, win a $101.7 million civil judgment against the government.[10]
Durham also led a series of high-profile prosecutions in Connecticut against the New England Mafia and corrupt politicians, including former governor John G. Rowland.[10]
From 2008 to 2012, Durham also served as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.[8]
On November 1, 2017, he was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.[11] On February 16, 2018, his nomination was confirmed by voice vote of the Senate. He was sworn in on February 22, 2018.[8]
Appointments as special investigator [ edit ] Whitey Bulger case [ edit ] Amid allegations that FBI informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi had corrupted their handlers, US Attorney General Janet Reno named Durham special prosecutor in 1999. He oversaw a task force of FBI agents brought in from other offices to investigate the Boston office's handling of informants.[10] In 2002, Durham helped secure the conviction of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal racketeering charges for protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution and warning Bulger to flee just before the gangster's 1995 indictment.[10] Durham's task force also gathered evidence against retired FBI agent H. Paul Rico who was indicted in Oklahoma on state charges that he helped Bulger and Flemmi kill a Tulsa businessman in 1981. Rico died in 2004 before the case went to trial.[10]
CIA interrogation tapes destruction [ edit ] In 2008, Durham was appointed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations.[12][13][14] On November 8, 2010, Durham closed the investigation without recommending any criminal charges be filed.[15] Durham's final report remains secret but was the subject of an unsuccessful lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act filed by The New York Times reporter Charlie Savage.[16]
Torture investigation [ edit ] In August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Durham to lead the Justice Department's investigation of the legality of CIA's use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the torture of detainees.[17] Durham's mandate was to look at only those interrogations that had gone "beyond the officially sanctioned guidelines", with Attorney General Holder saying interrogators who had acted in "good faith" based on the guidance found in the torture memos issued by the Bush Justice Department were not to be prosecuted.[18] Later in 2009, University of Toledo law professor Benjamin G. Davis attended a conference where former officials of the Bush administration had told conference participants shocking stories, and accounts of illegality on the part of more senior Bush officials.[19] Davis wrote an appeal to former Bush officials to take their accounts of illegality directly to Durham. A criminal investigation into the deaths of two detainees, Gul Rahman in Afghanistan and Manadel al-Jamadi in Iraq, was opened in 2011. It was closed in 2012 with no charges filed.[20][21]
Investigation into origins of FBI investigation [ edit ] In April 2019,[22] Attorney General William Barr announced that he had launched a review of the origins of the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections[23] and it was reported in May that he had assigned Durham to lead it several weeks earlier.[24] Durham was given the authority "to broadly examin[e] the government's collection of intelligence involving the Trump campaign's interactions with Russians," reviewing government documents and requesting voluntary witness statements.[24]
On October 24, 2019, it was reported that what had been a review of the Russia investigation was now a criminal probe into the matter. The Justice Department could now utilize subpoena power for both witness testimony and documents. Durham also had at his disposal the power to convene a grand jury and file criminal charges, if needed.[25][26] The New York Times reported on November 22 that the Justice Department inspector general had made a criminal referral to Durham regarding Kevin Clinesmith, a low-level FBI attorney who had altered an email during the process of acquiring a wiretap warrant renewal on Carter Page, and that referral appeared to be at least part of the reason Durham's investigation was elevated to criminal status.[27]
The day Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz released his report on the 2016 FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which found the investigation was properly predicated and debunked a number of conspiracy theories regarding its origins, Durham issued a statement saying, "we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened."[28][29] Many observers inside and outside the Justice Department, including the inspector general, expressed surprise that Durham would issue such a statement, as federal investigators typically do not publicly comment on their ongoing investigations.[30] Barr also released a statement challenging the findings of the report.[31] Horowitz later testified to the Senate that prior to release of the report he had asked Durham for any information he had that might change the report's findings, but "none of the discussions changed our findings."[32] The Washington Post reported that Durham could not provide evidence of any setup by American intelligence.[33]
The New York Times reported in December 2019 that Durham was examining the role of former CIA director John Brennan in assessing Russian interference in 2016, requesting emails, call logs and other documents. Brennan had been a vocal critic of Trump and a target of the president's accusations of improper activities toward him. The Times reported Durham was specifically examining Brennan's views of the Steele dossier and what he said about it to the FBI and other intelligence agencies. Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper had testified to Congress that the CIA and other intelligence agencies did not rely on the dossier in preparing the January 2017 intelligence community assessment of Russian interference, and allies of Brennan said he disagreed with the FBI view that the dossier should be given significant weight, as the CIA characterized it as "internet rumor."[34] The Times reported in February 2020 that Durham was examining whether intelligence community officials, and specifically Brennan, had concealed or manipulated evidence of Russian interference to achieve a desired result. FBI and NSA officials told Durham that his pursuit of this line of inquiry was due to his misunderstanding of how the intelligence community functions.[35]
Accolades [ edit ] In November 2011, Durham was included on The New Republic's list of Washington's most powerful, least famous people.[36]
See also [ edit ] Mueller ReportTimeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2019)Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States electionsTrump''Ukraine scandalReferences [ edit ] ^ "About the Office". www.justice.gov. March 18, 2015. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. (October 27, 2017). "John Durham Named Interim U.S. Attorney; Presidential Nomination Expected". Hartford Courant . Retrieved October 24, 2019 . ^ a b c Lewis, Neil A. (January 13, 2008). "Prosecutor Who Unraveled Corruption in Boston Turns to C.I.A. Tape Case". The New York Times . Retrieved July 10, 2017 . ^ "Committee Questionnaire" (PDF) . ^ Politi, Daniel (January 3, 2008). "The Jump Off". Slate. ^ "AP source: Barr launches new look at origins of Russia probe". Associated Press. May 14, 2019. ^ a b James, Randy (August 26, 2009). "CIA Abuse Investigator John Durham". Time . Retrieved July 10, 2017 . ^ a b c d e "John H. Durham Sworn in as United States Attorney". United States Department of Justice. February 22, 2018 . Retrieved June 17, 2019 . ^ McBride, Jessica (May 14, 2019). "John H. Durham: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com . Retrieved June 17, 2019 . ^ a b c d e Murphy, Shelley (January 7, 2008). "US prosecutor's tenacity is rewarded". Boston.com. (subscription required) ^ Mahony, Edmund H. (November 1, 2017). "President Trump Nominates John Durham To Be U.S. Attorney". Hartford Courant . Retrieved November 1, 2017 . ^ Shapiro, Lila (August 24, 2009). " ' Inhumane' CIA Terror Tactics Spur Criminal Probe". Huffington Post. ^ The Associated Press (January 2, 2008). "Criminal probe opened over CIA tapes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. ^ Apuzzo, Matt (January 3, 2008). "Veteran prosecutor takes over CIA probe". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Savage, Charlie (November 9, 2010). "No Criminal Charges Sought Over C.I.A. Tapes". New York Times . Retrieved October 14, 2011 . ^ Savage, Charlie (May 10, 2018). "Gina Haspel's Testimony About C.I.A. Torture Raises New Questions". The New York Times . Retrieved June 22, 2018 . Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Haspel were later investigated by John Durham, an assistant United States attorney. Mr. Durham ultimately recommended filing no charges over the tape destruction, but his report laying out his findings and reasoning is secret. (The New York Times lost a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to make it public.) ^ Johnson, Carrie (August 25, 2009). "Holder Hires Prosecutor to Look Into Alleged CIA Interrogation Abuses". The Washington Post . Retrieved May 6, 2010 . ^ Adam Serwer (August 31, 2012). "Investigation of Bush-era Torture Concludes With No Charges". Mother Jones . Retrieved May 14, 2019 . ^ Benjamin G. Davis (September 25, 2009). "Torture Tales: Calling John Durham". The Jurist. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009 . Retrieved September 27, 2009 . ^ Shane, Scott (August 30, 2012). "Holder Rules Out Prosecutions in C.I.A. Interrogations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved May 18, 2019 . ^ "Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on Closure of Investigation into the Interrogation of Certain Detainees". www.justice.gov. August 30, 2012 . Retrieved May 18, 2019 . ^ Johnson, Kevin (May 14, 2019). "Attorney General taps top Connecticut federal prosecutor for review of Trump-Russia inquiry". USA TODAY . Retrieved May 17, 2019 . ^ Goldman, Adam; Savage, Charlie; Schmidt, Michael S. (May 13, 2019). "Barr Assigns U.S. Attorney in Connecticut to Review Origins of Russia Inquiry". The New York Times . Retrieved May 14, 2019 . ^ a b Savage, Charlie; Goldman, Adam; Fandos, Nicholas (May 14, 2019). "Scrutiny of Russia Investigation Is Said to Be a Review, Not a Criminal Inquiry". The New York Times . Retrieved May 17, 2019 . ^ Dunleavy, Jerry (October 25, 2019). "John Durham opens criminal inquiry in DOJ's investigation of the investigators". Washington Examiner . Retrieved October 25, 2019 . ^ Benner, Katie; Goldman, Adam (October 24, 2019). "Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved October 25, 2019 . ^ Goldman, Adam; Savage, Charlie (November 22, 2019). "Russia Inquiry Review Is Said to Criticize F.B.I. but Rebuff Claims of Biased Acts". The New York Times. ^ Savage, Charlie; Goldman, Adam; Benner, Katie (December 9, 2019). "Report on F.B.I. Russia Inquiry Finds Serious Errors but Debunks Anti-Trump Plot". The New York Times. ^ "Statement of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham". www.justice.gov. December 9, 2019. ^ Zapotosky, Matt. "John Durham has a stellar reputation for investigating corruption. Some fear his work for Barr could tarnish it". Washington Post. ^ "Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on the Inspector General's Report of the Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane Investigation". www.justice.gov. December 9, 2019. ^ "Horowitz pushes back at Barr over basis for Trump-Russia probe". POLITICO. ^ Zapotosky, Matt. "Barr's handpicked prosecutor tells inspector general he can't back right-wing theory that Russia case was U.S. intelligence setup". Washington Post. ^ Benner, Katie; Barnes, Julian E. (December 19, 2019). "Durham Is Scrutinizing Ex-C.I.A. Director's Role in Russian Interference Findings". The New York Times. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/us/politics/durham-cia-russia.html ^ The Editors (November 3, 2011). "Washington's Most Powerful, Least Famous People". The New Republic . Retrieved October 25, 2011 . CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link) External links [ edit ] Biography at U.S. Department of Justice
With the impeachment over, Trump can begin to drain the swamp
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 12:32
It appears that the Obama U.S. State Department had a Ukraine joint venture with George Soros '' the man many Americans and Europeans consider Public Enemy Number One.
The purpose of thejoint venture appears to have been to foment revolution worldwide. We'vereported on this before HERE.
We learned of it whileresearching Obama Administration corruption in Ukraine and thought that theirplot was only focused there. We were wrong.
Obama funders andlackeys '' Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and George Soros, to name a few ''were neck-deep in various nepotistic pay-for-influence schemes.
Perhaps the mostcorrupt of these, was a U.S. takeover of Ukraine's nation's oil and gas sector.
The point of this play,was for the benefit of Obama's mentor and Democrat/Socialist-funder '' GeorgeSoros.
What we didn't know atthe time was that the most seditious part of this illegal joint venture wasunprecedented corruption on a worldwide scale.
This corruption wasdesigned to destabilise free nations across the globe, including America'sallies.
Don't believe me? Havea look at this article, and watch Soros' man, Alec Ross, tell you himselfwhat he did as Hillary Clinton's ''right-hand man'' at the U.S. Department of State'' teaching ''spontaneous leaderless revolution'' to over ''800 groups worldwide''on U.S. taxpayer dollars.
So, here's the quick back story Soros put Obama inoffice. That is an admitted fact by bothmen. It began with a plot which was hatched in 2002 at Soros' beach mansion inthe Hamptons.
The goal was to launch hisunknown Manchurian candidate Barack Hussein Obama (previously known as BarrySoteros), first into national politics, then the White House.
By 2004, Soros had hispet project fully underway. This project put Soros in a position of extremeinfluence in the Ukraine gas industry.
That meant that hewould be able to leverage the European energy markets '' with the potential tomake untold billions.
As my old partner, Lewis Borsellino (in the white jacket) used to say when hiring our traders, ''i wanna know how you're gonna buy low and sell high, and I don't care which you do first.'' Soros' goal as far back as 2004 seems to have been to leverage and manipulate Ukrainian production to play the futures market against Russia.
How, you ask? Well, he could ''short'' the Russian gas market.(that's when you sell contracts to deliver gas in the future at prices lowerthan the current market. If the gas price falls, the seller makes a motza).
If Soros had control overUkrainian gas production, he could decide when to ''turn the taps on'' depressingthe price of gas at will '' or the reverse. That would give him the opportunityto profit wildly.
Not by smart investing,but by manipulating the markets and ripping off other investors.
It looks as if the U.S.Government under Soros puppet Obama, was going out of its way to make thishappen for George.
They certainly weren'tshy about fomenting a revolution and prosecuting his competitors, forcing themto leave the country.
Soros basically ran theoperation and Ambassador Pyatt did his bidding.
Hereare minutes from several such meetings in 2014 (thanks to Ukraine source)
Here is a short excerpt from that document
Soros then mentioned his idea of what the strongest sanctions the US could apply on Russia would be. He noted that the US and Europe should engage in a ''division of labor'' whereas the US imposes hard sanctions on Russia to deter further aggression and the EU devotes itself to helping Ukraine without using sanctions on Russia. The US sanctions should involve the freezing of the dollar denominated assets of Russian banks and the strategic release of reserves to depress the price of oil for the next 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes the elections in Ukraine and accepts the results. This will be the strongest deterrent in GS's opinion because the ECB would not freeze assets so there would not be a complete collapse of the Russian markets but there will still be tremendous pressure exerted.
None of this isspeculation on my part. Soros actually admitted to ''financing the 2013 MaidanSquare protest'' in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
This highly illicitcriminal program included prompting the full overthrow in Ukraine a year later'' where over 200 of that nation's citizens were murdered.
We've learned that,Eric Ciamarella, was an on-the-ground operative in Kyiv, Ukraine at that time.
Ciamarella is the sameCIA operative who was more recently the 'whistleblower' against President Trump(in an effort to cover all of this up).
Sincethat article exposing ObamaAdministration/George Soros collusion,
we've been provided with some explosivedocuments.
He's a slippery one, and credited with being the CIA architect of the deadly revolution that cost 200 lives These documents show that Soros was effectively directing Obama's U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and his boss, Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, on what to do vis a vis Ukraine.
According to CernovichMedia, this same guy, Eric Ciamarella was a Soros-approved 'plant' in the TrumpAdministration, as top aide to his National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster's.
Ciamarella also workeddirectly with CIA Director, John Brennan, and Vice-President Joe Biden, whichis why they are all desperate to destroy Trump.
Chairman Lindsey Grahamannounced just this week that some of these crimes will be investigated by theU.S. Senate. These guys will be keen to see that it doesn't happen.
Do I hold high hopesfor Senator Graham's efforts 'to get to the bottom of all this'?
Not hardly, as we also havepictures of Senator Graham receiving a Ukraine Medal of Honour from PetroPorochenko who was President at that time. He was in bed with the AmericanDemocrat Socialists '' but was subsequently overthrown by them.
Every rock I overturnin Ukraine, has another Swamp Rat under it.
So, what about Macedonia?
The same Soros/Obamacoalition dumped approximately $9.5 million into what The American Spectatordescribed as ''a five-year civic engagement boondoggle.''
This was a misappropriationof U.S. taxpayer dollars through USAID to Macedonia's branch of Soros' OpenSociety Foundation '' to foment dissent.
200,000 Macedonians protest EU/Soros attempt to islamify them ''Small but mighty Macedonia is the mouse that roared this year [2017], declaring war on George Soros, 86, and his U.S. Government handmaidens.
These are the people who,incredibly, have financed a left-wing agenda to divide the nation and bring asocialist-Muslim coalition to power.''
The Macedonianswere/are revulsed by Soros and his EU puppets who want to force them into thisunnatural ideology '' and they've taken to the streets again as they did whenthis tinkering with their nation began three years ago.
As journalist ChrisDeliso observed. ''This is a simple, conservative society of people who know whothey are.
They don't like to belooked down as second-class Europeans,'' and apparently they don't want to beforced into the death sentence of Islamic/Socialist rule either.
The Soros/Obamacoalition targeted Macedonia it seems, for their refusal to embrace theone-world nonsense or ''Open Society'' grifting on behalf of liberal causes likeabortion, socialism and loss of sovereignty to external powers.
Imagine that. The home of Alexander the Great refusing toallow Soros rule.
These are not happy Macedonians. Soros and other meddlers are unwelcome. Police had to evacuate the Sobranie (legislature) Macedonia, has in fact, strengthened its laws against abortion and embraced more conservative principles '' perhaps to make the point they will not become a Brussels/Soros playground for mischief, much to the chagrin of these Leftist forces.
So, where does the Soros/Obama 'revolution' trainingprogram go from here?Well I very much wish Icould assure you it has been dismantled at the U.S. State Department underPresident Trump, but we can't even find out.
The State Departmenthas refused to answer inquiries on the topic or even admit they had such aprogram, though we've got them on film bragging about it.
The Deep State hasclosed ranks around the Obama leftovers it seems.
You see, there arestill hundreds of thousands of Soros/Obama acolytes infesting the U.S.Government who are severely confused about who runs the country.
In fact, at the recentimpeachment hoax trial against President Trump, the Dem Socialists paraded 18of these confused bureaucrats through the hearing room complaining that thePresident wasn't accepting their 'recommendations' on talking points with otherworld leaders.
They tried to make thecase that the President's refusal to yield to Deep State activists was an'abuse of power' on his part.
If you think that I'm jokingabout that, I'm not. That's what thecase against President Trump was all about.
It was bizarre '' toeveryone but the Swamp Rats themselves. The worst of them, Ukraine-born Lt. Col.Alexander Vindman, admitted contacting the President of Ukraine to leakclassified documents.
He also told him that hedidn't have to listen to President Trump '' and then bragged about it underoath!
Vindman actually admittedthis as if he were proud of it, not seeming to realise he was confessing totreason as an officer in the U.S. military.
This 'specialist'Vindman thought that he was the one to make policy for America '' rather thanits elected leader.
Now he's just anothertraitor who should be fairly tried and dealt with through the full force of thelaw.
Vindman's twin brother,Yevgeny, acting as a lawyer for the National Security Council '' has also beenouted as a leaking rat within the White House aiding and abetting the coupcabal!
Mama Vindman still dresses her twin traitors, Alexander and Yevgeny, in matching outfits. ''bye bye boys! Do pobachennya!'' Today it was announced that the President fired 70 more of these Obama-era traitors and had them frog-marched out of the White House.
That's a good start.
So, it might be a fewdays before the house-cleaning begins at the State Department in earnest, butI'm pretty sure one is in sight at long last.
So, what's next in the American soapopera?
I think we're in forsome well-deserved payback at long last. My sources close to the White House said that President Trump'sattorneys pressed him to do nothing until the impeachment hoax was over so asnot to give the Democrat fraudsters any more ammunition against him.
Now the gloves come off. This guy may be a billionaire, but he's also a brawler from queens who famously said many years ago, ''I always get even'' But it's over now '' soI can tell you this dog is coming off the leash.
And rumour has it thatthe Department of Justice is finally looking at what George Soros has been upto as well. That includes a proposal that his Antifa gang be designated aninternational terrorist organisation.
George Soros hasalready been banned from entering Pakistan, Poland, Turkey, Russia,Philippines, and even his own home nation (Hungary).
He is perhaps the onlyJew in the world that Israel has said, 'is not welcome here'.
President Trump wouldbe well within his powers to evict the man from the United States as well, andI for one hope that he does.
Democrats have a big orange tiger by the tail '' now it'spayback timeThose who began spyingagainst President Trump years ago before he even announced as candidate arealso now under scrutiny for violating federal law '' and it is now proven thatit went all the way to the top.
Yes. The two top-tierFBI plotters of the coup '' Peter Sztrok and Lisa Page '' exchanged e-mails whichhave now been disclosed thanks to Judicial Watch.
In the emails, they admittedthat the ''White House is running this'' and ''wants to know everything.''
Looks like Soros's pet President,Barack Obama, may have some explaining to do as well.
Those who actuallymounted the coup against President Trump are already under investigation by aspecial prosecutor (Connecticut U.S. Attorney, John Durham) and U.S. AttorneyGeneral William Barr is backing it, so indictments should be forthcoming soon.
It is rumoured thatarrests of top FBI and CIA officials who participated may begin this week. Youwill probably hear my 'Whoop' from Poland if it actually happens, but I'm notholding my breath.
As Doc Holliday said in the movie, tombstone, ''it's not revenge we want. It's a reckoning'' It's been a long wait for justice and the public is getting tired of waiting. The time for a 'reckoning' is at hand.
Donald J. Trump is ourDoc Holliday and We the People are bringing Hell with him this fall to take backthe House of Representatives and clean out the Swamp.
As you may know by now,I am not an objective reporter when it comes to government criminals. In my opinion, they are the most vile of all.
Elected or hiredmatters not. Either way, they are vestedwith the public trust and when they violate that trust, their punishment shouldbe the most severe of all.
Howell Woltz
The InternationalCentre for Justice
Warsaw, Poland
Amsterdam mayor considers banning tourists from buying cannabis | Euronews
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:44
By Euronews • last updated: 15/02/2020 - 12:53
Amsterdam's mayor is looking at banning tourists from buying cannabis in the city's coffee shops.
It is one of the solutions Femke Halsema, elected in 2018, is considering to solve the problem of the overcrowding in the city's red-light district.
Halsema has published a report showing that a third of foreign tourists would be less likely to visit Amsterdam again if they couldn't buy cannabis in coffee shops.
Amsterdam has trouble coping with massive tourists crowds in its city centre, especially the red-light district where coffee shops abound.
In a letter to the council announcing her resolve to reduce the number of coffee shops, Halsema referred to a recently published report from the Dutch office for Research, Information and Statistics that found that tourism would decrease with the implementation of such a policy.
Asked if they would come back to Amsterdam if foreign tourists were banned from entering coffee shops, 34% of respondents said they would visit less often and 11% said they would not be back.
22% said that if barred from entering, they would ask someone else to go into the coffee shop and 18% said they would seek another way to buy drugs.
Up to 44% of Brits, 50% of Germans and 45% of French tourists said they would no longer visit Amsterdam if they could not enter coffee shops, which would cut the tourism crowd from these countries by almost half.
42% of Brits said they would come to Amsterdam less often, while the French and the Germans would be 36%.
Respondents to the survey were aged 18 to 35 and in their majority (57%) see coffee shops as one of their main reasons to visit the city.
Fifty cars torched in Ume¥, Sweden on Friday night - Voice of Europe
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:27
Police in Ume¥, Sweden at around 10 o'clock on Friday night were alerted to a fire in a carport row in Mariehem which ended up torching at least 50 vehicles.
''We have about 50 cars that are completely burned out or to some extent damaged'', the head of the rescue services Conny Qwarforth told P4 V¤sterbotten, Sveriges Radio reports. The police closed off roads in the area as the fire caused enormous clouds of smoke that would've been dangerous to breathe. Fortunately, the smoke went upward and not towards nearby homes, according to the emergency services.
It was previously unclear what started the fire, but the police now suspect that it was deliberately lit.
''A preliminary investigation regarding aggravated arson is underway, as the police suspect the fire was set, partly because of the rapid-fire process'', the police write on their website. The police cordoned off the fire area and are asking for any tips from the public. A technical examination will be carried out whenever possible. The police will also conduct door knocking in the immediate area.
No one was reported injured from the fire.
Trump, the EU and the Kosovo conundrum | Europe | Al Jazeera
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:42
Ever since Kosovo declared independence in 2008 from Serbia, it has focused its foreign policy on achieving international recognition. Today, its foreign ministry claims that 116 countries have recognised its sovereignty.
Serbia, which rejected its secession after the 1999 war and NATO bombing campaign, has fought back. It has led a parallel campaign, claiming that it convinced some 17 countries over the past two years to renounce their recognition of Kosovo.
By refusing to accept Kosovo's independence and pressuring others to do so as well, Belgrade is not only blocking its membership in the United Nations but also its accession path to NATO and the European Union.
Last year, a deal was put forward promising a resolution to the deadlock. The proposal includes a land swap which would see Serbia gaining control over Serb-majority territories in the northern part of the country, and Kosovo gaining control of Albanian-majority territories in southern Serbia and Serbian recognition for Kosovo's independence.
The proposal is controversial, but the United States and key voices in the EU have supported it, while Germany notably remains opposed. The current disarray in Brussels and domestic political considerations in the US could see this deal - or iterations of it - rushed through to the detriment of the region.
Trump's calculationsThe question of recognition is the single most intractable problem to emerge from the bloody wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s. It has inspired fiery nationalist rhetoric and protests and has seen leaders of top world powers like the US and Russia butt heads.
But why is that? Geopolitically, Kosovo carries no weight. It is located in the southeast European Balkan region among other, bigger neighbours who themselves do not pose significant military or political threat to the rest of Europe.
Yet Kosovo has become the Gordian knot of European and transatlantic crisis management specifically because of its symbolic value.
The EU became involved so it could prove it was capable of dealing with crises on its periphery and flex its underused foreign policy muscles. The US has stayed involved ever since it spearheaded the 1999 bombing. Both wanted to prove that humanitarian intervention could work and that functioning societies could one day be established afterwards.
Yet every newly-proposed solution has seemingly tightened the knot instead of undoing it.
Years of talks in Brussels and Washington, DC, billions spent on UN and EU missions and countless unfulfilled agreements later, the Kosovo and Serbia issue seemed no closer to being solved until recently when the Trump administration appointed not one, but two envoys to deal with it.
In August, the State Department named veteran diplomat Matthew Palmer, who has years of experience in the Balkans, as its special envoy to the Western Balkans. Just two months later, in October, the White House announced that its controversial Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell was also taking up the role of special envoy to Serbia and Kosovo. Grenell, who is known for his brazen disregard for diplomatic protocol and support for the European far right, is considered to be close to US President Donald Trump.
It seems the Trump administration is applying its "two-channel" diplomatic strategy to Kosovo, just as it did with Ukraine, where it appointed Kurt Volker, also a close ally of the president, as a special envoy. Volker has been suspected of aiding Trump's alleged efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating his potential election rival Joe Biden.
According to acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who testified on November 13 in Congress as part of the continuing impeachment inquiry against the US president, this second channel - going through an envoy assigned by Trump personally - is not accountable to Congress and only partially coordinates with the State Department. That is, its role is to secure the president's personal interests.
In recent weeks, there have been rumours that Grenell is promising financial benefits to Kosovo and Serbia - as countries, not their leaders individually - if a solution to the status issue is achieved in the near future. This differs from the benefits stressed by previous US and EU mediators, who usually emphasised the advantages of regional and European stability above financial benefits
So the question that naturally arises is - what are Trump's interests in Kosovo and Serbia?
Unlike Ukraine, Kosovo and Serbia possess limited natural resources and barely any lucrative business options that Trump supporters could become involved in; there is also no information of the two countries having any direct or indirect involvement in the US electoral battle.
Grenell's involvement in the Kosovo-Serbia issue signals a US interest in pushing out Germany as the main European overseer of Balkan-related issues. An agreement between Kosovo and Serbia would also be a much-needed diplomatic win for Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election, as a number of other diplomatic initiatives of his administration, including the "deal of the century", a new Iran deal, and an agreement with North Korea, have not produced any results.
As in the case of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Trump has used the prospect of a White House visit for the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia as a carrot - to motivate them to sign a deal.
Uncertain futureJust as in the case of Ukraine, the Trump administration's uncoordinated and unpredictable foreign policy only amplifies existing problems inherited from previous administrations. When John Bolton was still White House security adviser, he announced that he would not be against a land-swap deal, breaking with decades-old US policy in the Balkans which rejected any border changes.
Similarly, disagreements in Brussels are also causing much confusion in the region. In the past, the EU has used the prospect of accession for both countries as a carrot, to push for a deal. But after French President Emmanuel Macron, who is eager to take on Angela Merkel's role as the new kingmaker in Europe, blocked accession talks for Western Balkan countries North Macedonia and Albania, the EU's sway over the region could be greatly diminished.
So what does a muddled US approach combined with a reluctant EU lead to?
Russia has also backed the proposal for a land swap with Kosovo. If the deal goes through, this may further destabilise the region. Bosnian officials fear that the leadership of the Serb-majority entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina could use the redrawing of Kosovo's borders as a basis for their own secessionist goals.
More disarray in the Western Balkans could strengthen Russia's hand in the region. It already wields significant influence in Serbia. In late October, the Serbian government signed a free-trade agreement with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.
Just recently, a scandal involving a GRU agent trying to recruit former members of the Serbian military prompted fears of Russian intelligence officers using the Balkan country's favourable approach towards Moscow as an excuse to use it as a back yard for its regional operations. Russia has already been accused of orchestrating a failed coup in Montenegro and could also contribute to regional instability.
China too has been growing its clout in the Balkans. For a few years now, it has been buying up major assets in key industries in the region as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, a global development strategy spearheaded by the Chinese government to invest in strategic infrastructure projects to enable capital inflows from China.
The Chinese have invested in everything from ports in Croatia to steel factories in Serbia. Hungary and Serbia have also recently joined the club of European countries allowing its tech giant Huawei to set up their national 5G networks; most EU states have shunned Huawei's involvement, for fear of making it easier to conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks from China. In Belgrade, Huawei has also been involved in installing facial-recognition cameras similar to those already found in China.
Thus as the US president tries to settle scores and secure his re-election abroad and the EU continues to struggle with putting a coherent vision for its future, the Balkans becomes increasingly open to Russian and Chinese influence. The weakening and contradictory engagement of the West has made it more difficult than ever for reform-minded politicians in the Balkans to convince their voters to stay on the path of democratisation. If the US and the EU do not change their approach, Kosovo-Serbia dispute threatens to unravel and send the whole region into a whirlwind of instability.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.
Trump Envoy Hails Deal to Resume Serbia-Kosovo Rail Service | Time
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:34
(BELGRADE, Serbia) '-- U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo said Saturday that an agreement to resume railway service between the two Balkan rivals is important for both nations.
Richard Grenell, who is the U.S. ambassador to Germany, said establishing train links became a priority after U.S. officials brokered another deal earlier this week to restore air traffic between the countries after 21 years.
Grenell visited Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, and Serbia's capital of Belgrade this week. He said Friday at a press conference in Belgrade that details of an agreement to restore rail service would be discussed at a meeting in Berlin on Monday.
''President Trump's vision is now happening. The business community and the focus on job creation is leading the way,'' Grenell said in a written statement to The Associated Press.
Grenell was appointed by Trump in October as the special envoy to talks to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The European Union-mediated negotiations started in 2011 and have been stalled since Kosovo imposed a trade tax on Serbian goods in 2018.
Serbia does not accept Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, although its former province has been recognized by about 100 countries, including the United States and most EU nations.
Grenell has said the U.S. wants the two sides to focus on the economy, new jobs and prosperity as the way toward normalizing ties. He has urged Serbia and Kosovo to remove obstacles that have blocked the talks for more than a year.
Serbia's brutal intervention against Kosovo's independence-seeking ethnic Albanians in 1998-99 prompted NATO to intervene to stop the conflict. Relations have remained tense ever since despite EU-led talks.
Contact us at editors@time.com.
No 10 tells BBC licence fee will be scrapped | News | The Sunday Times
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:31
Downing Street turned on the BBC last night '-- vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.
In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are ''not bluffing'' about changing the BBC's funding model and ''pruning'' its reach into people's homes.
The blueprint being drawn up in government will:
'— Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model
'— Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4
'— Reduce the number of the corporation's national
Cute videos, but little evidence: Police say Amazon Ring isn't much of a crime fighter
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:26
Once an agency has signed up, it can request access to users' videos directly through the Neighbors app, essentially a digital shortcut around in-person, door-to-door requests for security video footage. In its agreements with police, five of which have been reviewed by NBC, Ring describes Neighbors as ''
an expansion of the traditional neighborhood watch.''Get breaking news and insider analysis on the rapidly changing world of media and technology right to your inbox.
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press releases, Ring claims that ''one Los Angeles neighborhood saw a 55 percent decrease in home break-ins after Ring doorbells were installed on just ten percent of homes.'' This pilot, which took place over a
seven-month period in 2015 has become a keystone of Ring's origin story.
Ring declined and Amazon did not respond to requests for data surrounding the methodology or analysis of how this conclusion was reached.
In October 2018, MIT Technology Review magazine
concluded that ''even if the doorbells had a positive effect, it seemed not to last. In 2017, Wilshire Park suffered more burglaries than in any of the previous seven years.''
In an email to NBC News, Drake Madison, an LAPD spokesperson, did not dispute MIT Technology Review's conclusions, and declined to characterize Ring's effectiveness.
He did, however, confirm that after the pilot LAPD did not enter into a contract with Ring.
Ring conducted a similar program in Newark, New Jersey, in 2018, and has
made similar claims of a dramatic drop in burglaries, without citing any concrete evidence.
In a statement provided to NBC News, the Newark Police Department repeated the assertions made on the Ring website, without any further explanation of the methodology or analysis. A Newark police spokeswoman, Catherine Adams, clarified that the agency ''didn't capture any information regarding a control group or how many doorbell cameras were installed.''
Newark also does not have a contract with Ring.
More evidence than investigatorsIn general, Ring's partnerships with local departments have not been in place long enough to draw firm conclusions about its effects on crime prevention. But anecdotally, even the departments who have used it the longest don't have much tangible evidence of deterrence of thefts or apprehension of suspects.
Greenfield, Wisconsin, the very first city nationwide to sign an agreement with Ring '-- nearly two years ago '-- couldn't cite a specific arrest that had been facilitated through Ring footage.
"My guess is that we have [made an arrest via Ring], I just can't recall specifically,'' Scott J. Zienkiewicz, a Greenfield police spokesman, said.
RecommendedWinter Park became one of the first 10 police departments in America to sign up with Ring in spring 2018. Two years on and Ring videos have identified just one would-be thief, according to spokesman Santos: a 13-year-old boy who, according to the police report, opened two delivered packages containing a $325 Away suitcase and a $70 Christmas tree topper. After opening the packages, he ''determined he did not like the items'' and left the scene on his bike. Eventually the boy was sent to a state diversion program for first-time offenders in lieu of being formally charged in court.
The experience of Greenfield and Winter Park is mirrored in many parts of the country.
For instance, Green Bay, the third-largest city in Wisconsin, hasn't made any arrests via Ring since signing its agreement in August 2018, said Commander Paul Ebel, of the city's investigations division. Similarly, Mesquite, Texas, has also made just one arrest since signing in September 2018 '-- for stealing an Amazon-delivered package containing an Echo Show smart speaker, and also the mounted Ring camera itself, spokesman Lt. Stephen Biggs, emailed NBC.
Fort Lauderdale, a Florida city that
experienced 728 residential burglaries from January through November 2019, has only had six arrests and four prosecutions stemming from Ring footage since April 2018, Casey Leining, a police spokesperson, said.
In Houston, Texas, America's fourth-largest city, police do not keep detailed statistics of Ring-related arrests but estimate that there have been more than 100 since signing an agreement over a year ago. The city experiences
approximately 16,000 burglaries per year.
''The way I would describe it, is that it's an incremental change,''
Lt. Jack Harvey, a lead property crime investigator at the Houston Police Department, the nation's fifth-largest city police agency, said. ''It's not a paradigm shift.''
He noted that the flood of evidence generated by Ring cameras doesn't often result in positive identification, much less an arrest.
''You have a video of one unknown person in a city of two-and-a-half million people!'' he said while chuckling, pointing out that his department is in dire need of more officers.
''Our limiting factor is not evidence,'' he continued. ''We have more solvable evidence than we have investigators.''
Ring makes it so frictionless to share footage with police that some residents submit videos of anything they find displeasing, even when there is no indication that a crime has been committed, Lt. Santos, of Winter Park, said.
''We've gotten videos of racoons in the yard, with people saying, 'Hey, can you deal with these racoons?''' he said. ''That's the type of people we're dealing with. They're constantly sending us video clips.''
Ring declined to respond directly to NBC News' specific questions surrounding its effectiveness.
''Ring works with local police agencies to help make neighborhoods safer,'' the company said in a statement.
''Through these efforts, we are opening up the lines of communication between community members and local police and providing app users with important crime and safety information directly from the official source.''
Ten of the thirteen law enforcement agencies that reported zero Ring-facilitated arrests echoed Ring's assertion of intangible benefits, saying that the cameras do build relationships with the community, something that would not be reflected in crime statistics.
Others told NBC News that they believe that Ring leads to lower crime rates even in the absence of definitive proof.
In Cape Coral, Florida, burglaries fell by 50 percent and larcenies by 40 percent from 2008 through 2018. In May 2018, the police department signed an agreement with Ring and burglaries and larcenies have continued to fall. From January through June 2018 the city
recorded 202 burglaries and 1,084 larcenies. By contrast, during the first six months of 2019, the latest period for which data is available, the city
experienced 147 burglaries and 865 larcenies.
''We do attribute a drop in crime to Ring cameras and other surveillance systems,'' Master Sergeant Patrick O'Grady of the Cape Coral Police Department, emailed NBC News. ''People we arrest for burglary have told us they look to see if there is a Ring camera.''
Police reports of porch piracy and burglary in declineAnother difficulty in measuring Ring's effectiveness stems from a major structural shift in the economy.
The volume of parcels sent in the U.S. has been rising over the last decade at a rate of about 7-9 percent each year, corresponding with the rise in online shopping, according to the
Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index.
However, reported property crimes have been on a steep decline for years, with burglaries falling by nearly half from 2008 to 2018, and larcenies by almost a third, according to FBI statistics. Larcenies include the theft of packages from outside of homes, the crime known colloquially as ''porch piracy''.
How is it possible that porch piracy could be falling when the opportunity for the crime is soaring?
One reason the FBI's crime stats may not accurately reflect the level of porch piracy is that victims of theft
are less likely to report the crime to the police than to the sender. For example, customers of Amazon, which sends about a third of the 18 billion packages sent domestically each year according to estimates from transportation consultancy iDrive Logistics, can request that Amazon redeliver the package or send it to another address.
Amazon now owns Ring. If Amazon were willing to make public a number showing the amount of times it has to reship packages that ''never arrived,'' it might give some insight into the true level of porch piracy, and, going forward, whether an increase in the number of doorbell cameras seems to accompany a lower rate of disappearing packages.
Amazon, however, declined to share such figures, and Ring said that its figure of a 55 percent decline in crimes was based on data provided by LAPD.
Steven Gaut, a spokesman for UPS, said that the company had not observed an increase in the rate of package theft, but had seen a rise in awareness of the issue thanks to people reporting their experiences on social media and using videos from porch cameras like Ring. However, he noted that UPS doesn't consistently record package theft data.
In the absence of data, what should a consumer do to protect package deliveries?
In several cases, police said that the most effective deterrent to property crime was locking doors, windows, cars, and not leaving anything of value, including packages, visible from the street.
What about cameras?Read Hayes, a criminologist from the University of Florida who researches package theft for the Loss Prevention Research Council, an industry group of retailers, agreed. He said the best deterrent was placing packages where they can't be seen from the road, but second best was ''increasing the perceived risk of getting caught,'' which includes conspicuous surveillance cameras and other security systems. Ring's deterrent effect is less powerful, he said, because its design is so discreet.
''You have to know it's there and recognize what it is,'' he said. ''Ring has promise but it's not readily noticeable right now.''
In late December 2019,
Ben Stickle, a professor of criminal justice at Middle Tennessee State University,
published one of the first academic studies of porch camera video footage, analyzing 67 videos he and his research team found on YouTube. He found that most of the so-called ''porch pirates'' were unfazed by the presence of cameras.
''If you expect the camera to deter people, you're assuming that they see it and that they care,'' Stickle, who served as a police officer in Bowling Green, Kentucky, told NBC News. ''Those are two big assumptions.''
The Best Linux Blog In the Unixverse on Twitter: "Stupidity at its best. Apparently, you should now report to your local authority in the UK if you see any kid using things like Tor, VMs and Linux. https://t.co/qmYtJH7eUn" / Twitter
Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:58
Log in Sign up The Best Linux Blog In the Unixverse @ nixcraft Stupidity at its best. Apparently, you should now report to your local authority in the UK if you see any kid using things like Tor, VMs and Linux.
twitter.com/G_IW/status/12'... 7:44 AM - 13 Feb 2020 Scomar @ NorthernBytes
7h Replying to
@nixcraft If my chid was using all of those I'd be encouraging them to learn more! Not reporting them....
View conversation · Vision @ Vision
7h Replying to
@nixcraft Report all Discord users to the authorities.
View conversation · Fran§ois (Fanfan54) 👨ðŸ>>'ðŸ'>> @ Fanfan54T
7h Replying to
@nixcraft Is this fake or what?If not, that's scary, especially if it comes from local authorities ðŸ"
View conversation · Proxy @ FiveFourSix
7h Replying to
@Fanfan54T @nixcraft I've used them all at least once in my life. I'm using Tor, VirtualBox and Discord daily... I guess I'm going to rot in jail.
pic.twitter.com/3z3I4gHoz9 View conversation · Zach @ ShaggyFreebird
7h Replying to
@nixcraft I disagree on one thing, if I catch my kid using kali I'm gonna slap him for not just using a normal distro and installing those packages
View conversation · ðŸ‘--Jorge Escobar @ JorgeEscobar
7h Replying to
@nixcraft Are those kids being send into windows's indoctrination camps or something?
View conversation · Amiga1200Gamer @ amiga1200gamer
7h Replying to
@JorgeEscobar @nixcraft Yes it's called ICT lessons in schools. All use windows/office
View conversation · Jessey? @ jesseysnipenl
7h Replying to
@nixcraft It's all fine mom and dad I don't use virtual machines for Linux I use them for windows
View conversation · Manuel Etchegaray #mtgatool @ MEtchegaray7
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@jesseysnipenl @nixcraft You gotta keep the distro clean of viruses..
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Google ordered to reveal identity of anonymous reviewer - Security - iTnews
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:40
Google has been ordered to reveal the identity of an anonymous online reviewer known only as CBsm 23 to allow a Melbourne dentist to bring defamation action against the individual.
In a landmark ruling this week, the Federal Court declared that the web giant must hand over information that would help dental surgeon Mathew Kabbabe track down the mystery reviewer.
Kabbabe intends to bring a defamation action against the individual, who is alleged to have damaged his teeth whitening business by posting a negative review under the pseudonym CBsm 23.
CBsm 23 posted a review warning other patients to ''STAY AWAY'' from the business, claiming the experience there was ''extremely awkward and uncomfortable''.
The user suggested the whitening procedure performed by the dentist ''was not done properly'', a ''complete waste of time'' and that it seemed like the dentist ''had never done this before''.
After trying - and failing - to get Google to take down the negative review, Kabbabe appealed for information about the identity of the user to be released, which the web giant declined.
''[We] do not have any means to investigate where and when the ID was created,'' Google wrote to him in an email earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Justice Bernard Murphy deemed ''it appropriate to accede to the application and to grant leave to Dr Kabbabe to serve the proceeding on Google in the USA''.
Under the order, Google will be required to provide subscriber information associated with CBsm 23's account, including any names, phone numbers, IP addresses and location metadata.
''I consider that Google is likely to have or have had control of a document or thing that would help ascertain that description of the prospective respondent CBsm 23,'' Justice Bernard Murphy said.
The order also applies to ''any other Google accounts ... which may have originated from the same IP address during a similar time period to when CBsm 23's account was accessed to post the offending Google review''.
Green New Deal
How changing aircraft altitude could cut flight's climate impact in half | CNN Travel
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:09
(CNN) '-- Greener fuels, electric engines and more efficient aircraft are all being touted as ways to reduce the environmental harm of flying, but a new study suggests one simple move could help existing flights drastically cut their impact.
By changing the flying altitude by just couple of thousand feet on fewer than 2% of all scheduled flights, a study by a team of scientists at Imperial College London concludes that aviation's damage to the climate could be reduced by as much as 59%. It's all about eradicating airplane contrails -- those white streaks you see criss-crossing the skies after an airplane has passed overhead.
Contrails, says NASA, are "a type of ice cloud formed by aircraft as water vapor condenses around small dust particles, which provide the vapor with sufficient energy to freeze." These cloud-like formations can have a cooling effect, acting to reflect sunlight that would otherwise heat the Earth. Contrails can also block outgoing heat from escaping the earth -- essentially acting like a blanket, trapping heat.
In November 2019, a study by a group of MIT scientists concluded contrails account for 14% of climate and air quality damages per unit aviation fuel burn. The big difference between C02 emissions produced by an aircraft and contrails, however, is that contrails don't last very long, a maximum of about 18 hours.
"So if we were to stop producing contrails, the effect of contrails would go away the next day," says Marc Stettler, who worked on the new study. "It's a way that the aviation industry can really quickly address its impact on climate change."
Flying an airplane higher or lower could help get rid of contrails because they only form in thinner areas of atmosphere, with high humidity -- so it's theoretically possible to avoid them and reap the eco-benefits.
"What we show is that you can make these minor modifications to the altitude of a flight, and avoid that flight from forming a contrail," Stettler tells CNN Travel. Tackling the issue
Reducing airplane contrails could help with aviation's impact on climate change.
Stettler and his colleagues experimented with computer simulations to come to their conclusion: using data available on aircraft flying in Japanese airspace, the scientists tested what would happen if aircraft flew higher or lower than their current flight paths.
Diverging from the flight path does lead to an increase in fuel consumption, but the researchers say it's less than a 0.1% rise -- and the subsequent depletion in contrails offsets the extra C02 released.
Andrew Heymsfield, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, tells CNN Travel that the findings make sense, but questions how they could be employed in everyday aviation scenarios.
"The question is, how would they find out what those altitudes are [that] would be less amenable to the development of contrail?" says Heymsfield.
The airplane would have to use instruments that remotely sense humidity, he suggests.
"Those would have to be developed and deployed on an aircraft, so that a 3D depiction of those altitudes could be developed from aircraft which collect those data and then transmit it down to the ground," says Heymsfield.
"Otherwise, I don't know how aircraft air controllers would know where to allow the aircraft to fly."
As Heymsfield points out, aircraft cannot fly anywhere, they have to stick to a specific path.
While the change, if adopted, would have lead to some reduction in emissions, it's unlikely to assuage climate campaigners who want the aviation sector to drastically reduce its carbon footprint. Air travel currently contributes to between 2-3% of all global CO2 emissions and this would remain an issue even if airplanes were flying at different altitudes.
Stettler says his team are in discussion with aviation authorities about how their research might work practically.
"We are in the process of having discussions with air traffic management service providers, who are responsible for planning with airlines flight trajectories," says Stettler.
"It's very, very early days, but we're we're wanting to understand how that process works and how such a strategy can be implemented. We think it's something that the aviation industry needs to take seriously."
Deadly Storm Dennis menaces UK with another weekend of wild weather | Euronews
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:25
United Kingdom
By AP • last updated: 15/02/2020 - 22:43
Storm Dennis battering Britain, one week on from Storm Ciara - Copyright
- Matt Dunham Rescuers pulled two bodies from rough seas off southern England and soldiers helped build flood barriers on Saturday as Storm Dennis gave the UK and Ireland their second straight weekend of deadly extreme weather.
Flights were cancelled, railway lines blocked and roads flooded as the system barrelled in from the North Atlantic with near-record low pressure.
The fourth named storm of the season has the potential to cause more damage than last weekend's Storm Ciara given the already saturated ground in many areas.
Video posted to social media showed the extent of the disruption, including a Caledonian Macbrayne ferry rolling in Ardrossan harbour in Scotland.
The body of one man was pulled out of the sea by a lifeboat following a distress call from the B Gas Margrethe, a Maltese tanker that had been anchored off Margate, Kent.
In a separate incident, the body of a second man was pulled from the sea in the afternoon. The Met Office had 31 flood warnings in place around England, which means flooding was expected over the weekend. Another 26 were issued in Scotland and six in Wales.
Heavy rain in northern FranceMeteoFrance issued heavy rain and flood warnings for a handful of departments in northern France, where some areas were forecast to receive up to three weeks' worth of rain over the weekend.
Much of the flood concern focused on northern England, which suffered during Storm Ciara, when at least eight people were killed across Europe.
On Saturday, around 75 British army personnel and 70 reservists were helping out stretched communities in the flood-hit Calder Valley region in West Yorkshire, constructing barriers and repairing damaged flood defenses.
''Our armed forces are always ready to support local authorities and communities whenever they need it," Britain's Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said. ''The rapid response of the Army today will help with provision of flood relief to local communities in West Yorkshire.''
OneUnited Bank sparks outrage by releasing a Harriet Tubman debit card | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:21
OneUnited Bank sparks outrage by putting an image of Harriet Tubman 'making the Wakanda Forever gesture' on a DEBIT CARD to celebrate Black History MonthOneUnited Bank has been blasted after releasing a 'limited edition Harriet Tubman Visa Debit card' The card features a painting of Tubman standing defiantly with her arms crossedSome critics ridiculed the bank claiming the pose is a rip-off of Black Panther's 'Wakanda Forever' saluteThe financial institution - which is the largest black owned bank in the US - hit back claiming the picture shows Tubman saying the word 'love' in sign language By Andrew Court For Dailymail.com
Published: 13:24 EST, 14 February 2020 | Updated: 17:47 EST, 14 February 2020
The largest black-owned bank in America has sparked outrage after they unveiled a debit card featuring a painting of the revered abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
OneUnited Bank released the card Thursday as part of Black History Month, and shared a Twitter post which read: 'Our limited-edition Harriet Tubman Visa Debit Card is a symbol of Black empowerment. Don't miss out! #GetTheCardToday! #BlackHistoryMonth #BankBlack'.
The card - which shows Tubman standing defiantly with her arms crossed - instantly drew the ire of Twitter users, who accused OneUnited of cynically exploiting a beloved historical figure for their own financial gain.
Tubman, who was born a slave in 1822 before she later escaped, is best known for undertaking 13 missions to rescue nearly 70 other enslaved people prior to the Civil War.
'Harriet is the ultimate symbol of fearless organizing and rebellion against a sadistic capitalistic enterprise (slavery). Put Oprah on ya'll Visa card and go,' one Twitter user blasted in response to OneUnited's new debit card.
OneUnited Bank has sparked outrage after they unveiled a debit card featuring a painting of the revered abolitionist Harriet Tubman
Critics accused OneUnited of cynically exploiting one of American history's most beloved figures for their own financial gain.
'Y'all will commodify literally anything. Nothing is sacred,' another cried.
'Every purchase gets you one step closer to freedom' a separate user mocked.
Meanwhile, several other critics claimed the card appeared to show Tubman doing Black Panter's 'Wakanda Forever' salute.
In the 2018 film adaptation of the Black Panther comic book series, several characters make the salute in an ode to their fictional African homeland of Wakanda.
In recent years, the symbol has been widely popularized to signify black power.
In the 2018 film adaptation of the Black Panther comic book series, several characters make the salute in ode to their fictional African nation, Wakanda. In recent years, the symbol has been widely popularized to signify black power. Cast mates are seen making the salute at the 2019 Golden Globes
Several critics claimed the card appeared to show Tubman doing Black Panter's 'Wakanda Forever' salute
However, artist Addonis Parker who painted the picture of Tubman insists she wasn't inspired by Black Panter.
Rather, she says her painting shows Tubman saying the word 'love' in sign language.
'She was about love. It took sacrifice and love for her to do everything she's done,' Parker told The Washington Post on Friday.
There have been calls for Tubman to appear on the $20 bill, and Parker believed that the transition to putting the abolitionist's face on a debit card felt like it made sense.
However, sports journalist Bomani Jones disagreed, stating on Twitter: 'It's amazing how differently the idea of Harriet Tubman on US legal tender feels than putting her face on a debit card'.
Meanwhile, OneUnited Bank is standing by the card - sharing another tweet which read: 'Harriet Tubman is the ultimate symbol of love - love that causes you to sacrifice everything, including your own life. The gesture is the sign language symbol for love. It's so important that we love ourselves.'
Shortly after it was founded back in 1968 , OneUnited began to provide banking services to black people who were mostly shut out from other institutions.
It has branches in five different locations across the US, and reported assets $661.2 million in 2018.
Tubman, who was born a slave in Maryland in 1822 before she later escaped, is best known for undertaking 13 missions to rescue nearly 70 slaves prior to the Civil War
Why liberal white women pay a lot of money to learn over dinner how they're racist | World news | The Guardian
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:15
F reshly made pasta is drying on the wooden bannisters lining the hall of a beautiful home in Denver, Colorado. Fox-hunting photos decorate the walls in a room full of books. A fire is burning. And downstairs, a group of liberal white women have gathered around a long wooden table to admit how racist they are.
''Recently, I have been driving around, seeing a black person, and having an assumption that they are up to no good,'' says Alison Gubser. ''Immediately after I am like, that's no good! This is a human, just doing their thing. Why do I think that?''
This is Race to Dinner. A white woman volunteers to host a dinner in her home for seven other white women '' often strangers, perhaps acquaintances. (Each dinner costs $2,500, which can be covered by a generous host or divided among guests.) A frank discussion is led by co-founders Regina Jackson, who is black, and Saira Rao, who identifies as Indian American. They started Race to Dinner to challenge liberal white women to accept their racism, however subconscious. ''If you did this in a conference room, they'd leave,'' Rao says. ''But wealthy white women have been taught never to leave the dinner table.''
Rao and Jackson believe white, liberal women are the most receptive audience because they are open to changing their behavior. They don't bother with the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. White men, they feel, are similarly a lost cause. ''White men are never going to change anything. If they were, they would have done it by now,'' Jackson says.
White women, on the other hand, are uniquely placed to challenge racism because of their proximity to power and wealth, Jackson says. ''If they don't hold these positions themselves, the white men in power are often their family, friends and partners.''
It seems unlikely anyone would voluntarily go to a dinner party in which they'd be asked, one by one, ''What was a racist thing you did recently?'' by two women of color, before appetizers are served. But Jackson and Rao have hardly been able to take a break since they started these dinners in the spring of 2019. So far, 15 dinners have been held in big cities across the US.
If you did this in a conference room, they'd leave...But wealthy white women have been taught never to leave the dinner table.
The women who sign up for these dinners are not who most would see as racist. They are well-read and well-meaning. They are mostly Democrats. Some have adopted black children, many have partners who are people of color, some have been doing work towards inclusivity and diversity for decades. But they acknowledge they also have unchecked biases. They are there because they ''know [they] are part of the problem, and want to be part of the solution,'' as host Jess Campbell-Swanson says before dinner starts.
Campbell-Swanson comes across as an overly keen college student applying for a prestigious internship. She can go on for days about her work as a political consultant, but when it comes to talking about racism, she chokes.
''I want to hire people of color. Not because I want to be '... a white savior. I have explored my need for validation '... I'm working through that '... Yeah. Um '... I'm struggling,'' she stutters, before finally giving up.
Women listen to Rao and JacksonWomen listen to Rao and Jackson during dinner. Photographs by Rebecca Stumpf/The GuardianAcross from Campbell-Swanson, Morgan Richards admits she recently did nothing when someone patronizingly commended her for adopting her two black children, as though she had saved them. ''What I went through to be a mother, I didn't care if they were black,'' she says, opening a window for Rao to challenge her: ''So, you admit it is stooping low to adopt a black child?'' And Richards accepts that the undertone of her statement is racist.
As more confessions like this are revealed, Rao and Jackson seem to press those they think can take it, while empathizing with those who can't. ''Well done for recognizing that,'' Jackson says, to soothe one woman. ''We are all part of the problem. We have to get comfortable with that to become part of the solution.''
Carbonara is heaped on to plates, and a sense of self-righteousness seems to wash over the eight white women. They've shown up, admitted their wrongdoing and are willing to change. Don't they deserve a little pat on the back?
Erika Righter raises her tattooed forearm to her face, in despair of all of the racism she's witnessed as a social worker, then laments how a white friend always ends phone calls with ''Love you long time''.
''And what is your racism, Erika?'' Rao interrupts, refusing to let her off the hook. The mood becomes tense. Another woman adds: ''I don't know you, Erika. But you strike me as being really in your head. Everything I'm hearing is from the neck up.''
Righter, a single mother, retreats before defending herself: ''I haven't read all the books. I'm new to this.''
EmbedA lot of people hate Saira Rao.
''The American flag makes me sick,'' read a recent tweet of hers. Another: ''White folks '' before telling me that your Indian husband or wife or friend or colleague doesn't agree with anything I say about racism or thinks I'm crazy, please Google 'token,' 'internalized oppression' and 'gaslighting'.''
She wasn't always this confrontational, she says. Her ''awakening'' began recently.
After Rao's mother died unexpectedly a few years ago, she moved to Denver from New York to be around her best friends '' a group of mostly white women from college. She wasn't new to being the only person of color, but she was surprised to notice how they would distance themselves whenever she'd talk frankly about race.
Then, fuelled by anger at Trump's election after she'd campaigned tirelessly for Hillary Clinton, Rao ran for Congress in 2018 against a Democratic incumbent on an anti-racist manifesto, and criticized the ''pink-pussy-hat-wearing'' women of the Democratic party. It was during this campaign Rao met Jackson, who works in real estate. Jackson recalls her initial impressions of Rao as ''honest, and willing to call a thing a thing''.
It's that brashness that led to Race for Dinner. Rao is done with affability. ''I'd spent years trying to get through to white women with coffees and teas '' massaging them, dealing with their tears, and I got nowhere. I thought, if nothing is going to work, let's try to shake them awake.''
The genesis of Race to Dinner wasn't straightforward. Months after a dinner discussion about race with a white friend of Jackson's went south, Rao bumped into that friend, who had started reading Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
''She told me that the dinner had changed everything for her, and asked if we could do another,'' says Rao. The friend invited other guests, Rao reluctantly agreed, then hated that second dinner, too. But then white women began flooding her inbox asking her to do it again.
In the beginning, Rao's dinner-party tone was much more argumentative. But it left her looking less like a human and more like some kind of real-life trolling bot. Women at the dinners were always crying. Some of those dinners got out of hand '' attendees have tried to place their hands on Jackson and Rao, and racial slurs have been thrown around.
''My blood pressure went up. I'd work myself up into a frenzy at every dinner. I realized [that] if I walk away feeling I am going to have a stroke, we should try a different tactic,'' Rao says.
I'd work myself into a frenzy. I realized: if I walk away feeling I'm going to have a stroke, we should try a different tactic
Susan Brown attended one of those earlier dinners. She says she felt like Rao and Jackson were angry at her the whole time, without ever learning why. She found Rao needlessly provocative and mean-spirited, unaware of her own class privilege, and divisive. She felt the dinner set her up to fail.
Another previous attendee, who did not want to be named, says she found Rao to be dogmatic, and presented a distorted depiction of history, leaving out facts that do not fit her narrative. At one point, she referred to Rao as ''the Trump of the alt-left''.
But even for those who complained, something has changed. Brown read White Fragility '' a book released last year that posits every person partakes to some degree in racism and needs to confront that '' and realized many of the things she was commending herself for needed to be re-evaluated. The book is now assigned reading for women before they can attend a dinner.
The woman who compared Rao to Trump went to a city council meeting to speak up about the death of a young black man in her area. She attributes that specifically to Jackson's call for solidarity.
In recent months, Jackson and Rao changed the model. They didn't want to just have women rely on them to shout at them for being racist and then go home.
''We began to expect more of them,'' says Rao. That meant asking the women to speak up. To own their racism. It meant getting them to do the required reading, as well as follow-up discussions, where they decide how to do better anti-racist work.
In the conversation that followed the dinner, Campbell-Swanson, who couldn't get her racist thoughts out, committed to writing a journal, jotting down daily decisions or thoughts that could be considered racist, and think about how to approach them differently.
Lisa Bond, who was hired because Rao and Jackson thought there would be instances when participants would feel more comfortable expressing their feelings to another white woman, says this will help her see how unmonitored thoughts can lead to systemic racism. ''If our ability to spot these things increases, our ability to challenge it will increase,'' says Bond.
Bond says about 65% of participants engage meaningfully in post-dinner conversations with her. But weren't these women already doing the work? Don't they want to speak to those women who have no intention of challenging themselves?
''There are so many people worse than us,'' says Bond. ''I have gotten to the point where I no longer try to pay attention to what someone else is doing. I don't talk about the 53% [who voted for Trump] because I'm not one of them.''
What is in her power, she says, is forcing herself to talk to her sister, who did vote for Trump, even when it gets difficult. She emphasizes this work has to continue, no matter who is president.
''If Trump were impeached tomorrow and we got a new president, a lot of white liberal people will go back to living their lives just as before, and that's what we have to prevent,'' she says. ''All that's happened is we can see racism now, while before we could cover it up. That's why we need these dinners. So when we get a new person in and racism is not as obvious, we won't just crawl back to being comfortable.''
Rep. Rolanda Hollis on Twitter: "@MichaelLHoffman Vasectomy Bill HB 238 The Vasectomy bill is to help with the reproductive system. This is to neutralize the abortion ban bill. The responsibility is not always on the women. It takes 2 to tangle. This will
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 08:49
Replying to
@RepHollis @MichaelLHoffman Difference is, this bill wont pass.. lol.. she's trying to prove a point, that men stop women from having a procedure, they will force us to have a procedure against our will.. "if I cant kill this baby, I'm gonna stop you from making a new one"..
The National Organization for Women Is Tearing Itself Apart Over Sex Work
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 09:19
At a recent hearing in Washington, D.C., the president of the National Organization for Women made it abundantly clear that her organization would not support a bill to decriminalize sex work in the capital.
Testifying in front of the D.C. City Council, Toni Van Pelt, the 72-year-old leader of the storied women's rights organization, claimed the bill would make Washington a ''prime international sex tourism destination'' and pose an ''extreme threat to women and girls.'' Sex work, she said, was ''the most extreme version of the violent oppression of women.''
Asked whether the local NOW chapter supported her position, Van Pelt replied firmly: ''I am representing all the chapters in the National Organization for Women.''
Watching the testimony from home days later, Monica Weeks, the president of the local NOW chapter, was shocked. Her chapter had never declared opposition to the bill'--in fact, they were working on testimony in support of it.
''That [was] the most blatant demonstration of disrespect we've had in a long time,'' she told The Daily Beast. ''And honestly they probably don't even realize it.''
The episode illustrated a growing divide within the feminist movement on whether the sale and purchase of consensual adult sex should be decriminalized. Numerous human rights groups have endorsed the idea, claiming it would make the sex trade safer and curtail discriminatory policing. But women's organizations like NOW, founded at a time when many feminists considered prostitution inherently demeaning, continue to oppose it.
Internally, however, backlash is brewing. Younger members and women of color told The Daily Beast they are frustrated by the leadership's refusal to hear them out on the subject. Some have formed private Facebook groups to vent and strategize, while others have fumed on internal listservs and in letters to the board. A task force meant to reach consensus on the issue stalled without a single meeting.
And the debate only seems to be intensifying. Hours after The Daily Beast reached out to NOW's national group for comment, Van Pelt sent an email blast to all chapter leaders warning that they ''should not speak out in opposition to a national policy in the press.''
''Since the founding of the National Organization for Women in 1966 we have spoken in one voice on the issues critical to women's equality,'' Van Pelt wrote. ''It is essential that all chapter leaders and members adhere to positions regarding the issues, public policy and law affirmed by the National Conference or National Board.''
NOW is the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country, with 550 chapters covering every state and the District of Columbia. It has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to march for abortion access and the Equal Rights Amendment, and spurred the passage of landmark federal anti-discrimination laws. Its PAC has raised millions of dollars for feminist candidates and dolled out coveted election-year endorsements.
Because of this storied history, when NOW takes a stance on an issue, women around the country listen. This year, the group mounted a nationwide campaign against what it called ''sex trafficking and exploitation.'' The campaign aimed to ''end the demand'' for sex work by criminalizing pimps and johns (or in NOW speak, ''purchasers of sex acts'' and those who benefit financially from the sale of other people for sex.'') A key component of the campaign was opposing the D.C. decriminalization bill.
The D.C. chapter, however, was not on board. After seeing Van Pelt's testimony in October, the board fired off a letter to the national organization, blasting the president's ''misleading and dehumanizing language,'' and the ''breach of autonomy and assertion that this language represents DC NOW's views.''
''Going forward, we ask that that National NOW modify their language to reflect the terms currently accepted and used in the sex worker community and by progressive organizations that show respect for all women and their choices,'' they wrote in the letter, first reported by Gay City News.
When Van Pelt did not respond to follow-up emails, Weeks forwarded the letter to all of the state chapter presidents in the country.
''I'm so done with just staying quiet,'' Weeks told The Daily Beast. ''We're just pissed and they're not going to change. And if they're not going to change, at least I'm going to be honest.''
Weeks was not the only one growing frustrated. Several chapter leaders had been quietly seething since the national convention that July, where Van Pelt submitted several resolutions in favor of the so-called Nordic model.
The resolutions called for the removal of criminal penalties for those who sell sex, but not those who buy it'--something many activists say does not go far enough to protect sex workers' rights. A group of younger feminists decided to submit their own competing resolution in support of full decriminalization.
The measures sparked some of the most heated conversations throughout the three-day event, but did not make it to a vote. Instead, the group elected to form a task force to discuss the issue and come to a mutually agreeable solution.
But task force member Tika Viteri told The Daily Beast that the group has yet to hold a single meeting. The only communication she has received in the six months since its formation is an email from Van Pelt, urging members to protest Rep. Ayanna Pressley's federal decriminalization bill. Viteri said when she pushed back, Van Pelt did not respond to follow-up emails.
''I think they expected everyone to be on board with this,'' she said of the national group's stance. ''They weren't quite prepared for what to do if their plan didn't succeed.''
Even as the task force stalled, the national group continued to send out alerts about the national anti-trafficking campaign'--alerts that referred to sex workers as ''prostituted persons'' and claimed that ''no one chooses it as a career path over other professions.'' The releases caught the eye of chapter leaders like Michelle Fadeley, who said she was alarmed by the word choice and by Van Pelt's resistance to criticism.
When local leaders protested, Fadeley said, Van Pelt defended her position by saying that no mother would want their daughter to be a sex worker.
''I was a little aghast at that,'' said Fadeley, the president of Illinois NOW. ''We could say the same thing about abortion. I don't think anyone wants their daughter to have an abortion, but that is not a valid argument to not have that choice, and to not support women who choose that.''
Other members said they, too, saw hypocrisy in NOW's stance. ''What I don't understand is how an organization that says, 'My body my choice,' is coming out and saying [sex work] is wrong,''' said Montgomery County, Maryland, chapter president Jennie Rose D'Elia-Dufour. ''It's, 'My body my choice,' unless you're trying to make money to support yourself.''
Madison, Wisconsin chapter president Mara Jarvis was so upset that she started a Facebook chat with other chapter leaders to vent her frustrations. It quickly swelled to over a dozen angry members. They contemplated writing a letter to the national board, but settled on bringing a resolution to the next conference instead. Several other leaders said they would support a similar resolution.
''We've been at the forefront of every fight of the last 50 years,'' California chapter president Kolieka Seigle said. ''To not be on the right side of history this time is a travesty.''
Much of the current debate centers around what, exactly, NOW's position is. Van Pelt has repeatedly told leaders that official NOW policy supports the Nordic model, citing a 2016 resolution on child sex trafficking. She reiterated that sentiment in a statement to The Daily Beast, adding that the organization ''welcomes diverse opinions from our members and open discussion on all of our issue areas.'' .
''NOW's national policy is that we support the Equality/Nordic model, which would decriminalize people who are prostituted and provide programs that would help them to successfully exit the trade and access counseling, health care, housing, training and employment,'' Van Pelt said. ''NOW's President speaks on behalf of the grassroots, who themselves have decided on this position at our 2016 conference.''
But other members argue that a resolution on child sex trafficking has nothing to do with trading in consensual adult sex. Florida chapter president Kim Porteous said her chapter passed a resolution in favor of decriminalization last year, not realizing that it could conflict with current NOW policy. ''Human trafficking is horrendous and it has nothing to do with choice,'' she said. ''Sex work does.''
In fact, NOW passed a national resolution calling for decriminalization in early 1970s, at the height of the second-wave feminism porn wars. While activists like Catherine McKinnon and Gloria Steinem were arguing that pornography and prostitution perpetuated patriarchy, local NOW chapters were canvassing with sex worker rights groups and protesting mandatory STI-testing laws.
That decision was not without controversy'--Berkeley NOW member Tish Sommers argued then that legalized prostitution was ''only a mask for greater exploitation of women's bodies'''--but the pro-decriminalization faction ultimately won out. A resolution adopted at the 1973 national conference called for removal of ''all laws relating to the act of prostitution per se, and as an interim measure, the decriminalization of prostitution.''
It's unclear what happened between then and now to change the organization's views. (Asked when the organization's official stance had changed, Van Pelt cited only the 2016 trafficking resolution.) But by the late 1990s, NOW had signed on to a letter calling for all sex work to be considered a form of exploitation. Today, the organization's website proclaims its full support for the Nordic model, claiming that decriminalization would lead to ''even higher rates of human trafficking and perpetuat[e] an already vicious cycle of oppression for women.''
''It is essential that all chapter leaders and members adhere to positions regarding the issues, public policy and law affirmed by the National Conference or National Board.''
'-- Toni Van Pelt, NOW president
To many members, the dispute comes down to a fundamental disagreement on whether people can truly choose sex work. NOW's national leaders have repeatedly claimed that most sex work, if not compelled by outright force, is coerced by societal pressures like poverty, racism and misogyny. Decriminalization advocates, meanwhile, believe the decision to enter sex work is often consensual'--if not always happy.
Viteri described the competing views as a Venn diagram, with sex work on one side and sex trafficking on the other. ''Some of us believe that there is ... some overlap between sex work and sex trafficking,'' she said. ''Some of us believe that it is a solid circle.''
''If you believe that it's a solid circle, then it makes it more difficult to accept that nuance,'' she added.
A majority of Americans, meanwhile, appear to have accepted some of that nuance. Last year, four Democratic presidential candidates came out in favor of decriminalization, and legislators in both D.C. and New York state introduced bills to that effect. Groups like the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have all called for similar reforms. A recent study from Data for Progress found that nearly three-quarters of all Democrats '-- and a majority of voters in both parties '-- support full decriminalization.
The shift is a generational one, but also societal. The Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, has generated a better awareness of how policing can harm marginalized communities. Trans activists have flagged how anti-prostitution laws inordinately affect them, as trans women are disproportionately policed, harassed and attacked for their participation in the sex trade.
''I just find it very patronizing, in a very patriarchal way, to be telling young women what's best for them.''
'-- Monica Weeks, NOW D.C.
Unsurprisingly, these divides crop up in the NOW membership. Within the organization, Weeks said, ''a lot of the people that are pushing back are the younger members, particularly people of color.''
''The people who are leading the initiatives in New York and D.C. are primarily black and brown women,'' she added. ''So I just find it very patronizing, in a very patriarchal way, to be telling young women what's best for them.''
Despite pushback, there are signs that NOW's position on sex work could slowly be changing. The Florida NOW chapter is standing by their resolution on sex workers rights. D'Elia-Dufour, the Maryland leader, is planning to bring a local sex workers' rights organization in to educate her chapter. It seems inevitable that a resolution on decriminalization will be brought at this year's national conference in Washington. It would need only 75 signatures to pass to a floor vote.
Zoe Bardon, one of NOW's youngest members at age 17, said she sympathized with the older generation of feminists, who were working on this issue long before she was born. But ultimately, she felt they would be unable to resist the shifting tides.
''NOW is always on the forefront of the feminist movement, since our inception in 1966,'' she said. ''I think it's just a matter of time before we fully embrace decriminalization. But hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.''
Judge Makes Landmark Ruling that 'Transphobe' Thought Police Unlawful - Guido Fawkes
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 09:23
Judge Makes Landmark Ruling that 'Transphobe' Thought Police UnlawfulThe police visited Harry Miller last January after a complaint about his tweets. Whilst Miller has not committed a crime, he was told his free expression would be recorded by the authorities as a ''non crime hate incident.'' Now a landmark judgement has ruled the police's actions disproportionate'...
In the seismic landmark ruling, the judge quotes Mill's On Liberty and Orwell's Animal Farm. He concludes that:
''The effect of the police turning up at [the Claimant's] place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated. To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom. In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society.''
Responding to the ruling outside court today, Miller said ''This is a watershed moment for liberty '' the police were wrong to visit my workplace, wrong to 'check my thinking'.'' Is the tide finally turning against the Woke Police..?
UK thought police lawsuit
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 09:23
1 Neutral Citation Number: [2020] EWHC 225 (Admin) Case No: CO/2507/2019 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION ADMINISTRATIVE COURT Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, WC2A 2LL Date: 14/02/2020 Before : MR JUSTICE JULIAN KNOWLES - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Between : THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HARRY MILLER Claimant - and - (1) THE COLLEGE OF POLICING (2) THE CHIEF CONSTABLE OF HUMBERSIDE Defendants - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Ian Wise QC (instructed by Sinclairslaw) for the Claimant Jonathan Auburn (instructed by GLD) for the First Defendant Alex Ustych (instructed by the Force Solicitor) for the Second Defendant Hearing dates: 20 and 21 November 2019 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Approved Judgment
2 The Honourable Mr Justice Julian Knowles: Introduction 1. In his unpublished introduction to Animal Farm (1945) George Orwell wrote: ''If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.'' 2. In R v Central Independent Television plc [1994] Fam 192, 202-203, Hoffmann LJ said that: '''... a freedom which is restricted to what judges think to be responsible or in the public interest is no freedom. Freedom means the right to publish things which government and judges, however well motivated, think should not be published. It means the right to say things which 'right-thinking people' regard as dangerous or irresponsible. This freedom is subject only to clearly defined exceptions laid down by common law or statute.'' 3. Also much quoted are the words of Sedley LJ in Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999) 7 BHRC 375, [20]: ''Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative '... Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having ... '' 4. In R v Shayler [2003] 1 AC 247, [21], Lord Bingham emphasised the connection between freedom of expression and democracy. He observed that 'the fundamental right of free expression has been recognised at common law for very many years' and explained: ''The reasons why the right to free expression is regarded as fundamental are familiar, but merit brief restatement in the present context. Modern democratic government means government of the people by the people for the people. But there can be no government by the people if they are ignorant of the issues to be resolved, the arguments for and against different solutions and the facts underlying those arguments. The business of government is not an activity about which only those professionally engaged are entitled to receive information and express opinions. It is, or should be, a participatory process. But there can be no assurance that government is carried out for the people unless the facts are made known, the issues publicly ventilated '...''.
3 5. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) also protects freedom of expression. It provides: ''1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises. 2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.'' 6. In Handyside v United Kingdom (1979-80) 1 EHRR 737 the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) considered an Article 10 challenge by Mr Handyside following his conviction for obscenity. The Court said at [49]: ''Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of such a society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man. Subject to paragraph 2 of Article 10, it is applicable not only to 'information' or 'ideas' that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no 'democratic society'. This means, amongst other things, that every 'formality', 'condition', 'restriction' or 'penalty' imposed in this sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.'' 7. I turn to the case before me. It concerns freedom of speech. It involves the lawfulness of the First Defendant's operational guidance on non-criminal hate speech and, specifically, how Humberside Police dealt with a complaint by a woman called Mrs B about things the Claimant had written on Twitter about transgender issues that offended her. 8. I suspect that American constitutional scholars would find this case surprising. There, the speech at issue would not have raised a flicker with the authorities. In his State of the Union address in 1941 President Roosevelt proposed four fundamental freedoms that people 'everywhere in the world' ought to enjoy, the first of which was freedom of speech. In the United States that freedom is protected by the First Amendment. It is a
4 bedrock constitutional principle that speech may not be legally restricted on the grounds that it expresses ideas that offend. The strength of that protection is illustrated by Virginia v Black 538 US 343 (2003), where the US Supreme Court held that a law which criminalized public cross-burning was unconstitutional as a violation of free speech '' despite the offensive nature of that symbol which, the Court said, was 'inextricably intertwined with the history of the Ku Klux Klan'. Another example is Snyder v Phelps 562 US 443 (2011), where the Court upheld the right of members of an evangelical church to picket soldiers' funerals carrying signs celebrating their deaths and other messages which most people thought were grossly offensive. 9. The freedom of speech afforded by the common law and Article 10 does not go so far as the First Amendment. But it is worth keeping that constitutional provision in mind because it underscores the vital importance of freedom of speech to a thriving democracy '' a principle which James Madison recognised as long ago as 1789 when he drafted the First Amendment, and which Lord Bingham reaffirmed in Shayler, supra. 10. Moving to the twenty-first century, I probably do not need to explain that Twitter is a popular microblogging and social networking service. In Chambers v Director of Public Prosecutions [2013] 1 WLR 1833, [7] '' [10], Lord Judge CJ gave the following helpful description of how Twitter works: ''7. '... Twitter was not invented until 2006 '... but, as is the way with modern means of communication, its daily use by millions of people throughout the world has rocketed. 8. Each registered user adopts a unique user name or 'Twitter handle' '... 9. In very brief terms Twitter enables its users to post messages (of no more than 140 characters) on the Twitter internet and other sites. Such messages are called tweets. Tweets include expressions of opinion, assertions of fact, gossip, jokes (bad ones as well as good ones), descriptions of what the user is or has been doing, or where he has been, or intends to go. Effectively it may communicate any information at all that the user wishes to send, and for some users, at any rate, it represents no more and no less than conversation without speech. 10. Those who use Twitter can be 'followed' by other users and Twitter users often enter into conversations or dialogues with other Twitter users. Depending on how a user posts his tweets, they can become available for others to read. A public time line of a user shows the most recent tweets. Unless they are addressed as a direct message to another Twitter user or users, in which case the message will only be seen by the user posting the tweet, and the specific user or users to whom it is addressed, the followers of a Twitter user are able to access his or her messages. Accordingly most tweets remain visible to the user and his/her followers for a short while, until they are replaced by more recently posted tweets. As every Twitter
5 user appreciates or should appreciate, it is possible for non-followers to access these public time lines and they, too, can then read the messages. It is also possible for non-users to use the Twitter search facility to find tweets of possible interest to them.'' 11. In that case the Divisional Court held that tweets are messages sent over a public electronic telecommunications network for the purposes of the Communications Act 2003. Section 127(1)(a) of that Act makes it an offence to send via such a network 'a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character'. At [28] the Lord Chief Justice said: ''The 2003 Act did not create some newly minted interference with the first of President Roosevelt's essential freedoms '' freedom of speech and expression. Satirical, or iconoclastic, or rude comment, the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, banter or humour, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it should and no doubt will continue at their customary level, quite undiminished by this legislation. Given the submissions by Mr Cooper, we should perhaps add that for those who have the inclination to use Twitter for the purpose, Shakespeare can be quoted unbowdlerised, and with Edgar, at the end of King Lear, they are free to speak not what they ought to say, but what they feel.'' 12. I understand that the Shakespeare quote which the Lord Chief Justice had in mind was, 'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers' (Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, scene 2). The King Lear quote is from Act V, scene 3, where Edgar, son of Gloucester, says that we should, 'Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say'. 13. As I have said, the Claimant's tweets related to transgender issues. This is a topic of current controversy. The Government's 2018 consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (the GRA 2004) (Reform of the Gender Recognition Act '' Government Consultation, July 2018) proposed replacing the current requirements for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate with an approach that places a greater emphasis on the self-identification by a person of their gender. The Minister said this in her introduction to the consultation document: ''Trans people continue to face significant barriers to full participation in public life. Reported hate crime is rising. Reported self-harm and suicide rates, particularly amongst young trans people, are extremely concerning. Trans people continue to face discrimination and stigma, in employment and in the provision of public services. One public service that we know trans people are concerned about is the legal process for changing gender as set out in the Gender Recognition Act 2004. This Act allows an individual to get their gender legally recognised, giving them access to
6 the legal rights of the gender they identify with and a new birth certificate issued in that gender. Many of the trans respondents to our LGBT survey said they found the current system intrusive, costly, humiliating and administratively burdensome. Whilst many trans people want legal recognition, too few are able to get it. In too many cases the current system prevents them from acquiring legal recognition of who they are, denying them the dignity and respect that comes with it. It often leaves trans people in the difficult situation of living in one gender, and holding Government issued forms of identification, credit cards, driving licence and all other documents in that gender, but a birth certificate and legal status in another. This consultation seeks views on how the Government might make it easier for trans people to achieve legal recognition. The way this has been achieved in some other countries around the world is to remove the requirement for a medical diagnosis and to streamline other parts of the process. This is one option that the Government wishes to ask for views on but no firm decisions on our eventual approach have been taken. The legal recognition process is separate from the pathway that trans people follow to obtain medical treatment that they may wish to have, such as hormones or surgery. The questions about any removal of a requirement for a medical diagnosis in the context of this consultation is only with regard to the legal recognition process. We also want to be clear that this is an explorative consultation and we do not have all the answers. That is why, as we consult, we are mindful of the need to engage with all perspectives. We particularly want to hear from women's groups who we know have expressed some concerns about the implications of our proposals.'' 14. On one side of the debate there are those who are concerned that such an approach will carry risks for women because, for instance, it might make it easier for trans women (ie, those born biologically male but who identify as female) to use single-sex spaces such as women's prisons, women's changing rooms and women's refuges. On the other side, there are those who consider it of paramount importance for trans individuals to be able more easily to obtain formal legal recognition of the gender with which they identify. 15. Broadly speaking, the Claimant holds the first of these viewpoints. He posted a number of tweets which Mrs B reported to the police as 'transphobic'. Under the policy issued by the First Defendant, the Hate Crime Operational Guidance (HCOG), the messages were recorded by Humberside Police as a 'non-crime hate incident'. An officer went to the Claimant's place of work to speak to him about them. The Claimant was not present. He and the officer subsequently spoke on the phone. The details of what was said are disputed, and I will return to them later, however the Claimant subsequently complained
7 about his treatment by the police. He claims that the police's actions interfered with his right under Article 10(1) to express himself on transgender issues. 16. This application for judicial review challenges: (a) the legality of HCOG; and (b) how the police dealt with the Claimant under that policy. The Claimant's case is that HCOG is unlawful on its face as being in violation of the common law and/or Article 10 of the Convention. Further or alternatively, he argues his treatment by the police violated his Article 10(1) rights. In other words, he says that even if the policy is lawful, his treatment by the police was unlawful. 17. I should make two things clear at the outset. Firstly, I am not concerned with the merits of the transgender debate. The issues are obviously complex. As I observed during the hearing, the legal status and rights of transgender people are a matter for Parliament and not the courts. Second, the nature of the debate is such that even the use of words such as 'men' and 'women' is difficult. Where those words, or related words, are used in this judgment, I am referring to individuals whose biological sex is as determined by their chromosomes, irrespective of the gender with which they identify. This use of language is not intended in any way to diminish the views and experience of those who identify as female notwithstanding that their biological sex is male (and vice versa), or to call their rights into question. The factual background The Claimant 18. The Claimant is a shareholder in a plant and machinery company in Lincolnshire. He happens to be a former police officer. He holds a number of degrees and formerly taught in higher education. He is intelligent and highly educated. 19. In his first witness statement the Claimant says that over the years he has worked alongside many members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and that prior to this case he had never been the subject of any complaints about transphobia. In [12], [17] and [18] he writes: ''12. On Twitter, my account name (or handle) is @HarrytheOwl. For the past two years, I have tweeted extensively about proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA); the ontology of sex and gender; the potentially dangerous consequences of self-identification to existing sex based rights; the distortion of commonly understood biological concepts, such as male and female, via the introduction of enforced language, including pronouns; the apparent politicisation of the police in their open campaigning to support the proposed change of law to a policy of self-identification; the weaponization of the police by pressure groups in favour of the proposed changes to the law to the detriment of contrary voices. '...
8 17. I believe that trans women are men who have chosen to identify as women. I believe such persons have the right to present and perform in any way they choose, provided that such choices do not infringe upon the rights of women. I do not believe that presentation and performance equate to literally changing sex; I believe that conflating sex (a biological classification) with self-identified gender (a social construct) poses a risk to women's sex-based rights; I believe such concerns warrant vigorous discussion which is why I actively engage in the debate. The position I take is accurately described as gender critical. 18. In this context (political reform) I want to raise awareness by stating that which used to be instinctively obvious '' a biological man is a man and a biological woman is a woman. To claim otherwise is extraordinary. Extraordinary claims require both extraordinary evidence and extraordinary scrutiny prior to becoming law.'' 20. The Claimant goes on to say that he does not have, and has never had, 'any hatred towards members of the LGBT community in general, nor the transgender community in particular'. Nor, he says, does he have any interest in challenging the protection currently afforded to transgender individuals under either the GRA 2004 or the Equality Act 2010. He asserts that when tweeting, he typically uses 'sarcasm, satire and simple questioning' to challenge the beliefs that underpin the proposed reforms to the GRA 2004. 21. According to her witness statement, the Claimant's wife has similar views and concerns. 22. I grant permission to all parties to rely on the additional evidence that has been filed. The Tweets 23. I turn to the Claimant's tweets which give rise to this case. There were 31 tweets in total. They were posted between November 2018 and January 2019. I will not recite them all, but will set out a selection which I think fairly expresses their overall tone and impact. Some of them contained profanity and/or abuse. Mr Wise QC for the Claimant preferred to describe them as 'provocative'. The meaning of some of them is not immediately clear, and so the Claimant has helpfully provided an explanatory note. Apart from Mrs B and another unnamed person, there is no direct evidence that anyone ever read them. I assume some of his Twitter followers would have done, but there is no evidence what they thought of them. 24. I begin on 16 November 2018 when the Claimant tweeted: ''Just had son on from Oxford. The anti-Jenni Murray crowd were out baying, screaming and spitting at students who went to see Steve Bannon, and barricaded their way, not just to the meeting, but when they attempted to retreat to their rooms. Twats.''
9 25. In his note the Claimant explains what this tweet meant: ''This is an account, as relayed by my son, of what he witnessed at Oxford University. Dame Jenni Murray is Radio Four presenter of Woman's Hour. She wrote an article in March 2017 in the Sunday Times which headlined ''Be trans be proud '' but don't call yourself a 'real woman'''. She was due to speak at Oxford University in November 2018 at an event called Powerful British women in History and Society, but cancelled after the Students' Union LGBTQ campaign objected to her Sunday Times comments which they said contributed to the 'harassment, marginalisation, discrimination and violence' faced by trans-people. The LGBTQ campaign had called on the History Society to either publicly condemn her views or cancel the event.'' 26. On 17 November 2018 he wrote in response to a tweet from someone called Dr Adrian Harrop which said, 'No idea what you're talking about': ''Gloating bastard Harrop doing what he does best'' 27. The Claimant explains this as follows: ''This tweet identifies Trans Rights Activist, Dr Adrian Harrop, who appears to be taking delight at the permanent ban from Twitter by the Canadian feminist, Meghan Murphy. Harrop hints at being partially responsible for the ban. Meghan Murphy founded the feminist blog and podcast 'Feminist Comment' in 2012, which won the best feminist blog awards in the Canadian blog awards of the same year. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the New Statesman, Al Jazeera and the National Post in Canada. She is gender critical. Harrop is currently the subject of a full GMC enquiry in relation to both online and off-line behaviour towards at least two women and towards me and my family.'' 28. On 20 November 2018 the Claimant tweeted: ''Is Trans Day of Remembrance a thing, then ? Like, an actual one ?'' 29. The Claimant explains that this was a comment on a tweet by the TUC about something called the Transgender Day of Remembrance which involves remembering those murdered because of transphobia. He says that this was a genuine question because he had not heard of the event.
10 30. On 25 November 2018 the journalist Andrew Gilligan tweeted that Brighton had a group for 'trans or gender-questioning 5 to 11-year-olds'. The same day the Claimant commented on this as follows: '''Give me the child and I'll give you the man.' The reason there's no critical assessment is this: They're building an army.'' 31. The Claimant explains that Andrew Gilligan had exposed 'the rapid rise of primary school children identifying as 'trans'' and was speculating as to the possible causes of this. The Claimant says that the lack of critical assessment had been recently documented by endocrinologists, psychologists, and 'senior whistle blowers' at the Tavistock Centre. He says that the quote was from St Ignatius Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) and he was speculating as to the possible reasons for a lack of critical assessment. He says, 'this is satire, but satire with a purpose', because he had been alarmed by the transitioning of children for a long time. 32. On 26 November 2018 the Claimant posted a picture of a male athlete called Bruce Jenner who won the men's decathlon at the 1976 Olympics and wrote: ''Dear @Twitter Given your rules on dead naming, could you please clarify who won gold at the 1976 Olympic men's decathlon, please ?'' 33. The Claimant explains that 'dead naming' means using someone's name and identity prior to their gender transition. Twitter regards doing it as being a breach of its terms and conditions. The Claimant says that Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner and that she 'not only claims to be a woman but to have always been a woman'. The Claimant says his question confronts the reconciliation of these apparently contradictory facts: 'If Jenner was always a woman, why was she competing in a men's event ?' 34. On 30 November 2018 he wrote: ''Ah yes; the troubled 40s when my rainbow wearing non binary 1920's gran was made to choose between having a lady vagina or a lady penis. It really was Sophie's Choice.'' 35. The Claimant explains this was a comment on someone else's tweet which claimed that trans identified persons have suffered more than any generation in history, 'a claim which I find unfounded and a biased reporting of history.' 36. On 11 December 2018 the Claimant tweeted: ''If we asked Holly and Jessica who murdered them, I imagine they wouldn't say 'A woman called Nicola'. #IanHuntleyIsAMan'' 37. The Claimant explains that this was a comment on a report that Ian Huntley, the Soham murderer, was identifying as a woman called Nicola and that activists were supporting his right to do so. He says that 'this is not hate speech towards a community'. He said
11 he was expressing concern by sarcasm that the horrific murder of Holly and Jessica was somehow being overshadowed by support for the murderer's transgenderism. 38. On 16 December 2018 the Claimant commented on the following tweet: ''It's awful reading threads from parents who don't accept their kids are trans & are actively suppressing them. I just read one and I feel sick. What they're doing is inhumane, unscientific, and extremely dangerous. As the parent of a happy trans teen, it breaks my heart.'' 39. To that, the Claimant replied: ''Had to read this crap pile twice to be sure it wasn't a parody account.'' 40. On 22nd December 2018 above a tweet about transgender participants in female sports, the Claimant commented 'proving once more that Sheffield women know the difference between lads n' lasses'. 41. The Claimant says that he cannot now recall the context of this tweet as the original tweet has been deleted. 42. The Claimant posted the following on 1 January 2019: ''I was assigned Mammal at Birth, but my orientation is Fish. Don't mis species me. fuckers.'' 43. The Claimant describes this as 'existential humour', and says the point he was making was that if a biological male can become a biological female, 'then what boundary exists to separate fish from mammals ?' 44. On 3 January 2019 the Claimant posted: ''You know the worst thing about cancer ? It's transphobic.'' 45. He explains this was a sarcastic tweet in response to a news report on medical evidence that a certain type of brain tumour is different in men than women. He says his comment was intended to demonstrate 'the obvious primacy of biology over gender.' 46. Also on 3 January, the Claimant posted a comment (above a picture of a transgender woman): 'Grow a beard, Hon '... s'all the rage with the transwomen, appaz.' 47. The Claimant explains that the tweet he was responding to has been deleted, but he thinks this tweet was in response to a tweet from a trans activist who was arguing the NHS should provide more surgery for trans people.
12 48. On 6 January 2019 the Claimant tweeted to ask 'how do we categorise crime committed by 'women with penises'. Do they go in the M or the F column?' 49. He explains, 'This is a simple question exposing the absurdity of the assertion that women have penises' 50. On 11 January 2019 he wrote: ''Transwomen are women. Anyone know where this new biological classification was first proposed and adopted ?'' 51. He explains this was an enquiry as to the historical origins of the statement 'Transwomen are women'. 52. Later that day he posted this: ''Seriously, do we know when this bollocks first appeared ?'' 53. He explains that this tweet: '''... makes an enquiry regarding the historical origin of the phrase 'transwomen are women'. Inclusion of the word 'bollocks' indicates my opinion of that statement. My opinion is not based on unconsidered prejudice; indeed I have offered a cash reward to anyone who can justify the statement without reference to tautology, gendered essence, reliance of sexist stereotypes, or by citing generally accepted science. My understanding is that gender is a social construct, that sex is a biological classification, that conflation between sex and gender is dangerously wrong.'' 54. On 13 January 2019 the Claimant tweeted: ''Any idea why men aren't being more vocally GC ? I know there's a few of us, but I'd expect way more. And, could I ask @Glinner why you think there are not more GC voices on the box ? You'd think it would be ripe for satire.'' 55. The Claimant explains: ''In this tweet I ask a question. Why are men not being more gender critical ? I direct a question to the writer Graham Linehan (@Glinner) who writes TV situation comedy. I suggest that the subject is ripe for satire.'' 56. As I shall explain in a moment, the post which most concerned the police was this verse, which Mr Miller said was written by a feminist song-writer. He re-tweeted it on 22 November 2018:
13 ''Your breasts are made of silicone/ your vagina goes nowhere/ And we can tell the difference/ Even when you are not there/ Your hormones are synthetic/And let's just cross this bridge/What you have, you stupid man/Is male privilege'' 57. The Claimant says that he found this amusing and re-tweeted it and that 'it reveals the sentiment that many feminists feel '' that male privilege is now encroaching on womanhood.' Mrs B's complaint to the police 58. In early January 2019 the Claimant's tweets came to the attention of Mrs B. She has made a witness statement. Without objection from the parties I made an order anonymising her identity under CPR r 39.2. She lives somewhere in the north-west of England, some distance from the Claimant. They do not know each other. She describes herself as a 'post-operative transgender lady'. 59. In her statement Mrs B says that she did not see the Claimant's tweets herself but had them drawn to her attention by a friend. From this I conclude that Mrs B made a voluntary choice to read the tweets. They were not directed at her. Indeed, the conclusion which I draw from the evidence is that they were not directed at anyone in particular but were simply posted on Twitter to be read by the Claimant's Twitter followers or anyone else who might come across them, if they could be bothered to read them. They were certainly not specifically targeted at the transgender community. There is no evidence what Mrs B's friend thought of them. Mrs B does not say that anyone else read them. There is certainly no evidence that before Mrs B became involved anyone found the tweets offensive or indecent or in any way remarkable. They were merely moments lost in the Twittersphere (as I believe it is known). 60. However, Mrs B was offended by them. She writes in her statement that: ''I was so alarmed and appalled by his brazen transphobic comments that I felt it necessary to pass it (sic) on to Humberside Police as he is the chairman of a company based in that force's area.'' 61. She goes on to describe the Claimant as a 'bigot' who 'eighty years ago '... would have been making the same comments about Jewish people'. It is not clear what comments she is specifically referring to, but I understand she regards the Claimant as someone who eighty years ago would, by his writings, have contributed to the socio-political conditions in Germany which paved the way for the Holocaust and the murder of millions of Jews. She also says that over different decades he would have made offensive comments about gay people and black and Asian people. 62. She continues: ''I doubt very much that Mr Miller has met any transgender people. Never even come across them. Never even interviewed them for a position with his firm. Never employed
14 them. Never even sat down for a cup of tea with them. So, what makes him an expert suddenly in transgender issues ? In his interview with The Spectator, he claims he is 'concerned' with the introduction of self-ID. Self-ID has nothing to do with him. Doesn't affect him at all. I doubt he has even read the proposals behind it. In his interview with the The Telegraph, there is a desire to protect the female members of his family. Laudable, of course. But protect them from WHAT ? Does he, in his feverish imagination, honestly believe that transgender people are a threat ? Seriously ? He claims to be a 'feminist'. I'd like to ask him how many females he actually employs at his firm, outside of his secretary. He is NO feminist.'' 63. It therefore appears that Mrs B was just as exercised about what the Claimant had said in these interviews as she was about his tweets. The Claimant gave the interviews after his case received publicity in the media. 64. She goes on (emphasis in original): ''He and his followers on Twitter honestly believe he has not done anything wrong. They say a crime has not been committed. (Clue: 'Hate CRIME'. Now maybe that might need to be reworded but it is clear he has still committed an offence). '... All the transgender community want is to be LEFT IN PEACE. Transgender people ARE who they say they are. Trans women ARE women and Trans men ARE men. It NOT for the likes of Mr Miller to decide who is what, nor is it any of his God damn business. All they wish is to be treated with full and unswerving respect from their peers '' respect should be automatic and, contrary to popular opinion, not earned. To be treated equally and fairly before the law. That is it. No more, no less. They are not monsters. They are not predators. They are not weirdos. They are not freaks. They are, in nearly every single case, decent, law-abiding people who cause harm to no-one. The amount of vitriol, abuse or worse they have to take on a daily basis from people like Harry Miller is an absolute disgrace and an affront to any society that calls itself civilised.'' 65. I should make clear that in none of the tweets did the Claimant use any of the words 'monsters', 'predators', 'weirdos' or 'freaks'. 66. Mrs B concludes her statement as follows:
15 ''I'll finish by addressing Mr Miller directly: Mr Miller, whether you or your followers like it or not, you have been served notice that your disgusting, bigoted, bullying, utterly reprehensible behaviour is NOT going to be tolerated any longer. That is NOT a threat either.'' 67. In a separate email to the police Mrs B wrote: ''I do not think it is an exaggeration to state that, should this man and his organisation win this case, transgender people can kiss the few rights they have goodbye. It will be truly 'open season' on the transgender community, a community that has suffered more than enough from constant vile and unjustified attacks on them in real life, in the media and online. Do you know what it is like to be transgender in this country in 2019 ? To be denied your rights to be the person you want to be ? To be subject to disgusting and unwarranted attacks just for having the temerity to exist ? To be subject to the most awful discrimination ?'' 68. The Claimant wrote a witness statement in response to Mrs B's evidence: ''6. I completely reject any suggestion that I am racist, homophobic or transphobic. The suggestion that I am serves to show how ignorant the writer is, and that the writer simply does not know me or anything about me. '... 8. The assertion that I would have been making 'the same comments' (clearly meaning bigoted comments) about Jewish people 80 years ago, about black and Asian people 40 years ago and gay people 30 years ago is simply gratuitously offensive.'' Events following Mrs B's complaint 69. Mrs B made her complaint via an online system called 'True Vision'. It was passed to Humberside Police's Crime Reporting Team (CRT). They decided to record it as a hate incident pursuant to HCOG. The evidence from Steven Williams, Humberside Police's Crime/Incident Registrar is that a staff member reviewed Mrs B's complaint and created a non-crime investigation on the relevant computer system. He says [11]: ''In this case and generally, the CRT staff member's assessment is based upon the initial account from the person reporting. There may be instances, where it is not considered appropriate to record a 'hate indicent' on the facts of a particular case. Staff will use a common sense and a proportionate approach to recording in all
16 circumstances. It is not the case that report of a hate incident will be recorded as such.'' 70. It would therefore appear that the matter was recorded as a non-crime hate incident simply on the say so of Mrs B and without any critical scrutiny of the tweets or any assessment of whether what she was saying was accurate. As I shall show in a moment, what she told the police was not accurate. 71. After Mrs B contacted the police, they created a document called a 'Crime Report Print'. Given the common ground that at no stage did anyone (apart from Mrs B) think that the Claimant had committed a crime, the title is striking. It is also striking that throughout Mrs B is referred to as 'the victim' and the Claimant as 'the suspect'. Whether or not Mrs B was properly to be regarded as a victim, it was certainly inaccurate to describe the Claimant as a suspect. 72. The first entry is from 4 January 2019 and reads as follows: ''Threat '' low [REDACTED] Harm '' emotional Risk '' unlikely Investigation '' named suspect, no factors for CSI, no known witnesses, no CCTV, twitter posts available Vulnerabilities '' none known Engagement '' passed to CMU'' 73. Further on there is this: ''I would like to report an individual by the name of Harry Miller who works for ['...] Immingham, South Humberside. Miller has been making transphobic remarks on his Twitter account under the handle @HarryTheOwl. These comments are designed to cause deep offence and show his hatred for the transgender community.'' 74. In my judgment there was no evidence that the tweets were 'designed' to cause deep offence, even leaving aside the Claimant's evidence about his motives. Mrs B's report was inaccurate. The tweets were not directed at the transgender community. They were primarily directed at the Claimant's Twitter followers. In Monroe v Hopkins [2017] EWHC 433 (QB), [36], Warby J remarked that it could be assumed in that case that the parties' Twitter followers (and visitors to their homepages) were likely to be sympathetic to their contrasting political stances (left wing v right wing). I assume the same to be true here. It can be assumed that the Claimant's followers are broadly sympathetic to his gender critical views, as are those others who read his tweets. 75. The Crime Report has this entry for 5 January 2019: ''Victim states that she has not been contacted by the suspect. She was informed that the suspect had made comments about the transgender community by another person. Victim states they would like the suspect speaking to but on further research
17 the victim has herself been making derogatory comments on [REDACTED] about people who are making comments about transgender people.'' 76. The matter was then referred to PC Mansoor Gul, a Community Cohesion Officer, for investigation. In his witness statement PC Gul writes: ''9. Where I am assigned a hate incident to investigate, I review the report and decide whether it has been correctly classified as a hate incident. If, having reviewed the evidence available and spoken to the victim, I consider it to be more serious than a hate incident, then I can recommend that it be re-classified as a hate crime. Likewise, if having reviewed the evidence, I am satisfied that no action is required then I can close the matter without speaking to the alleged offender. Where I am satisfied, that an incident has been correctly classified as a hate incident then, as a bare minimum, I would speak to people involved. I do this for a number of reasons but in the main, it is to ensure I have information available from all parties, to make people aware of the impact of their behaviour on others and to prevent matters from escalating into hate crimes being committed.'' 77. PC Gul says that he spoke to Mrs B on 15 January 2019 and asked her to send him screen shots of the tweets. She did so, and PC Gul viewed them. He formed the view that they were properly treated as a hate incident. He says in his statement [10)]: ''I did not identify any criminal offence but I was satisfied that there was a perception by the victim that the tweets were motivated by a hostility or prejudice against transgender people.'' 78. There is no suggestion in PC Gul's statement that he considered whether Mrs B was in reality a 'victim', given the tweets were not directed at her or the transgender community but that she had chosen voluntarily to read them, having previously been unaware of them. Nor is there is any suggestion that PC Gul considered [1.2.4] of HCOG, which provides that it is not appropriate to record a crime or incident as a hate crime or hate incident if 'it was based on the perception of a person or group who had no knowledge of the victim, crime or the area, and who may be responding to media or internet stories or who are reporting for a political or similar motive.' I will return to this later. 79. PC Gul says he considered what course of action to take, and after considering various matters, he decided to speak to the Claimant. PC Gul's rationale for speaking to the Claimant is explained at [11] of his witness statement. It was 'to ensure that I had as much information as possible to hand so that I could make an informed decision as to what action to take in this particular matter'. He goes on: ''Having reviewed the nature of the tweets, the impact on the victim and the risk of matters escalating to criminal offences being committed, I took the decision to speak with Mr Miller.''
18 80. PC Gul does not say what criminal offences he had in mind or why he thought there was a 'risk'. 81. On 23 January 2019 PC Gul attended the Claimant's workplace to speak to him. He says that he deliberately did not go in uniform so as not to attract wider attention and because 'the fact that the purpose of my visit was simply to speak with Mr Miller rather than the exercise of any police powers that were available to me.' ([12]). 82. The Claimant was not present, and so PC Gul left his card with a director of the company with the request that the Claimant call him. The Claimant called him back the same day. 83. It is at this point that the evidence of the Claimant and PC Gul diverges. 84. PC Gul's primary account is contained in the Crime Report that I have referred to. The relevant entry is as follows (emphasis as in original): ''Later on the same day PC GUL received a call from Mr Miller and discussion took place about the tweets. Mr Miller wasn't happy and asked if he had committed a crime, PC Gul clearly explained to him that although the tweets were not criminal, they were upsetting many members of the transgender community who were upset enough to report them to the police. PC GUL explained to Mr Miller that it had been recorded as a HATE INCIDENT and PC GUL wanted to let him know about it also get his side of the story. PC GUL's thought process was that all parties need to be spoken to make a fair and balanced assessment. This was done in line with national guide lines in terms of hate incidents. PC GUL further explained to MR MILLER that although his behaviour did not amount to criminal behaviour, if it escalated then it may become criminal and the police will need to deal with it appropriately. MR MILLER was not happy, conversation took place around human rights act and freedom of speech and opinion. PC GUL explained that he fully agree and understand (sic) that but if there is a criminal behaviour then it would be dealt with as such. MR MILLER was not happy and informed PC GUL that he would take this to the national media.'' 85. For reasons which I will explain later it is important to note that there is no evidence that the tweets 'were upsetting many members of the transgender community who were upset enough to report them to the police'. There had been one complaint from Mrs B. PC Gul's statement that the Claimant had offended a significant section of the transgender community, who had then complained to the police, was not true. I note that in [10] of his statement PC Gul says that Mrs B told him that she had been contacted by other individuals who felt the same as her. However, given there is nothing in Mrs B's statement to that effect, I can place no weight on that assertion. She is quite clear that it was a friend who told her about the Claimant's tweets. It is certainly not the case that there had been a number of complaints: there had been one, from Mrs B. It may be that PC Gul wrongly thought Mrs B had been speaking on behalf of a number of transgender
19 people, and that he laboured under that misapprehension in his dealings with the Claimant. But, for whatever reason, he misrepresented the facts. 86. I have not overlooked the assertion by Mr Williams in [14] of his statement that 'the complainant reported other individuals had also told her that they had been affected by the Tweets '...' I can place no weight on that assertion. There is no evidence that Mr Williams ever spoke to Mrs B and he provides no foundation for this statement. It might be he derived this from the Crime Report, which itself was not supported by any evidence. More significantly, in her statement Mrs B does not say that anyone else had seen the tweets. Her initial complaint to the police did not say that other people had seen them (besides the friend who told her about them). Given the strong terms in which she expresses herself in her statement, I would have expected her to say so if that had been the case. 87. The Claimant's account of the phone call is at [30] onwards of his first witness statement. He says that PC Gul told him that he had been contacted by a person from 'down south'. He called the tweets 'transphobic' and referred to 'the victim'. He says PC Gul said that the 'victim' had called to express concern for employees at the Claimant's place of work and was concerned it was dangerous for trans people. PC Gul explained that the Claimant had not committed a crime, but that his tweets had been 'upsetting to many members of the transgender community'. PC Gul told the Claimant that the lyric about silicone breasts had come closest to being a crime. 88. According to the Claimant in [34] of his witness statement, there was then this exchange: ''I informed PC Gul that I was not the author of the verse and that it was simply expressing in verse the sense of imbalance of power between the sexes in the context of transgenderism. He said by Liking and Retweeting it on Twitter, I was promoting Hate. I again asked for, and received, confirmation that neither the verse, nor any of the other alleged 30 tweets, were criminal. I then asked PC Gul why he was wasting my time. PC Gul said 'I need to check your thinking'. I replied: 'So, let me get this straight, I've committed no crime. You're a police officer. And you need to check my thinking ?' PC Gul answered: 'Yes'. I said, 'Have you any idea what that makes you ? 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' is a dystopian novel, not a police training manual.''' 89. 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' is, of course, the 1949 novel by George Orwell which coined the term 'thoughtcrime' to describe a person's politically unorthodox or unacceptable
20 thoughts. The Thought Police are the secret police of the superstate Oceania, who discover and punish thoughtcrime. 90. At [35] and [38] the Claimant says: ''35. PC Gul explained that, on the basis of the third party complaint, a Hate Incident Record would be generated, regardless of there being no crime nor any evidence of hate. He warned me that continuing to tweet Gender critical content could count as an escalation from non crime to crime, thus prompting further police intervention. PC Gul did not elaborate on how such escalation might occur. However, the clear implication was that, in order to avoid such escalation into criminality, I would be strongly advised to cease tweeting gender critical content. At the time, I instinctively felt that the intervention by PC Gul was wrong, coercive and oppressive although I was not yet sufficiently cognisant in the European Convention on Human Rights to quote Article 10 at him. '... [38] Finally, PC Gul offered his final words of advice, words that I will never forget as I was so stunned by them. He said, 'You have to understand, sometimes in the womb, a female brain gets confused and pushes out the wrong body parts, and that is what transgender is. I replied, 'You've got to be kidding me. Wrong body parts ? You have to know that is absolute bullshit. Is this really the official police line ?' PC Gul said, 'Yes, I have been on a course.' I ended the call shortly after this. The call lasted 34 minutes.'' 91. In the Crime Report under the heading 'Modus Operandi Summary', PC Gul states that the 'suspect' was 'posting transphobic comments on Twitter causing offence and showing hatred for transgender community'. 92. PC Gul does not accept parts of the Claimant's account of their conversation. He denies telling the Claimant that he wanted to 'check his thinking' and denies the comment about 'pushing out' the wrong body parts. He also denies telling the Claimant not to tweet further on transgender issues. The Claimant is adamant that these things were said. Subsequent events 93. The Claimant's evidence is that he experienced a deep sense of personal humiliation, shame and embarrassment on both his own behalf and for his family and employees, on learning about the recording of a hate incident in relation to his tweets. He says that as a consequence of the police's actions, he has withdrawn from all involvement with his
21 company and has not returned to the office since the day he was first contacted by PC Gul. He says that he and his family have been the subject of threats and intimidation from a number of individuals, which caused the Claimant and his wife briefly to leave the family home. Nevertheless, after much deliberation and against the wishes of his wife, the Claimant has decided to continue tweeting about transgender issues. Indeed, he did so fairly promptly after speaking with PC Gul. 94. The press quickly picked up the story. This prompted a statement from Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Young on 28 January 2019 which described the Claimant's tweets as 'transphobic', referred to the possibility of such incidents 'escalat[ing]', and stated that a 'correct decision was made to record the report as a hate incident'. Mr Young's statement included the following: ''The actions taken by the individual and his comments around transgender caused someone distress. We take all reports of hate related incidents seriously and aim to ensure they do not escalate into anything further. The correct decision was made to record the report as a hate incident '... and to proportionately progress (sic) by making contact with the individual concerned to discuss the actions on social media.'' 95. This statement therefore made clear that there had only been one complaint to the police and it therefore shows, as I have said, that PC Gul had been wrong to suggest the Claimant had upset 'many members' of the transgender community. 96. The Claimant lodged a complaint with the police about his treatment. He was subsequently contacted by Acting Inspector Wilson by telephone, and on 28 March 2019 he received a letter from him rejecting his complaint. The letter stated that the Claimant had been spoken to in order to help him: '''... understand the impact [his] comments could have on others and to prevent any possible escalation into a crime' and noted that '[w]hile it is your right to express your opinion, if future reports are received it is our duty to consider our role and proportionately look into them, to prevent any potential offences occurring'''. 97. The Claimant appealed this decision to Humberside Police's Appeals Body. His appeal was rejected on 18 June 2019. Facts: conclusions 98. No party invited me to hear oral evidence, and so I am unable to determine the disputes of fact between the Claimant and PC Gul as to what exactly was said during their conversation. However, the following facts are not in dispute, or I can conclude as follows on the evidence: (a) PC Gul visited the Claimant's place of work in his capacity
22 as a police officer, albeit he did not think he was exercising any powers of a police officer; (b) he left a message requesting that the Claimant contact him; (c) they subsequently spoke on the telephone; (d) during that call PC Gul misrepresented and/or exaggerated the effect of the Claimant's tweets had had and the number of complaints the police had received; (e) PC Gul warned the Claimant that if he 'escalated' matters then the police might take criminal action; (f) he did not explain what escalation meant; (g) ACC Young also publicly referred to escalation; (h) when the Claimant complained, the police responded by again referring to escalation and criminal proceedings. 99. Specifically, I find that the only people who definitely read the tweets were Mrs B and the friend who told her about them, and that the only person who complained to the police was Mrs B. 100. On these facts I conclude that the police left the Claimant with the clear belief that he was being warned by them to desist from posting further tweets on transgender matters even if they did not directly warn him in terms. In other words, I conclude that the police's actions led him, reasonably, to believe that he was being warned not to exercise his right to freedom of expression about transgender issues on pain of potential criminal prosecution. At no stage did the police explain on what basis they thought that the Claimant's tweets could 'escalate' to a criminal offence. They did not indicate on what evidence they thought there was a risk of escalation. They did not indicate which offence they thought the Claimant's tweets might escalate into. I accept what the Claimant said in [52] of his first witness statement: ''The initial intervention by PC Gul and the subsequent statements of ACC Young and A/Inspector Wilson cannot be interpreted as anything other than attempts to discourage me, and other interested parties from making such statements and to withdraw from national, political conversation.'' The Hate Crime Operational Guidance 2014 (HCOG) 101. With that lengthy but necessary factual introduction, I now turn to the policy at issue in this case. 102. The College of Policing is the professional body whose purpose is to provide those working in policing with the skills and knowledge necessary for effective policing. The College's role is described in the witness statement of David Tucker, its Faculty Lead for Crime and Criminal Justice. He says that the College is a company limited by guarantee that is owned by the Secretary of State for the Home Department but which operates at arms-length from the Home Office. The College's work is limited to policy. It has no operational role. 103. Mr Tucker says that the College's purpose is to support the fight against crime and to protect the public by ensuring professionalism in policing. It has five principal responsibilities: (a) setting standards and developing guidance and policy for policing; (b) building and developing the research evidence base for policing; (c) supporting the professional development of police officers and staff; (d) supporting the police, other law enforcement agencies and those involved in crime reduction; and (e) identifying the
23 ethics and values of the police. He explains that ss 123 '' 124 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 give powers to the College to issue regulations and codes of practice. Additionally, the College issues manuals of guidance and advice called Authorised Professional Practice (APP). He says that APP is the type of document that the College uses to set out standards that police forces and individuals should apply when discharging their responsibilities. At [15] he says that HCOG was developed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and adopted by the College, although it has not yet been adopted as APP. 104. The evidence of Paul Giannasi, the Hate Crime Adviser to the National Police Chief's Council is that for a long time the police have recorded and responded to non-crime incidents. In his statement he says: "26. Throughout my career police have recorded all calls for service or deployments, not only to account for officer activity, but also due to the recognition of the need to play a role in solving societal problems rather than just responding to bring offenders to justice when they escalate to criminality '... 70. It is often unclear from the initial contact whether a crime has been committed. A core purpose of policing is to prevent crime and protect citizens. Recording incidents allows the police to monitor and measure police deployments. As an operational police officer, I spent a considerable amount of time responding to non-crime incidents ranging from parking disputes, anti-social behaviour and community tensions '... the policing role would include trying to mitigate risk, advise on and/or assess risk of escalation into more serious harm.'' 105. In 2014 the College published HCOG. The background is set out in Mr Giannasi's witness statement. I summarise it as follows. HCOG is the result of twenty to thirty years of policy development concerning police responses to hate crime and non-crime hate incidents. Following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993, the Macpherson Report was produced in 1999. Many of the key features in contemporary hate incident policy (as set out in the HCOG) originate from the recommendations in the Macpherson Report, including perception-based recording, ie, that the basis for determining whether an incident was a 'racist incident' should be whether it was perceived as racist by the victim or another person (Recommendation 12) and encouragement of the reporting of non-criminal incidents as well as crimes (Recommendation 16). 106. The relevant parts of HCOG to this claim are [1.2], [1.2.4], [1.2.5], [6.1], [6.3] and [6.4]. 107. A hate incident in relation to transgender people is defined in [1.2] as: ''Any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice
24 against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.'' 108. As I shall explain later, [1.2.4] ('Other person') is important in this case. It provides: ''Perception-based recording refers to the perception of the victim, or any other person. It would not be appropriate to record a crime or incident as a hate crime or hate incident if it was based on the perception of a person or group who had no knowledge of the victim, crime or the area, and who may be responding to media or internet stories or who are reporting for a political or similar motive. The other person could, however, be one of a number of people, including: ' police officers or staff ' witnesses ' family members ' civil society organisations who know details of the victim, the crime or hate crimes in the locality, such as a third-party reporting charity ' a carer or other professional who supports the victim ' someone who has knowledge of hate crime in the area '' this could include many professionals and experts such as the manager of an education centre used by people with learning disabilities who regularly receives reports of abuse from students ' a person from within the group targeted with the hostility, eg, a Traveller who witnessed racist damage in a local park. A victim of a hate crime or incident does not have to be a member of a minority group or someone who is generally considered to be vulnerable. For example, a heterosexual man who is verbally abused leaving a gay bar may well perceive that the abuse is motivated by hostility based on sexual orientation, although he himself is not gay. Anyone can be the victim of a hate incident or crime, including people working inside the police service.'' 109. Paragraph 1.2.5 (Malicious Complaints) provides: ''Some people, particularly celebrities and political figures, have been subjected to malicious complaints from hostile individuals, often with a grudge against the person, their politics or their lifestyle. This, on occasions, can even be part of a stalking process. Sometimes these complainants will
25 allege that the activity was based on hostility towards them because of their protected characteristics. Police officers should not exacerbate the harm caused to a genuine victim when dealing with such incidents. It is also important not to falsely accuse an innocent person and harm their reputation, particularly where the allegation is made against a public figure. In order not to harm an innocent party, the matter should be dealt with as swiftly and sensitively as is possible. In such circumstances investigating officers should seek support from senior colleagues and the CPS hate crime coordinator.'' 110. A non-crime hate incident is defined in [6.1] as: '''... any non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partially) by a hostility or prejudice.'' 111. Paragraph 6.3 provides: ''6.3 Recording non-crime hate incidents Where any person, including police personnel, reports a hate incident which would not be the primary responsibility of another agency, it must be recorded regardless of whether or not they are the victim, and irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element. The mechanism for local recording of non-crime hate incidents varies. Many forces record them on their crime recording system for ease of collection but assign them a code to separate them out from recordable crimes. Whichever system is used to record hate incidents, managers should have confidence that responses are appropriate and that crimes are not being recorded incorrectly as non-crime incidents. Records must be factually accurate and easy to understand. At an early stage any risks to the victim, their family or the community as a whole must be assessed and identified. The number of non-crime hate incidents is not collated or published nationally, but forces should be able to analyse this locally and be in a position to share the data with partners and communities. Police officers may identify a hate incident, even when the victim or others do not. Where this occurs, the incident should be recorded in the appropriate manner. Victims may be reluctant to reveal that they think they are being targeted because of their ethnicity, religion or other protected characteristic (especially in the case of someone from the LGBT community) or they may not be aware that
26 they are a victim of a hate incident, even though this is clear to others.'' 112. Paragraph 6.4 (Opposition to Police Policy) provides: ''The recording of, and response to, non-crime hate incidents does not have universal support in society. Some people use this as evidence to accuse the police of becoming 'the thought police', trying to control what citizens think or believe, rather than what they do. While the police reject this view, it is important that officers do not overreact to non-crime incidents. To do so would leave the police service vulnerable to civil legal action or criticism in the media and this could undermine community confidence in policing. The circumstances of any incident dictate the correct response, but it must be compatible with section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act states that it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a right conferred by the European Convention on Human Rights. Some of these rights are absolute and can never be interfered with by the state, eg, the freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Some, such as the right to liberty, are classed as limited rights and can be restricted in specific and finite circumstances. Others, such as the right to respect for private and family life, the right to manifest one's religion or beliefs, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly and association are qualified and require a balance to be struck between the rights of the individual and those of the wider community. Qualified rights are usually set out in two parts, the first part sets out the right or freedom, and the second part sets out the circumstances under which the right can be restricted. Generally, interference with a qualified right is not permitted unless it is: ' prescribed by or in accordance with the law ' necessary in a democratic society ' in pursuit of one or more legitimate aims specified in the relevant Article ' proportionate.'' 113. The key points I draw from these provisions are : a. Paragraph 1.2.4 and 1.2.5: there may be circumstances which make it inappropriate to record an incident, for example, a complaint by someone with no proper connection to the incident in question, or a maliciously motivated complaint. b. Paragraph 6.1: (i) it is important to record non-crime incidents so that police understand tensions in communities and prevent these escalating into crimes; (ii)
27 the police have limited enforcement powers to deal with non-crime incidents; (iii) most forces have separate systems for recording crimes and incidents. c. Paragraph 6.3: (i) non-crime hate incidents should be recorded by police unless doing so is the responsibility of another organisation; (ii) early assessment of risk of harm to the person/communities reporting is required; (iii) police officers can identify hate motivation or hostility even if the target does not. d. Paragraph 6.4: the general duty in [6.3] is subject to the following principles (i) the police should not over-react to reports of non-crime hate incidents; (ii) police must take account of s 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the responsibility not to act in way that contravenes the Convention. 114. The College is currently in the process of revising HCOG. This includes revision of the sections the Claimant is most concerned about in this case. The College issued a draft of the proposed new HCOG and held a consultation period between 8 October 2019 and 5 November 2019. The revisions include detailed guidance on malicious complaints and when not to record an incident; two entirely new sections titled 'Management of police information' and 'Disclosure and Barring Service checks'; further detail on responding to non-crime hate incidents; further guidance on ensuring responses are proportionate, as well as further separate guidance on contacting people alleged to have committed such incidents, and further guidance on recording non-crime hate incidents. The parties' submissions The Claimant's submissions 115. On behalf of the Claimant Mr Wise submitted that (a) HCOG is unlawful as contrary to the Claimant's right to freedom of expression under the common law and/or Article 10; (b) the actions taken by the police in recording the incident, and their subsequent dealings with the Claimant, amounted to an unlawful interference with his rights under Article 10. 116. Mr Wise began by emphasising the importance of the freedom of expression at common law: see eg Shayler, supra, [21]; R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Simms [2000] 2 AC 115, p125; Central Television Plc, supra, pp202-203 117. He submitted that the HCOG offends against the principle that the right to freedom of expression may not be curtailed except where the curtailment is authorised by statute, which is an aspect of the principle of legality, and that, secondly, even where a curtailment of the right is authorised in principle, the curtailment must go no further than is reasonably necessary to meet the ends which justify the curtailment. 118. In relation to Article 10, he said that consistently with the approach taken under English common law, the Court has often emphasised that the right to freedom of expression is 'one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and each individual's self-fulfilment': see, eg, Vogt v Germany, supra, [52]. 119. In the Article 10 context, he said that special protection is afforded to political speech and debate on questions of public interest: Vajnai v Hungary (No. 33629/06, judgment
28 of 8 July 2008), [47]. He also said that domestic courts have similarly attached special importance to political speech and public debate in the Article 10 context: see eg R (ProLife Alliance) v British Broadcasting Corporation [2004] 1 AC 185, [6]. 120. Mr Wise accepted that the protection afforded by Article 10 does not apply to cases of hate speech. Article 17 excludes the protection of Article 10 to speech which negates the fundamental values of the Convention. In Erbakan v Turkey, judgment of 6 July 2006, the Court said at [56]: '''... [T]olerance and respect for the equal dignity of all human beings constitute the foundations of a democratic, pluralistic society. That being so, as a matter of principle it may be considered necessary in certain democratic societies to sanction or even prevent all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance '..., provided that any 'formalities', 'conditions', 'restrictions' or 'penalties' imposed are proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.'' 121. However, Mr Wise said that it is critical to distinguish in this context between forms of expression which incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance and forms of expression which may be insulting or offensive to some sections of society but which nevertheless do not incite hatred and which form part of debate on issues of public interest. 122. No party suggested that Article 17 applies to the Claimant's tweets and that Article 10 was not in principle applicable to the Claimant's tweets, although the level of protection to be afforded them was in dispute. 123. In light of these principles, Mr Wise submitted that the HCOG is unlawful on any or all of the following bases: a. Firstly, it violates the common law principle of legality, in that there is no statutory authorisation for the interferences with the fundamental right to freedom of expression to which the Guidance gives rise. Further or alternatively, the approach taken in the Guidance to the mandatory recording of 'non-crime hate incidents' in the absence of any evidence of hate is disproportionate and hence unreasonable as a matter of common law, in that it goes further than is reasonably necessary to achieve the aims pursued. b. Second, it interferes with Article 10 a manner that is not 'prescribed by law' for Convention purposes; c. Third, and in any event, it is not 'necessary in a democratic society' within the meaning of Article 10(2), in that it is disproportionate and fails to strike a fair balance between the Article 10 rights of individuals and the interests of the community in relation to the recording of non-crime hate incidents. 124. Turning to the Second Defendant's specific actions in this case vis- -vis the Claimant, Mr Wise said that for essentially the same reasons, the police's actions, in recording a
29 non-crime hate incident in relation to the Claimant under HCOG and thereafter seeking to dissuade the Claimant from making similar online statements in the future, were also unlawful. 125. Developing these submissions, Mr Wise said the HCOG plainly interferes with the exercise of the common law right to freedom of expression because it is a hindrance or impediment to that right. He said that any utterances that are subjectively perceived as being motivated by hostility or prejudice towards transgender individuals, is plainly apt to hinder or impede free expression in relation to transgender issues, especially where such incidents may (subject to the discretion of the relevant local police force) be included on Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates (ECRCs), with potential consequences for employment in particular professions. 126. Likewise, a police force's decision to record a hate incident pursuant to the HCOG in relation to a particular expression of opinion, along with subsequent police action in relation to the incident concerned (in this case, interventions by police officers and express attempts to dissuade the Claimant from expressing similar views), self-evidently hinders/impedes the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. 127. If the HCOG contravenes the principle of legality, he said that followed inexorably that it was unlawful for the police to rely on it in recording the Claimant's tweets as as a hate incidents, and thereafter seeking to dissuade him from expressing similar views in the future. 128. Further or alternatively, Mr Wise submitted that HCOG, and consequently the police reliance upon it, constitute interferences with the Claimant's Article 10(1) rights that are not prescribed by law within the meaning of Article 10(2). He said that although the Guidance is publicly available, it is opaque and ambiguous in a number of crucial respects including about what incidents will be reported. He emphasised that a 'non-crime hate incident' is defined in the Guidance entirely by reference to the subjective perception of the person reporting the incident. Consequently, a reasonable reader of the Guidance would not be able to foresee, with any reasonable degree of certainty, the consequences of making a given statement. 129. In relation to the interference not being necessary in a democratic society under Article 10(2) and/or not reasonably necessary as a matter of common law, Mr Wise said the Claimant accepted that the HCOG pursues a number of legitimate objectives. However, he submitted that the interference with the right of the Claimant and others to freedom of expression in relation to statements such as those made by the Claimant in this case is clearly disproportionate, failing to strike a fair balance between individuals' Article 10 rights and the interests pursued by the policy of recording non-crime hate incidents. He stressed the importance of the topic in question and that it was a hotly-contested public debate. Second, he accepted that some of the tweets were provocative but he denied they were hate speech The lyric which PC Gul was most concerned about had as its purpose the imbalance of power between the sexes in the context of transgenderism. He said the evidence shows that the HCOG has had a real and substantial chilling effect in relation to the expression of such views by the Claimant and others. The First Defendant's submissions
30 130. On behalf of the First Defendant, the College of Policing, Mr Auburn submitted as follows. 131. The Claimant's first ground, concerning the common law principle of legality, is misconceived. This is a principle of statutory construction, applicable only to the exercise of statutory powers. It has no application in this case. The HCOG is not a statute, and nor is it statutory guidance. In any event this ground adds nothing to the Article 10 challenge. 132. The Article 10 challenge should also be dismissed. There is no interference with the Claimant's Article 10 rights. The records created have no real consequence for him. Recording is primarily an administrative process to build an intelligence picture based on statistics. It is not a sanction. Whilst a record exists of this incident within the records of the Humberside Police, no sanction has been imposed or threatened to be imposed on the Claimant. Nor would it be under the HCOG. 133. The record has not been disclosed by the Second Defendant, nor is there any realistic possibility that it could be disclosed. The assertions by the Claimant and his witnesses as to possible consequences (eg that it might be disclosed in criminal records check) are not borne out. There have been no such consequences, and no real likelihood of the consequences claimed. 134. The HCOG meets the Convention's requirement of being prescribed by law. The fact that non-crime hate incidents are defined by reference to complainant perception does not contravene the foreseeability requirement. There is a discretion to not record non-crime hate incidents. The discretion is sufficiently clear in scope. There are a significant number of safeguards in place to ensure both (a) that the consequences of a non-crime hate incident being recorded are foreseeable, and (b) to protect against arbitrary interference. 135. If there has been any interference with the Claimant's Article 10 rights by the police, that does not call the HCOG itself into question. In any event the recording of a hate incident was proportionate. The aims pursued are extremely important in nature. Great weight should be attributed to them. They are very important to police protection of minorities and marginalised groups. Recording and the key features of the HCOG are effective and necessary to achieve the legitimate aims pursued. There is a good evidence basis for this. That may be set against the very low level of interference, if any, on the Claimant's rights; and the safeguards on recording, retention and disclosure of such information. The fact that this speech may occur in a political context does not lead to a different result. 136. Developing these submissions, in relation to the Claimant's common law claim and the suggestion that the HCOG breaches the principle of legality, Mr Auburn submitted that the principle of legality is a principle of statutory construction, and so was not in play here because the HCOG is non-statutory. It is not a free-standing ground of control of all types of action by public bodies, particularly the exercise of non-statutory power: R (Youseff) v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2013] QB 906, [53]-[54]; R (El Gizouli) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] [2019] 1 WLR 3463, [54]-[57]. Mr Auburn submitted that the College had the power at common law to issue HCOG and there was no infringement of the principle of legality. He said measures which violate rights such as privacy or free speech which have been held not
31 to require legislation, and cited R (Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2019] EWHC 2341 (Admin) in support (facial recognition technology). 137. As to Article 10, Mr Auburn submitted that there had been no interference with the Claimant's Article 10 rights. If, in the alternative, that was such an interference, then the very low level of interference is a critical factor in the proportionality analysis which has to be undertaken in relation to Article 10(2) such that I should not find that there has been a disproportionate interference. 138. Mr Auburn said that there had been no interference with the Claimant's Article 10(1) rights because the recording of the hate crime incident had no consequence for him and did not inhibit his freedom to continue tweeting. Recording is primarily an administrative process to build an intelligence picture based on statistics. He said that applying the test in Handyside v United Kingdom, supra, [49], in this case there has been no 'formality, condition, restriction or penalty' imposed on the speech of the Claimant, his wife, or any of the witnesses. Also, he said there had been no real risk of any further consequences for the Claimant's rights arising from the recording of the incident, and in particular no disclosure and no risk of disclosure, even on an ECRC. Also, Mr Auburn submitted that there had been no chilling effect. The Claimant has continued tweeting in the same manner as he had done before, and nothing has happened. 139. Mr Auburn went on to submit that any restriction or interference imposed by the HCOG was prescribed by law because it had the necessary qualities of accessibility and foreseeability. He said, in particular, that the perception-based definition of non-crime hate incidents does not contravene the foreseeability requirement. 140. Lastly, Mr Auburn said that any interference with the Claimant's Article 10(1) rights was proportionate. He submitted that I had to have regard to all of the work over many years by a number of different bodies which had led to HCOG. He said that I had to afford a margin of judgment to the First Defendant in assessing the proportionality of HCOG. He pointed in support to: (a) the very high level of importance of the aims pursued by HCOG, and the great weight that is attributable to them; (b) the very low level of interference, if any, on the Claimant's rights; (c) the safeguards on recording, retention and disclosure. 141. Overall, Mr Auburn submitted that the HCOG is lawful and capable of being applied compatibly with Article 10. He said the police's actions did not infringe Article 10, and in any event do not call the policy into question. The application for judicial review should be dismissed. The Second Defendant's submissions 142. On behalf of the Second Defendant Mr Ustych focussed on those aspects of the claim relating to his client's actions, as opposed to the challenge to the HCOG itself. 143. He said that the Claimant had set out four grounds of challenge in respect of the police's actions in [37] of his Grounds, but in his Skeleton Argument, had distilled these to essentially two assertions, that (a) the HCOG and Humberside's recording of a 'hate incident' infringed the common law principle of legality; and (b) the Claimant's Article 10(1) rights were engaged and infringed (including on the basis that the operation of HCOG is not sufficiently foreseeable).
32 144. Mr Ustych said that the first ground is misconceived as against Humberside Police, because the common law principle of legality is applicable to the exercise of statutory powers only. In recording the 'hate incident', Humberside Police do not rely on statutory police powers. He said that in Catt, supra, [7] it was expressly acknowledged that the police have the power to obtain and store information for policing purposes. As to the second, he said that that should be dismissed because there was no sanction or restriction on the Claimant. He said the Claimant had not established the existence of a 'chilling effect' as the result of the recording, which is primarily an administrative matter. However, even if Article 10 was found to be engaged, he said the level of interference with it could only be trivial and (given the extremely important aims of recording non-crime incidents) plainly proportionate. 145. Mr Ustych said that the only decision of the police which is subject to challenge in this claim is the recording of a 'hate incident' in respect of the Claimant's tweets. He said this is how the matter had been put in the letter before claim and the claim form and he said I should proceed as against the police on the basis that only the recording decision is being challenged in this claim. He accepted, however, that the Claimant's Skeleton Argument at [5] put the police's specific actions in issue (Second Defendant's Skeleton Argument, [29]). His oral submissions addressed this issue and he did not strongly press the point that it was only the recording under HCOG that was in issue. 146. In relation to Article 10, even if Article 10 was found to be engaged, the level of interference was trivial and (given the extremely important aims of recording non-crime incidents) plainly proportionate. 147. He said that the witness evidence submitted on behalf of the Claimant paints a picture of a significant impact on the Claimant's life from the 'hate incident' recording and a vast array of fears arising from it. However, he submitted that a careful analysis demonstrates these effects/concerns to be unrealistic, exaggerated and/or caused by the Claimant's own actions rather than the fact of the recording. Furthermore, many of the effects complained of are said to be linked not to the fact of the recording but to the contact with PC Gul, which, as set out above, is a discrete and separate decision to that being challenged. He said that I should assess the expressed fears/concerns on an objective basis and with an eye on the reality of the situation: cf in TLT and others v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 2217 (QB), [35], where, in the context of data protection and privacy claims, the claimants expressed various concerns about the repercussions of the breach which (in some cases) the Court deemed not to be rational/realistic. 148. Mr Ustych said that in the absence of any sanction, legal restriction or other material consequence of the 'hate incident' recording, the Claimant had sought to establish engagement of Article 10 via a chilling effect. However he pointed to the Claimants continued tweeting and submitted there was no evidence of a chilling effect. He said there had been no interference under Article 10(1). 149. He accepted there is no dispute that expression which is provocatively worded and potentially capable of causing offence nonetheless attracts the protection of Article 10(1). He argued that in fact the Claimant's tweets were not truly political; he said on their face, they have little to do with legislative debate (reasoned or otherwise), but instead amount
33 to a 'vehement attack'' on the legitimacy of transgenderism as a concept. He said they challenged the basic feature of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 that a person in receipt of a Gender Recognition Certificate is a person of the specified sex. He said they therefore do not qualify for particular protection. He said less protection is afforded by the Convention to expression which is abusive or attacking toward a group sharing a characteristic protected by Article 14 ECHR/Equality Act 2010. 150. Even if an interference with the Claimant's Article 10 rights is found, the extent of that interference would be trivial. However, even if the competing interests were more finely balanced, the application of margin of judgment would decisively favour a finding that the 'hate incident' recording was lawful. 151. Overall, Mr Ustych said that even if Article 10 is found to be engaged, the balancing exercise decisively favours the finding that Humberside's decision to record a 'hate incident' and its other actions did not breach the Claimant's right to express himself freely. Discussion The legality of HCOG at common law 152. I deal first with Mr Wise's contention that HCOG violates the common law principle of legality. He says that is because there is no statutory authorisation for the interference with the fundamental right to freedom of expression to which he says the Guidance gives rise. I reject that contention for the following reasons. 153. Amongst other things, HCOG provides a method of obtaining and recording data about hate crime and non-crime hate incidents with a view to the police providing an effective response. Paragraph 1.1 of HCOG states: ''The police are responsible for collecting data on hate crimes and many hate incidents. Accurate data for hate crime is difficult to maintain as any hate crime fits into another crime category as well. This 'secondary' recording has led to inconsistency and contributed to the under-recording of hate crime, making the challenge of reducing under-reporting from victims more difficult. All criminal justice system (CJS) agencies share the common definition of monitored hate crime. A widespread understanding of this definition and compliance with crime recording rules helps to provide an accurate picture of the extent of hate crime and to deliver an intelligence-led response.'' 154. Steven Williams, the Second Defendant's Crime/Incident Registrar, says at [16] of his witness statement that: ''The recording of a hate incident is primarily for administrative and intelligence purposes. The information is used to provide statistical data to the Home Office and other relevant agencies to ensure consistency and accuracy in terms
34 of data relating to reporting of such incidents. The information is also relevant for intelligence purposes should matters escalate and information be required in any future investigation. The recording is not a sanction against the individual subject of the complaint and does not restrict the individuals from expressing themselves further.'' 155. Data regarding non-crime hate incidents is collected and held locally by police forces rather than on the Police National Computer (PNC); witness statement of David Tucker, [19]. 156. I conclude that HCOG is lawful under domestic law because the police have the power at common law to record and retain a wide variety of data and information. The cases make clear that no statutory authorisation is necessary in relation to non-intrusive methods of data collection, even where the gathering and retention of that data interferes with Convention rights. 157. A police constable is a creature of the common law. Police constables owe the public a common law duty to prevent and detect crime. That duty reflects a corresponding common law power to take steps in order to prevent and detect crime. As Lord Parker CJ said in Rice v Connolly [1966] 2 QB 414, p419: ''[I]t is part of the obligations and duties of a police constable to take all steps which appear to him necessary for keeping the peace, for preventing crime or for protecting property from criminal damage. There is no exhaustive definition of the powers and obligations of the police, but they are at least those, and they would further include the duty to detect crime and to bring an offender to justice.'' 158. This general power of the police includes the use, retention and disclosure of information, for example, imagery of individuals for the purposes of preventing and detecting crime. In R (Wood) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2010] 1 WLR 123, the police took and retained photographs of the claimant in the street for the purpose of gathering evidence about possible disorder and criminal conduct. Laws LJ and Lord Collins held that this was lawful (see [50]-[55] and [98]-[100] respectively). That was even in the absence of statutory authorisation and the fact that taking photographs was capable of engaging Article 8 of the Convention. 159. In R (Catt) v Association of Chief Police Officers [2015] AC 1065, the Supreme Court considered the lawfulness of collecting and retaining personal information, including a photograph of an individual who had demonstrated against the operation of an arms manufacturer on a 'domestic extremism' database. In relation to the police's power to obtain and hold such information, Lord Sumption JSC held at [7]: ''At common law the police have the power to obtain and store information for policing purposes, ie, broadly speaking for the maintenance of public order and the prevention and detection of crime. These powers do not authorise intrusive methods of obtaining information, such as entry onto private property or
35 acts (other than arrest under common law powers) which would constitute an assault. But they were amply sufficient to authorise the obtaining and storage of the kind of public information in question on these appeals.'' 160. In R (Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2019] EWHC 2341 (Admin) the Divisional Court considered the legality of the use of Automated Facial Recognition technology (AFR) by police forces. The Claimant's first contention was that there had to be specific statutory basis for the use of AFR, ie, to permit the use of the CCTV cameras, and the use of the software that processes the digital information that the cameras collect. The Chief Constable and the Secretary of State relied on the police's common law powers identified in the cases I have cited as sufficient authority for use of this equipment, and the Court upheld this submission (at [78]). 161. There is a detailed and comprehensive legal framework regulating the retention of that data. This includes the Data Protection Act 2018; the Code of Practice for Management of Police Information; and the Authorised Professional Practice issued by the First Defendant on the Management of Police Information. 162. These cases and this material provide ample authority for the lawfulness of HCOG under domestic law, notwithstanding the absence of any statutory authorisation. Collecting details of hate crimes and non-crime hate incidents forms one aspect of the police's common law duty to keep the peace and to prevent crime, and is lawful on that basis. Later in this judgment I will explain how the recording of non-criminal hate incidents aids in the prevention of crime. 163. I turn to the principle of legality. In R (Simms) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2000] 2 AC 115, 131, Lord Hoffmann expressed the principle as follows: ''Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament can, if it chooses, legislate contrary to fundamental principles of human rights. The Human Rights Act 1998 will not detract from this power. The constraints upon its exercise by Parliament are ultimately political, not legal. But the principle of legality means that Parliament must squarely confront what it is doing and accept the political cost. Fundamental rights cannot be overridden by general or ambiguous words. This is because there is too great a risk that the full implications of their unqualified meaning may have passed unnoticed in the democratic process. In the absence of express language or necessary implication to the contrary, the courts therefore presume that even the most general words were intended to be subject to the basic rights of the individual. In this way the courts of the United Kingdom, though acknowledging the sovereignty of Parliament, apply principles of constitutionality little different from those which exist in countries where the power of the legislature is expressly limited by a constitutional document.''
36 164. The Defendants were right to submit that the principle of legality is one of statutory construction and, as such, that it has no application in relation to common law powers such as the College of Policing was exercising when it issued its HCOG in 2014. 165. In R (Youseff) v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2013] QB 906 the Court rejected an attempt to apply the principle of legality beyond statutory powers/statutory construction. Toulson LJ said [53]-[55]: ''53. In making a decision whether to support or oppose the designation of an individual by the sanctions committee, the Foreign Secretary is not exercising a power derived from an Act of Parliament. He is acting on behalf of the Government in its capacity as a member of an international body, the Security Council. 54. Consequently, we are not in an area where the 'principle of legality' explained in such cases as R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex p Pierson [1998] AC 539, 573''575 (per Lord Browne-Wilkinson) and 587''590 (per Lord Steyn) and R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex p Simms [2000] 2 AC 115, 131, per Lord Hoffmann, is apposite. That principle applies in cases where a court is asked to construe legislation in a way which may be contrary to human rights embedded in the common law.'' 55. '... there is sometimes a tendency on the part of lawyers (as there has been in this case) to seek to use the 'principle of legality' as a developmental tool providing an additional ground of challenge in a case purely involving questions of common law, ie, not a case where the defendant is seeking to justify his action by reference to a statutory power. That is to misunderstand it. The 'principle of legality' is a principle of statutory interpretation, derived from the common law.'' 166. In AJA v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2014] 1 WLR 285, [23]-[27], the Court of Appeal reviewed the case-law relating to this principle, and concluded at [28]: ''The principle of legality is an important tool of statutory interpretation. But it is no more than that.'' 167. In R (Al-Saadoon) v Secretary of State for Defence [2017] QB 1015, [198] Lloyd-Jones LJ said: '''... the principle of legality is a principle of statutory interpretation. In the absence of express language or necessary implication to the contrary, general words in legislation must be construed compatibly with fundamental human rights because Parliament cannot be taken to have intended by using general words to override such rights.''
37 168. Most recently, in R (El Gizouli) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] 1 WLR 3463 Lord Burnett CJ and Garnham J rejected an attempt to apply the principle of legality beyond a principle of statutory construction, ie, beyond statutory powers to, in that case, prerogative powers. The Court said at [54]: ''The principle of legality is deployed as a technique of statutory construction '... operates to require express wording if such rights are to be overridden by statutory provisions''. 169. After setting out passages from cases which limit the principle to one of statutory construction the Court said at [57]: ''We respectfully agree with that analysis. Here, the Home Secretary exercised a prerogative, not a statutory, power and, in our judgment, the principle of legality has no application.'' 170. None of the cases relied on by the Claimant assist this aspect of his case. For example, R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor [2017] 3 WLR 409 (the Employment Tribunal fees case) is relied on for an asserted proposition that any hindrance to a fundamental right can only be made by clear legislation. In fact the case does not say that. The Court primarily dealt with the issue as one of statutory interpretation ([65]). The issue was whether the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 (SI 2013/1893), was ultra vires s 42(1) of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. 171. As for the Claimant's argument that the approach taken in HCOG to the mandatory recording of 'non-crime hate incidents' in the absence of any evidence of hate is disproportionate and hence unreasonable as a matter of common law, in that it goes further than is reasonably necessary to achieve the aims pursued, I accept the Defendants' submission that this is reality is an argument about proportionality which is to be analysed as part of the Claimant's challenge to HCOG under Article 10. 172. I therefore reject the Claimant's challenge to HCOG at common law. The legality of HCOG under Article 10 173. It was common ground that a four part analysis is required where it is alleged that a measure or action violates Article 10: see eg, Wingrove v United Kingdom, supra, [43]-[62]. The four stages are (a) firstly, has there been an interference with the right to freedom of expression that is enshrined in Article 10(1)(b) second, is the interference in question 'prescribed by law'; (c) third, does it pursue one or more of the aims set out in Article 10(2); and (d) fourth, is the interference 'necessary in democratic society' ? The last question brings in the issue of proportionality. As Baroness Hale said in Catt, supra, [49], this question involves considering whether the means used, and the interference it involves, are a proportionate way of achieving those legitimate aims. 174. In my judgment the Claimant's challenge to HCOG as being contrary to Article 10 fails for a number of reasons. (i) Interference
38 175. Firstly, I reject the Claimant's submission that the mere recording of non-crime hate speech pursuant to HCOG interferes with the Claimant's right to freedom of expression within the meaning of Article 10(1). I accept that the Strasbourg court's general approach to protecting freedom of expression under the Convention is to provide very wide protection for all expressive activities. The Court has done this in part by forging a very broad understanding of what constitutes an interference with freedom of expression. The approach of the Court has essentially been to find any State activity which has the effect, directly or indirectly, of limiting, impeding or burdening an expressive activity as an interference. Thus, the Court has found an interference not only where a law establishes civil or criminal limits on what may be said, but also in cases involving disciplinary sanctions (Engel and others v the Netherlands (1979-80) 1 EHRR 647); the banning of books as obscene (Handyside v the United Kingdom, supra); the refusal to authorise videos for commercial release (Wingrove v. the United Kingdom (1997) 24 EHRR 1); the imposition of injunctions on publication (Sunday Times (No 1) v the United Kingdom, (1970) 2 HER 245); the dismissal of an employee (Vogt v. Germany, supra); a Head of State making a statement that he would not appoint an individual (Wille v. Liechtenstein, [1999] ECHR 207); the expulsion of someone from a territory (Piermont v. France, (1995) EHRR 301); a refusal to licence a broadcaster (Informationsverein Lentia and others v. Austria (1994) 17 EHRR 93); a refusal to protect journalists' confidential sources (Goodwin v. the United Kingdom (1996) 23 EHRR 123); the conduct of a search which might lead to the identification of such sources (Roemen and Schmit v Luxembourg, 25 February 2003); a refusal to grant nationality (Petropavlovskis v Latvia, no. 44230/06 2008); a refusal to allow a protest vessel into territorial waters (Women on Waves and others v. Portugal, Application No. 31276/05, Judgment of 3 February 2009); and failing to enable a journalist to gain access to Davos during the World Economic Forum (Gsell v. Switzerland, judgment of 8 October 2009). 176. That broad approach notwithstanding, in my judgment in this case the mere recording by the police of the Claimant's tweets as non-crime hate speech pursuant to HCOG did not amount to a formality, condition, restriction or penalty (Handyside restrictions) imposed in response to his speech so as to amount to an interference within the meaning of Article 10(1). I recognise the argument that the mere act of recording speech may have a chilling effect on the speaker's right to freedom of expression. But in my judgment the mere recording without more is too remote from any consequences so that it can amount to a Handyside restriction. 177. I accept the First Defendant's submission that while the overall information obtained from recording is important to policing, the mere recording '' and I emphasise mere - of an incident of itself has no real consequence for the individual such as the Claimant. The evidence of Paul Giannasi in his witness statement at [61] et seq and of Mr Williams at [16] of his statement is that recording is primarily an administrative process to build an intelligence picture based on statistics. The intelligence picture could include finding that an incident may be part of a jigsaw suggesting criminal activity. Mr Giannasi explains at [79] that HCOG does not mandate the police to take any form of action in response to a report of a non-criminal hate incident. As a result, where the police do decide to take any action following the recording of an incident, this is carried out on the basis of an operational decision by the police exercising their common law and statutory powers. Where that decision is taken, HCOG itself does not require a
39 particular response, and expressly states that disproportionate action should not be taken. From this evidence I conclude there is no real risk of any further consequences for the Claimant's rights arising from the mere recording of his tweets pursuant to HCOG. 178. I do not accept the Claimant's submission that the recording of a an incident pursuant to HCOG is, or is analogous to the 'administrative warning' which was given in Balsyt—-Lideikien— v Lithuania, Application no. 72596, 4 November 2008, to the publisher of material promoting ethnic hatred which the Court held was an interference with the publisher's Article 10 rights. At [70] the Court said that it '''... finds it clear, and this has not been disputed, that there has been an interference with the applicant's freedom of expression on account of the administrative penalty and the confiscation of the publication, which were applied under Articles 30 and 214 of the Code on Administrative Law Offences.'' 179. Earlier, at [38], the Court explained that: ''An administrative warning is a penalty under Article 30 and it can be used to replace a harsher penalty the Code prescribes for a particular offence; the administrative warning is also intended to serve as a preventive measure, in the same way as a suspended sentence in criminal law'' 180. Hence, it is clear that the penalty imposed by the court in that case was a punishment which was accompanied by the confiscation of the publication in question. That was unquestionably an interference pursuant with Article 10(1). I accept the First Defendant's submission that it is not relatable to the kind of record-keeping prescribed by HCOG. 181. Mr Wise submitted that the recording of a non-crime incident against the Claimant's name was an Article 10(1) interference because of the risk that it might in the future be disclosed on an ECRC issued by the DBS were the Claimant to apply for a position which justified such a disclosure. The disclosure regime was described in R(T) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2015] AC 49, [10]-[12]. The statutory provisions are contained in Part V of the Police Act 1997. An ordinary criminal record certificate contains only material held on the PNC. An ECRC contains both that information and by way of enhancement, information about the person held on local police records which the police believe may be relevant and ought to be included on it. Generally speaking, ECRCs are required where individuals are applying for positions which are especially sensitive, such as positions working with children or vulnerable adults. The broad protection of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply to such individuals. 182. David Tucker explains at [18] of his witness statement that non-crime hate incidents are not recorded on the PNC but are only held by forces locally. In principle, they are therefore disclosable information. However, Mr Tucker's opinion in [57] of his witness statement is that he could not envisage any circumstances in which it would be found that the non-crime information recorded against the Claimant would be disclosed. That, I do not accept. One example which springs to mind where disclosure would almost certainly take place is if the Claimant applied for a job which would bring him into contact with
40 vulnerable transgender individuals. I put this example to the Defendants' counsel in argument and, with respect, neither had a convincing explanation why the information about the Claimant would not be disclosed in those circumstances. 183. But if such a thing were to happen it would not be as a result of HCOG, which as I have said does not require any particular operational response to the recording of a non-crime hate incident. It would take place as the result of a decision taken under the Police Act 1997 and if and only if particular facts arose which made disclosure necessary. Whatever the theoretical possibilities, no-one suggested that in this case there is presently a foreseeable prospect of disclosure being made. Hence, to the extent it is argued that the prospect of such a disclosure has (or had) a chilling effect, I do not accept that occurs as a consequence of the policy itself. I acknowledge there is an argument that disclosure in such circumstances could only take place because of recording pursuant to HCOG. But in my judgment the recording would be secondary to the primary disclosure decision, and only part of the background factual context. 184. Moreover, the Defendants were right to submit that the legal framework relating to the disclosure of non-conviction data on an individual's ECRC is tightly drawn. The courts have on several occasions broadly upheld the human rights compatibility of this regime: R (L) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis; [2010] 1 AC 410 and R (AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2018] UKSC 47; [2018] 1 WLR 4079; In re Gallagher [2019] 2 WLR 509. 185. They also pointed to the fact that the disclosure of information in an ECRC is subject to safeguards to prevent against arbitrary unfairness including the statutory framework under ss 112-127 of the Police Act 1997; the Statutory Disclosure Guidance issued by the Home Secretary under s 113B(4A) of the Police Act 1997; and the Quality Assurance Framework issued by the DBS. The Claimant would have the right to make representations about whether disclosure should take place were it ever to be contemplated. There is also a statutory right of appeal to the Independent Monitor under s 117A of the 1997 Act. The Independent Monitor can require the DBS to issue a new certificate omitting information considered to be not relevant for the purpose sought: s 117A(5). (ii) Prescribed by law 186. My conclusion on interference is sufficient to dispose of the Claimant's broad-based Article 10 challenge to HCOG. But in case I am wrong, I turn to the second stage of the required analysis, namely whether '' assuming HCOG does interfere with free speech - that interference is 'prescribed by law'. I find that it is, for the following reasons. 187. The requirements in Articles 5(1), 8(2), 9(2), 10(2) and 11(2) that any restriction with the right must be 'prescribed by law' or 'in accordance with the law' have the same meaning across the articles: In re Gallagher, supra, [14]. In that case at [16]-[20], Lord Sumption summarised the relevant Strasbourg case law: ''16 It is well established that 'law' in the Human Rights Convention has an extended meaning. In two judgments delivered on the same day, Huvig v France (1990) 12 EHRR 528, para 26 and Kruslin v France 12 EHRR 547, para 27, the
41 European Court of Human Rights set out what has become the classic definition of law in this context Huvig, para 26: 'The expression 'in accordance with the law', within the meaning of article 8.2, requires firstly that the impugned measure should have some basis in domestic law; it also refers to the quality of the law in question, requiring that it should be accessible to the person concerned, who must moreover be able to foresee its consequences for him, and compatible with the rule of law.' Huvig v France and Kruslin v France established a dual test of accessibility and foreseeability for any measure which is required to have the quality of law. That test has continued to be cited by the Strasbourg court as the authoritative statement of the meaning of ''law'' in very many subsequent cases: see, for example, most recently, Catt v United Kingdom CE:ECHR: 2019:0124JUD004351415. 17 The accessibility test speaks for itself. For a measure to have the quality of law, it must be possible to discover, if necessary with the aid of professional advice, what its provisions are. In other words, it must be published and comprehensible. The requirement of foreseeability, so far as it adds to the requirement of accessibility, is essentially concerned with the principle summed up in the adage of the American founding father John Adams, ''a government of laws and not of men''. A measure is not ''in accordance with the law'' if it purports to authorise an exercise of power unconstrained by law. The measure must not therefore confer a discretion so broad that its scope is in practice dependent on the will of those who apply it, rather than on the law itself. Nor should it be couched in terms so vague or so general as to produce substantially the same effect in practice. The breadth of a measure and the absence of safeguards for the rights of individuals are relevant to its quality as law where the measure confers discretions, in terms or in practice, which make its effects insufficiently foreseeable. Thus a power whose exercise is dependent on the judgment of an official as to when, in what circumstances or against whom to apply it, must be sufficiently constrained by some legal rule governing the principles on which that decision is to be made. But a legal rule imposing a duty to take some action in every case to which the rule applies does not necessarily give rise to the same problem. It may give rise to a different problem when it comes to necessity and proportionality, but that is another issue. If the question is how much discretion is too much, the only legal tool available for resolving it is a proportionality test which, unlike the test of legality, is a question of degree.
42 18 This much is clear not only from the Huvig and Kruslin judgments themselves, but from the three leading decisions on the principle of legality on which the Strasbourg court's statement of principle in those cases was founded, namely Sunday Times v United Kingdom (1980) 2 EHRR 245, Silver v United Kingdom (1983) 5 EHRR 347 and Malone v United Kingdom (1985) 7 EHRR 14. 19 Sunday Times v United Kingdom was the first occasion on which the Strasbourg court addressed the test of legality. It was not a privacy case, but a case about freedom of expression in the context of the English law of contempt of court. The requirement of foreseeability was summarised by the court as follows at para 49: 'A norm cannot be regarded as a 'law' unless it is formulated with sufficient precision to enable the citizen to regulate his conduct: he must be able'--if need be with appropriate advice'--to foresee, to a degree that is reasonable in the circumstances, the consequences which a given action may entail.' 20 In Silver v United Kingdom, para 85, the Strasbourg court adopted this definition and applied it to a complaint of interference with prisoners' correspondence, contrary to article 8. The court observed at para 88 that the need for precision in Sunday Times v United Kingdom meant that ''a law which confers a discretion must indicate the scope of that discretion''. It was in that context that the court addressed the question of safeguards, at para 90: 'The applicants further contended that the law itself must provide safeguards against abuse. The Government recognised that the correspondence control system must itself be subject to control and the court finds it evident that some form of safeguards must exist. One of the principles underlying the Convention is the rule of law, which implies that an interference by the authorities with an individual's rights should be subject to effective control. This is especially so where, as in the present case, the law bestows on the executive wide discretionary powers, the application whereof is a matter of practice which is susceptible to modification but not to any Parliamentary scrutiny.''' 188. Earlier, at [14] Lord Sumption emphasised that that the condition of legality is not a question of degree. A measure either has the quality of law or it does not. It is a binary
43 test. This is because it relates to the characteristics of the legislation itself, and not just to its application in any particular case: see Kruslin v France, supra, [31]-[32]. 189. The principles were recently set out in Bridges, supra, [80]: ''(1) The measure in question '... should comply with the twin requirements of 'accessibility' and 'foreseeability' '... (2) '... The measure must also be 'foreseeable' meaning that it must be possible for a person to foresee its consequences for them and it should not 'confer a discretion so broad that its scope is in practice dependent on the will of those who apply it, rather than on the law itself' (Lord Sumption, Re Gallagher, [17]). (3) Related to (2), the law must 'afford adequate legal protection against arbitrariness and accordingly indicate with sufficient clarity the scope of discretion conferred on the competent authorities and the manner of its exercise' '... (5) The rules governing the scope and application of measures need not be statutory, provided that they operate within a framework of law and that there are effective means of enforcing them (Catt at [11]). (6) The requirement for reasonable predictability does not mean that the law has to codify answers to every possible issue (per Lord Sumption in Catt at [11])''. 190. In R (Purdy) v Director of Public Prosecutions (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children intervening) [2010] 1 AC 345, [41] Lord Hope said that the Convention's concept of what is 'prescribed by law': '''... implies qualitative requirements, including those of accessibility and foreseeability. Accessibility means that an individual must know from the wording of the relevant provision and, if need be, with the assistance of the court's interpretation of it what acts and omissions will make him criminally liable: see also G¼lmez v Turkey (Application No 16330/02) (unreported) given 20 May 2008, para 49. The requirement of foreseeability will be satisfied where the person concerned is able to foresee, if need be with appropriate legal advice, the consequences which a given action may entail. A law which confers a discretion is not in itself inconsistent with this requirement, provided the scope of the discretion and the manner of its exercise are indicated with sufficient clarity to give the individual protection against interference which is arbitrary: Goodwin v United Kingdom (1996) 22 EHRR 123, para 31; Sorvisto v Finland, para 112.''
44 191. Earlier, I held that HCOG has a basis in domestic law because it falls within the police's general common law power to collect, use, retain and disclose information, for the purposes of preventing and detecting crime. 192. HCOG also plainly satisfies the accessibility test. It is available to all with access to the internet on the College's website. It is therefore 'published and comprehensible': see In re Gallagher, supra, [17]. 193. Mr Wise focussed his challenge under this head on the requirement of 'foreseeability', namely the second of the two requirements formulated in the Strasbourg case law namely that the relevant law' must be formulated with sufficient precision to enable the citizen to regulate his conduct and foresee, to a degree that is reasonable in the circumstances, the consequences which a given action may entail. He made two main points: (a) the perception-based definition of non-crime hate incidents is such that people cannot foresee the consequences of making a given statement; and (b) it is uncertain whether there is a discretion not to record non-crime hate incidents, and, if there is a discretion, its scope is unclear. 194. I accept the broad thrust of the College's submissions in response. In particular, I agree that: (a) the perception-based definition of non-crime hate incidents does not contravene the foreseeability requirement; and (b) there is a discretion to not record reports of non-crime hate incidents that is sufficiently clear in scope. 195. Hate incidents and non-crime hate incidents are the subject of detailed definitions by reference to the five protected strands, namely disability; race; religion; sexual orientation; and transgender. I have already set out the definitions earlier in this judgment. To recap, [6.1] states: ''A non-crime hate incident is defined as: any non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partially) by a hostility of prejudice, If the hostility or prejudice is directed at one of the five monitored strands '... it should be recorded as a hate incident.'' 196. Whether a non-crime hate incident is recorded is, in my judgment, sufficiently foreseeable to satisfy the Strasbourg test. If someone behaves in a way which carries the possibility that another person may subjectively conclude that it exhibits non-criminal hostility or prejudice in relation to one of the five protected strands then it will be recorded. That is because HCOG requires in [6.1] and [6.3] such incidents to be recorded. This definition ensures all complaints are treated the same, and citizens know how a complaint will be processed. 197. I accept that the subjective and perception-based approach in HCOG means that the range of circumstances in which a 'non-crime hate incident' may be recorded against an individual is extremely wide in scope. However, a reasonable reader of HCOG would be able to foresee, with a reasonable degree of certainty (and with advice if necessary),
45 the consequences of making a given statement, precisely because any statement that is reported as being motivated by hostility towards one of the monitored strands is to be recorded as a non-crime hate incident. Those who exercise their freedom of speech in a way that may come to the attention of the authorities via a complaint will generally have a pretty good idea of their motivation, and whether it is foreseeably going to be interpreted by others as motivated by hostility or prejudice. In my judgment it is sufficiently certainly the case that perception based reporting does not render HCOG uncertain. 198. The Claimant argues in his Skeleton Argument at [65(g)] that 'an individual who is considering whether to make a statement '... about transgender issues simply will not know whether that statement will generate the kind of complaint that will result in the recording of a 'non-crime hate incident'. However, as the First Defendant argues, the same could apply equally to any complaint of any incident or crime against any person. There is no reason to distinguish, for these purposes, between records of all incidents and records of hate incidents: all are triggered by reference to the subjective perception of the person reporting the incident. 199. During the hearing I queried with counsel the meaning of [6.3], and in particular the statement that a non-crime incident must be recorded ''... irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element'. I wondered how something could be regarded by someone (be it the victim or another person) as a hate incident if there was no evidence of hate. Having thought further, my conclusions are as follows. Mr Giannasi explains at [74] on his statement: ''As with hate crime, there is no onus on the complainant to be able to 'prove' the hostility for a non-crime incident to be recorded. As noted above, the Macpherson Report specifically recommended that racist non-crime incidents should be recorded, and that the definition of a racist incident should be perception-based. Accordingly the HCOG has applied the same approach to the process of response to all hate crimes and non-crime hate incidents. It applies this for the purposes of assessing whether such hostilities are present, and for assessing levels of risk of escalation.'' 200. From this, what I take [6.3] to mean is that it is sufficient to qualify as a non-crime hate incident if the complainant perceives hate to be present (as that term is defined in [1.2] namely as prejudice or hostility on the basis of a protected strand) and that they are not required to be called upon to prove that that is in fact the case, or to provide evidence that that is so. That interpretation is reinforced by [1.2.3] which states: ''For recording purposes, the perception of the victim, or any other person '... is the defining factor in determining whether an incident is a hate incident, or in recognising the hostility element of a hate crime. The victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief, and police officers or staff should not directly challenge this perception. Evidence of the hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident.''
46 201. Example A given straight after this paragraph I think illustrates what [1.2.3] and [6.3] mean: ''Jon reports circumstances which amount to an offence under section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986. He was sworn at and threatened that he would be punched in the face by an attacker who moved toward him in an aggressive manner. Nothing was said about his sexual orientation but he perceives that he was targeted as he is openly gay and there was no other reason why he was chosen. He reports this to the police who should correctly record this as a hate crime based on sexual orientation.'' 202. The policy means that Jon should not be called upon to provide evidence that his attacker was in fact hostile to him because he is gay, or to prove that fact. His perception that he was attacked because is a gay man is sufficient and what matters for the purposes of recording the incident. 203. But it seems to me that this approach does not exclude that there must, on the facts narrated by a complainant, be some rational basis for concluding that there is a hate element. Suppose, for example, that a fat and bald straight non-trans man is walking home from work down his quiet residential street when abuse is shouted at him from a passing car to the effect that he is fat and bald. If that person went to the police and said the abuse were based on hostility because of transgender it cannot be the case that HCOG would require it to be recorded as such as a non-crime hate incident when there is nothing in the facts which remotely begins to suggest that was any connection with that protected strand. Vitally important though the purposes which HCOG serves undoubtedly are, it does not require the police to leave common sense wholly out of account when deciding whether to record what is or is not a non-crime hate incident. 204. This conclusion is consistent with the Second Defendant's evidence. Steven Williams says at [11] of his witness statement: '''... [t]here may be instances, where it is not considered appropriate to record a 'hate incident' on the facts of a particular case. Staff will use a common sense and a proportionate approach to recording all circumstances. It is not the case that a report of a hate incident will always be recorded as such''. 205. This interpretation is also consistent with Mr Giannasi's statement at [76]-[78]: ''76. Although the HCOG provides that genuine non-crime hate incidents must be recorded as such, it does not follow that recording is mandatory in all circumstances irrespective of the context. In particular, para 1.2.4 of the HCOG (p6) provides that:
47 'It would not be appropriate to record a crime or incident as a hate crime or hate incident if it was based on the perception of a person or group who had no knowledge of the victim, crime or the area, and who may be responding to media or internet stories or who are reporting for a political or similar motive.' 77. We recognise that some complaints may be fuelled by political or even malicious motives, so this advice is provided to help reduce the potential for abuse of police recording and response. The HCOG leaves this to the discretion of individual forces, as it is not possible to predict all of the circumstances police may be called upon to address. 78. The full circumstances of the report and the parties involved need to be considered, and this will inform the appropriate response. Such response could include for example recording the allegation but taking no further action, other than to inform the complainant and to monitor for other indications of tensions. Even where a police officer take no action, he or she may be called upon to explain or justify the decision not to act. Therefore, it is important that the police maintain a record of the complaint and the rationale for the response. Being able to measure such complaints also allows the police to assess whether community tensions are increasing in severity or nature.'' 206. For these reasons, I conclude that the use of complainant perception in defining non-crime hate incidents does not contravene the requirement of foreseeability. Overall, the perception based approach in HCOG does not, in my judgment, confer a discretion so broad that it depends on the will of those who apply it, on the whim of those who may report incidents, nor are its terms so broadly defined as to produce the same effect in practice: In re Gallagher, supra, [17]. 207. I also reject Mr Wise's argument that HCOG fails the test of foreseeability because it is uncertain whether there is a discretion not to record non-crime hate incidents, and, if there is a discretion, its scope is unclear. He says HCOG is uncertain because, on the one hand. it contains a mandatory requirement in [6.3] to record all non-crime hate incidents that are not the responsibility of another agency, but at the same time proceeds on the basis that the police have a discretion as to whether to record such incidents, to be exercised by reference to whether doing so would be an 'overreact[ion]' [6.4] and/or the considerations in [1.2.4]. 208. I do not accept these submissions. There is nothing inconsistent in the way the policy is drafted. The mandatory duty to record in [6.3] has to be read as subject to the overarching duty which all public authorities have to abide by the Convention. That overarching duty is contained in [6.4], which is where the reference to the need not to overreact is to be found. 209. Further, I consider that [1.2.4] and [1.5] sufficiently clearly delineate (without being exhaustive) the circumstances in which a complaint will not be recorded. The Strasbourg
48 Court has recognised that many legal provisions have to be drafted in general or vague terms, and applied in a way that involves questions of practice: Sunday Times v United Kingdom, supra, [49]. The Strasbourg court has found that where the interference in question may be applied in a large number of cases, it will often not be possible to formulate a discretion for every eventuality: Silver v United Kingdom, supra, [88]. I accept the submission that given the number of incidents which may constitute hate incidents is often so large that it is impossible in practice to draft guidance relating to whether or not each one is a hate incident and whether or not it should be recorded. 210. For these reasons, I conclude that HCOG, to the extent that it involves interfering with the right of freedom of expression, does so in a manner that is prescribed by law for the purposes of Article 10(2). (iii) Legitimate aim 211. For reasons I will explain more fully when I come to consider the question of proportionality, I am satisfied that HCOG pursues the legitimate aim of preventing disorder and crime and protecting the rights and freedoms of others. These are both specified aims in Article 10(2). (iv) Necessary in a democratic society/proportionality 212. I turn to the fourth analytical stage, namely whether HCOG is necessary in a democratic society, that is to say, a proportionate interference with the right to freedom of expression having regard to the aims pursued. A certain margin of judgment has to be afforded to the decision maker in this area: R (Haq) v Walsall District Council [2019] PTSR 1192, [73]. 213. In relation to the term 'necessary' Lord Bingham emphasised in Shayler, supra, [23]: ''''Necessary'' has been strongly interpreted: it is not synonymous with 'indispensable', neither has it the flexibility of such expressions as 'admissible', 'ordinary', 'useful', 'reasonable' or 'desirable': Handyside v United Kingdom (1976) 1 EHRR 737, 754, para 48. One must consider whether the interference complained of corresponded to a pressing social need, whether it was proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued and whether the reasons given by the national authority to justify it are relevant and sufficient under article 10(2): The Sunday Times v United Kingdom (1979) 2 EHRR 245 , 277''278, para 62.'' 214. The Court has recently reiterated that the exceptions found in Article 10(2) must be 'construed strictly, and the need for any restrictions must be established convincingly' see eg Mariya Alenkhina and others v Russia (No. 38004/12, judgment of 3 December 2018), [198]. 215. The most often cited formulation of the proportionality test is that of Lord Reed JSC in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury (No 2) [2014] AC 700, [74], where he said that an assessment of proportionality involved four questions: (a) whether the objective of the measure is
49 sufficiently important to justify the limitation of a protected right; (b) whether the measure is rationally connected to the objective; (c) whether a less intrusive measure could have been used without unacceptably compromising the achievement of the objective, and (d) whether, balancing the severity of the measure's effects on the rights of the persons to whom it applies against the importance of the objective, to the extent that the measure will contribute to its achievement, the former outweighs the latter. In essence, the question at step four is whether the impact of the rights infringement is disproportionate to the likely benefit of the impugned measure. 216. The Claimant makes a systemic attack on HCOG as being unlawful because it is disproportionate. However, the Defendants correctly submitted that a systemic challenge must show more than that the policy is capable of producing an unlawful result. The test is that the policy must give rise to an unacceptable risk of unlawfulness. In R (Suppiah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 2 (Admin), Wyn Williams J said at [137]: ''I am content to accept that as a matter of law a policy which cannot be operated lawfully cannot itself be lawful; further, it seems to me that there is clear and binding authority for the proposition that a policy which is in principle capable of being implemented lawfully but which nonetheless gives rise to an unacceptable risk of unlawful decision-making is itself an unlawful policy.'' 217. This is not, without more, established by individual instances of an unlawful result. In R (Woolcock) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2018] EWHC 17 (Admin), [68(iii)], the Divisional Court said: ''(iii) An administrative scheme will be open to a systemic challenge if there is something inherent in the scheme that gives rise to an unacceptable risk of procedural unfairness.'' 218. The issue was considered most recently in BF (Eritrea) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 872, [60]-[63]. Having considered a number of cases, Underhill LJ concluded: ''I do not think that it is necessary or useful to analyse the various cases referred to. In my view the correct approach in the circumstances of the present case is, straightforwardly, that the policy/guidance contained in paragraph of the EIG and the relevant parts of Assessing Age will be unlawful, if but only if, the way that they are framed creates a real risk of a more than minimal number of children being detained. I should emphasise, however, that the policy should not be held to be unlawful only because there are liable, as in any system which necessarily depends on the exercise of subjective judgment, to be particular "aberrant" decisions '' that is, individual mistakes or misjudgments made in the pursuit of a proper policy. The issue is whether the terms of the policy themselves create a risk which could be avoided if they were better formulated.''
50 219. Applied in the current context, this means that in order to succeed on his broad challenge, the Claimant must show that HCOG creates a real risk of more than a minimal number of cases where Article 10(1) will be unlawfully infringed. 220. I begin with the first of Lord Reed's questions, namely the importance and weight of the aims said to be pursued by HCOG. As I have said, there are two relevant aims set out in Article 10(2): (a) the prevention of disorder or crime; and (b) the protection of the '... rights of others. I accept that these are important legitimate aims, which cumulatively provide weighty factors justifying any potential interferences in an individual's human rights in particular cases. Even if HCOG does involve an interference with freedom of expression (which, as I have found, it does not) it only does so at a low level. I shall return to this point shortly. 221. First, the evidence shows that the specific aims of HCOG are of preventing, or taking steps to counter, hate crime and hate incidents, and building confidence in policing in minority and marginalised communities. Paul Giannasi explains at [10] of his witness statement that HCOG should be viewed in the context of 20 to 30 years of policy development concerning police responses to hate crime and non-crime hate incidents. He says the current HCOG is informed by these prior policies and reports, which have their roots in the Macpherson Report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. He points to s 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, which introduced a focus on the recording of data relating to hate incidents. At [18] he says that the Macpherson Report (one of whose terms of reference was to 'identify lessons to be learned for the investigation and prosecution of racially motivated crimes) gave rise to key features of HCOG, including the definition of a racist incident; encouragement of the reporting of non-criminal incidents; perception based recording; and that criminal and non-criminal racist incidents should be recorded and investigated with equal commitment. 222. HCOG helps achieve these overall aims because, first, I accept that monitoring hate incidents helps inform police action to protect minorities and marginalised groups. That in turn assists in building confidence in policing in some communities, particularly ethnic or racial minorities and vulnerable individuals. The need to improve confidence in the police's attitude to hate incidents was a crucial part of the Macpherson Report. Paragraph 45.12 stated: '''... police and other agencies did not or would not realise the impact of less serious, non-crime incidents upon the minority ethnic communities '... The actions or inactions of officers in relation to racist incidents were clearly a more potent factor in damaging public confidence in the Police Service.'' 223. The Introduction to HCOG makes this point: ''The police occupy an important position in protecting victims of hate crime, and have a valuable role to play in doing so. Above all, victims and communities need to have trust and confidence that the police will respond appropriately and effectively to their needs.
51 This document contains many examples of innovative police work being developed and delivered across the country, and provides practical advice and instruction on how service delivery to hate crime victims might be further improved. The policing of hate crime has improved in many respects since the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, and that is testament to the dedication of many police officers of all ranks across the country, but there can be no room for complacency. There is still much to do. 224. HCOG also assists in the prevention of the escalation of hate-based hostility from low-level non-criminal activity to criminal activity. Mr Giannasi, who has extensive experience in the field of hate crime and hate incidents, explains at [72] of his witness statement the dynamic of escalating levels of behaviour which he regards as widely acknowledged in the criminal justice sector. In so doing, HCOG assists in the wider investigation and prevention of crime. The evidence of Mr Giannasi at [37]-[39] is that often low levels incidents are pieces in a local jigsaw of information and intelligence that enables policing to be aware of community tensions and take action to prevent minor issues or a series of minor issues escalating into something more serious. 225. Lastly, I accept that protected groups are particularly vulnerable and in need of protection. HCOG assists the police to fulfil their public sector equality duty under s 149 of the Equality Act 2010. Gender reassignment is one of the protected groups in s 149(7). 226. Overall, I am satisfied that the aims and objectives of HCOG justify the limitation it imposes on freedom of speech. That is because its aims are extremely important for the reasons I have given. As against that, the level of interference to freedom of expression by HCOG is low. The Strasbourg and domestic courts have consistently held that 'an important factor to be taken into account when assessing the proportionality of an interference with freedom of expression is the nature and severity of the penalties imposed': eg, Tammer v Estonia (2003) 37 EHRR 43. Further, the Convention itself gives only limited protection to hate speech (properly so called). There are two approaches. Article 17 of the Convention excludes entirely from the protection of Article 10 hate speech which negates the fundamental values of the Convention: see eg Ivanov v Russia, judgment of 20 February 2007 (ethnic hate); Roj TV a/s v Denmark, judgment of 17 April 2018 (incitement to violence and support for terrorist activity). To such speech Article 10 simply does not apply. Where Article 10 is not excluded by Article 17, then any restriction upon genuinely hateful speech has generally been easier to justify as necessary in a democratic society than other forms of speech: see eg Murphy v Ireland, judgment of 10 July 2003, [66]-[67]; Lester and Pannick, Human Rights Law and Practice (3rd Edn), [4.10.14]. 227. I turn to the second of Lord Reed's four questions, namely whether HCOG, and in particular the recording of non-hate incidents, is rationally connected to the objectives it serves. Plainly, it is. For all of the reasons set out in the evidence of Mr Gianassi and Mr Tucker it is important that the police have adequate records of potential hate incidents to inform their work. I accept that the recording of non-criminal incidents is a basic and necessary aspect of policing. The evidence is that the recording of non-criminal incidents is provided for by the Home Office's National Standard for Incident Recording (NSIR). Among other things the NSIR calls for police to mark incident with qualifiers, and one
52 such qualified is 'hate and prejudice'. In 2018 Her Majesty's Inspectorate said that recording non-crime hate incidents was a valuable source of information. 228. The third question is whether a less intrusive measure could have been used without unacceptably compromising the achievement of the objective. In my judgment it could not. As I have said, the recording of non-crime hate incidents barely encroaches on freedom of expression, if it does so at all. I also take into account that key elements of HCOG have been derived from sources which should command great respect and weight. It can be concluded that they are what is thought necessary to achieve HCOG's aims. These include the Macpherson Report; ACPO Hate Crime Manuals; and Fulford J's (as he then was) Race For Justice Taskforce Report of 2006. That was a report on the handling of racist and religious crime by the police, the CPS and the courts. In response, in 2007 the Attorney General created a Cross-Government Hate Crime Programme and tasked it with agreeing a shared definition of hate crime and non-crime hate incidents. There was also an Independent Advisory Group which, as Mr Gianassi explains at [48] unanimously supported the inclusion of a response to non-crime hate incidents to effectively measure tensions and to prevent the escalation to more serious hostility. At [30] of his statement Mr Giannasi wrote: '''... recording, measuring and proportionate response is vital to mitigate hate speech and non-crime hate incidents, and this is an important part the State's effective protection and promotion of human rights. Failure to address non-crime hate incidents is likely to lead to their increase, and ultimately increase the risk of serious violence and societal damage.'' 229. I turn, then, to the fourth of Lord Reed's questions which is whether, balancing the severity of HCOG's effects on the rights of the persons to whom it applies against the importance of the objectives it serves, to the extent that the measure will contribute to its achievement, the former outweighs the latter. The question is whether the impact of the rights infringement is disproportionate to the likely benefits brought by recording non-crime hate incidents under HCOG. 230. The answer to this question is that that impact is not disproportionate to the benefits which HCOG brings to the achievement of the objectives it serves. That answer largely flows from my earlier conclusions. The mere recording of non-crime hate incidents arising out of speech barely impacts on the right to freedom of expression. Set against that, there is considerable evidence about both the necessity of HCOG's measures in relation to non-crime hate incidents and also the benefits which they bring. I have cited much of this evidence already. In addition, Mike Ainsworth of Stop Hate UK and the chair of the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime wrote in his statement at [16] in relation to hate incidents: ''16. Recording of hate incidents by the police is critical for a number of reasons: ' Hate incidents often provide the evidence of motivation for subsequent hate crimes. Specifically where individuals are victims of harassment or stalking where individual acts may be sub-criminal.
53 ' Hate incidents can increase levels of fear in communities. Understanding what drives and affects community cohesion is essential for effective policing ' Recording of hate incidents can prevent escalation into criminal behavior. For example we know through our work in schools that young children are now committing criminal acts online without understanding that their behavior online can lead to criminal convictions.'' 231. In addition, Nick Antjoule is a specialist in hate crime at a leading LGBT+ charity. He has experience of working in a police force as a specialist LGBT Liaison Officer, and in hate crime in a local authority. In his statement he has also provided detailed reasons explaining why perception-based recording is necessary and why monitoring of non-crime hate incidents is needed to prevent hate crime ([12-18]). Nathan Hall wrote the Introduction to HCOG and is an academic specialising in hate crimes and the legacy of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. He also holds posts on the Independent Advisory Group and the NPCC's Hate Crime Working Group. In his statement at [11]-[31] he explains in detail the need for perception-based recording; the dynamic of hate speech escalating into a hate crime; and detailed reasons why it is necessary to record non-crime hate incidents. 232. Accordingly, there is a wealth of evidence supporting the necessity of the key elements of HCOG. 233. In considering this question, it is also necessary to consider the safeguards that are in place in relation to how information recorded and retained under HCOG. 234. First, as I have explained, there is an element of discretion whether to record in HCOG. It has to be applied in a common-sense manner by police forces. Also, HCOG expressly provides that it must be applied in a proportionate and Convention compliant manner (at [6.1] and [6.4]). When Mr Giannasi trains police on hate crime he emphasises the importance of Articles 8 and 10 of the Convention. 235. In respect of retention, the police are subject to the Data Protection Act 1998 and other policies including the NSIR; the Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime; the College of Policing's Authorised Professional Practice: Information Management '' Retention, review and disposal. 236. Finally, there is the question of disclosure a non-crime hate incident in respect of an individual. There is a framework of laws and policies in place the legality of which has been upheld. Disclosure is only permissible in principle, therefore, where the need to protect the public is at its greatest, ie, where the individual may be in contact with vulnerable individuals and, because of the test of relevance, where those vulnerable individuals may belong to the group against whom it is complained the applicant was hostile. It is right that employers, who themselves must uphold their own equality duties in relation to their staff and service-users, may be informed about the potential prejudicial and discriminatory views of prospective employees. There are important safeguards in place to protect job applicants, who have the right to request that information held about them be removed from the police's record. Individuals have a right of appeal against decisions as to what is to be disclosed.
54 (v) Conclusion 237. I therefore reject the Claimant's broad-based challenge to the legality of HCOG under Article 10. In summary, I conclude that (a) the mere recording of a non-crime hate incident based on an individual's speech is not an interference with his or her rights under Article 10(1); (b) but if it is, it is prescribed by law and done for two of the legitimate aims in Article 10(2); and (c) that HCOG does not give rise to an unacceptable risk of a violation of Article 10(1) on the grounds of disproportionality. The legality of the police's treatment of the Claimant 238. I turn to the Claimant's narrower challenge. He contends that the combination of the recording of his tweets as a non-crime hate incident under HCOG; PC Gul going to his workplace to speak to him about them; their subsequent conversation in which, at a minimum, PC Gul warned him of the risk of a criminal prosecution if he continued to tweet; and the Claimant's subsequent dealings with the police in which he was again warned about criminal prosecution, interfered with his rights under Article 10(1) in a manner which was unlawful. 239. On behalf of the Second Defendant Mr Ustych took what might be called a pleading point, in as much as he contended that as against his client the only complaint by the Claimant was the recording of his tweets rather than the police's subsequent action. I do not accept this. It is clear from the pleadings and the Skeleton Arguments that everyone was alive to the way in which the case was being put by the Claimant. There is the broad challenge to HCOG which I have rejected, and there is also the focussed challenge on the facts as to how it was applied in the Claimant's case. Mr Ustych met the case on that basis during argument and that is how I propose to deal with it. The Claimant's tweets: the context 240. It is vital to begin with the context of the debate in which the Claimant was writing. As Lord Steyn said in R (Daly) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2001] 2 AC 532, 548, 'in law, context is everything.' In Vajnai v Hungary (No. 33629/06, judgment of 8 July 2008), [53] the Court observed: '''... it is only by a careful examination of the context in which the offending words appear that one can draw a meaningful distinction between shocking and offensive language which is protected by Article 10 and that which forfeits its right to tolerance in a democratic society.'' 241. It is very important to recognise that the Claimant was not tweeting in a vacuum. He was contributing to an ongoing debate that is complex and multi-faceted. In order to understand the contours of that debate I have been assisted by the first witness statement of Professor Kathleen Stock, Professor of Philosophy at Sussex University. She researches and teaches the philosophy of fiction and feminist philosophy. Her intellectual pedigree is impeccable. She writes:
55 ''4, In my work, among other things I argue that there's nothing wrong, either theoretically, linguistically, empirically, or politically, with the once-familiar idea that a woman is, definitionally, an adult human female. I also argue that the subjective notion of 'gender identity' is ill-conceived intrinsically, and a fortiori as a potential object of law or policy. In light of these and other views, I am intellectually 'gender-critical'; that is, critical of the influential societal role of sex-based stereotypes, generally, including the role of stereotypes in informing the dogmatic and, in my view, false assertion that '' quite literally '' 'trans women are women'. I am clear throughout my work that trans people are deserving of all human rights and dignity.'' 242. Professor Stock co-runs an informal network of around 100 gender-critical academics working in UK and overseas universities. Members of the network come from a wide variety of different disciplines including sociology, philosophy, law, psychology and medicine. She says that many members of the network 'research on the many rich theoretical and practical questions raised by current major social changes in the UK around sex and gender'. 243. Professor Stock then describes the 'hostile climate' facing gender-critical academics working in UK universities. She says that any research which threatens to produce conclusions or outcomes that influential trans-advocacy organisations would judge to be politically inexpedient, faces significant obstacles. These, broadly, are impediments to the generation of research and to its publication. She also explains how gender critical academics face constant student protests which hinder their work. 244. At [17] she says: ''As also indicative, since I began writing and speaking on gender-critical matters: the Sussex University Student Union Executive has put out a statement about me on their website, accusing me of 'transphobia' and 'hatred'; I've had my office door defaced twice with stickers saying that 'TERFS' are 'not welcome here' '...'' 245. I understand that 'TERF' is an acronym for 'trans-exclusionary radical feminist'. It is used to describe feminists who express ideas that other feminists consider transphobic, such as the claim that trans women are not women, opposition to transgender rights and exclusion of trans women from women's spaces and organisations. It can be a pejorative term. 246. She concludes at [22]: '''... there are also unfair obstacles to getting gender-critical research articles into academic publications, and in achieving grant funding. These stem from a dogmatic belief, widespread amongst those academics most likely to be asked to referee a project about sex or gender (eg those already
56 established in Gender Studies; those in feminist philosophy) that trans women are literally women, that trans men are literally men, and that any dissent on this point must automatically be transphobic '...'' 247. Also in evidence is a statement from Jodie Ginsberg, the CEO of Index on Censorship. Index on Censorship is a non-profit organisation that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide. It publishes work by censored writers and artists, promote debate, and monitor threats to free speech. She deals with a number of topics, including the Government Consultation on the GRA 2004. She explains at [10]-[11]: ''10. The proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act involve removing the gender recognition procedures described above and replacing them with a simple self-identification process (self-ID). Self-ID means the transitioner does not have to undergo medical or other assessment procedures. 11. Many in the UK are concerned that the proposed reforms for self-ID will erase 'sex' as protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010 by conflating 'sex' and 'gender'. There are concerns that single sex spaces with important protective functions (women's prisons or women's refuse shelters for victims of domestic violence or rape) will be undermined. The UK government has said it does not plan to amend the existing protections in the Equality Act; however, this is not convincing to those who see self-ID in any form as fundamentally incompatible with legal protection for women and girls.'' 248. She goes on to address gender criticism and Twitter and explains that there is on-going concern that Twitter is stifling legitimate debate on this topic by its terms of service which apparently treat gender critical comment as hate speech. She then gives a number of examples where the police have taken action because of things people have posted on Twitter about transgender issues. 249. She concludes at [27]-[29]: ''27. Index is concerned by the apparent growing number of cases in which police are contacting individuals about online speech that is not illegal and sometimes asking for posts to be removed. This is creating confusion among the wider population about what is and is not legal speech, and - more significantly '' further suppressing debate on an issue of public interest, given that the government invited comment on this issue as part of its review of the Gender Recognition Act. 28. The confusion of the public (and police) around what is, and what is not, illegal speech may be responsible for
57 artificially inflating statistics on transgender hate crime '... Police actions against those espousing lawful, gender critical views '' including the recording of such views where reported as 'hate incidents' '' create a hostile environment in which gender critical voices are silenced. This is at a time when the country is debating the limits and meaning of 'gender' as a legal category. 29. It has been reported that the hostile environment in which this debate is being conducted is preventing even members of parliament from expressing their opinions openly. The journalist James Kirkup said in a 2018 report for The Spectator: ''I know MPs, in more than one party, who privately say they will not talk about this issue in public for fear of the responses that are likely to follow. The debate is currently conducted in terms that are not conducive to '' and sometimes actively hostile to '' free expression. As a result, it is very unlikely to lead to good and socially sustainable policy.'' 250. I take the following points from this evidence. First, there is a vigorous ongoing debate about trans rights. Professor Stock's evidence shows that some involved in the debate are readily willing to label those with different viewpoints as 'transphobic' or as displaying 'hatred' when they are not. It is clear that there are those on one side of the debate who simply will not tolerate different views, even when they are expressed by legitimate scholars whose views are not grounded in hatred, bigotry, prejudice or hostility, but are based on legitimately different value judgments, reasoning and analysis, and form part of mainstream academic research. 251. The Claimant's tweets were, for the most part, either opaque, profane, or unsophisticated. That does not rob them of the protection of Article 10(1). I am quite clear that they were expressions of opinion on a topic of current controversy, namely gender recognition. Unsubtle though they were, the Claimant expressed views which are congruent with the views of a number of respected academics who hold gender-critical views and do so for profound socio-philosophical reasons. This conclusion is reinforced by Ms Ginsberg's evidence, which shows that many other people hold concerns similar to those held by the Claimant. 252. The Defendants submitted that this contextual evidence was not relevant to the issues in this case. I disagree. It is relevant because in the Article 10 context, special protection is afforded to political speech and debate on questions of public interest: see eg Vajnai v Hungary (No. 33629/06, judgment of 8 July 2008), [47], where the Court emphasised that that there is: '''... little scope under Article 10(2) of the Convention for restrictions on political speech or on the debate of questions of public interest''. 253. I turn to the required four-part analysis to determine whether the police unlawfully interfered with the Claimant's Article 10 rights.
58 (i) Interference 254. The first question is whether the police interfered with the Claimant's right to freedom of expression. I set out the case law on interference earlier. The issue of whether there has been an interference with the right to freedom of expression in Article 10(1) is helpfully summarised in Clayton & Tomlinson, The Law of Human Rights (2nd Edn, Vol 1) at [15.267]: ''In contrast to the position under some other Articles of the Convention, the question as to whether there has been an interference with an Article 10 right will usually be straightforward. Interferences with the right to freedom of expression can take a wide variety of forms and the [ECtHR] has, generally, considered that anything which impedes, sanctions, restricts or deters expression constitutes an interference...'' 255. The Strasbourg case law shows that comparatively little official action is needed to constitute an interference for the purposes of Article 10(1). In Steur v Netherlands, Application 39657/98, judgment of 28 January 2003, a lawyer complained that Bar disciplinary proceedings had interfered with his Article 10(1) rights. At [29], [44] the Court said: ''27. The Government argued that the applicant had not been the subject of any 'formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties' '... 29. The Court acknowledges that no sanction was imposed on the applicant '' not even the lightest sanction, a mere admonition. Nonetheless, the applicant was censured, that is, he was formally found at fault in that he had breached the applicable professional standards. This could have a negative effect on the applicant, in the sense that he might feel restricted in his choice of factual and legal arguments when defending his clients in future cases. It is therefore reasonable to consider that the applicant was made subject to a 'formality' or a 'restriction' on his freedom of expression. 44. It is true that no sanction was imposed on the applicant but, even so, the threat of an ex post facto review of his criticism with respect to the manner in which evidence was taken from his client is difficult to reconcile with his duty as an advocate to defend the interests of his clients and could have a ''chilling effect'' on the practice of his profession '...'' 256. For the reasons I explained earlier, although what was said between PC Gul and the Claimant is disputed and I cannot resolve that dispute, the undisputed facts plainly show
59 that the police interfered with the Claimant's right to freedom of expression. PC Gul's actions in going to the Claimant's place of work and his misstatement of the facts, his warning to the Claimant, coupled with the subsequent warnings by the police to the Claimant that he would be at risk of criminal prosecution if he continued to tweet (the term 'escalation' was never defined or explained) all lead me to conclude that the police did interfere with his Article 10(1) rights even though he was not made subject to any formal sanction. There is also the point that the police created a Crime Report which referred to the Claimant as a 'suspect'. 257. I bear in mind the Defendants' submission that I should regard the Claimant's evidence about his reaction with caution. However, I accept what he said in [40] of his witness statement about what he felt following his conversation with PC Gul: ''I felt a deep sense of both personal humiliation, shame for my family and embarrassment for my Company, its customers, suppliers and employees. I also felt anxious as to what this might mean for me, the family and the business. What did a hate incident say of me and what would happen if it escalated ? How could it escalate ? How would I cross the line into criminality ? Where was the safe place to engage in critical comment about deeply concerning legislative possibilities '...'' 258. It seems to me that this would be the reaction of anyone who had been exercising their free expression rights and then received a visit from the police as a consequence. 259. Mr Auburn and Mr Ustych both sought to play down the police's actions. They said that there had been no interference with the Claimant's free expression rights or, if there had, it was at a trivial level. In my judgment these submissions impermissibly minimise what occurred and do not properly reflect the value of free speech in a democracy. There was not a shred of evidence that the Claimant was at risk of committing a criminal offence. The effect of the police turning up at his place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated. To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom. In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society. 260. It is nothing to the point that the Claimant subsequently gave interviews to various media outlets, or that he soon continued to tweet on transgender issues, and that both of these generated further publicity. That, in my judgment, does not mean that what the police did was not an interference under Article 10(1). The paradigm case of an Article 10(1) interference is where someone suffers a criminal punishment as a consequence of exercise their right to freedom of speech. The fact that they may continue to speak following their punishment does not stop that punishment from being an interference. 261. Warning the Claimant that in unspecified circumstances he might find himself being prosecuted for exercising his right to freedom of expression on Twitter had the capacity to impede and deter him from expressing himself on transgender issues. In other words, the police's actions, taken as a whole, had a chilling effect on his right to freedom of expression. That is an interference for the purposes of Article 10(1).
60 (ii) Prescribed by law 262. Were the police's actions 'in accordance with law' ? In principle they had the power to record the tweets under HCOG, although whether it was proper to do so I will consider later in connection with proportionality. ACC Young had the power to issue his statement and Acting Inspector Wilson had the power to write to the Claimant in response to his complaint. 263. PC Gul's evidence about what power he was exercising when he visited the Claimant's workplace and subsequently spoke to the Claimant is confused. He does not identify the power in his statement. His confusion is illustrated by [12] of his statement, where he said that 'the purpose of my visit was simply to speak with Mr Miller rather than the exercise of any police powers that were available to me.' 264. Despite his confusion, I am prepared to assume that PC Gul was acting within the scope of his common law power to prevent crime when he went to the Claimant's workplace and later spoke to him in order to warn him about 'escalation'. But I should make clear, as I have already said, that there was no evidence that the Claimant either had, or was going to, escalate his tweets so that they potentially would amount to a criminal offence so as to require police action. The contrary conclusion is irrational. From November 2018 until January 2019 the Claimant's tweets had followed a fairly random pattern, raising subjects relating to transgender which were probably only of interest to obsessives (such as who won a particular event at the 1976 Olympics). There is no evidence that they were, for example, becoming increasingly offensive and intemperate, or that the Claimant was beginning specifically to target transgender people, or that increasing numbers of people were being offended by them. 265. No-one can forget the despicable language recorded by the police during their investigation of the Stephen Lawrence murder. But the Claimant's tweets were a world away from that. As I have explained, he expressed the sort of views that are also held by many academics as part of a complex multi-faceted debate. 266. At this point I should refer to the second witness statement of Professor Stock. In it she discusses the differences between speech perceived as racist, and utterances that are frequently perceived by hearers as motivated by transphobia, or understood as hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender, eg, 'Trans women aren't women'. She says at [5]: ''5. Where an utterance is perceived to be racist, it usually contains some identifiable pejorative element which explains that perception, so that it is not reasonably interpretable merely as straightforward, non-evaluative description. For instance, racist utterances might involve: a slur, such as the N-word, conventionally expressing contempt; mocking epithets designed to ridicule; or other statements expressing personal disapproval '... 267. In contrast, she says expressions such as 'Trans women aren't women':
61 '''... contain no pejorative, expressive, mocking, or disapproving elements. In the mouths of many people, these utterances are intended to convey, and be heard as simple descriptions of observable facts; that is they are intended to be fact-stating and non-evaluative utterances, along the lines of 'water boils and 100 degrees' or 'pillar boxes in the UK are red. 6. For many English speakers, 'woman' is strictly synonymous with 'biologically female and 'man' with 'biologically male'. For these speakers, therefore, given the accompanying true belief that trans women are biologically male, to say that 'trans women are men' and 'trans women aren't women' is simply to neutrally state facts''' 268. During the hearing I asked Mr Ustych what criminal offences the police had in mind when they warned the Claimant about escalation and further tweeting. He suggested the offence under s 127 of the Communications Act 2003 which, to recap, makes it an offence to send 'a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character' via a public telecommunications system. He also suggested the offence under s 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988. In my judgment the suggestion that there was evidence that Claimant could escalate so as to commit either offence is not remotely tenable. 269. The s 127 offence was considered by the House of Lords in Director of Public Prosecutions v Collins [2006] 1 WLR 2223. The defendant telephoned his Member of Parliament and spoke or left messages using offensive racial terms. None of the people whom the defendant addressed or who picked up the recorded messages was a member of an ethnic minority. The defendant was tried for sending, by means of a public telecommunications system, messages that were grossly offensive contrary to s 127 of the Communications Act 2003. The justices held that, although the conversations and messages were offensive, a reasonable person would not have found them grossly offensive; accordingly, they acquitted the defendant. The Divisional Court dismissed the Crown's appeal by way of case stated. The House of Lords allowed the Crown's appeal. It held: (a) that the purpose of s 127(1)(a) was to prohibit the use of a service provided and funded by the public for the benefit of the public, for the transmission of communications which contravened the basic standards of society; (b) that the proscribed act was the sending of the message of the proscribed character by the defined means, and the offence was complete when the message was sent; (c) it was for the court, applying the standards of an open and just multiracial society and taking account of the context and all relevant circumstances, to determine as a question of fact whether a message was grossly offensive; (d) that it was necessary to show that the defendant intended his words to be grossly offensive to those to whom the message related, or that he was aware that they might be taken to be so. 270. It held that that the defendant's messages were grossly offensive and would be found by a reasonable person to be so, and that although s 127(1)(a) interfered with the right to freedom of expression under Article 10, it went no further than was necessary in a democratic society for achieving the legitimate objective of preventing the use of the public electronic communications network for attacking the reputations and rights of
62 others; and that, accordingly, since the messages had been sent by the defendant by means of a public electronic communications network, he should have been convicted of an offence under s 127(1)(a). 271. The Claimant's tweets did not come close to this offence. No reasonable person could have regarded them as grossly offensive, and certainly not having regard to the context in which they were sent, namely, as part of a debate on a matter of current controversy. Nor could they be reasonably regarded as indecent or menacing. The lyric which apparently most concerned PC Gul used the words 'breasts' and 'vagina'. The use of such words in twenty-first century United Kingdom is not indecent, or at least not in the satirical context in which they were deployed. Nor was the use of the words 'penis' in one of the other tweets. Nor was there any evidence that the Claimant intended to be grossly offensive: he regarded himself as simply using sarcasm and satire as part of the gender recognition debate in tweets to his Twitter followers. As I have held, apart from Mrs B, there is no firm evidence about who read the tweets, or what their reaction was. I infer from this that apart from her, no-one else was remotely concerned by them. However, the Claimant had no reason to know that Mrs B would read them and be offended. 272. Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 provides: ''Any person who sends to another person - (a) a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys - (i) a message which is indecent or grossly offensive '... is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should '... cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.'' 273. The Claimant's tweets did not amount to this offence for essentially the same reasons they did not constitute the s 127 offence: they were not grossly offensive or indecent and the Claimant did not intend to cause anyone anxiety or distress. (iii) Legitimate aim 274. I am prepared to assume for the purposes of argument that the police's actions taken as a whole were aimed at two of the purposes specified in Article 10(2), namely for the prevention of crime or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. As I have explained, there was in fact no risk of any offence being committed by the Claimant, but I am prepared to accept that PC Gul's acted as he did because he thought there was such a risk, and that he believed he was protecting Mrs B's right not to be offended. (iv) Necessary in a democratic society 275. I turn to the question of 'necessary in a democratic society' and proportionality. I set out the four questions to be considered earlier in this judgment. Proportionality is always fact specific and the facts have to be closely scrutinised: Bridges, supra, [100], [108]. 276. The first question is whether the objective of the police's actions in warning the Claimant was sufficiently important to justify restricting his freedom of speech. I remind myself
63 that there is little scope under Article 10(2) of the Convention for restrictions on political speech or on the debate of questions of public interest: see eg Vajnai v Hungary, supra, [47]. In R (Prolife Alliance) v British Broadcasting Corporation, supra, [6], Lord Nicholls said: ''6. Freedom of political speech is a freedom of the very highest importance in any country which lays claim to being a democracy. Restrictions on this freedom need to be examined rigorously by all concerned, not least the courts. The courts, as independent and impartial bodies, are charged with a vital supervisory role.'' 277. I also remind myself, as Lord Bingham said in Shayler, supra, that the test of necessity is a stringent one. Strong justification is therefore needed to justify a restriction on such speech. In my judgment, there was no such justification in this case. 278. The two legitimate aims in question were the prevention of crime and the protection of others. For the reasons I have given there was no rational basis on which PC Gul could have believed that there was any risk of the Claimant committing a criminal offence. There was accordingly no need for him to visit the Claimant's workplace and then warn him about the danger of being prosecuted if he escalated. Nor was there any need for ACC Young and Acting Inspector Wilson to say the same thing. As I have already said but emphasise again, there was no firm evidence that anyone had read his tweets and been upset, apart from Mrs B. There was no evidence anyone would read any future tweets and be upset by them. As I have pointed out, PC Gul was wrong to say that the tweets had upset 'many members' of the transgender community. There was no evidence of that and Mrs B does not say that in her witness statement. 279. The Claimant's tweets were not targeted at Mrs B, nor even the transgender community. They were primarily aimed at his 900-odd Twitter followers many of whom, as I said earlier, can be assumed to be of a like mind. Mrs B chose to read them. Until she got involved, there is no evidence anyone had paid any attention to the Claimant's tweets. No-one had been bothered by them. No-one had responded to them. No-one had complained about them. Some of them were so opaque I doubt many people would have understood them even if they had read them. 280. I hesitate to be overly critical of Mrs B, given she has not given evidence, but I consider it fair to say that her reaction to the Claimant's tweets was, at times, at the outer margins of rationality. For example, her suggestion that the Claimant would have been anti-Semitic eighty years ago had no proper basis and represents an extreme mindset on her behalf. Equally, her statement that if the Claimant wins this case, transgender people will have to 'kiss their rights goodbye' was simply wrong. The Equality Act 2010 will remain in force. The evidence of Professor Stock shows that the Claimant is far from alone in a debate which is complex and multi-faceted. Mrs B profoundly disagrees with his views, but such is the nature of free speech in a democracy. Professor Stock's evidence demonstrates how quickly some involved in the transgender debate are prepared to accuse others with whom they disagree of showing hatred, or as being transphobic when they are not, but simply hold a different view. Mrs B's evidence would tend to confirm Professor Stock's evidence.
64 281. Although I do not need to decide the point, I entertain considerable doubt whether the Claimant's tweets were properly recordable under HCOG at all. It seems to me to be arguable that the tweets (or at least some of them) did not disclose hostility or prejudice to the transgender community and so did not come within the definition of a non-crime hate incident. HCOG rightly notes at [1.2.2] that 'hate implies a high degree of animosity '...'. Professor Stock has explained that expressions which are often described as transphobic are not in fact so, or at least necessarily so (unlike racist language, which is always hateful and offensive). I acknowledge the importance of perception-based reporting for all of the reasons I set out earlier and I am prepared to accept that Mrs B had the perception that the tweets demonstrated hostility or prejudice to the transgender community. But I would question whether that conclusion was a rational one in relation to at least some of them. It is striking that no-where in their evidence did Mrs B or PC Gul specifically identify which tweets amounted to hate speech, or why. It is just asserted that they did, without further discussion. In my view many of them definitely did not, eg, the tweet about Dame Jenni Murray. That, it seems to me, was a protest against those who were seeking to curtail freedom of speech, and was not about transgender issues at all. Calling Dr Harrop a 'gloating bastard' was not very nice, but it was not displaying hatred or prejudice to the transgender community. Asking why gender critical views were not more represented in the media was a perfectly reasonable enquiry, as was asking what the Trans Day of Remembrance was. The Claimant's evidence, which I accept, is that he is not prejudiced and that his tweets were sent as part of an ongoing debate. Whilst I am prepared to accept Mrs B's indignation, I question whether Mrs B fell into [1.2.4] as someone who was responding to an internet story or who was reporting for a political motive, making the recording of her complaint not appropriate. The Crime Report shows she herself was not above making derogatory comments online about people she disagrees with on transgender issues; in other words, Mrs B is an active participant in the trans debate online. 282. I readily accept, of course, that a single victim can be the subject of hate speech that is properly recordable under HCOG. But I do think that it is significant in this case that the Claimant was tweeting to a large number of people, and yet only Mrs B complained, and did so in terms that on any view were extreme and, as I have explained, not wholly accurate. That is a factor that has to be taken into account when the proportionality of the police's response is assessed. 283. Overall, given the importance of not restricting legitimate political debate, I conclude that Mrs B's upset did not justify the police's actions towards the Claimant including turning up at his workplace and then warning him about criminal prosecution, thereby interfering with his Article 10(1) rights. 284. The answer to the second question, whether the measure was rationally connected to the objective, flows from the first question. It was not. It was not rational or necessary to warn the Claimant for the reasons that I have given. 285. The third question is whether a less intrusive measure could have been used without unacceptably compromising the achievement of the objective. If some of the tweets were in fact a non-crime hate incident because of their effect on Mrs B then the police could simply have recorded them pursuant to HCOG and taken no further step. In his statement PC Gul accepts that one option that was open to him was to take no further action. They
65 could also have advised Mrs B not to read any subsequent tweets. Both of those things would have served the objectives in question. 286. The fourth question is whether the impact of the rights infringement is disproportionate to the likely benefit of the impugned measure. I am quite satisfied that it is. The Claimant's Article 10(1) right to speak on transgender issues as part of an ongoing debate was extremely important for all of the reasons I have given and because freedom of speech is intrinsically important. There was no risk of him committing an offence and Mrs B's emotional response did not justify the police acting as they did towards the Claimant. What they did effectively granted her a 'heckler's veto'. As to this, in Vajnaj v Hungary, supra, the Court said at [57]: ''In the Court's view, a legal system which applies restrictions on human rights in order to satisfy the dictates of public feeling '' real or imaginary '' cannot be regarded as meeting the pressing social needs recognised in a democratic society, since that society must remain reasonable in its judgement. To hold otherwise would mean that freedom of speech and opinion is subjected to the heckler's veto.'' 287. What the Claimant wrote was lawful. The Claimant was just one person writing things which only one other person found offensive out of however many read them. Mrs B chose to read the Claimant's tweets. The tweets were not directed at her. If the Claimant's tweets had been reported in a newspaper and Mrs B had complained as a consequence, then I seriously doubt it would have been recorded as a hate incident. He would have been expressing himself in a public forum (as he did on Twitter) for people to read, or not, what he had to say. What happened in this case was not in my judgment meaningfully different. Conclusion 288. In his treatise On Liberty (1859) John Stuart Mill wrote: ''If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.'' 289. For the reasons I have set out, whilst Mrs B made a complaint that was recorded under HCOG, the police's treatment of the Claimant thereafter disproportionately interfered with his right of freedom of expression, which is an essential component of democracy for all of the reasons I explained at the beginning of this judgment.
Amazon gets restraining order to block Microsoft work on Pentagon JEDI
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 08:53
A federal judge Thursday ordered a temporary block on the JEDI cloud contract, which was awarded to Microsoft, in response to a suit filed by Amazon. Shares of Microsoft fell on the news, while Amazon's stock was down slightly.
A court notice announcing the injunction was filed on Thursday but wasn't public. It's unclear why the documents were sealed.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud computing contract is intended to modernize the Pentagon's IT operations. The contract could be worth up to $10 billion for services rendered over as many as 10 years. Microsoft was awarded the contract on Oct. 25.
Amazon's cloud-computing arm, Amazon Web Services, is instructed to earmark $42 million for any "costs and damages" that could be incurred in the event that the "injunction was issued wrongfully," the filing states. Amazon must file a notice with the courts indicating it has obtained the $42 million by Feb. 20. Microsoft and Amazon must respond to the filing by Feb. 27.
Microsoft and the Department of Defense criticized the ruling.
Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of communications, told CNBC in a statement: "While we are disappointed with the additional delay we believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure those who serve our country can access the new technology they urgently require. We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft."
Department of Defense spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert Carver said, "We are disappointed in today's ruling and believe the actions taken in this litigation have unnecessarily delayed implementing DoD's modernization strategy and deprived our warfighters of a set of capabilities they urgently need. However, we are confident in our award of the JEDI cloud contract to Microsoft and remain focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Amazon claimed 'unimistakable bias'Last month, AWS filed a formal motion asking the court to pause Microsoft's work on the JEDI cloud contract, claiming the evaluation process included "clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias." The court granted that motion on Thursday.
In April, the Defense Department announced that Amazon and Microsoft were the two finalists to provide the contract, ruling out other contenders, such as IBM and Oracle. Then in July, President Donald Trump said he was looking into the contract after IBM and other companies protested the bidding process. Microsoft was ultimately awarded the contract last October.
Amazon has been protesting the move, saying that it was driven in part by Trump's bias against the company. Trump often criticizes Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, claiming the newspaper unfairly covers his administration.
Court documents filed last December laid out in greater detail why AWS is challenging the decision. In them, AWS alleged Trump launched "behind-the-scenes attacks" against the company, which caused it to lose out on the cloud contract. AWS has called for the Defense Department to terminate the award and conduct another review of the submitted proposals.
Earlier this week, Amazon said in newly unsealed court documents that it's looking to depose Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and former Defense Secretary James Mattis as part of its protest of the JEDI cloud contract award. Amazon argues that it needs to hear from Trump to learn the scope of his involvement in the bidding process.
Amazon's top spokesperson Jay Carney told CNBC on Wednesday that the company is protesting the decision to make sure the award process was "free of political interference."
"All we're trying to do through this protest and this request for a legal review is to ensure that a proper decision was made on behalf of U.S. taxpayers," Carney, a former press secretary for President Barack Obama, told CNBC when asked about Amazon's move to depose Trump.
Microsoft has been staffing up in preparation for working on the JEDI project, despite Amazon's protest. The company made attempts to lure talent from defense contractors and other companies, while there were numerous job openings for people with security clearances. Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, told CNBC that the company was "moving even faster" since the JEDI contract was awarded.
Sports News
Padres will not wear Swinging Friar caps with logo that resembles swastika during spring training - CBSSports.com
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:20
Less than a week after revealing a new spring training cap, the Padres have acquiesced to fan concerns and decided that the design will only be worn in limited circumstances. The design of the hat announced last Wednesday was in the brown and gold colors that featured a Swinging Friar with a digital-looking, interlocking SD that had lines which seem to resemble a swastika.
"Following our offseason uniform rebrand and the overwhelmingly positive response from Padres fans, we've decided to wear our regular season brown caps with the gold 'SD' for the majority of spring training," Wayne Partello, Padres chief marketing officer, said Tuesday per the San Diego Tribune.
Kevin Acee, the Padres beat writer for the Tribune, tweeted out on Tuesday that the team had switched to a cap with the traditional San Diego logo on it during spring training workouts.
The hats will still likely be worn at least once given that the team did actually sell and promote this merchandise to fans as on-field equipment. They are also part of a general series from Major League Baseball and New Era that combines the logo of each team with their letter logo. However, none of the other ones appeared to have accidental derogatory imagery.
Astros, Jim Crane fumble another apology for cheating - Sports Illustrated
Thu, 13 Feb 2020 22:31
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. '-- The Astros knew what was coming, and they still swung and missed.
They've had since Nov. 12, when The Athletic published its initial report that Houston stole signs illegally during its 2017 championship season, to prepare a response. Hell, they've had since May 2017, when they first asked a staffer to set up a monitor displaying the feed from the centerfield camera and began banging on a trash can to alert their teammates to the next pitch.
Shortstop Carlos Correa knew this day would come. It didn't keep him up in 2017 the way it has since the story broke, but the pit in his stomach has told him for three years that the glory of his only World Series ring came with an expiration date.
''The truth comes out at some point,'' he said on Thursday.
Correa spoke eloquently of the lesson he wants his future children to learn from his mistakes. He wrenched his cap backward in anguish and briefly approached tears. He did his best to redeem himself and his organization, to express what seemed like genuine remorse, but his comments came after a press conference by team owner Jim Crane that occasionally veered into absurdity.
''Our opinion is that this didn't impact the game,'' Crane said at one point.
ESPN's Jeff Passan repeated his words back to him and asked him to clarify them.
''I didn't say it didn't impact the game,'' Crane said.
That was the issue on Thursday: The Astros still haven't decided what story they want to tell about what they did. They're not even sure they want to use that phrasing.
''I'm really sorry about the choices that were made,'' third baseman Alex Bregman said in a prepared statement.
Oh yeah? Who made those choices, Alex?
Not the players, Crane says. ''The players should not be punished for the failure of our leadership,'' he said. ''The leaders enabled, condoned and did not stop those actions that happened. '... [The players] are a great group of guys who did not receive proper guidance from their leaders.''
This nonsense is an insult to fans. It's also an insult to the players he claims to be protecting. It's infantilizing to suggest these high-functioning adults, among the best in the world at what they do, were too stupid to identify cheating. It was their idea in the first place, and they knew it was wrong when they did it. They acknowledged as much Thursday. It was also clear at the time: In September, White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar appeared to notice the banging. The Astros panicked, according to MLB's investigation. They pulled the monitor off the wall and hid it in an office, then soon had it replaced with a portable monitor on a table that could be put away after games. You don't hide evidence of behavior you believe to be legal.
On Thursday, several of the players took issue with a subsequent report in The Athletic that suggested veteran DH Carlos Beltrn, the only player named in the MLB report, intimidated the rest of the team into participating in the scheme.
''No one put a gun to our head,'' first baseman Yuli Gurriel said.
''We are all responsible,'' outfielder George Springer said.
''No one put us up to this,'' said Bregman.
But none of them would go so far as to suggest that they should have been punished. Commissioner Rob Manfred offered them immunity in exchange for their honesty, but that was largely a logistical issue: It would have been impossible to determine who benefited to what degree and then penalize them accordingly. And he couldn't just suspend everyone for a year; it's not a great look for baseball if the Astros can't field a team. Besides, the players union would surely have filed grievances, dragging this scandal on for months more. So he only went after leadership. He suspended GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for a year. Crane subsequently fired them both.
On Thursday, Crane rejected the suggestion that as the owner of the team, he could have punished the players himself. He elected not to explain why, other than to say he agreed with the commissioner's ruling. ''The leaders were held accountable,'' he said. ''And that's where we're going to leave it.''
The decision to absolve the players publicly left them in an uncomfortable spot when it came to expressing remorse. If you didn't do anything wrong, why are you apologizing?
Despite an hour-long meeting on Wednesday to prepare, they struggled to explain why they had made the choice to cheat. They contented themselves with vague references to mistakes that had been made. ''I'm not going to go into details'' was the phrase of the day. This was three years ago, they said. They want to focus on 2020.
Bregman tried to assure fans that the players have grown from their mistakes. ''We've learned from this,'' he said over and over.
What have you learned, Alex?
''I've learned a lot of things,'' he said. He declined to elaborate.
VIDEO - (8) redfish on Twitter: "Irish Member of the European Parliament Mick Wallace gets reprimanded for calling Venezuela's self-declared president Juan Guaido an "unelected gobshite". https://t.co/8T47bGphDB" / Twitter
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:27
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VIDEO - US Border Patrol agents to pursue migrants in 'sanctuary' cities
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:49
WASHINGTON '' Federal agents who patrol the U.S. border will deploy to ''sanctuary'' cities across the country where local jurisdictions are hindering stepped up immigration enforcement, officials said Friday.
The deployment of Customs and Border Patrol agents, some with tactical training, to the interior of the country is unusual and represents another escalation in the confrontation between the Trump administration and the local jurisdictions that have set up roadblocks to immigration enforcement.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence said additional forces are needed because people without legal authorization to be in the country are being released from local jails in sanctuary cities and counties before his agents can take them into custody.
ICE then has to make ''at large arrests'' of these immigrants who have been released, Albence said in a statement announcing the move.
Crack down:Trump administration touts new legal challenges to sanctuary cities
''This effort requires a significant amount of additional time and resources,'' he said. ''When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims.''
The acting director did not disclose when or where the agents would be deployed but an official, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose details not provided in the statement, said they would include major sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Detroit.
Albence also did not provide details on the specific types of agents being deployed, but the official said they would come from varied U.S. locations and would include officers with tactical training that is typically intended to prepare them for potential confrontations with traffickers and other criminals.
Immigrant advocates dismissed the deployment as a political move by President Donald Trump to excite anti-immigration elements among his supporters and intimidate communities that have adopted sanctuary policies to ensure people cooperate with local law enforcement regardless of whether they are in the country illegally or not.
''Deploying elite SWAT-like units to American cities is dangerous,'' said Naureen Shah of the American Civil Liberties Union. ''This is about further militarizing streets.''
Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, said she was concerned about use of the military-like Border Patrol Tactical Unit in a civilian setting.
''We could see CBP officers who aren't trained for interior immigration enforcement using excessive force, emboldening ICE agents to do the same and escalating situations,'' she said.
The deployment comes as the president and others in his administration look to increase pressure on a sanctuary city movement that has expanded since he took office.
More than 700 counties have now declined to continue holding people sought by ICE and more than 160 have prohibited officers from even asking people about their immigration status, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
Supporters of sanctuary policies say people will be less likely to report crime or to be a witness if they believe they could be deported for doing so. ''Our relationships with our police and sheriff's departments have become stronger because of these policies,'' said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
Albence and others in the administration say sanctuary policies interfere with legitimate law enforcement efforts.
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said moving agents from the border will weaken security there.
''It is truly alarming that President Trump is moving resources away from the border just to ratchet up his cruel immigration agenda, throw meat to his base, and inflict revenge on states that don't do what he says,'' said Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.
Border dispute:NY to sue Trump administration for blocking state residents from Global Entry
The Justice Department this week filed one lawsuit against New Jersey for prohibiting state and local law enforcement from sharing information about inmates in the U.S. illegally and another against Washington state's King County over a policy that prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from using the King County International Airport-Boeing Field for deportation flights.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security said it would bar New York residents from trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry because of state law that prohibits immigration agents from accessing motor vehicle records.
Trump has been trying since he took office to punish sanctuary cities. In 2017, Jeff Sessions, then attorney general, said such cities would not receive grant money unless they gave federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released from prison. A federal judge blocked the punishment from being enforced, and the cities got the money.
VIDEO-What are you feeding your pets? Vets warn against popular diet trend
Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:30
ATLANTA '-- If you have a dog, veterinarians say what they are eating could kill them. Veterinarians are seeing heart failure in some dogs fed a grain-free diet.
Their hearts become so enlarged they can no longer normally pump. That causes all kinds of problems, including fluid in the lungs. That is what happened to Bailey, a dog who died just weeks after getting diagnosed.
''It's just too soon to lose a pet over dog food,'' said Gina Perry, who is still mourning the death of her 6- year-old dog, Bailey.
The Morningside mother got Bailey when she was just a pup, 8 weeks old. ''Bailey, she was a German shorthaired pointer, really, really active, loved to swim, run, go on hikes,'' Perry said.
But Bailey suddenly got lethargic in May 2019. She started coughing after eating grain-free foods for two years.
''They did an X-ray and saw that her heart was really enlarged, filling up almost her whole chest cavity,'' said Perry.
A veterinarian diagnosed Bailey with dilated cardiomyopathy linked to grain-free food.
DCM is something Dr. Jacqueline Horner is now watching out for at Pharr Road Animal Hospital in Buckhead.
''I always explain this to my clients. If you think about body builders, they build a lot of muscle, and at some point, they lose range of motion. If your muscles get very big, they may not be so flexible. They may not have that full range of motion in their arm. The heart is the same way,'' Horner said.
Researchers said there is no direct cause but there is a correlation. ''So, we have a correlation, meaning we are seeing an increased number of pets with DCM, dilated cardiomyopathy, and those pets are also eating grain free foods,'' said Dr. Horner.
It's affecting so many pets, it prompted the Food and Drug Administration to start tracking it. Between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 30, 2019, the FDA said veterinarians diagnosed 560 dogs with DMC and of those, 119 died.
Perry made sure to fill out the FDA forms. ''I didn't know about it. I don't know how many other people don't know about this issue. I want to get the word out to just save other people and other families from going through what we went through,'' Perry said.
A lot of people went grain-free after dogs started dying from tainted wheat gluten from China in 2007. Others did it when they changed their own diets and cut out gluten.
''It started as following the marketing change with our own food,'' Horner said. ''And it's important to note that this trend did not originate from veterinarians' recommendation,'' she continued.
Veterinarians said it is boutique brands selling the idea through ads. Antoinette Zavala said that is why she started feeding her dog, Storm grain-free foods. '''Cause I guess I thought they shouldn't eat grain because of things that I read,'' Zavala said.
Perry went for grain-free because she too thought it was better.
''I thought the dog food would be better. It looked better, and I thought it would be healthier for my dog,'' Perry said.
Veterinarians recommend sticking to bigger, traditional brands with more regulations and stop feeding grain-free.
''We're recommending that, No. 1, avoid using grain-free foods,'' Horner said.
''You just feel guilty. I mean, it's like, you're trying to do something great for your dog, feeding them better dog food, or you think it's better, and you're basically forcing it on them. They don't have a choice, so it's really kind of on you that you did that,'' Perry said.
If you're feeding your dog grain-free, don't stop cold turkey. Veterinarians said it should be a gradual process, taking at least a week or so. Your best bet is to check with your pet's veterinarian.
DCM affects cats, too. The FDA reported five cats died from DCM linked to grain-free food.
The FDA has received at least 10 reports of DCM involving the following pet food brands: Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature's Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature's Variety, NutriSource, Nutro and Rachel Ray Nutrish.
(C) 2020 (C) 2020 Cox Media Group
VIDEO-The Daily Show on Twitter: "Amy Klobuchar has a joke she'd like you to hear https://t.co/5mh5IQepva" / Twitter
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:50
The Daily Wire @ realDailyWire
Sep 5 Replying to
@TheDailyShow pic.twitter.com/sBDwrRsQc0 View conversation · Ross🧠@ RossVarner
Sep 6 Replying to
@TheDailyShow @EricQuachSpeaks Doesn't quite have the same ring as ''the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.
View conversation · Neil Glaser 🧠@ Old_Wino
Jan 11 Replying to
@RossVarner @TheDailyShow @EricQuachSpeaks That's not a joke. ;)
View conversation · George @ noonelistnstome
Sep 5 Replying to
@TheDailyShow Terrible joke delivered with the enthusiasm of a 90 year old retiree reminiscing about their first bicylce.
View conversation · ChimotofuðŸ‡ðŸ‡... @ Tonympetsheni
Sep 6 Replying to
@noonelistnstome @TheDailyShow 🂠wtf..
View conversation · Jaelynne @ JaelieBean
Sep 5 Replying to
@TheDailyShow Stand-up comics do the same thing, travel around with successful jokes and tell them to different crowds.
View conversation · 🐐 Who next ðŸðŸðŸŒ¨''‚¸ðŸŽ(C)? @ SMdiddy
Sep 5 Replying to
@JaelieBean @TheDailyShow They usually avoid repeating the ones that bomb though.
View conversation · mytgurl1 @ mytgurl1
Sep 5 Replying to
@TheDailyShow @amyklobuchar Is anyone actually claiming
@amyklobuchar as their #1 pick? If so, please explain...
View conversation · Heidi '›¸ @ buddynewman
Sep 5 Replying to
@mytgurl1 @TheDailyShow @amyklobuchar Me! She's pragmatic, smart, competent and isn't making unrealistic promises. She actually has a track record of getting things accomplished in divided government. Who do you support?
pic.twitter.com/PpcYKX3wQN View conversation ·
VIDEO-US targets Airbus as it raises import tariffs on EU aircraft | Euronews
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:45
President Donald Trump's administration has announced it will raise the import tariff on EU aircraft from 10 to 15% in March.
It's mainly targeted at giant European plane manufacturer Airbus.
The 10% tariff was introduced back in October after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled the US could legally impose tariffs worth '‚¬6.9 billion.
That was because the EU had been caught illegally subsidising Airbus, according to WTO.
But the WTO has also ruled that the US were guilty of subsidising its own giant aircraft manufacturer, Boeing.
In the coming months, it will rule on what level of tariffs the EU can legally impose.
Since the ruling in October, the US has also slapped a 25% tariff on other EU products including wine, cheese, coffee and olives.
Airbus has said it "deeply regrets" the tariff, which it believes will only increase trade tensions between the EU and the US.
It says it hopes the US will reconsider when the WTO rules against Boeing.
VIDEO-Surging numbers of migrants risk their lives in small boats to get to UK | Euronews
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:28
Record numbers of desperate migrants are risking their lives, using small boats to try and get across the English Channel, from France to the UK.
Ferries had been the main target, with people hiding in the back of freight trucks to get to Britain. But now, the smugglers have switched their tactics.
Children were among more than 200 migrants picked up by British rescuers in just 48 hours in February 2020, a record number.
This followed French authorities responding to over 2,700 people trying to cross the Channel in boats last year, a 17-fold increase on 2016. More than 1,800 reportedly made it to British shores and around 125 were sent back to European countries.
We visit Calais, in northern France, to investigate why there's been such a surge in migrants using boats to cross the Channel. We see the French gendarmerie moving migrants and their tents, part of a daily operation - aimed at stopping a build-up of people.
"What they do is ask the asylum seekers to move their tents just a few metres and if the people are not there, they take their belongings, the tents, personal items, telephones, clothes and sometimes their papers," Clara Houin, a Coordinator with Human Rights Observers, tells Unreported Europe as she watches on.
"It's part of a political approach to stop camps being set up, to avoid a big 'Jungle' like in Calais in 2015."
"We must go by boat"The police are making the lives of migrants uncomfortable in Calais, but those wanting to get to Britain are determined.
"We must stay here. Just, your government (British), French government, please stop stop disturbing the people in here," says one migrant at the camp in Calais.
"When the government in France or the UK don't let us go with trucks, we must go by boat. It's dangerous for us, but we will do this. As will I soon. When we've got a boat, we will go by boat."
Britain: A land of opportunity?So why are so many seemingly prepared to risk it all to get to the UK?
Britain remains the "dream" destination for many migrants, seen as a land of opportunity, where they can speak English and re-join friends and family.
Police activity, tighter port security and Brexit are all seen as fuelling the huge rise in small boats now being used to get across the Channel. It's also said to be cheaper and more successful.
Hunter, Raymond Randoux has lived near a beach just outside Calais for almost 60 years.
"It's the first year I saw migrants here. We never saw them here before. They had been in other areas, where they were in camps spaces were made for them, and then they were cleared. Now, they are coming here," says Randoux.
He suspects smugglers bring boats for the migrants from the UK.
"Most of the guys come from England with the boats in trucks. I think they inflate them when they arrive here, with a pump, because otherwise if they crossed the water with them, they would be spotted for sure. Most of them came from over there."
A tragedy waiting to happen?On the opposite side of the Channel, former coastguard manager Andy Roberts fears a major tragedy - especially now, in near-freezing conditions.
"These boats are not coming across with a navigator or a helmsman. They're just pushed off the beach and left to get on with it," he tells Unreported Europe. "There have been two or three reported deaths but, one day, there will be an absolute catastrophe."
The stretch of water between France and the UK the Dover Strait is the busiest shipping lane in the world. Migrants know they just need to get into British waters.
"There is anecdotal evidence that they refuse to be rescued by the French border force when they're in the waters there, and then it becomes too dangerous to rescue someone who's refusing to be rescued get into UK waters and then it becomes the UK government's responsibility to actually coordinate the search and rescue of people who say they're in distress," explains Roberts, who adds that the migrants are then brought ashore in Britain.
"I can't understand why that's happening in France"When the French authorities demolished the infamous Calais Jungle in 2016, it dispersed huge numbers of people. Now, up the coast, near Dunkirk, hundreds of migrants are living in a filthy, cold disused warehouse complex.
Coline Slotala, from NGO, DROP Solidarite, says it's home to around 800 people and is very dangerous.
"I can't understand what happened here. I come almost every day and I don't understand why that's happening in France," she reflects, as she looks from the gates of the camp.
For those including young children, the conditions are harsh.
"This is our home, without electricity, without water, without a bathroom and we're living here without anything," says one migrant who is desperate to get out.
He says he's been caught twice trying to go by small boat to Britain. And he would consider trying it again despite the £2,000 to £3,000 cost.
The British government says it's working closely with France and Belgium to tackle illegal crossings, deploying more detection equipment and drones and that the majority of migrants who try their luck are stopped.
"If I was in my country, I would have already died"Some young asylum-seekers arrive in Britain on their own, leaving their families at home. Some of them are helped by Kent-based charity Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), which provides lessons in English and life skills.
"If I was in my country, I would have already died, I know this. And no, I'm not really regretting it because I've got a good life in the UK and I'm so happy," explains one of the attendees, a young asylum-seeker from Afghanistan, who got into Britain in a truck.
But he and the other young people are in Britain at a time of heightened anti-immigrant sentiment.
The message that 'we've lost control of our borders' was a big part of the vote for Brexit and the government's under pressure to send more people back when they're found.
"I think that where people have got good asylum claims, they need to be given the opportunity to make those asylum claims on the French side of the Channel," says Bridget Chapman from KRAN.
"They can then be processed and allowed to make that journey in a safe and legal manner. You're not talking about opening up the floodgates then, but what you would do is stop the traffickers' trade overnight."
"We can't keep a situation going where people who've got good asylum claims end up risking their lives in dinghies on the busiest shipping lane in the world."
VIDEO-Zuckerberg tells Europe: regulate social media or 'authoritarian' China will set the rules | Euronews
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 23:27
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday - Copyright
(AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for Europe to regulate social media on issues such as political messages, privacy and data portability '-- or risk losing ground to ''authoritarian'' rules set down by countries such as China.
The billionaire social network founder is due to meet members of the European Union's executive Commission in Brussels on Monday but gave an address on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
He said regulatory boundaries would give citizens ''confidence'' that tech giants were following a set of rules agreed by everyone, and that users ''don't want private companies taking decisions on how to balance social equities without a democratic process.''
''I believe our responsibility is to build the operational muscle to be able to enforce policies, fight interference and have good auditing and controls,'' he said, but governments should provide ''more guidance and regulation '... on political advertising or what discourse should be allowed or on [drawing the line between] harmful expression and freedom.''
'Authoritarian values'He added: ''When you come to draw the line between free expression and safety there is not one right answer '... people need to feel that enough people weighed in [on the decision]'' rather than a private company.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that would probably not agree with every regulation, but the process would ''create trust and better regulation of the internet.''
He also emphasised urgency, saying he was ''very worried'' that countries such as China were encoding ''authoritarian values'' in their regulation of the internet.
''To encode democratic values, open values, we've got to move forward move quickly before more authoritarian models et adopted in a lot of places first,'' he said. ''Where people can share and inform communities, that is a positive force.''
Zuckerberg is expected to strike a similarly open tone over plans to reform digital taxes worldwide, an idea proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
One million fake accounts every dayAnswering questions about misinformation election interference, he repeated his claim that Facebook removes one million fake accounts every day and that a team of 35,000 employees works on reviewing potentially harmful content.
Since the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook has identified 50 co-ordinated information operations including ''in the past couple of weeks'' one coming out of Russia targeting Ukraine and another coming out of Iran targeting the United States.
The ''vast majority'' of malign accounts are not state actors but spammers, he said, most of which are caught by artificial intelligence that ''determines which accounts are not behaving as people would.''
The amount spent by the company on security in 2020 is more than its entire revenue in 2012, Zuckerberg said.
He claimed it is not possible to control what is published on Facebook to the same standard as what appears in newspapers because the vast volume of material posted online means the models are different. However, he accepted that social media companies could not be passive conduits for information without taking any responsibility for harmful content.
VIDEO-Full Transcript of ABC Bill Barr Interview Shows Most Content Not Included In Broadcast Interview'... | The Last Refuge
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 16:51
Not exactly surprising, but late last night ABC released the transcript of the Bill Barr interview. A review of the transcript compared to the broadcast shows there was significant interview material left on the editing floor.
Approximately two-thirds of the interview was never broadcast. Additionally, major sections of answers were completely cut out (chopped up/edited) after the question(s) was/were asked.
Below is the full transcript of the interview (including parts not broadcast), and the full, raw, 25 minute video of the interview:
[Transcript] '' ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT PIERRE THOMAS: General Barr, thank you for your time.
THOMAS: This is the first time we're hearing from you since the Roger Stone story erupted. At minimum, there appears to be an appearance problem. Trial prosecutors recommended 7 to 9 years on Monday evening. The president tweets at 1:48 AM Tuesday morning calling the recommendations '' quote ''horrible, unfair and a miscarriage of justice.''
Then word comes out from DOJ headquarters Tuesday morning that the recommendations are too severe and suggests a lesser sentence is more appropriate. Four of the trial attorneys resigned from the case. One of them quitting the Justice Department altogether.
What happened, sir, and what was your role?
BARR: Well, as you know, the Stone case was prosecuted while I was attorney general. And I supported it. I think it was established, he was convicted of obstructing Congress and witness tampering. And I thought that was a righteous prosecution. And I was happy that he was convicted.
The issue then became the sentencing. A new U.S. attorney had just started in Washington D.C. and the week before the filing, he engaged in conversations with senior staff here who raised some questions about the sentencing because he was concerned that the so called guidelines, the sentencing guideline formula, was indicating a sentence between 7 and 9 years.
Which, he felt and all of us immediately felt was very, very high and excessive in this case. And so he wanted to discuss that and over a number of days it became clear that the prosecution team wanted to recommend to the judge, and by the way, sentencing is a function for the judge and not the Department of Justice, we're not the decision maker. But they wanted to advocate for a sentence that was, at the top, between 7 and 9 years.
And, in those discussions here at the department, you know, I came to the view as my colleagues did that I wouldn't support affirmatively advocating what I thought was an excessive sentence.
So, what I wanted to do what to provide dis '-- defer to the discretion of the judge, let the judge make the determination.
THOMAS: You wanted to do that from the outset?
BARR: Yes. And then point out different features of the case that she should consider if she wanted to go below the 7 to 9 years. And I won't get into the wires on that, but there were a lot of, I think, very legitimate arguments to be raised, there are points to be raised there. But at the end of the day, we deferred to her. Or, and that was what the approach was, I thought, we were going to take.
THOMAS: So the US attorney for the District of Columbia signed off on, his name is on the recommendation that went in there.
BARR: Yeah.
THOMAS: How did that happen?
BARR: On Monday, he came by to briefly chat with me and say that the team very much wanted to recommend the 7-9 year to the judge. And, but he thought that there was a way of satisfying everybody and providing more flexibility.
And there was a brief discussion of that. I was under the impression that what was going to happen was very much what I had suggested, which is deferring to the judge and then pointing out the various factors and circumstances. On Monday night, when I first saw the news reports, I said, ''Gee, the news is spinning this. This is not what we were going to do.''MORE: A timeline of the extraordinary turn of events in the Roger Stone case
THOMAS: So you were surprised?
BARR: I was very surprised. And once I confirmed that that's actually what we filed, I said that night, to my staff, that we had to get ready cause we had to do something in the morning to amend that and clarify what our position was.
So the following morning '-- and by the way, I don't look at tweets, I don't read tweets unless they're brought to my attention. So early the next morning I was you know, putting that in motion and directing that be done when someone walked in and told me that, about the president's tweet.
That sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be for the Department of Justice, because at that point, I had made a decision that I thought was fair and reasonable in this particular case and once the tweet occurred, the question is, Well, now what do I do? And do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be.
THOMAS: So you're saying you have a problem with the tweets?
BARR: Yes. Well, I have a problem with some of, some of the tweets. As I said at my confirmation hearing, I think the essential role of the Attorney General is to keep law enforcement, the criminal process sacrosanct to make sure there is no political interference in it. And I have done that and I will continue to do that.
And I'm happy to say that, in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. However, to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we're doing our work with integrity.
THOMAS: Mr. Barr, the president does not like to be told what to do. He may not like what you're saying. Are you prepared for those ramifications?
BARR: Of course. As I, you know, said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as Attorney General. I am responsible for everything that happens in the department, but the thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that are brought to me for decision.
And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do and I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. And I said, whether it's Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president. I'm going to do what I think is right. And, you know, the, I think the '-- I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.
THOMAS: Why does it make it so difficult for you to do your job and if he keeps doing it, what are you prepared to do?
BARR: Well you know I think'--
THOMAS: Commenting specifically on criminal investigations?
BARR: Well again if some examples would be if you tweet something about, someone should be investigated for this or someone should go to jail and it turns out you are investigating them at that point, let's say, this is a hypothetical, then what do you do? Because people might think that if you proceed with the investigation, it was prompted by the tweet. It's the same kind of thing that happened here. So, and there are other examples where if you have a case before a judge to be attacking the judge, you know, it is not helpful or productive at all.
And also, you know, I think attacking- for people to attack people here in the department or in the FBI in general terms is unfair and, you know, I think I came back into government because I love the department and I believe strongly in it as an institution and I think we have great people here. And I can '' and so, you know, it makes it difficult to be a leader here if '--
THOMAS: How strongly do you feel about this?
BARR: Well I feel strongly about it.
THOMAS: So just to be clear, did you talk to the President at all about your decision regarding the recommendations?
BARR: The recommendations on this case? Never.
THOMAS: Anybody from the White House call you to try to influence you?
BARR: No. Nope. [crosstalk] have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House.
THOMAS: At all?
BARR: At all.
THOMAS: Lisa Murkowski, Senator from Alaska. Here's what she said this week,''I think most people in America would look at that and say hmm that just doesn't look right.'' And then she goes on to say, ''I don't think the President needed to jump in the middle of this in the first place.'' And Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, strong defender, supporter of the president, he defended his frustration with all that's happened to him in Washington. He added this, ''I don't think the President should have tweeted about an ongoing criminal case.'' So you share their position?
BARR: Yes. I do. [crosstalk] It makes it very hard. You know, it doesn't affect the decision. It doesn't affect my decision. As I said at the beginning during my hearing, I don't pay attention to tweets. If the President has something to say, I expect that he will talk to me directly and call me. So I don't pay attention to tweets and I '' I'm not going to pay attention to directions and do something that I think is wrong.
I'm going to handle each case as I think the law requires and is fair, and even-handed. But I think Senator Murkowski is right that people who see these tweets can get a misimpression that they'... that the work of the department is being influenced by it.
THOMAS: So when you heard him or you saw him say, ''Congratulations to the Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that Mueller- the Mueller scam was improperly brought and tainted, even Bob Mueller lied to Congress.'' He criticized the judge, as you mentioned earlier. How does that impact the department? The people that work here. And the impression of the American people?
BARR: Well I think the people who know me, know me here in the Department, know me in town and have worked with me, know that that stuff has no effect on what we do here. That we'll make our decisions, as I say, based on the merits. But most people in the country don't have that kind of exposure, and I think I can understand why people are concerned that it could influence the work of the department.
THOMAS: You're telling the American public that had absolutely nothing to do with it?
BARR: Absolutely. And just, I, I've heard very few people actually suggest that 7 to 9 year sentence would be appropriate in this case. Very few people. Even the people who were criticizing me. It was very excessive. And I didn't want my department to be behind that. Because I believe that each individual as unsavory as they may be, and I'm not a fan of Roger Stone, but he's entitled to the particularized and careful application of the law to his case.
And as I say, I could not support the 7 to the 9 year- and I didn't need anybody to tell me that 7 to 9 years was an excessive sentence. You think I need the president's tweet to tell me that 7 to 9 years is excessive? That was the reaction of you know the senior staff here that, you know, there's not really a comparable situation where that kind of sentence has been used.
THOMAS: And so, I guess I'm confused as to how that recommendation could get filed when you clearly were indicating that shouldn't go down like that.
BARR: Yeah well, it's, I'm afraid it's one of those situations, I'm confused too. And I think it really was a situation of miscommunication. It was a very brief meeting, it was actually in between two meetings I had and the U.S. Attorney stuck his head in and described what he, how he thought he could reconcile things. And I thought that he was saying, was in accord with my view that we should not affirmatively recommend 7 to 9 years.
But we should allow the judge or say that we defer to the judge, you know, there appears to have been something lost in translation.
THOMAS: Do you feel like you still have confidence in U.S. Attorney Shea?
BARR: Yes I do. I mean I've known Tim Shea for a long time as you know he was with me here at the department last time I was Attorney General so that was many years ago. He has a great a great record so '' and he was just- to be fair he had just entered into that office and you know I think we'll establish better communications.
THOMAS: I just wanted to go back to the 4 prosecutors who resigned. Were you surprised that they stepped away from the case, including one who quit the department altogether?
BARR: Yeah. My understanding is one left the department but the other three did not resign from the department.
THOMAS: Just resigned from the case?
BARR: I, I thought '-- I was a little surprised because at the end of the day, what this was about was whether we '-- this was a sentencing decision that a judge was going to make '-- going to be making. It wasn't, you know, the department wasn't the decision maker.
And the difference of opinion was whether we should affirmatively advocate a 7 to 9 year sentence, or whether we should let the judge decide and explain why a lower sentence could be justified. And, I'm not, I'm not sure why that would prompt anyone to resign. On the other hand, again there may have been a communication problem because of the way the information leaked out.
THOMAS: Now, some people would say, look, they worked the case. They know the case best. They're just wrong in your eyes?
BARR: No, this actually gets to a very important point about the Department, which is, you know, what other industry allows you know, life or death decisions to be made by the most junior level of the, of the business, so to speak. We at the department, we want people with a lot of energy and commitment. And so we express '-- we hope for a lot of, of that energy and commitment.
At the same time, when people are working on one case, and devoting a lot to it, they can sometimes lose perspective. And that's exactly why we have a, a system of checks and balances within the department with multiple level of reviews that fan out with people with broader and broader responsibility. And most cases don't come up to the attorney general, because people are doing a great job in the department.
And, a lot of the work doesn't involve much controversy. But every once in a while, there are disputes or arguments over cases and those are the ones that come up. And the AG has to make the decision. So, some people say, you know, the AG intervening in a case.
That's preposterous, we have an escalation system that tries to get the difficult issues that are, you know, people are arguing about, to get them up for resolution and it's the attorney general's responsibility to resolve it.
THOMAS: And you know, people have pride, though, and you could see how they would see as a public rebuke. You think that's part of why they resigned in protest? From the case?
BARR: I don't know why they resigned.
THOMAS: So you've not had a chance to talk to them?
THOMAS: And do you expect any other resignations, are you getting any hint of any other resignations in regard to this case? People tied to the case?
BARR: I hope, I hope there are no more resignations. We, we like our prosecutors and hope they stay.MORE: William Barr: Everything you need to know about Trump's controversial attorney general
THOMAS: You're known around town as someone who believes that the president vast authority, broad authority, to do the job, to execute the wills of the state. Does the president have the authority to just direct you to open an investigation and you have to do it? Can you help people at home understand? Can he do that?
BARR: Well I discuss this in detail in my confirmation hearings. I think in many areas such as- that don't affect his personal interest-
THOMAS: Terrorism?
BARR: Terrorism or fraud by a bank or something like that where he's concerned about something, he can certainly say I think someone should look into that. That's perfectly appropriate. If he were to say, you know, go investigate somebody because '' and you sense it's because they're a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn't carry that out, wouldn't carry that out.
THOMAS: Democrats on Capitol Hill have said they believe that you were somewhat misleading in how you described the Mueller Report initially, before the full report came out. You said openly that you thought the president was spied on in the congressional hearing. You expressed skepticism about the launch of the origins of the Russia investigation. So they would say that you have maybe let the president feel like- that he can have the latitude to say those things. What would you say to them?
BARR: I would say that- that is not a valid conclusion, obviously the whole point of the Muller exercise was to determine if there was collusion. There wasn't. And frankly I think you recognize, having looked at the material directly, that I didn't mislead anyone about Mueller's conclusions, but in terms of the Durham effort, which is to take a look at what happened that's a legitimate area of investigation.
And you know starting a legitimate investigation as to what happened is- that's the work of the Attorney General and Department of Justice. That- that's not like a- you know, like a running commentary from someone on the outside about what we're doing.
THOMAS: New York Times reported that John Bolton wrote in his book that after the president's July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian president, he raised concerns about Guiliani and that he was pursuing the Ukraine with you. Is that true?
BARR: I don't '' I don't recall that that was the exact quote. I'm not going to get into, into Bolton but, yeah, just not going to get into it.
THOMAS: Were you surprised when the president mentioned you on the '-- when you heard that he mentioned you on the July 25th call and he did so 5 times and kind of created the impression that you were working with Guiliani?
BARR: Yes.
THOMAS: Your reaction when you heard it?
BARR: I was a bit irritated by it. But, you know, the conversation jumped around, so, I'm not sure what he meant by some of what he was saying.
THOMAS: And this sounds like it's in the same vein as creating the impression that you're doing exactly what he wants you to do when he wants you to do. Is that what frustrated you?
BARR: Well, I think that it's very clear, and I've always said this publicly and I think people know it, that what I am dealing with is the review of the 2016 election. That's what I'm looking at. I'm not looking, you know, at other more general things about the Ukraine. And I think mixing them together created confusion in people's minds.
THOMAS: And so now we have Guiliani, who's gone to the Ukraine, come back, he's presenting information and you told me earlier this week that he would go through the appropriate channels.
But he worked with two men to get this information who currently under indictment in the Southern District. Can you ensure- can you ensure that to the American public that the Justice Department is not going to be used as a weapon in a highly charged political season?
BARR: Absolutely. And as you know, Pierre, one of my passions is the feeling that we have to ensure that the Department of Justice is not used as a political football. And one of the things I'm distressed about is the increasing use of the criminal process to achieve political results. And I want to- I want to get away from that.
As you know, I put out a memo to make sure that any investigation that could have these kinds of political effects during an election year have to be approved at the very highest level of the FBI and the Department of Justice.
THOMAS: Do you think the Democrats will accept you as the messenger though?MORE: Pelosi accuses Trump of abusing power by interfering in Roger Stone case
BARR: I don't know. [crosstalk] They, many of them didn't vote for me for confirmation.
THOMAS: Right. And they held you in contempt.
BARR: We live, unfortunately, you know, one of the things that makes it difficult is the hyper-partisan age we live in. That makes it very difficult.
THOMAS: You know, having known you and covered you for years, you're not a person that responds a lot to criticism. But I am wondering, in this version of the job, you in the job, and when you hear people on Capitol Hill saying ''Barr is acting more like the personal attorney to the President rather than the chief law enforcement officer,'' how irritated does that make you and what do you say to those people?
BARR: Well, this goes back to the fact we are in a very polarized situation. And so in that kind of situation, I expect a lot of low blows, and there are a lot of low blows.
But I don't respond to that, as you say. But I do think that in the current situation, as I've said, you know, the fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we're doing at the department sort of give grist to the mill and that's why I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.
THOMAS: How would you describe your relationship with the President in general terms. I know you don't talk specifics, but in general terms, how is the relationship?
BARR: I think our relationship is good. I support his program, I think he's doing great things for the country. I feel that, you know he's faced a lot of resistance and he's still able to accomplish a lot of good things. And we have a good working relationship.
THOMAS: You're clearly setting some parameters for that relationship. Do you have any expectation of how he'll react to some of the things you've said today?
BARR: Yeah. I hope he will react.
THOMAS: And respect it?
BARR: Yes.
THOMAS: I thank you for your time.
BARR: Thank you.
Here's the maximum amount of interview that was broadcast:
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VIDEO-Tim Perry on Twitter: "NOW: Gospel singer Yolanda Adams helps @MikeBloomberg kick off ''Mike for Black America'' tonight in Houston, TX. She began her set with America the Beautiful https://t.co/27HzBGuRF6" / Twitter
Sat, 15 Feb 2020 07:20
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@MikeBloomberg kick off ''Mike for Black America'' tonight in Houston, TX. She began her set with America the Beautiful
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View conversation · ''¤Desire Aundrea''¤ðŸŒŠðŸŒŠðŸŒŠ @ CocoTreasurer
14h Replying to
@Behembaba @tperry518 @MikeBloomberg Well, he needs to call me. I can pass out a few flyers for $5,000. Just sayin
View conversation · Mary Burrell @ MaryBur71233913
Feb 14 Replying to
@tperry518 @MikeBloomberg This is just as bad as Chrisette Michelle and Mary-Mary singing for Trump. I hate this so much.
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VIDEO-Compilation: MSM Gushes Over ''Donald Trump's worst nightmare'' Michael Avenatti
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 18:41
Skip to contentAvenatti faces up to 40 years in prison for extortion Infowars.com - February 14, 2020 Comments A video compilation from the Washington Free Beacon highlights the mainstream media's obsession with anti-Trump attorney Michael Avenatti, who was celebrated as a ''savior,'' a ''beast'' and ''Donald Trump's worst nightmare'' before news of his conviction Friday.
Womp Womppic.twitter.com/qrQeBFH3ZI
'-- Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) February 14, 2020
The video, released following Avenatti's conviction on three charges of extortion against shoe giant Nike Friday, shows pundits from various mainstream outlets, including HBO, MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS, all commending him for going after President Trump.
''He's Donald Trump's worst nightmare,'' HBO's Bill Maher says, introducing the former attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels.
''Jon Meacham says [Avenatti] may be the savior of the republic,'' gushes another MSNBC pundit, adding later, ''Michael Avenatti is a beast.''
The rest of the video is chock-full of fawning liberal television personalities all showering the disgraced lawyer with praise.
🎶Memories, like the corners of my mind 🎶 pic.twitter.com/6lG2NXFkd2
'-- It's still 2016 apparently (@jtLOL) February 14, 2020
Another video from media commentator Mark Dice shows CNN's Brian Stelter saying Avenatti, dubbed ''creepy porn lawyer'' by many, has the ''star power'' to take on Donald Trump; what Stelter doesn't mention is most of that ''star power'' comes from the lawyer's over 120 appearances on the network.
Friendly Reminder: Michael Avenatti was little Brian Stelter's pick as a presidential front runner! (Just convicted of extortion today '' faces decades in prison) 🂠pic.twitter.com/c858TXyTij
'-- Mark Dice (@MarkDice) February 14, 2020
Avenatti faces up to 42 year after he was found guilty on three counts of extortion Friday stemming from attempts to extort $25 million from Nike.
New filing in United States v. Avenatti: Remarkhttps://t.co/WjaOPAdN7N pic.twitter.com/4V9puFHP2O
'-- Big Cases Bot (@big_cases) February 14, 2020
''The 48-year-old attorney was accused in the Nike case of trying to shake down the publicly traded company by threatening to go public with alleged evidence that the company had bribed amateur basketball players and their families unless Nike paid him millions of dollars,'' reports CNBC.
''Avenatti warned Nike's attorney that the claims could 'take ten billion dollars off your client's' stock market capitalization.''
Paul Joseph Watson breaks down the skillful deception of Michael Avenatti by 4Chan trolls who convinced him he was receiving intel about a credible, new accusation against SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
By the way, people who know what's coming are taking advantage of our healthy & delicious storable food!
`};let stream_id = 1;toggleStreamsButton.addEventListener('click', (event) => {event.preventDefault();const target = event.currentTarget;if (stream_id === 1) {target.innerHTML = 'Alex Jones Show';player.innerHTML = getEmbedCode('5c59c724f7c188001c3d8e2f');stream_id = 2;}else {target.innerHTML = 'Infowars Network Live Feed';player.innerHTML = getEmbedCode('5b92a1e6568f22455f55be2b');stream_id = 1;}}); })();
`;}}catch (error) {console.error(error);}})();
VIDEO - Former Columbus Mayor endorses Mike Bloomberg for President | NBC4 WCMH-TV
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:41
''Mike likes Mike'' Former Columbus Mayor endorsesBloomberg for President
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)- On Wednesday at Lincoln Cafe in Columbus,former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman announced his endorsement for MikeBloomberg in the presidential election.
Coleman was Columbus' longest serving mayor, holding the officefor 15 years. He says it's his experience as a mayor of a large city that makeshim believe Bloomberg is the best candidate for the job.
''Thething about being a mayor, you're the closest to the people. People pick up thephone they come to you they say this is my problem, this is what's going on andyou know sometimes when you're in Washington you're disconnectedfrom the world,'' said Coleman.
Since entering the presidential race Bloomberg hasreceived criticism for his 'stop-and-frisk' police strategy when hewas mayor of New York. Thepolicy gave police authority to detain people they suspected of committing acrime but it ultimately had a disproportional impact on people of color.Coleman says he believes the African American community should acceptBloomberg's apology for the practice.
''We should accept his apology and thereason is because he acknowledges his mistake, owns it, learns about it andthen proposes an African American focused policy,'' said Coleman. ''Notonly has he owned it he has said we're going to go after the African Americanvote and we're going to make a difference in African American communities in apositive way.''
Bloomberg has drawn comparison to PresidentDonald Trump due to his Billionaire status but Coleman dismissed the idea thatthey are anything alike.
''Nohe's not just like Trump and I would take offense to that, he should takeoffense to that. No, nobody is like Trump there's only one Trump,'' saidColeman.
The Ohio Republican Party Communications Director Evan Machan, responded to the endorsement saying in part, ''Democrats claim to be the party of the working class while continuing to endorse candidates that are the very definition of wealthy coastal elites.
Former NYC Mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has been going on a spending spree in Ohio because he knows how tough it will be for a Democrat to beat President Trump '' even a billionaire Democrat with unlimited resources like himself.''
VIDEO - DRONE DOME' secures airspace against hostile drones - YouTube
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:37
VIDEO-Hardball on Twitter: ""I think it's kind of silly ... Clearly it's another indication that Donald Trump is using the DOJ to go after his enemies in any way he can." @JohnBrennan on the DOJ inquiry into the Russia investigation. #Hardball https://t.c
Fri, 14 Feb 2020 00:12
Nancy @ puzicus
6h "Barr's evident intervention in matters of personal interest to the president, particularly as they relate to former campaign advisers once at the center of Mueller's Russia probe, has now put the reputation of an entire institution at risk, DOJ veterans said."
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Julio Rosas on Twitter: "Biden on his son Hunter: "And look, nobody has said he's done anything wrong. This is a guy who has done nothing but good things his whole life, my son, and ran the food program USA, a whole range of things." https://t.co/
Thu, 13 Feb 2020 23:57
Log in Sign up Julio Rosas @ Julio_Rosas11
13h Joe Biden: People know me. They know who I am. They know I've never been accused of doing anything that was indecent, lied. I've been straight up. The bad news for me is I'm authentic. I say what I mean. I mean what I say.
pic.twitter.com/1kzzoP1xIB View photo · Julio Rosas @ Julio_Rosas11 Replying to @Julio_Rosas11 Biden on his son Hunter: "And look, nobody has said he's done anything wrong. This is a guy who has done nothing but good things his whole life, my son, and ran the food program USA, a whole range of things."
pic.twitter.com/fzDt6ic8DQ 8:47 AM - 13 Feb 2020 Twitter by: Julio Rosas @Julio_Rosas11 Julio Rosas @ Julio_Rosas11
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Biden says Hunter is "doing great" and he talks to him "almost every day."Jill Biden says the news and "attacks" on Hunter have "been really hurtful. I mean, to hear your son attacked, you know, I expected that Joe would be attacked but not your children."
pic.twitter.com/IplbNIyr5A View conversation · Shawn Stewart @ shawnstewartKC
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Joe continues with this bizarre line of ''nobody has said he's done anything wrong'' despite the fact that countless people have, including the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire.
View conversation · Pl ya Manhattan @ PlayaManhattan
13h Replying to
@shawnstewartKC @Julio_Rosas11 I'm saying it right now. You shouldn't drive high on crack, especially after being awake for 2 weeks straight. Hunter Biden is lucky that his recklessness didn't kill anyone.
View conversation · ¯\_(ãƒ)_/¯ 🎁🎠🇺🇸 @ shaneriderMA
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Today I learned that getting kicked out of the military for doing cocaine is a good thing!
View conversation · Torgo2020 @ JonQuays
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Food Program USA = the buffet at the strip club
View conversation · Ex-Dem🇺🇸Latina @ ExDemLatina
12h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Nothing but goood? ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🂠Hunter wont even show up to his baby mommas child support court dates
View conversation · FilmGrouch @ filmgrouch
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Are we now saying hookers and cocaine are ''good things?''
View conversation · Comfortably ¯\_(ãƒ)_/¯ @ Eyeroll_Shrugs
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Why didn't they ask about Joe's newest grandchild?
View conversation · Pl ya Manhattan @ PlayaManhattan
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 He wrecked a car on the wrong side of the interstate while high on crack. Then, he had the rental car company bring him another car, which he continued to drive to Phoenix, still high on crack, and returned the car with crack and an attorney general badge in it.
View conversation · Pl ya Manhattan @ PlayaManhattan
13h Replying to
@Julio_Rosas11 Was I not supposed to do that??? Was I not allowed???
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VIDEO-Baudet(FvD) v Staatssecr. Keizer; 'Ik denk dat er nog tijd is voor Europese investeringen!' - YouTube
Thu, 13 Feb 2020 15:07


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All Clips

Brennan on Matthew's Hardball responds to Durham investigation.mp3
Sealed_Indictments - ISO.mp3
Brennan Not Guilty until alleged-ISO.mp3
Bill mahr - Trump won't leave -4- Van Jones says Dems have to win first.mp3
Chuck Toddcast and panel on Bernie winning nomination without enough delegates.mp3
CNN panel on Bernie winning nomination without enough delegates.mp3
Former ADOS Columbus Mayor endorses Mike Bloomberg for President.mp3
Joe and Jill Biden on The View speak about Hunter.mp3
LibDev Winer on Rule of Law Trump Dictator.mp3
M5M fawn over Avenatti who now will go to jail for extortion.mp3
Avenatti Handcuffs - ISO.mp3
Biden says his campaign is ”headed down the right straw” whatever that means.m4a
Bill Mahr - Klobuchar - Trump won't leave if he loses.mp3
Bill Mahr - Trump won't leave -1- Katie Couric Obsessed and military.mp3
Bill Mahr - Trump won't leave -2- How dictator do it with Military and Police.mp3
Bill Mahr - Trump won't leave -3- Van Jones explains why police won't be on board.mp3
US border agents to pursue migrants in ‘sanctuary’ cities [REPOR(t)].mp3
Pelosi at Munich Security Summit -2- Chinese officials asks why democracy is so scared.mp3
Pelosi at Munich Security Summit -3- Retort to Chinese official 'Reverse technology'.mp3
AMERICAN FACTORY Accepts the Oscar for Documentary (Feature).mp3
Julia Reichert Director of American Factory Obama Propaganda Job.mp3
Pelosi at Munich Security Summit -1- FU Chiners.mp3
US targets Airbus as it raises import tariffs on EU aircraft.mp3
Irish Member of the European Parliament Mick Wallace gets reprimanded for calling Venezuela’s self-declared president Juan Guaido an unelected gobshite.mp3
coach lies faces 4 years.mp3
corona update saturday PBS.mp3
corona virus vaccine plus cbs overview.mp3
FLU report PBS.mp3
French doctors walkout f24.mp3
Mark Shields the worst still on the Russia nonsense PBS.mp3
Mark Shields the worst still TWO scary.mp3
New Low yiled nuke DN.mp3
north Mecedonia story PBS.mp3
Presidents ability to run DOJ voice.mp3
sact cities report PBS.mp3
sact cities report PBSTWO.mp3
Sharrod Brown repeats meme on Stone.mp3
Stone case new info DN.mp3
Swallwell and Tappr on reimpeaching over Stone.mp3
The Voice ISO.mp3
weinstein case on CBS.mp3
afghan deal update.mp3
avanatti rundown CBS.mp3
Barr McCabe and probes CBS.mp3
campaign rundown One PBS.mp3
campaign rundown TWO PBS.mp3
Dr. Drew complains the Flu is more dangerous than Corona Virus.mp3
Court Ruling Limits What Cities In Western U.S. Can Do To Address Homelessness.mp3
  • 0:00
    cholera awaits Adam curry John C. Dvorak
  • 0:04
    2020 this is your org wouldn't get my
  • 0:07
    nation Media assassination episode 1217
  • 0:10
    this is no agenda in the morning
  • 0:21
  • 0:21
    I'm Adam curry and from northern a
  • 0:24
    Silicon Valley where everybody's
  • 0:25
    disappointed I'm John C Dvorak wait a
  • 0:33
    minute who's disappointed about what
  • 0:35
    Bernie didn't show up here I was talking
  • 0:38
    every place but in the Bay Area that I
  • 0:40
    know I'm sorry I have no idea loop which
  • 0:42
    is always possible I have no idea what's
  • 0:45
    going on what's happening what birdie
  • 0:47
  • 0:48
    Bernie's it's Bernie mania did you have
  • 0:52
    a clip yet can you back this up I'm at
  • 0:54
    Texas we don't have no Bernie mania here
  • 0:56
    oh they don't Bernie's not gonna go to
  • 0:58
    Texas again they'll hang him no they
  • 1:01
  • 1:03
    he's welcome in Austin Bird bernie is
  • 1:06
    very welcome in Austin you know better
  • 1:07
    than that um so what he was supposed to
  • 1:11
    show up for something didn't know I
  • 1:12
    never supposed to he's up in the Tacoma
  • 1:14
    Dome oh by the way that won't get
  • 1:18
    covered by him I'd like to I liked
  • 1:20
    somebody in Washington I don't know I
  • 1:21
    think it's maybe today hmm or might have
  • 1:23
    been yesterday but if there is anyone go
  • 1:25
    to this event in the Tacoma Dome I'd
  • 1:28
    like to know if he actually fills it hmm
  • 1:30
    there's any empty seats how many it's
  • 1:33
    always bragging about
  • 1:34
    there's no empty seats allow thousands
  • 1:38
    of people outside Tacoma there is
  • 1:40
    usually a big line outside I don't know
  • 1:42
    why they're staying there that you can't
  • 1:44
    get in 23,000 seater to Tacoma Dome yeah
  • 1:50
    it's a big venue yeah 23 thought I'm
  • 1:53
    just looking at the well you said what
  • 1:55
    23,000 seats yeah that's a big venue for
  • 1:58
    a little dome and be supposedly for rock
  • 2:00
    concerts rock concerts yeah hey what
  • 2:05
    rock bands have been there
  • 2:08
    concerts The Rolling Stones 2020 tours
  • 2:11
    coming through it is of course it is I
  • 2:15
    can't believe those guys are still doing
  • 2:16
    it either it's amazing them up before
  • 2:21
    they get on stage seeds well I guess we
  • 2:24
    could dive right into that but actually
  • 2:27
    there was a I want to do this up front
  • 2:29
    because this always is at the end of the
  • 2:30
    show and I want to put it in the in in
  • 2:32
    the beginning this is we talked about it
  • 2:35
    maybe one or two episodes ago this Ninth
  • 2:38
    Circuit Circuit Court ruling about
  • 2:41
    camping in cities which was instigated
  • 2:46
    by Idaho and it went to the Ninth
  • 2:49
    Circuit and the the problem is that
  • 2:53
    there is people were saying we cannot
  • 2:56
    just take these people and take their
  • 3:00
    tent and move them away because that is
  • 3:03
    equal to taking their home and therefore
  • 3:05
    is cruel and unusual punishment and this
  • 3:09
    is what's been used in Austin and many
  • 3:11
    other cities around the country to say
  • 3:13
    well we can't ban this camping which of
  • 3:15
    course is happening on completely you
  • 3:17
    know in places where you're not allowed
  • 3:19
    to camp and the so the Ninth Circuit
  • 3:23
    which braced by the way which opens up
  • 3:25
    another Pandora's box of if you go to a
  • 3:28
    state park or whatever you do and you go
  • 3:30
    you're actually camping yes can you just
  • 3:33
    go camp anywhere now because you know
  • 3:35
    you can't stop any from camping anywhere
  • 3:37
    well that's only if you're above the law
  • 3:40
    and and as we learned on the last
  • 3:42
    episode if you have a job and you and
  • 3:45
    you are functioning in society then no
  • 3:49
    you can't do that because then we'll you
  • 3:51
    need to find you and take your money if
  • 3:53
    you have no money
  • 3:54
    yeah blenheim camp so the Ninth Circuit
  • 3:56
    tried to figure out what what this would
  • 3:59
    be because this is cruel and unusual
  • 4:00
    punishment is a constitutional issue it
  • 4:04
    is what a part of what amendment is that
  • 4:07
    do you know offhand it's in the
  • 4:09
    Constitution I believe
  • 4:11
    I think it's an amendment I don't think
  • 4:14
  • 4:15
    yeah let's see no I think you're right
  • 4:20
    here it is cooling is the phrase or the
  • 4:25
    eighth amendment now I'm right the
  • 4:27
    eighth amendment to the United States
  • 4:29
    Constitution states that cruel and
  • 4:31
    unusual punishment shall not be
  • 4:32
    inflicted so it is it is an amendment
  • 4:35
    eighth amendment anyways the Ninth
  • 4:38
    Circuit couldn't figure it out they
  • 4:40
    kicked it to the Supreme Court and
  • 4:41
    here's an update today the Supreme Court
  • 4:44
    denied without explanation the city of
  • 4:46
    Boise's petition to appeal what's seen
  • 4:48
    as a sweeping ruling in the federal
  • 4:50
    Ninth Circuit from last year that lower
  • 4:52
    court ruled that Idaho's capital city
  • 4:55
    was in violation of the Constitution's
  • 4:57
    ban on cruel and unusual punishment when
  • 4:59
    police here ticketed the homeless for
  • 5:01
    sleeping in public now cities in the
  • 5:03
    West from Idaho to Washington to
  • 5:05
    California can't enforce such rules
  • 5:08
    against the homeless until they found
  • 5:10
    shelter for everyone who needs it and
  • 5:12
    most cities in the region don't have
  • 5:14
    enough shelter beds on any given night
  • 5:15
    which means if they ticket the homeless
  • 5:17
    now they're in violation of federal law
  • 5:19
    attorney thean a Evangelist represented
  • 5:22
    Boise in its appeal and these hands are
  • 5:24
    tied you want to say something yeah well
  • 5:27
    they make it sound like there's some law
  • 5:29
    that's been written it but during
  • 5:31
    violation of the Constitution that's
  • 5:33
    okay by saying federal law you mean
  • 5:36
    instead of I think they actually mention
  • 5:39
    at the end and don't have enough shelter
  • 5:41
    beds on any given night which means if
  • 5:43
    they ticket the homeless now they're in
  • 5:44
    violation of federal law attorney thean
  • 5:47
    a Evangelos representative homeless no
  • 5:51
    it's against the law you can ticket them
  • 5:54
    but not for sleeping I mean camping in
  • 5:58
    public so no you can't leave them is not
  • 6:03
    cruel and unusual punishment is it take
  • 6:05
    that meat does that mean all tickets are
  • 6:07
    cruel and I know no you're not then I
  • 6:10
    might have to start the clip over they
  • 6:12
    very clearly say that if you don't have
  • 6:15
    a space for them to go then it's cruel
  • 6:18
    and unusual punishment that would that's
  • 6:21
    different than ticketing them
  • 6:23
    listen again then today the supreme by
  • 6:26
    the way what are you and I really
  • 6:28
    arguing the courts today the Supreme
  • 6:34
    Court denied without explanation the
  • 6:36
    city of Boise's petition to appeal
  • 6:38
    what's seen as a sweeping ruling in the
  • 6:40
    federal Ninth Circuit from last year
  • 6:42
    that lower court ruled that Idaho's
  • 6:44
    capital city was in violation of the
  • 6:46
    Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual
  • 6:49
    punishment when police here ticketed the
  • 6:51
    homeless for sleeping in public now
  • 6:53
    cities in the West from Idaho to
  • 6:55
    Washington to California can't enforce
  • 6:58
    such rules against the homeless until
  • 7:00
    they found shelter for everyone who
  • 7:02
    needs it and most cities in the region
  • 7:04
    don't have enough shelter beds on any