Cover for No Agenda Show 1266: 33 Cases
August 6th, 2020 • 3h 6m

1266: 33 Cases


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

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28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its 'human shield' tactic in Lebanon | Fox News
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:15
Hezbollah is continuing to bolster its cache of weapons by storing them in more urban, densely-populated locations throughout Lebanon, a new study has revealed.
According to a report released this week by the Israel-based Alma Center, 28 new depots have been determined, with the highest concentration in the capital city of Beirut, the Beqaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.
The 28 sites are connected explicitly to the launch, storage, and production of the terrorist group's medium-range Fateh 110 / M 600 missiles. However, the report underscores that these particular missiles are part of Hezbollah's "missile precision project," and their "improved models" '' referred to as "D' Al-Ficar"--have a 435-mile destruction range, compared to their traditional missiles that could hit a maximum 186 miles.
Most significantly, ALMA claims that the locations '' which include command and control launch capabilities, bunkers and missile assembly lines '' are disguised in routine civilian areas, nestled in and around hospitals, personal residences, golf clubs, offices, soccer fields, churches, schools, and restaurants.
It's a tactic deemed the "human shield," which has long been associated with Hezbollah's operating procedures.
"Hezbollah plans to launch these weapons toward civilian targets and population concentrations in Israel from within or adjacent to residential buildings. Hezbollah believes that this tactic will grant it immunity against IDF's attacks," the reports states, referring to the Israeli Defense Force. "As part of its modus operandi, Hezbollah stores its weapons in civilian structures and in the proximity of densely populated areas throughout Lebanon."
The researchers' highlight that the "human shield" tactic has two main implications. The first is centered on "incapacitating players, who discriminate between combatants and non-combatants in armed conflicts, such as Israel, and preventing them from adequate retaliation\attacks, minimized in order to not harm innocent civilians as required by international law."
The second, the report continues, is about "forcefully limiting the civilians' freedom of movement by preventing them from leaving combat zones and directly endangering their lives," which is said to be "enforced through checkpoints in various locations in Lebanon, particularly in the South and near the Shiite concentration in Beirut, which prohibits civilians from freely leaving the area."
And it's a tried and true technique.
"It is not surprising at all that Hezbollah has embedded rocket launchers in civilian areas, even in Beirut. Hezbollah is cynically using Lebanese civilians as human shields against Israeli retaliation," Josh Lipowsky, senior research analyst, Counter Extremism Project, told Fox News. "It has long used Lebanese civilian structures to shield its arsenals. During the 2006 war with Israel, Human Rights Watch and U.N. humanitarian relief coordinator Jan Egeland both acknowledged that Hezbollah was blending among Lebanese civilians to decrease its own military losses."
Hezbollah supporters wave Lebanese national flag as Lebanese riot policemen separate them from anti-government protesters during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Lebanon's President Michel Aoun has told tens of thousands of protesters that an economic reform package put forth by the country's prime minister will be the "first step" toward saving Lebanon from economic collapse. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
He also emphasized that Hezbollah's goals are two-fold.
"By embedding its weaponry into civilian areas, it wants to decrease the likelihood of Israeli airstrikes against it by using human shields. Hezbollah also wants to draw Israeli soldiers into Lebanon on the ground to use the urban landscape as camouflage for snipers and anti-tank missile launchers so it can more easily pick off the Israeli military," Lipowsky surmised. "Hezbollah continues to demonstrate that it views the Lebanese people as nothing more than the sacrificial pawns in its chess game with Israel."
Defense analysts noted that the exposure of more than a dozen sensitive sites is hardly a surprise, given that the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based outfit has been steadily building its capabilities.
"Hezbollah currently has an arsenal of around 130,000 missiles. Most of the missiles are locally produced, short-range missiles and rockets. Some of the missiles have been and still are delivered from Iran via three ways--first, taken to Syria by air and then moved to Lebanon by land; second, taken to Lebanon by air; third, via land through Iraq, Syria and then Lebanon," noted Ashkan Safaei Hakimi, an Israel correspondent at the U.K-based outlet Iran International. "The greatest strength of Hezbollah, besides its vast missile arsenal, is the support they receive from Iran."
Raphael Marcus, a research fellow in the Department of War Studies, King's College London and author of the book "Israel's Long War with Hezbollah: Military Innovation and Adaptation Under Fire," observed that reports such as the Alma investigation are also Israel signaling and publicly warning Hezbollah that it is aware of the group's enhanced military capabilities.
"Last August, there were unexplained explosions in Beirut in Hezbollah's Dahiyeh stronghold, which were attributed to Israel's secretive effort to counter Hezbollah's expanding precision missile arsenal," he said. "Of course, we also saw Hezbollah operating militarily within civilian areas in Beirut during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, and there have been Israeli intelligence reports leaked to the press for years about the locations of known Hezbollah military facilities in Beirut, southern Lebanon, and the Bekaa where Hezbollah stores missiles."
Moreover, Hezbollah's second-in-command,Sheikh Naim Qassem, told Iranian news agency Tasnim this week that their movement "has greatly developed its defense capabilities in the past years, and the Tel Aviv regime is well aware of this fact."
Miguel Miranda, an expert analyst in military technology across the Middle East and Asia, emphasized that there are three additional types of rockets and missiles that should be of most concern to regional stability, namely Israel.
There is the Fadjr 3/5, best described as "large diameter rockets" of two calibers, 240mm and 333mm, and if equipped with a GPS navigation kit, they become scary accurate missiles. Second, the Fateh-110 '' Iranian-made ballistic missiles and proven to be effective at ranges exceeding 150 miles.
"These are extremely dangerous. And then the Zelzal, another class of Iranian large diameter rocket artillery with an effective range between 90 and 125 miles. Because of their size, any deliveries to Hezbollah needs to be overland, from bases in Syria," Miranda explained. "Hezbollah has limited manpower, but they know how to fight 'asymmetric' campaigns that render large conventional forces ineffective."
And because of the sheer size and variety of Hezbollah's weaponry stash, conjectured U.S.-based defense analyst, John Wood, it presents a massive threat.
"Its degradation is the best one could hope for hence, the almost weekly Israeli air and missile attacks in Lebanon and Syria," he pointed out. "And as Syria moves ever closer to Russia and accommodation with both Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Hezbollah becomes even more important to Iran."
Hakimi also stressed that the financial crisis currently crippling Lebanon is forcing Hezbollah to change some of its ways, relying more on internal production rather than external.
"They have also been trying to produce precise missiles in Lebanon after almost all missile shipments from Iran were destroyed by alleged Israeli attacks in Syria," he said. "There are also reports that the terror group is now more dependent on its network of money laundering and trafficking to support itself financially."
Aug. 25, 2019: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah lies amid other damage inside the Lebanese Hezbollah media office, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. The long shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent days, with Israel allegedly striking Iran-linked targets as far away as Iraq and crash-landing two drones in Lebanon. These incidents, along with an air raid in Syria that Israel says thwarted an imminent Iranian drone attack, have raised tensions at a particularly fraught time. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Lipowsky also detected some operational changes as its role in neighboring Syria has been drawn down as the protracted civil war dwindles, bringing the homefront '' and Iraq '' back into sharper focus.
"Since Hezbollah has largely withdrawn its fighters from Syria, it has focused on regrouping its forces in Lebanon. Hezbollah has continued to build its deadly arsenal of rockets and medium-range missiles while embedding these weapons around Lebanon. Hezbollah's expansion into Iraq overseeing the Iranian-sponsored militias there is further proof of its flourishing role as Iran's trusted enforcer in the region," he surmised. "While the Hezbollah leadership openly declares its allegiance to Iran and the support it receives from Iran, the Iranian regime can deny direct responsibility for any Hezbollah action while remaining confident that Hezbollah will work to exert Iran's influence throughout the region. We that now in Iraq with Hezbollah's new position overseeing the Iranian-sponsored militias, and we see that in Lebanon, where Hezbollah and its allies dominate the Lebanese government and promote Iranian positions."
According to Marcus, Hezbollah knows that its most significant military asset is its rocket and missile stockpile and the group's ability to target Israel's civilian home front.
"Rocket fire against Israel's towns and cities cause the economy to grind to a halt and terrorize the civilian population and causes severe pressure against the Israeli government. While Israel developed an innovative solution with its Iron Dome short-range missile defense system, Hezbollah has also learned that with an expanded arsenal, it will attempt to saturate Iron Dome's capabilities," he said. "In a future war, Hezbollah's also hopes to use precision missiles to target sensitive sites and critical installations in Israel in order to deliver a sharp blow that will impact Israel's ability to declare a clear victory."
Hezbollah - Wikipedia
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 13:25
Hezbollah (;[40] Arabic: حزب اÙÙه 'Ž Ḥizbu 'llāh, literally "Party of Allah" or "Party of God"'--also transliterated Hizbullah, Hizballah, etc.)[41] is a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon.[42][43] Hezbollah's paramilitary wing is the Jihad Council,[44] and its political wing is the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc party in the Lebanese parliament. Since the death of Abbas al-Musawi in 1992, the group has been headed by Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary-General. The organization or its military wing are considered terrorist organizations in eighteen countries, as well as by the Arab League and the European Union (see section below).
HezbollahParticipant in the Lebanese Civil War, Israeli''Lebanese conflict, South Lebanon conflict (1985''2000), 2006 Lebanon War, 2008 Lebanon Conflict, Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi Civil War (2014''2017)Primary target in War on TerrorActive1985''presentGroup(s)Unit 3800[8]HeadquartersLebanonSize20,000 to 50,000AlliesState allies:Non-state allies:
See moreOpponent(s)State opponents:Suprastate organization opponents:
Non-state opponents:
Battles and war(s)See detailsThe idea of Hezbollah arose among Lebanese clerics who had studied in Najaf, and who adopted the model set out by Ayatollah Khomeini after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The organization itself was established as part of an Iranian effort, through funding and the dispatch of a core group of pasdaran instructors, to aggregate a variety of Lebanese Shia groups into a unified organization to resist the Israeli occupation,[45][46][5] and improve the standing and status of the long emarginalised and underrepresented Shi'ite community in that country.[47] A contingent of 1,500 pasdaran instructors arrived after the Syrian government, which presided over the Syrian occupation of Lebanon's eastern highlands, permitted their transit to a base in the Bekaa valley.[48]
Hezbollah's 1985 manifesto listed its objectives as the expulsion of "the Americans, the French and their allies definitely from Lebanon, putting an end to any colonialist entity on our land", the submission of the Christian Phalangists to "just power", bringing them to justice "for the crimes they have perpetrated against Muslims and Christians", and permitting "all the sons of our people" to choose the form of government they want, while calling on them to "pick the option of Islamic government".[49]
Hezbollah organised volunteers who fought on the Bosnian side during the Bosnian War.[50] Hezbollah's military strength has grown so significantly since 2006[51][52] that its paramilitary wing is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army.[53][54] Hezbollah has been described as a "state within a state"[55] and has grown into an organization with seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and a satellite TV station, social services and large-scale military deployment of fighters beyond Lebanon's borders.[56][57][58] Hezbollah is part of the March 8 Alliance within Lebanon, in opposition to the March 14 Alliance. Hezbollah maintains strong support among Lebanon's Shi'a population,[59] while Sunnis have disagreed with the group's agenda.[60] Hezbollah also finds support from within some Christian areas of Lebanon that are Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah receives military training, weapons, and financial support from Iran and political support from Syria.[63] Hezbollah and Israel fought each other in the 2006 Lebanon War.
After the 2006''08 Lebanese protests[64] and clashes,[65] a national unity government was formed in 2008, with Hezbollah and its opposition allies' obtaining eleven of thirty cabinets seats, enough to give them veto power.[43] In August 2008, Lebanon's new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement that recognized Hezbollah's existence as an armed organization and guarantees its right to "liberate or recover occupied lands" (such as the Shebaa Farms).[66] Since 2012, Hezbollah has helped the Syrian government during the Syrian civil war in its fight against the Syrian opposition, which Hezbollah has described as a Zionist plot and a "Wahhabi-Zionist conspiracy" to destroy its alliance with Assad against Israel.[67][68] It has deployed its militia in both Syria and Iraq to fight or train local forces to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[69][70] The group's legitimacy is considered to have been severely damaged due to the sectarian nature of the Syrian Civil War in which it has become embroiled.[56][71][72]
History Foundation After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Israel occupied a strip of south Lebanon, which was controlled by the South Lebanon Army (SLA), a militia supported by Israel. Hezbollah was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran primarily to harass the Israeli occupation.[5] Its leaders were followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of 1,500 Revolutionary Guards that arrived from Iran with permission from the Syrian government,[48] which was in occupation of Lebanon at the time.
Scholars differ as to when Hezbollah came to be a distinct entity. Various sources list the official formation of the group as early as 1982[73][74][75][76] whereas Diaz and Newman maintain that Hezbollah remained an amalgamation of various violent Shi'a extremists until as late as 1985.[77] Another version states that it was formed by supporters of Sheikh Ragheb Harb, a leader of the southern Shia resistance killed by Israel in 1984.[78] Regardless of when the name came into official use, a number of Shi'a groups were slowly assimilated into the organization, such as Islamic Jihad, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth and the Revolutionary Justice Organization[citation needed ]. These designations are considered to be synonymous with Hezbollah by the US,[79] Israel[80] and Canada.[81]
1980s Hezbollah emerged in South Lebanon during a consolidation of Shia militias as a rival to the older Amal Movement. Hezbollah played a significant role in the Lebanese civil war, opposing American forces in 1982''83 and opposing Amal and Syria during the 1985''88 War of the Camps. However, Hezbollah's early primary focus was ending Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon[5] following Israel's 1982 invasion and siege of Beirut.[82] Amal, the main Lebanese Shia political group, initiated guerrilla warfare. In 2006, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak stated, "When we entered Lebanon '... there was no Hezbollah. We were accepted with perfumed rice and flowers by the Shia in the south. It was our presence there that created Hezbollah".[83]
Hezbollah waged an asymmetric war using suicide attacks against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli targets outside of Lebanon.[84] Hezbollah is reputed to have been among the first Islamic resistance groups in the Middle East to use the tactics of suicide bombing, assassination, and capturing foreign soldiers,[48] as well as murders[85] and hijackings.[86] Hezbollah also employed more conventional military tactics and weaponry, notably Katyusha rockets and other missiles.[85][87] At the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990, despite the Taif Agreement asking for the "disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias," Syria, which controlled Lebanon at that time, allowed Hezbollah to maintain their arsenal and control Shia areas along the border with Israel.[88]
After 1990 In the 1990s, Hezbollah transformed from a revolutionary group into a political one, in a process which is described as the Lebanonisation of Hezbollah. Unlike its uncompromising revolutionary stance in the 1980s, Hezbollah conveyed a lenient stance towards the Lebanese state.[89]
In 1992 Hezbollah decided to participate in elections, and Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, endorsed it. Former Hezbollah secretary general, Subhi al-Tufayli, contested this decision, which led to a schism in Hezbollah. Hezbollah won all twelve seats which were on its electoral list. At the end of that year, Hezbollah began to engage in dialog with Lebanese Christians. Hezbollah regards cultural, political, and religious freedoms in Lebanon as sanctified, although it does not extend these values to groups who have relations with Israel.[90]
In 1997 Hezbollah formed the multi-confessional Lebanese Brigades to Fighting the Israeli Occupation in an attempt to revive national and secular resistance against Israel, thereby marking the "Lebanonisation" of resistance.[91]
Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) Whether the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) was a nom de guerre used by Hezbollah or a separate organization, is disputed. According to certain sources, IJO was identified as merely a "telephone organization",[92][93] and whose name was "used by those involved to disguise their true identity."[94][95][96][97][98] Hezbollah reportedly also used another name, "Islamic Resistance" (al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya), for attacks against Israel.[99]
A 2003 American court decision found IJO was the name used by Hezbollah for its attacks in Lebanon, parts of the Middle East and Europe.[100] The US,[101] Israel[102] and Canada[103] consider the names "Islamic Jihad Organization", "Organization of the Oppressed on Earth" and the "Revolutionary Justice Organization" to be synonymous with Hezbollah.
Ideology The ideology of Hezbollah has been summarized as Shi'i radicalism;[104][105][106] Hezbollah follows the Islamic Shi'a theology developed by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.[107] Hezbollah was largely formed with the aid of the Ayatollah Khomeini's followers in the early 1980s in order to spread Islamic revolution[108] and follows a distinct version of Islamic Shi'a ideology (Valiyat al-faqih or Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists) developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the "Islamic Revolution" in Iran.[42][102] Although Hezbollah originally aimed to transform Lebanon into a formal Faqihi Islamic republic, this goal has been abandoned in favor of a more inclusive approach.[5]
1985 manifesto On 16 February 1985, Sheik Ibrahim al-Amin issued Hezbollah's manifesto. The ideology presented in it was described as radical.[by whom? ] Its first objective was to fight against what Hezbollah described as American and Israeli imperialism, including the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon and other territories. The second objective was to gather all Muslims into an "ummah", under which Lebanon would further the aims of the 1979 Revolution of Iran. It also declared it would protect all Lebanese communities, excluding those that collaborated with Israel, and support all national movements'--both Muslim and non-Muslim'--throughout the world.[which? ] The ideology has since evolved, and today Hezbollah is a left-wing political entity focused on social injustice.[109][dubious '' discuss ]
Translated excerpts from Hezbollah's original 1985 manifesto read:
We are the sons of the umma (Muslim community) ...... We are an ummah linked to the Muslims of the whole world by the solid doctrinal and religious connection of Islam, whose message God wanted to be fulfilled by the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., Prophet Muhammad. ... As for our culture, it is based on the Holy Quran, the Sunna and the legal rulings of the faqih who is our source of imitation ...[49]
Attitudes, statements, and actions concerning Israel and Zionism From the inception of Hezbollah to the present,[49][110] the elimination of the State of Israel has been one of Hezbollah's primary goals. Some translations of Hezbollah's 1985 Arabic-language manifesto state that "our struggle will end only when this entity [Israel] is obliterated".[49] According to Hezbollah's Deputy-General, Naim Qassem, the struggle against Israel is a core belief of Hezbollah and the central rationale of Hezbollah's existence.[111]
Hezbollah says that its continued hostilities against Israel are justified as reciprocal to Israeli operations against Lebanon and as retaliation for what they claim is Israel's occupation of Lebanese territory.[112][113][114] Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, and their withdrawal was verified by the United Nations as being in accordance with resolution 425 of 19 March 1978, however Lebanon considers the Shebaa farms'--a 26-km² (10-mi²) piece of land captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war and considered by the UN to be Syrian territory occupied by Israel'--to be Lebanese territory.[115][116] Finally, Hezbollah consider Israel to be an illegitimate state. For these reasons, they justify their actions as acts of defensive jihad.[117]
If they go from Shebaa, we won't stop fighting them. ... Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine, ... The Jews who survive this war of liberation can go back to Germany or wherever they came from. However, that the Jews who lived in Palestine before 1948 will be 'allowed to live as a minority and they will be cared for by the Muslim majority.'
-- Hezbollah's spokesperson Hassan Ezzedin, about an Israeli withdrawal from Shebaa Farms[88]
Attitudes and actions concerning Jews and Judaism Hezbollah officials have said, on rare occasions, that it is only "anti-Zionist" and not anti-Semitic.[118] However, according to scholars, "these words do not hold up upon closer examination". Among other actions, Hezbollah actively engages in Holocaust denial and spreads anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.[118]
Various antisemitic statements have been attributed to Hezbollah officials.[119] Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a Lebanese political analyst, argues that although Zionism has influenced Hezbollah's anti-Judaism, "it is not contingent upon it "because Hezbollah's hatred of Jews is more religiously motivated than politically motivated.[120] Robert S. Wistrich, a historian specializing in the study of anti-Semitism, described Hezbollah's ideology concerning Jews:
The anti-Semitism of Hezbollah leaders and spokesmen combines the image of seemingly invincible Jewish power ... and cunning with the contempt normally reserved for weak and cowardly enemies. Like the Hamas propaganda for holy war, that of Hezbollah has relied on the endless vilification of Jews as 'enemies of mankind,' 'conspiratorial, obstinate, and conceited' adversaries full of 'satanic plans' to enslave the Arabs. It fuses traditional Islamic anti-Judaism with Western conspiracy myths, Third Worldist anti-Zionism, and Iranian Shiite contempt for Jews as 'ritually impure' and corrupt infidels. Sheikh Fadlallah typically insists ... that Jews wish to undermine or obliterate Islam and Arab cultural identity in order to advance their economic and political domination.[121]
Conflicting reports say Al-Manar, the Hezbollah-owned and operated television station, accused either Israel or Jews of deliberately spreading HIV and other diseases to Arabs throughout the Middle East.[122][123][124] Al-Manar was criticized in the West for airing "anti-Semitic propaganda" in the form of a television drama depicting a Jewish world domination conspiracy theory.[125][126][127] The group has been accused by American analysts of engaging in Holocaust denial.[128][129][130] In addition, during its 2006 war, it apologized only for killing Israel's Arabs (i.e., non-Jews).[118]
In November 2009, Hezbollah pressured a private English-language school to drop reading excerpts from The Diary of Anne Frank, a book of the writings from the diary kept by the Jewish child Anne Frank while she was in hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.[131] This was after Hezbollah's Al-Manar television channel complained, asking how long Lebanon would "remain an open arena for the Zionist invasion of education?"[132]
Organization Organizational chart of Hezbollah, by Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh
Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the third and current Secretary General of Hezbollah
At the beginning many Hezbollah leaders have maintained that the movement was "not an organization, for its members carry no cards and bear no specific responsibilities,"[133] and that the movement does not have "a clearly defined organizational structure."[134] Nowadays, as Hezbollah scholar Magnus Ranstorp reports, Hezbollah does indeed have a formal governing structure, and in keeping with the principle of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (velayat-e faqih), it "concentrate[s] ... all authority and powers" in its religious leaders, whose decisions then "flow from the ulama down the entire community."
The supreme decision-making bodies of the Hezbollah were divided between the Majlis al-Shura (Consultative Assembly) which was headed by 12 senior clerical members with responsibility for tactical decisions and supervision of overall Hizballah activity throughout Lebanon, and the Majlis al-Shura al-Karar (the Deciding Assembly), headed by Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah and composed of eleven other clerics with responsibility for all strategic matters. Within the Majlis al-Shura, there existed seven specialized committees dealing with ideological, financial, military and political, judicial, informational and social affairs. In turn, the Majlis al-Shura and these seven committees were replicated in each of Hizballah's three main operational areas (the Beqaa, Beirut, and the South).[135]
Since the Supreme Leader of Iran is the ultimate clerical authority, Hezbollah's leaders have appealed to him "for guidance and directives in cases when Hezbollah's collective leadership [was] too divided over issues and fail[ed] to reach a consensus."[135] After the death of Iran's first Supreme Leader, Khomeini, Hezbollah's governing bodies developed a more "independent role" and appealed to Iran less often.[135] Since the Second Lebanon War, however, Iran has restructured Hezbollah to limit the power of Hassan Nasrallah, and invested billions of dollars "rehabilitating" Hezbollah.[136]
Structurally, Hezbollah does not distinguish between its political/social activities within Lebanon and its military/jihad activities against Israel. "Hezbollah has a single leadership," according to Naim Qassem, Hezbollah's second in command. "All political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions of this leadership ... The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel."[137]
In 2010, Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani said, "Iran takes pride in Lebanon's Islamic resistance movement for its steadfast Islamic stance. Hezbollah nurtures the original ideas of Islamic Jihad." He also instead charged the West with having accused Iran with support of terrorism and said, "The real terrorists are those who provide the Zionist regime with military equipment to bomb the people."[138]
Funding Funding of Hezbollah comes from Lebanese business groups, private persons, businessmen, the Lebanese diaspora involved in African diamond exploration, other Islamic groups and countries, and the taxes paid by the Shia Lebanese.[139] Hezbollah says that the main source of its income comes from its own investment portfolios and donations by Muslims.
Western sources maintain that Hezbollah actually receives most of its financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria.[88][101][140] Iran is said to have given $400 million between 1983 and 1989 through donation. Due to economic problems, Iran temporarily limited funds to humanitarian actions carried on by Hezbollah.[139] According to reports released in February 2010, Hezbollah received $400 million from Iran.[141][142][143] In 2011 Iran earmarked $7 million to Hezbollah's activities in Latin American.[144]Hezbollah has relied also on funding from the Shi'ite Lebanese Diaspora in West Africa, the United States and, most importantly, the Triple Frontier, or tri-border area, along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.[145] U.S. law enforcement officials have identified an illegal multimillion-dollar cigarette-smuggling fund raising operation[146] and a drug smuggling operation.[147][148][149] However, Nasrallah has repeatedly denied any links between the South American drug trade and Hezbollah, calling such accusations "propaganda" and attempts "to damage the image of Hezbollah".[150][151]
As of 2018, Iranian monetary support for Hezbollah is estimated at $700 million per annum according to US estimates.[152][153]
The United States has accused members of the Venezuelan government of providing financial aid to Hezbollah.[154]
Hezbollah organizes and maintains an extensive social development program and runs hospitals, news services, educational facilities, and encouragement of Nikah mut'ah.[141][155] One of its established institutions, Jihad Al Binna's Reconstruction Campaign, is responsible for numerous economic and infrastructure development projects in Lebanon.[156] Hezbollah controls the Martyr's Institute (Al-Shahid Social Association), which pays stipends to "families of fighters who die" in battle.[143] An IRIN news report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted:
Hezbollah not only has armed and political wings '' it also boasts an extensive social development program. Hezbollah currently operates at least four hospitals, twelve clinics, twelve schools and two agricultural centres that provide farmers with technical assistance and training. It also has an environmental department and an extensive social assistance program. Medical care is also cheaper than in most of the country's private hospitals and free for Hezbollah members.[141]
According to CNN, "Hezbollah did everything that a government should do, from collecting the garbage to running hospitals and repairing schools."[157] In July 2006, during the war with Israel, when there was no running water in Beirut, Hezbollah was arranging supplies around the city. Lebanese Shiites "see Hezbollah as a political movement and a social service provider as much as it is a militia."[157] Hezbollah also rewards its guerilla members who have been wounded in battle by taking them to Hezbollah-run amusement parks.[158]
Hezbollah is, therefore, deeply embedded in the Lebanese society.[48]
Political activities Hezbollah-controlled areas in July 2006, most of Lebanon's majority
Shi'a areas.
10 December 2006 anti-government rally in Beirut
Hezbollah along with Amal is one of two major political parties in Lebanon that represent Shiite Muslims.[159] Unlike Amal, whose support is predominantly in the south of the country, Hezbollah maintains broad-based support in all three areas of Lebanon with a majority Shia Muslim population: in the south, in Beirut and its surrounding area, and in the northern Beqaa valley and Hirmil region.[160] It holds 14 of the 128 seats in the Parliament of Lebanon and is a member of the Resistance and Development Bloc. According to Daniel L. Byman, it is "the most powerful single political movement in Lebanon."[161] Hezbollah, along with the Amal Movement, represents most of Lebanese Shi'a. However, unlike Amal, Hezbollah has not disarmed. Hezbollah participates in the Parliament of Lebanon.
Hezbollah has been one of the main parties of the March 8 Alliance since March 2005. Although Hezbollah had joined the new government in 2005, it remained staunchly opposed to the March 14 Alliance.[162] On 1 December 2006, these groups began a series of political protests and sit-ins in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[64]
On 7 May 2008, Lebanon's 17-month-long political crisis spiraled out of control. The fighting was sparked by a government move to shut down Hezbollah's telecommunication network and remove Beirut Airport's security chief over alleged ties to Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the government's decision to declare the group's military telecommunications network illegal was a "declaration of war" on the organization, and demanded that the government revoke it.[163] Hezbollah-led opposition fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from Future Movement militiamen loyal to the backed government, in street battles that left 11 dead and 30 wounded. The opposition-seized areas were then handed over to the Lebanese Army.[65] The army also pledged to resolve the dispute and has reversed the decisions of the government by letting Hezbollah preserve its telecoms network and re-instating the airport's security chief.[164] At the end, rival Lebanese leaders reached consensus over Doha Agreement on 21 May 2008, to end the 18-month political feud that exploded into fighting and nearly drove the country to a new civil war.[165] On the basis of this agreement, Hezbollah and its opposition allies were effectively granted veto power in Lebanon's parliament. At the end of the conflicts, National unity government was formed by Fouad Siniora on 11 July 2008, with Hezbollah controlling one ministerial and eleven of thirty cabinet places.[43]
Hezbollah currently[when? ] sits in the opposition March 8 alliance. However, they withdrew from the government citing inability to discuss issues over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Media operations Hezbollah operates a satellite television station, Al-Manar TV ("the Lighthouse"), and a radio station, al-Nour ("the Light").[166] Al-Manar broadcasts from Beirut, Lebanon.[166] Hezbollah launched the station in 1991[167] with the help of Iranian funds.[168] Al-Manar, the self-proclaimed "Station of the Resistance," (qanat al-muqawama) is a key player in what Hezbollah calls its "psychological warfare against the Zionist enemy"[168][169] and an integral part of Hezbollah's plan to spread its message to the entire Arab world.[168] In addition, Hezbollah has a weekly publication, Al Ahd, which was established in 1984.[170] It is the only media outlet which is openly affiliated with the organization.[170]
Hezbollah's television station Al-Manar airs programming designed to inspire suicide attacks in Gaza, the West Bank, and Iraq.[88][167][171] Al-Manar's transmission in France is prohibited due to its promotion of Holocaust denial, a criminal offense in France.[172] The United States lists Al-Manar television network as a terrorist organization.[173] Al-Manar was designated as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity," and banned by the United States in December 2004.[174] It has also been banned by France, Spain and Germany.[175][176]
Materials aimed at instilling principles of nationalism and Islam in children are an aspect of Hezbollah's media operations.[177] The Hezbollah Central Internet Bureau released a video game in 2003 entitled Special Force and a sequel in 2007 in which players are rewarded with points and weapons for killing Israelis.[178] In 2012, Al-Manar aired a television special praising an 8-year-old boy who raised money for Hezbollah and said: "When I grow up, I will be a communist resistance warrior with Hezbollah, fighting the United States and Israel, I will tear them to pieces and drive them out of Lebanon, the Golan and Palestine, which I love very dearly."[179]
Secret services Hezbollah's secret services have been described as "one of the best in the world", and have even infiltrated the Israeli army. Hezbollah's secret services collaborate with the Lebanese intelligence agencies.[139]
In the summer of 1982, Hezbollah's Special Security Apparatus was created by Hussein al-Khalil, now a "top political adviser to Nasrallah";[180] while Hezbollah's counterintelligence was initially managed by Iran's Quds Force,[181]: 238 the organization continued to grow during the 1990s. By 2008, scholar Carl Anthony Wege writes, "Hizballah had obtained complete dominance over Lebanon's official state counterintelligence apparatus, which now constituted a Hizballah asset for counterintelligence purposes."[182]: 775 This close connection with Lebanese intelligence helped bolster Hezbollah's financial counterintelligence unit.[182]: 772, 775
According to Ahmad Hamzeh, Hezbollah's counterintelligence service is divided into Amn al-Muddad, responsible for "external" or "encounter" security; and Amn al-Hizb, which protects the organization's integrity and its leaders. According to Wege, Amn al-Muddad "may have received specialized intelligence training in Iran and possibly North Korea".[182]: 773''774 The organization also includes a military security component, as well as an External Security Organization (al-Amn al-Khariji or Unit 910) that operates covertly outside Lebanon.[181]: 238
Successful Hezbollah counterintelligence operations include thwarting the CIA's attempted kidnapping of foreign operations chief Hassan Ezzeddine in 1994; the 1997 manipulation of a double agent that led to the Ansariya Ambush; and the 2000 kidnapping of alleged Mossad agent Elhanan Tannenbaum.[182]: 773 Hezbollah also collaborated with the Lebanese government in 2006 to detect Adeeb al-Alam, a former colonel, as an Israeli spy.[182]: 774 Also, the organization recruited IDF Lieutenant Colonel Omar al-Heib, who was convicted in 2006 of conducting surveillance for Hezbollah.[182]: 776 In 2009, Hezbollah apprehended Marwan Faqih, a garage owner who installed tracking devices in Hezbollah-owned vehicles.[182]: 774
Hezbollah's counterintelligence apparatus also uses electronic surveillance and intercept technologies. By 2011, Hezbollah counterintelligence began to use software to analyze cellphone data and detect espionage; suspicious callers were then subjected to conventional surveillance. In the mid-1990s, Hezbollah was able to "download unencrypted video feeds from Israeli drones,"[182]: 777 and Israeli SIGINT efforts intensified after the 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon. With possible help from Iran and the Russian FSB, Hezbollah augmented its electronic counterintelligence capabilities, and succeeded by 2008 in detecting Israeli bugs near Mount Sannine and in the organization's fiber optic network.[182]: 774, 777''778
Armed strength Hezbollah does not reveal its armed strength. The Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre estimated that Hezbollah's armed wing comprises 1,000 full-time Hezbollah members, along with a further 6,000''10,000 volunteers.[183] According to the Iranian Fars News Agency, Hezbollah has up to 65,000 fighters.[184] It is often described as more militarily powerful than the Lebanese Army.[185][186][187] Israeli commander Gui Zur called Hezbollah "by far the greatest guerrilla group in the world".[188]
In 2010, Hezbollah was believed to have 45,000 rockets.[189] In 2017, Hezbollah had 130,000 rockets and missiles in place targeting Israel, according to Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett.[190] Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot acknowledged that Hezbollah possesses "tens of thousands" of long- and short-range rockets, drones, advanced computer encryption capabilities, as well as advanced defense capabilities like the SA-6 anti-aircraft missile system.[191]
Hezbollah possesses the Katyusha-122 rocket, which has a range of 29 km (18 mi) and carries a 15-kg (33-lb) warhead. Hezbollah also possesses about 100 long-range missiles. They include the Iranian-made Fajr-3 and Fajr-5, the latter with a range of 75 km (47 mi), enabling it to strike the Israeli port of Haifa, and the Zelzal-1, with an estimated 150 km (93 mi) range, which can reach Tel Aviv. Fajr-3 missiles have a range of 40 km (25 mi) and a 45-kg (99-lb) warhead, and Fajr-5 missiles, which extend to 72 km (45 mi), also hold 45-kg (99-lb) warheads.[183] It was reported that Hezbollah is in possession of Scud missiles that were provided to them by Syria.[192] Syria denied the reports.[193]According to various reports, Hezbollah is armed with anti-tank guided missiles, namely, the Russian-made AT-3 Sagger, AT-4 Spigot, AT-5 Spandrel, AT-13 Saxhorn-2 'Metis-M', АÐ-14 Spriggan 'Kornet'; Iranian-made Ra'ad (version of AT-3 Sagger), Towsan (version of AT-5 Spandrel), Toophan (version of BGM-71 TOW); and European-made MILAN missiles. These weapons have been used against IDF soldiers, causing many of the deaths during the 2006 Lebanon War.[194] A small number of Saeghe-2s (Iranian-made version of M47 Dragon) were also used in the war.[195]
For air defense, Hezbollah has anti-aircraft weapons that include the ZU-23 artillery and the man-portable, shoulder-fired SA-7 and SA-18 surface-to-air missile (SAM).[196] One of the most effective weapons deployed by Hezbollah has been the C-802 anti-ship missile.[197]
In April 2010, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claimed that the Hezbollah has far more missiles and rockets than the majority of countries, and said that Syria and Iran are providing weapons to the organization. Israel also claims that Syria is providing the organization with these weapons. Syria has denied supplying these weapons and views these claims as an Israeli excuse for an attack.[citation needed ] Leaked cables from American diplomats suggest that the United States has been trying unsuccessfully to prevent Syria from "supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon", and that Hezbollah has "amassed a huge stockpile (of arms) since its 2006 war with Israel"; the arms were described as "increasingly sophisticated."[198] Gates added that Hezbollah is possibly armed with chemical or biological weapons, as well as 65-mile (105 km) anti-ship missiles that could threaten U.S. ships.[199]
As of 2017[update], the Israeli government believe Hezbollah had an arsenal of nearly 150,000 rockets stationed on its border with Lebanon.[200] Some of these missiles are said to be capable of penetrating cities as far away as Eilat.[201] The IDF has accused Hezbollah of storing these rockets beneath hospitals, schools, and civilian homes.[201] Hezbollah has also used drones against Israel, by penetrating air defense systems, in a report verified by Nasrallah, who added, "This is only part of our capabilities".[202][203]
Israeli military officials and analysts have also drawn attention to the experience and weaponry the group would have gained from the involvement of thousands of its fighters in the Syrian Civil War. "This kind of experience cannot be bought," said Gabi Siboni, director of the military and strategic affairs program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. "It is an additional factor that we will have to deal with. There is no replacement for experience, and it is not to be scoffed at."[204]
On 13 July 2019 Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, in an interview broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television, said ''Our weapons have been developed in both quality and quantity, we have precision missiles and drones,'' he illustrated strategic military and civilian targets on the map of Israel and stated, Hezbollah is able to launch Ben Gurion Airport, arms depots, petrochemical, and water desalinization plants, and the Ashdod port, Haifa's ammonia storage which would cause "tens of thousands of casualties".[205]
Military activities Hezbollah has a military branch known as the Jihad Council,[44] one component of which is Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya ("The Islamic Resistance"), and is the possible sponsor of a number of lesser-known militant groups, some of which may be little more than fronts for Hezbollah itself, including the Organization of the Oppressed, the Revolutionary Justice Organization, the Organization of Right Against Wrong, and Followers of the Prophet Muhammad.[101]
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 called for the disarmament of militia[206] with the Taif agreement at the end of the Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah denounced, and protested against, the resolution.[207] The 2006 military conflict with Israel has increased the controversy. Failure to disarm remains a violation of the resolution and agreement as well as subsequent United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.[208] Since then both Israel and Hezbollah have asserted that the organization has gained in military strength.[52] A Lebanese public opinion poll taken in August 2006 shows that most of the Shia did not believe that Hezbollah should disarm after the 2006 Lebanon war, while the majority of Sunni, Druze and Christians believed that they should.[209] The Lebanese cabinet, under president Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, guidelines state that Hezbollah enjoys the right to "liberate occupied lands."[210] In 2009, a Hezbollah commander (speaking on condition of anonymity) said, "[W]e have far more rockets and missiles [now] than we did in 2006."[211]
Lebanese Resistance Brigades The Lebanese Resistance Brigades (Arabic: Ø"رايا اÙمقاÙمØ(C) اÙÙبنانيØ(C) 'Ž Saraya al-Moukawama al-Lubnaniyya), also known as the Lebanese Brigades to Resist the Israeli Occupation, were formed by Hezbollah in 1997 as a multifaith (Christian, Druze, Sunni and Shia) volunteer force to combat the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon. With the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the organization was disbanded.[213]
In 2009, the Resistance Brigades were reactivated, mainly comprising Sunni supporters from the southern city of Sidon. Its strength was reduced in late 2013 from 500 to 200''250 due to residents complaints about some fighters of the group exacerbating tensions with the local community.[214]
The beginning of its military activities: the South Lebanon conflict Hezbollah has been involved in several cases of armed conflict with Israel:
During the 1982''2000 South Lebanon conflict, Hezbollah waged a guerrilla campaign against Israeli forces occupying Southern Lebanon. In 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was based in Southern Lebanon and was firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon. Israel invaded Lebanon to evict the PLO, and Hezbollah became an armed organization to expel the Israelis.[88] Hezbollah's strength was enhanced by the dispatching of one thousand to two thousand members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the financial backing of Iran.[215][216][217] Iranian clerics, most notably Fzlollah Mahallati supervised this activity.[218] It became the main politico-military force among the Shia community in Lebanon and the main arm of what became known later as the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. With the collapse of the SLA, and the rapid advance of Hezbollah forces, Israel withdrew on 24 May 2000 six weeks before the announced 7 July date."[86] Hezbollah held a victory parade, and its popularity in Lebanon rose.[219] Israel withdrew in accordance with 1978's United Nations Security Council Resolution 425.[115] Hezbollah and many analysts considered this a victory for the movement, and since then its popularity has been boosted in Lebanon.[219]Alleged suicide and terror attacks A smoke cloud rises from the bombed American barracks at Beirut International Airport, where over 200 U.S. marines were killed
Between 1982 and 1986, there were 36 suicide attacks in Lebanon directed against American, French and Israeli forces by 41 individuals, killing 659.[84] Hezbollah denies involvement in some of these attacks, though it has been accused of being involved or linked to some or all of these attacks:[220][221]
The 1982''1983 Tyre headquarters bombingsThe April 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing (by the Islamic Jihad Organization),[222]The 1983 Beirut barracks bombing (by the Islamic Jihad Organization), that killed 241 U.S. marines, 58 French paratroopers and 6 civilians at the US and French barracks in Beirut[223]The 1983 Kuwait bombings in collaboration with the Iraqi Dawa Party.[224]The 1984 United States embassy annex bombing, killing 24.[225]A spate of attacks on IDF troops and SLA militiamen in southern Lebanon.[84]Hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985,[223]The Lebanon hostage crisis from 1982 to 1992.[226]Since 1990, terror acts and attempts of which Hezbollah has been blamed include the following bombings and attacks against civilians and diplomats:
The 1992 Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires, killing 29, in Argentina.[223] Hezbollah operatives boasted of involvement.[227]The 1994 AMIA bombing of a Jewish cultural centre, killing 85, in Argentina.[223] Ansar Allah, a Palestinian group closely associated with Hezbollah, claimed responsibility.[227]The 1994 AC Flight 901 attack, killing 21, in Panama.[228] Ansar Allah, a Palestinian group closely associated with Hezbollah, claimed responsibility.[227]The 1994 London Israeli Embassy attack, injuring 29, in the United Kingdom.[229]The 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, killing 19 US servicemen.[230]In 2002, Singapore accused Hezbollah of recruiting Singaporeans in a failed 1990s plot to attack U.S. and Israeli ships in the Singapore Straits.[231]15 January 2008, bombing of a U.S. Embassy vehicle in Beirut.[232]In 2009, a Hezbollah plot in Egypt was uncovered, where Egyptian authorities arrested 49 men for planning attacks against Israeli and Egyptian targets in the Sinai Peninsula.[233]The 2012 Burgas bus bombing, killing 6, in Bulgaria. Hezbollah denied responsibility.[234]Training Shia insurgents against US troops during the Iraq War.[235]During the Bosnian War Hezbollah provided fighters to fight on the Bosnian Muslim side during the Bosnian War, as part of the broader Iranian involvement. "The Bosnian Muslim government is a client of the Iranians," wrote Robert Baer, a CIA agent stationed in Sarajevo during the war. "If it's a choice between the CIA and the Iranians, they'll take the Iranians any day." By war's end, public opinion polls showed some 86 percent Bosnian Muslims had a positive opinion of Iran.[236] In conjunction, Hezbollah initially sent 150 fighters to fight against the Bosnian Serb Army, the Bosnian Muslims' main opponent in the war.[50] All Shia foreign advisors and fighters withdrew from Bosnia at the end of conflict.
Conflict with Israel On 25 July 1993, following Hezbollah's killing of seven Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon, Israel launched Operation Accountability (known in Lebanon as the Seven Day War), during which the IDF carried out their heaviest artillery and air attacks on targets in southern Lebanon since 1982. The aim of the operation was to eradicate the threat posed by Hezbollah and to force the civilian population north to Beirut so as to put pressure on the Lebanese Government to restrain Hezbollah.[237] The fighting ended when an unwritten understanding was agreed to by the warring parties. Apparently, the 1993 understanding provided that Hezbollah combatants would not fire rockets at northern Israel, while Israel would not attack civilians or civilian targets in Lebanon.[238]In April 1996, after continued Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli civilians,[239] the Israeli armed forces launched Operation Grapes of Wrath, which was intended to wipe out Hezbollah's base in southern Lebanon. Over 100 Lebanese refugees were killed by the shelling of a UN base at Qana, in what the Israeli military said was a mistake.[240] Finally, following several days of negotiations, the two sides signed the Grapes of Wrath Understandings on 26 April 1996. A cease-fire was agreed upon between Israel and Hezbollah, which would be effective on 27 April 1996.[241] Both sides agreed that civilians should not be targeted, which meant that Hezbollah would be allowed to continue its military activities against IDF forces inside Lebanon.[241]2000 Hezbollah cross-border raid On 7 October 2000, three Israeli soldiers '' Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham, and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaidwere '' were abducted by Hezbollah while patrolling the Israeli side of the Israeli-Lebanese border.[242] The soldiers were killed either during the attack or in its immediate aftermath.[243] Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has, however, said that Hezbollah abducted the soldiers and then killed them.[244] The bodies of the slain soldiers were exchanged for Lebanese prisoners in 2004.[245]
2006 Lebanon War Hezbollah posters in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War
The 2006 Lebanon War was a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel. The principal parties were Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. The conflict was precipitated by a cross-border raid during which Hezbollah kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers. The conflict began on 12 July 2006 when Hezbollah militants fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence, killing three, injuring two, and seizing two Israeli soldiers.[246][247]
Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon that damaged Lebanese infrastructure, including Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport (which Israel said that Hezbollah used to import weapons and supplies),[248] an air and naval blockade,[249] and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah then launched more rockets into northern Israel and engaged the Israel Defense Forces in guerrilla warfare from hardened positions.[250] The war continued until 14 August 2006. Hezbollah was responsible for thousands of Katyusha rocket attacks against Israeli civilian towns and cities in northern Israel,[251] which Hezbollah said were in retaliation for Israel's killing of civilians and targeting Lebanese infrastructure.[252] The conflict is believed to have killed 1,191''1,300 Lebanese citizens including combatants[253][254][255][256][257] and 165 Israelis including soldiers.[258]
2010 gas field claims In 2010, Hezbollah claimed that the Dalit and Tamar gas field, discovered by Noble Energy roughly 50 miles (80 km) west of Haifa in Israeli exclusive economic zone, belong to Lebanon, and warned Israel against extracting gas from them. Senior officials from Hezbollah warned that they would not hesitate to use weapons to defend Lebanon's natural resources. Figures in the March 14 Forces stated in response that Hezbullah was presentinganother excuse to hold on to its arms. Lebanese MP Antoine Zahra said that the issue is another item "in the endless list of excuses" meant to justify the continued existence of Hezbullah's arsenal.[259]
2011 attack in Istanbul In July 2011, Italian newspaper Corierre della Sera reported, based on American and Turkish sources,[260] that Hezbollah was behind a bombing in Istanbul in May 2011 that wounded eight Turkish civilians. The report said that the attack was an assassination attempt on the Israeli consul to Turkey, Moshe Kimchi. Turkish intelligence sources denied the report and said "Israel is in the habit of creating disinformation campaigns using different papers."[260]
2012 planned attack in Cyprus In July 2012, a Lebanese man was detained by Cyprus police on possible charges relating to terrorism laws for planning attacks against Israeli tourists. According to security officials, the man was planning attacks for Hezbollah in Cyprus and admitted this after questioning. The police were alerted about the man due to an urgent message from Israeli intelligence. The Lebanese man was in possession of photographs of Israeli targets and had information on Israeli airlines flying back and forth from Cyprus, and planned to blow up a plane or tour bus.[261] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Iran assisted the Lebanese man with planning the attacks.[262]
2012 Burgas attack Following an investigation into the 2012 Burgas bus bombing terrorist attack against Israeli citizens in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian government officially accused the Lebanese-militant movement Hezbollah of committing the attack.[263] Five Israeli citizens, the Bulgarian bus driver, and the bomber were killed. The bomb exploded as the Israeli tourists boarded a bus from the airport to their hotel.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgaria's interior minister, reported that the two suspects responsible were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah; he said the suspected terrorists entered Bulgaria on 28 June and remained until 18 July. Israel had already previously suspected Hezbollah for the attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the report "further corroboration of what we have already known, that Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons are orchestrating a worldwide campaign of terror that is spanning countries and continents."[264] Netanyahu said that the attack in Bulgaria was just one of many that Hezbollah and Iran have planned and carried out, including attacks in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia.[263]
John Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has said that "Bulgaria's investigation exposes Hezbollah for what it is '' a terrorist group that is willing to recklessly attack innocent men, women and children, and that poses a real and growing threat not only to Europe, but to the rest of the world."[265] The result of the Bulgarian investigation comes at a time when Israel has been petitioning the European Union to join the United States in designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.[265]
2015 Shebaa farms incident In response to an attack against a military convoy comprising Hezbollah and Iranian officers on 18 January 2015 at Quneitra in south of Syria, Hezbollah launched an ambush on 28 January against an Israeli military convoy in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms with anti-tank missiles against two Israeli vehicles patrolling the border,[266] killing 2 and wounding 7 Israeli soldiers and officers, as confirmed by Israeli military.
Assassination of Rafic Hariri On 14 February 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was killed, along with 21 others, when his motorcade was struck by a roadside bomb in Beirut. He had been PM during 1992''1998 and 2000''2004. In 2009, the United Nations special tribunal investigating the murder of Hariri reportedly found evidence linking Hezbollah to the murder.[267]
In August 2010, in response to notification that the UN tribunal would indict some Hezbollah members, Hassan Nasrallah said Israel was looking for a way to assassinate Hariri as early as 1993 in order to create political chaos that would force Syria to withdraw from Lebanon, and to perpetuate an anti-Syrian atmosphere [in Lebanon] in the wake of the assassination. He went on to say that in 1996 Hezbollah apprehended an agent working for Israel by the name of Ahmed Nasrallah '' no relation to Hassan Nasrallah '' who allegedly contacted Hariri's security detail and told them that he had solid proof that Hezbollah was planning to take his life. Hariri then contacted Hezbollah and advised them of the situation.[268] Saad Hariri responded that the UN should investigate these claims.[269]
On 30 June 2011, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, established to investigate the death of Hariri, issued arrest warrants against four senior members of Hezbollah, including Mustafa Badr Al Din.[270] On 3 July, Hassan Nasrallah rejected the indictment and denounced the tribunal as a plot against the party, vowing that the named persons would not be arrested under any circumstances.[271]
Involvement in the Syrian Civil War Hezbollah has long been an ally of the Ba'ath government of Syria, led by the Al-Assad family. Hezbollah has helped the Syrian government during the Syrian civil war in its fight against the Syrian opposition, which Hezbollah has described as a Zionist plot to destroy its alliance with al-Assad against Israel.[68] Geneive Abdo opined that Hezbollah's support for al-Assad in the Syrian war has "transformed" it from a group with "support among the Sunni for defeating Israel in a battle in 2006" into a "strictly Shia paramilitary force".[272]
In August 2012, the United States sanctioned Hezbollah for its alleged role in the war.[273] General Secretary Nasrallah denied Hezbollah had been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, stating in a 12 October 2012, speech that "right from the start the Syrian opposition has been telling the media that Hizbullah sent 3,000 fighters to Syria, which we have denied".[274] However, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper, Nasrallah said in the same speech that Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government "retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship". Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters have died in Syria doing their "jihadist duties".[275]
In 2012, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border from Lebanon and took over eight villages in the Al-Qusayr District of Syria.[276] On 16''17 February 2013, Syrian opposition groups claimed that Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian military, attacked three neighboring Sunni villages controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). An FSA spokesman said, "Hezbollah's invasion is the first of its kind in terms of organisation, planning and coordination with the Syrian regime's air force". Hezbollah said three Lebanese Shiites, "acting in self-defense", were killed in the clashes with the FSA.[276][277] Lebanese security sources said that the three were Hezbollah members.[278] In response, the FSA allegedly attacked two Hezbollah positions on 21 February; one in Syria and one in Lebanon. Five days later, it said it destroyed a convoy carrying Hezbollah fighters and Syrian officers to Lebanon, killing all the passengers.[279]
In January 2013, a weapons convoy carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah was destroyed allegedly by the Israeli Air Force. A nearby research center for chemical weapons was also damaged. A similar attack on weapons destined for Hezbollah occurred in May of the same year.
The leaders of the March 14 alliance and other prominent Lebanese figures called on Hezbollah to end its involvement in Syria and said it is putting Lebanon at risk.[280] Subhi al-Tufayli, Hezbollah's former leader, said "Hezbollah should not be defending the criminal regime that kills its own people and that has never fired a shot in defense of the Palestinians". He said "those Hezbollah fighters who are killing children and terrorizing people and destroying houses in Syria will go to hell".[281] The Consultative Gathering, a group of Shia and Sunni leaders in Baalbek-Hermel, also called on Hezbollah not to "interfere" in Syria. They said, "Opening a front against the Syrian people and dragging Lebanon to war with the Syrian people is very dangerous and will have a negative impact on the relations between the two".[278] Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, also called on Hezbollah to end its involvement[280] and claimed that "Hezbollah is fighting inside Syria with orders from Iran".[282] Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi condemned Hezbollah by saying, "We stand against Hezbollah in its aggression against the Syrian people. There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria".[283]Support for Hezbollah among the Syrian public has weakened since the involvement of Hezbollah and Iran in propping up the Assad regime during the civil war.[284]
On 12 May 2013, Hezbollah with the Syrian army attempted to retake part of Qusayr.[285] In Lebanon, there has been "a recent increase in the funerals of Hezbollah fighters" and "Syrian rebels have shelled Hezbollah-controlled areas."[285]
On 25 May 2013, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah is fighting in the Syrian Civil War against Islamic extremists and "pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon".[286] He confirmed that Hezbollah was fighting in the strategic Syrian town of Al-Qusayr on the same side as Assad's forces.[286] In the televised address, he said, "If Syria falls in the hands of America, Israel and the takfiris, the people of our region will go into a dark period."[286]
Involvement in Iranian-led intervention in Iraq Beginning in July 2014, Hezbollah sent an undisclosed number of technical advisers and intelligence analysts to Baghdad in support of the Iranian intervention in Iraq (2014''present). Shortly thereafter, Hezbollah commander Ibrahim al-Hajj was reported killed in action near Mosul.[287]
Latin America operations Hezbollah operations in South America began in the late 20th century, centered around the Arab population which had moved there following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the 1985 Lebanese Civil War.[288] In 2002, Hezbollah was operating openly in Ciudad del Este.[289] Beginning in 2008 the United States Drug Enforcement Agency began with Project Cassandra to work against Hezbollah activities in regards to Latin American drug trafficking.[290] The investigation by the DEA found that Hezbollah made about a billion dollars a year and trafficked thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States.[291] Another destination for cocaine trafficking done by Hezbollah are nations within the Gulf Cooperation Council.[292] In 2013, Hezbollah was accused of infiltrating South America and having ties with Latin American drug cartels.[293] One area of operations is in the region of the Triple Frontier, where Hezbollah has been alleged to be involved in the trafficking of cocaine; officials with the Lebanese embassy in Paraguay have worked to counter American allegations and extradition attempts.[294] In 2016, it was alleged that money gained from drug sales was used to purchase weapons in Syria.[295] In 2018, Infobae reported that Hezbollah was operating in Colombia under the name Organization of External Security.[296] That same year, Argentine police made arrest to individuals alleged to be connected to Hezbollah's criminal activities within the nation.[297] It is also alleged that Venezuela aids Hezbollah in its operations in the region.[298] One particular form of involvement is money laundering.[299]
Other In 2010, Ahbash and Hezbollah members were involved in a street battle which was perceived to be over parking issues, both groups later met to form a joint compensation fund for the victims of the conflict.[300]
Attacks on Hezbollah leaders Hezbollah has also been the target of bomb attacks and kidnappings. These include:
In the 1985 Beirut car bombing, Hezbollah leader Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was targeted, but the assassination attempt failed.On 28 July 1989, Israeli commandos kidnapped Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, the leader of Hezbollah.[301] This action led to the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 638, which condemned all hostage takings by all sides.In 1992, Israeli helicopters attacked a motorcade in southern Lebanon, killing the Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi, his wife, son, and four others.[86]On 12 February 2008, Imad Mughnieh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria.[302]On 3 December 2013, senior military commander Hassan al-Laqis was shot outside his home, two miles (three kilometers) southwest of Beirut. He died a few hours later on 4 December.[303]On 18 January 2015, a group of Hezbollah fighters was targeted in Quneitra, with the Al-Nusra Front claiming responsibility. In this attack, for which Israel was also accused, Jihad Moghnieh, son of Imad Mughnieh, five other members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general of Quds Force, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, were killed.[304][305][306]On 10 May 2016, an explosion near Damascus International Airport killed top military commander Mustafa Badreddine. Lebanese media sources attributed the attack to an Israeli airstrike. Hezbollah attributed the attack to Syrian opposition.[307][308][309]Targeting policy After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hezbollah condemned al-Qaeda for targeting civilians in the World Trade Center,[310][311] but remained silent on the attack on The Pentagon.[48][312] Hezbollah also denounced the massacres in Algeria by Armed Islamic Group, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya attacks on tourists in Egypt,[313] the murder of Nick Berg,[314] and ISIL attacks in Paris.[315]
Although Hezbollah has denounced certain attacks on civilians, some people accuse the organization of the bombing of an Argentine synagogue in 1994. Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, Marcelo Martinez Burgos, and their "staff of some 45 people"[316] said that Hezbollah and their contacts in Iran were responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina, in which "[e]ighty-five people were killed and more than 200 others injured."[317] In June 2002, shortly after the Israeli government launched Operation Defensive Shield, Nasrallah gave a speech in which he defended and praised suicide bombings of Israeli targets by members of Palestinian groups for "creating a deterrence and equalizing fear." Nasrallah stated that "in occupied Palestine, there is no difference between a soldier and a civilian, for they are all invaders, occupiers and usurpers of the land."[48]
In August 2012, the United States State Department's counter-terrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin warned that Hezbollah may attack Europe at any time without any warning. Benjamin said, "Hezbollah maintains a presence in Europe and its recent activities demonstrate that it is not constrained by concerns about collateral damage or political fallout that could result from conducting operations there ... We assess that Hezbollah could attack in Europe or elsewhere at any time with little or no warning" and that Hezbollah has "stepped up terrorist campaigns around the world."[318][319][320]
Foreign relations Hezbollah has close relations with Iran.[321] It also has ties with the leadership in Syria, specifically President Hafez al-Assad (until his death in 2000) supported it.[322] It is also a close Assad ally, and its leader pledged support to the embattled Syrian leader.[323][324] Although Hezbollah and Hamas are not organizationally linked, Hezbollah provides military training as well as financial and moral support to the Sunni Palestinian group.[325] Furthermore, Hezbollah is a strong supporter of the ongoing Al-Aqsa Intifada.[48]
American and Israeli counter-terrorism officials claim that Hezbollah has (or had) links to Al Qaeda, although Hezbollah's leaders deny these allegations.[326][327] Also, some al-Qaeda leaders, like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi[328] and Wahhabi clerics, consider Hezbollah to be apostate.[329] But United States intelligence officials speculate that there has been contact between Hezbollah and low-level al-Qaeda figures who fled Afghanistan for Lebanon.[330] However, Michel Samaha, Lebanon's former minister of information, has said that Hezbollah has been an important ally of the government in the war against terrorist groups, and described the "American attempt to link Hezbollah to al-Qaeda" to be "astonishing".[48]
Public opinion According to Michel Samaha, Lebanon's minister of information, Hezbollah is seen as a legitimate resistance organization that has defended its land against an Israeli occupying force and has consistently stood up to the Israeli army.[48]
According to a survey released by the "Beirut Center for Research and Information" on 26 July during the 2006 Lebanon War, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hezbollah's "retaliatory attacks on northern Israel",[331] a rise of 29 percentage points from a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, was the level of support for Hezbollah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hezbollah, along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.[332]
In a poll of Lebanese adults taken in 2004, 6% of respondents gave unqualified support to the statement "Hezbollah should be disarmed". 41% reported unqualified disagreement. A poll of Gaza Strip and West Bank residents indicated that 79.6% had "a very good view" of Hezbollah, and most of the remainder had a "good view". Polls of Jordanian adults in December 2005 and June 2006 showed that 63.9% and 63.3%, respectively, considered Hezbollah to be a legitimate resistance organization.In the December 2005 poll, only 6% of Jordanian adults considered Hezbollah to be terrorist.[333]
A July 2006 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 83% of the 1,005 Americans polled blamed Hezbollah, at least in part, for the 2006 Lebanon War, compared to 66% who blamed Israel to some degree. Additionally, 76% disapproved of the military action Hezbollah took in Israel, compared to 38% who disapproved of Israel's military action in Lebanon.[334] A poll in August 2006 by ABC News and the Washington Post found that 68% of the 1,002 Americans polled blamed Hezbollah, at least in part, for the civilian casualties in Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon War, compared to 31% who blamed Israel to some degree.[334] Another August 2006 poll by CNN showed that 69% of the 1,047 Americans polled believed that Hezbollah is unfriendly towards, or an enemy of, the United States.[334]
In 2010, a survey of Muslims in Lebanon showed that 94% of Lebanese Shia supported Hezbollah, while 84% of the Sunni Muslims held an unfavorable opinion of the group.[335]
Some public opinion has started to turn against Hezbollah for their support of Syrian President Assad's attacks on the opposition movement in Syria.[336] Crowds in Cairo shouted out against Iran and Hezbollah, at a public speech by Hamas President Ismail Haniya in February 2012, when Hamas changed its support to the Syrian opposition.[337]
Designation as a terrorist organization or resistance movement Hezbollah's status as a legitimate political party, a terrorist group, a resistance movement, or some combination thereof is a contentious issue.[338]
There is a "wide difference" between American and Arab perception of Hezbollah.[48] Several Western countries officially classify Hezbollah or its external security wing as a terrorist organization, and some of their violent acts have been described as terrorist attacks. However, throughout most of the Arab and Muslim worlds, Hezbollah is referred to as a resistance movement, engaged in national defense.[42][339][340] Even within Lebanon, sometimes Hezbollah's status as either a "militia" or "national resistance" has been contentious. In Lebanon, although not universally well-liked, Hezbollah is widely seen as a legitimate national resistance organization defending Lebanon, and actually described by the Lebanese information minister as an important ally in fighting terrorist groups.[48][341] In the Arab world, Hezbollah is generally seen either as a destabilizing force that functions as Iran's pawn by rentier[clarification needed ] states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, or as a popular sociopolitical guerilla movement that exemplifies strong leadership, meaningful political action, and a commitment to social justice.
The United Nations Security Council has never listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization under its sanctions list, although some of its members have done so individually. The United Kingdom listed Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization[25] until May 2019 when the entire organisation was proscribed,[342] and the United States[343] lists the entire group as such. Russia has considered Hezbollah a legitimate sociopolitical organization,[344] and the People's Republic of China remains neutral and maintains contacts with Hezbollah.[citation needed ][345]
In May 2013, France and Germany released statements that they will join other European countries in calling for an EU-blacklisting of Hezbollah as a terror group.[346] In April 2020 Germany designated the organization - including its political wing - as a terrorist organization, and banned any activity in support of Hezbollah.[347]
The following entities have listed Hezbollah as a terror group:
Arab LeagueThe entire organization Hezbollah[348] ArgentinaThe entire organization Hezbollah[27][349] AustraliaHezbollah's External Security Organization[23][350] BahrainThe entire organization Hezbollah[20] CanadaThe entire organization Hezbollah[22] ColombiaThe entire organization Hezbollah[36] European UnionHezbollah's military wing[351][352] FranceThe military wing of Hezbollah[26] GermanyThe entire organization Hezbollah[353][354] Gulf Cooperation CouncilThe entire organization Hezbollah[355] HondurasThe entire organization Hezbollah[36][356][357] IsraelThe entire organization Hezbollah[19] JapanThe entire organization Hezbollah[31] KosovoThe military wing of Hezbollah[358] NetherlandsThe entire organization Hezbollah[29][359] New ZealandHezbollah's military wing Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, since 2010[24] ParaguayThe entire organization Hezbollah[28] United Arab EmiratesThe entire organization Hezbollah[360] United KingdomThe entire organization Hezbollah[342] United StatesThe entire organization Hezbollah[18] Venezuela (Guaid" government)The entire organization Hezbollah[33]The following countries do not consider Hezbollah a terror organization:
AlgeriaAlgeria refused to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization[361] People's Republic of ChinaThe People's Republic of China remains neutral and maintains contacts with Hezbollah[345] CubaHezbollah operates a base in Cuba[362] Iran[363] Iraq[364] North KoreaAllegedly supports Hezbollah[365] RussiaConsiders Hezbollah a legitimate sociopolitical organization[344] Syria[366] Venezuela (Maduro government)[367]In the Western world The United States Department of State has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization since 1995. The group remains on Foreign Terrorist Organization andSpecially Designated Terrorist lists. According to the Congressional Research Service, "The U.S. government holds Hezbollah responsible for a number of attacks and hostage takings targeting Americans in Lebanon during the 1980s, including the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983 and the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in October 1983, which together killed 258 Americans. Hezbollah's operations outside of Lebanon, including its participation in bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina during the 1990s and more recent training and liaison activities with Shiite insurgents in Iraq, have cemented the organization's reputation among U.S. policy makers as a capable and deadly adversary with potential global reach."[368]
The United Kingdom was the first government to attempt to make a distinction between Hezbollah's political and military wings, declaring the latter a terrorist group in July 2008 after Hezbollah confirmed its association with Imad Mughniyeh.[369] In 2012, British "Foreign Minister William Hague urged the European Union to place Hezbollah's military wing on its list of terrorist organizations."[370] The United States also urged the EU to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.[citation needed ] In light of findings implicating Hezbollah in the bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012, there was renewed discussion within the European Union to label Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist group.[371] On 22 July 2013, the European Union agreed to blacklist Hezbollah's military wing over concerns about its growing role in the Syrian conflict.[372]
In the midst of the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, Russia's government declined to include Hezbollah in a newly released list of terrorist organizations, with Yuri Sapunov, the head of anti-terrorism for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, saying that they list only organizations which represent "the greatest threat to the security of our country".[373] Prior to the release of the list, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov called "on Hezbollah to stop resorting to any terrorist methods, including attacking neighboring states."[374]
The Quartet's fourth member, the United Nations, does not maintain such a list,[375] however, the United Nations has made repeated calls for Hezbollah to disarm and accused the group of destabilizing the region and causing harm to Lebanese civilians.[376][377][378] Human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes against Israeli civilians.[379][380][381][382]
Argentine prosecutors hold Hezbollah and their financial supporters in Iran responsible for the 1994 AMIA Bombing of a Jewish cultural center, described by the Associated Press as "the worst terrorist attack on Argentine soil," in which "[e]ighty-five people were killed and more than 200 others injured."[317][383] During the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin condemned attacks by Hezbollah fighters on Israeli forces in south Lebanon, saying they were "terrorism" and not acts of resistance. "France condemns Hezbollah's attacks, and all types of terrorist attacks which may be carried out against soldiers, or possibly Israel's civilian population."[384] Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema differentiated the wings of Hezbollah: "Apart from their well-known terrorist activities, they also have political standing and are socially engaged."[385] Germany does not maintain its own list of terrorist organizations, having chosen to adopt the common EU list. However, German officials have indicated they would likely support designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization.[386] The Netherlands regards Hezbollah as terrorist discussing it as such in official reports of their general intelligence and security service[387] and in official answers by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[388] On 22 July 2013, the European Union declared the military wings of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; effectively blacklisting the entity.[389]
The United States,[343] France,[26] the Gulf Cooperation Council,[355] Canada,[22] the Netherlands,[29] and Israel[19] have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In early 2015, the US Director of National Intelligence removed Hezbollah from the list of "active terrorist threats" against the United States while Hezbollah remained designated as terrorist by the US,[390] and by mid 2015 several Hezbollah officials were sanctioned by the US for their role in facilitating military activity in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.[391] The European Union, New Zealand, the United Kingdom,[25] and Australia[23] have proscribed Hezbollah's military wing, but do not list Hezbollah as a whole as a terrorist organization.[24][352]
In the Arab and Muslim world In 2006, Hezbollah was regarded as a legitimate resistance movement throughout most of the Arab and Muslim world.[42] Furthermore, most of the Sunni Arab world sees Hezbollah as an agent of Iranian influence, and therefore, would like to see their power in Lebanon diminished.[392] Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have condemned Hezbollah's actions, saying that "the Arabs and Muslims can't afford to allow an irresponsible and adventurous organization like Hezbollah to drag the region to war" and calling it "dangerous adventurism",[393]
After an alleged 2009 Hezbollah plot in Egypt, the Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak officially classified Hezbollah as a terrorist group.[394] Following the 2012 Presidential elections the new government recognized Hezbollah as a "real political and military force" in Lebanon. The Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Hamdy, stated that "Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory ... That's their primary role. We ... think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job to keep on defending Lebanese territory and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate."[395][396]
During the Bahraini uprising, Bahrain foreign minister Khalid ibn Ahmad Al Khalifah labeled Hezbollah a terrorist group and accused them of supporting the protesters.[397][398] On 10 April 2013, Bahrain blacklisted Hezbollah as a terrorist group, being the first Arab state in this regard.[399]
During the 2011 Syrian uprising Hezbollah's has voiced support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, which has prompted criticism from anti-government Syrians. As Hezbollah supported other movements in the context of the Arab Spring, anti-government Syrians have stated that they feel "betrayed" by a double standard allegedly applied by the movement. Following Hezbollah's aid in Assad government's victory in Qusair, anti-Hezbollah editorials began regularly appearing in the Arabic media and anti-Hezbollah graffiti has been seen in southern Lebanon.[400]
In March 2016, Gulf Cooperation Council designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization due to its alleged attempts to undermine GCC states, and Arab League followed the move, with reservation by Iraq and Lebanon. In the summit, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said that "Hezbollah enjoys wide representation and is an integral faction of the Lebanese community", while Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said PMF and Hezbollah "have preserved Arab dignity" and those who accuse them of being terrorists are terrorists themselves.[401] Saudi delegation walked out of the meeting.[402] Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the step "important and even amazing".[403][404]
A day before the move by the Arab League, Hezbollah leader Nsarallah said that "Saudi Arabia is angry with Hezbollah since it is daring to say what only a few others dare to say against its royal family".[405]
In Lebanon In an interview during the 2006 Lebanon War, then-President Emile Lahoud stated "Hezbollah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon, because it freed our country ... even though it is very small, it stands up to Israel."[406] Following the 2006 War, other Lebanese including members of the government were resentful of the large damage sustained by the country and saw Hezbollah's actions as unjustified "dangerous adventurism" rather than legitimate resistance. They accused Hezbollah of acting on behalf of Iran and Syria.[407]An official of the Future Movement, part of the March 14 Alliance, warned that Hezbollah "has all the characteristics of a terrorist party", and that Hezbollah is moving Lebanon toward the Iranian Islamic system of government.[408]
In August 2008, Lebanon's cabinet completed a policy statement which recognized "the right of Lebanon's people, army, and resistance to liberate the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, Kafar Shuba Hills, and the Lebanese section of Ghajar village, and defend the country using all legal and possible means."[66]
Gebran Tueni, a late conservative Orthodox Christian editor of an-Nahar, referred to Hezbollah as an "Iranian import" and said "they have nothing to do with Arab civilization." Tuen­ believed that Hezbollah's evolution is cosmetic, concealing a sinister long-term strategy to Islamicize Lebanon and lead it into a ruinous war with Israel.[48]
While Hezbollah has supported popular uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Tunisia, Hezbollah publicly sided with Iran and Syria in their own violent repressions of dissent. In August 2010, 800 people demonstrated in Beirut against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and police were called in to contain the smaller pro-Syrian rallies that followed. Demonstrators were shouting, "Syria wants freedom," "Anyone who kills his people is a murderer and a coward," and "the people want an end to the regime."[409]
By 2017, a poll showed that 62 percent of Lebanese Christians believed that Hezbollah was doing a "better job than anyone else in defending Lebanese interests in the region, and they trust it more than other social institutions."[410][better source needed ]
Scholarly views Academics specializing in a wide variety of the social sciences believe that Hezbollah is an example of an Islamic terrorist organization. Such scholars and research institutes include the following:
Walid Phares, Lebanese-born terrorism scholar.[411]Mark LeVine, American historian[412]Avraham Sela, Israeli historian[413]Robert S. Wistrich, Israeli historian[414]Eyal Zisser, Israeli historian[415]Siamak Khatami, Iranian scholar[416]Rohan Gunaratna, Singaporean scholar[326]Neeru Gaba, Australian scholar[417]Tore Bj¸rgo, Norwegian scholar[418]Magnus Norell, of the European Foundation for Democracy[419]Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies[420]Center for American Progress[421]United States Institute of Peace[422]Views of foreign legislators J. Gresham Barrett brought up legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives which, among other things, referred to Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Congress members Tom Lantos, Jim Saxton, Thad McCotter, Chris Shays, Charles Boustany, Alcee Hastings, and Robert Wexler referred to Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in their speeches supporting the legislation.[423] Shortly before a speech by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, U.S. Congressman Dennis Hastert said, "He [Maliki] denounces terrorism, and I have to take him at his word. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization."[424]
In 2011, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced the Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act. The act ensures that no American aid to Lebanon will enter the hands of Hezbollah. On the day of the act's introduction, Congressman Darrell Issa said, "Hezbollah is a terrorist group and a cancer on Lebanon. The Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act surgically targets this cancer and will strengthen the position of Lebanese who oppose Hezbollah."[425]
In a Sky News interview during the 2006 Lebanon war, British MP George Galloway said that Hezbollah is: "not a terrorist organization".[426]
Former Swiss member of parliament, Jean Ziegler, said in 2006: "I refuse to describe Hezbollah as a terrorist group. It is a national movement of resistance."[427]
See also Notes Citations ^ Ekaterina Stepanova, Terrorism in Asymmetrical Conflict: Ideological and Structural Aspects Archived 10 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Oxford University Press 2008, p. 113 ^ Elie Alagha, Joseph (2011). Hizbullah's Documents: From the 1985 Open Letter to the 2009 Manifesto. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 15, 20. ISBN 978-90-8555-037-2. Shehata, Samer (2012). Islamist Politics in the Middle East: Movements and Change. Routledge. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-415-78361-3. Husseinia, Rola El (2010). "Hezbollah and the Axis of Refusal: Hamas, Iran and Syria". Third World Quarterly. 31 (5): 803''815. doi:10.1080/01436597.2010.502695. ^ a b Philip Smyth (February 2015). The Shiite Jihad in Syria and Its Regional Effects (PDF) (Report). The Washington Institute for Near East Studies. pp. 7''8 . Retrieved 13 March 2015 . ^ Levitt, Matthew (2013). Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God. p. 356. ISBN 9781849043335. Hezbollah's anti-Western militancy began with attacks against Western targets in Lebanon, then expanded to attacks abroad intended to exact revenge for actions threatening its or Iran's interests, or to press foreign governments to release captured operatives. Hanhim¤ki, Jussi M.; Blumenau, Bernhard (2013). An International History of Terrorism: Western and Non-Western Experiences. p. 267. ISBN 9780415635400. Based upon these beliefs, Hezbollah became vehemently anti-West and anti-Israel. Siegel, Larry J. (3 February 2012). Criminology: Theories, Patterns & Typology. p. 396. ISBN 978-1133049647. Hezbollah is anti-West and anti-Israel and has engaged in a series of terrorist actions including kidnappings, car bombings, and airline hijackings. ^ a b c d e "Who Are Hezbollah?". BBC News. 21 May 2008 . Retrieved 15 August 2008 . ^ Julius, Anthony. Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England. Via Google Books. 1 May 2015.Michael, Robert and Philip Rosen. Dictionary of Antisemitism from the Earliest Times to the Present. Via Google Books. 1 May 2015.Perry, Mark. Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with Its Enemies. Via Google Books. 1 May 2015"Analysis: Hezbollah's lethal anti-Semitism". The Jerusalem Post. ^ "Interior Ministry releases numbers of votes for new MPs". The Daily Star. 9 May 2018. ^ a b "Hezbollah fighters train Iraqi Shiite militants near Mosul - FDD's Long War Journal". 5 November 2016. ^ "New Experience of Hezbollah with Russian Military". 2 February 2016. ^ Rosenfeld, Jesse (11 January 2016). "Russia is Arming Hezbollah, Say Two of the Group's Field Commanders". The Daily Beast. ^ "Hezbollah Fights Alongside LAF Demonstrating its Continuing Control over Lebanon". The Tower. 21 August 2017. Archived from the original on 2 February 2020 . Retrieved 28 July 2018 . ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2018 . Retrieved 28 July 2018 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) ^ McElroy, Damien (29 July 2014). "North Korea denies reports of missile deal with Hamas". The Daily Telegraph. ^ "Venezuela denies U.S. drug report, Hezbollah charges". Reuters. 21 July 2009. ^ "Yemeni FM slams Hezbollah's Houthi support: report". THE DAILY STAR. ^ "Lebanon's Hezbollah denies sending weapons to Yemen". Reuters. 20 November 2017. ^ "Hezbollah provides Iraq with its combat experience to liberate Tal Afar" (in Arabic). ^ a b "Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)". United States Department of State. 11 October 2005. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017 . Retrieved 16 July 2006 . "Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations ... 14. Hizballah (Party of God)". ^ a b c "Hezbollah '' International terrorist organization". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 22 July 2013. ^ a b "Bahrain's parliament declares Hezbollah a terrorist group". Jerusalem Post. 26 March 2013. ^ Morocco cuts ties with Iran over Sahara weapons dispute, AP 1 May 2018 ^ a b c "Listed Terrorist Entities '' Currently Listed Entities". Government of Canada. Public Safety Canada. 24 March 2014 . Retrieved 11 July 2014 . ^ a b c "Listed terrorist organisations '' Hizballah's External Security Organisation (ESO)". Australian National Security . Retrieved 11 July 2014 . ^ a b c "Lists associated with Resolution 1373". New Zealand Police. 20 July 2014 . Retrieved 16 August 2014 . ^ a b c Proscribed terrorist organisations (Report). Home Office. 27 March 2015. p. 10 . Retrieved 6 July 2015 . Hizballah's External Security Organisation was proscribed March 2001 and in 2008 the proscription was extended to Hizballah's Military apparatus including the Jihad Council. ^ a b c "Jewish Leaders Applaud Hezbollah Terror Designation by France". Algemeiner Journal. 4 April 2013 . Retrieved 4 September 2013 . ^ a b "Hezbollah branded as terrorist organization in Argentina, assets frozen". The Jerusalem Post. 19 July 2019 . Retrieved 19 July 2019 . ^ a b "Paraguay labels Hezbollah a terror group, Brazil may follow". The Jerusalem Post. 19 August 2019 . Retrieved 19 August 2019 . ^ a b c Norman, Lawrence; Fairclough, Gordon (7 September 2012). "Pressure Mounts for EU to Put Hezbollah on Terror List". Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 7 June 2015 . ^ Ravid, Barak (21 February 2012). "Azerbaijan: Iranian, Hezbollah Operatives Arrested for Plotting Attack Against Foreign Targets". Haaretz. ^ a b "Archived copy" ãƒ'ズãƒ'ãƒ(C) - 国際テロリズムè...è...§¼Web牼‰ - 公安èªæŸ>>庁 (in Japanese). Ministry of Justice of Japan. Archived from the original on 2 February 2020 . Retrieved 15 July 2017 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) ^ "Taiwanese Official Admits Meeting with Hezbollah Leader". Fox News. 8 August 2006. ^ a b Juan Guaid" [@jguaido] (4 September 2019). "Desde la @AsambleaVE hemos declarado a la disidencia de las FARC, ELN, Hamas, Hezbollah e ISIS como grupos terroristas, ordenndoles a todos los cuerpos de seguridad del Estado proteger nuestra soberan­a e integridad territorial frente a la amenaza que representan estos grupos" (Tweet) '' via Twitter. ^ Linthicum, Kate (11 January 2020). "Could Iran and Hezbollah really strike in Latin America?". The Age. ^ "Hezbollah: Germany bans and raids Islamist group". BBC News. 30 April 2020 . Retrieved 1 May 2020 . ^ a b c Harkov, Lahav (8 December 2019). "Colombia and Honduras designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization - The Jerusalem Post". . Retrieved 21 January 2020 . ^ "Israel's UN Ambassador Warns: Hezbollah Has 120,000 Hidden Missiles '-- More Than All European NATO Allies". ^ "Iran perpetrates terrorist acts in Europe using proxy organization Hezbollah". Archived from the original on 31 December 2019 . Retrieved 21 January 2020 . ^ Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli (11 February 2009). "The Iranian Roots of Hizbullah". MEMRI. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. ^ "Hezbollah". The Collins English Dictionary. Glasgow: HarperCollins. 2013 . Retrieved 7 May 2013 . "Hezbollah". Webster's New World College Dictionary. Cleveland: Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2012 . Retrieved 7 May 2013 . ^ Other transliterations include Hizbollah, Hezbolla, Hezballah, Hisbollah, Hizbu'llah and Hizb Allah. ^ a b c d Jamail, Dahr (20 July 2006). "Hezbollah's transformation". Asia Times . Retrieved 23 October 2007 . ^ a b c "Hezbollah (a.k.a. Hizbollah, Hizbu'llah)". Council on Foreign Relations. 13 September 2008. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008 . Retrieved 15 September 2008 . ^ a b Levitt, Matthew (2013). Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God. p. 15. ISBN 9781849043335. ... the Jihad Council coordinates 'resistance activity'. Ghattas Saab, Antoine (15 May 2014). "Hezbollah cutting costs as Iranian aid dries up". The Daily Star . Retrieved 1 June 2014 . ... Hezbollah's military wing ... Known as the 'Jihad Council' ^ Dominique Avon, Ana¯s-Trissa Khatchadourian, Hezbollah: A History of the "Party of God", Harvard University Press, 2012 978-0-674-07031-8 pp.21ff. ^ E. Azani, Hezbollah: The Story of the Party of God: From Revolution to Institutionalization, Springer, 2011 ISBN 978-0-230-11629-0pp.59-63 ^ Mariam Farida, Religion and Hezbollah: Political Ideology and Legitimacy, Routledge, 2019 ISBN 978-1-000-45857-2 pp.1-3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Adam Shatz (29 April 2004). "In Search of Hezbollah". The New York Review of Books. Archived from the original on 22 August 2006 . Retrieved 14 August 2006 . ^ a b c d Itamar Rabinovich (2008). Israel in the Middle East. UPNE. ISBN 9780874519624 . Retrieved 18 November 2010 . ^ a b Fisk, Robert (7 September 2014). "After the atrocities committed against Muslims in Bosnia, it is no wonder today's jihadis have set out on the path to war in Syria". The Independent . Retrieved 25 March 2016 . ^ "UN: Hezbollah has increased military strength since 2006 war". Haaretz. 25 October 2007 . Retrieved 5 September 2013 . ^ a b Frykberg, Mel (29 August 2008). "Mideast Powers, Proxies and Paymasters Bluster and Rearm". Middle East Times . Retrieved 31 May 2011 . And if there is one thing that ideologically and diametrically opposed Hezbollah and Israel agree on, it is Hezbollah's growing military strength. ^ Barnard, Anne (20 May 2013). "Hezbollah's Role in Syria War Shakes the Lebanese". New York Times . Retrieved 20 June 2013 . Hezbollah, stronger than the Lebanese Army, has the power to drag the country into war without a government decision, as in 2006, when it set off the war by capturing two Israeli soldiers ^ Morris, Loveday (12 June 2013). "For Lebanon's Sunnis, growing rage at Hezbollah over role in Syria". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013 . Retrieved 20 June 2013 . ... Hezbollah, which has a fighting force generally considered more powerful than the Lebanese army. ^ "Iran-Syria vs. Israel, Round 1: Assessments & Lessons Learned". Defense Industry Daily. 13 September 2013 . Retrieved 19 February 2013 . ^ a b Hubbard, Ben (20 March 2014). "Syrian Fighting Gives Hezbollah New but Diffuse Purpose". New York Times . Retrieved 30 May 2014 . ... the fighting has also diluted the resources that used to go exclusively to facing Israel, exacerbated sectarian divisions in the region, and alienated large segments of the majority Sunni population who once embraced Hezbollah as a liberation force... Never before have Hezbollah guerrillas fought alongside a formal army, waged war outside Lebanon or initiated broad offensives aimed at seizing territory. ^ Deeb, Lara (31 July 2006). "Hizballah: A Primer". Middle East Report. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011 . Retrieved 31 May 2011 . ^ Goldman, Adam (28 May 2014). "Hezbollah operative wanted by FBI dies in fighting in Syria". Washington Post . Retrieved 30 May 2014 . ... Hasan Nasrallah has called the deployment of his fighters to Syria a 'new phase' for the movement, and it marks the first time the group has sent significant numbers of men outside Lebanon's borders. ^ "Huge Beirut protest backs Syria". BBC News. 8 March 2005 . Retrieved 7 February 2007 . ^ "Hariri: Sunnis 'refuse' to join Hezbollah-Al Qaida war". AFP, 25 January 2014. ^ Filkins, Dexter (30 September 2013). "The Shadow Commander". The New Yorker . Retrieved 4 October 2013 . From 2000 to 2006, Iran contributed a hundred million dollars a year to Hezbollah. Its fighters are attractive proxies: unlike the Iranians, they speak Arabic, making them better equipped to operate in Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world. ^ a b Ghattas, Kim (1 December 2006). "Political ferment in Lebanon". BBC News . Retrieved 15 August 2008 . ^ a b Stern, Yoav; Issacharoff, Avi (10 May 2008). "Hezbollah fighters retreat from Beirut after 37 die in clashes". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008 . Retrieved 20 October 2012 . ^ a b Nafez Qawas (6 August 2008). "Berri summons Parliament to vote on policy statement". The Daily Star . Retrieved 6 August 2008 . ^ Barnard, Anne (3 January 2014). "Mystery in Hezbollah Operatives Life and Death". The New York Times. ^ a b Barnard, Anne (9 July 2013). "Car Bombing Injures Dozens in Hezbollah Section of Beirut". The New York Times . Retrieved 30 August 2013 . Hezbollah has portrayed the Syrian uprising as an Israeli-backed plot to destroy its alliance with Mr. Assad against Israel. ^ Liz Sly and Suzan Haidamous 'Lebanon's Hezbollah acknowledges battling the Islamic State in Iraq,' Washington Post 16 February 2015. ^ Ali Hashem, arrives in Iraq Archived 7 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Al Monitor 25 November 2014 ^ "Hezbollah's Syrian Quagmires" (PDF) . The Washington Institute for Near East Policy . Retrieved 17 September 2014 . By siding with the Assad regime, the regime's Alawite supporters, and Iran, and taking up arms against Sunni rebels, Hezbollah has placed itself at the epicenter of a sectarian conflict that has nothing to do with the group's purported raison d'ªtre: 'resistance' to Israeli occupation. ^ Kershner, Isabel (10 March 2014). "Israel Watches Warily as Hezbollah Gains Battle Skills in Syria". New York Times . Retrieved 30 May 2014 . ... the Lebanese group's image at home and in the broader Arab world has been severely damaged because it is fighting Sunni rebels in Syria while its legitimacy rested on its role in fighting Israel. ^ Pike, John. "Hizballah (Party of God)". ^ "Hezbollah (a.k.a. Hizbollah, Hizbu'llah)". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. ^ Morley, Jefferson (17 July 2006). "What Is Hezbollah?". The Washington Post. ^ "Who are Hezbollah?". 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The United States House of Representatives. 16 June 2011. Archived from the original on 20 June 2011. ^ George Galloway, Anna Botting. Getting a word in (TV) (News). Sky News. Event occurs at 3:59''4:04 . Retrieved 22 January 2011 . But they're not a terrorist organization. ^ Benjamin Weinthal (14 August 2013). "Switzerland nominates Hezbollah advocate for UN Human Rights Council". Jerusalem Post . Retrieved 14 August 2013 . Sources Blanford, Nicholas; Salim, Arab (23 June 2013). "Why Hezbollah has openly joined the Syrian fight". Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved 28 July 2020 . Avon, Dominique; Khatchadourian, Ana¯s-Trissa (2012). Hezbollah: A History of the "Party of God". Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-07031-8. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Daher, Aur(C)lie (2019). Hezbollah: Mobilization and Power. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-190-09263-4. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Dionigi, Filippo (2014). Hezbollah, Islamist Politics, and International Society. Springer. ISBN 978-1-137-40302-5. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Farida, Mariam (2019). Religion and Hezbollah: Political Ideology and Legitimacy. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-45857-2. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Norton, Augustus Richard (2014). Hezbollah: A Short History (2 ed.). Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-400-85144-7. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Saouli, Adham (2018). Hezbollah: Socialisation and its Tragic Ironies. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-1-474-41954-3. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Worrall, James; Mabon, Simon; Clubb, Gordon (2015). Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government: From Islamic Resistance to Government ,. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-440-83135-5. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Zirulnick, Ariel (21 December 2012). "In Hezbollah stronghold, Lebanese Christians find respect, stability". Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved 28 July 2020 . Further reading BooksJoseph Alagha (2006). The Shifts in Hizbullah's Ideology: Religious Ideology, Political Ideology. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 90-5356-910-3. Tom Diaz, Barbara Newman (2005). Lightning Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil. Presidio Press. ISBN 0-345-47568-2. [dead link ] Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh (2004). In The Path Of Hizbullah. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-3053-0. Judith Palmer Harik (2006). Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1-84511-024-2. Hala Jaber (1997). Hezbollah. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10834-6. Avi Jorisch (2004). Beacon of Hatred: Inside Hizballahs Al-Manar Television. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ISBN 0-944029-88-4. Augustus Richard Norton (2000). Hizballah of Lebanon: Extremist Ideals vs. Mundane Politics. Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 20 July 2006. Augustus Richard Norton (2007). Hezbollah: A Short History. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13124-5. Qassem, Naim (2005). Hizbullah: The Story from Within. Saqi Books. ISBN 978-0-86356-517-5. Magnus Ranstorp (1996). Hizb'Allah in Lebanon: The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-16491-2. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb (2001). Hizbullah: Politics and Religion. Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-1793-6. Jamal Sankari (2005). Fadlallah: The Making of a Radical Shi'ite Leader. Saqi Books. ISBN 0-86356-596-4. ArticlesNatalia Antelava (2 June 2006). "Inside Lebanese Hezbollah militia". British Broadcasting Corporation . Retrieved 24 July 2009 . External links UN resolutions regarding Hezbollah UN Press Release SC/8181 UN, 2 September 2004Lebanon: Close Security Council vote backs free elections, urges foreign troop pullout UN, 2 September 2004Other links Is Hezbollah Confronting a Crisis of Popular Legitimacy? Dr. Eric Lob, Crown Center for Middle East Studies, March 2014Hezbollah: Financing Terror through Criminal Enterprise, Testimony of Matthew Levitt, Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States SenateHizbullah's two republics by Mohammed Ben Jelloun, Al-Ahram, 15''21 February 2007Inside Hezbollah, short documentary and extensive information from Frontline/World on PBS.Hizbullah '' the 'Party of God' '' fact file at Ynetnews
Israel seen behind WhatsApp warning to Beirut residents about Hezbollah facility | The Times of Israel
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 11:55
Thousands of residents in Beirut's southern suburbs received WhatsApp messages overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, believed to have been sent by Israel, warning them that their homes are in close proximity to a Hezbollah weapons facility, Israel's Channel 10 news reported on Wednesday night.
The alleged site is not one of the three alleged Hezbollah weapons factories exposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his speech to the UN last week, the TV report said.
Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had said Tuesday that Israel has information on additional Iranian and Hezbollah military sites and would release it at the appropriate time. However, Israeli military officials refused to comment on the exposure of the latest site, Channel 10 said.
It said the site described in the WhatsApp messages is in the heart of a residential area, close to a school, to the St. George's Hospital and to the Spanish Embassy '-- which are in the Lebanese capital's Hadath area. It speculated that the site, like the other three alleged Hezbollah facilities detailed by Netanyahu in his address to the UN General Assembly last Thursday, is a Hezbollah missile factory.
A WhatsApp message sent to thousands of Beirut residents warning of their homes' proximity to a Hezbollah facility, as reported by Israel's Channel 10 news, October 3, 2018 (Channel 10 screenshot)
The WhatsApp message sent overnight was unsigned. ''Important message,'' it reportedly stated. ''Near your home, a site belonging to Hezbollah has been located for some time. You are advised to take precautionary measures.''
''Apparently Israel is working hard to keep this issue high on the Lebanese public agenda,'' the Israeli TV report said, ''perhaps in order to prompt Hezbollah to move those sites, which would produce further intelligence.''
The report said that the exposure of details regarding further sites was also now anticipated.
Liberman told journalists on Tuesday that Israel has ''a lot of information at hand, and we are still choosing the right time to reveal [intelligence on additional] facilities both in Iran as well as in Beirut.''
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York September 27, 2018, and holds up a placard detailing alleged Hezbollah missile sites in Beirut. (AFP/Timothy A. Clary)
In his UN speech, Netanyahu detailed an alleged ''secret atomic warehouse'' in Tehran and used placards to show the plenum what he said were three sites hidden near Beirut's international airport housing precision missiles for the Hezbollah terror group.
''In Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of ten meters,'' he said.
''Hezbollah is deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields. They have placed three of these missile conversion sites alongside Beirut's international airport,'' he said, and added, ''Israel knows what you are doing, Israel knows where you are doing it, and Israel will not let you get away with it,'' he said.
Netanyahu intended to reveal further intelligence material in the speech on Thursday, but the security establishment recommended that he not do so, Channel 10 news said Saturday night.
Lebanon has denied Netanyahu's claims about Hezbollah missile factories, and its foreign minister, Gibran Bassil, on Monday took dozens of foreign diplomats on a tour of the alleged areas, seeking to discredit the Israeli allegations.
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil talks to the media as he gathered ambassadors near Beirut international airport on October 1, 2018 during a tour of alleged missile sites around the Lebanese capital in a bid to disprove Israeli accusations that the Hezbollah movement has secret missile facilities there. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Later Monday, Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of ''brazenly lying'' to the international community over the secret weapons facilities in and around Beirut.
He said Bassil took 73 foreign envoys on a ''fraudulent propaganda tour'' of the alleged missile sites, where he failed to show them the underground facilities where Hezbollah is allegedly manufacturing precision-guided missiles.
''Hezbollah is brazenly lying to the international community by means of the fraudulent propaganda tour of the Lebanese foreign minister who took ambassadors to the soccer field [one of the alleged missile sites] but refrained from taking them to the nearby underground precision-missile production facility,'' Netanyahu said.
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil gathers 73 foreign envoys and journalists at Al-Ahed stadium in Beirut's southern suburbs on October 1, 2018 during a tour he organized of alleged missile sites around the Lebanese capital's international airport in a bid to disprove Israeli accusations that the Hezbollah movement has secret missile facilities there. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Bassil led the ambassadors around a pool complex and the sports stadium in a bid to disprove the Israeli accusations. ''Today Lebanon is raising [its] voice by addressing all countries of the world'... to refute Israel's allegations,'' Bassil said. Israel's Channel 10 news said Monday night that Lebanon feared Israel may attack the sites.
Netanyahu said the envoys ''should ask themselves why [Lebanese authorities] waited three days to give them a tour.''
One of the alleged sites he mentioned in his UN speech is located under a soccer field used by a Hezbollah-sponsored team; another is just north of the Rafik Hariri International Airport; and the third is underneath the Beirut port and less than 500 meters from the airport's tarmac.
Lebanese security forces guard the entrance of Al-Ahed stadium in Beirut's southern suburbs during a tour organized by the Lebanese foreign minister for ambassadors on October 1, 2018 of alleged missile sites around the Lebanese capital in a bid to disprove Israeli accusations that the Hezbollah movement has secret missile facilities there. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Hezbollah, Netanyahu said, took pains to clear out the exposed facilities so that foreign diplomats could tour the area.
''It's saddening that the Lebanese government is sacrificing the safety of its citizens while covering for Hezbollah, which has taken Lebanon hostage in its aggression toward Israel,'' said Netanyahu.
Earlier Monday, the Israeli military released a video noting that three days had passed since Netanyahu detailed the presence of the alleged facilities.
''In three days you can clear out a precision-missile factory, invite foreign ambassadors and hope that the world will fall for it.''
It urged the international community not to be duped by what it said were ''Hezbollah's lies.''
The Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, described the tour as ''very good.''
''On the diplomatic and political spheres, there are many statements,'' he told The Associated Press. ''What we saw today are facts. There is a club and stadium. I can't imagine a secret thing happening in these places. We saw that with our own eyes.''
Hezbollah, whose forces control south Lebanon bordering Israel and Beirut's southern suburbs where the airport is located, has not officially reacted to the accusation.
Bassil lashed out at Israel, which he said had ''violated our land, air and marine space 1,417 times in the last eight months.''
Israel was attempting ''to justify another violation of UN resolutions and to justify another aggression on a sovereign country,'' he said.
The Jewish state has fought several conflicts against Hezbollah, the last in 2006.
Bassil said his government would not allow rocket facilities near the airport and that Hezbollah is ''wiser'' than to place them there. He said Netanyahu's claims were based on ''inaccurate'' estimates without any ''compelling evidence.''
''Lebanon demands that Israel ceases its madness,'' he said.
An image from a placard displayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly showing Hezbollah precision missile sites hidden in Beirut. (GPO)
Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah recently boasted that his group now possesses ''highly accurate'' missiles despite Israeli attempts to prevent it from acquiring such weapons.
Bassil acknowledged Hezbollah's claims, but said ''this doesn't mean that those missiles are present in the vicinity of Beirut airport.''
Soon after Netanyahu's speech Thursday, the IDF released satellite images of the sites that it says are being used by Hezbollah to hide underground precision-missile production facilities.
The target of last month's Israeli airstrike, in which a Russian spy plane was inadvertently shot down by Syrian air defenses, was machinery used in the production of precision missiles en route to Hezbollah, The Times of Israel learned.
According to Netanyahu, these precision missiles are capable of striking with 10 meters (32 feet) of their given target.
Hezbollah is believed to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 rockets and missiles, though the vast majority are thought to lack precision technology.
A satellite image released by the Israel Defense Forces showing a site near Beirut's international airport that the army says is being used by Hezbollah to convert regular missiles into precision-guided munitions, on September 27, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
The army said the facilities are ''another example of Iranian entrenchment in the region and the negative influence of Iran.''
According to the Israel Defense Forces, Hezbollah began working on the surface-to-surface missile facilities last year.
Reports that Iran was constructing underground missile conversion factories in Lebanon first emerged in March 2017.
Since then, Israeli officials have repeatedly said that Israel would not tolerate such facilities.
In January, Netanyahu said Lebanon ''is becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel. These missiles pose a grave threat to Israel, and we cannot accept this threat.''
Hezbollah's Urban Missile Factories Put Civilians at Risk - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:19
Even if exposing missile sites does not convince the group to dismantle them, it would at least counter the narrative that 'resistance' is good for the Lebanese people and economy.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 27, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of building missile production sites in the Ouzai neighborhood of Beirut. The group reportedly intends these underground facilities'--located in the middle of an urban area near mosques, homes, schools, and the international airport'--to convert regular missiles into more accurate precision weapons. It is unclear whether they are already operational or not.
Israel has repeatedly made clear that it cannot allow Hezbollah to produce new missile variants or upgrade its existing stockpile domestically. Yet the group continues to pursue that very goal, placing Lebanese lives and property at tremendous risk in the process.
MISSILE ACCURACY PROJECT Within minutes of Netanyahu's speech, the Israeli military released video and photos of three Beirut sites reportedly established to improve the precision of Hezbollah's missiles'--a goal that the prime minister tied directly to Iran. His UN revelation is by no means the first time Israel has signaled that it is closely tracking such efforts.
When Netanyahu met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow this January, the two discussed the missile facilities Hezbollah was building in Lebanon. At the time, Netanyahu warned that the country was ''becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel.''
Then in May, while hosting a meeting of his foreign counterparts, Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin displayed a photo of an F-35 stealth fighter flying over Beirut in broad daylight. The implications of this show of force were twofold: that Israel could hit targets in Beirut at will, and that there were targets in the capital it felt may need hitting. Netanyahu made this threat explicit when he showed aerial photos of the Beirut missile sites at the UN, warning, ''Israel knows what you are doing. Israel knows where you are doing it. And Israel will not let you get away with it.''
Speaking at a counterterrorism conference in early September, former Mossad deputy chief Naftali Granot noted that Hezbollah had ''recently received small numbers of GPS precision-guided systems that will help it to convert some heavy rockets into accurate missiles.'' Later that month, Israeli airstrikes in Syria reportedly targeted specialized machinery for producing precision missiles, which at the time was en route to Hezbollah. Those strikes spurred Syrian air defense units to fire a flurry of ill-aimed missiles, mistakenly downing a Russian military plane and thereby raising the stakes of Israel's air operations against the group's strategic weapons.
USING HUMAN SHIELDSThe Beirut revelation is not the first time Hezbollah has been caught using Lebanese civilians as human shields for weapons or production facilities. In July 2017, for example, Israel released aerial photos of southern village locations where the group had built a rocket factory and arms warehouse. One of the structures was located about 110 meters from a pair of mosques. The IDF reported at the time that Hezbollah routinely places rocket launch sites and other firing positions in the middle of populated areas, along with ''a network of underground tunnels beneath civilian homes and structures to allow its fighters to move freely between posts.''
Likewise, the group often placed military infrastructure near civilians during the 2006 Lebanon war. In the southern Shia village of Qana, for instance, photographs from the conflict showed an arms warehouse directly across the street from a mosque. And about thirty squads of Hezbollah fighters operated in the village of Aita al-Shab, many based inside houses.
The group understands how dangerous this tactic is to their countrymen. In fact, it deliberately used sensitive civilian sites as military facilities during the 2006 war with the understanding that they would be attacked, apparently believing that this would increase the difficulty of Israeli operations in southern Lebanon. When detained Hezbollah soldier Muhammad Abd al-Hamid Srour was asked afterward if he knew that firing a missile at an Israeli tank from a civilian house would lead to the home's destruction, he replied that firing was still ''in the general Islamic interest,'' and ''that if the house was destroyed, it would simply be rebuilt after the war.'' His claim that all homes were supposed to be evacuated before the fighting began seems like dubious comfort to those affected, even if true.
This mindset helps explain why the group's efforts to establish arms production infrastructure inside Lebanon appear to have stepped up in the years since that destructive war. In July 2017, the French magazine Intelligence Online published information confirming that Hezbollah was building two new domestic weapons factories: one near the northern town of Hermel to produce longer-range Fateh-110 missiles, and another between the southern coastal towns of Sidon and Tyre to produce smaller munitions. Earlier that year, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida reported that Iran had established multiple facilities fifty meters below ground and protected them from Israeli bombardment with multiple layers of defenses, citing an unnamed deputy head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
NOT IN MY BACKYARD After the 2006 war, Hezbollah's constituency accepted the group's ''Divine Victory'' narrative, believing that the outcome would deter future Israeli attacks and reap financial compensation from Iran. Yet this also meant that they regarded the war as the final round in major hostilities with Israel.
Indeed, the relatively long period of quiet (2006-2018) along the border encouraged many Shia to start thinking about the future, in contrast to their past mindset of perpetual war footing. Recently, new businesses have proliferated in Shia strongholds such as the Beirut suburb of Dahiya and further south. Hotels, restaurants, and modern cafes have opened in every major town, with backing from Shia investors at home and abroad. This entrepreneurial mentality has persisted despite the ongoing war next door in Syria. Meanwhile, the national economy stands to benefit significantly from burgeoning energy exploration in the Mediterranean.
Hezbollah recognizes that the growing signs of another conflict with Israel could stunt such developments. Moreover, if war breaks out, the Lebanese people likely know that they would receive much less reconstruction funding from Gulf Arab states than they did after the previous war, due to both heightened Sunni-Shia tensions and donor fatigue. This seems like a sobering realization given the wide upscaling of Hezbollah's arsenal and forces, which would heighten the expected destruction of the next war and push the reconstruction process well past the seven years the group admitted were necessary to recover from the last one. In short, the Shia feel they have much more to lose today, so they have less tolerance for officials who talk of war with Israel.
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONSIn light of this attitude change, publicly exposing Hezbollah's missile factories may be the most effective way of exploiting rifts within the group's base and, perhaps, making it think twice about building weapons inside Lebanon. When Netanyahu revealed the exact locations of the Beirut sites, the people living near them'--mostly Shia civilians who support Hezbollah'--had ample cause to worry that Israel may bomb the facilities at some point, potentially damaging their homes and killing their loved ones in the process.
The alternatives to such exposure are hardly encouraging. The Lebanese government is unlikely to do anything about Hezbollah's domestic weapons production. On the contrary, Beirut has repeatedly proved willing to cover it up, and the May elections only increased Hezbollah and Iran's influence over the country's security and military decisions. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is also unlikely to act given its observer mission.
Yet the people living above and around Hezbollah's missile facilities might take action. After the 2006 war, some residents in the south demanded that the group remove its missiles from their lands. Many southerners'--along with Shia living in Beirut suburbs and the Beqa Valley'--will likely make similar demands if they come to believe Hezbollah is risking their lives amid looming war. Even if the group ultimately rejects these demands, it will at least be forced to manage a more complicated relationship with its core constituency. Therefore, more of these sites should be exposed, particularly those located in densely populated areas.
In addition, Iran's support of Hezbollah missile development directly violates UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war and mandated ''no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its Government.'' Hezbollah would have trouble exploiting that exception given that Washington, Europe, and key Arab states regard it as wholly or partly a terrorist organization.
The Security Council and wider international community should therefore consider strengthening and enforcing Resolution 1701, whether through the Lebanese government or in line with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. A good first step is to mandate international oversight of Beirut's airport, which could include monitoring flights and inspecting cargo to ensure no weapons or related parts are flown in to Hezbollah.
Ultimately, if the intelligence on the Beirut sites is accurate, then Israel may in fact feel compelled to attack them, much as it has done in Syria. Even if exposing such locations to the public does not convince Hezbollah to dismantle them, it would at least counter the group's narrative that ''resistance'' is the best way of defending Lebanon and helping the Shia community prosper.
Hanin Ghaddar, a veteran Lebanese journalist and researcher, is the Friedmann Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute. Matthew Levitt is the Institute's Fromer-Wexler Fellow and director of its Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
Beirut Blast Blamed on Explosive Cargo Seized from Russian Ship
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 21:54
Lebanese officials said on Wednesday the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday occurred when a large cargo of ammonium nitrate seized from a ship in 2013 and left in a warehouse in the Port of Beirut for six years caught fire and exploded.
International media organizations checked maritime records and concluded the ship in question was a Russian vessel bound for Mozambique impounded for technical issues when it stopped at Beirut almost seven years ago.
With over 100 dead and thousands injured, this least sinister of theories for the calamity could still be enough to bring down the unstable Lebanese government.
According to Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, the 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate was taken from a cargo ship and kept in storage ever since.
Radio Free Europe (RFE) deduced this must be a reference to the MV Rhosus, a ship owned by Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin impounded by Lebanese officials in 2013 because the ship was suffering technical problems when it entered the Port of Beirut. It was reportedly sailing under a Moldovan flag with a mostly Ukrainian crew at the time.
Other sources report the ship sailed from Georgia (in eastern Europe) and was bound for Mozambique when it docked in Beirut.
The onetime captain of the Rhosus, Boris Prokoshev, confirmed to RFE that his former ship was the likely source of the confiscated fertilizer cargo.
Prokoshev said he and the crew ended up stranded in Lebanon because Grechuskhkin stopped paying their salaries or fees for operating the ship, which evidently prompted Lebanese officials to seize the cargo. The former captain strongly criticized the Lebanese government for failing to take proper safety measures for the dangerous fertilizer and for leaving it to rot in storage long after Grechushkin lost interest in his seized cargo.
As for the fire that detonated the six-year-old stash of ammonium nitrate, Lebanese media reported on Wednesday that welders working to repair a breach in the walls of the warehouse might have inadvertently sparked the blaze. The precise cause of the smaller detonations visible in the burning port district before the apocalyptic blast that horrified the world is still under investigation.
An injured man is carried on a piece of wood after a large explosion on August 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Video shared on social media showed a structure fire near the port of Beirut followed by a second massive explosion, which damaged surrounding buildings and injured hundreds. (Daniel Carde/Getty Images)
The Crimean Maritime Bulletin on Wednesday confirmed the details about MV Rhosus and its cargo, elaborating that Lebanese officials impounded the ship because it failed safety inspections and prevented the crew from returning home because they were afraid they would be ''left with an abandoned vessel on their hands, loaded with dangerous cargo,'' a fear that evidently came true.
The Maritime Bulletin's sources expressed some confusion as to why the Lebanese government did not seize the vessel and man it with a temporary crew. The ultimate fate of the ship was uncertain as of Wednesday morning, as some eyewitnesses claim to have seen a burning ship in the Beirut harbor on Tuesday that might have been the Rhosus, but former captain Prokoshev said it eventually sailed out of Beirut and sank years ago due to poor maintenance.
Reuters quoted sources at the Port of Beirut on Wednesday who blamed sheer ''negligence'' for leaving the ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse for six years, despite prescient warnings it could ''blow up all of Beirut'' if it should ever catch on fire. In the event, the explosion on Tuesday was not only powerful enough to severely damage the Port of Beirut and the entire city, it actually changed the coastline .
The general manager of the port and Lebanon's customs director both said the cargo was kept at the warehouse under a court order despite requests for it to be ''re-exported'' and a general understanding that the substance was dangerous.
''We requested that it be re-exported but that did not happen. We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why,'' customs director Badri Daher told local media, pointing the first of what is certain to be many fingers as Lebanon's unsteady government attempts to distribute blame for the incident.
Reuters discovered four documented requests for re-export of the material on the grounds that its presence endangered the safety of the port, one filed each year between 2015 and 2017.
The Siberian Times on Wednesday published photos from 2014 showing crew aboard the Rhosus using signs to plead with Lebanese authorities to let them go home. The article said Igor Grechushkin declared bankruptcy soon after the Rhosus was seized and currently lives in Cyprus with his wife, while their son attends a university in Scotland. Grechushkin has thus far declined requests to be interviewed about the Beirut explosion.
BREAKING: Israel Bombed Beirut - Tikun Olam ת×קון ×ו×'×'
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 03:47
Massive mushroom cloud from Hezbollah warehouse bombing and its aftermath
ח×(C)×פ×--: ××(C)רא×' ×--×א ×(C)פו×...×...×-- מא×'ר תחמו×(C)ת ×(C)×' ח×זבא×'×'×-- ×‘× ×ž×' ב××רות, אך ×'א ××'××-- מרא×(C) ×(C)מח×ן ×מוך מכ××' כמות א×'×ר×-- ×(C)×' ××ž×•× ×ו×' ×—× ×§×ª×. ×--ממ×(C)×'×--, ×--מומ×-- מממ×'× ×--ק××' ו×--×--ר×, מ××--ר×-- ×'×--כח××(C) מ×ורבות ××(C)רא×'×ת '' ×ו×' ×'×¤× × ×(C)מ××(C)×--ו ב×'×‘× ×•×Ÿ ×--א×(C)××' את ××(C)רא×'
A confidential highly-informed Israeli source has told me that Israel caused the massive explosion at the Beirut port earlier today which killed over 100 and injured thousands. The bombing also virtually leveled the port itself and caused massive damage throughout the city.
Israel targeted a Hezbollah weapons depot at the port and planned to destroy it with an explosive device. Tragically, Israeli intelligence did not perform due diligence on its target. Thus they did not know (or if they did know, they didn't care) that there were 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a next-door warehouse. The explosion at the arms depot ignited the fertilizer, causing the catastrophe that resulted.
It is, of course, unconscionable that Israeli agents did not determine everything about their target including what was in its immediate vicinity. The tragedy Israel has wreaked is a war crime of immense magnitude.
The ICC has already been investigating Israel for war crimes in Gaza since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. Now, I imagine it will expand the scope to incorporate today's criminally negligent massacre.
Though Israel has regularly attacked Hezbollah and Iranian weapons depots and convoys in Syria, it rarely undertakes such brazen attacks inside Lebanon. This attack in the country's capital marks an even greater escalation. The sheer recklessness of this operation is astonishing.
Not surprising, though. A plan of this sort can only be contemplated amidst internal political dysfunction. Bibi is on the ropes and desperate to change the subject. When his intelligence officers brought the plan to him he likely rubbed his hands with glee and said: ''Go to it!'' Israeli intelligence was naturally out to please the boss and probably cut corners in order to make the attack happen. When no one is at the wheel saying ''Stop!'' the boat hits an iceberg and sinks. That's possibly what happened here.
The Israeli bombing brings to mind similar bombings orchestrated by its agents in Beirut in the period before and after its 1982 invasion. Ronen Bergman's book on Mossad assassinations and Remy Brulin have documented multiple Israeli bombings during this period which wreaked widespread death and destruction on the city's civilian population.
In this case, the damage done was accidental. But that will be little comfort to the thousands of Beirutis whose lives have become a living hell as a result of this Israeli crime.
As an aside, former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin tweeted a quotation from the Bible about the disaster: ''There never have been such great days in Israel as the 15th of Av [the day of the bombing] and Yom Kippur.''
Of course, it pains me to admit that Pres. Trump was correct in his earlier statement that the explosion was a ''terrible attack,'' and that the information was conveyed to him by ''his generals.'' In this case, he and they were right:
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday defended President Trump's description of a massive explosion a day earlier in the capital of Lebanon as an ''attack'''...
Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he was briefed by generals who felt the explosion at a major port in Beirut was an ''attack'' and ''a bomb of some kind.
''I can tell you the initial report was exactly what the president shared with all of you. I happen to know that he was briefed on that. The initial reports looked at an explosion,'' he added. ''We still have not totally ruled that out.''
''Without sharing anything classified, I've been able to see a lot of what has taken place there. We'll continue to evaluate that,'' Meadows continued. ''Obviously, there's no group that has claimed any responsibility but what the president shared with the American people is what he was briefed on.''
This would be highly classified information, which would mean that Trump once again exposed U.S. intelligence secrets and methods, which no president should do. It is reminiscent of previous episodes in which he shared such highly sensitive information with Russian officials. And it's the reason why U.S. intelligence officials do everything in their power to keep such information from him.
There could (and should) be Israeli domestic political repercussions for this disaster. As Netanyahu approved the attack, he is responsible for the consequences. In 1982, a commission of inquiry found Ariel Sharon culpable for the invasion of Lebanon and the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla. He was sent into political exile for a decade. At the very least, this should disqualify Bibi from leading the country. This would be the outcome in any democratic nation in which the leader was held accountable for his failures.
But alas, Israel is not such a nation, and Bibi always seems to weasel out of responsibility for his blunders. The difference here is that the Israeli leader is already under pressure due to his government's disastrous response to Covid19 and the looming corruption trial on three counts of bribery. This could be the tipping point.
Normally, Israelis would not bat an eye at such a massacre. They have become inured to the suffering they inflict on their Arab neighbors. But given Netanyahu's collapsing popularity, this could hasten his end.
Israel couldn't have picked a worse time to inflict such suffering on Lebanon. The country is in deep economic crisis. Businesses are going bankrupt, people have nothing to eat, politicians quarrel and blame while doing nothing. Lebanon is a basket case. Suffering is everywhere. There is little appetite from its Arab brethren like Saudi Arabia to come to its aid. If any country did not need this added tragedy it is Lebanon.
But there you go''Israel doesn't seem to have any sense of shame or restraint when it comes to inflicting pain on its neighbors. And it has done so endlessly in Lebanon: from the bombings in the lead-up to the 1982 invasion, the 20 year occupation of Southern Lebanon, and two wars in this century. All of this inflicted massive, ongoing damage on the country. These interventions exacerbated existing ethnic and religious divisions in the country (indeed that is Israel's modus operandi regarding its Arab neighbors), and amplified the suffering further.
Of course, there will be doubters. Those who disbelieve my source. But to them, I point out two pieces of circumstantial evidence which are telling. Normally, if Israel has undertaken a successful terror attack (such as those against Iran) it will either refuse to comment or a senior military or political figure will say something like: While we refuse to comment, whoever did it did the world a favor.
In this case, Israel immediately denied responsibility. Even Hezbollah supposedly said Israel hadn't caused the damage (likely protecting itself from the inevitable blame that will fall upon it for storing its weapons next to a building filled with explosive material).
The second tell-tale sign is that Israel never offers humanitarian aid to its Arab neighbors. During the Syrian Civil War, the only group to whom Israel offered humanitarian assistance was its Islamist anti-Assad allies. Israel has never offered such aid to Lebanon, until today. Instead, it has rained down death and destruction for decades. For it to do so now is the height of chutzpah.
Vaccines and Such
Why is Bill Gates allowed to comment on covid-19 bit medical doctors aren't?
Goedkoop medicijn giftig verklaard | Columns |
Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:18
Dr. Harvey Risch is professor epidemiologie aan de Yale School of Public Health and Medicine, een van de topuniversiteiten in de wereld. Hij heeft meegewerkt aan meer dan 325 wetenschappelijke artikelen, heeft onderzoek gedaan naar allerlei vormen van kanker, waaronder baarmoederhalskanker. Vergeleken met hem is huisarts Rob Elens uit de Dorpsstraat te Meijel, Limburg, een beetje een wetenschappelijke kleuter '' of niet?
HIV/AIDS | Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:54
Since her first day in Congress, combating HIV and AIDS has been a priority for Congresswoman Pelosi, stating in her first speech in Congress on June 9, 1987, that ''' we must take leadership of course in the crisis of AIDS. And I look forward to working with you on that.''
Armed with the lessons of San Francisco's model of community-based care, Congresswoman Pelosi worked to accelerate development of an HIV vaccine, expand access to Medicaid for people living with HIV, and increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative and other research, care, treatment, prevention and search for a cure initiatives vital to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
In 1989, Pelosi, along with Rep. Jim McDermott and then-Rep. Charles Schumer introduced the AIDS Opportunity Housing Act, which led to the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA)initiative '' an essential lifeline for people living with HIV and AIDS.
Pelosi participated in some of the earliest meetings for the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, sowing her own patch for the flower girl in her wedding who died of AIDS, and helping to secure the needed permits from the National Park Service so that the AIDS memorial quilt could be displayed on the National Mall.
In 1996, Pelosi successfully spearheaded the passage of legislation designating San Francisco's AIDS Memorial Grove, located in Golden Gate Park, as a national memorial. Pelosi has celebrated a number of anniversaries representing San Francisco volunteering at the Grove, which itself celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011.
To address the international pandemic, as Ranking Democrat on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Pelosi led the efforts to boost U.S. funding for our bilateral AIDS initiatives that were in desperate need of international attention and vastly under-funded.
In 2000, she led the effort in the House Appropriations Committee to provide the first U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and worked to pass amendments on the House floor increasing U.S. bilateral AIDS funding and debt forgiveness for the world's poorest countries in the Jubilee Year of 2000.
During her time as Speaker of the House, and working with Presidents Bush and Obama, U.S. funding for global health initiatives doubled from less than $4 billion a year in fiscal year 2006 to over $8 billion in fiscal year 2010. That funding level includes more than doubling bilateral funding for global AIDS and doubling the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund.
In 2008, the House of Representatives led by Speaker Pelosi boosted our global AIDS initiatives by passing the Lantos-Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Act against HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria that authorized $48 billion over five years from FY09-FY14. This huge increase was $35 billion more than the previous five years and $20 billion more than President Bush requested.
Also, during the four years she served as Speaker of House, domestic discretionary funding for HIV/AIDS was increased by over half a billion dollars from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2010. In that time, we lifted the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange and the travel ban for people with HIV/AIDS '' fights Pelosi had been waging since her first years in Congress.
Pelosi spearheaded the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has provided significant benefits for those with HIV/AIDS by dramatically increasing access to Medicaid for people with HIV, improving Medicare Part D for people participating in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and ending annual and lifetime caps on health benefits.
These initiatives have saved the lives of millions and provided testing, counseling and better care to some of the most vulnerable men, women, and children around the world.
More on HIV/AIDS Dec 2, 2019 Press Release Contact: Speaker's Press Office,202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. '' Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement to mark World AIDS Day 2019:
Jun 5, 2019 Press Release Contact: Speaker's Press Office,202-226-7616
Nov 30, 2018 Press Release Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Dec 1, 2017 Press Release Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Jun 6, 2016 Press Release Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616
Dec 1, 2015 Press Release Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. '' Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released the following statement in commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1:
Dec 1, 2015 Press Release Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. '' Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today in observance of World AIDS Day. Below are the Leader's remarks:
''Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the recognition.
Nov 21, 2015 Press Release Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616
San Francisco '' Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital dedication. Below are the Leader's remarks:
''Thank you, Belva, for your kind words, for your great leadership. This is a very happy day, a great day of celebration for our city. It's impossible to imagine any such occasion without the involvement and wonderful contribution of Belva Davis to make it a very special occasion indeed.
Aug 18, 2015 Press Release Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616
San Francisco '' Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today marking the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Ryan White CARE Act:
Dec 2, 2013 Press Release Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. '' Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today in honor of the Twenty-Fifth World AIDS Day, which was on Sunday, December 1. Below are the Leader's remarks:
Johnson & Johnson strikes $1bn Covid-19 vaccine deal with US
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:07
Coronavirus treatmentModerna to sell some doses of its own coronavirus jab candidate for between $32 and $37The US government has secured 100m doses of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine (C) Virginia Mayo/APAugust 5, 2020 2:29 pm byDonato Paolo Mancini in Rome and David Crow in New York The US government has reached a deal with Johnson & Johnson worth more than $1bn to secure 100m doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, as countries around the world scramble to lock up supplies for mass immunisation programmes.
The deal was announced as Moderna, a biotech company developing a rival vaccine, said it had agreed to sell some doses of its inoculation for between $32 and $37, considerably more than competing drugmakers.
The Financial Times reported last week that Moderna, which is lossmaking and has received nearly $1bn from the US to develop its inoculation, had been pitching its coronavirus vaccine to potential buyers in a range of about $50 to $60 per course, which includes two doses.
Moderna on Wednesday said larger volume deals currently under discussion would result in a lower price per dose.
That price carries a significant premium compared with competitors. Recent deals indicate a price of $19.50 a dose for Pfizer and BioNTech's candidate, and a range of about $3 to $4 per dose for the vaccine currently being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. J&J's supply deal with the US would indicate a price of about $10 a dose.
J&J and AstraZeneca have both said they would not price their vaccine candidates for profit, at least in the first phases of the pandemic. Moderna and Pfizer have said they will seek to make a return.
Other such deals include a $2.1bn agreement struck by the US government with France's Sanofi and UK-based GlaxoSmithKline for supplying 100m doses. The EU has also struck a deal for 300m doses for that jab, although financial details were not disclosed.
Observers have repeatedly warned that for any coronavirus vaccine to be effective, prices would have to be affordable. Efforts backed by the World Health Organization to remove intellectual property and lower prices have so far garnered limited support from national governments and none from pharmaceutical companies.
''During the pandemic period, we have priced well below value with preapproval supply agreements mostly to governments.'' St(C)phane Bancel, Moderna's chief executive, told analysts on Wednesday.
''In the pandemic period, pricing considerations will follow traditional dynamics and market forces, including vaccine efficacy and the competitive landscape,'' Mr Bancel added. ''We will look to price in line with other innovative commercial vaccines.''
RecommendedA needle-prick is a small price to pay to suppress Covid-19Moderna said it had held discussions with several countries about selling them doses of the vaccine if it is successful, and that it had received roughly $400m in deposits for potential supply.
The company, which reported financial results on Wednesday, said it recognised ''the need for responsible pricing in the face of the pandemic''.
Second-quarter revenues for the company, which does not yet have any products on the market, came in at $66.4m, compared with $13m in the same period of last year. Analysts were expecting revenues of $27.5m, according to FactSet.
The company's loss narrowed to $117m, from $135m in the second quarter of 2019. Shares in Moderna fell more than 5 per cent in early trading in New York.
CopyrightThe Financial Times Limited . All rights reserved. Please don't copy articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.
Moderna gets further $472 million award for coronavirus vaccine - The Jerusalem post
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:11
Moderna Inc said on Sunday it has received an additional $472 million from the U.S. government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support development of its novel coronavirus vaccine.
The drug maker said the additional funding will support its late-stage clinical development including the expanded Phase 3 study of Moderna's vaccine candidate.
HHS podcast raises fresh doubts about 'Operation Warp Speed'
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:33
It's been nearly three months since Donald Trump tapped Moncef Slaoui, a former chairman of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, to oversee an initiative the White House is calling Operation Warp Speed. The point of the endeavor, of course, is to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine.
The president's choice was not without controversy: Slaoui clearly has a relevant background in the field, but he's also heavily invested in the pharmaceutical giant where he worked for decades. The administration labeled him a voluntary contractor, exempting him from disclosure rules that would ordinarily apply to executive-branch officials.
Last week, Slaoui participated in the official podcast of the Department of Health and Human Services, speaking with Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary of public affairs, about Operation Warp Speed. As BuzzFeed noted, those expecting a narrow discussion about vaccine research instead heard the two complain bitterly about news coverage.
The chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's program investing billions of dollars into discovering a coronavirus vaccine, says media scrutiny of his stock ownership may delay a vaccine or make its discovery less likely because it is distracting him from his work.... After introductions, the podcast interview pivoted to the media's treatment of Slaoui. Caputo said that by joining Operation Warp Speed, Slaoui put a target on his back. Slaoui agreed and said he was naive. He said the media attention has distracted him and hurt the development of a vaccine.
Slaoui, who really hasn't generated that much media coverage, said he's "being attacked" in such a way that "decreases our chances or the speed with which we try to help humanity and the country resolve and address this issue." He added that he believes news organizations' only goal is "to distort information in a way that allows them to shape an opinion."
Caputo -- a notorious Republican political operative and a Roger Stone prot(C)g(C), who had no meaningful background in health care before taking a leadership role at HHS -- said during the interview, "The American people need to understand that the media often times are lying to them because they don't want a vaccine, in order to defeat Donald Trump." He added, "I'm convinced that the reporters don't want a vaccine, sir. They don't."
Caputo went on to share a theory in which news organizations are trying to force Slaoui to resign in order to derail the vaccine initiative.
Remember, this was an official government podcast, featuring two key officials, not a private chat between a couple of largely unknown conservatives.
Shouldn't the administration want to bolster public confidence in Operation Warp Speed? Antics like these appear likely to do the opposite.
Models and Data
COVID Genders?
All I've seen are reports of COVID-19 cases in men and women.
I guess all the other genders are immune?
Dr. Birx warns U.S. in new phase of coronavirus pandemic with 'extraordinarily widespread' cases
Sun, 02 Aug 2020 22:41
Published Sun, Aug 2 2020 12:20 PM EDT
Updated Sun, Aug 2 2020 12:32 PM EDT
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Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said on Sunday that the U.S. is "in a new phase" of battling against the coronavirus pandemic and urged Americans to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. "What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread," Birx said during an interview on CNN.Birx said the U.S. virus death toll will depend on how southern and western states with the worst outbreaks respond to the virus over the coming weeks.Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Joshua Roberts | Getty Images
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said on Sunday that the U.S. is "in a new phase" of battling against the coronavirus pandemic and urged Americans to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
"What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread ... it's more widespread and it's both rural and urban," Birx said during an interview on CNN.
"To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus," Birx said. "And that is why we keep saying, no matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance, do the personal hygiene pieces."
The U.S. has more than 4.6 million coronavirus cases and at least 154,449 deaths, the most of any country, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
Asked about former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb's warning that the country could experience 300,000 deaths by the end of 2020, Birx responded, "Anything is possible" but declined to provide details on current projections.
Birx said the U.S. virus death toll will depend on how southern and western states with the worst outbreaks respond to the virus over the coming weeks.
The virus is rapidly spreading across much of the Midwest, as well in states like Florida and California that have experienced a significant surge in infections. The Northeast, once the epicenter of the virus, has seen a decline in cases since hitting a peak in April.
"It's not super spreading individuals, it's super spreading events and we need to stop those," Birx said. "We definitely need to take more precautions."
Asked if schools should stay closed and have remote learning in areas where there is a 5% positivity rate, Birx deferred to the CDC's guidelines on school reopenings.
"If you have high case load and active community spread, just like we are asking people not to go to bars, not to have household parties, not to create large spreading events, we are asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control," Birx said.
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'The Biggest Monster' Is Spreading. And It's Not the Coronavirus. - The New York Times
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:50
It begins with a mild fever and malaise, followed by a painful cough and shortness of breath. The infection prospers in crowds, spreading to people in close reach. Containing an outbreak requires contact tracing, as well as isolation and treatment of the sick for weeks or months.
This insidious disease has touched every part of the globe. It is tuberculosis, the biggest infectious-disease killer worldwide, claiming 1.5 million lives each year.
Until this year, TB and its deadly allies, H.I.V. and malaria, were on the run. The toll from each disease over the previous decade was at its nadir in 2018, the last year for which data are available.
Yet now, as the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, consuming global health resources, these perennially neglected adversaries are making a comeback.
''Covid-19 risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago,'' said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the director of the World Health Organization's global malaria program.
It's not just that the coronavirus has diverted scientific attention from TB, H.I.V. and malaria. The lockdowns, particularly across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, have raised insurmountable barriers to patients who must travel to obtain diagnoses or drugs, according to interviews with more than two dozen public health officials, doctors and patients worldwide.
Fear of the coronavirus and the shuttering of clinics have kept away many patients struggling with H.I.V., TB and malaria, while restrictions on air and sea travel have severely limited delivery of medications to the hardest-hit regions.
About 80 percent of tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria programs worldwide have reported disruptions in services, and one in four people living with H.I.V. have reported problems with gaining access to medications, according to U.N. AIDS. Interruptions or delays in treatment may lead to drug resistance, already a formidable problem in many countries.
Image Benin was the first country in West Africa to distribute mosquito nets to prevent malaria despite the pandemic. Credit... Yanick Folly/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images In India, home to about 27 percent of the world's TB cases, diagnoses have dropped by nearly 75 percent since the pandemic began. In Russia, H.I.V. clinics have been repurposed for coronavirus testing.
Malaria season has begun in West Africa, which has 90 percent of malaria deaths in the world, but the normal strategies for prevention '-- distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and spraying with pesticides '-- have been curtailed because of lockdowns.
According to one estimate, a three-month lockdown across different parts of the world and a gradual return to normal over 10 months could result in an additional 6.3 million cases of tuberculosis and 1.4 million deaths from it.
A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy may lead to more than 500,000 additional deaths from illnesses related to H.I.V., according to the W.H.O. Another model by the W.H.O. predicted that in the worst-case scenario, deaths from malaria could double to 770,000 per year.
Several public health experts, some close to tears, warned that if the current trends continue, the coronavirus is likely to set back years, perhaps decades, of painstaking progress against TB, H.I.V. and malaria.
The Global Fund, a public-private partnership to fight these diseases, estimates that mitigating this damage will require at least $28.5 billion, a sum that is unlikely to materialize.
Delays in diagnosis Image With most private clinics closed, patients with H.I.V., TB and malaria have few places to go for the kind of medical care offered at this Doctors Without Borders clinic in Nairobi. Credit... Brian Inganga/Associated Press If history is any guide, the coronavirus's impact on the poor will be felt long after the pandemic is over. The socioeconomic crisis in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, for example, led to the highest rates in the world of a kind of TB that was resistant to multiple drugs, a dubious distinction the region holds even today.
The starting point in this ruinous chain of events is a failure to diagnose: The longer a person goes undiagnosed, and the later treatment begins, the more likely an infectious disease is to spread, sicken and kill.
For malaria, a short delay in diagnosis can swiftly turn fatal, sometimes within just 36 hours of a spiking fever. ''It's one of those diseases where we cannot afford to wait,'' Dr. Alonso said.
Apprehensive about malaria's rise in West Africa, the W.H.O. is now considering giving entire populations antimalarial drugs '-- a strategy of last resort used during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the Boko Haram insurgency.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, fewer women are coming to clinics for H.I.V. diagnosis. A six-month disruption in access to drugs that prevent H.I.V.-positive pregnant women from passing the infection to their babies in utero could increase H.I.V. infections in children by as much as 139 percent in Uganda and 162 percent in Malawi, according to U.N. AIDS.
Diminishing diagnostic capacity may have the greatest effect on TB, leading to dire consequences for households because, like the coronavirus, the bacterium spreads most efficiently in indoor air and among people in close contact.
Each person with TB can spread the disease to another 15 individuals over a year, sharply raising the possibility of people infected while indoors spreading it among their communities once lockdowns end. The prospect is especially worrisome in densely populated places with high rates of TB, such as the favelas of Rio de Janeiro or the townships of South Africa.
''The more you leave undiagnosed and untreated, the more you will have next year and the year after,'' said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, who heads the Stop TB Partnership, an international consortium of 1,700 groups fighting the disease.
The infrastructure built to diagnose H.I.V. and TB has been a boon for many countries grappling with the coronavirus. GeneXpert, the tool used to detect genetic material from the TB bacteria and from H.I.V., can also amplify RNA from the coronavirus for diagnosis.
But now most clinics are using the machines only to look for the coronavirus. Prioritizing the coronavirus over TB is ''very stupid from a public health perspective,'' Dr. Ditiu said. ''You should actually be smart and do both.''
In country after country, the pandemic has resulted in sharp drops in diagnoses of TB: a 70 percent decline in Indonesia, 50 percent in Mozambique and South Africa, and 20 percent in China, according to the W.H.O.
Image Dr. Giorgio Franyuti said many patients with TB at a makeshift hospital in Mexico City were being misdiagnosed with Covid-19. Credit... Meghan Dhaliwal for The New York Times In late May in Mexico, as coronavirus infections climbed, TB diagnoses recorded by the government fell to 263 cases from 1,097 the same week last year.
Dr. Giorgio Franyuti, the executive director of Medical Impact, an advocacy group based in Mexico, normally works in the country's remote jungles, diagnosing and treating TB in the Lacandon people. Unable to travel there during the pandemic, he has worked at a makeshift army hospital treating Covid-19 patients in Mexico City.
There, he has seen nine patients with a sputum-filled cough '-- characteristic of TB '-- that began months earlier but who were presumed to have Covid-19. The patients later contracted the coronavirus in the hospital and became seriously ill. At least four have died.
''Nobody is testing for TB at any facility,'' he said. ''The mind of clinicians in Mexico, as well as decision makers, is stuck with Covid-19.''
''TB is the biggest monster of them all. If we're talking about deaths and pandemics, 10 million cases a year,'' he said, Covid doesn't compare yet to that toll.
India went into lockdown on March 24, and the government directed public hospitals to focus on Covid-19. Many hospitals shuttered outpatient services for other diseases.
The impact on TB diagnoses was immediate: The number of new cases recorded by the Indian government between March 25 and June 19 was 60,486, compared with 179,792 during the same period in 2019.
The pandemic is also shrinking the supply of diagnostic tests for these killers as companies turn to making more expensive tests to detect the coronavirus. Cepheid, the California-based manufacturer of TB diagnostic tests, has pivoted to making tests for the coronavirus. Companies that make diagnostic tests for malaria are doing the same, according to Dr. Catharina Boehme, the chief executive of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.
Coronavirus tests are much more lucrative, at about $10, compared with 18 cents for a rapid malaria test.
These companies ''have tremendous demand for Covid right now,'' said Dr. Madhukar Pai, the director of the McGill International TB Centre in Montreal. ''I can't imagine diseases of poverty getting any attention in this space.''
Treatment interruptions Image Thomas Wuoto had to borrow H.I.V. medications from his wife and went without any for 10 days during the lockdown in Nairobi, putting him at risk of developing drug resistance. Credit... Khadija Farah for The New York Times The pandemic has hindered the availability of drugs for H.I.V., TB and malaria worldwide by interrupting supply chains, diverting manufacturing capacity and imposing physical barriers for patients who must travel to distant clinics to pick up the medications.
And these shortages are forcing some patients to ration their medications, endangering their health. In Indonesia, the official policy is to provide a month's supply of drugs at a time to H.I.V. patients, but antiretroviral therapy has lately been hard to come by outside of Jakarta.
Even in the city, some people are stretching a month's supply to two, said ''Davi'' Sepi Maulana Ardiansyah, an activist with the group Inti Muda.
Mr. Ardiansyah has done so himself, although he knows it has jeopardized his well-being. ''This pandemic and this unavailability of the medicines is really impacting our mental health and also our health,'' he said.
During the lockdown in Nairobi, Thomas Wuoto, who has H.I.V., borrowed antiretroviral pills from his wife, who also is infected. As a volunteer educator for H.I.V., Mr. Wuoto knew only too well that he was risking drug resistance by mixing or skipping medications. When he finally made it to the Mbagathi County Hospital, he had gone 10 days without his H.I.V. medicines, the first time since 2002 that he had missed his therapy.
People with H.I.V. and TB who skip medication are likely to get sicker in the short term. In the long term, there's an even more worrisome consequence: a rise in drug-resistant forms of these diseases. Already drug-resistant TB is such a threat that patients are closely monitored during treatment '-- a practice that has mostly been suspended during the pandemic.
According to the W.H.O., at least 121 countries have reported a drop in TB patients visiting clinics since the pandemic began, threatening hard-fought gains.
The Coronavirus Outbreak 'ºFrequently Asked QuestionsUpdated August 4, 2020
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that's perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it's highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.I'm a small-business owner. Can I get relief?The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don't know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees -- without giving you the sick employee's name -- that they may have been exposed to the virus.Should I refinance my mortgage?It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you're thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.What is school going to look like in September?It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California's two largest public school districts '-- Los Angeles and San Diego '-- said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won't be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation's largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There's no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.''This is really difficult to digest,'' Dr. Ditiu said. ''It took a lot of work to arrive where we are. We were not at the peak of the mountain, but we were away from the base. But then an avalanche came and pushed us back to the bottom.''
The lockdowns in many places were imposed so swiftly that drug stocks were rapidly depleted. Mexico already had expired drugs in its supply, but that problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic, according to Dr. Franyuti.
In Brazil, H.I.V. and TB drugs are purchased and distributed by the ministry of health. But the coronavirus is racing through the country, and distribution of these treatments has become increasingly difficult as health care workers try to cope with the pandemic's toll.
''It's a big logistical challenge to have municipalities have higher stock so they can supply,'' said Dr. Betina Durovni, a senior scientist at the Fiocruz Foundation, a research institute in Brazil.
Image Some coronavirus patients in Tabatinga, Brazil, are airlifted to Manaus, about 1,000 miles away, for treatment, but many more are missed. Credit... Bruno Kelly/Reuters Even if governments are prepared, with some help from big aid agencies, to buy drugs months in advance, the global supply may soon run out.
The pandemic has severely restricted international transport, hindering the availability not just of chemical ingredients and raw materials, but also of packaging supplies.
''The disruption of supply chains is really something that worries me '-- for H.I.V., for TB, for malaria,'' said Dr. Carlos del Rio, chair of the scientific advisory board of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
The hype over chloroquine as a potential treatment for the coronavirus has led to hoarding of the drug in some countries like Myanmar, depleting its global stocks.
More than 80 percent of the global supply of antiretroviral drugs comes from just eight Indian companies. The cost of these alone could rise by $225 million per year because of shortfalls in supplies and work force, transport disruptions and currency fluctuations, according to U.N. AIDS.
There is also a real risk that Indian companies will turn to more profitable medicines, or will not be able to meet the global demand because migrant workers have deserted cities as the coronavirus spreads.
The Indian government may even decide not to export TB medicines, saving its supply for its own citizens.
''We're very dependent on a few key developers or manufacturers for all of the drugs around the world, and that needs to be diversified,'' said Dr. Meg Doherty, who directs H.I.V. programs at the W.H.O. ''If you had more locally developed drug depots or drug manufacturers, it would be closer to the point of need.''
Aid organizations and governments are trying to mitigate some of the damage by stretching supplies and stockpiling medications. In June, the W.H.O. changed its recommendation for treatment of drug-resistant TB. Instead of 20 months of injections, patients may now take pills for nine to 11 months. The change means patients don't have to travel to clinics, increasingly closed by lockdowns.
More than half of 144 countries surveyed by the W.H.O. said they have opted to give patients H.I.V. drugs sufficient to last for at least three months '-- six months, in the case of a few countries like South Sudan '-- in order to limit their trips to hospitals. But it's unclear how successful those efforts have been.
In some countries, such as the Philippines, advocacy groups have set up depots for patients to pick up antiretroviral pills or arrange to drop them off at patients' homes.
In a few nations, like South Africa, most patients already pick up medications from community centers rather than from hospitals, said Dr. Salim S. Abdool Karim, a global health expert in South Africa and the chair of a government advisory committee on Covid-19. ''That has been an important advantage in a way.''
'What are we not doing right?' Image The Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare, where Dr. Tapiwa Mungofa works, has closed its outpatient department, where TB and H.I.V. patients received their medications. Credit... Cynthia R. Matonhodze for The New York Times The pandemic has exposed deep fissures in the health care systems of many countries.
In Zimbabwe, staffs in public hospitals were working reduced shifts even before the pandemic, because the government could not afford to pay their full salaries. Some hospitals like the Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare '-- which was operating at half capacity because of water shortages and other problems '-- have since closed their outpatient departments, where TB and H.I.V. patients received their medications.
''Hospitals are functioning in an emergency mode,'' said Dr. Tapiwa Mungofa, a physician at the Sally Mugabe Hospital.
The situation is no better in KwaZulu-Natal, which has the highest prevalence of H.I.V. in South Africa. Dr. Zolelwa Sifumba was a teenager when she saw images of skeletal patients dying of AIDS. Over the past few years in KwaZulu-Natal, she is again seeing patients with full-blown AIDS.
''We're seeing people come in at the stage where they're kind of on death's door,'' she said. ''What are we not doing right?''
Some remote parts of the world are being decimated by the coronavirus '-- but their very remoteness makes the pandemic's impact on these other big infectious killers impossible to measure.
The town of Tabatinga in Amazonas, the biggest state in Brazil, is more than 1,000 miles from the closest city with an I.C.U., Manaus. The government has been using airplanes to transport coronavirus patients to Manaus, but many cases are being missed, said Dr. Marcelo Cordeiro-Santos, a researcher at the Tropical Medicine Foundation in Manaus.
Hospitals are giving chloroquine to people with Covid-19, at the recommendation of the Brazilian ministry of health, even though evidence now suggests it does not help and may even be harmful.
Chloroquine is also a crucial malaria medicine, and its indiscriminate use now may lead to resistance to the drug, Dr. Cordeiro-Santos warned '-- with possibly dire consequences for those infected in the future. But he also said it's possible that widespread distribution of chloroquine may help protect residents of Amazonas from malaria.
Other experts said they hope the coronavirus pandemic brings some silver linings.
Aid agencies have long recommended that countries buy drugs in bulk and provide several months' supply at a time to their citizens. Some governments are considering doing so now for H.I.V., according to Dr. Doherty at the W.H.O.
Health care providers are also embracing video and phone calls to counsel and treat patients, which many people find far easier than traveling to distant clinics.
''Sometimes systems are tough to change,'' said Dr. del Rio, ''but I think there's nothing better than a crisis to change the system, right?''
Lynsey Chutel contributed reporting from Johannesburg.
Image Some remote areas in Brazil are being decimated by the coronavirus '-- but their remoteness makes the impact on other big infectious killers impossible to measure. Credit... Tarso Sarraf/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images
L.A. Coronavirus Report: Garcetti Says Cases Underreported For Months '' Deadline
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:04
Just yesterday, California officials said that a a technical glitch in the state's reporting system has resulted in an undercount of new coronavirus cases. The state's top health official said on Tuesday that local officials had seen a drop in case numbers ''over the past few days.''
Later in the day, the Los Angeles Public Health Department revealed it had been flagging issues for about ''two weeks.''
Today, Los Angeles Mayor extended the potential timeline of reporting problems far beyond that. ''We don't believe that it's something that just happened in the last two or three weeks,'' he said. ''The state has told us that these reporting problems may have been throughout.''
That's certainly different information that the state's top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, had given Californians just the day before.
L.A. County public health officials said on Tuesday that they have flagged irregularities to the state for the past 2 weeks and are now pursuing ''an independent strategy to obtain accurate data.''
''This is something that they've uncovered that has probably been with us since months ago,'' reiterated Garcetti on Wednesday.
Watch Garcetti's news conference below.
On Tuesday, a message was posted on the California state COVID-19 dashboard read, ''Due to the issues with the state's electronic laboratory system, these data represent an underreporting of actual positive cases in one single day.'' There was no further information or clarification.
A few hours later, Dr. Ghaly shed some light on the issue.
''Over the past few days '-- the state system '-- we've discovered some discrepancies,'' said Ghaly.
''We're working hard and immediately to reach out to the labs that we work with to get accurate information in a manual process so that we can feed that to our county partners,'' he added, ''so that we can validate and make sure that our numbers are accurate.
''Many counties depend upon the state's information to keep their own data up to date,'' said Ghaly. ''Many public health officials and public health offices that depend on the state's data over the past few days have seen a drop in case numbers. We've been in communication with them about what these discrepancies are. They're concerned, as we are. There is no doubt that, their ability to address in a specific way contact tracing and case investigation'' has been impacted over the past few days.
Los Angeles County has seen a steep drop in daily cases recently.
On July 31, the county reported 2,651 new infections. That was a sharp drop from the all-time high in new daily cases, reported just two days before of 4,825.
The data glitch reportedly only impacts new case numbers, not those for deaths or hospitalizations.
On Tuesday, the case numbers fell even further. The county reported 1,901 confirmed new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours. Those numbers will likely rise however, said local officials, when the state's technical glitch is cleared up.
Speaking of the state, according to the California coronavirus dashboard, a record 200 lives were lost over the previous 24 hours. That's up from the previous high of 197, reported last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom has been uncharacteristically quiet on the data SNAFU. While Newsom gave an update on the state's battle with the virus on Monday, on Tuesday his director of public health, Dr. Mark Ghaly, gave an online presentation and confirmed the news. Newsom did not hold a news conference on Wednesday, either.
Since Monday, the governor has not posted a statement regarding the undercounts on his web site.
In the past two days, Newsom's frequently-updated Twitter account has posts about the census, Proposition 8, the NRA and one pinned tweet about wearing a mask, but there is no mention of the data glitch.
Ditto his official Governor of California account, as well as his Facebook and Instagram accounts.
During the past two days, the governor has announced coronavirus waiver requirements for schools. He also announced the signing of a tribal compact, revealed several new staffing appointments and issued a statement on the loss of nine service members.
The governor's absence is made even more curious given his recurrent insistence that the state's decision-making is ''data-driven,'' including the decision to reopen after his statewide stay-at-home order.
One wonders if the state's actions might have been different over the past few days and if the current spike in deaths '-- themselves a lagging indicator '-- might have been flattened if state and local officials had had the accurate, higher case data and been able to act on that earlier.
COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios | CDC
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:49
Table 1. Parameter Values that vary among the five COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios. The scenarios are intended to advance public health preparedness and planning. They are not predictions or estimates of the expected impact of COVID-19. The parameter values in each scenario will be updated and augmented over time, as we learn more about the epidemiology of COVID-19. Additional parameter values might be added in the future (e.g., population density, household transmission, and/or race and ethnicity).
Parameter values Table 1 Parameter Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4 Scenario 5: Current Best Estimate
R0* 2.0 Fatality Ratio, Overall' 0.005 0.005 0.008 0.008 0.0065 Percent of infections that are asymptomatic§10%70%10%70%40%Infectiousness of asymptomatic individuals relative to symptomatic¶25%100%25%100%75%Percentage of transmission occurring prior to symptom onset**35%70%35%70%50% * The best estimate representative of the point estimates of R0 from the following sources: Chinazzi M, Davis JT, Ajelli M, et al. The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Science. 2020;368(6489):395-400; Imai N., Cori, A., Dorigatti, I., Baguelin, M., Donnelly, C. A., Riley, S., Ferguson, N.M. (2020). Report 3: Transmissibility of 2019-nCoV. Online report; Li Q, Guan X, Wu P, et al. Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(13):1199-1207; Munayco CV, Tariq A, Rothenberg R, et al. Early transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in a southern hemisphere setting: Lima-Peru: February 29th-March 30th, 2020 [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 12]. Infect Dis Model. 2020; 5:338-345; and Salje H, Tran Kiem C, Lefrancq N, et al. Estimating the burden of SARS-CoV-2 in France [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 13] [published correction appears in Science. 2020 Jun 26;368(6498):]. Science. 2020;eabc3517. The range of estimates for Scenarios 1-4 represent the widest confidence interval estimates reported in: Li Q, Guan X, Wu P, et al. Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(13):1199-1207.Substantial uncertainty remains around the R0 estimate. Notably, Sanche S, Lin YT, Xu C, Romero-Severson E, Hengartner N, Ke R. High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(7):1470-1477 ( external icon ) estimated a median R0 value of 5.7 in Wuhan, China. In an analysis of Europe and the US, the same group estimated R0 of between 4.0 and 7.1 in the pre-print manuscript: Ke R., Sanche S., Romero-Severson, & E., Hengartner, N. (2020). Fast spread of COVID-19 in Europe and the US suggests the necessity of early, strong and comprehensive interventions. medRxiv .
' Meyerowitz-Katz, G., & Merone, L. (2020). A systematic review and meta-analysis of published research data on COVID-19 infection-fatality rates. medRxiv.
§ The percent of cases that are asymptomatic, i.e. never experience symptoms, remains uncertain. Longitudinal testing of individuals over time is required to accurately indicate the absence of symptoms for the full period of infectiousness. Current peer-reviewed and preprint studies vary widely in follow-up times for re-testing, or do not include re-testing of cases. Additionally, studies vary in the definition of a symptomatic case, which makes it difficult to make direct comparisons between estimates. Furthermore, the percent of cases that are asymptomatic may vary by age and studies also vary in the age groups included. Given these limitations, the range of estimates for Scenarios 1-4 is wide. The lower bound estimate approximates the lower 95% confidence interval bound estimated from: Byambasuren, O., Cardona, M., Bell, K., Clark, J., McLaws, M. L., & Glasziou, P. (2020). Estimating the extent of true asymptomatic COVID-19 and its potential for community transmission: systematic review and meta-analysis. Available at SSRN 3586675. The upper bound estimate approximates the upper 95% confidence interval bound estimated from: Poletti, P., Tirani, M., Cereda, D., Trentini, F., Guzzetta, G., Sabatino, G., Marziano, V., Castrofino, A., Grosso, F., Del Castillo, G. and Piccarreta, R. (2020). Probability of symptoms and critical disease after SARS-CoV-2 infection. arXiv preprint arXiv:2006.08471. The best estimate is the midpoint of this range and aligns with estimates from: Oran DP, Topol EJ. Prevalence of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Narrative Review [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 3]. Ann Intern Med. 2020; M20-3012.
¶ The relative infectiousness of asymptomatic cases to symptomatic cases remains highly uncertain as asymptomatic cases are difficult to identify and transmission is difficult to observe and quantify. The estimates for relative infectiousness are assumptions based on studies of viral shedding dynamics. The upper bound of this estimate reflects studies that have shown similar durations of viral shedding between symptomatic and asymptomatic cases: Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(12):1177-1179; and Zhou R, Li F, Chen F, et al. Viral dynamics in asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 11]. Int J Infect Dis. 2020; 96:288-290. The lower bound of this estimate reflects data indicating that viral loads are higher in severe cases relative to mild cases (Liu Y, Yan LM, Wan L, et al. Viral dynamics in mild and severe cases of COVID-19. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(6):656-657) and data showing that viral loads and shedding durations are higher among symptomatic cases relative to asymptomatic cases (Noh JY, Yoon JG, Seong H, et al. Asymptomatic infection and atypical manifestations of COVID-19: Comparison of viral shedding duration [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 21]. J Infect. 2020; S0163-4453(20)30310-8). The current best estimate is an assumption.
** The lower bound of this parameter is approximated from the lower 95% confidence interval bound from: Casey, M., Griffin, J., McAloon, C.G., Byrne, A.W., Madden, J.M., McEvoy, D., Collins, A.B., Hunt, K., Barber, A., Butler, F. and Lane, E.A. (2020). Estimating pre-symptomatic transmission of COVID-19: a secondary analysis using published data. medRxiv. The upper bound of this parameter is approximated from the upper 95% confidence interval bound from: He, X., Lau, E.H., Wu, P., Deng, X., Wang, J., Hao, X., Lau, Y.C., Wong, J.Y., Guan, Y., Tan, X. and Mo, X. (2020). Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19. Nature medicine, 26(5), pp.672-675.The best estimate is the geometric mean of the point estimates from these two studies.
Table 2. Parameter Values Common to the Five COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios. The parameter values are likely to change as we obtain additional data about disease severity and viral transmissibility of COVID-19.
Parameter values are based on data received by CDC through June 29, 2020, including COVID-19 Case Surveillance Public Use Data (; data from the Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) (through June 27); and data from Data Collation and Integration for Public Health Event Response (DCIPHER).
Parameter values Table 2Pre-existing immunity Assumption, ASPR and CDC
No pre-existing immunity before the pandemic began in 2019. It is assumed that all members of the U.S. population were susceptible to infection prior to the pandemic.Time from exposure to symptom onset*~6 days (mean)Time between symptom onset in an individual and symptom onset of a second person infected by that individual' ~6 days (mean)Parameter Values Related to Healthcare UsageNumber of days from symptom onset to seeking outpatient care, percentage of patients§'‰¤2 days: 35%
3''7 days: 47%
'‰¥8 days: 18%
Median number of days from symptom onset to hospitalization (interquartile range)¶18-49 years: 6 (3, 9) days
50-64 years: 6 (2, 9) days
'‰¥65 years: 3 (0, 7) days
Median number of days of hospitalization among those not admitted to ICU (interquartile range)**18-49 years: 3 (2, 5) days
50-64 years: 4 (2, 7) days
'‰¥65 years: 6 (3, 10) days
Median number of days of hospitalization among those admitted to ICU (interquartile range)**, §§18-49 years: 10 (6, 17) days
50-64 years: 14 (8, 22) days
'‰¥65 years: 12 (6, 19) days
Percent admitted to ICU among those hospitalized ** 18-49 years: 23.6%
50-64 years: 36.2%
'‰¥65 years: 35.1%
Percent on mechanical ventilation among those hospitalized. Includes both non-ICU and ICU admissions**18-49 years: 11.7%
50-64 years: 21.8%
'‰¥65 years: 21.3%
Percent that die among those hospitalized. Includes both non-ICU and ICU admissions**18-49 years: 2.0%
50-64 years: 9.8%
'‰¥65 years: 28.1%
Median number of days of mechanical ventilation (interquartile range)¶Overall: 6 (2, 12) days
Median number of days from symptom onset to death (interquartile range)¶18-49 years: 15 (9, 23) days
50-64 years: 15 (9, 25) days
'‰¥65 years: 12 (7, 19) days
Median number of days from death to reporting (interquartile range)' ' 18-49 years: 7 (3, 18) days
50-64 years: 7 (2, 19) days
'‰¥65 years: 6 (2, 18) days
*McAloon, C.G., Collins, A., Hunt, K., Barber, A., Byrne, A., Butler, F., Casey, M., Griffin, J.M., Lane, E., McEvoy, D. and Wall, P. (2020). The incubation period of COVID-19: A rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of observational research. medRxiv.
' He, X., Lau, E.H., Wu, P., Deng, X., Wang, J., Hao, X., Lau, Y.C., Wong, J.Y., Guan, Y., Tan, X. and Mo, X. (2020). Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19. Nature medicine, 26(5), pp.672-675.
§ Biggerstaff, M., Jhung, M. A., Reed, C., Fry, A. M., Balluz, L., & Finelli, L. (2014). Influenza-like illness, the time to seek healthcare, and influenza antiviral receipt during the 2010''2011 influenza season'--United States. The Journal of infectious diseases, 210(4), 535-544.
¶ Estimates only include symptom onset dates between March 1, 2020 '' May 15, 2020 to ensure cases have had sufficient time to observe the outcome (hospital discharge or death). Data for 17 year olds and under are suppressed due to small sample sizes.
** Based on data reported to COVID-NET by June 27, 2020. Data for 17 year olds and under are suppressed due to small sample sizes.
§§ Cumulative length of stay for persons admitted to the ICU, inclusive of both ICU and non-ICU days.
' ' Estimates only include death dates between March 1, 2020 '' May 15, 2020 to ensure sufficient time for reporting. Data for 17 year olds and under are suppressed due to small sample sizes.
Can You Test Positive for Coronavirus and Be at Work? Sports Leagues Say Yes - WSJ
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 18:25
When American sports leagues began to chart their paths for the pandemic, they faced countless questions. How often should they test? Would the NBA's bubble burst? How many rule changes does it take to drive MLB purists cuckoo?
But the thorniest question they had to reckon with is one that applies to multibillion-dollar sports enterprises and small businesses alike. When is it safe for someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 to return to work?
The answer is as surprising as it is murky. That's because leagues like the NFL and MLB say it's safe for players to return even while they're still testing positive.
Professional sports' protocols have been under scrutiny since the moment it became clear that sequestered leagues such as the NBA were testing players daily, and delivering their results in hours, as people around the country waited days.
Then came the baseball season. Within five days, half of the Miami Marlins had positive tests and the league began postponing games. Soon after, there was an outbreak on a second team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sports leagues already face questions about whether they should play at all during the pandemic. Now they will have to convince America of the validity of protocols that say that players who don't register a negative test can be back out on the field anyway.
This idea could come into play into when the Marlins try to reinsert players who tested positive into their lineup. It may also play into the NFL season, with players and coaches returning to training camps last week. The positive tests in football have included players and Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who the team said was asymptomatic and in self-quarantine as part of the league's protocols.
The science behind the protocols has the backing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and independent infectious disease experts. They say that research indicates a person with mild to moderate symptoms of coronavirus will cease to be infectious within 10 days of their symptoms' onset, and can stop isolating, though in severe cases, it may be more appropriate for them to isolate for up to 20 days.
The CDC has also extended that reasoning to say that an asymptomatic person who tested positive for coronavirus ceases to be infectious 10 days after their test. That's because some epidemiologists suspect that people could continue to test positive for weeks or even months, but would no longer be infectious.
MLB and the National Football League have taken that finding and run with it.
The easiest way for a baseball player with a positive test to come back is to register two negative results for tests taken 24 hours apart. But if they can't, there's a footnote tucked away in MLB's operations manual that offers them an alternative route: even with repeated positive results on PCR tests, a physician and league medical advisers can review the circumstances and clear the player anyway.
The NFL's policy says if an individual is positive but asymptomatic, they can return after five days and two negative tests; or they can come back 10 days after the initial positive. If they're symptomatic, that requires 10 days since symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours since symptoms last appeared.
Both return protocols also include screening for heart damage, among other exams, and require doctors' approval. But those are focusing on the positive player's health'--not the team's.
The idea behind the CDC's assessment, the linchpin of these leagues' strategies, is both complicated and straightforward: people may continue to test positive long past the point in which they are infectious.
To some employers, that's a reason to stop relying quite so heavily on testing for answers. When the test given to everyone doesn't answer whether or not they're infectious, the choice is between erring on the side of extreme caution, or using symptoms and how much time has elapsed to take a calculated risk.
''We can't test our way to safety,'' said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer. ''Testing is important, but it is not the only important method or way to mitigate risk.''
Leading immunologists said that, as long as the league isn't seeking guarantees, that policy is reasonable. But because of the lack of long-term, large-scale research on a disease that was identified mere months ago, they can't tell you how confident they are in that assessment working in every single situation.
While the scientific community is still trying to fully understand who is still infectious, and to what degree, it's increasingly backing this time-based strategy the leagues are deploying. ''The bottom line is there's always risk. You can't be 100% sure,'' said Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. ''As a general policy and rule, it's pretty reasonable.''
Understanding how in the world someone might test positive for the virus but also be completely safe to play a sport like football without further spreading the disease requires a basic understanding of the tests themselves.
The PCR test commonly used on both professional athletes and everyone else isn't looking for viable forms of the virus'--something that could actually pose a danger to others. It simply looks for whether there's any viral genomic material.
That test also happens to be very sensitive. Someone could have the virus raging in their systems and be a threat to anyone they come into close contact with. They could also just have fragments or remnants of the virus that are no longer dangerous to anyone. Both people could yield the same result on the PCR test for Covid-19: positive.
''There definitely are a non-trivial number of people who continue to test positive for a longer period of time who we don't think are infectious at all,'' said Carl Bergstrom, a biology professor at the University of Washington.
What employers really need, and don't have, is a test for infectiousness.
In research settings, Bergstrom says, there are ways to determine whether someone is infectious. But that's not the case for either the general public or these billion-dollar sports leagues. ''We don't have the gold standard level of proof that we'd like,'' he said.
The leagues that play on with positive players may unwittingly help with that process of discovery. ''It's within the boundaries of good practice,'' said Lawrence Steinman, an immunologist and neurologist at Stanford University, who has written many publications using PCR.
''Whether there will be leakiness,'' Steinman added, ''those are all things we're going to learn.''
Write to Andrew Beaton at and Louise Radnofsky at
Pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2: the knowns and unknowns | Nature Reviews Immunology
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:31
T cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 was observed in unexposed people; however, the source and clinical relevance of the reactivity remains unknown. It is speculated that this reflects T cell memory to circulating 'common cold' coronaviruses. It will be important to define specificities of these T cells and assess their association with COVID-19 disease severity and vaccine responses.
As data start to accumulate on the detection and characterization of SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses in humans, a surprising finding has been reported: lymphocytes from 20''50% of unexposed donors display significant reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 antigen peptide pools1,2,3,4.
In a study by Grifoni et al.1, reactivity was detected in 50% of donor blood samples obtained in the USA between 2015 and 2018, before SARS-CoV-2 appeared in the human population. T cell reactivity was highest against proteins other than the coronavirus spike protein, but T cell reactivity was also detected against spike. The SARS-CoV-2 T cell reactivity was mostly associated with CD4+ T cells, with a smaller contribution by CD8+ T cells1. Similarly, in a study of blood donors in the Netherlands, Weiskopf et al.2 detected CD4+ T cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 spike peptides in 1 of 10 unexposed subjects and against SARS-CoV-2 non-spike peptides in 2 of 10 unexposed subjects. CD8+ T cell reactivity was observed in 1 of 10 unexposed donors. In a third study, from Germany, Braun et al.3 reported positive T cell responses against spike peptides in 34% of SARS-CoV-2 seronegative healthy donors (CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were not distinguished). Finally, a study of individuals in Singapore, by Le Bert et al.4, reported T cell responses to nucleocapsid protein nsp7 or nsp13 in 50% of subjects with no history of SARS, COVID-19, or contact with patients with SARS or COVID-19. A study by Meckiff using samples from the UK also detected reactivity in unexposed subjects5. Taken together, five studies report evidence of pre-existing T cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2 in a significant fraction of people from diverse geographical locations.
These early reports demonstrate that substantial T cell reactivity exists in many unexposed people; nevertheless, data have not yet demonstrated the source of the T cells or whether they are memory T cells. It has been speculated that the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in unexposed individuals might originate from memory T cells derived from exposure to 'common cold' coronaviruses (CCCs), such as HCoV-OC43, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E, which widely circulate in the human population and are responsible for mild self-limiting respiratory symptoms. More than 90% of the human population is seropositive for at least three of the CCCs6. Thiel and colleagues3 reported that the T cell reactivity was highest against a pool of SARS-CoV-2 spike peptides that had higher homology to CCCs, but the difference was not significant.
What are the implications of these observations? The potential for pre-existing crossreactivity against COVID-19 in a fraction of the human population has led to extensive speculation. Pre-existing T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 could be relevant because it could influence COVID-19 disease severity. It is plausible that people with a high level of pre-existing memory CD4+ T cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2 could mount a faster and stronger immune response upon exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and thereby limit disease severity. Memory T follicular helper (TFH) CD4+ T cells could potentially facilitate an increased and more rapid neutralizing antibody response against SARS-CoV-2. Memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells might also facilitate direct antiviral immunity in the lungs and nasopharynx early after exposure, in keeping with our understanding of antiviral CD4+ T cells in lungs against the related SARS-CoV7 and our general understanding of the value of memory CD8+ T cells in protection from viral infections. Large studies in which pre-existing immunity is measured and correlated with prospective infection and disease severity could address the possible role of pre-existing T cell memory against SARS-CoV-2.
If the pre-existing T cell immunity is related to CCC exposure, it will become important to better understand the patterns of CCC exposure in space and time. It is well established that the four main CCCs are cyclical in their prevalence, following multiyear cycles, which can differ across geographical locations8. This leads to the speculative hypothesis that differences in CCC geo-distribution might correlate with burden of COVID-19 disease severity. Furthermore, highly speculative hypotheses related to pre-existing memory T cells can be proposed regarding COVID-19 and age. Children are less susceptible to COVID-19 clinical symptoms. Older people are much more susceptible to fatal COVID-19. The reasons for both are unclear. The age distribution of CCC infections is not well established and CCC immunity should be examined in greater detail. These considerations underline how multiple variables may be involved in potential pre-existing partial immunity to COVID-19 and multiple hypotheses are worthy of further exploration, but caution should be exercised to avoid overgeneralizations or conclusions in the absence of data.
Pre-existing CD4+ T cell memory could also influence vaccination outcomes, leading to a faster or better immune response, particularly the development of neutralizing antibodies, which generally depend on T cell help. At the same time, pre-existing T cell memory could also act as a confounding factor, especially in relatively small phase I vaccine trials. For example, if subjects with pre-existing reactivity were assorted unevenly in different vaccine dose groups, this might lead to erroneous conclusions. Obviously, this could be avoided by considering pre-existing immunity as a variable to be considered in trial design. Thus, we recommend measuring pre-existing immunity in all COVID-19 vaccine phase I clinical trials. Of note, such experiments would also offer an exciting opportunity to ascertain the potential biological significance of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells.
It is frequently assumed that pre-existing T cell memory against SARS-CoV-2 might be either beneficial or irrelevant. However, there is also the possibility that pre-existing immunity might actually be detrimental, through mechanisms such as 'original antigenic sin' (the propensity to elicit potentially inferior immune responses owing to pre-existing immune memory to a related pathogen), or through antibody-mediated disease enhancement. While there is no direct evidence to support these outcomes, they must be considered. A detrimental effect linked to pre-existing immunity is eminently testable and would be revealed by the same COVID-19 cohort and vaccine studies proposed above.
There is substantial data from the influenza literature indicating that pre-existing cross-reactive T cell immunity can be beneficial. In the case of the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, it was noted that an unusual 'V'-shaped age distribution curve existed for disease severity, with older people faring better than younger adults. This correlated with the circulation of a different H1N1 strain in the human population decades earlier, which presumably generated pre-existing immunity in people old enough to have been exposed to it. This was verified by showing that pre-existing immunity against H1N1 existed in the general human population9,10. It should be noted that if some degree of pre-existing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 exists in the general population, this could also influence epidemiological modelling, and suggests that a sliding scale model of COVID-19 susceptibility may be considered.
In conclusion, it is now established that SARS-CoV-2 pre-existing immune reactivity exists to some degree in the general population. It is hypothesized, but not yet proven, that this might be due to immunity to CCCs. This might have implications for COVID-19 disease severity, herd immunity and vaccine development, which still await to be addressed with actual data.
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AcknowledgementsThis work was funded by the NIH NIAID under awards U19 AI42742 (Cooperative Centers for Human Immunology) and contract no. 75N9301900065.
Author informationAffiliationsCenter for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), La Jolla, CA, USA
Alessandro Sette & Shane Crotty
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), La Jolla, CA, USA
Alessandro Sette & Shane Crotty
Corresponding authorsCorrespondence to Alessandro Sette or Shane Crotty.
Ethics declarations Competing interestsA.S. is a consultant for Gritstone, Flow Pharma and Avalia. S.C. declares no competing interests.
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Fauci says there's 'a degree' the coronavirus is spreading through air particles
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:48
Published Mon, Aug 3 2020 2:09 PM EDT
Updated 37 min ago
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White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that he thinks "there certainly is a degree of aerosolization" causing the coronavirus to spread, although the topic is still being studied. In July, the WHO published new guidance that acknowledged it can't rule out the possibility the coronavirus can be transmitted through air particles in closed spaces indoors, including in gyms and restaurants.Fauci said it has become "much clearer" that someone is likely at greater risk if they're in an indoor space where there's less air circulation and "any degree of aerosolization."White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that he thinks there is "a degree" of airborne spread of the coronavirus, although the role it plays is still being studied.
"I think that there certainly is a degree of aerosolization," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association. "But I'm going to take a step back and make sure that we learn the facts before we start talking about it."
Health experts have said that the coronavirus is generally transmitted person to person through large respiratory droplets, often when someone sneezes or coughs. The World Health Organization first warned in March that such droplets could be kicked up into the air where they might become airborne and linger in certain environments.
In July, the WHO published new guidance that acknowledged it can't rule out the possibility the coronavirus can be transmitted through air particles in closed spaces indoors, including in gyms and restaurants. They previously had warned that the virus may become airborne in certain environments, such as during "medical procedures that generate aerosols."
The WHO acknowledged in its guidance that transmission in those environments could also have occurred through droplets and from surfaces.
Fauci, during the interview with JAMA, said it has become "much clearer" that someone is likely at greater risk if they're in an indoor space where there's less air circulation and "any degree of aerosolization." Some experts who have studied aerosolization have indicated there are larger particles discharged when someone coughs or sneezes that might float in the air longer than previously thought, he said.
"We need to pay a little bit more attention now to the recirculation of air indoors, which tells you that mask-wearing indoors when you're in a situation like that is something that is as important as wearing masks when you're outside dealing with individuals who you don't know where they came from or who they are," Fauci said.
"It's something we're learning more and more about. We've got to make sure that we're humble enough to accumulate new knowledge and use it as we get it," he added.
Some scientists across the globe have previously urged the WHO and other health agencies to give more weight to the role of the airborne spread of Covid-19, calling for them to update their guidance.
'-- CNBC's Will Feuer contributed to this report.
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The Corona Virus is Just a Concept That Only Exists on Paper '' pHorever Young Blog
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:57
I was often shunned like an AIDS patient by my former fellow microbiologists and virologists. My views were unwelcome for several reasons: after a frustrating, twenty-year-long search for a human cancer microbe, the retro virologists were craving for clinical relevance and hence happily adopted HIV '' 'the AIDS virus' -as the cause of AIDS. The discovery of HIV was announced in the U.S. at a press conference and the virus-AIDS hypothesis became instant national dogma. On this basis, the retro virologists convinced their governments to spend billions of dollars to stop the predicted viral epidemic, already being labelled ''the epidemic of the 20th century.'' Does all this sound familiar with what is happening today with COVID '' 19?
The Viral Theory Was The Immediate Darling of the Biotechnology CompaniesDue to its very low complexity, it can be readily cloned for diagnostic test kits and vaccines. In turn, the virus was a hit with the press because it mobilized in their readers the instinctive fears of a contagious disease, and appealed to the public prejudice that all evil comes from without.''
Where is the Proof?Perhaps the foremost thing that should be said about HIV or for that matter any virus is that they have never been proven to be the cause of AIDS, or any human illness. Not one scientific paper exists that demonstrates it. This is also the case with Ebola, Zika and now SARS COVID-2 and 19!
Based on activity in contrived situations in test tubes, among other illogical things, its culpability was a pronouncement handed down by an authority figure at the National Institute of Health. It is the same authority (Dr. Robert Gallo, head of NIH cancer labs removed from his position for scientific fraud) behind the expenditure of around a trillion dollars in cancer research which has produced NOTHING but an epidemic that is virtually out of control. (One wonders what it will take before people finally get the idea and stop creating walks, rides, telethons and cake sales to contribute money to the bottomless pit of biased, misdirected, wasteful and cruel orthodox medical research in cancer, degenerative disease and virology.)
And, it is the same authority who has taken out two patents whose value depends upon HIV or COVID '' 19 as being accepted as the cause or a co-factor. One patent is for the technique of testing for the virus, and the other for a method of laboratory cultivation. No one in a position to do anything about it questions this obvious conflict of interest. This is going on right now today with the testing of an antibody without ever identifying isolating, purifying and culturing the virus, COVID-19.
Kary Mullis, PhD, Nobel laureate in chemistry for his invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for testing genetic matter, stated, ''I can't find a single virologist who will give me references which show that HIV is the probable cause of AIDS '.... If you ask a virologist for that information, you don't get an answer, you get fury'' [1]. Dr. Mullis has continued his outspoken criticisms of the AIDS establishment, ''Where is the research that says HIV is the cause of AIDS? We know everything in the world about HIV now. There are 10,000 people in the World now who specialize in HIV.''
This same fraudulent activity in virology has continued with the Ebola virus, the Hantavirus, the Hepatitis virus, the West Nile virus, the Zika virus, just to name a few, and now with the Corona virus '' COVID -19, which is an acronym that stands for, ''Certificate Of Vaccination Identification (C.O.V.I.D.) '' Artificial Intelligence (1 represents the first letter in the alphabet = A and 9 represents the ninth letter in the alphabet = I).
Most virologist have very little interest in the possibility that HIV doesn't cause AIDS or that the Corona virus doesn't cause hypoxia that leads to acute respiratory disease syndrome or ARDS, because if it doesn't, their expertise is useless. [2] Their embarrassment, humiliation and scientific fraud would also be considerable!
Just look what happened to Dr. Luc Montagnier, a virologist, for his non-discovery of the HIV virus, for which he received a Nobel Prize in Medicine without ever isolating the HIV virus under the scientific method of Koch's Postulates and Farr's law (see below for more information on Koch Postulates and Farr's law).
Dr. Montagnier just recently inaccurately claimed that the phantom coronavirus is man-made and contains genetic material (GMO) from HIV which doesn't even exist! So how does a virologist take genetic matter from HIV or a Corona virus or any other virus for that matter which has never been isolated, purified and genetically and biochemically identified?
NOW Take A Deep BreathJust take a moment and take a deep breath and consider what if what I'm telling you is 100 percent true and it is only the tip of the iceberg?
Please, Please, Please do your own research! '' Stop being a SheepFirst, start by reading, ''Inventing the AIDS Virus'' by Peter Duesberg, a Retro Virologist at The University of California Berkley.
Second, read Nobel laureate Kary Mullis, PhD book, ''The Polymerase Chain Reaction'' (PCR). Dr. Mullis does not see the relevance for testing antibodies by PCR when the virus such as HIV or COVID '' 19 have not been isolated, purified, genetically and biochemically tested and then viewed under electron microscopy. Once these steps have been completed, the isolated and purified virus needs to be tested again by following the scientific method for verification of any disease causing germ. The tests are called Koch's postulates and Farr's law.
The Virus and Koch's PostulatesKoch's postulates are a set of conditions long accepted as the requirements for establishing a fixed microorganism as the cause of a specific disease. The case for HIV as the AIDS virus or COVID '' 19 causes acute lung disease syndrome (ARDS) as with the identification of any so-called causative infectious agent, should depend upon meeting these parameters, of which there are four. (Keep in mind that researchers disagree about what constitutes proof that any germ causes a disease.)
1. The germ must be found in all cases of the disease.
Tissues said to be affected by HIV or COVID -19 include primarily the white blood cells of the immune system, particularly the T-cells, the brain neurons in dementia, skin cells in lesions of Kaposi's sarcoma, in the lungs as well as, theoretically, any cell in the body expressing the CD4 surface receptor said to be the key to HIV or COVID '' 19 cell entry. But no trace of the virus can be found in either the Kaposi's sarcoma or the neurons of the central nervous system or the lungs in Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome or ARDS. HIV and COVID -19 have moved from involving only immune cells to other types of cells in order to explain certain AIDS-defining symptoms or COVID -19 defining symptoms which are not immune deficiencies anyway, including the cancers, dementia and wasting diseases, dry cough, fevers and hypoxia which have not been, or cannot be, explained in terms of a germ-theory virus model that involves destruction of the immune system.
And, if HIV or the COVID-19 viruses were actively infecting T-cells or other members of the body's immune system, extracellular virions should easily be found circulating in the blood. But in most individuals suffering from AIDSyndrome or COVID '' 19, no particles can be found anywhere in the body.
Another aspect of HIV is that now several HIV and COVID ''reservoirs'' have been suggested. One encyclopedia, which will go unnamed, says: ''Researchers have also been able to show direct infection of bone-marrow cells-the precursors of circulating blood cells-and the proliferation of the virus within these cells. Thus bone marrow may represent an important reservoir of HIV or in COVID -19 the interstitial fluids of the Interstitium in an infected person and provide a potential mechanism for dissemination of the virus through the body.'' This is misinformation, pure speculation, a conclusion based on laboratory pyrotechnics, or scientific fraud. It is also said that macrophages can support HIV and COVID-19 replication while harboring the virus from immune surveillance. Circulating macrophages are said to play an important role in the distribution of HIV and COVID-19 throughout the body, including the lung and brain. The question is, wouldn't there be significant amounts of virus in a reservoir? The fact remains: it is nearly impossible to recover HIV or COVID '' 19 from its ''victims.'' (See below under ''Autoimmune Theory.'') One paper published in March 1993 reported two individuals with about 100,000 particles per milliliter of blood, among dozens of patients with little or no detectable extracellular particles [18].
The abundance of uninfected T-cells (about one in 500) in all patients is the definitive argument against the false claims for high cell-wall particle ''loads,'' or ''burdens''. The absence of active, infectious virus automatically disqualifies HIV as a player in the AID Syndrome or COVID '' 19 in acute lung disease syndrome (ARDS).
2. The germ must be isolated from the host and grown in pure culture.
Even for the most experienced virus hunters, a virus that is so extremely scarce is difficult to find. Only with rare luck and extreme persistence has HIV or COVID '' 19 been extracted from an antibody-positive person. This amounts to finding the proverbial needle of HIV or COVID '' 19 in a haystack of human DNA. This difficulty speaks to HIV's or COVID '' 19's lack of potential in disease.
3. The purified germ must cause the disease again in another host.
There is no animal or human model for HIV and AIDS or COVID '' 19 and ARDS, and where there is no animal or human model, you cannot establish Koch's postulates. (It is more than disconcerting to think of the number of primates that have been injected to this day in an attempt to produce AIDS.) HIV jumps in and says that HIV or any virus including COVD '' 19 should receive special dispensation from Koch's postulates. A major stumbling block is the latency which is claimed, but whose modus is not explained by authorities. In 1989 the official latent period between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS was one year. This period of ''incubation'' has since been stretched to 10 to 12 years. For each year that passes without the predicted explosion in AIDS cases, approximately one year is added to this period. Even this is insufficient; with only 5 percent of do-called infected Americans developing AIDS each year, the average latent period would have to be revised to more than 20 years for 100 percent to become sick.
HIV should cause AIDS and COVID '' 19 should cause ARDS within two weeks of infection at most, but it does not, and with the complete lack of a demonstrated process by which HIV or COVID '' 19 diminishes immune function, belief in a decade or more of unexplained latency requires a level of ''faith'' beyond my capacity. Another major stumbling block is that even once the latent period of 14 days is apparently over, there is still precious little development of the HIV or COVID '' 19 virus.
4. The germ must then be isolable from the newly infected host.
A huge problem for the viral theory! We are now backing to the problem of meeting requirement number 2.
The Antibody That Isn't an AntibodyAccording to the germ theory, an antibody is a certain antidote to a pathogen or virus. According to HIV and COVID -19, however, the more antibodies you have to HIV or COVID '' 19, the sicker you are said to be. Viruses, including HIV and COVID '' 19 are two of thousands ''disease causing agents'' in the allopathic file cabinet in which antibodies to the causative agent mean you're in trouble; and it defies just about every known law, rule, guideline, fact, and behavior in the germ theory book. This includes, as we have seen in Koch's postulates, and, as we will see below, Farr's Law.
Furthermore, vaccine research proceeds on the basis of producing antibodies from a phantom virus in the patient. Apparently, these ''synthetic'' antibodies delivered in a vaccine with GMO organisms mixed with toxic metals and chemicals such as aluminum oxide, will signal recovery, while one's own natural ly created antibodies signals death.
The Autoimmune TheoryOne explanation put forth for the deadliness of such a scarce pathogen is that it somehow induces a self-destructive immune response (the system attacks itself). Evidence for this is said to be low white cell counts in people with infections; however, there is nothing to support the hypothesis, i.e., no plausible process by which this occurs has been suggested.
I have never viewed under a pHase contrast microscope a white blood cell attack another white blood cell in my 40 years of research watching and video taping their activities. White blood cells are glorified janitors or garbage collectors going around the body fluids picking up cellular fragments and biological transformations, i.e., bacteria and yeast. But they never attack each other or a healthy blood or body cell.
Watch the following video of two neutrophils moving around through the blood plasma while cleaning the membranes of red blood cells and picking up small bacteria and Y-form yeast. In fact, you will see one of the neutrophils picking up a Y-form yeast, like Candida albicans and then spitting it back out into the blod plasma.
The Elastic Band TheoryFor the sake of discussion, let us allow germ-theory interpretation of immune function and autoimmunity. With only one in 500 immune cells (white blood cells) said to be infected with COVID -19 positives, it would seem to require a virus of extraordinary cunning to get uninfected cells to attack each other and not infected ones, which would be self-defeating for the virus. Or in the latter event, such cunning could be matched only by the adroitness required to move quickly from one host cell to another just before destruction. Or, if macrophages are involved, the process should lead either to increasing titers of virions in the blood, lymph, etc., as infected cells are lysed, or to increasing concentrations in macrophages if they are ingesting T-cells. This supports the reservoir notion (if there were any viruses to be found in them). It is thus easier to expand the theory to an ELASTIC BAND THEORY to meet whatever the outcomes are of the virologist for any virus, including HIV and COVID '' 19! How about fourteen day latency period. Maybe a 2 year or even with HIV a 20 year latency period. Really! This is called science!
(Please read for further light and knowledge on viruses at: ''Dismantling the Viral Theory'' at:
COVID '' 19 and Farr's LawEstablished in the early 1900s, Farr's Law, which is fundamental to virology, states that viral disease develops exponentially, and dictates that illness will strike soon after infection. The rate-determining factor of the exponential growth of viruses is viral generation time, which is between 8 and 48 hours. Since laws are made to be broken or excepted, viruses with incubation periods longer than allowed by Farr's Law are called ''slow viruses.'' And since COVID '' 19 joins an exonerated class of viruses by not multiplying according to this law of virology, virologists stretch the time to accommodate it. The question arises, though, of how anyone can determine or demonstrate when a ''natural'' COVID -19 infection takes place, and thus determine latency, since no one is being tested daily or weekly, etc., and there is no animal model. Within the slow-virus concept, adopted as an exception to Farr's Law, retro virologists can find refuge, hold on to their theory, hibernate in their labs, and hope the long winter of HIV latency is over before they expire.
According to expert retro virologist Dr. Peter Duesberg, ''The slow virus concept has never been reconciled with the short generation time of viruses and the immune system. Once the virus lies totally dormant, an intact immune system will never allow any virus to be reactivated to multiply into numbers that would threaten the host. For a virus to be reactivated, the immune system first must be destroyed by something else-the real cause of a disease. A reactivated virus would just contribute an opportunistic infection. Thus, there are no slow viruses, only slow virologists.'' [19] Also, says Duesberg, ''Retroviruses are all very similar. I mean, there are differences, but as far as pathology is concerned, you don't see a marker in one which is going to explain why it supposedly wakes up from sleep and becomes active'' [20].
As of April 22nd, 2020, I have yet to see ANY published research papers identifying the existence of a single virus that has proven out to cause ANY specific disease(s) following the scientific method. It appears that virologists have given the virus a pass because they JUST CANNOT FIND ONE!
The use of PCR testing, is one of the main tests being used by virologists today to determine antibody loads for the corona virus. It is very important for you to know that the PCR testing does not identify the existence of ANY specific virus. So, what you get is a guess. This is NOT science!
The following is another important quote concerning viruses, specifically HIV and AIDS from Dr. Mullis, ''we have not been able to discover any good reason why most of the people on earth believe that AIDS is '...caused by..HIV. There is simply no scientific evidence demonstrating that this is true (or) why doctors prescribe a toxic drug called AZT'...we cannot understand why humans would take that drug for any reason.''
The AZT drug was one of the first drugs given for the treatment of HIV even when the patient was asymptomatic. Sadly, this toxic acidic drug was the cause of the AIDS and the death of millions. Not some illusionary virus. AZT is no longer being used because of this fact.
Third, read Robert O Young, MSc, DSc, PhD, Naturopathic Practitioner book, ''A Second Thought About Viruses, Vaccines and the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis.''
This book also covers additional information on other phantom viruses such as the Ebola virus, West Nile virus, and the Hepatitis virus, just to name a few.
The link to purchase this book is:Second Thoughts about Viruses, Vaccines, and the HIV/AIDS '' Booklet
Fourth, watch the following youtube video of Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD, on the , ''Relation between Corona virus, Electromagnetic waves, 5G, Vaccines and even Spirituality'' on the cause and symptoms of the phantom Corona virus.
Now Let's look at the 5G viral map of Canada, USA, Mexico, Central America and Northern South America at: and see where the deployment of 5G viral cell towers are located and the hot spots for so-called COVID '' 19 infections and deaths.
Please note that New York and New Jersey have the greatest number of 5G viral cell towers with 1.5K and the greatest number of sick and dead. The second greatest number of 5G viral cell towers with 430 are found in the Los Angeles, California area with the second highest number of sick and dead. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the cause and effect relationship between radiation poisoning with the symptoms of dry cough, hypoxia, and fever when you understand and know that 5G pulsating V-frequency at 60GHz literally takes the oxygen out of the air and out of your body destroying the red blood cells and their ability to flow to the lungs and pick up oxygen and then flow back to deliver this life-needing oxygen to the body cells. All of the symptoms for 5G viral radiation poisoning are identical to high-altitude sickness. You cannot treat these symptoms like the season flu or Influenza or you will kill the patient.
Sixth, Watch from the NYC ICU: DOES COVID-19 REALLY CAUSE ARDS or Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome??!!Seventh, watch 'Corona Virus' & 5G '' What Is A Virus? Dr. Robert O. Young. Here is the link: following micrographs, using pHase contrast microscopy that I observe in healthy red blood cells that are oxygen-rich and the second micrograph is of unhealthy red blood cells that are oxygen-deprived indicated by the white target or missing red blood cell hemoglobin. You can also see the degeneration of the cell membranes with spiking or knobs indicating the 'corona effect', a symptom caused by an acidic lifestyle and radiation poisoning.
Micrograph of Healthy Oxygenated Red Blood Cells
ReferencesHodgkinson N (1992) Experts Mount Startling Challenge to AIDS Orthodoxy. Sunday Times, London.
Carroll, John (1993) The Weird Way to Win a Nobel Prize. San Francisco Chronicle, E9.
Mirvish SS, Williamson J, Badcook D, Chen SC (1993) Mutagenicity of Iso-butyl nitrite vapor in the Ames test and some relevant chemical properties, including the reaction of iso-butyl nitrite with phosphate. Environ Mol Mutagen 21(3): 247-252.
Rappaport John (1988) AIDS Inc., Scandal of the Century. Human Energy Press, California, USA, p. 38.
Ibid p. 40.
Fungalbionics Convention (1994) The Fungal/Mycotoxin Etiology of Chronic and Degenerative Disease. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, USA.
Konotey-Ahulu (1989) F.I.D. What is AIDS? Watford England: Tetteh-A'Domeno Co., UK, pp. 109.
Rappaport op. cit. p. 73.
Williams AO (1992) AIDS: An African Perspective. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, pp. 238.
Duesberg PH Inventing the AIDS t7ras, pp. 293.
Konotey-Ahulu op. cit., p. 56-57.
WHO (1995) The Current Global Situation of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic. World Health Organization, Switzerland.
Duesberg PH (1992) AIDS acquired by drug consumption and other non contagious risk factors. Pharmacol Ther 55(3): 201-277.
Ibid p. 240.
Rappaport, op. cit., p. 71-82.
Biggar RJ, Melbye M, Kestens L, de Feyter M, Saxinger C, et al. (1985) Seroepidemiology of HTLV-III antibodies in a remote population of Eastern Zaire. Br Med J 290: 808-810.
Duesberg PH (1987) Retroviruses as carcinogens and pathogens: Expectations and reality. Cancer Research 47: 1199-1220.
Lemonick MD (1995) Return to the Hot Zone. Time International.
Duesberg PH, AIDS acquired by drug consumption. pp. 237-238.
Rappaport, op. cit., p. 130.
Culbert, Michael L (1898) Committee on Government Operations AIDS Drugs: Where Are They? 73rd Report. AsIDS: Hope Hoax and Hoopla, The Bradford Foundation, Chula Vista, Cal, p. 10-11.
Chiu D, Duesberg PH (1995) The toxicity of Azidothymidine (AZT) on human and animal cells in culture at concentrations used for antiviral therapy. Genetica 95: 103-109.
Duesberg PH, AIDS acquired by drug consumption. pp. 201-277.
Yarchoan R, Pluda JM, Perno CF, Mitsuya H, Broder S (1991) Anti-retroviral therapy of human immunodeficiency virus infection: Current strategies and challenges for the future. Blood 78(4): 859-884.
McLeod GX, Hammer SM (1992) Zidovudine: Five years later. Ann Intern Med 117(6): 487-501.
Duesberg PH (1995) Is HIV the cause of AIDS? Lancet 346(8986): 1371-1372.
Coulter Harris L (1987) AIDS and Syphilis- The Hidden Link. Berkeley, California, USA, p. 37.
Rappaport, op. cit., pp. 152-153.
James, Walene (1995) Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth. (2nd edn), Bergin & Garvey (Eds.), Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, CT, p. 35-36.
Sermos Gus G (1988) Doctors of Deceit and the AIDS Epidemic-An expose of the Centers for Disease Control by an insider. GGS Publishing, USA, p. 3.
RO Young (1999) Sick and Tired. Woodland Publishing, USA.
Vertrouwelijk RIVM-rapport: ventilatiesysteem verspreidde virus in verpleeghuis | De Volkskrant
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:37
Verpleegtehuis De Tweemaster in Maassluis. Beeld Marcel van den Bergh / de Volkskrant De vertrouwelijke rapportage voedt de voortdurende discussie of het covid-19-virus zich ook via kleine deeltjes door de lucht (aerosolen) verspreidt. Als dat het geval is, kan ventilatie een belangrijke rol spelen. Een groep van 239 wetenschappers drong vorige maand in een open brief nog aan om dit serieuzer te nemen.
Tussen 23 en 26 juni raakten in verpleeghuisafdeling De Tweemaster 17 van de 21 bewoners besmet met het covid-19-virus. Zes van hen overleden. Ook 18 medewerkers kregen het virus, terwijl het personeel chirurgische mondneusmaskers droeg, behalve tijdens de pauzes.
Toen er desondanks abrupt zo veel besmettingen onder het personeel plaatsvonden terwijl aanvankelijk maar (C)(C)n patint was besmet, werd het ventilatiesysteem in de gemeenschappelijke huiskamer onderzocht. Op het gaas van de airco-unit en in filters van vier ventilatiekasten werd vervolgens het virus in hoge waarden aangetroffen.
'De combinatie van bevindingen ('...) zijn suggestief voor een verdere verspreiding van het SARS-CoV-2-virus door een ventilatiesysteem', aldus het RIVM in de vertrouwelijke rapportage, die op 23 juli in het instituut is besproken. Voor de betrokken onderzoekers is de bevinding 'reden om andere instellingen te attenderen op de mogelijke risico's van ventilatiesystemen met recirculatie van binnenlucht'.
TegenstrijdigDe bevindingen uit het vertrouwelijke rapport lijken tegenstrijdig met wat het RIVM in openbare publicaties beweert. Zo stelt het instituut in antwoord op vragen van het ministerie van Volksgezondheid dat er 'momenteel geen uitbraak in Nederland bekend is waarbij is gebleken dat (gebrek aan) ventilatie een hoofdrol heeft gespeeld bij de transmissie van SARS-CoV-2'.
Opmerkelijk is dat het RIVM de Ventilatierichtlijn vorige week juist op dit punt stilzwijgend heeft herzien, drie dagen na de rapportage over het verpleeghuis in Maassluis. Daarin staat nu: 'Uit voorzorg wordt geadviseerd om recirculatie binnen (C)(C)n ruimte waar meerdere personen gedurende langere tijd bij elkaar zijn zo veel mogelijk te vermijden en de lucht voldoende te verversen.'
De betreffende verpleeghuisafdeling beschikt over een dergelijk modern, energiezuinig ventilatiesysteem dat om warmteverlies te voorkomen lucht in (C)(C)n ruimte laat circuleren. Volgens de Argos Zorggroep is de locatie inmiddels weer in gebruik. Hoe dit zich verhoudt tot het aangescherpte RIVM-advies wil de zorggroep niet toelichten.
Branchevereniging voor ouderenzorg ActiZ heeft de aangepaste Ventilatierichtlijn van het RIVM vorige week direct gedeeld met haar leden, laat een woordvoerder weten. Waarom de aanpassing in de richtlijn niet publiekelijk is gecommuniceerd, wil het RIVM niet zeggen. Ook niet of de casus in Maassluis de directe aanleiding is geweest voor de aanscherping.
'Het RIVM doet geen uitspraken over vertrouwelijke documenten', luidt de formele reactie, hoewel er ook in openbare documenten gewag wordt gemaakt van nader onderzoek naar de rol van recirculatie van lucht binnen de gemeenschappelijke huiskamer bij 'een uitbraak in een verpleeghuis in de regio Rotterdam'. Hetzelfde geldt voor de rol van recirculatie van lucht bij 'een uitbraak in een vleesverwerkingsbedrijf'.
Aerosolen Hoogleraar civiele techniek aan de TU Eindhoven Bert Blocken spreekt van 'een zeer interessante casus'. 'Dit is naar mijn weten de eerste keer in Nederland dat de rol van gebrekkige ventilatie bij een massabesmetting zo zorgvuldig is onderzocht en vastgesteld.' Blocken tekende de eerder genoemde open brief bewust niet, omdat wetenschappelijk nog niet onomstotelijk vaststaat dat aerosolen en ventilatie een rol spelen bij virusoverdracht . 'Maar plausibel wordt het meer en meer.'
Daarom vindt de hoogleraar het ook verstandig dat het RIVM de richtlijn heeft aangepast. 'Dit is voortschrijdend inzicht zoals we de afgelopen maanden voortdurend hebben gezien. Zorg dat ventilatie op orde is. Dat is nu nog te doen. Maar in de herfst en winter wordt dat een probleem.'
We kunnen u deze content helaas niet tonen.Dat komt omdat u uw cookievoorkeuren zo hebt ingesteld. Wilt u liever volledig gebruik maken van onze site? Ga dan naar het service menu en kies bij cookie-instellingen op alles accepteren. U kunt ook alleen de sociale content aanzetten. Kies dan voor cookies toestaan van sociale media.
Vertrouwelijk RIVM-rapport: ventilatiesysteem verspreidde virus in verpleeghuis | De Volkskrant
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:37
Verpleegtehuis De Tweemaster in Maassluis. Beeld Marcel van den Bergh / de Volkskrant De vertrouwelijke rapportage voedt de voortdurende discussie of het covid-19-virus zich ook via kleine deeltjes door de lucht (aerosolen) verspreidt. Als dat het geval is, kan ventilatie een belangrijke rol spelen. Een groep van 239 wetenschappers drong vorige maand in een open brief nog aan om dit serieuzer te nemen.
Tussen 23 en 26 juni raakten in verpleeghuisafdeling De Tweemaster 17 van de 21 bewoners besmet met het covid-19-virus. Zes van hen overleden. Ook 18 medewerkers kregen het virus, terwijl het personeel chirurgische mondneusmaskers droeg, behalve tijdens de pauzes.
Toen er desondanks abrupt zo veel besmettingen onder het personeel plaatsvonden terwijl aanvankelijk maar (C)(C)n patint was besmet, werd het ventilatiesysteem in de gemeenschappelijke huiskamer onderzocht. Op het gaas van de airco-unit en in filters van vier ventilatiekasten werd vervolgens het virus in hoge waarden aangetroffen.
'De combinatie van bevindingen ('...) zijn suggestief voor een verdere verspreiding van het SARS-CoV-2-virus door een ventilatiesysteem', aldus het RIVM in de vertrouwelijke rapportage, die op 23 juli in het instituut is besproken. Voor de betrokken onderzoekers is de bevinding 'reden om andere instellingen te attenderen op de mogelijke risico's van ventilatiesystemen met recirculatie van binnenlucht'.
TegenstrijdigDe bevindingen uit het vertrouwelijke rapport lijken tegenstrijdig met wat het RIVM in openbare publicaties beweert. Zo stelt het instituut in antwoord op vragen van het ministerie van Volksgezondheid dat er 'momenteel geen uitbraak in Nederland bekend is waarbij is gebleken dat (gebrek aan) ventilatie een hoofdrol heeft gespeeld bij de transmissie van SARS-CoV-2'.
Opmerkelijk is dat het RIVM de Ventilatierichtlijn vorige week juist op dit punt stilzwijgend heeft herzien, drie dagen na de rapportage over het verpleeghuis in Maassluis. Daarin staat nu: 'Uit voorzorg wordt geadviseerd om recirculatie binnen (C)(C)n ruimte waar meerdere personen gedurende langere tijd bij elkaar zijn zo veel mogelijk te vermijden en de lucht voldoende te verversen.'
De betreffende verpleeghuisafdeling beschikt over een dergelijk modern, energiezuinig ventilatiesysteem dat om warmteverlies te voorkomen lucht in (C)(C)n ruimte laat circuleren. Volgens de Argos Zorggroep is de locatie inmiddels weer in gebruik. Hoe dit zich verhoudt tot het aangescherpte RIVM-advies wil de zorggroep niet toelichten.
Branchevereniging voor ouderenzorg ActiZ heeft de aangepaste Ventilatierichtlijn van het RIVM vorige week direct gedeeld met haar leden, laat een woordvoerder weten. Waarom de aanpassing in de richtlijn niet publiekelijk is gecommuniceerd, wil het RIVM niet zeggen. Ook niet of de casus in Maassluis de directe aanleiding is geweest voor de aanscherping.
'Het RIVM doet geen uitspraken over vertrouwelijke documenten', luidt de formele reactie, hoewel er ook in openbare documenten gewag wordt gemaakt van nader onderzoek naar de rol van recirculatie van lucht binnen de gemeenschappelijke huiskamer bij 'een uitbraak in een verpleeghuis in de regio Rotterdam'. Hetzelfde geldt voor de rol van recirculatie van lucht bij 'een uitbraak in een vleesverwerkingsbedrijf'.
Aerosolen Hoogleraar civiele techniek aan de TU Eindhoven Bert Blocken spreekt van 'een zeer interessante casus'. 'Dit is naar mijn weten de eerste keer in Nederland dat de rol van gebrekkige ventilatie bij een massabesmetting zo zorgvuldig is onderzocht en vastgesteld.' Blocken tekende de eerder genoemde open brief bewust niet, omdat wetenschappelijk nog niet onomstotelijk vaststaat dat aerosolen en ventilatie een rol spelen bij virusoverdracht . 'Maar plausibel wordt het meer en meer.'
Daarom vindt de hoogleraar het ook verstandig dat het RIVM de richtlijn heeft aangepast. 'Dit is voortschrijdend inzicht zoals we de afgelopen maanden voortdurend hebben gezien. Zorg dat ventilatie op orde is. Dat is nu nog te doen. Maar in de herfst en winter wordt dat een probleem.'
We kunnen u deze content helaas niet tonen.Dat komt omdat u uw cookievoorkeuren zo hebt ingesteld. Wilt u liever volledig gebruik maken van onze site? Ga dan naar het service menu en kies bij cookie-instellingen op alles accepteren. U kunt ook alleen de sociale content aanzetten. Kies dan voor cookies toestaan van sociale media.
Why The WHO Faked A Pandemic
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 02:58
The World Health Organization has suddenly gone from crying "The sky is falling!" like a cackling Chicken Little to squealing like a stuck pig. The reason: charges that the agency deliberately fomented swine flu hysteria. "The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is wrong and irresponsible," the agency claims on its Web site. A WHO spokesman declined to specify who or what gave this "description," but the primary accuser is hard to ignore.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a human rights watchdog, is publicly investigating the WHO's motives in declaring a pandemic. Indeed, the chairman of its influential health committee, epidemiologist Wolfgang Wodarg, has declared that the "false pandemic" is "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."
Even within the agency, the director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology in Munster, Germany, Dr. Ulrich Kiel, has essentially labeled the pandemic a hoax. "We are witnessing a gigantic misallocation of resources [$18 billion so far] in terms of public health," he said.
They're right. This wasn't merely overcautiousness or simple misjudgment. The pandemic declaration and all the Klaxon-ringing since reflect sheer dishonesty motivated not by medical concerns but political ones.
Unquestionably, swine flu has proved to be vastly milder than ordinary seasonal flu. It kills at a third to a tenth the rate, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Data from other countries like France and Japan indicate it's far tamer than that.
Indeed, judging by what we've seen in New Zealand and Australia (where the epidemics have ended), and by what we're seeing elsewhere in the world, we'll have considerably fewer flu deaths this season than normal. That's because swine flu muscles aside seasonal flu, acting as a sort of inoculation against the far deadlier strain.
Did the WHO have any indicators of this mildness when it declared the pandemic in June?
Absolutely, as I wrote at the time. We were then fully 11 weeks into the outbreak and swine flu had only killed 144 people worldwide--the same number who die of seasonal flu worldwide every few hours. (An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 per year by the WHO's own numbers.) The mildest pandemics of the 20th century killed at least a million people.
But how could the organization declare a pandemic when its own official definition required "simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness." Severity--that is, the number of deaths--is crucial, because every year flu causes "a global spread of disease."
Easy. In May, in what it admitted was a direct response to the outbreak of swine flu the month before, WHO promulgated a new definition matched to swine flu that simply eliminated severity as a factor. You could now have a pandemic with zero deaths.
Under fire, the organization is boldly lying about the change, to which anybody with an Internet connection can attest. In a mid-January virtual conference WHO swine flu chief Keiji Fukuda stated: "Did WHO change its definition of a pandemic? The answer is no: WHO did not change its definition." Two weeks later at a PACE conference he insisted: "Having severe deaths has never been part of the WHO definition."
They did it; but why?
In part, it was CYA for the WHO. The agency was losing credibility over the refusal of avian flu H5N1 to go pandemic and kill as many as 150 million people worldwide, as its "flu czar" had predicted in 2005.
Around the world nations heeded the warnings and spent vast sums developing vaccines and making other preparations. So when swine flu conveniently trotted in, the WHO essentially crossed out "avian," inserted "swine," and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan arrogantly boasted, "The world can now reap the benefits of investments over the last five years in pandemic preparedness."
But there's more than bureaucratic self-interest at work here. Bizarrely enough, the WHO has also exploited its phony pandemic to push a hard left political agenda.
In a September speech WHO Director-General Chan said "ministers of health" should take advantage of the "devastating impact" swine flu will have on poorer nations to get out the message that "changes in the functioning of the global economy" are needed to "distribute wealth on the basis of" values "like community, solidarity, equity and social justice." She further declared it should be used as a weapon against "international policies and systems that govern financial markets, economies, commerce, trade and foreign affairs."
Chan's dream now lies in tatters. All the WHO has done, says PACE's Wodart, is to destroy "much of the credibility that they should have, which is invaluable to us if there's a future scare that might turn out to be a killer on a large scale."
Michael Fumento is director of the nonprofit Independent Journalism Project, where he specializes in health and science issues. He may be reached at
Read more Forbes Opinions here.
Het document dat alles zou moeten doen veranderen - Maurice de Hond
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:04
Een document ontvangenMet enige regelmaat ontvang ik mails van personen, werkzaam bij officile instanties, die de beschikking hebben over relevante informatie die niet naar buiten wordt gebracht. Maar waarvan die personen wel menen dat het relevant is dat dit gebeurt.
De inhoud ervan versterkt het beeld dat die officile instanties alleen maar behoefte hebben aan informatie die hun standpunten uit het recente verleden bevestigt. Informatie die daar haaks op staat, is alleen maar erg lastig en moet genegeerd worden of '' nog erger- onder de pet gehouden worden, wat daarvan ook de kosten mogen zijn qua volksgezondheid, economie of maatschappij.
Enkele dagen geleden ontving ik op deze manier zo'n stuk. Ik las het met open mond. En daarna kostte het nog een tijd om echt te laten indalen wat dit allemaal betekende. Niet alleen de inhoud ervan, maar ook (en misschien vooral) dat het RIVM deze informatie niet direct massaal is gaan delen.
De bevindingenIk geef hieronder de samenvatting van dit stuk. Het is een interne beschrijving van de resultaten van het onderzoek door iemand van het RIVM zelf.
De datum van dit stuk is 23 juli. Terwijl ik dit schrijf is het 13 dagen later.Er is een zorginstelling met 7 aparte afdelingen en in totaal 120 bewoners in de regio Rotterdam-Rijnmond. Inmiddels is bekend dat het Maassluis betreft.In (C)(C)n van die afdelingen werden eind juni 17 van de 21 bewoners positief getest. Kort erna werden ook 18 medewerkers positief getest.Men weet welke patint de index-patint was.De medewerkers droegen vanaf half april professionele mondkapjes, behalve tijdens hun pauzes.Gezien deze ontwikkelingen (de uitbraak die vrijwel tegelijkertijd plaatsvond en dat het personeel mondkapjes droeg) en het feit dat er op dat moment buiten de instelling ook maar heel weinig besmette personen waren, heeft men naast het normale bron- en contactonderzoek, ook het ventilatiesysteem onderzocht.Uit de beschrijving van het ventilatiesysteem bleek dat de bewuste afdeling niet lang geleden was gerenoveerd. Het ventilatiesysteem stond niet in verbinding met andere afdelingen. Het systeem was energie-efficint en dat hield in dat er alleen verse lucht naar binnen werd gehaald (en verwarmd of gekoeld) als het CO2-gehalte te hoog was. Normaal werd de lucht dus ongefilterd gerecirculeerd.In de huiskamer van die afdeling stond ook speciale ventilatieapparatuur plus ook 2 airco-units. Het filtersysteem was erop gericht om stof uit de lucht te halen.
In de andere afdelingen was die apparatuur er niet en werd de buitenlucht rechtstreeks gebruikt
Op diverse plekken werd begin juli in de filters van dit ventilatiesysteem of in de buurt ervan COVID-19 aangetroffen!Als conclusie staat er dat de bevindingen ''suggestief zijn voor de verspreiding van het virus via het ventilatiesysteem''.Plus dat blijkbaar de resultaten voor de betrokken microbiologen van het Rotterdamse ziekenhuis aanleiding waren om andere zorginstellingen te attenderen op de mogelijke risico's van de verspreiding van het virus door recirculatie van lucht via het ventilatiesysteem.EenVandaag heeft zojuist over dit document deze reportage gemaakt. En De Volkskrant pleegde ook nog aanvullend onderzoek, dat je hier aantreft.
De conclusiesDe bewoording van het onderzoek in het document is van een medewerker van RIVM zelf. De terminologie ''suggestief voor'' en ''mogelijke risico's'' hebben zij gebruikt. Ik vraag me af welke andere mogelijke verklaring je kunt hebben bij deze onderzoeksresultaten.
Ik beoordeel deze resultaten als een bevestiging van de vele bewijzen dat:
Slecht afgestelde of slechts circulerende ventilatiesystemen een belangrijke rol spelen bij het massaal verspreiden van het virus onder degenen die in die ruimtes (langdurig aanwezig zijn).Aerosolen dus een rol spelen bij het verspreiden van het virus. En dat via die aerosolen in een relatief korte tijd veel mensen tegelijk kunnen worden besmet.Dit is -helaas- ook een ondersteuning van mijn stelling dat er sinds maart veel mensen in zorginstellingen ziek zijn geworden (en overleden) door de wijze waarop de ventilatiesystemen functioneerden. Vooral daar waar veel van de bewoners (en medewerkers) in korte tijd waren besmet. Ik had onlangs beschreven dat juist dan de bewoners heel lang het virus inademen (dus een hoge virale doses krijgen) en daardoor veel zieker worden. In dit geval zijn er 6 van de 17 besmette personen overleden.
Dit is niet alleen belangrijke informatie ter evaluatie van wat er is gebeurd, maar nog belangrijker, het levert cruciale informatie ten aanzien van het beleid dat nu gevoerd moet worden om nieuwe besmettingen zoveel mogelijk te voorkomen.
Want: hou rekening met besmettingen via aerosolen, zorg dat de ventilatiesystemen goed zijn en zorg voor zoveel mogelijk verse lucht. En dat geldt niet alleen voor zorginstellingen, maar op ieder plek in binnenruimtes waar veel mensen bij elkaar komen. En -zeker nu het mooi weer is- verplaats activiteiten, zoals feestjes, zoveel mogelijk naar buiten.
En wat deed het RIVM hiermee?Maar niet alleen voor zorginstellingen is dit cruciale informatie, maar ook voor scholen, die binnenkort weer opengaan, voor kantoren, voor restaurants, voor theaters, voor bioscopen. Daarom stelde ik eind juni al het Deltaplan Ventilatie voor. Om te zorgen dat we in het najaar zo min mogelijk risico's zouden lopen in binnenruimtes.
En dat leidt tot mijn tweede schok. En misschien nog wel een grotere dan de eerste.
Het RIVM beschikte in ieder geval op 23 juli over deze informatie. Uit het stuk is eigenlijk op te maken dat de informatie zelf nog minstens enkele dagen ouder is. Er staat heel expliciet dat blijkbaar de microbiologen die het onderzoek hadden gedaan, zorginstellingen zijn gaan attenderen op het ''mogelijk risico''.
Ik weet van journalisten dat ze geprobeerd hebben een reactie hierover te krijgen bij RIVM, GGD, de zorginstelling of de betrokken microbioloog. Geen van hen reageerde.
Ik had echter al wel via mijn klokkenluider vernomen dat de betrokken microbioloog de zorginstellingen niet heeft gewaarschuwd, zoals het wel in dat rapportje staat, op instigatie van GGD/RIVM.
Waarom zijn deze bevindingen voor het RIVM geen reden geweest om er zelf onmiddellijk mee naar buiten te komen, zodat alle beheerders van HVAC-systemen in Nederland direct zich bewust werden van de risico's van niet goed functionerende ventilatiesystemen? Dus niet alleen die van zorginstellingen, maar overal!
Maar als je het opereren van het RIVM en Van Dissel c.s. sinds februari goed hebt gevolgd, dan is het antwoord heel eenvoudig. Je haalt het al uit de tweet van het RIVM van 31 juli jl. Voor het eerst dat het RIVM expliciet aandacht vroeg voor het onderwerp ventilatie. Lees het onderstaande met het besef dat men bij het RIVM zeker 8 dagen ervoor al de bevindingen wist van dat onderzoek.
Het volgt het nu al maanden herkenbare patroon van het RIVM: bij de oude standpunten blijven. En als men wat van positie verschuift, doet men het op een manier dat je niet zou kunnen denken dat het eigenlijk een verschuiving is.
Besef daarbij dat veel van de besmettingen die nu ontstaan gebeuren op plekken waar in besloten ruimtes mensen bij elkaar zijn. Kroegen, feestruimtes, zorginstellingen. En hoe belangrijk het zou zijn dat elke keer als we onze autoriteiten horen, zoals de ministers en burgemeesters, ze niet alleen hun standaard mantra's aflopen: ''1,5 meter, persoonlijke hygine, thuis blijven bij klachten'', maar als eerste voortaan zeggen ''niet in besloten ruimtes komen zonder goede ventilatie''. En met het mooie weer de instructie erbij geven, zoals de Amerikanen in april al zeiden ''move all activities outside''.
Maar ja, dat vond het RIVM nooit echt van groot belang, en zelfs na deze bevindingen in die zorginstelling van Rijnmond, nu nog steeds niet. En onze bestuurders hebben tot nu toe steeds hun oren laten hangen naar het RIVM.
Laten we hopen dat de bevindingen rondom dit bijzondere document een wake-up call worden voor onze bestuurders in Nederland. Want anders gaan we in het najaar een echte tweede golf meemaken en/of vormen van al dan niet regionale lockdowns met verdere desastreuze gevolgen voor economie en samenleving.
P.S. Het is voor mij en waarschijnlijk ook voor nabestaanden van slachtoffers in zorginstellingen wrang om dit alles nu te lezen. Op 2 april jl. had ik een mail gestuurd naar 70 politici, adviseurs van politici, en een groot aantal journalisten. Het ging over dit blog met de titel ''Eureka, dit zijn de verspreidingsversnellers, de microdruppels''. Daarin vraag ik aandacht voor de aerosolen en ook wijs ik op het belang van ventilatie en luchtvochtigheid. In die mail vestigde ik de aandacht op dit blog met de titel ''Nieuwe wetenschappelijke inzichten vanuit Japan en Korea reiken de sleutel aan voor de oplossing!'' Ik zag daar in de media niets van terug.
Op 19 april was ik voor het eerst bij Op1. Ten aanzien van zorginstellingen wees ik in dit fragment nadrukkelijk op het gevaar van de verspreiding van aerosolen via de ventilatie.
In het beleid heb ik daar helaas tot voor kort vrijwel niets van teruggezien. En nog steeds hoor ik van onze bestuurders alleen maar het belang van 1,5 meter en niet om te zorgen voor goede ventilatie in besloten ruimtes. Daar waar vrijwel alle clusters van besmettingen nu ontstaan. Niet alleen waren de slachtoffers in die zorginstelling in Maassluis onnodig, maar ook veel besmettingen die nu plaatsvinden.
Let Us Out!
Richard Marx on Twitter: "Congrats, America. We're not only leading the world in Covid, we've got the market cornered on stunningly dumbest motherfucking stupid fucking fucks in the history of ever." / Twitter
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:07
Richard Marx : Congrats, America. We're not only leading the world in Covid, we've got the market cornered on stunningly dumbest m'...
Thu Aug 06 03:34:49 +0000 2020
Sarah Kenny : @richardmarx
Thu Aug 06 04:05:30 +0000 2020
Tanja : @richardmarx They were probably Trump supporters, so less Trump supporters?
Thu Aug 06 04:04:36 +0000 2020
Scott Squires : @richardmarx Too bad the dumbest is president
Thu Aug 06 04:03:21 +0000 2020
Kathy : @richardmarx Wear your f**kng mask:
Thu Aug 06 04:02:59 +0000 2020
Wayne McMillan : @richardmarx Fake news.... I just had a shot of bleach with a hand sanitizer chaser and eye m hvng n Cid effex. Zz'...
Thu Aug 06 04:02:26 +0000 2020
Mister October : @richardmarx @bbennettesq I swear i left common sense and critical thinking by the river '---
Thu Aug 06 03:59:48 +0000 2020
Tanya Carson ðŸ·ðŸ"¸'ðŸŒðŸ¾ðŸŒŠðŸ†¸ : @richardmarx I say it every day: dumbest country on earth
Thu Aug 06 03:57:18 +0000 2020
Creed Thoughts : @richardmarx I sang this tweet to the melody of ''Hold on to the Nights'' and it kind of works
Thu Aug 06 03:56:05 +0000 2020
Gohar : @richardmarx Hey man, as long as it means less MAGAts polluting the Earth, who am I to question Darwin?
Thu Aug 06 03:56:01 +0000 2020
PersistentNastyWoman 🌼ðŸŒ>> : @richardmarx @cindiidnic Trump does love the poorly educated
Thu Aug 06 03:54:13 +0000 2020
Dr. Fauci's Face PalmðŸ'ðŸ'› : @richardmarx This is natural selection trying to work faster in our favor
Thu Aug 06 03:54:05 +0000 2020
C.D.C. Warns of the Dangers of Drinking Hand Sanitizer After Fatal Poisonings - The New York Times
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:05
Four people died and nearly a dozen others were poisoned after swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer, federal health officials said.
Image A funeral attendant providing hand sanitizer to a mourner arriving for a visitation in Elsa, Texas. Credit... Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times Federal health authorities issued a formal warning on Wednesday about the dangers of drinking hand sanitizer and alerted poison control centers across the nation to be on the lookout for cases of methanol toxicity after four people died and nearly a dozen became ill.
From May 1 to June 30, 15 people in Arizona and New Mexico were treated for poisoning after they swallowed alcohol-based hand sanitizer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Three of the patients sustained visual impairments, according to the C.D.C., which said that drinking hand sanitizer can cause methanol poisoning. Methanol is a type of alcohol commonly found in fuel products, antifreeze, industrial solvents and in some preparations of hand sanitizer that federal health officials said is harmful and should not be used.
Hand sanitizer has become a ubiquitous and often scarce substitute for hand washing during the coronavirus pandemic. The C.D.C. has recommended the use of ethyl alcohol- or isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
''Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested,'' the C.D.C. said in the advisory on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear if any of the people who were poisoned drank the hand sanitizer for its disinfectant properties. The C.D.C. said some adults had consumed it for its alcohol content.
Health officials warned that drinking hand sanitizer made with either methanol or ethanol could cause a headache, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of coordination and decreased level of consciousness. Methanol poisoning can additionally result in metabolic acidosis, seizures, blindness and death, they said.
''Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer products containing methanol can cause life-threatening methanol poisoning,'' the C.D.C. said. ''Young children might unintentionally swallow these products, whereas adolescents or adults with history of alcohol use disorder might intentionally swallow these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute.''
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates hand sanitizers, announced that it had placed methanol-based hand sanitizers manufactured in Mexico on an import alert because of their toxicity. It also said it was working with retailers to recall that type of hand sanitizer and remove those products from marketplaces.
''Consumers must also be vigilant about which hand sanitizers they use, and for their health and safety we urge consumers to immediately stop using all hand sanitizers on the FDA's list of dangerous hand sanitizer products,'' Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the agency's commissioner, said in a statement on July 27.
In June, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that three people had died, three were in critical condition and one was permanently blind after ingesting hand sanitizer that contained methanol.
The Coronavirus Outbreak 'ºFrequently Asked QuestionsUpdated August 4, 2020
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that's perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it's highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.I'm a small-business owner. Can I get relief?The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don't know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees -- without giving you the sick employee's name -- that they may have been exposed to the virus.Should I refinance my mortgage?It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you're thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.What is school going to look like in September?It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California's two largest public school districts '-- Los Angeles and San Diego '-- said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won't be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation's largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There's no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.A spokesman from the health department said at the time that the cases were related to alcoholism, noting that hand sanitizer was sometimes consumed for its high alcohol content.
In 2016, a former Wells Fargo employee drew widespread attention after she told The New York Times that she had been under so much stress at her job during a banking scandal that she drank hand sanitizer and became addicted to it.
The rise in poisoning cases of people who drank hand sanitizer drew the attention of public health researchers, who wrote about it in a 2012 report.
Dr. Anthony F. Suffredini, a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health and an author of the report, described the case of a 17-year-old hospital patient who became acutely ill after putting hand sanitizer into his feeding tube while being treated for other medical problems. The boy required mechanical ventilation to assist with his breathing and dialysis to rid his blood of the alcohol.
''This young man, who was from the South, mentioned that among his circle of friends, who were all underage, if they couldn't find alcohol any other way, this was one of the ways they tried to get high,'' Dr. Suffredini said at the time.
Louisville Cuban community to rally in support of La Bodeguita de Mima
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 18:12
Members of Louisville's Cuban community plan to gather Sunday in support of a NuLu restaurant owner who says he was threatened by Black Lives Matter protesters during a recent demonstration.
Fernando Martinez, a partner of the Ol(C) Restaurant Group, was one of dozens of business owners in the downtown Louisville district who recently received a letter from protesters laying out demands that aim to improve diversity in the area, which is known for its locally-owned shops and restaurants.
Martinez has publicly denounced the demands on Facebook, calling them "mafia tactics" used to intimidate business owners. And on Thursday, a small group of protesters confronted him outside his newest restaurant, La Bodeguita de Mima, on East Market Street.
"There comes a time in life that you have to make a stand and you have to really prove your convictions and what you believe in," Martinez wrote in his Facebook post. "... All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?"
Also: Group tried to set fire to Hall of Justice, Louisville police say
More: 'Mafia tactics' or 'legitimate' demands? NuLu businesses respond to protesters
According to a press release, members of the city's Cuban community will meet outside the NuLu restaurant at 4 p.m. Sunday to support the immigrant-owned business, which "has been subject to vandalism and extortion in recent days."
The release states that La Bodeguita de Mima was forced to close July 24 during a demonstration that shut down East Market Street, at which several protesters presented Martinez with the list of demands and said he "better put the letter on the door so your business is not f*cked with."
The restaurant remained closed the next two days because "management and staff were concerned about safety," according to the release. "30+ staff members (mostly immigrants) were unable to earn a paycheck."
On Thursday, a small group of protesters returned to the restaurant after seeing Martinez's post about the demands on Facebook. While there, one protester smashed a flower pot outside the business, while the rest spoke with Martinez and other employees about why the demands are needed.
The demands and an attached contract, which were created by local organizers and activists, ask NuLu business owners to:
Adequately represent the Black population of Louisville by having a minimum of 23% Black staff;
Purchase a minimum of 23% inventory from Black retailers or make a recurring monthly donation of 1.5% of net sales to a local Black nonprofit or organization;
Require diversity and inclusion training for all staff members on a bi-annual basis;
And display a visible sign that increases awareness and shows support for the reparations movement.
Phelix Crittenden, an activist who works with Black Lives Matter Louisville, said the demands and related "NuLu social justice health and wellness ratings" were not meant to be a threat but were instead intended to start a conversation with owners about how their businesses can better reflect and support Black people.
Crittenden, who also founded the organization Blacks Organizing Strategic Success, said several NuLu business owners have volunteered to sign the contract created by the protesters and are open to discussing their roles in the gentrification of the area, which has undergone hundreds of millions of dollars in development in recent years.
'We know how to fight': Why Black women are leading Louisville's racial justice movement
At the root of the protesters' demands is the request that business owners acknowledge the harm brought on Black residents when they were displaced from NuLu and the adjoining Phoenix Hill neighborhood during the demolition of the Clarksdale housing project in the early 2000s.
The 65-year-old complex, which abutted NuLu on Jefferson Street, was torn down in 2004 and replaced with mixed-income housing that became known as Liberty Green.
According to a 2009 Courier Journal article, just 41 of the roughly 635 families who'd been displaced at Clarksdale returned to the new development.
"NuLu is flourishing," Crittenden said. "To see that literal line in the sand, as soon as you cross the street, it's very disturbing. NuLu doesn't reflect the community they sit in and claim to incorporate and serve."
Read this: Black Lives Matter protesters block East Market in NuLu; dozens arrested
Reach reporter Bailey Loosemore at, 502-582-4646 or on Twitter @bloosemore. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:
Members of Louisville's Cuban community plan to gather Sunday in support of a NuLu restaurant owner who says he was threatened by Black Lives Matter protesters during a recent demonstration.
Fernando Martinez, a partner of the Ol(C) Restaurant Group, was one of dozens of business owners in the downtown Louisville district who recently received a letter from protesters laying out demands that aim to improve diversity in the area, which is known for its locally-owned shops and restaurants.
Martinez has publicly denounced the demands on Facebook, calling them "mafia tactics" used to intimidate business owners. And on Thursday, a small group of protesters confronted him outside his newest restaurant, La Bodeguita de Mima, on East Market Street.
"There comes a time in life that you have to make a stand and you have to really prove your convictions and what you believe in," Martinez wrote in his Facebook post. "... All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?"
Also: Group tried to set fire to Hall of Justice, Louisville police say
Clear Goes Beyond Airports with Its COVID-19 Screening Service | Cond(C) Nast Traveler
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:26
Clear, the company that lets members zoom through the airport security line using a fingerprint or retina scan, is pivoting to the public health sphere amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company has launched a new service called Health Pass by Clear, which is meant to screen for the virus before users congregate in a public space. The screening service has already launched on a trial basis at museums, restaurants, and sports arenas, with plans to keep extending to other venues.
''Clear was conceived in the wake of 9/11 to address a major public safety need and is stepping up to meet today's public health crisis," Caryn Seidman-Becker, the company's CEO, said recently in a statement. As more cities and states look to reopen businesses safely while the COVID-19 outbreak rages on, many officials and business owners are searching for ways to screen citizens, customers, and employees for the virus.
Originally launched in May, Health Pass is an extension of Clear's mobile app. The service links COVID-19 related data like a health questionnaire and temperature check to assess whether someone is healthy enough to enter a certain venue. Additionally, the app has capability to link COVID-19 test results through partnerships with labs and, eventually, vaccination status. Users verify their identity with a selfie and load their information into the app. They then use a Clear scanning pod at the venue for a temperature scan and to upload their results, either by facial recognition or a QR code. The app only tells the venue owner whether the user passed or failed the health screening based on their individual requirements by showing a red or green light; it doesn't relay any health information.
Health Pass is already being used by companies in several cities. Earlier in July, the biometric screening company launched Health Pass trials with Founders Table, a restaurant group that owns chains such as Chopt and Dos Toros. Founders Table will be piloting the tech with 30 staff members across two of its locations that have reopened: a Chopt in Washington, D.C., and Dos Toros in New York City. Employees at both restaurant locations will use the Health Pass app for their daily health screenings before beginning work. Clear has also launched a three-month trial partnership with the 9/11 Museum in New York to use the app to screen its 450 staff for the virus as the museum reopens its outdoor grounds. (The interior of the museum remains closed.)
Most recently, the biometric data company launched its biggest Health Pass collaboration yet: a partnership with the National Hockey League to screen about 3,000 players, coaches, and other staff during the leagues' playoffs in Toronto and Edmonton, Canada. "Health Pass will be used across the NHL's closed playoff ecosystems, helping ensure everyone coming into and moving across these hotels, venues, restaurants, and transportation is safe and healthy," Clear said in a statement. In each of the host cities, there will be more than 30 physical access points, featuring Clear's kiosks.
But this seems to be just the beginning for the new screening service. The company says Health Pass is in the process of being deployed to additional restaurants, retail shops, hotels, office buildings, airports, and arenas. "New partnerships are being announced every week," a Clear release said. ''We are in conversations with different partners across industries, including with restaurateur Danny Meyer, the New York Mets, RXR, and the Las Vegas COVID-19 recovery task force,'' Maria Comella, Clear's head of public affairs, told CNBC in June. Clear already has standing partnerships with 25 stadiums across the U.S. for quicker processing through security lines using fingerprint and retina scans'--similar to the biometric product it has at 33 U.S. airports.
Although it's rolling out widely, Health Pass is not without its critics. Public health officials have noted that it would be easy for anyone to lie on similar health questionnaire, while privacy advocates decry the collection and use of health and biometric data on such a broad scale. Because it partially runs on facial recognition technology, still other critics point out the service could be biased against African Americans or other people of color for whom the tech works at a much lower accuracy rate.
"The issue for me is really centered around the lack of any kind of scientific attention that is addressing the proven racial inequities in facial recognition," says Glenn Ellis, a bioethicist who is a fellow at Harvard Medical School and visiting scholar at the Bioethics Center Tuskegee University. "To continue to push through the technology and integrate it into our society without acknowledging appropriately the clearly documented and thoroughly researched inequities and challenges in facial recognition for people of different ethnicities, I think is a totally unethical endeavor."
Federal lawmakers have posed these concerns to Clear executives. Shortly after the service rolled out in May, Senator Jeff Markley and Senator Cory Booker wrote to the company to seek answers to Health Pass's potential privacy and discrimination issues. In part, the senators probed Clear on how the company secured customers' information and how its assessed bias in its algorithm.
In a response to the letter, Seidman-Becker wrote that Clear considers ''racial and gender equitability'' when purchasing its algorithms from third-party providers, according to Recode, and noted that users' ''biometric data is not shared with employers or venues, and our biometric tools are not themselves used as diagnostic tools.''
We're reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find all of our coronavirus coverage and travel resources here.
FBI serves search warrant at Jake Paul's Calabasas mansion - Los Angeles Times
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:43
The FBI on Wednesday served a search warrant at the Calabasas mansion of controversial YouTube influencer Jake Paul, sources confirmed to The Times.
''The FBI is executing a federal search warrant at a residence in Calabasas in connection with an ongoing investigation. The affidavit in support of the search warrant has been sealed by a judge and I am, therefore, prohibited from commenting as to the nature of the investigation. No arrests are planned,'' the FBI said in a statement.
No details about the investigation were available.
In June, Arizona police announced that Paul would face misdemeanor charges following a riot at a mall outside Phoenix. Paul, 23, was identified as a participant in the melee at Scottsdale Fashion Square and was charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly, the Scottsdale Police Department said in a statement at the time.
Police determined that ''Paul was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly and the rioters were urged to leave the area by police.'' He entered and remained inside the mall when it was closed, police said. Paul claimed he was merely trying to find people protesting against the death of George Floyd, according to the Associated Press.
Last month, Paul threw a large house party in Calabasas in the midst of a pandemic. Videos captured from the July 11 gathering show dozens of young people mixing without masks or social distancing. In the clips, carefree partygoers roll dice and drink, swing from a raised excavator crane and pull a car into the packed lobby of Paul's Calabasas mansion.
Mayor Alicia Weintraub criticized the celebrity and said authorities will begin to fine people $100 for not wearing masks and shut down large gatherings.
''It's completely unacceptable to be interacting with people like that during this time. People need to be wearing masks and people need to be keeping their distance. You can't be having parties with over 100 people,'' Weintraub said.
''I haven't been in a scandal. I've been in a false accusation,'' Paul said.
COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits: Trump Says He's Considering Executive Action '' Deadline
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:18
Photo by Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Sipa USA(Sipa via AP Images)
President Donald Trump said that he is looking into executive action to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, protections against evictions and a temporary suspension of payroll tax collection.
What is unclear is whether the president has the authority to do so. What is clear is that Trump and the White House are using the prospect of a unilateral action to pressure Democrats to make concessions as leaders negotiate on Capitol Hill over another coronavirus relief package.
On Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN that, if no significant progress is reached buy the end of the week and ''we are just too far apart, the president is prepared to take executive action.''
Meadows said that they still are getting legal opinions on the president's authority but believe that the previous relief legislation, the CARES Act, passed in March, gave Trump some flexibility to do so.
''If Congress can't get it done, the president of the United States will,'' Meadows said.
But the level of the unemployment benefit is among the sticking points as Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin meet daily with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The $600 a week in enhanced benefits expired last week, and while Democrats want them extended through the end of January, the White House and Republicans have balked at the amount. Senate Republicans introduced a bill that cuts the benefit to an extra $200 per week as states phase in a formula to replace 70% of workers' lost wages.
Trump and Meadows did not say at what level the unemployment benefits would be if they were extended via executive action.
The negotiations for a new relief package have been about much more. Democrats also want money to make up for shortfalls in state and local government budgets because of the pandemic, but Trump calls such proposals a ''bailout'' and says that it would merely be relief for Democratic government mismanagement.
''This is a huge crisis,'' Schumer said. ''Our caucuses will only support a bill that meets that crisis. To have a skinny little bill and say that we will only do those and walk away from all of the other responsibilities, when we are in a deep recession, when we are in a major health crisis, we are not living up to our obligations to the American people.''
Pelosi said, ''I feel optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but how long that tunnel is remains to be seen.''
Coronavirus 'Checkpoints' in NYC to Enforce Travel Rules? Well, Not Exactly - The New York Times
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:19
The mayor is sending the sheriff to city bridges and tunnels to try to ward off a second wave of the coronavirus.
One local official on Wednesday said that a fifth of all new cases of the coronavirus are from travelers coming into New York City from other states. Credit... Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images The announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday seemed to signal a new crackdown in the city's efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus: ''Traveler registration checkpoints'' would be set up at bridges and tunnels, conjuring images of police officers stopping cars and detaining people from out of state.
The reality may be a lot less stark '-- and a lot more confusing.
The authorities will not be stopping every car. They will likely not be at every crossing on any given day. The Police Department won't even be involved.
Instead of working to enforce the state's mandatory quarantine for people coming from states with climbing coronavirus cases, the checkpoints, run by the city's sheriff's office, will focus on informing travelers about the rules.
Even so, Mayor de Blasio presented the program as a crucial step in fending off the resurgence of the virus in the city, which was once the center of the pandemic but has maintained a low rate of infection in recent weeks.
''If we're going to hold at this level of health and safety in the city and get better, we have to deal with the fact that the quarantine must be applied consistently to anyone who has traveled,'' Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference.
Hours after the mayor's announcement, many details of the checkpoint program remained unclear '-- including to the region's transit agencies, who oversee the city's bridges and tunnels.
A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates crossings into the city, said that the mayor's announcement surprised the agency. The spokesman did not know whether any of its bridges or tunnels would be targeted and had no details of the plan.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates bridges and tunnels within the city, said it was not involved with the checkpoints.
Laura Feyer, a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, said that the city would most likely not provide advance notice of where the checkpoints would be so that motorists did not try to route around them.
''Most checkpoints will be at roadways coming into the city after bridges and tunnels, not on Port Authority property themselves,'' Ms. Feyer said.
State and city officials have been warning for weeks about a potential second wave of virus cases driven by travelers from the dozens of states where the outbreak has surged in recent weeks.
In late June, as cases began climbing around the country, New York's governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, ordered people coming from states with a high percentage of positive coronavirus tests to quarantine for two weeks upon their arrival. As of Tuesday, travelers from 34 states and Puerto Rico are subject to the order.
From the day of its announcement, the measure was met with skepticism about how it could be enforced. Those who violate the quarantine can be subject to fines of up to $10,000 for subsequent violations, but state officials acknowledged that they would not be tracking every person who entered the state.
To boost compliance, the state last month began requiring people disembarking at New York's airports to fill out a form with their personal information and recent whereabouts or face a $2,000 fine.
Though the state says all travelers should fill out the form, compliance has largely depended on the whims of the people entering the state. Those who entered New York using highways, train stations and buses had not been subject to the same level of scrutiny.
City officials said on Wednesday that the checkpoints will help them monitor potential new outbreaks. They had grown particularly concerned amid an uptick in cases in neighboring New Jersey and regional partners like Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Ted Long, the executive director of the city's testing and contact-tracing program, said New York was moved to act after recent data suggested a fifth of the city's new coronavirus cases were attributed to travelers entering New York City from other states.
The Coronavirus Outbreak 'ºFrequently Asked QuestionsUpdated August 4, 2020
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that's perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it's highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.I'm a small-business owner. Can I get relief?The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don't know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees -- without giving you the sick employee's name -- that they may have been exposed to the virus.Should I refinance my mortgage?It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you're thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.What is school going to look like in September?It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California's two largest public school districts '-- Los Angeles and San Diego '-- said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won't be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation's largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There's no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.The city's sheriff, Joseph Fucito, said that deputies would stop cars on a random basis. The traffic stops will not target drivers with out-of-state license plates '-- as officials in Rhode Island did in March, much to the chagrin of New York officials.
The deputies will then ask drivers coming from designated states to fill out the required forms and provide them with details about the state's quarantine rules, officials said. The sheriff's office cannot force travelers to comply with the quarantine, and it is unclear if or how the city would track whether they comply.
The sheriff's office has been increasingly involved in enforcing social-distancing guidelines, including at the city's restaurants and bars.
The checkpoints arrive during a time of vociferous debate over the role of law enforcement in the city.
Albert Fox Cahn, a New York lawyer who runs the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a privacy advocacy group, said in a statement that the plan created privacy risks with no clear benefit.
''The mayor is transforming this pandemic into a policing issue,'' Mr. Cahn said.
Both the sheriff and the mayor said that travelers' individual rights and civil liberties would be respected. Ms. Feyer said that sheriff's deputies would not issue summons for other legal violations except ''under extreme circumstances.''
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, also faced criticism from some Republican elected officials, including Councilman Joseph Borelli of Staten Island, who said the checkpoints were unlikely to be effective and amounted to ''theatrics.''
In addition to the checkpoints at bridges and tunnels, the city will also set up similar efforts at Penn Station, starting on Thursday, and at the Port Authority Bus Terminal to inform out-of-state travelers about the mandatory quarantine.
Juliana Kim and Dana Rubinstein contributed reporting.
Rave Organizer Defends Big Kosciuszko Bridge Party: "People Need A Release" - Gothamist
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:30
Ever since photos and videos of mass gatherings on Steinway Street in Astoria spread a few weeks ago, a task force created by Governor Andrew Cuomo has been cracking down on restaurants and bars violating the state's COVID-19 guidelines. But that hasn't stopped the proliferation of illicit pandemic parties.
The latest included a "secret" rave that drew hundreds of people to a small park under the Kosciuszko Bridge on the border of Brooklyn and Queens on Saturday night. It took police until 4 a.m. to break up the festivities, which is at least several hours after the event began. You can see a few videos of it below (and more here).
The event was organized by a group called Renegade, which previously threw another rave at the same location on July 4th (billed as Black Lives Matter party). Organizers for the event acknowledged to Gothamist that this weekend's party got out of hand, but also defended the intentions behind it.
"If you think people aren't going to gather, you're a fool'--there's no stopping that," said one of the organizers, a South Brooklyn native who asked to be anonymous so the blowback from the event doesn't affect his day-to-day life. "The event got out of control because people wanted to come, people wanted to be out. People have been cooped up for so long. The pressure is building, and people need a release. It's already happening. We can do it more safely, or we can pretend it isn't happening."
The organizer stressed that bottles of water, masks and hand sanitizer were given out to revelers for free. There were signs up telling people to wear the masks, and they tried to remind people with announcements during the party as well. He estimated that 70-80% of attendees wore masks.
arrow The mask and donation set up at the rave Gothamist
The organizer, whose group has provided power and sound for various Black Lives Matter marches around the city over the last two months, argued that people will be going out one way or another, so it's better to create spaces that encourage safety.
"My friends are being forced to go back to work with thousands of employees," he told Gothamist. "New York is back open. Stores are open, the subway is open, the parks are open, people are trying to go back to normal. Look at the beaches, look at the playgrounds. Riis Beach is packed, the parks are full of people hanging out, remembering they're alive. At least we're telling people to wear a mask."
The group also asked attendees to donate to Legal Aid Society, although the organizer isn't sure how much was donated at this point. "My only regret is that [the donation signage] got pushed to the side because of masks. Because that mattered to me. You know how this city has been? We are Rome, excess and hedonism. But maybe if it meant something, if we pushed the partying toward a good cause, it'd be worth it. I don't want people to go back to putting their heads in the sand. We need to stay on top of this and keep marching and keep protesting."
He added that organizers didn't make any money, they paid DJs out of pocket, and there were separate people selling nutcrackers.
Seb, an attendee who agreed to speak if we withheld his last name, told Gothamist that people seemed to be wearing masks when he got there just before midnight, but as the night progressed and people got tipsy, it became a "huge rave dance party" with no social distancing and not as many masks.
"My friends and I stayed on the outskirts of the party, I definitely didn't feel safe going into the pit," he told Gothamist. "I would not do that again. All the friends I went with said we're going to self-quarantine for a week or two, it was too soon for way too many people in one spot."
Governor Andrew Cuomo brought up the bridge rave, as well as the illegal East River boat party that was busted this weekend, during a press conference on Monday morning. ''It's disrespectful. It's illegal,'' he said, adding, ''It violates common decency. look at all the people you endangered. What if one of the people gets sick and dies?...We need better enforcement all across the state.''
The organizer of the Kosciuszko Bridge rave said he was planning to self-quarantine for the next week or so to see if he has any symptoms. He claims he is unsure whether he'll throw any more of these events.
"Do you think people aren't going to be gathering on Labor Day? West Indian Day Parade? Do you think people are just going to stay home?" he asked. "People are meeting. The cat's out of the bag."
[Update Tuesday, 9:45 a.m.] Pictureplane, one of the DJs who played the rave, said in a statement to Pitchfork that he regrets taking part in the event. "When i saw video of the location, it looked enormous. I figured that it was a large enough space that people would have tons of room. And wouldn't be any different than going to like Rockaway Beach on a Saturday," said Pictureplane's Travis Egedy.
"It felt incredible to DJ after being alone in my house for basically 6 months!" he continued. "And I'm sure a lot of people there felt the same. But I don't think it was worth the risk looking back on it now. I definitely won't be going to any events like that again while COVID is still happening. And I really hope that no one gets sick after this event."
Covid world wide
German Protest
This is of interest due to it listing discrepancies, for example:
Press: almost 18,000 participants
Reality: 1.3 million counted participants
Press: Right-wing radicals, conspiracy theorists, etc.
Reality: doctors, teachers, lawyers, parents, students,
Press: Event was disbanded by police
Reality: Nothing to notice. There are still tens of thousands of participants on the demo at the moment and we already have it at 21 pm.
....and so on, with more such.
Coronavirus: Millions of over-50s could be told to stay at home to avoid second nationwide lockdown | UK News | Sky News
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:34
Millions of over 50s could be told to stay at home under a "nuclear" option to prevent a new nationwide lockdown if there is a second wave of coronavirus.
Boris Johnson is reportedly considering asking a greater number of people in England to take part in the shielding programme should there be a big spike in COVID-19 cases.
A Sunday Times report said people aged between 50 and 70 could be given personalised risk ratings, taking into account factors such as age and medical conditions.
2.2 million were deemed most vulnerable and asked to shield themselves from society during the spring peak of the virus - advice that ended on Saturday.
Coronavirus: Shielding advice endsAs part of a strategy to tackle a potential second wave of coronavirus in the future, the prime minister is also reportedly considering lockdown conditions for London.
Ideas include giving Londoners stay-at-home orders, restricting travel beyond the M25, and banning people from staying in other people's homes, similar to policies implemented in local lockdowns imposed in Leicester and parts of the north-west of England.
Measures to prevent a second nationwide lockdown, and any economic fallout, were discussed by Mr Johnson at what was described by sources as a "war game" session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday.
Downing Street distanced itself from the details in the reports, calling them "speculative".
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "We don't have any plans to (advise over 50s to shield).
"Moving forwards, we hope to be able to operate on a localised approach'... but we don't have any plans for a national blanket approach."
It comes after the prime minister was forced to postpone the latest easing of lockdown on Friday.
The planned reopening of some businesses in the leisure and beauty sectors was delayed due to fears that the prevalence of coronavirus was rising for the first time since May.
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Experts have already suggested that pubs could be closed in exchange for allowing schools to reopen fully in September.
It follows a warning from England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty that the country was "near the limit" of how many parts of normal life could be resumed safely.
It has been less than a month since pubs were allowed to reopen after the peak of the virus, but Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the "trade off" could be required for the sake of children's education.
Image: Schools are set to fully reopen in September Most schools closed at the end of March as the UK went into lockdown, although many remained open for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.
More than half of pupils struggled to learn at home during lockdown, according to an Office for National Statistics survey, raising concerns about the continued closure of schools.
'Do we never open schools until there's a vaccine?'The government said that eight more people had died with coronavirus in the UK in the 24 hours to 5pm on Sunday, bringing the total to 46,201.
In the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday 744 more cases had been confirmed, bringing the UK total to 304,695.
Mask sales spike across Finland | Yle Uutiset |
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:34
Daily sales of face masks are three times higher now. Image: Toni M¤¤tt¤ / YleFace mask stockpiling was reported at Finnish shops after it was reported on Sunday that the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL could recommend mask wearing in public spaces and on public transport.
Mask sales have been relatively steady during the spring, but sales have spiked over the past week, according to retailers asked by Yle.
"We noticed a rise in demand since last week and expect it to grow even more," retail chain S-Group's Janne Paananen.
Sales of face masks are now three times higher than before, according to Jenni Moisanen, K Group's sourcing manager.
Despite the rise in demand, store managers say there's currently no fear of a shortage.
"Once the recommendation is out, of course, demand will increase. However, availability is much better than now than it was at the beginning of the year," Kati Vuorikallas, director of the pharmacy chain Yliopiston Apteekki said.
The retailers added that they are closely monitoring the situation and are in discussions with suppliers to ensure there is no shortage of masks.
How much do masks cost?The price of fabric masks varies depending on the pack size and where they are bought.
For instance, on, washable fabric masks cost 3.95 euros apiece. The price at is 14 euros per mask and Finlayson's three-piece pack costs 19.95 euros.
A pack of two fabric masks at the pharmacy chain Yliopiston Apteekki costs 18.90 euros. At Lidl, one fabric face mask costs 3.99 euros and a pack of two, 5.99 euros.
Each person should have enough fabric masks to last a few days, as they should be washed after each use, according to Vuorikallas.
Disposable masks meanwhile, costs about a euro a piece, with prices varying slightly at different outlets and with online stores levying separate delivery fees.
For those who want to make their own fabric masks, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has published instructions on the best practices.
Germany warns against travel to Antwerp
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:20
Germany has declared Antwerp in northern Belgium a high-risk area amid an increase in coronavirus cases. The province has recorded more coronavirus cases than any other region in Belgium.
Germany's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday cautioned citizens from non-essential travel to the Belgian province of Antwerp, citing "renewed high infection numbers."
"Numbers of new infections and deaths have been rising since the end of July, especially in the Antwerp province," the Foreign Ministry wrote.
The proportion of cases in the northern province, which does not share a border with Germany, has risen to 50 cases per 100,000 residents, Germany's Foreign Ministry said. The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health authority, classifies such regions with such a proportion as "risk areas."
Travelers returning to Germany from the region would be obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, unless they could provide a fresh, negative COVID-19 test.
Slight uptick in BelgiumBelgium has slightly above average per capita infection and mortality rates in Europe, although it fares considerably worse by the numbers than Germany itself.
Read more: Belgium's coronavirus (over)counting controversy
The country has seen the number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care units double in the past month. Belgian health officials said on Monday the epidemic was spreading "intensively" '-- albeit still well below the sustained levels seen in April in particular.
Antwerp has reported more coronavirus cases than any other region in Belgium. The province, which houses Belgium's largest port, has strict mask requirements, a night curfew and a night-time ban on selling alcohol.
Due to a recent incerease in new cases, back up to around 300 per day, Antwerp has made wearing masks mandatory in public places with large audiences, as well as public transport, museums and shops. Guests in pubs and restaurants must provide contact details before leaving, and shoppers are limited to 30 minutes in stores.
Read more: How Belgium's breweries are adapting to lockdown
The Robert Koch Institute has declared 127 countries and four regions in Belgium and Spain high-risk areas for the new coronavirus. Last week, it added the Spanish regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre to its list.
Germany, which has reported more than 212,000 cases and 9,000 deaths since the pandemic began, has seen a recent uptick in new cases, recording 500 infections per day on average over the past 10 days. During April, the peak of what's often considered Germany's "first wave," that daily figure was consistently north of 2,000 and sometimes above 6,000.
dv/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Is this the second coronavirus wave?
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:21
COVID-19 caught us all unprepared. Despite some countries' initial successes in curbing the pandemic, the virus is now spreading like never before.
Virologists were already predicting a second wave of coronavirus infections months ago. The more people break the rules of conduct and restrictions introduced to curb the pandemic, the greater the risk of such a second wave. Now, it seems to be rolling in.
In many countries, lockdown restrictions are no longer being as strictly enforced. Germany, Spain and Greece were among the first countries in Europe to ease such measures.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus may never fully disappear. It has stressed the possible consequences if people take the coronavirus lightly and revert to behavior patterns that prevailed before lockdown measures were put in place.
In many countries, shops have reopened, as have restaurants. In Australia, the government has tightened restrictions again after several cases of infection among guests in pubs and bars.
Restaurants and bars have reopened in many countries
People's desire to travel is also on the rise once more '-- another reason for increased infection rates. Too many people are congregating in too small spaces; parties are taking place again. The risk of infection is rising, worldwide. In Germany, there was a sharp uptick in the number of infections at the end of July. The reproduction rate R also went up again.
The reproduction number R
The reproduction rate indicates how many other people one ill person infects on average. This number helps health authorities to better predict infection patterns. For example, if R is 3, it means that one infected person will infect three more people. If the reproduction number is 1, the infection rate remains about the same.
In Germany, this reproduction number rose to above 1 at the end of July. This could be due, among other things, to holidaymakers who once again blithely mingled in large crowds even though the pandemic is far from over.
Pure recklessness: Tourists celebrate exuberantly on Mallorca
If the infection numbers go down, it is an initial success. However, if things go the other way and the reproduction rate increases, this could indicate a second wave of infections.
The United States and Brazil have recently experienced the most dramatic increases, followed by India and South Africa. In Brazil alone, well over 2 million people have already become infected with the virus. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, more than 2,600,000 people were infected by the end of July.
The second wave
There is no uniform international standard for how a second wave is defined. Even the WHO has no clear guidelines. WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier wrote in an email to DW: "The term refers [only] to new outbreaks that have occurred after an initial decline. The same applies to a 'third' wave."
At the beginning of the pandemic, virologists were already warning against a further wave of infection and appealed to the population not to see falling infection numbers as a license to act carelessly.
Scientists are comparing the coronavirus with the Spanish flu, which raged from 1918 to 1920. According to the WHO, it claimed between 20 and 50 million lives worldwide.
The Spanish flu of 1918 killed millions of people
That pandemic ran in three waves. The second wave was much worse than the first and caused many more deaths. Between the individual phases, the virus mutated. That could also be the case with the novel coronavirus.
What if the virus mutates?
Every virus can mutate, i.e. change. At best, a virus becomes weaker through mutation. This means that it is less dangerous and claims fewer victims. For this to happen, however, a large number of people must already have developed immunity to a virus. Whether this is the case with SARS-CoV-2, researchers do not yet know.
People develop immunity against most viruses. When infected, the body produces antibodies and, if these succeed in fighting off the virus, a person becomes immune. The virus can then no longer harm that person.
But it is unclear whether this is also completely true of the novel coronavirus. More and more cases indicate that some COVID-19 sufferers no longer have any detectable antibodies in them after just a few months. This could mean that they could become infected again.
With a serological test, experts can determine whether someone has produced antibodies against the virus. But such a test does not provide any information about whether the person is then immune to the virus and, if so, for how long. Scientists are now trying to answer these questions.
During times when the coronavirus pandemic has been at its most severe, there were often voices suggesting that only so-called herd immunity could contain the disease. Herd immunity occurs when a high percentage of the population is already immune so the pathogen can no longer spread as quickly. Some 70% to 90% of the population would have to be immune to a virus to stop it.
Medical journal The Lancet recently published a study on herd immunity indicating that herd immunity against the coronavirus will be "difficult to achieve." Scientists at the Madrid Carlos III Health Institute, the Spanish Ministry of Health and Harvard University in Boston were involved in the study, which was the largest European antibody study to date, involving 60,000 people.
The investigations showed that only about 5% of all Spaniards had formed antibodies against the virus.
The virus likes it cold
Viruses feel comfortable in cold environments. This is a reason, for example, why several coronavirus outbreaks have been in slaughterhouses, where temperatures are usually quite low. By contrast, viruses generally do not spread as quickly in hot weather as in cold.
At warmer times of year, there should thus be fewer infections with viruses. In addition, if it is cold outdoors, people spend more time indoors, where there is much less exchange of air than outside. This means that virus-laden aerosols '-- tiny airborne droplets '-- can spread more easily.
At the beginning of the pandemic, experts assumed that SARS-CoV-2 was spread by means of larger droplets, such as those produced by coughing and talking, and by smear infection, i.e. contact with an infected surface. But we soon learned better: The virus can also linger in the air in the form of aerosols and be transmitted in this way.
If it is dry and cold outside, these are ideal conditions for the virus. The aerosols then remain in the air much longer than on warm days. But precautions are always necessary '-- and winter has not yet even begun in the northern hemisphere.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany lifts travel warning for four Turkish regionsGermans can again travel to Turkey: The German government has partially lifted the travel warning for the four popular coastal provinces of Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla in Turkey. Travelers must be tested for coronavirus before returning to Germany. The costs between 15 and 30 Euros have to be paid by them. Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Germans.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Setback for cruise holidaysCruise operator Hurtigruten stopped all cruises on August 3 until further notice after an outbreak of the coronavirus on one of its ships. At least 40 passengers and crew members on the Roald Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, German cruise line Aida Cruises has also postponed its planned restart due to the lack of necessary permits.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Nepal reopens Mount Everest for climbers amid COVID-19Despite coronavirus uncertainty Nepal has reopened Mount Everest for the autumn trekking and climbing season. To boost the struggling tourism sector the government will permit international flights to land in the country from August 17. The Himalayan country shut its borders in March just ahead of the busy spring season when hundreds of mountaineers usually flock to the country.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism German Foreign Office advises against travel to BarcelonaOn July 28, the German Foreign Office issued an advisory opinion against non-essential tourist trips to the Spanish regions of Aragon, Navarre and Catalonia, citing the high number of corona infections as well as local restrictions. The Catalan regional government in Barcelona has said it regrets the decision, saying the regional government was acting responsibly while trying to protect lives.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Amsterdam wants fewer weekend visitorsConcerned over a possible second wave of coronavirus, Amsterdam is requesting that tourists not visit the Dutch capital on weekends. Potential day-trippers should come between Monday and Thursday, the city said on July 23. The tourist influx has swelled to such a degree that recommended social distancing of 1.5 meters between people is currently not possible in the city center.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Crowd management in alpine idyllIn order to manage tourist throngs amid the pandemic, Bavaria's Economy Minister Hubert Aiwanger is planning a live digital guiding system for visitors. Clogged streets, wild campers and overcrowding on hiking trails in the Alps '-- this brings popular regions such as Lake Tegernsee (photo) to their limits. The live update system is primarily intended to redirect day-trippers to less full areas.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Eiffel Tower summit open again Visitors to Paris can finally visit the top of the Eiffel Tower again '-- the third level of the world-famous landmark opened on Wednesday. The number of tickets available is limited, in order to assure social distancing measures between visitors. Distancing is also in effect at the Disneyland Paris amusement park, which is opening its doors again after a four-month obligatory closure.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism The end of the party Due to illegally held parties, Mallorca is ordering the forced closure of restaurants at Ballermann and Magaluf, resort areas visited by German and British tourists. The regulation comes into effect Wednesday, July 15 for two months. The behavior of a few vacationers and local owners should not jeopardize the huge efforts to fight the pandemic, said Balearic Tourism Minister Iago Negueruela.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Stricter face mask wearing rules on the Balearic IslandsOn Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands, the regulations for wearing face masks have been tightened. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, mouth and nose protection must be worn from July 13th in all enclosed public spaces as well as outdoors, whenever it is possible to encounter other people. On the beach, at the pool and during sports, however, masks are still not mandatory.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Flights overshadowed by fearHoliday flights within Europe are on the move again, with passengers sitting close together. According to an opinion poll by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 62% of those questioned are afraid of being infected by passengers in the next seat. This was identified by IATA as the main reason for the decline in willingness to travel, which is now only 45%.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism EU relaxes entry restrictions Starting from July 1, people from third countries with low infection rates may enter the EU again as regular travellers. These countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China will only be considered if it also lifts its entry restrictions for Europeans.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Corona test center opened at Frankfurt AirportA corona test center has been in operation at Frankfurt Airport since June 29, 2020. Here, passengers both departing and arriving can be tested to avoid quarantine. The standard procedure, in which the results are available as a download within six to eight hours, costs 59 euros. Around 300 tests can be performed per hour.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Paris Eiffel Tower is open againThe Parisian landmark was closed for three months, and now visitors can go up it again. But only in limited numbers and on foot. There are 765 steps to the second floor viewing platform. Wearing a face mask is mandatory. The top of the Eiffel Tower will remain closed until further notice, as will the elevators. The number of tickets on sale is limited and they must be ordered online in advance.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism World famous Alhambra in Granada opens againThe Alhambra Castle in Granada in southern Spain will open its doors to tourists again on June 17. Initially, only 4,250 visitors are to be admitted at the same time '-- only half as many as usual. In addition, masks are mandatory. The Alhambra is considered the most important testimony to Arab architecture in Europe and is a World Heritage site.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism "Re-open EU": A website with travel rules for EuropeEntry regulations, masks, quarantine? The new EU overview website "" provides information on the coronavirus rules of individual EU countries '-- and in 24 languages. Tourists can enter their destination country on the website and find out about regulations that apply there. So far, the site contains information on 27 EU countries and is to be continuously updated.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany's borders are open againDuring the night of Monday (June 15), the federal police ended the border controls that had been introduced three months ago because of the coronavirus crisis. Complete freedom of travel between Germany and its neighboring countries is back in effect. At the same time, the Foreign Office's travel warnings for 27 European countries ended.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism German government extends worldwide travel banThe beaches of the world people dream of, like here on Ko Phi Phi in Thailand, will have to do without German tourists. The German government has extended the travel warning for tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic for more than 160 countries outside the EU until August 31. However, exceptions can be made for individual countries where the spread of the virus has been sufficiently contained.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourist pilot project launched on Mallorca6000 Germans will be the first foreign tourists to be allowed to travel to the Balearic Islands from Monday (June 15). According to Spanish media, the pilot project is intended to test the security precautions at airports and hotels before all of Spain opens its borders on July 1. Germany was chosen because the epidemiological situation there is similar to that on the Balearic Islands.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Italy reopened for EuropeansStarting on Wednesday (June 3), tourists from Europe have been allowed to enter Italy again, the country that was one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. A two-week quarantine for travellers from Europe is no longer required. This should save the travel season. Italians will again be able to move freely throughout the country and travel to other regions.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Aida cancels cruises until end of JulyThe 14 cruise ships of the German Rostock-based shipping company Aida Cruises will remain in port until July 31. In many holiday destination countries the regulations for international tourism are still being discussed, the company announced. The Italian shipping company Costa is also extending the cruise suspension for its fleet until July 31.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Colosseum and other sights in Italy open againRome's 2,000-year-old landmark can finally be visited again from June 1, and the Vatican Museums will also reopen on that day. Ancient Pompeii, south of Naples at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, is already welcoming visitors again, but only those from within the country. From June 3, however, foreign tourists will be able to return to Italy and visit the ancient sites.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourism on Greek islands starts againFrom Monday (May 25), Greece's islands will be accessible again by plane and ferry for domestic tourists. Taverns, bars and cafes are reopening nationwide. Ferries are to sell only 50% of their tickets, and taverns are only allowed to occupy half of their tables. The list of countries from which foreign tourists can enter Greece without a two-week quarantine will be announced at the end of May.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Austria to open border to Germany againThe Austrian government has announced that the border with Germany will be opened on June 15. Tourism in Austria has been effectively suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On May 29, hotels and other accommodation in Austria will be allowed to reopen. Austrian tourism is heavily dependent on guests from Germany.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Start of the season on the North Sea IslandsBorkum, Juist (photo) and the other East Frisian islands are happy to be able to greet tourists again, even if it's a limited surge of visitors. Since May 11, overnight stays in holiday apartments and camping sites throughout Lower Saxony have been allowed again. Holidaymakers must stay at least one week. However, day tourists and hotel overnight stays are still prohibited.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Will travel within Europe soon be possible again?Holidaymakers might also be able to travel to the Balearic or Greek Islands in summer. "If there are very few new infections there and the medical care works, one could also think about a summer holiday in those places", the government's commissioner for tourism, Thomas Bareiss, told the Tagesspiegel newpaper. Long-distance travel, however, is likely to be cancelled this summer.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Holiday season at the Baltic Sea to startMecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the first federal state to reopen to tourists from all over Germany: From May 25th they can again stay in hotels, guest houses and holiday homes. 60 percent of the bed capacity will be released for this purpose. This means that the tourist season can start with the Whitsun holidays in popular holiday regions like the Baltic Sea and the Mecklenburg Lake District.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany extends worldwide travel warning Germany extended on Wednesday (April 29) its worldwide travel warning due to the coronavirus crisis to at least June 14. The Federal Foreign Office said that "severe and drastic restrictions in international air and travel traffic and worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and restrictions on public life in many countries can still be expected."
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism The Oktoberfest in Munich has been cancelledThe Oktoberfest has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.'‚Bavaria's premier Markus S¶der and Munich's mayor Dieter Reiter announced the decision on Tuesday (April 21).'‚"It pains us, and it is a great pity", said S¶der. But in times of the coronavirus, the danger of infection at the folk festival, which attracts about six million visitors annually, would just be too great.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Mallorca worried about the summerHotels, cafes and souvenir shops are closed. It is unusually empty outside the Royal Palace in Palma (picture). The Easter season on the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca has been cancelled. The Majorcan hotel association now fears that due to the uncertain situation in the main markets of Germany and Great Britain, some hotels will remain closed even during the peak season.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism More Germans brought back from abroadBy Sunday (April, 5) 205,000 travelers had been brought back to Germany, according to the federal government.'‚Airplanes from Peru and Colombia were the most recent to take off.'‚More than 40,000 Germans however are still stranded abroad. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter.'‚"We will continue our efforts to find solutions for the travelers who have not yet been able to return."
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism A symbol of hope A light installation on the Matterhorn in Switzerland is giving a sign of solidarity and hope in the fight against the corona virus. Encouraging messages are also being projected on to many other tourist landmarks around the world. "Stay safe", "Stay at home" could be see on Monday evening on the Great Pyramid in Giza near the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Huge repatrition driveThe German foreign ministry announced on Wednesday (March 25) that, together with tour operators, it had brought back more than 150,000 Germans from abroad. Tour operator TUI added that almost 95 percent of the tourists who were stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic are now back in Germany. They were mainly flown out from Egypt, Spain, Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Africa's measures to deal with the pandemicAfrican countries have also ordered numerous measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa, for example, has banned access to the country for people coming from risk areas. Nigeria is monitoring the temperature of travelers at airports, ports and borders. Cameroon has closed its borders indefinitely.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Australia bans foreign travelThe Australian government has imposed an indefinite ban on all foreign travel by its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also called on all Australians who are abroad to return home. A 14-day compulsory quarantine for all people entering the country has already been in place for some time. Here, too, it has become quiet in the cities.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourism in Germany comes to a haltThe coronavirus crisis is impacting travelers and the tourism industry with full force. Several tour operators, including TUI, has cancelled trips, and some airlines are shutting down. Germany's federal and state governments decided that overnight stays should only be used for "necessary and explicitly not for touristic purposes". Germans are to "no longer take holiday trips at home and abroad".
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism EU external borders closedThe EU has closed its entire external borders for 30 days as from Tuesday (March 17, 2020). "All travel between non-European countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days," French President Macron said in a television address on Monday (March 16,2020) evening. The Schengen Area, which includes several non-EU countries, has also closed its external borders.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany brings travelers back homeMore and more countries are sealing their borders, and many flights are cancelled. With special flights Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings want to bring up to 6,500 stranded holidaymakers from the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and on Mallorca back to Germany. In Morocco, the German government is assisting German tourists who are stranded there due to their return flights being cancelled.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany partially closes its borders to touristsOn Monday morning (March 16, 2020), Germany introduced entry controls at the borders with the five neighboring countries: France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Border crossings will be reduced to what is strictly necessary. Goods can continue to pass through, including commuters, but not travelers without good reason. The duration of the measures remains open.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Austrian ski regions end season earlyAll ski areas in the Austrian provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol are ending the winter season early. Cable car operation will be discontinued as of Sunday (March 15, 2020). Hotels and accommodations will be closed from Monday. The provincial governments said that this should slow down the spread of the virus in the Alpine country. The two provinces account for most leading Austrian ski areas.
Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism USA: Entry ban for Europeans Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the USA is imposing a general 30-day travel ban on people from Europe. The entry ban comes into force on Friday (March 13, 2020) at midnight (local time). It does not apply to US citizens residing in Europe who have tested negative for the pathogen.
Author: Andreas Kirchhoff, Susan Bonney-Cox
Sir Brian of London on the war path
Last week we had the big tech CEOs phoning it in to a Congress Committee but lets go back to October last year and listen to possibly the most unique Maxine Waters clip you've ever heard.
[Maxine asking about the advertising ban]
The only reason Maxine Waters asked a good question is because it was sent in to her by producer Sir Brian of London.
This was the hearing to question Zuckerberg about Facebook's attempt to launch their own cryptocurrency, Libra but mostly Dems spent their time asking Zuck why he didn't ban Trump's lies and political ads like Twitter was so he never answered her question.
The reason Brian had her ask that question is because, in the next few days, he and his lawyer friend are filling their case in Australia's Federal court against Facebook, Google and Twitter for billions for forming the worlds largest illegal cartel.
Back in 2018 all three banned the entire multi billion dollar cryptocurrency industry from accessing the bulk of online advertising all with an entry in their terms and conditions. Brian says that's the action of an illegal cartel and these three put it in billions of contracts.
Regulators like the FTC keep looking back at businesses these giants bought like Instagram or WhatsApp: what they're not looking at is the entire decentralised Web 3.0 built around blockchains and distributed apps which dinosaurs like Congress and Maxine have no clue about. - the JPB is for John Perry Barlow of the Grateful Dead and the EFF - for more details and if you had any involvement in cryptocurrencies, even just holding crypto back in 2018, sign up absolutely no win no fee to register your part in the global class action claim.
Google, Facebook, Twitter to be sued in Australian class action that may cost up to $300 billion | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:18
Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are preparing to sue Google, Facebook and Twitter in an Australian class action lawsuit that could cost the tech giants up to US$300 billion (A$436 billion).
The David-and-Goliath case has attracted litigants with US$600million (A$872million) worth of claims so far - a number that has increased as more people join.
The no-win no-fee case has now been put before a senior barrister for review, pending funding to file.
Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are suing Google, Facebook and Twitter in Australia under anti-cartel laws, saying the big tech firms colluded to ban crypto and blockchain ads
The companies and individuals, represented by Sydney-based firm JPB Liberty, say their businesses were harmed when Google, Facebook and Twitter all banned cryptocurrency advertising in 2018.
The social media giants acted within weeks of each other, and included the ban in their terms and conditions of service.
Google announced it would partially reverse the sweeping ban in September of 2018, to allow regulated exchanges to buy ads in the US and Japan.
Facebook said in 2019 it would no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, also caught up in the ban, however those advertising cryptocurrency would still have to go through a review.
Australia's Moneysmart government website warns of people losing their money in speculative cryptocurrency initial coin offerings on unregulated exchanges, saying many have turned out to be scams.
JPB Liberty's Vice President of Technology Brian Bishko (left) and chief executive Andrew Hamilton (right) pictured in July last year. The pair are spearheading the lawsuit
Other cryptocurrencies, most famously Bitcoin, have turned into widely used products useful for moving money across borders, while the blockchain technology that underpins it is revolutionising data security.
The entrepreneurs say there were very few regulated exchanges in 2018 so the social media advertising ban hurt their legitimate business growth as they were prevented from using the world's largest online advertising platforms to reach potential customers.
JPB Liberty is organising funding for the case from institutional litigation funders, venture capital and ideologically aligned investors.
Claimants will get 70 percent of any eventual settlement or damages while the funders will get 30 percent.
Brian Bishko, JPB Liberty's Israeli-based Vice President of Technology & Public Affairs, and himself a conservative blogger, said the social media giants had become too large.
'I think Facebook is too powerful to exist in the world - I honestly think it's a danger to the world,' he said.
Dr Bishko said the ban on cryptocurrency advertising was also crushing new social media networks that run on blockchains such as Hive which pays content creators in its own Hive cryptocurrency.
'Hive, which back then was called Steem, had been growing and growing - and suddenly they couldn't advertise on Facebook and get new users,' he said.
Social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google cannot be held accountable for content on their platforms in the US despite increasingly making editorial decisions like a publisher
'It caused enormous damage.'
'If your business had as a component of it anything that looked like a cryptocurrency, you got caught in the same net.
'So maybe you'd get a few adverts but eventually they'd do a review and your account would be blocked.'
These new emerging social media platforms that use blockchain technology are a threat to YouTube and Facebook, Dr Bishko said.
Draft code of conduct for digital platforms due at the end of JulyThe power and market dominance of the social media giants has been on Australia's radar over the past year.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched a lawsuit last year against Google in October last year over alleged misleading conduct over the tech giant's use of personal location data.
The Morrison Government then moved this year to force the social media giants to share revenue with traditional news media.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg directed the ACCC to develop a code of conduct on digital platforms after the media giants failed to come to a voluntary agreement.
A draft code is to be finalised by the end of July and will include enforcement, penalties and ways to deal with disagreements between the global platforms and local media companies.
It will cover issues such as data sharing, ranking and display of news content in search engines, monetisation and revenue sharing.
Once a content creator puts a post up on Hive, it can't be taken down as it is on the blockchain - and the decentralised system cannot be controlled.
'It's like there's a power to it, it's decentralised, it's not controlled by a central authority called 'Mark Zuckerberg',' he said.
By contrast the big four social media giants own all content posted to their platforms and can censor or delete at will.
'You don't own your stuff when you post it on Facebook, you don't own it on Twitter '' your account can be taken away,' said Dr Bishko.
The social media giants cannot be held accountable for the content on their platforms due to a US legal protection that deems them to be a platform not a publisher, however they are increasingly making editorial decisions over what content they will host.
They may delete or demonetise accounts, and ban or deplatform people and businesses who make their living on social media with ideas that Silicon Valley disagrees with.
Social media giants such as Google's parent Alphabet have the power to demonetise content creators who spend years producing videos for YouTube. It can also deprive websites of advertising dollars
Google Ads recently demonetised finance and free speech website on June 16 for racist content that stemmed from unmoderated comments beneath the site's articles.
Google and Facebook combined accounted for 60.9 percent of all US digital ad spending in 2019 according to digital advertising projections by in October last year.
The pair also dominated the UK with a combined share of digital advertising revenue of 63.3 percent in 2019, according to eMarketer's forecast.
Google was projected to take 38.8 percent of the 2019 UK market worth £5.72 billion, while Facebook would account for 24.5 percent or £3.62 billion.
Google's parent company Alphabet also owns YouTube and thus controls the advertising on that platform also.
Together with Twitter, the social media giants control the majority of online advertising platforms in the English speaking world.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Google, Facebook and Twitter for a response.
China Seeds AG producer
I work in the Ag sector and have worked extensively in China in the past. When you were talking about the seeds being a test run - yes absolutely they would love to damage our food supply. This is another probe of our processes and systems. Odds are someone will plant them - Reminds me of the USB stick drop in the Pentagon parking lot in the early 2000's ? same idea. or maybe to misdirect our attention from something else.
I think they have been attempting to infect our pigs with ASF. African Swine Fever (ASF) is something I've been following for a couple of years now. China had to cull anywhere from 250-300 million pigs in the last 2 years. It has crippled their pork supply and caused them to seek sourcing more than usual from other countries.
There are many examples where they tried to export the ASF infected pork i believe in the hopes that they would get lucky and infect our supply (maybe like COVID?! "we aren't the only ones who should suffer" type of thing)
Trump: Microsoft should pay 'key money' to Treasury for TikTok deal
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 23:07
Published Mon, Aug 3 2020 2:37 PM EDT
Updated 23 min ago
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A deal that Trump describes could be more expensive for Microsoft than the one the company described in a statement on Sunday.Trump said Monday he would like to see the app banned in the U.S. if it's not bought by Sept. 15.President Donald J. Trump stops to talk to reporters as he walks to board Marine One and depart from the South Lawn at the White House in Washington on July 31, 2020.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images)
President Donald Trump said Monday that it could be easier if Microsoft were to buy Chinese-owned TikTok in its entirety, rather than a small part of the social video app, because the name would be split across two companies, and suggested the company should pay the U.S. Treasury as part of the deal.
"I think buying 30% is complicated, and I suggested that he can go ahead, he can try," Trump told reporters in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Monday. He was referring to his conversation over the weekend with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The comments come a day after Microsoft confirmed in a statement that it has looked at buying TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
A larger deal could go beyond resolving the U.S. government's concern over Chinese control of the app, where hundreds of millions of people share short videos that often feature music.
A transaction of the type the president envisions could also prove more expensive than the one Microsoft described on Sunday. Trump said Monday that part of the amount paid to buy TikTok would have to come to the U.S. Treasury Department because it would be making the deal possible.
"It's a little bit like the landlord/tenant; without a lease the tenant has nothing, so they pay what's called 'key money,' or they pay something," Trump said. "But the United States should be reimbursed or should be paid a substantial amount of money, because without the United States they don't have anything, at least having to do with the 30%."
Microsoft's largest acquisition to date is the 2016 acquisition of business social network LinkedIn, at $27 billion. Investors of the privately owned ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, valued TikTok at $50 billion, Reuters reported last week.
The app will be banned in the U.S. if it's not sold by Sept. 15, Trump said on Monday. On Sunday, Microsoft said that it wants to conclude talks with ByteDance by that date.
"We believe from a management and board perspective this is a unique deal of a decade opportunity with a price tag that could easily be consummated," Wedbush analysts led by Dan Ives, who has the equivalent of a buy rating on Microsoft stock, wrote in a note distributed to clients on Monday. Microsoft had $136.53 billion cash, equivalents and short-term investments as of June 30, according to the company's most recent quarterly earnings report.
Microsoft shares rose 5.6% during Monday's trading session, which was mostly positive for tech stocks overall.
The rise of TikTok has been part of ongoing U.S. government concerns about China that prompted a trade war. Trump administration officials have argued that TikTok delivers user information to the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok has said "TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S."
'-- CNBC's Steve Kopack contributed to this report.
WATCH: How Microsoft could benefit from buying TikTok
View the full site
China's Flood Update 5/8 Huge lightning strike hit tall building in China - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:24
Abnormal Truth - Strange "Lighting Strike" in Shenyang China? - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:26
Chinese '²outraged'² over TikTok sale forced by Trump
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:17
China is unlikely to accept an acquisition of TikTok's US operations by Microsoft and said it will prevent any deal forced by Trump. DW spoke with Rui Ma, a China tech expert, about a sale seen as "theft" by the Chinese.
DW: Do you understand why many people are worried that the Chinese owner of TikTok can be forced by Beijing to share the data they collect on worldwide users?
Rui Ma: This has been a concern alluded to by multiple US government officials, including Secretary [of State, Mike] Pompeo and [trade] advisor [Peter] Navarro. Whether or not TikTok users are fully aware of or believe this is a concern of a different matter.
Why should one be less worried about Facebook or Amazon or other US giants? They also collect and sell personal data?
I don't think that people are OK with US companies doing this either, but the argument is that a foreign government having the data will have more adverse consequences, possibly to national security and sovereignty.
If this deal happens, China will likely lose control over its first true global internet sensation. How do the Chinese feel about that?
The general Chinese public seems very outraged over the matter, and are demanding that ByteDance put up more of a fight, even insulting the CEO Zhang Yiming and calling him a sellout. Investors and entrepreneurs I speak to are very worried but also resigned, since they believe that for the foreseeable future the situation will not improve, and that geopolitical matters are out of their hands.
ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming, pictured left while receiving a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook, was lambasted on Chinese social media for having "surrendered" to US pressure
Does this stir up nationalistic feelings within the younger Chinese community?
There are nationalist reactions, but also there are people saying that this is tit-for-tat since there are some US companies that haven't been allowed to operate in China.
Why is TikTok so popular around the world?
In a nutshell, it uses an algorithm to figure out how to entertain you, versus other platforms that use either your friend connections '-- people you follow '-- or your stated interests to suggest content to you. TikTok does it invisibly, without you having to do anything.
Over the course of time, would a Microsoft-run TikTok be different form the original app?
If there were a clean break, whereby there is zero relationship between ByteDance and the portions of TikTok that are [going to be] owned by Microsoft, there will definitely be a divergence, because even if the algorithms didn't change, the values of the variables would change depending on the data it gets. There's also the question of operations, where the team running the product will be very different and presumably have differing strategies for growing the user base.
Rui Ma is a highly respected voice on tech in China and expert on ByteDance with years of experience working in the technology space in China. Living in California, she is a venture partner at 500 Startups, a leading accelerator and seed investment fund in technology companies, where she is in charge of all investment activity in the Greater China region. Moreover, she's co-hosting the weekly podcast ThechBuzzChina. The interview was conducted by Ines Pohl.
Some mystery seeds from China have been identified
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:54
August 5, 2020 | 5:13pm
Enlarge Image A packet of the mystery seeds that appeared in US mailboxes. REUTERS
Some of the mystery seeds from China sprouting up in the mailboxes across the US have finally been identified '-- as harmless cooking ingredients, according to federal officials.
Researchers were able to put a name to at least 14 of the plant species as of July 29, including mustard, cabbage and morning glory, as well as herbs like mint, sage, rosemary and lavender. Hibiscus and rose were also found.
''This is just a subset of the samples we've collected so far,'' said Deputy Administrator Osama El-Lissy, of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Residents in all 50 states have recently reported getting the bizarre, unsolicited seed packages, apparently being sent from China.
Officials have said they believe the seeds may be part of a ''brushing scam'' '-- in which people receive goods they never ordered and the sender then posts a fake customer review in their name to boost sales.
The USDA is urging recipients to save the seeds and the packaging in which they arrive, and send them to their local plant regulatory officials for testing.
The agency on Monday released instructions on how to ship the parcels safely to authorities and a list of destinations.
US agriculture officials have also issued a dire warning not to put the seeds in the ground.
An Arkansas man who planted them on his property before the warning was issued said the plant is producing large white fruit from orange flowers that resemble those of a squash.
Though the species identified so far seem innocuous, experts say that planting seeds from other parts of the world could displace or destroy native plants and insects, severely damage crops or bring diseases.
Flooding Threatens China's Bitcoin Miners, Chinese Billionaire Says 'Three Gorges Dam Collapse Imminent' | Mining Bitcoin News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:02
This week cryptocurrency enthusiasts are still focused on the severe flooding in China during the 2020 monsoon season. The flooding has already displaced millions of Chinese citizens and skeptics are concerned about the vast number of bitcoin miners located in the Sichuan province.
The landlocked province in Southwest China, Sichuan is located upstream of the Three Gorges Dam. During the last two months, the 2020 monsoon season ravaged the region.
Reports note that by the end of June, flooding from the rainy season has displaced 744,000 Chinese residents stemming from 26 provinces. The latest reports highlight that 54 million citizens from China have been affected by the floods and 41,000 homes have collapsed to-date.
Estimates show that roughly 50% of the world's bitcoin miners are located in China and a deep concentration of miners are located in the Sichuan province. Last year, Coinshares reported the concentration in China was around 64%.
Bitcoin mining map via Coinshares Research shows China and Sichuan's density is quite large compared to the rest of the world. The Beijing-based data firm Bitooda published recent findings that said China only accounts for 50% of the world's hashrate this year.New estimates from Bitooda stress that China only accounts for 50% of the world's hashrate in 2020. Every year, reports also explain how Chinese miners migrate in order to obtain cheap hydropower resources during the rainy season.
Moreover, every 12-months during the last few years, reports have shown the rain season in China wreaked havoc on mining facilities.
On July 27, 2020, the mining operation F2pool, a pool that commands the second-largest share of BTC hashrate, described how bitcoin miners completed the '''Great Migration' to prepare for the Sichuan hydro season.'' F2pool's report stresses that halfway through 2020 ''the mining industry has already faced several enormous challenges.''
Despite the dangers of flooding, the rainy season gives Chinese miners ''an average [power supply] price of less than 0.23 RMB (approx. $0.033).'' The Great Migration, F2pool said took two weeks to accomplish, and the ''annual hydro Season'' started right after the third block reward halving.
''The extremely competitive hydro season prices have led the Bitcoin network hashrate to push to an all-time high again,'' F2pool's research highlights.
China's Three Gorges Dam has been controversial even well before it was completed. reports that 30 billion cubic meters of floodwater have been held back by the large dam since the first week of July.One of the fears Sichuan miners face today is how mining facilities are situated next to the infamous Three Gorges Dam. News outlets in Asia have been reporting on the massive flooding caused by the 2020 monsoon season, and a great number of people are concerned about the dam's structural soundness.
Three Gorges Dam is by far the largest dam in the world and it was completed in 2003. According to the Changjiang Ministry of Water Resources, both the Gezhou Dam and the Three Gorges Dam stopped 30 billion cubic meters of floodwater during the last 30-days.
The 2020 monsoon season has also made people think that the Three Gorges Dam is being put to extreme tests. Last month the mysterious, exiled Chinese billionaire and whistleblower Miles Guo said that the Three Gorges Dam could collapse soon.
People have even created simulations of the dam collapsing and one recent video went viral on social media. Miles Guo also said on August 2 that ''the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam was almost imminent.''
Simulation of the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam in China & it's potential downstream damage during flood season.
Video went viral on Chinese social media.
On Aug 2, Chinese dissident Miles Guo said that the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam was almost imminent.
'-- Louie [BTC] (@LouPalumbo) August 3, 2020
However, experts and a few other studies disagree with Miles Guo and the collapse theories. Some speculators have said the Three Gorges Dam ''is a highly unlikely issue.''
Another issue is the fact that the Chinese government has deemed the Three Gorges Dam a ''no-flight zone,'' since the start of the flooding. The mandate was enforced immediately after discussions about structural issues started on social media. managed to get aerial snapshots of the dam on Sunday, but the dam is also monitored by the army. Aerial photography of Three Gorges Dam is strictly prohibited.
Financial columnist Wolfie Zhao also discussed the subject with Tokeninsight's chief analyst, Johnson Xu, who explained that Chinese mining farms have prepared ahead of time for the flood risks. reported last month how digital currency proponents have been keenly watching the Three Gorges Dam and the flooding in China. Meanwhile, BTC's hashrate has climbed higher and the global hashpower today is around 120-125 exahash per second (EH/s).
What do you think about the rainy season in China and the Three Gorges Dam troubles? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Tags in this story ASIC mining rigs,
Bitcoin (BTC),
Bitcoin mining,
chinese miners,
Gezhou Dam,
Johnson Xu,
largest hydroelectric dam,
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Three Gorges Dam,
tokeninsightImage Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Coinshares,
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Ministry of Truthiness
Personal news: why I'm now leaving MSNBC
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:35
''Just quit.''
>>That's the advice Alec gave a year and a half ago when I expressed concerns about my job.
''You just quit. It's that simple.''
''Stay at MSNBC at least until the midterms,'' Jeffrey said a couple years back. He advised to watch and see what happens.
''Hang in there'... you're needed,'' Elizabeth recommended last winter. ''I was in your shoes when I was younger but I stuck it out.''
A year and a half ago, simply quitting my job without knowing my next step sounded pretty radical. So I stuck it out a bit longer until we were in the middle of a pandemic to make a truly radical move.
July 24th was my last day at MSNBC. I don't know what I'm going to do next exactly but I simply couldn't stay there anymore. My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis.
You may not watch MSNBC but just know that this problem still affects you, too. All the commercial networks function the same '' and no doubt that content seeps into your social media feed, one way or the other.
It's possible that I'm more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would ''rate.'' The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices '-- it's practically baked in to the editorial process '' and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it's taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it's simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing.
But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that's being done.
''We are a cancer and there is no cure,'' a successful and insightful TV veteran said to me. ''But if you could find a cure, it would change the world.''
As it is, this cancer stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis. The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others'... all because it pumps up the ratings.
This cancer risks human lives, even in the middle of a pandemic. The primary focus quickly became what Donald Trump was doing (poorly) to address the crisis, rather than the science itself. As new details have become available about antibodies, a vaccine, or how COVID actually spreads, producers still want to focus on the politics. Important facts or studies get buried.
This cancer risks our democracy, even in the middle of a presidential election. Any discussion about the election usually focuses on Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, a repeat offense from 2016 (Trump smothers out all other coverage). Also important is to ensure citizens can vote by mail this year, but I've watched that topic get ignored or ''killed'' numerous times.
Context and factual data are often considered too cumbersome for the audience. There may be some truth to that (our education system really should improve the critical thinking skills of Americans) '' but another hard truth is that it is the job of journalists to teach and inform, which means they might need to figure out a better way to do that. They could contemplate more creative methods for captivating an audience. Just about anything would improve the current process, which can be pretty rudimentary (think basing today's content on whatever rated well yesterday, or look to see what's trending online today).
Occasionally, the producers will choose to do a topic or story without regard for how they think it will rate, but that is the exception, not the rule. Due to the simple structure of the industry '' the desire to charge more money for commercials, as well as the ratings bonuses that top-tier decision-makers earn '' they always relapse into their old profitable programming habits.
I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. Therefore, it's particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions. I've even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: ''Our viewers don't really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.''
Again, personally, I don't think the people need to change. I think the job itself needs to change. There is a better way to do this. I'm not so cynical to think that we are absolutely doomed (though we are on that path). I know we can find a cure. If we can figure how to send a man to the moon, if Alex Trebek can defy the odds with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and if Harry Reid can actually overcome pancreatic cancer (he's now cancer free), then we can fix this, too.
''Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.''
I know James Baldwin wasn't thinking about MSNBC when he wrote that line in 1962, but those words spoke loudly to me in the summer of 2020. Unfortunately, many of the same ailments are still at stake today. Now maybe we can't really change the inherently broken structure of broadcast news, but I know for certain that it won't change unless we actually face it, in public, and at least try to change it.
Through this pandemic and the surreal, alienating lockdown, I've witnessed many people question their lives and what they're doing with their time on this planet. I reckon I'm one of those people, looking for greater meaning and truth. As much as I love my life in New York City and really don't want to leave, I feel fortunate to be able to return to Virginia in the near term to reconnect with family, friends, and a community of independent journalists. I'm both nervous and excited about this change. Thanks to COVID-19, I'm learning to live with uncertainty.
And so very soon, I'm going to be seeking you out, any one of you who also may sense that the news is fundamentally flawed and is frustrated by it. This effort will start informally but I hope to crystallize a plan for when better, safer days are upon us. On that front, feel free to reach out anytime if you would like to discuss any of this '' whether in agreement or not. More than ever, I'm craving a full and civil discourse.
Until next time, thank you for reading. I wish you all well.
There may yet be a Tucker Carlson studio in Bryant Pond | Lewiston Sun Journal
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 02:55
Posted November 21, 2019
Updated November 22, 2019
increase font size Woodstock voters have approved selling the Fox News host the old garage and some land beside it.
This old town garage in Bryant Park could become a Fox News studio for Fox host Tucker Carlson. File photo
WOODSTOCK '-- It's not clear whether Fox News host Tucker Carlson still plans to create a television studio in the old town garage, but residents have done what they can to clear the way.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson bought an old town garage in Woodstock for $30,000 after town residents approved the sale on Tuesday. AP file photo
After Carlson proclaimed last March that the project was dead because the Sun Journal publicized his plans, residents went ahead and agreed to sell him the garage for $30,000 '-- and he bought it.
At a special meeting Tuesday that lasted 10 minutes, The Bethel Citizen reported, half a dozen residents showed up to endorse the transfer of a third of an acre beside the building to him as well, along with easements for water and sewer lines, access to the building and some parking.
The sale last spring had left out the property beside the building because the necessary surveys had not yet been done.
Carlson, a longtime summer resident of the town, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Carlson has rented a small space in the basement of the town library in recent years, not far from his vacation home, that he used occasionally for a makeshift studio.
He told the town last winter that he wanted to buy the vacant garage next door so he could transform it into what he called ''the northernmost bureau of Fox News'' and create a studio big enough to allow a small audience.
Shortly before the town meeting where the proposed sale was expected to pass, the Sun Journal reported on the matter coming before voters and Carlson's plans. Within hours, Tucker told the newspaper he had to pull the plug because of the publicity. He declared himself crushed, bitter and disappointed.
Before he declared the project dead, Carlson had told the town he would ''be responsible for buying and repairing the building'' and installing ''an advanced, broadcast-level studio'' in it. He said he planned to ''replace broken clapboards and repaint the building in the same green and white colors. I'd also upgrade the septic system, which it shares with the library.''
In the months since, the town purchased the shuttered Franklin Grange building next door to the garage in Bryant Pond village, a spot Carlson declared ''my favorite place in the world.'' It is not clear what the town plans to do with the Grange building.
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Facebook Finally Moves Against Trump
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 10:59
Facebook has tried its hardest to avoid taking action against posts from President Trump that broke its own rules. But on Wednesday, that long-running effort finally ran aground against a rambling diatribe from the president about children and the coronavirus.
It's a shift that could have an enormous impact on Trump's re-election effort. While political spending is a small fraction of Facebook's overall revenue, political ads make up a more significant chunk of campaign spending. Team Trump has made Facebook'--with its uneven enforcement of its rules against disinformation'--a cornerstone of its campaign, spending more than $35 million in ads on the social network in 2020.
Facebook's top-trending news stories of the day are almost always from the president or his supporters, according to the social media tracking tool CrowdTangle. The Trump campaign even spent $325,000 promoting Facebook pages run by Brad Parscale, the president's former campaign manager, according to The New York Times.
In an appearance on Fox News Wednesday morning, Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends that children are ''almost immune'' from COVID-19.
''If you look at children, children are almost'--and I would almost say definitely'--but almost immune from this disease,'' Trump said. ''They've got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. And they don't have a problem. They just don't have a problem.''
After Trump posted a clip of the appearance with those comments on his Facebook page, the social media site took down the post. ''This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19, which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,'' Facebook said in a statement.
In response to Facebook's takedown of the president's video, the Trump campaign accused the social media company of ''bias'' and claimed that Trump's statement proclaiming children ''almost immune'' from the virus that causes COVID-19 was instead a statement merely that ''children are less susceptible to the coronavirus.''
''Another day, another display of Silicon Valley's flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction,'' Trump campaign spokeswoman Courtney Parella said in a statement. ''Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.''
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week that the company would take down medical misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, including specific false claims about the existence of a ''cure'' for the disease like hydroxychloroquine.
While the company's content policies have long applied to ordinary users, Facebook has sought to avoid enforcing them against public officials, including Trump.
In 2019, the company announced that it would treat all posts by public officials as exempt from its rules under a 2016 policy that exempted otherwise infringing content in the event that the company considered it ''newsworthy.''
''At this point I give them a participation trophy and not applause.''
'-- Lisa Kaplan, founder of the disinformation-tracking firm Alethea Group
''Would it be acceptable to society at large to have a private company in effect become a self-appointed referee for everything that politicians say?'' Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communications, said. ''I don't believe it would be. In open democracies, voters rightly believe that, as a general rule, they should be able to judge what politicians say themselves.''
As Trump's social media posts have become more erratic and offensive over the past few months, Facebook's hands-off policy towards officialdom has put greater pressure on the company to act.
''At this point I give them a participation trophy and not applause,'' Lisa Kaplan, founder of the disinformation-tracking firm Alethea Group told The Daily Beast of the company's decision to take down the Trump post. ''It appears Facebook is following the lead of other tech companies by enforcing its policies. I'm heartened to see them taking action because the danger of disinformation coming from any trusted voice is that people see it, believe it, and change their behavior. Especially in the case of the coronavirus pandemic, changing your behavior could be the difference between life and death.''
In May, Twitter applied a warning label to a tweet from Trump threatening violence against protesters in the wake of the Minneapolis police's killing of George Floyd. Twitter's decision to label Trump's threat that ''when the looting starts, the shooting starts'' as ''glorification of violence'' which could risk ''inspir[ing] similar actions'' led some employees at Facebook to protest their company's relative inaction by coordinating a virtual walkout at the company.
Twitter took things a step further against Trump's campaign account late Wednesday, just hours after Facebook removed the president's misleading post. The social media giant said the president's ''Team Trump'' account would not be allowed to tweet again until it removed video of Trump making the same claim about children being ''almost immune'' to the coronavirus. A Twitter spokeswoman quoted by The Washington Post said the video ''is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation. The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.''
'--with additional reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng
Police bodycam footage shows George Floyd arrest in detail
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 00:00
WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT The terror on George Floyd's face as a rookie cop points a gun at his head while he sits in his car can be seen today for the first has exclusively obtained video from the bodycams of officers Thomas Lane and Alex Kueng, who were part of Floyd's fatal arrest on Memorial Day in Minneapolis Floyd died after Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25The tapes show in minute detail how Floyd begs 'Mr. Officer, please don't shoot me. Please man,' before the struggle that ended with his death It also shows how Floyd resisted as the cops tried to force him into the back of the squad car, telling them he suffers from claustrophobia and anxietyThe video begins with Lane knocking on Floyd's car window with a flashlight and once Floyd opens the door, Lane pulls out his gun and points it at Floyd's headFloyd, 46, begs him not to shoot, saying: ''I'll look at you eye-to-eye. Please don't shoot me man. I just lost my mom, man'He sobs as the officers pull him out of the car and handcuff him, as his ex suggests he was undergoing mental problems and was afraid of police After the struggle to get Floyd in the cop car, he is suddenly on the sidewalk with Chauvin's knee on his neckFloyd says he can't breathe over and over again and calls for his 'momma' but his voice slowly gets weaker as his life drains away, even saying 'I'll probably just die this way' Bodycam footage from two cops accused in the murder of George Floyd is revealed exclusively by today '-- and it shows a rookie officer terrifying Floyd by pointing a handgun at his head and another callously picking a pebble from the squad car tire just inches from the dying man and seconds before he draws his last breath.
The tapes show in minute detail how a very distressed Floyd begs 'Mr. Officer, please don't shoot me. Please man,' before the struggle that ended with his death on May 25.
It also shows how belligerent cops cursed at and manhandled the sobbing suspect, ignoring his pleas for compassion.
Floyd resisted as the cops tried to force him into the back of the car, telling them he suffers from claustrophobia and anxiety and how Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, leading to his death, ignoring Floyd's repeated cries of 'I can't breathe.'
Floyd is even heard predicting his own death. 'I'll probably just die this way,' he says.
Transcripts from the videos were released in mid-July but a judge in Minneapolis had ruled the video could only be viewed in the courthouse, meaning few people have had the chance to watch the powerful images.
But the footage has now been leaked to so the world can finally see the tragedy of Floyd's last minutes as the cops were mindless of Floyd's anguish.
The footage includes more than 18 minutes from Officer Alex Kueng's bodycam and 10 minutes from Officer Thomas Lane. They were the first two cops to arrive on the scene after a complaint that Floyd had attempted to pass a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods, a store in the Powderhorn Park section of Minneapolis.
Bodycam footage from two cops accused in the murder of George Floyd is revealed exclusively by today and it shows a rookie officer terrifying Floyd by pointing a handgun at his head and another callously picking a pebble from the squad car tire just inches from the dying man and seconds before he draws his last breath on May 25 in Minneapolis Floyd is seen sobbing as the officers pull him out of the car and handcuff him, as his ex suggests he was undergoing mental problems and was afraid of police. The tapes show in minute detail how Floyd begs 'Mr. Officer, please don't shoot me. Please man,' before the struggle that ended with his death It also shows how Floyd resisted as the cops tried to force him into the back of the car telling them he suffers from claustrophobia and anxiety and how Officer Derek Chauvin (pictured) knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, leading to his death, ignoring Floyd's repeated cries of 'I can't breathe' The video obtained by comes from the bodycams of Lane and Alex Kueng, the two cops who were originally called to the scene by Cup Foods' owners. Chauvin (far left) and a fourth officer Tou Thao (second from left) were called in to assist. All were fired the day after Floyd's death. The videos start with Lane, 37, (far right) and Kueng, 26 (second from right) both in their first week as Minneapolis police officers entering Cup Foods. A staff member rushes up to them waving the banknote. 'Before they drive off, he's parked right here, it's a fake bill from the gentleman,' he tells the copsChauvin and a fourth officer, Tou Thao, were called in to assist. All four were fired the day after Floyd's death.
Chauvin, 44, has been charged with Floyd's murder and the other three face charges of aiding and abetting murder. The events have led to months of Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country over police racism and brutality.
Floyd was arrested on Memorial Day after allegedly passing a fake $20 bill while buying cigarettes at Cup Foods, a store in the Powderhorn Park section of MinneapolisThe two officers' bodycam videos have been filed with Hennepin County District Court by Lane's defense attorney.
It is clear from the video that Floyd was not trying to run away - he had plenty of time to leave the scene before police arrived. But instead he decided to sit in his car with two friends, giving the cops the opportunity to approach.
The videos begin with Lane, 37, and Kueng, 26 '-- both in their first week as Minneapolis police officers '-- entering Cup Foods. A staff member rushes up to them waving the banknote. 'Before they drive off. He's parked right here. It's a fake bill from the gentleman,' he tells the cops.
Lane and Kueng then both approach Floyd's blue Mercedes SUV on the other side of the street. Lane goes to the driver's side where Floyd is sitting at the wheel and Kueng approaches the passenger side, where Floyd's ex, Shawanda Hill is in the back seat and a friend, Maurice Hall, is in the front.
Lane is seen knocking on the car window with his flashlight, but Floyd does not immediately open the door. Once the door is open, Lane immediately pulls out his handgun and points it straight at Floyd's head.
'Hey man, I'm sorry,' Floyd says and apologizes again before Lane gets belligerent.
'Put your f***ing hands up right now! Let me see your other hand,' the cop is heard saying.
Floyd does not immediately put his hands on the wheel. 'Put your f***ing hand up there,' Lane orders him. 'Jesus Christ, keep your f**king hands on the wheel.'
Floyd tells the officer he had been shot before, and Lane replies: 'Keep your f***ing hands on the wheel.'
A staff member rushes up to the two officers waving the banknote. 'Before they drive off, he's parked right here, it's a fake bill from the gentleman,' he tells the cops Lane is seen knocking on the car window with his flashlight, but Floyd does not immediately open the door. Once the door is open Lane immediately pulls out his handgun and points it at Floyd's head 'Hey man, I'm sorry,' Floyd says and apologizes again before Lane gets belligerent. 'Put your f***ing hands up right now! Let me see your other hand,' the cop is heard saying The cop then orders Floyd out of the car, saying: 'Hands on top of your head. Step out of the vehicle and step away from me.' That's when Floyd says: 'Okay. Mr. Officer, please don't shoot me. Please man.' 'I'm not going to shoot you,' Lane says. 'Step out and face away.' 'I'll look at you eye-to-eye. Please don't shoot me man,' Floyd replies. 'I just lost my mom, man' Floyd, 46, is seen sobbing as Kueng and Lane pull him out of the car and handcuff himLane then tells Floyd to put his foot inside the vehicle. 'I'm sorry, I'm so sorry,' Floyd replies. 'God dang man. Man, I got shot the same way, Mr. Officer, before.'
'Okay. Well when I say ''Let me see your hands,'' you put your f***ing hands up,' Lane responds.
The cop then orders Floyd out of the car. 'Hands on top of your head. Step out of the vehicle and step away from me,' he says.
Floyd replies: 'Okay. Mr. Officer, please don't shoot me. Please man.'
'I'm not going to shoot you,' Lane says. 'Step out and face away.
'I'll look at you eye-to-eye. Please don't shoot me man,' Floyd replies. 'I just lost my mom, man.'
Floyd, 46, is seen sobbing as Kueng and Lane pull him out of the car and handcuff him.
After getting Floyd out of the car, Lane then starts talking to the passengers, Hill and Hall. 'Why's he being all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?' Lane asks.
'Because he's been shot before,' Hill, 45, replies.
'Well I get that,' Lane says. 'But still, when officers say: ''Get out of the car...''
'Is he drunk or something?'
'No, he's got a thing going on,' Hill says, pointing to her head and making a circular movement with her finger as if to suggest her ex had mental problems. 'About the police,' she adds.
Click here to resize this module
It is clear from the video that Floyd had plenty of time to leave the scene before police arrived. But for some reason he decided to sit in his car with two friends, allowing the cops to approach After getting Floyd out of the car, Lane then starts talking to the passengers, Hill and Hall (left and right). 'Why's he being all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?' Lane asks. 'Because he's been shot before,' Hill, 45, replies. 'He's got a thing going on,' Hill says, pointing to her head and making a circular movement with her finger as if to suggest her ex had mental problems (pictured). 'About the police,' she adds The two officers then walk Floyd to the squad car and that is when the struggle really begins as he refuses to get in saying he has claustrophobia. He falls to the ground. 'Stand up. Stop falling down,' Kueng shouts. 'Stay on your feet and face the car door.' 'Please man. Don't leave me by myself man, please. I'm just claustrophobic,' Floyd begs 'Y'all, I am going to die in here,' Floyd protests. 'I'm going to die, man. I just had COVID, man. I don't want to go back to that.' Lane offers to roll the cruiser's windows down to help his phobia but Floyd is still seen to struggle. 'I'm scared as f**k,' he says While still in the car, Floyd says for the first time the line that has become synonymous with his death. 'I can't breathe.' Shortly afterwards Chauvin and Thao arrive on the sceneThe two officers then walk Floyd to the squad car and the struggle really begins when Floyd refuses to get in, saying he has claustrophobia.
He falls to the ground. 'Stand up. Stop falling down,' Kueng shouts. 'Stay on your feet and face the car door.'
'Please man. Don't leave me by myself man, please. I'm just claustrophobic.'
'Well you're still going in the car,' Lane says.
'Y'all, I am going to die in here,' Floyd protests. 'I'm going to die, man. I just had COVID, man. I don't want to go back to that.'
Lane offers to roll the cruiser's windows down to help his phobia but Floyd still struggles. 'I'm scared as f***,' he says.
A bystander tells Floyd to calm down because he cannot win in the situation he is in. 'I don't want to win,' Floyd says. 'I'm claustrophobic and I've got anxiety. I don't want to do nothing to them.'
While still in the car, Floyd says for the first time the line that has become synonymous with his death. 'I can't breathe.' Shortly afterwards Chauvin and Thao arrive on the scene.
The officers finally get him in the squad car and close the rear driver's side door behind him, but for a reason that is not clear from the video, Floyd comes out of the passenger side door still struggling.
Within seconds he is lying on the sidewalk with Chauvin's knee pressed on his neck and Lane and Kueng helping to restrain him.
He says he can't breathe over and over again and calls for his 'momma' but his voice slowly gets weaker as his life drains away.
'Tell my kids I love them. I'm dead,' he says at one point.
The officers finally get Floyd in the squad car and close the rear driver's side door behind him, but for a reason that is not clear from the video, he comes out of the passenger side door still struggling Within seconds he is lying on the sidewalk with Chauvin's knee on his neck. He says he can't breathe over and over again and calls for his 'momma' but his voice slowly gets weaker as his life drains away When Floyd continues to say he can't breathe, Kueng is heard telling him. 'You're fine. You're talking fine.' Floyd replies: 'I'll probably just die this way.' 'I'm through,' Floyd says. 'I'm claustrophobic. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please' Kueng is seen nonchalantly picking a pebble from the squad car tire with his right hand as he restrains Floyd's legs with his left As Floyd stops moving Chauvin keeps his knee on his neck, despite complaints from a small crowd that has gathered. 'Check his pulse,' one man says repeatedly. 'You call what you are doing okay?' Pictured: Kueng picking a pebble from the tire The rookie cop callously picked a pebble from the squad car tire just inches from the dying man and seconds before Floyd draws his last breath But the other officers do little to stop Chauvin. At one point Lane asks: 'Should we roll him on his side?' But Chauvin replies. 'No, he's staying where we've got him.' 'Okay,' Lane says. 'I just worry about the excited delirium or whatever.' 'Well, that's why we got the ambulance coming,' says Chauvin. By the time EMTs arrive, Floyd is deadKueng is seen nonchalantly picking a pebble from the squad car tire with his right hand as he restrains Floyd's legs with his left.
As his knee presses the life out of Floyd, Chauvin, the most senior officer on the scene, asks rookies Lane and Kueng if they are okay. 'My knee might be a little scratched but I will survive,' Lane answers.
Thao asks his fellow officers whether Floyd is high.
'I believe so. We found a pipe,' Kueng replies. Lane says: 'We found a weed pipe. There might be something else, there might be like PCP or something.'
When Floyd continues to wail that he can't breathe, Kueng is heard telling him. 'You're fine. You're talking fine.'
Floyd replies: 'I'll probably just die this way.'
'I'm through,' Floyd says. 'I'm claustrophobic. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please.'
'Then stop talking. Stop yelling,' Chauvin replies. 'It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.'
As Floyd stops moving Chauvin keeps his knee on his neck, despite complaints from a small crowd that has gathered.
'Check his pulse,' one man says repeatedly. 'You call what you are doing okay?
But the other officers do little to stop Chauvin. At one point Lane asks: 'Should we roll him on his side?' But Chauvin replies. 'No, he's staying where we've got him.'
'Okay,' Lane says. 'I just worry about the excited delirium or whatever.'
'Well, that's why we got the ambulance coming,' Chauvin says.
By the time EMTs arrive, George Floyd is dead.
Floyd excited delirium told you so
116 Organizations Driving Change. Every one of them would benefit from'... | by MacKenzie Scott | Jul, 2020 | Medium
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:08
Last year I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty. There's no question in my mind that anyone's personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.
Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change. People troubled by recent events can make new connections between privileges they've enjoyed and benefits they've taken for granted. From there, many will choose to share some of what they have with people whose equal participation is essential to the construction of a better world.
I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions. Last fall, I asked a team of non-profit advisors with key representation from historically marginalized race, gender, and sexual identity groups to help me find and assess organizations having major impact on a variety of causes. Though this work is ongoing and will last for years, I'm posting an update today because my own reflection after recent events revealed a dividend of privilege I'd been overlooking: the attention I can call to organizations and leaders driving change.
The non-profits listed below were selected for transformative work in one of the following areas of need:
Total given to date:
Racial Equity: $ 586,700,000
LGBTQ+ Equity: $ 46,000,000
Gender Equity: $ 133,000,000
Economic Mobility: $ 399,500,000
Empathy & Bridging Divides: $ 55,000,000
Functional Democracy: $ 72,000,000
Public Health: $ 128,300,000
Global Development: $ 130,000,000
Climate Change: $ 125,000,000
On this list, 91% of the racial equity organizations are run by leaders of color, 100% of the LGBTQ+ equity organizations are run by LGBTQ+ leaders, and 83% of the gender equity organizations are run by women, bringing lived experience to solutions for imbalanced social systems. Driven by a deep belief in the value different backgrounds bring to problem-solving on any issue, we selected for diversity in leadership across all categories of giving, supporting vital variety of perspective and experience in solutions on every cause. All of these leaders and organizations have a track record of effective management and significant impact in their fields. I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts. Unless organization leadership requested otherwise, all commitments were paid up front and left unrestricted to provide them with maximum flexibility. I recommend these organizations to anyone similarly excited by the idea of empowering leaders well-positioned to accelerate progress. Every one of them is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. And every one of them would benefit from more allies looking to share wealth of all types and sizes, including money, volunteer time, supplies, advocacy, publicity, networks and relationships, collaboration, encouragement, and trust.
The Glasswing is a tiny butterfly with invisible wings that can carry 40 times its own weight. Over the last fourteen months, I've been inspired by the capacity of individuals to lift others: an association of women professionals mentoring girls through the same program that paid for their own educations; a network of low-income families lifting themselves out of poverty by supporting and advising each other.
The organizations named below offer a daily reminder that we can each carry more than we imagine. And they offer an opportunity to invest our good fortune in change, no matter what form our good fortune has taken.
I'll highlight more as my giving continues in the months and years to come.
A Call to Men
ACEGID & Broad Institute '-- Sentinel
Advancement Project
All Our Kin
American Indian Graduate Center
Asian Americans Advancing Justice '-- AAJC
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Black Girls CODE
Blue Meridian Partners
BRAC '-- Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiatives
Camelback Ventures
Campaign Legal Center
Capital Impact Partners
Center for Election Innovation & Research
Center for Policing Equity
Centering Healthcare Institute
Collective Future Fund
College Track
Common Cause Education Fund
Community Change
Crisis Text Line
Echoing Green
Educate Girls
END Fund '-- Deworming Innovation Fund
Energy Foundation China
Energy Foundation US
Equality Can't Wait Challenge
European Climate Foundation
Facing History and Ourselves
Family Independence Initiative
Fast Grants
First Nations Development Institute
Forward Together
Fund for Trans Generations
Futures Without Violence
George W. Bush Presidential Center
GiveDirectly '-- U.S. Response and Africa Response
Grameen America
Grantmakers for Girls of Color
Greater Good Science Center
Groundswell Fund
Hampton University
Harlem Children's Zone '-- COVID-19 Relief and Recovery
Highlander Research and Education Center
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Hope Enterprise Corporation
Howard University
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
Independent Sector
Interfaith Youth Core
International Trans Fund
Jackie Robinson Foundation
Lambda Legal
Leadership Conference Education Fund
Living Goods + Last Mile Health '-- COVID-19 Response
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Low Income Investment Fund
Millennial Action Project
Morehouse College
Movement for Black Lives
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Narrative 4
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Congress of American Indians
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Urban League
National Women's Law Center
Obama Foundation
One Acre Fund
One Fair Wage
Opportunity Fund
Othering and Belonging Institute
Oweesta Corporation
Partners in Health '-- StopCOVID
PFLAG National
Point Foundation
Posse Foundation
Potential Energy Coalition
Project Echo '-- COVID-19 Response
Seattle Foundation '-- COVID-19 Response Fund
Share Our Strength / No Kid Hungry
Solutions Journalism Network
Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Southerners on New Ground
Spelman College
State Infrastructure Fund
State Voices
The Nature Conservancy '-- Blue Bonds & US Climate Action
The On Being Project
The Opportunity Agenda
The Trevor Project
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Transgender Law Center
Tuskegee University
UNCF (United Negro College Fund)
United Way of King County '-- Community Relief Fund
Voter Engagement Fund
W. Haywood Burns Institute
With Honor
World Central Kitchen '-- Oakland
Xavier University of Louisiana
"Be Brave, Do Something"'--Ashley Rae Goldenberg's List Of Corporations That Support The Riots And Want You Dead | Blog Posts |
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:58
''Be Brave. Do Something.''
These are the words of James O'Keefe and his incredible Project Veritas.
Ashley Rae Goldenberg, AKA Communism Kills on Twitter, was until recently employed by the Capital Research Center. She was then and still is a brave journalist/researcher, who dared advocate for truth and honesty in all aspects of her reporting.
She was brave, and for doing something running against Conservatism Inc., she was purged.
But she hasn't stopped heeding the words of O'Keefe and the mantra guiding not only his organization, but what should become the rallying cry for all of those who hold dear the Historic America Nation.
She compiled a list of all the corporations/companies that have put out statements in honor of the Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots on behalf of career criminal (perpetually turning his life around) George Floyd.
Originally published on, she was de-platformed there, as she wrote:
My Medium account was just suspended because of the list I've been creating of companies that support Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the rioters.
Well, her work is too important to allow it to be jettisoned into the abyss of the Internet, so we re-print her research on the pages of VDARE.
These are the corporations that have publicly supported the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots/looting/arson/attacks on whites/attacks on police over the past 12 days:
Here Are The Companies That Support Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and Want You Dead
23andme: Road Studios: Academy (the Oscars): Blizzard: Airlines: Airlines: Express: Apparel: Music: Gaming: Records: Bank: & Noble: of America: Goodman: & Jerry's: Mobile: King:'s Bees: of Duty: Records: Goose: Network: Cola: Cosmetics: Nast: Commons: Collection: Express: Digital:! News: Sleep: Locker: 1: Mini Wheats: Motors: Sachs: Glue: Collective: for Humanity:'s: Max: Scout:'s: Depot: Bundle:'s:'Oreal Paris:'s: Brand: Vuitton: NFL 20: Entertainment:'s: Benz: Life: Opera: Balance: York Life: Face: Spice: Pictures: Network: Co: Inc:'s Chicken: & Gamble: Systems: Loans: Lobster: Wing:'s: Krispies: Games: Games: Street: Generale US: Enix: Wars: New York: Corporation: Bell: Eats: Beauty: Armor: Group: Records: Bros Records:'s Fargo:'s: Music USA:
123 non-white speakers you need at your next journalism event to avoid 'whanels' | Media news
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:54
Credit: Frank Noon for Mousetrap Media. Pictured: Imriel Morgan at Newsrewired. All rights reserved
'Whanels' - or all-white panels - are still way too common at media conferences.
The publishing industry is often criticised for its lack of diverse voices. Although many events have now started to feature more women, few are paying the same level of attention to non-white speakers.
We have been guilty of this ourselves at Newsrewired, our twice-yearly digital innovation conference. Although we have a 50:50 gender representation policy in place, which means that we want at least half of our speakers to be women and avoid 'manels', we have not been equally intentional about the proportion of non-white experts. That is set to change.
One of the problems we - as a media industry - have is that our networks are not diverse enough. When it comes to searching for event speakers, we tend to tap into our contacts and, unsurprisingly, we end up with people from a similar background.
To help event organisers connect with and get to know diverse media experts, we compiled this list of non-white speakers and linked to their social media profiles. Following them will already put new stories and perspectives on your radar which can also inspire your event agenda.
Most of the experts featured below are based in or near the UK. This is intentional as we hope that physical events will return soon after the covid-19 pandemic ends. Also, there are a few databases of diverse US journalists out there we did not want to be reinventing the wheel.
To make the search simpler, we categorised the speakers by their main field of expertise but many are active in different areas. A podcaster can also be a mobile journalist. A reporter can be an academic. We encourage you to explore their profiles to learn more about their work.
Finally, this is absolutely not a complete list. It features experts whom we have worked with over the past couple of years, as well as those who were recommended to us by our community. Please get in touch with us at @journalismnews to let us know about anyone who should be featured below - we want this to be the start of a much larger project that will contribute to raise the profile of these fantastic speakers.
Business and leadershipBola Awoniyi, media strategist | UK
Sharon Pian Chan, VP of philanthropy, New York Times | USA
Madhav Chinnappa, director of news ecosystem development, Google | USA
Mukul Devichan, executive editor, BBC Voice and AI | UK
Sharan Dhaliwal, editor, Burnt Roti Magazine | UK
Ria Hebden, TV presenter | UK
Nancy Kacungira, journalist, BBC | UK
Dima Khatib, managing director, Al Jazeera+ | Qatar
Ronke Lawal, PR expert | UK
Liv Little, CEO, gal-dem | UK
Anthony Lorenzo, journalist and entrepreneur | UK
Jasmine McNealy, academic | USA
Tobi Oredein, founder of Black Ballad | UK
Hina Pandya, journalist, writer, trainer | UK
Martin G. Reynolds, co-executive director, Maynard Institute | USA
Meera Selva, director of the Journalist Fellowship Programme, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism | UK
Cristina Silva, enterprise editor, USA Today | USA
Kalpesh Solanki, group managing editor, Asian Media Group | UK
Otegha K. Uwagba, consultant | UK
Sisi Wei, director of programs, Open News | USA
Audience engagement and newsroom strategyYusof Abdul-Rahman, associate consultant, Fathm | UK
Ayomikun Adekaiyero, social media editor, PressPad | UK
Eliza Anyangwe, freelance journalist | UK
Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams, editor, newsroom diversity, Reuters | UK
Aaqil Ahmed, advisor | UK
Priscilla Baffour, global head of diversity and inclusion, FT | UK
Vedika Bahl, journalist, France24 | France
Tauhid Chappell, project manager, Free Press | USA
Serena A. Chaudhry, senior manager, Dataminr | UK
Emma Carew Grovum, newsroom and product strategist | USA
Reg Chua, executive editor, editorial operations, data and innovation, Reuters | USA
David Dunkley Gyimah, journalist and filmmaker | UK
Solomon Elliott, founder, Student View | UK
Catherine Gicheru, editor and ICFJ Knight Fellow | Kenya
Simi Jolaoso, journalist, BBC | UK
Nimesh Joshi, programme and digital editor, ITV Central | UK
Adriana Lacy, audience engagement editor, LA Times | USA
Anthea Lee, producer | UK
Aurore Malval, reporter, Nice-Matin | France
De'Graft Mensah, presenter, BBC Newsround | UK
George Ruddock, managing director, The Voice Online | UK
Sameer Padania, consultant, Macroscope London | UK
Jenny Wong, senior project manager | UK
Karen Yin, editor, Conscious Style Guide | USA
Mobile journalismImran Azam, mobile journalist | UK
Abdul Kabil Khan (Jamil Khan), assistant professor, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh | Bangladesh
Sumaiya Omar, co-founder Hashtag Our Stories | UK/South Africa
Yusuf Omar, co-founder Hashtag our Stories | UK/South Africa
Davidson Rodrigues, owner, Davidson Rodrigues Media | The Netherlands
Umashankar Singh, foreign affairs editor, NDTV | India
Viasen Soobramoney, journalist and trainer | UK/South Africa
Technology and scienceNahla Davies, tech writer | USA
Robert Hernandez, journalist and academic | USA
Christine Izuakor, founder and CEO, Cyber Pop-up | USA
Mun-Keat Looi, international features editor, The BMJ | UK
Tawanda Kanhema, tech and media innovator | USA
Konan Kouassi, co-founder, The Newscene | France
Admire Mare, journalist and academic | Zimbabwe
An Nguyen, academic | UK
Akshat Rathi, climate and energy reporter, Bloomberg News | UK
Ben(C)t J. Wilson, aviation journalist | USA
Ed Yong, science writer, The Atlantic | UK
News and investigative reportingTufayel Ahmed, digital editor and culture journalist | UK
Dayo Aiyetan, investigative journalist, ICIR | Nigeria
Rana Ayyub, global opinions writer, Washington Post | India
Theo Chikomba, broadcast journalist, BBC | UK
Marverine Cole, broadcaster and academic | UK
Aasma Day, investigative journalist, HuffPost | UK
Audrey Dias, journalist, BBC Midlands Today | UK
Scarlette Douglas, TV presenter, Channel 4/BBC | UK
Elaine Dunkley, education correspondent, BBC | UK
Vicky Gayle, journalist and regional editor, Black Ballad | UK
Barbara George, broadcaster, Liverpool TV | UK
Nikole Hannah-Jones, journalist, NYT Magazine | USA
Kesewa Hennessy, journalist, FT | UK
Ben Hunte, LGBT correspondent, BBC | UK
Ashley John-Baptiste, reporter, BBC | UK
Ashish Joshi, correspondent, Sky News | UK
Shirish Kulkarni, news storytelling researcher | UK
Antoinette Lattouf, senior journalist, Channel 10 | Australia
Elaine Ly, producer and presenter, South China Morning Post | China
Clive Myrie, presenter, BBC | UK
Alexi McCammond, reporter, Axios | USA
Jay McGregor, editor-in-chief, Point | UK
Wesley Lowery, journalist, 60 Minutes | USA
Darshna Soni, journalist, Channel 4 News | UK
Community reportingSiana Bangura, writer and producer | UK
Angelo Boccato, freelance journalist | UK
Barnie Choudhury, columnist | UK
Russell Contreras, journalist, Associated Press | USA
Afua Hirsch, writer and broadcaster | UK
Naresh Kaushik, senior journalist, BBC | UK
Katie Orchard, journalist, ITV/Reuters | UK
Kat Stafford, race and ethnicity writer, Associated Press | USA
Nadine White, reporter, HuffPost | UK
Gary Younge, journalist and academic | UK
Podcasting and documentaryBim Adewunmi, producer, This American Life | USA
Linda Adey, podcast presenter and reporter, BBC | UK
Waad Al-Kateab, filmmaker, Channel 4 | UK
Sadia Azmat, podcast co-host, BBC | UK
Suchandrika Chakrabarti, journalist and podcaster | UK
Marvyn Harrison, strategy consultant | UK
Chant(C) Joseph, podcast host, Channel 4 | UK
Imriel Morgan, podcaster | UK
Soledad O'Brien, broadcast journalist | USA
Jayisha Patel, filmmaker | UK
Jessie Aru Phillips, multimedia producer, BBC | UK
Damaso Reyes, founder, Clarify Media | USA
Roshan Roberts, broadcaster and producer, BBC1 Extra | UK
Mugabi Turya, producer and reporter, BBC | UK
Culture and sportKirk Asiedu, co-founder, Reveal | UK
Anne-Marie Batson, sports broadcaster | UK
Chris Chohan, news and sports producer, Good Morning Britain | UK
Reshmin Chowdhury, sports broadcaster, BBC Sport/BT Sport | UK
Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi, sports reporter | USA
Nicole Krystal Crentsil, cultural curator | UK
Chrystal Genesis, journalist and curator | UK
Stephen Lyle, lead executive, BBC Sport | UK
Leon Mann, consultant and filmmaker | UK
Soraya Nadia McDonald, cultural critic, The Undefeated | USA
Tola Onanuga, journalist | UK
Felicia Pennant, founder and editor-in-chief, Season | UK
Dharmesh Sheth, reporter and presenter, Sky Sports News | UK
Other resources:Media Diversified: Experts DirectoryPoynter Diversity BibliographyPresspad: list of black journalists Free daily newsletterIf you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).
How Sunrise is giving 100-year-old tactics new life in the revolution | by Sunrise Movement | Sunrise Movement | Jul, 2020 | Medium
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:21
photo by: Michael Clevenger/Courier JournalIn the early dawn light of Juneteenth, a group of brave people stood outside Mitch McConnell's house in Kentucky to make some noise. Tension was high. It's not a joke to show up on the doorstep of a major politician like Mitch McConnell '-- not when cops are disappearing people off the streets in places like Portland when they don't like what they see. Cop cars circled around the group. They were nervous.
They sang. They shouted. They held up signs and stood stoic. And the energy grew. Cars honked in support as they passed. Mitch's own neighbor walked outside to join them. She yelled, ''It's your future too, Mitch!''
Taking the cue in DC, another group rallied their bullhorns outside of Councilmember Anita Bonds' house at midnight. They demanded better for DC residents who couldn't afford to keep their homes. Neighbors cheered them on from the sidelines.
It happened again in Providence, as protesters blew air horns in front of the Mayor's house, and again in Georgia, where a nighttime block party was scheduled outside the Governor's house.
So why are young people around the country interrupting the sleep of local politicians?
Because it works.
Believe it or not, these tactics are over a century old, inspired by the Wide Awakes, a pro-abolition mass youth movement in the 1860s (right before the Civil War) who turned anti-abolition representatives' lives into waking nightmares.
Wide awake to the moral iniquity of slavery, they called out slavery supporters as reprehensible and criticized leaders who had dragged their feet on abolition as weak-willed and complicit.
They ensured the safety and democratic rights of those who envisioned a world where slavery was abolished, rallying around pro-abolition speakers and politicians, serving as defenders and poll watchers.
These young people grew up in a world as similarly fraught and polarized as our own, and they took sustained radical action to match the moment. Our generation has lived our whole lives in the wildest dreams of a few billionaires. While they line their pockets and boost the stock market, we're losing sleep over unpaid bills, student loans, and the rent due in a few days. While they have the best healthcare money can buy, we're watching our local hospitals and healthcare workers struggle as the national body count grows. While they're hiring private security to ''keep them safe'' from us, the police are kicking in our neighbors' doors and kneeling on their necks, then tear gassing us when we protest.
We were born into crisis, inheriting a failing world. We tried signing petitions. We tried calling and visiting government offices. Through it all, most politicians ignored us. Now, we're taking actions they cannot ignore. Our generation is done asking nicely.
We are Wide Awake. And, for the next hundred days, the architects of this death economy will be too.
This is not just an uprising, it's a mothafucking haunting. We will march to their homes at midnight so they understand that we are wide awake to their role in crafting this nightmare. When they try to dine at restaurants we're forced to work at '-- despite the risk of COVID '-- because our unemployment is ending, we will not serve them. When they do nothing to stop federal agents from snatching us off the streets, when they force us to go back to school in unsafe conditions, when they do nothing to stop our democracy from crumbling, we will bang on their doors from dusk until dawn and make them hear us. We will make their lives a waking nightmare until they stand with us or give way to the power of the people and the vision we have for a new world.
The original Wide Awakes were relentless. And they saw results. In the next half decade, Abraham Lincoln was elected, slavery was abolished, and the visionary Reconstruction began in the South.
Like our predecessors, we will demand the future we need, not the future our political leaders think they can negotiate for. Our generation will fight for true abolition and complete the unfinished work of the Reconstruction.
And when these hundred days are done, on election day November 3rd, any politician who isn't with us will be replaced.
Chicago-Area Leaders Call for Illinois to Abolish History Classes '' NBC Chicago
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 22:29
Leaders in education, politics and other areas gathered in suburban Evanston Sunday to ask that the Illinois State Board of Education change the history curriculum at schools statewide, and temporarily halt instruction until an alternative is decided upon.
At a news conference, State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford said current history teachings lead to a racist society and overlook the contributions of women and minorities.
Before the event Sunday, Rep. Ford's office distributed a news release "Rep. Ford Today in Evanston to Call for the Abolishment of History Classes in Illinois Schools," in which Ford asked the ISBOE and school districts to immediately remove history curriculum and books that "unfairly communicate" history "until a suitable alternative is developed."
The representative instead suggested that schools devote greater attention toward civics and ensuring students understand democratic processes.
"It costs us as a society in the long run forever when we don't understand our brothers and sisters that we live, work and play with,'' Ford said.
The state representative is sponsoring a bill that would require elementary schools to teach students about the civil rights movement.
The full news release is below:
Rep. Ford Today in Evanston to Call for the Abolishment of History Classes in Illinois Schools
Concerned that current school history teaching leads to white privilege and a racist society, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, will join local leaders today at noon at the Robert Crown Center in Evanston to call on the state to stop its current history teaching practices until appropriate alternatives are developed.
''When it comes to teaching history in Illinois, we need to end the miseducation of Illinoisans,'' Ford said. ''I'm calling on the Illinois State Board of Education and local school districts to take immediate action by removing current history books and curriculum practices that unfairly communicate our history. Until a suitable alternative is developed, we should instead devote greater attention toward civics and ensuring students understand our democratic processes and how they can be involved. I'm also alarmed that people continue to display symbols of hate, such as the recent display of the Confederate flag in Evanston.''
Attendees at Sunday's press conference will discuss how current history teaching practices overlook the contributions by Women and members of the Black, Jewish, LGBTQ communities and other groups. These individuals are pushing for an immediate change in history changing practice starting this school year.
''The miseducation of our children must stop,'' said Meleika Gardner of We Will. ''It is urgent that it comes to an end as we witness our current climate become more hostile. Miseducation has fed and continues to feed systemic racism for generations. If Black History continues to be devalued and taught incorrectly, then it will call for further action.''
Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty notes ''As Mayor, I am not comfortable speaking on education, curriculum, and whether history lessons should be suspended. This is not my area. Personally, I support House Bill 4954 because I am interested in learning more and believe the history of Black people should be taught to all children and include all groups, Women, LatinX, and Native Indians who helped to build America.''
2020 Has Pointed Austin In The Direction Of Justice, Adler Says In State Of The City Address | KUT
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:26
Addressing a city that has ground to a halt amid a pandemic, save for frontline workers who can't stay home and protestors in the streets demanding cuts to the police budget, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said this time of turmoil is a chance to rebuild a more equitable city.
''History will remember 2020 as the moment that pointed us in the direction of justice,'' he said, delivering his annual State of the City Address not from City Hall as he typically does, but seated in his home office.
He referenced the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin, as well as the disproportionate health consequences of the coronavirus on Latino residents.
''This was the year that forced us to see injustice unlike any time before, like someone grabbing and holding our face between their hands and not letting us turn away, forcing us to look at the unfairness around us and our part in perpetuating it,'' he said.
Watch the speech below:
In his sixth speech since taking office in 2015, Adler spent a good deal of time focused on the topic of funding for the Austin Police Department, which City Council members have been discussing as part of their annual process to come up with a new budget.
"When we can no longer do what we've always done, we can realize the dawning of a new day and focus on new dreams," he said.
Groups like Communities of Color United, Grassroots Leadership and the Austin Justice Coalition have demanded cuts of anywhere from $100 million to $225 million from the $434 million police budget. The council has considered proposals that could get the city close to that $100 million reduction. But the council is scheduled to adopt the budget next week, and staff have said they can't implement such big changes in this short of a time frame.
''I want the demonstrators, marchers and advocates to know how much I respect, admire and appreciate their efforts to impact the debate we're having at City Hall,'' Adler said. ''It has made a significant difference in the nature and substance of the conversation we are having.''
Adler mentioned several proposals, including one where the council would approve a six-month budget for police, instead of the typical one-year budget, so they could have more time to make changes next year. Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, who represents much of East Austin, brought up this idea at a council meeting earlier this week.
Adler said he supports delaying the November cadet training academy until the city has a chance to evaluate and potentially change its police training materials. He also suggested rethinking 911 operations, perhaps moving it out from under APD's jurisdiction and creating a central number for both emergency and informational purposes.
''What if there was only one number, one set of operators, each trained to immediately forward every call to where it's supposed to go?" he said. "Maybe the police department, and the taxpayers, could save some money, even while the public is better getting in touch with the right person, if we no longer made the police department pay for 911? We should find out.''
While Adler did not call for Police Chief Brian Manley to resign, as some of his colleagues have done, he said the city needs a leader that shares the values of the council.
''We need more than just a willingness to accept change if it happens; we need a champion for change at its best,'' he said.
During his hour-long speech, Adler touched on homelessness and Project Connect, the plan '' dependent on an election to raise taxes '' that would build out rail and bus lines in the region. As has been done before, he pitched the plan as a way to tackle the inequities in transit, saying that those who cannot work from home during the pandemic increasingly rely on public transportation and deserve better commuting options.
''With light rail, a downtown transit tunnel to speed up travel, no matter what vehicular mode you choose, new MetroRapid lines and vehicles, and a transition to a zero-emissions fleet, Project Connect will connect our entire city, creating new opportunity for Austinites, reducing our dependence on expensive personal vehicles, and save lives,'' he said.
Adler will deliver two more State of the City addresses before his second term as mayor ends in early 2023. He ended this year's speech by calling on Austin residents to consider the virus' disruption of everyday life as a chance to create something new.
''Let's celebrate the opportunity born of the necessity to rebuild,'' he said. ''Let's commit to be guided by a search to deliver justice. Let's join in a disruptive recovery, seizing the moment to rebuild in a just and equitable way.''
Got a tip? Email Audrey McGlinchy at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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De Blasio Cancels Graffiti-Eradication Program in New York
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:12
Mayor Bill de Blasio has cancelled a graffiti-eradication program targeted at cleaning private buildings. He is thus deliberately sending New York City back to its worst days of crime and squalor.
The symbolic significance of this cancellation is as large as its practical effect. Nothing sent a stronger signal in the late 1980s that New York was determined to fight back from anarchy than the transit system's campaign against subway graffiti. That campaign was based on Broken Windows theory, the most transformative idea in urban policy over the last 40 years. Broken Windows recognizes that physical disorder and low-level lawlessness'--graffiti, turnstile-jumping, and litter'--telegraph that social control in a disordered environment has broken down. That low-level lawlessness invites more contempt for public norms of behavior, including felony crime.
The subway authority declared victory over the graffiti vandals in 1989, even as privately funded business-improvement districts were increasing graffiti cleanup in retail corridors across the five boroughs. Inspired by Broken Windows thinking, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, serving under then-mayor David Dinkins, removed the squeegee men who menaced drivers queuing for the city's bridges and tunnels. And with the mayoralty of Rudolph Giuliani in 1994, public-order maintenance entered the city's governing philosophy.
The steepest crime drop of any big city in the country'--nearly 80 percent over three decades'--followed. Newly restored storefronts and avenues cleared of aggressive panhandlers invited a flood of tourists and new residents who bolstered the city's lawful street life and revived its economy.
Mayor de Blasio paid lip service to Broken Windows during his first term in City Hall, undoubtedly pressed to do so by Police Commissioner William Bratton, who had also served as Giuliani's first police chief. But an appreciation of public order does not come naturally to a self-described progressive. Even before Bratton stepped down as commissioner, the city was backsliding. Vagrancy was up in the subways, litter was metastasizing. And now, with the cancellation of the graffiti-removal program, de Blasio has reverted to type.
Attitudes toward graffiti are one of the biggest divides between the conservative and progressive (or anarchist) mindset. To a conservative, graffiti is self-evidently abhorrent, a spirit-crushing blight on the public realm, and a theft of property by feckless individuals who avenge their mediocrity by destroying what others have built. It is a round-the-clock reminder that vandals (most often fatherless young men) recently broke the law with impunity and may still be in the neighborhood, ready to commit crime again.
To a progressive, by contrast, graffiti is a ''political statement,'' as the New York Times recently put it, a courageous strike against stultifying bourgeois values. It represents urban grit and resistance to corporate hegemony. The property owner whose building has been unwillingly appropriated is a nonentity; the ''tagger'' is the city's vibrant, anti-capitalist soul.
The official reason for the termination of the graffiti-removal program'--whereby building owners and residents could report graffiti to the city's 311 line and get assistance in removing it'--was New York's straitened coronavirus finances. That justification is unpersuasive. The administration found the resources this June to pay city workers to paint massive ''Black Lives Matter'' logos on the street in front of Trump Tower and on avenues in Harlem and Brooklyn; de Blasio himself, on the taxpayer's dime, joined the BLM paint-ins to make sure that President Trump got the message. These street-painting initiatives were not just fiscally questionable, they were also constitutionally suspect, since they put government imprimatur on a highly partisan viewpoint.
And when two women poured black paint on those BLM logos to protest anti-cop hatred, de Blasio found the resources to arrest and charge them with criminal mischief'--for graffiti vandalism!'--as well as to repaint the slogans. That same month, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to prosecute a man who helped deface St. Patrick's Cathedral with expletives and anti-cop taunts, citing insufficient evidence. ''The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve,'' Vance has said regarding Broken Windows enforcement, including the prosecution of turnstile jumping.
To his credit, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has called out de Blasio and the city for tolerating graffiti. ''I think the city makes a big mistake in not addressing these situations,'' Cuomo said yesterday at a press briefing about the escalating gun violence in New York. ''I mean, clean it up! It's spray paint.'' Graffiti, the governor said, was ''just another manifestation of decline,'' one that many New Yorkers see as ''a return to the bad old days.''
Ironically, the city is a lot safer for graffiti vandals today than it was in the 1980s, in part thanks to policies that got rid of the disorder that graffiti represents. Back in the eighties, a tagger in the wrong neighborhood could be killed, a veteran vandal told the New York Times. Today's taggers can deface property without getting shot'--but they, accommodated by the mayor, are working to undermine the climate of order that undergirds their security.
The graffiti-eradication program cost $3 million annually, a rounding error in Gotham's $88 billion budget. The city spends multiples of that sum on ''intrinsic bias'' training in the Department of Education and on nonprofits dedicated to political advocacy. Cutting graffiti eradication was not a fiscal necessity; it was a policy choice. Its elimination is an integral part of the city's accelerating slide back to being ungovernable, a slide most terrifyingly exemplified by the ongoing violence against police officers. Ending graffiti cleanup demonstrates that the understanding of what made the city governable again was never universally shared.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author of the bestseller The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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Lawsuit alleges Black Lives Matter protesters are being priced out of civil rights; cost of protective clothing too high
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:02
August 3, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Updated August 3, 2020 at 8:53 pm
This image is currently not available
Police pepper spray protesters July 25 near Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press) By
Seattle Times staff reporter
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges that protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement are being priced out of their civil rights by the prohibitive costs of defending themselves against police violence.
The five plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the purchase of helmets, gas masks, protective clothing, goggles, gloves, boots, umbrellas and other gear they say are needed to fend off police pepper spray, less-lethal projectiles and other crowd-dispersal tools has impinged on their civil right to peacefully protest.
All five '-- Jessica Benton, Shelby Bryant, Anne Marie Cavanaugh, Alyssa Garrison, and Clare Thomas '-- say they were the victims of ''indiscriminate'' police violence during protests on Capitol Hill on June 25. They claim that repeated use of force by SPD during more than six weeks of civil unrest over systemic racism and police brutality against people of color has made it impossible to exercise their right to gather and protest without personal protective gear, which isn't cheap.
''Because protesters now must purchase expensive equipment to be assured that they will be able to protest safely, the indiscriminate use of weapons by SPD implicates equal protection,'' the lawsuit alleges.
''Because the Seattle Police Department has acted above and outside the law in dispensing its unbridled force, and the City has failed to prevent same, the government effect is to establish a de facto protest tax: individual protesterssubjected to SPD's unabated and indiscriminate violence now must purchase cost-prohibitive gear to withstand munitions '-- even when peacefully protesting '-- as a condition to exercising their right to free speech and peaceable assembly,'' wrote attorney Talitha Hazelton of Renton, who filed the lawsuit Monday.
The Seattle City Attorney's Office will ''look into these new claims and intend(s) to defend the City in this matter,'' said spokesperson Dan Nolte.
The lawsuit, assigned to Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting the department from using force or crowd-dispersal munitions. That order would join an injunction against police violence against peaceful protesters already in place in a separate lawsuit filed by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County last month before U.S. District Judge Richard Jones.
Another federal judge, U.S. District Judge James Robart, has temporarily prevented a new City Council ordinance blocking SPD's use of tear gas and other crowd-control weapons from taking effect until the court and others have had a chance to review its impact on a seven-year-old overhaul of the Seattle Police Department's policies, procedures and data-collection resulting from a 2012 consent-decree with the Department of Justice. DOJ civil-rights lawyers had sued SPD over findings that its officers routinely engaged in excessive use of force.
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County has asked Jones to hold SPD in contempt of the injunction issued in his court last month after weeks of clashes between mostly peaceful protesters and police.
Jones found that police, in earlier protests, violated the civil rights of thousands of Seattle protesters by deploying tear gas, concussion grenades, blast balls, and streams of pepper-spray to disperse otherwise peaceful crowds.
Police have reacted after isolated but destructive incidents of arson and vandalism by some involved in the protests, and say dozens of officers have suffered injuries from thrown objects and fireworks.
Jones has set a hearing on that motion for Aug. 25.
Teen Activist Who Rallied to Defund Police and Remove Police from Schools Is Shot Dead in Chicago
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:09
A teen activist in Chicago who rallied to defund police and remove police from schools was shot dead on Friday.
Caleb Reed was found shot in the head.No suspect has been named in the shooting.
Caleb lived and was shot in our ward this weekend. He was a light in our community that was extinguished too soon. We need to address the root causes of #GunViolence so that we stop losing our people. I ask that people help continue the work he was doing and pray for the family.
'-- Andre Vasquez, Political Account 🌹 (@Andrefor40th) August 3, 2020
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The young activist spoke out against police.
This is Caleb Reed, a Freedom Fighter, speaking at a press conference in early June demanding #CopsOutCPS.
Such a beautiful soul. Rest in peace.
'-- Kelly Garcia (@_KellyGarcia__) August 3, 2020
The Blaze reported:
Are Democrats to blame for the violence?
100% (43 Votes)
0% (0 Votes)
Caleb Reed, a 17-year-old student activist from Mather High School in Chicago, was found shot in the head on Friday.
The teen's death comes just weeks after he publicly called for the district to remove police from district schools.
What are the details?Reed, described by the Chicago Sun-Times as a ''student leader with a youth activist group,'' was discovered on a sidewalk of the West Rogers Park neighborhood in the city.
He had been shot in the head.
The teen, a leader with student group Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, was an advocate of removing police from Chicago schools.
No suspect have been named in Reed's death at the time of this reporting.
'I'm proud to be a black young man'
Just weeks ago, Reed spoke at a board of education meeting in support of removing police from the district. During the meeting, he recalled his own experience with officers in his school.
During the meeting, Reed said, ''My sophomore year of high school I was arrested for attending a basketball game because I didn't have my ID. I sat in a police station for six hours. I knew it wasn't right at all, but inside I was angry, confused.
Black People, Not Gary Patterson, Owe Black People An Apology For Claiming The N-Word
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:04
TCU football coach Gary Patterson, who is white, issued an apology Tuesday because he scolded mixed-race outside linebacker Dylan Jordan for repeatedly using the n-word.
Patterson, like most rational people, abhors the n-word and would prefer that the word not be used by anyone.
''I met with our Seniors and Leadership Council last night about how we move forward as a team, together,'' Patterson wrote on Twitter. ''We are committed as individuals and as a program to fighting racial injustice of any kind. I apologize for the use of a word that, in any context, is unacceptable. I have always encouraged our players to do better and be better and I must live by the same standards.''
Patterson did not call Jordan the n-word. He used the word in an attempt to explain to Jordan he was disappointed that Jordan used it in a team meeting.
Before I continue, let me state that I do not know Gary Patterson. I've never talked to him. No one connected to Patterson or TCU contacted me about this incident. The absurdity of the Patterson-Jordan controversy caught my attention. For years I have advocated that black people, white people, mixed-race people, rappers and everyone should abstain from using the n-word.
Nothing good comes from the word. It was a label placed on black slaves to ease the psychological burden on both the owners of black slaves and the slaves themselves. Nigger and nigga equal less than human. The words reduce black people to pets/animals. Slave owners saw black people as less than and wanted black people to see themselves as less than.
The n-word, with an ''er'' or ''a'' ending, has worked perfectly for hundreds of years. The word has never been more powerful than it is today, now that it has been ''claimed'' by black people.
We see ourselves as less than. Why do I say that?
Because the prevailing sentiment is that our behavior and how we view ourselves are irrelevant. Only the behavior and opinion of white people matter. If a black man kills a black man, it doesn't matter nearly as much as when a white man kills a black. If black people think of themselves as n-words, it's irrelevant. It only matters how white people view us.
We don't matter. We are not responsible for or in control of our own welfare or destiny. George Floyd had multiple opportunities to remove himself from harm's way. Police suspected him of using a counterfeit $20 bill and operating a vehicle under the influence of narcotics. Had he complied with multiple requests to sit in the backseat of a police vehicle, George Floyd would be alive today. He repeatedly resisted.
Did he deserve to die? No. Did former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin make a critical mistake keeping his knee on Floyd's neck and shoulder for more than eight minutes? Absolutely.
But a grown man is responsible for taking steps to protect his own life. If you see me risking my life inside a McDonald's when I should be inside a 24-Hour Fitness, blame me long before you blame Ronald McDonald.
My Decisions Matter. I'm not a pet.
We're not abandoned pets in need of saving by white liberals. I'm sorry if that offends. But I reject the racist view that my success in life is dependent on the benevolence of white people.
Gary Patterson thinks the way that I do. He believes that how Dylan Jordan defines himself is more important than how others define Dylan Jordan. Patterson wants Jordan and TCU's other black players to reject the n-word label. It's a crippling characterization and mindset.
Our adoption of the word as some sort of sacred privilege is the ultimate example of Stockholm Syndrome, a victim sympathizing with his captor. If you enslave the mind, enslaving the body becomes unnecessary.
Our minds are enslaved. We've adopted the language and behavior of the KKK. We've normalized and accepted terror attacks by black street gangs. We value the actions and opinions of white people above our own. We enforce intellectual restrictions on each other. We use anecdotal examples of negative behavior to make broad, racist generalizations about groups of people.
BLM is the black sister organization of the KKK.
When Dylan Jordan complained over Twitter that Gary Patterson used the n-word, he slapped a #BLM hashtag on his post. Jordan's initial post unintentionally created the impression that Patterson called him the n-word. Jordan and several of his teammates skipped Monday's practice in protest of Patterson's use of the word.
Some people now consider it racist for a white person to ask a black person not to use the word nigga.
Some black people, like members of the KKK, take enormous pride, satisfaction and delight in their use of the n-word. It's very similar to the pride, satisfaction and delight many black gang members and rappers take in bragging about killing niggas.
Football coaches across America, never again apologize for standing against the n-word. You're doing God's work.
If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact
Leaked Video Exposes George Floyd's Death As Tragedy And Race Hoax Used To Divide Us '' OutKick
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 21:47
Will anyone locked inside the NBA's groupthink bubble react to the leaked bodycam footage of George Floyd's arrest and tragic death?
The Daily Mail, a London-based newspaper, published the bodycam videos of two of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged with crimes in Floyd's death.
The videos show police verbally and physically struggling to get Floyd to comply. Floyd appears panicked, disoriented, desperate and totally non-compliant. He complains that he can't breathe while standing on two feet. He claims his mother just died and that he can't sit in the back of the police car because he's claustrophobic. He repeatedly begs the officers not to shoot him. He worms the upper part of his body out of the police car and asks to lay on the ground.
Early on during the encounter, long before the police restrain Floyd on his stomach, a female bystander shouts at Floyd to quit ''resisting'' and a male bystander pleads with Floyd that he can't ''win.''
At the beginning of the video, when Floyd is behind the wheel of the car he was driving, an officer draws and points his gun when Floyd initially refuses to show both of his hands. When Floyd complies, the officer holsters his weapon.
The behavior of the police officers seems appropriate and restrained given Floyd's level of resistance and bizarre conduct. The footage reasonably explains how and why Floyd wound up on the ground with multiple officers restraining him.
The video does not justify officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. But it does offer context why Chauvin would be reluctant to believe Floyd's ''I can't breathe'' cries. Nearly every word out of Floyd's mouth was a desperate lie.
Here are the takeaways from the footage:
Floyd's behavior escalated a routine arrest into a possible abuse of force.The George Floyd case is not a race crime. No rational person can watch that footage and conclude the police were motivated by Floyd's black race.It's going to be virtually impossible to convict former officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao of any crime. It will be equally difficult to convict Chauvin of murder.Professional athletes elected themselves the National Internal Affairs Department for American police. The NBA's Orlando bubble is the headquarters for the NIAD.
Will anyone ask NIAD spokesmen LeBron James, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich and Adam Silver for their thoughts on the leaked Floyd footage? Will one of the media information ministers locked inside the bubble be allowed to query James, Kerr, Pop or Silver on this topic? Will one of the woke warriors on Dan Le Batard's radio show run a poll asking whether the leaked video footage is funny?
The NBA, the NFL and Major League Baseball chose to drape themselves in Black Lives Matter symbols and view all negative encounters between black people and white people as examples of white supremacy.
Life is far more complicated than the race-baiting that gets retweeted and liked over Twitter. What happened to George Floyd is more complicated than the substance-less assertion that Derek Chauvin acted out of racial animus. Chauvin abused his power. His defense lawyers will argue he was baited into abusing his power by Floyd.
It's the same excuse pro sports' Three Stooges '-- Adam Silver, Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred '-- will make years from now when the mainstream media finally objectively evaluates this era of sports.
Moe (Silver), Larry (Goodell) and Curly (Manfred) have been played and used by anarchists and communists who are using opportunists to promote an American race war.
Their fear-driven leadership has turned America's great unifier '-- sports '-- into a racial divider.
At some point, NFL and NBA ownership must realize they need leadership that is unafraid of their athlete employees. Kowtowing to LeBron's social media following is a deadly mistake.
This is no longer a debate about declining TV ratings for pro sports leagues. That's inconsequential. This is about the preservation of American freedom and ideals. The subversion of sports culture is directly tied to the subversion of American culture. Sports culture proved the strength of our melting pot, the power of a diverse meritocracy. Live sporting events shaped popular culture.
We don't have a suitable replacement. Academia? Go look at the results produced by the white liberals in control of our academic institutions. You want to see white supremacy? Visit Yale, Harvard or any of their Ivy League brothers. Hollywood? Please. Every narrative arc for black characters is now fixated on police interaction and/or racism. The music industry? If you're not covered in tattoos and willing to portray yourself as a ho, pimp, drug dealer and gangbanger, the music industry is highly reluctant to support you.
The above groups are now the main allies of professional athletes. The above groups are united in their belief that systemic racism killed George Floyd and that Floyd had no responsibility to protect his own life.
The actions of the above groups, along with the mainstream media, guarantee that the second wave of George Floyd riots are going to be more deadly and destructive than the first wave.
The second wave will come when Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin are acquitted of all serious charges.
When those riots happen, the Three Stooges, LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick and all the other entitled millionaires will be locked in their gated bubbles watching poor people's lives destroyed on CNN.
No one will ever question them about the roles they played in stirring the racial outrage.
If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact
How Today's Left Is Promoting White Supremacy
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 22:28
A staple of ancient Greek tragedy is a plot twist in which a protagonist attempting to avoid a negative result inadvertently brings that result into being. Over the last decade, the American left has been engaged in just such a tragedy. Critical race theory, with its arsenal of white privilege and cultural appropriation, was intended to decenter whiteness in our society and create more equitable and multicultural social norms. But in practice, the exact opposite is occurring.
Let's take the example of cultural appropriation. Generally speaking, the concept is meant to give ownership of cultural phenomena to members of the racial group that created it. Through this, the goal is to resist assimilation of minority cultures into the broader American culture and to assure that cultural symbols stay, in a sense, ''pure.''
But one vital exception to this rule undermines the broader project of decentering whiteness. That is, of course, that cultural appropriation does not apply to white culture.
This creates an essential imbalance that does two very harmful things. First, it defines whiteness as a cultural default. Indeed, perhaps the only way to define ''white culture'' is that which no other culture can claim. Second, in so doing it makes white culture the only culture that is universal. That is to say, white culture is anything that everyone, regardless of race, may partake of freely and without paying some tribute to the racial group that created it.
The musical ''Hamilton'' is a perfect example of this. There is no, or at least almost no, objection to black and brown actors playing the white Founding Fathers. However, were a play to be cast with a white actor as Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman, there clearly would be objections to this. While this is meant to protect the cultural legacy of black Americans, it does so by putting it in a cage and stunting its growth and cultural impact.
The concept of cultural appropriation is rooted in what was historically a very real problem. We can take an example from American music in the mid-20th century. Elvis Presley can be credibly accused of appropriating the song ''Hound Dog'' from Big Momma Thornton.
But the problem with that was not that Presley created a new version of the song, but that the music industry of the time privileged his version with more air time, opportunity, and pay than it did hers. The answer to this problem is to level the playing field, not to segregate artistic output.
What makes this problem even worse is that white culture, or again, cultural output that no non-white group can claim, becomes the only one that everyone can engage in. This makes absolutely no sense especially given that year-by-year America becomes less white and more ethnically varied.
Minority cultural output is protected only in the sense that Victorian-era women were protected. They were put on a pedestal and praised for their purity, but also denied freedom in an effort to maintain that purity.
We saw the negative results of this way of thinking at work in a recent poster created by the Smithsonian Institution, which purported to explain elements of whiteness. Among the signs of whiteness it listed were individualism, hard work, objectivity, and delayed gratification. Critics were quick to point that this is pretty much exactly how a white supremacist would go about describing whiteness. But how did it happen? Why did the museum think these were traits of whiteness to begin with?
It goes back to the definition of whiteness being what everyone can partake in. The museum was certainly not suggesting that non-whites cannot or should not value or exhibit these qualities, but that because these qualities are not ''owned'' by any specific non-white group they are universal and therefore white.
The fundamental fallacy at work here is the belief that cultural output is the result of some innate racial difference, either biological or environmental, that locks what is created by non-whites into a proprietary box. But as the country becomes more diverse and as more mixed-race people are born, this effort to maintain the purity of cultural output becomes impossible without instituting segregation, something that the left now often embraces in ways that 25 years ago would have been anathema to it.
The American left has traditionally prided itself on being on the right side of history, but today their efforts to make sure that everyone stays in one racial or cultural lane puts them in the position of standing athwart history shouting ''Stop!'' Their opposition to an America in which cultures blend to create a national identity runs counter not only to our nation's traditions but also to the cold reality of cultural and racial mixing.
In the long run, this is a fight they can't win, but that doesn't mean they can't cause a good deal of harm and discord in the short term. The sooner they desist with these futile efforts, the healthier and more equal our society will be.
David Marcus is the Federalist's New York Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter, @BlueBoxDave.
Copyright (C) 2020 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
Paid informant surveilled man who tried to cut brakes on NYPD van - New York Daily News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 03:00
The NYPD used a paid informant to befriend an anti-police demonstrator who was eventually busted for trying to cut the brakes on a cop car, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jeremy Trapp, 24, who the NYPD arrested July 17 in the case and was released without bail on state charges, was attending a protest outside Brooklyn Criminal Court on July 13 when he met the NYPD confidential source. He told the source that he believed the police were racist, that he wanted to harm officers and that he had previously set fire to an NYPD car, according to the feds.
The two exchanged phone numbers.
They met up the night of July 15 and the confidential source recorded portions of the conversation.
''Trapp told the CS that he wanted to 'burn the [Verrazzano-Narrows] bridge down' so that 'white supremacists' could not use it to get to Brooklyn from Staten Island,'' an FBI agent wrote in the criminal complaint against Trapp.
A federal complaint with this image showing cut wires on an NYPD vehicle.
They took photos of the bridge as reconnaissance, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors claim Trapp told the confidential source that burning cop cars was not enough and that they should burn down NYPD stationhouses instead.
Two days later, the source and Trapp again met up, planning to find unattended NYPD cars to cut the brake lines, the feds said. The NYPD set up a surveillance team to follow the duo.
Trapp attempted to cut the brakes on a cop car in Sunset Park while the source acted as a lookout, according to the complaint. The source and surveilling NYPD officers took video of Trapp under the NYPD vehicle.
Trapp actually partially severed the ''wheel speed sensor'' of the cop car, which could ''adversely impact a driver's ability to stop and maintain control of the NYPD van in an emergency,'' according to an NYPD mechanic. The wheel speed sensor resembles the brake line.
The confidential source is a registered informant paid by the NYPD.
It was not immediately clear if the source was directed to earn Trapp's trust or if he learned what Trapp wanted to do and reached out to the cops, according to a police source.
The NYPD declined to comment about the confidential source.
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''The information provided by the CS has proven reliable in the past and has been corroborated by independent investigative techniques,'' the feds wrote in the complaint.
Trapp is charged in Brooklyn Federal Court with tampering with the NYPD vehicle. He was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday.
''Trapp resisted arrest and wrestled with FBI agents until multiple agents were able to physically restrain him with handcuffs,'' the feds wrote in a detention memo Wednesday.
He faces up to 20 years in prison on the charge and was ordered jailed pretrial by a judge, after his defense lawyer tried to compare his case to that of two lawyers accused of tossing a Molotov cocktail into an empty NYPD vehicle during a George Floyd protest in May.
Magistrate Judge Steven Gold disagreed about the similarity of the cases.
''The analogy comparing to the other case with the Molotov cocktail does not hold,'' he said. ''It was an abandoned car that was the subject of the incendiary device. The risk to human life was minimal ... It's hard to imagine a more potentially dangerous act than cutting the brake lines of any automobile, much less a police car that might find itself involved in high speed activity.''
The Truth about George Floyd, ANTIFA, CAIR & Keith Ellison's Minnesota
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:35
Here's the truth about this case they don't want you to know. It only took the Communists 9 days to engineer Floyd's death, loot & torch Minneapolis, shut down the Minneapolis police department & start race riots across America! They pulled another Jussie & the world fell for it.
Here's body cam footage from rookie officer Thomas Lane that was leaked two months AFTER Floyd's death - which proves it was NOT a racist murder & that Floyd was high, belligerent and resisted arrest for over 10 minutes.
The autopsy showed he did NOT die from asphyxiation or trauma - he died from heart failure due to lethal levels of fentanyl, heroin & meth in his system.
Why did they do this? So Communists can build a huge corridor of new public housing on Lake Street for absentee ballot mills to control the vote in Minnesota from Hennepin County, dismantle the police & push through cheat-by-mail for the Democrats.
CAIR, ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter, Black Bloc, the Youth Liberation Front, Occupy Wall Street & Sojourners are all front organizations for the Communist Party in the United States. They operate liberal activist groups, fake religious groups, social justice groups & mercenaries whose goal is the overthrow of America.
AG Barr just declared left-wing ANTIFA a terrorist organization. It is a militant group that was started in 1932 by the COMMUNIST Party of Germany. It has since infiltrated and overtaken many other organizations in America.
George Floyd had prior connections to Keith Ellison, Mayor Jacob Frey, Hollywood, CAIR, Derek Chauvin & Amy Klobuchar.
Keith Ellison is the defacto leader of ANTIFA & CAIR in Minnesota and Ilhan Omar is one of his creations. Keith Ellison & Ilhan Omar use the same "campaign manager" known for his expertise in "foreign money" handling, Tim Mynett.
Ilhan Omar even married Tim Mynett for spousal privilege after she married her gay brother for immigration fraud.
Ellison's son, Jeremiah, who runs the Minneapolis City Council, just pledged his allegiance to ANTIFA & his plan to shut down the police department & replace it with "community out-reach."
Keith Ellison is good friends with the LEADER of Portland's Rose City ANTIFA , Luis Enrique Marquez, which flies the Communist flag.
Ellison converted to Islam in law school, was a student of Farrakhan, once defended cop killers, called for reparations & a separate country for black people within America, and wrote many racist articles under the name of Keith Hakim Mohammad X. He changed his name when he ran for office in Minnesota.
George Floyd & Derek Chauvin KNEW each other & worked security together at a Latino restaurant, called El Nuevo Rodeo, on Lake Street & 27th in Minneapolis.
The face of that restaurant, Maya Santamaria , with a history of problems , ran the business for the Sabri family who want to develop Lake Street for the refugee community as an extension of Cedar Riverside. Santamaria & Frey are good friends .
Sabri, from Jordan, is the developer behind the Somali mall on East Lake Street - and wants to build ANOTHER Somali mall on East Lake Street. His projects are backed by Ellison, Omar & Frey. Sabri has long wanted to build condominiums on Lake Street and been turned down.
Sundance reports that the El Nuevo Rodeo restaurant is likely a money-laundering & counterfeit money front for the Sabri family that was forced to close during COVID. El Nuevo was looted during the riots.
Omar Investments Inc. has owned El Nuevo Rodeo Cantina and night club since 1996. The principle of Omar Investments Inc. is Muna Sabri. In 2001, Basim Sabri was captured by the FBI in a sting operation. The Sabris are a wealthy family with a history of bribing Minneapolis city officials.
Basim Sabri claimed that Abdi Warsame, who sits on Ellison's Minneapolis City Council, took bribes from him.
Born in Somalia, Warsame was brought to Minnesota from London by Soros to master the absentee ballot vote in Minnesota and FLIP it blue. He began by running Cedar Riverside & turning it into a ballot making machine - which elected Ilhan Omar & Keith Ellison. He's succeeded in controlling the vote in Minnesota through voter fraud & 3rd party ringers.
Derek Chauvin worked at El Nuevo Rodeo for 17 years. That puts Derek Chauvin showing up to work security at El Neuvo Rodeo right after the FBI busted Basim Sabri. Chauvin received a COMMENDATION medal after he arrested violent gang members outside El Nuevo Rodeo in 2008 .
Cup Foods owner, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh , a Black Lives Matter activist from the Middle East, whose employee called the cops on George Floyd for passing a wet $20 counterfeit bill , knew George Floyd - who was a regular at the store. Who else did Mahmoud know? Cup Foods has a checkered past.
It was Mahmoud's Facebook post that announced George's death and called it a racist murder. The day after George's death, Mahmoud went on every major network to tell his story and called for the immediate arrest of all 4 officers. His partners at CAIR did the same thing.
Within 6 hours after George died, a "community journalist" associated with Mahmoud and BLM had sent the "video" to the media & the family hired Ben Crumb, the attorney behind Trayvon Martin, and Shaun King of Black Lives Matters was ratcheting up the noise. Within 12 hours, Frey held a press conference with the MPD. Within 18 hours, all 4 officers were fired. An hour later, Frey led a Town Hall on the case. It's like it was all planned ahead of time.
Members of CAIR "filmed" George Floyd's death outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis and erected a large portrait of Floyd on the street. They wore Black Lives Matter shirts and handed out sambusas, or stuffed pastries, to mourners in Elliot Park in Minneapolis.
It took Frey 4 days to respond to the riots, after the entire city had been looted & burned, but within 6 hours he planned a press conference on the Floyd death? PLANNED.
There is body cam footage from all 4 officers which we've NEVER seen, only the cell phone video from a stranger and the Cup Foods surveillance video from a man who is anti-American, anti-police and works for Black Lives Matters. Why?
The first two officers on the scene, when called from Cup Foods about George Floyd passing a counterfeit $20 bill, were rookies, each with less than 4 shifts as police officers.
I t was his FOURTH day as a police officer when Thomas Lane , 37, pulled his weapon on George Floyd and asked him to put his hands on the steering wheel of his car. Lane asked Floyd if he was ON something due to the foam coming out of his mouth. Floyd mumbled "I can't breathe."
J Alexander Kueng, 26, is a rookie cop who was working his THIRD SHIFT EVER as a police officer when he encountered George Floyd. He stood on the passenger side of Floyd's car, while Lane held a gun on him. Kueng, who identifies as an African-American , now faces 40 years in prison for the so-called "racist murder" of a fellow African-American.
Chauvin and his partner showed up late to the scene and helped the two rookies try to maneuver Floyd into the patrol car. They failed. Chauvin pulled him to the ground and kneeled on him.
Many believe the man who kneeled on Floyd was NOT really Chauvin but a stand-in. Look at this photo of Chauvin 2 years ago with his wife, a Laos refugee , who ran for Mrs Minnesota in 2018 . And this photo of the original mug shot compared to the kneeler . You decide.
Not only was Chauvin employed by El Nuevo Rodeo for 17 years, he and he wife are real estate agents, own a home in Minnesota AND Florida, are residents of Florida and run an AirBNB there . Up until last week, Chauvin's wife said he was the "most gentle" man she's ever known . Now she filed for divorce and said he's a murderer. Quite a shift in a short period.
Even more confusing, the media is now claiming Chauvin is a Republican who committed voter fraud while being a Florida resident. Think about that latest spin to tie Trump & Republicans to his actions.
George Floyd had sickle cell anemia & heart disease & lethal levels of fentanyl & heroin in his body as well as meth, speed & marijuana in his body at the time of death. No one mentions this at all. Why?
Sickle cell anemia reduces oxygen to your brain & tissues and lowers life expectancy by over 20 years in a HEALTHY individual. Fentanyl slows oxygen to your brain & both meth & speed can cause cardiac arrest.
The autopsy was performed on May 26th but the actual report was not released to the public until days later, AFTER cities were torched & burned. The toxicology report was complete on May 31st but the results were quietly released to the public on June 4th. Why?
Floyd tested positive for COVID two months ago , so he DID NOT die from that. He had recovered & had anti-bodies. Fake narrative to cover the drugs.
Floyd held a gun to a pregnant woman's stomach, while ransacking her home for money & drugs in Texas in 2007, & served 5 years in prison for armed robbery . He came to Minnesota in 2014 when he got out. How did he get a job working security with Chauvin? Who did his background check?
George Floyd was a porn star - his screen name was BIG FLOYD - and his "work" appeared on a Middle-Eastern porn site called Habib...
Klobuchar declined to prosecute Derek Chauvin for a police shooting that took place in 2006 that went to a grand jury. He was later cleared. So she knew who he was.
If people think Communists wouldn't drug, murder or pay someone to be a patsy to start a race riot to get rid of the police, and engineer a murder for the cameras, you need to get out in the real world!
Within 24 hours of Floyd's death, thousands of rioters looted & torched Minneapolis while the police stood down and let it burn. It didn't JUST happen. Engineered by Communists!
On the day the riots started, Mayor Frey had just mandated masks for everyone & the first looting happened at a Target store right near Cedar Riverside . It was looted, not torched. How convenient. All rioters wearing masks!
Target Stores, a retail operation founded by the liberal Dayton family, the same family of Minnesota's previous Democrat Governor Mark Dayton , immediately donated to Black Lives Matter and shut down ALL their stores to escape further damage . Coincidence? I think not. CAIR organized the looters. ANTIFA organized the arsonists.
When asked why he allowed rioters to loot in large groups but banned churches from worshipping in large groups, Walz had no answer.
How do Communists overthrow a city ? A country? They engineer a murder, start a race war, loot it & burn it down and then get YOU to blame yourself so you'll turn over your guns, kiss their feet and beg to be taken care of. Got it? Don't be suckered.
George Floyd JUST HAPPENED to die on Memorial Day? One of the Communist Party's main goals is to REPLACE all American traditions. Valentine's Day is now known as the day of the Parkland school massacre. Easter Sunday is now known as the day churches closed to honor the Day of the Dead for COVID-19. D-Day is now known as the day Black Lives Matters marched on Washington DC. What do they have planned for the 4th of July?
Communists want you to think America is divided by race. We are not. There is ONLY one DIVIDE: COMMUNIST vs FREE PEOPLE.
CNN, MSNBC & every Democrat leader in America has been shaming beach goers for not "social distancing" and telling the faithful they'll DIE if they go to church but they have no problem with mobs of thousands rioting, burning & looting!
The Minneapolis Police Department has a RULE that if one officer sees another officer using excessive force, they MUST intervene to STOP it, or report it. The Minneapolis City Council is pretending that RULE never existed.
3rd precinct in Minneapolis was taken over by rioters & set on fire after AG Keith Ellison & his son Jeremiah of the Minneapolis City Council told Mayor Frey to stand down and let it burn. Police were told to pack up and leave two days earlier.
Trump ordered the military to get ready to deploy to Minneapolis without discussing it with Walz or Frey. Prudent move. They BOTH refused to call in the Guard for 4 days and ONLY did so because the FBI warned them the Minnesota State Capitol was the next target. A US Department of Justice plane with DOJ/FBI personnel just landed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: "The National Guard has been released in Minneapolis to do the job that the Democrat Mayor couldn't do. Should have been used 2 days ago & there would not have been damage & Police Headquarters would not have been taken over & ruined.
Great job by the National Guard. No games!"
President Trump brought in 10,800 Minnesota National Guard to bring peace to the Twin Cities. Walz & Frey used 350.
Mayor Frey said Minneapolis didn't need the police or the National Guard to stop the looting & torching. He said the "community" could stop the riots!
Mayor Frey said he told police to let the 3rd precinct burn because "buildings" just aren't that important! Then he started crying. Then he lashed out at President Trump. Trump mocked his weakness.
GINGRICH: Mayor Frey didn't want to arrest anyone . If rioters believe they won't be arrested, they'll come back again & again.
After 3 days of looting & torching , and being shamed by President Trump, Governor Walz finally said HE was in charge NOW and blamed Minneapolis Mayor Frey for the damage.
MAYOR GIULIANI: "When the Mayor of Minneapolis asked his police to flee from their police precinct, he proved he is incapable of protecting his own people, their property or their lives.
This is the result of the criminal friendly policies of so-called Progressive Democrat mayors and governors."
Governor Walz thought a curfew would make the rioters pack up & go home. LIES. He knows damn well that only law abiding citizens OBEY stay-at-home orders!
Walz declared 80% of the violence was committed by out-of-state . Hennepin County & Ramsey County Jail records showed 80% of those arrested in Minnesota for rioting, looting & torching were Minnesotans, an ANTIFA Communist stronghold.
George Floyd's original autopsy reported there are NO physical findings that support death by trauma, lack or oxygen or strangulation ! The KNEE had nothing to do with George's death . If Chauvin was using undue pressure it would have caused trauma. It did not. He had underlying heart problems & heavy drugs in his system.
Officer Chauvin was arrested IMMEDIATELY yet rioters CONTINUED to loot & torch Minneapolis. See? This is NOT about race or George Floyd.
Everyone is so worried about being called a racist they'll ACCEPT anything. George Floyd's death had NOTHING to do with RACE. Same people who say all 4 cops are racist killers said Jussie was lynched, Yanez was guilty & the Covington boys were evil. STOP!
Taylor Swift just tweeted that George Floyd's death is proof President Trump is "stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism."
Mayor Frey immediately transferred the George Floyd case to AG Keith Ellison, the Communist leader of ANTIFA & CAIR in Minnesota. He said he's lost confidence in Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Why? He didn't do as he was TOLD & bypass DUE PROCESS.
Right after the video surfaced, Freeman said he had evidence Chauvin could be exonerated. The next day he was forced to charge Chauvin and hand over the case to Ellison REWROTE THE COMPLAINT & charged ALL FOUR OFFICERS with felony 2nd degree murder.
Felony murder means that ANY officer going forward who restrains a fleeing criminal in ANY manner can be charged with murder. Perfect timing for the next round of riots, huh?
The neck restraint that Chauvin used is LEGAL in the MPD and is often used to render violent drug addicts unconscious . Why? Because people on heavy drugs FEEL NO PAIN and are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. The neck restraint has been used 44 times in the past 5 years on suspects of every race . They don't want you to know that.
By the way, public housing complexes, like Cedar Riverside, are HUGE voter fraud mills for the Democrats; where they create & fill out absentee ballots!
Remember last year when a career felon was RELEASED to throw a 5-year-old boy off the 3rd floor balcony of Minnesota's Mall of America ? How many rioted because of a horrendous crime by a black male against a white child? NONE.
How do I know this is about building a corridor on Lake Street for public housing ballot mills? Last year, CAIR's soldiers torched the iconic Pavilion on Lake Calhoun on the west end of Lake Street. I could see the plan begin to unfold with that event.
It was declared an "accident" and the Pavilion was NOT rebuilt. Immediately after, the Minneapolis Parks Board, in the pocket of CAIR, BLM & ANTIFA, began entertaining plans to build public housing AND a mosque on that spot. That was right after Black Lives Matter called Calhoun a racist and lobbied to rename the Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska.
TRUMP: These ORGANIZED GROUPS have NOTHING to do with George Floyd. It's ANTIFA & the Radical Left. Don't lay blame on others!
ANTIFA Communists teach recruits to race-bait, heckle & mock Trump supporters, shame them & make them feel ridiculous, weak & outnumbered, in order to destroy them.
New ANTIFA recruits meet their handlers at local Starbucks and receive HOURS of lectures and combat training at Black Lives Matter front "bookstores."
BARR: "It's a federal crime to cross state lines or use interstates to incite or participate in violent rioting. The violence is planned, organized & driven by anarchtic, left-wing extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics.''
In 2017, Minneapolis Officer Mohamed Noor shot Justine Damond in the stomach in her pajamas & it took 8 months for the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, to charge him. Noor was NEVER fired. He was given PAID LEAVE for 8 months until he was charged.
All 4 officers were FIRED the day after George Floyd's death and all 4 cops were called racist murderers before anyone saw their faces. They were all charged with murder within 9 days. NO DUE PROCESS.
The riots are a test run for November. Ellison overcharged all four officers so they will get off and the riots can start again. To force us to stay home so we can't vote for Trump on election day.
Every RIOT is happening in Democrat-run cities with budget problems & they've ALL declared national emergencies for Federal funds. Coincidence?
Now you know why Democrats emptied the jails & mandated masks. The invisible enemy was the trojan horse for the visible enemy.
These riots accomplished one good thing. They made people understand the TERROR that GOOD cops face everyday & why we need them.
Most disturbing part to me of the riots, looting & torching are bystanders hanging out partying as if destruction is entertaining. 3rd world mentality.
Huge studies by Harvard & the Washington Post found that police officers in America are NOT racist & are often VICTIMS of violence!
Not only is there NO evidence that cops are racist in America, the data shows they actually bend over backwards NOT to be racist!
Do you guys realize George Floyd encountered over 100 cops with no fatal issues before 2020? I pray for his family but the Black Lives Matter war against ALL COPS is DANGEROUS.
Ignorant liberals are kneeling before the ATHEIST Communists of Black Lives Matter, kissing their feet , shaving their heads , pledging allegiance to BLM and holding up their hands in praise while washing the streets of their terror.
This is the same maneuver the National SOCIALIST Germany Worker's party (NAZI) used to dehumanize the Jewish people before they sent them to the gas chambers.
DeRay McKesson, the head of Black Lives Matter, and his boyfriend, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter , groomed Colin Kaepernick in the ways of the alphabet people & taught him how to KNEEL on the NFL field.
Why does Colin Kaepernick kneel? Because he is praying to ALLAH. When you kneel, you do the same and the DEVIL laughs.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, just donated $3 Million to Colin Kaepernick's new George Floyd initiative designed to REPLACE the police with BLM community organizers . Coincidence? I think not. All the COMMUNISTS are working together.
The Mayor of DC, another Communist Black Lives Matter activist, ordered the city to paint BLACK LIVES MATTER on the streets in front of the White House and renamed it Black Lives Matter Blvd. Then she instructed the National Guard to leave the city and leave the White House undefended. See where this is going?
The website of Black Lives Matter states their purpose is to protect transgender, queer & black women against oppression and DEFUND the police . How could BLM support George Floyd who held a GUN to the stomach of a PREGNANT woman and demeaned women in pornographic videos? Total hypocrisy. BLM started in 2016 to take down Trump & overthrow America.
Today, Black Lives Matter ADDED "Black Lives Matter = DEFUND THE POLICE" to their graffiti outside the White House. THERE. Clear as day what this is all about.
George Floyd did NOT deserve to die but his death was NOT caused by racism. Ellison/Frey withheld evidence from the public for 9 days in order to race-bait & fuel massive destruction in America on behalf of the Communist Party. George Floyd deserves our love & compassion but he did not die a hero or a martyr. He should not be glorified as another Martin Luther King.
And just like that, the VIRUS is gone! The invisible enemy was sent to strike fear into the hearts of the American people so they would be ripe for an invasion by the VISIBLE enemy
Another Communist HOAX and we fell for it again. After Stormy, Jussie, Russia Russia, Covington, Kavanaugh, Impeachment, virus & RIOTS, what's their next scheme? Are you tired of all the left-wing BS yet?
UPDATES 6/8/20: Minnesota Attorney General Keith "X" Ellison refused to publicly release the video footage from the body cams of all 4 cops. Why? Here's just a snippet of video from the scene that clearly shows Floyd resisting arrest.
Derek Chauvin appeared in Hennepin County court today by remote camera from prison and the Judge set bail at $1.25 Million with no conditions. His attorney made no statements and entered NO plea.
I kept asking reporters on the scene which one of these five guys showed up. Nobody knows. Chauvin was unidentifiable, handcuffed and wearing a surgical mask. Why would he be wearing a surgical mask while alone in a room from jail? More red flags.
7 Sigma, a manufacturer on East Lake Street & 26th Avenue in Minneapolis, near the Cedar Riverside public housing complex, plans to leave the city after the police & fire department were ordered to stand down and let their building burn .
Black Lives Matter & Hollywood organized FOUR funerals for George Floyd: Minneapolis, North Carolina & two in Houston.
George Floyd's family asked the United Nations to REMOVE all police departments in America . Who does that while they're freshly grieving for their loved one unless they have an agenda? I guess they can afford a personal security force now with a GoFundMe account of $14 Million.
UPDATES 6/9/20: Thomas Lane's attorney said the public would have a different opinion on the Officers' actions if they saw the body cams of George Floyd resisting arrest.
Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo now says he can't release footage from the 4 police body cams because the FBI is investigating them.
Ben Crump, the Black Lives Matter lawyer representing the Floyd family, "predicts" another George Floyd will happen within 30 days .
Communists of ANTIFA, CAIR & BLM are leaking online the home addresses & personal contact information of America's police officers. All those who took a knee and pandered to BLM put targets on our police officers.
7 Sigma, the business near Cedar Riverside public housing on East Lake Street in Minneapolis, that was COMPLETELY torched and will NOT rebuild, fabricates plastic life-like MANNEQUINS to be used by first responders training in triage. Is this how they pulled it off?
George Floyd had four televised funerals, a gold coffin, a procession with white horses & a white carriage, and his photo was enhanced with a halo & angel's wings. Scripted.
Funeral organizers for George Floyd's memorial service confused him with a living Jets star and used this photo as the final slide to close out his eulogy. Not kidding. They've already rewritten history. Communism 101.
The Hennepin County & US Attorneys were trying to negotiate a PLEA deal with Chauvin on May 28th, the day BEFORE he was arrested and charged with murder. Nobody is saying what the PLEA deal was or who backed out of the deal.
It sounds to me like the prosecutors were pushed by Ellison & Frey to drop any PLEA deal discussion and arrest Chauvin for murder to sensationalize the case and continue mass riots. ON purpose. They knew they didn't have a case and didn't care.
UPDATES 6/11: A 32-year-old white male was restrained by three Dallas Officers for 13 minutes in 2016 in the same manner as George Floyd. He was rendered unconscious and he died.
He begged to be let go, said he was dying and called for his mom. Just like George Floyd. Charges were dropped. Precedent.
Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton & Ben Crumb are using George Floyd's son, Quincy Mason, as a prop . He hasn't seen his father since he was 5, didn't know him and didn't recognize his photo when he died.
Within hours, the Chicago branch of BLM & CAIR launched a $500,000 GoFundMe for the "teen" behind the George Floyd video. ODD.
UPDATES 6/12: GEORGE FLOYD'S NIECE SAID THIS AT HIS FUNERAL: "Someone said 'Make America Great Again' but when has America ever been great?!"
After comparing George Floyd to Jesus at Floyd's funeral, Reverend William Lawson said: "The next thing we need to do is clean out the White House."
An El Nuevo Rodeo employee said not only did Floyd & Chauvin work security together but they knew each other well and argued about how to handle agitators ! Then he was forced to quickly retract the statement.
Black Lives Matter is an international money laundering scheme that routes global donations to the DNC through the ActBlue PAC. Communists of Black Lives Matter are extorting donations from businesses on behalf of George Floyd, or else, and funds are routed through ActBlue to the DNC.
Biden said George Floyd's death had a greater "worldwide impact" than the death of Reverend Martin Luther King did. What a jerk. Funny how Biden all of a sudden got dementia after he was accused of rape & Ukraine leaked tapes showing he committed treason!
Ellison's cabal is now trying to get the Hennepin County Medical Examiner removed for saying Floyd DID NOT die of asphyxiation and had lethal levels of drugs in his system.
UPDATES 6/16: Minnesota's Ilhan Omar suddenly announced her father died of "complications from COVID-19." Not buying it. He died from something else or didn't die at all. He works for the Communist Party in Somalia.
Archbishop Vigano says the VIRUS & RIOTS are social engineering to control us & distract us so the Communists can expand their evil empire.
6,776 calls to 911 for rape, murder & violent crimes were not immediately answered by Mpls PD last year after the City's continued police cuts.
Ellison's Minneapolis City Council voted to end the Minneapolis police department & replace it with a "community policing" organization. Over a dozen officers walked out.
Rookie Officer Thomas Lane, 37, who held a gun on George Floyd on his 4th day EVER as a police officer, has been released from jail on $750,000 bond. He's been charged with 2nd degree felony murder. He says the body cam footage that Ellison refused to release will exonerate him.
Two 911 CALLS were made during the 9 minutes of Floyd's "death" & the dispatcher's boss did nothing. She had real-time access to the patrol car cameras. Who told her to stand down? The same people who told the police to stand down and let the rioters destroy Minneapolis? SET UP.
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How Ellen DeGeneres's reputation went into a downward spiral, from Dakota Johnson to years of rumors - The Washington Post
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 23:08
Did ''Fifty Shades of Grey'' star Dakota Johnson bring down one of the most popular talk show hosts in history?
Well, no '-- but you might have recently seen a lot of jokes on Twitter that say as much. Ellen DeGeneres's reputation has been on a downward slide since roughly last fall, when, during a particularly awkward interview, DeGeneres accused Johnson of not inviting her to a birthday party and Johnson replied with the now infamous quote, ''Actually, no, that's not the truth, Ellen.''
But that was just one in a series of controversial incidents surrounding DeGeneres, which culminated in a much more serious way last week after a pair of BuzzFeed articles alleged a toxic work environment on the daily talk show, as well as allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by producers. Warner Bros. launched an internal investigation. DeGeneres sent an email to staff that said she took responsibility as the face of the show, but criticized her employees for not ''do[ing] their jobs as they knew I'd want them done.'' As a result, she wrote, she and the production company will be ''taking steps, together, to correct the issues.''
If you're curious about how things got to this point, here's a guide to how DeGeneres's public persona went from the ''new Queen of Nice'' to even fellow celebrities calling her out for treating people ''horribly.''
December 2018: The New York Times profile
Even if you don't regularly tune in to the comedian's hugely successful talk show (on the air since 2003), you probably know one thing: She's known for being super nice! Not only is her daily sign-off ''be kind to one another,'' she used to open each episode with some goofy dancing, which endeared millions of viewers to her every afternoon. She frequently gives money and gifts to people in need, and has had many viral segments involving adorable small children meeting their heroes.
But when the New York Times published a DeGeneres profile with the clearly provocative headline ''Ellen DeGeneres Is Not as Nice as You Think,'' it also had some truth to it. In a rare interview, DeGeneres spoke candidly about the pressure to be seen as happy-go-lucky all the time, and reporter Jason Zinoman noted this dichotomy in her 2018 Netflix stand-up special, titled ''Relatable'': ''In sharp contrast to her public image as everyone's good friend, happy to listen, she presents herself '-- with tongue in cheek '-- as cartoonishly aloof and indifferent, stuck in a privileged bubble, cracking several jokes, for instance, about her fabulous wealth,'' he wrote.
Zinoman also asked her about the long-circulating rumors in Hollywood '-- that she, actually, is the opposite of her on-camera personality, and not that nice to her employees. DeGeneres responded, ''That bugs me if someone is saying that because it's an outright lie. The first day I said: 'The one thing I want is everyone here to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don't work here.' No one is going to raise their voice or not be grateful. That's the rule to this day.''
January 2019: The Kevin Hart interview about the Oscars
''The Ellen DeGeneres Show'' has long been seen as a friendly spot for A-list stars looking to promote their new project, even though the host also likes to pull terrifying pranks on them as soon as they step on set. In January 2019, Kevin Hart appeared shortly after he stepped down as Academy Awards host, because of controversy over his previous homophobic tweets and jokes. DeGeneres, whose coming out as gay on her sitcom in 1997 was a groundbreaking moment for the LGBTQ community, said she believed in second chances and urged him to ignore the negative comments online; she also called the academy and asked them to rehire Hart. A backlash ensued from people offended by Hart's homophobic comments and who didn't appreciate DeGeneres dismissing them as ''haters.''
October 2019: The George W. Bush photo
Last fall, DeGeneres and former president George W. Bush were photographed chatting and laughing together at a Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game. The image sparked outrage on the Internet because DeGeneres, an LGBTQ advocate whose career suffered when she came out, was so friendly with a politician who supported a ban on same-sex marriage and whose administration launched the Iraq War.
DeGeneres's explanation on her show the following week, peppered with jokes, did not impress her critics. ''People were upset. They thought, 'Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?' " DeGeneres said during her monologue. ''Here's the thing: I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different, and I think that we've forgotten that that's okay that we're all different.''
She compared it to how she doesn't agree with people who wear fur, or those who play Christmas music in October. ''When I say, 'Be kind to one another,' I don't only mean the people that think the same way that you do,'' she continued. ''I mean be kind to everyone.''
She showed one tweet that said, ''Ellen and George Bush makes me have faith in America again,'' and the audience burst into applause. But many disagreed, summarized in one sample YouTube comment: ''Ellen whitewashing the crimes of a war criminal as 'differences of opinion' like not wearing fur actually has me lose faith in humanity.''
Shortly after the segment aired, this tweet by writer and comedian Dan Sheehan really picked up steam:
November 2019: The Dakota Johnson interview
Yes, it has become somewhat of a Twitter meme that Johnson ''brought down Ellen,'' but this incident may have opened the floodgates. DeGeneres kicked off their interview by noting Johnson had recently turned 30: ''How was the party? I wasn't invited.''
Johnson, decidedly unamused, shot back: ''Actually, no, that's not the truth, Ellen. You were invited.'' DeGeneres looked taken aback, as Johnson continued to say that she remembered DeGeneres had been offended she wasn't invited to her 29th birthday, so the actress made sure to include her for her 30th. ''I didn't even know you wanted to be invited,'' Johnson said.
''Who doesn't want to be invited to a party?'' DeGeneres asked.
''I didn't even know you liked me!'' Johnson exclaimed, as DeGeneres insisted she did, in fact, like her. ''But I did invite you and you didn't come, so '...''
''Are you sure? How do you know? I don't think so,'' DeGeneres said.
''Ask everybody,'' Johnson said flatly, drawing an audible gasp from the audience. ''Ask Jonathan, your producer.''
Eventually, it was confirmed that yes, Johnson had invited DeGeneres, but she was out of town that weekend (many surmised that it was likely when she was in Dallas at the Cowboys game with Bush, as Johnson's birthday was earlier that week). The interview went viral, and Johnson was hailed for standing up to DeGeneres when other celebrities would have been highly unlikely '-- or too afraid '-- to do so.
March: The viral Twitter thread
Johnson may or may not have been the tipping point, but a few months later, another viral Twitter thread emerged as comedian and ''Gilmore Guys'' podcast co-host Kevin T. Porter solicited negative stories about DeGeneres in exchange for food bank donations.
April: The pandemic-related incidents
Several weeks after the novel coronavirus pandemic shut down production in Hollywood, DeGeneres posted a YouTube video in which she compared being in quarantine to jail, a joke seen as especially tone-deaf given that she was sitting in her palatial California home while the spread of the virus in prisons was actually a dire situation. After backlash, her show's official account deleted a tweet with the video, and the clip was made private on YouTube.
About a week later, Variety reported that ''Ellen'' employees were panicking because they had been told very little about their future, including whether they would continue to be paid '-- and the host allegedly hired nonunion tech employees in the meantime to produce the show remotely from her house. The production company, which eventually gave the employees some answers, blamed the lack of communication on the ''chaos'' of the pandemic, Variety wrote.
July: The fallout
On July 16, BuzzFeed published a long story by Krystie Lee Yandoli, who interviewed former (and one current) ''Ellen'' show employees who alleged a toxic environment of ''racism, fear, and intimidation.'' As one former staffer said, ''That 'be kind' bulls--- only happens when the cameras are on. It's all for show.'' Two weeks later, Yandoli published another story that reported that, according to dozens of people who worked behind the scenes at the show, ''the office is a place where sexual harassment and misconduct by top executive producers runs rampant.''
Warner Bros. released a statement last week that it has been interviewing employees and said in part, ''Though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management. We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised.''
DeGeneres also sent an email to staff that said there will be changes: ''On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' would be a place of happiness '-- no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.''
''I'm also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop,'' she continued. ''As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or '-- worse '-- disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.''
Meanwhile, as other unflattering stories about DeGeneres continue to crop up (YouTuber NikkieTutorials made headlines talking about her negative experience on the show; fans recalled this uncomfortable interview in which DeGeneres pressured Mariah Carey to confirm her pregnancy), other celebrities are taking the unusual step of speaking up. ''Sorry but it comes from the top @TheEllenShow[.] Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.'(C) Common knowledge,'' actor Brad Garrett tweeted. ''True story. It is,'' actress Lea Thompson agreed.
This all led to a Daily Mail story published Saturday that suggested the show ''feels done,'' but executive producer Andy Lassner dismissed the idea on Twitter last week, saying, ''Nobody is going off the air.'' When asked for comment, a Warner Bros. rep replied that the season premiere of ''The Ellen DeGeneres Show'' is Sept. 9.
Read more:
Ellen DeGeneres removes YouTube video in which she compares social distancing to 'being in jail'
Ellen DeGeneres, George W. Bush and the evolving dynamics of celebrity politics
Opinion | Ellen DeGeneres tells America she's better than us
Ellen DeGeneres' show hits new series low ratings amid reports of toxic work environment | Fox News
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:41
Published August 05, 2020
Last Update 4 hrs ago
The dip seems to coincide with employees' claims of racism, bullying, wrongful termination and moreRatings for ''The Ellen DeGeneres Show'' hit a new low in July 2020 following the release of bombshell reports about the allegedly toxic work environment that staffers have to deal with.
It was announced last month that WarnerMedia is conducting an internal investigation into the daytime talk show after numerous reports from current and former staff members detailed a rigid and unforgiving work environment as well as allegedly strict guidelines for interacting with the host.
The bulk of the allegations came by way of a Buzzfeed News report that came out around the time that TheWrap reports the show hit a new series low in Nielsen ratings. The show reportedly drew a 1.0 Live + Same Day household rating in the week ending on July 26, 2020. That marks a downturn by 9% from the prior week and a massive 29% from the same week in 2019.
The previous week saw a 27% drop, which just so happened to be the same week that Buzzfeed News released its report. However, it's worth noting that ratings for syndicated daytime talk shows are down across the board as many opt to air summer reruns. ''Dr. Oz,'' ''The Real'' and ''The Doctors'' all joined ''Ellen'' in seeing massive ratings reductions last month, according to the report.
Ellen DeGeneres' show faced a slew of allegations of having a toxic work environment. (Netflix)
However, Ellen's numbers are particularly low compared to her competitors like ''Dr. Phil,'' ''Live with Kelly and Ryan'' and ''Maury,'' whose numbers all remained steady. The outlet notes that the last time ''Maury'' beat DeGeneres in the ratings was in 2016 when she was pulled from consideration due to the broadcast of the Rio Summer Olympics.
Now, DeGeneres' show is tied with the ''Steve Wilkos'' show. Wilkos, the former lead security guard on the ''Jerry Springer Show,'' has never beaten ''Ellen'' in the ratings before but seems poised to do so at this current trajectory.
The drama on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" began in April as reports circulated claiming the show's staff was left uninformed as to the status of their pay or employment amid the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, accounts of "cold" behavior from the 62-year-old comedian herself, including from her former bodyguard, became numerous.
In July, BuzzFeed published its explosive story featuring testimonials from various anonymous current and former employees, who accused the show of, among other things, racism, bullying, wrongful termination and more.
"On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' would be a place of happiness '' no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect," DeGeneres wrote in a memo to staff about the allegations. "Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it's the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show."
Ellen DeGeneres ratings in July 2020 reached a new series low. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
DeGeneres continued, explaining that as the show has "grown exponentially," she has had to turn to others to self-manage, which some employees did not do.
"That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again," she stated.
Fox News' Nate Day contributed to this report.
DJ Tony says he felt toxicity working on Ellen DeGeneres Show |
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:20
Tony Okungbowa, the actor and DJ known to many viewers as DJ Tony of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is opening up about his experience on the recently embattled program.
In an Instagram post Tuesday, Okungbowa said he "did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment" during his tenure as the show's resident DJ. The performer, who currently stars in CBS' Bob Hearts Abishola, also said he supports former Ellen staffers who have spoken out about alleged mistreatment they faced on set.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images
"I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen Degeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there. I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007 -2013," Okungbowa wrote. "While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward."
Warner Bros. Television declined to comment on Okungbowa's remarks, and representatives for Okungbowa told EW he has no further comment on the subject at this time. Representatives for host Ellen DeGeneres and the show itself did not immediately respond to request for comment.
DeGeneres been under scrutiny lately in the wake of two BuzzFeed News reports describing a "toxic work environment" behind the scenes of her eponymous talk show, and citing allegations of racism, intimidation, and sexual misconduct. DeGeneres wrote a letter to her staff last week that did not address specific complaints but said in part that "we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues."
Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett later tweeted that DeGeneres is responsible for setting the tone on her show, writing, "Sorry but it comes from the top '...@TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.'(C) Common knowledge." Actress Lea Thompson backed up Garrett by replying, "True story," while other celebrities including Kevin Hart and Katy Perry have spoken out in support of DeGeneres.
Related content:
The Ellen DeGeneres Show type TV Show rating genre Talk Show status In Season stream service Hulu
Actor Tom Selleck: 'I Would Say ''F*ck You'' To Anyone Who Wants Donald Trump To'...' - NEWS
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 00:15
Hollywood legend Tom Selleck has praised Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. In a meeting with Breitbart News, the legendary American actor stated: “I’m completely sure that he is the best so far.  (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); I’m saying I like this guy.” “He’s an answer to our problems. We need to get behind him. The Republicans need to unite behind this man. We need somebody to go in and reconstruct us in a sort of way, get us back to where we were, who we need to be.” Then he continued with something truly remarkable: “Donald is funny, playful, and colorful, but most of all, he is honest. When he decided to run for president, I know he did it with a true conviction to bring this country back to prosperity. He is the only one who can do it. No frills, no fuss, only candid truths.” (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});“I am very disappointed at the talk show hosts, also spewing out lies and propaganda against Donald. Why, I wonder? The only thing I can think of is he represents a form of freedom none of them ever saw before, and they are bewildered about it, and frightened about it. I would say “f*ck you” to all of them. To all that are criticizing him for no reason and want him to resign for no reason. Just go to hell all of you!” (function(w,d,s,i){w.ldAdInit=w.ldAdInit||[];w.ldAdInit.push({slot:13137478412350310,size:[0, 0],id:"ld-2312-4258"});if(!d.getElementById(i)){var j=d.createElement(s),p=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];j.async=true;j.src="";;p.parentNode.insertBefore(j,p);}})(window,document,"script","ld-ajs");“I pray all Americans who have seen and felt the meltdown of America with the Obama years, to please fight for Donald Trump. He will not let us down. I pray for all good people to see clearly what faces us now. The right vote will save our nation.” Selleck additionally noticed that Trump’s capacity to keep up an inspirational demeanor despite the fact that “he has individuals assaulting him from each side” was likewise a solid contention. This is outstanding people. This guy is a true legend. Thanks for this statement sir. Please SHARE this article with your friends to show this great praise of Tom Selleck.
The Simpson's actor calls out show's decision to stop having white actors play POC characters | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:38
Harry Shearer, the voice of Dr Hibbert, Mr Burns and Ned Flanders on The Simpsons, has spoken out about the show's decision to stop white actors playing characters of color.
The long-running cartoon confirmed in June, under renewed pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement, that it would 'no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.'
The move followed years of public criticism about the Fox television show's 'stereotyped' Indian convenience store character Apu, who is voiced by Hank Azaria.
Now Harry Shearer, 76, who voices multiple characters on The Simpsons including African American doctor Juilius Hibbert, appeared to criticize the decision, telling Times Radio that actors should be able to play outside their own experience.
'I have a very simple belief about acting. The job of the actor is to play someone who they are not,' said Shearer, who has also appeared in multiple movies including Spinal Tap and The Truman Show.
Harry Shearer (right), the voice of Dr Hibbert (left), Mr Burns and Ned Flanders on The Simpsons, has spoken out about the show's decision to stop white actors playing characters of color
'That's the gig, that's the job description.'
Shearer, who also plays Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy and Weyland Smithers, warned against conflating representation in the industry with on screen performance.
The actor explained that he did not have anything in common with some of his characters, such as Mr Burns, but that did not mean he couldn't play the character well.
However, he says no longer voicing Dr Hibbert will not affect seriously affect him.
'We don't get paid by the voice.'
Hank Azaria said earlier this year that he would no longer play thee character of Apu, which has been criticized as a negative portrayal of Indian-Americans.
Azaria has also voiced the Simpsons characters of black police officer Lou and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man.
In January Azaria said he wasn't sure how to approach the issue or whether to stubbornly keep playing the character, but knew he needed more time to figure it out.
Hank Azaria, 55, announced in January that he would stop portraying Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu after 30 years
'It just didn't feel right.' Hank Azaria says he came to the decision to stop voicing Indian immigrant Apu on The Simpsons after years of educating himself on racism
As a white Jewish man, Azaria said he started asking himself how he would feel about a prominent TV character representing him on television in the same way.
'But then I started thinking, if that character were the only representation of Jewish people in American culture for 20 years, which was the case with Apu, I might not love that,' he said.
Azaria first debuted as the character during season one in 1990.
Bumbling Homer Simpson, housewife Marge, troublemaker Bart, prodigy Lisa and baby Maggie have captured the changing face of America for more than 30 years in the longest-running scripted show on U.S. television.
The Simpsons is syndicated in more than 100 countries.
The show's announcement comes amidst a widespread reckoning for U.S. pop culture about racism following mass protests over the killings of Black Americans by police.
Mike Henry has said that he will no longer voice the black character Cleveland Brown on Family Guy. Henry had voiced the character since 1999
Henry announced his decision to no longer play Cleveland Brown on Friday evening
Other white actors, including Mike Henry of animated series Family Guy and Kristen Bell of Central Park, who are both white, have also said they will no longer voice characters of color.
'It's been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role,' Henry said on Twitter on Friday.
The 54-year-old voice actor, who is a white man, has voiced the character since the series´ debut in 1999.
Henry had also voiced the Latina maid named Consuela on the series.
Voice actors Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell - who are white - pulled out of their roles on their respective shows to have their biracial characters with someone of color.
Revelations about former employee prompt calls for new leadership at WAMU | Current
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:46
Staffers at WAMU in Washington, D.C., are calling for the station's general manager to resign over his response to a former employee's inappropriate behavior toward sources and co-workers.
YoreEmployees expressed their frustration with GM JJ Yore during a Zoom meeting Friday, according to a transcript and audio recording of the meeting obtained by Current. Station leaders organized the meeting with 133 staff members to discuss their handling of complaints against Martin Di Caro, a former transportation reporter with the station.
Criticism of Yore intensified after DCist, the station's news website, published an in-depth investigation Wednesday detailing the allegations against Di Caro, who worked at WAMU from 2012 to 2017. The article was based on interviews with 24 women and ''other people of marginalized genders'' who said Di Caro had behaved inappropriately toward them, including commenting on their appearance, texting them late at night and asking them on dates. Some of the sources were spokespersons for the D.C. government or the area's transit authority; four worked for WAMU.
According to DCist, Yore and other WAMU leaders received complaints about Di Caro's behavior and issued two ''final warnings'' to the reporter. After his first warning in 2014, Di Caro was promoted to a full-time role at the station and produced a podcast about D.C.'s transit system, DCist reported.
Di Caro's second warning two years later was a ''Level III'' infraction that can bring ''immediate dismissal'' under the policies of American University, WAMU's licensee. But the infraction also allows for a lesser penalty ''if the supervisor thinks it more appropriate.''
Employees who participated in Friday's Zoom meeting criticized Yore for keeping Di Caro on staff.
''If you had an iota of shame, you would have resigned,'' Aria Velasquez, an audience producer with DCist, told Yore during the meeting. ''This meeting should have started with your resignation, because what you have done is unacceptable, and you are incapable of leading us.''
''My understanding of the word 'final' in the phrase 'final warning' is that if you violate this again, you will be dismissed,'' Velasquez told Current in an interview. ''And the fact that Martin was not dismissed and had a second final warning, it seems to me that somehow they fell down on the job.''
Jordan Pascale, WAMU's current transportation reporter, also criticized Yore's handling of Di Caro.
Di Caro ''would be gone if it was me. He would be gone,'' Pascale said during the meeting. ''And the fact that he wasn't leads me to think that you guys '... just didn't have the moral or ethical compass to figure out what to do here.''
Yore, who has led WAMU since 2014, apologized to the sources who spoke up about Di Caro's behavior.
''I'm just so sorry about the terrible things that some people here and a number of people who are no longer here experienced,'' Yore said. ''Not to mention all the women from other parts of the journalism and transportation communities here in town. '... I'm just sick that this could happen to anyone and could happen here. '... Clearly, we've made mistakes.''
Yore added that he had ''been up many nights thinking about what I could and should have done differently. I and my colleagues in leadership, all of us are committed to doing what we need to do to prevent this kind of abuse in the future. I also know that many of you want more information about this case, and I can't tell you more.''
Yore told staffers that he plans to stay at WAMU and work to restore trust in leadership.
''I think in some ways, the easiest thing for me to do would be to walk away,'' Yore said. '''... And my choice, at least for now, is to stay, is to face you and to try to implement the changes that we need to make.''
WAMU will hire an employee relations staffer to act as an intermediary with American University's human resources department, Yore said. It will also invite more staff members to join the leadership team and will invest around $500,000 in diversity and equity programs. The search for the employee relations staffer will begin this month.
WAMU Chief Development Officer Lynn Marie Croneberger spoke in defense of Yore during the meeting. ''We have JJ now,'' she said. ''He's not perfect. He's made mistakes, but I think he is aware of what damage has been done, and I feel like I can give him a chance to try and correct that with the right people.''
A WAMU spokesperson did not make Yore available for an interview. The spokesperson instead provided a statement from Seth Grossman, VP of people and external affairs for American University.
''We are actively listening to staff concerns and recognize there are both specific and broader issues WAMU must address in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU,'' Grossman said. ''In the coming days, a series of actions to improve the WAMU workplace now and in the future will be announced.The goal is to support the WAMU staff and their work doing the great journalism that our community relies on.''
Many current and former WAMU employees have also taken to Twitter to express frustration with management.
To be totally clear: I believe JJ Yore should resign or be removed from his position as general manager of WAMU 88.5. As a (temporary) staff member, as a longtime listener, and as a journalist, this is an untenable situation that can only begin to be resolved by his exit.
'-- Dawnthea Price Lisco (@dawntheapl) July 31, 2020I'm exhausted and still processing all of the things said (and unsaid) during today's @wamu885 all staff, but here's my final word: Our station must move forward, and we cannot do that under our current leadership. @jjyore needs to resign.
'-- Julie Depenbrock (@JulieDepenbrock) July 31, 2020I'll be clear on one thing, then I'm off Twitter for the weekend: @jjyore must resign.''I didn't know'' is not an acceptable answer in the wake of sexual misconduct, prejudice and other abuses at your station. Completely unacceptable.
'-- Richard Cunningham (@richccunn) August 1, 2020Station leadership has also been criticized for its handling of complaints against Zuri Berry, a senior managing editor whose behavior prompted several women of color to leave the station. American University's human resources department is investigating Berry. Last month the station moved News Director Jeffrey Katz into a senior editor role and named DCist Editor-in-Chief Rachel Sadon interim news director.
Current is an editorially independent service of the American University School of Communication.
Its Top Curator Gone, SFMOMA Reviews Its Record on Race - The New York Times
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:47
The senior curator resigned amid anger among staff that boiled over when he used the term ''reverse discrimination'' '-- and now the museum is trying to address additional staff complaints.
SFMOMA is now having a wider discussion of race, and on Tuesday, the board chairman sent an email to staff in which he said the director ''is committed to transforming SFMOMA into an anti-racist institution.'' Credit... Jason Henry for The New York Times SAN FRANCISCO '-- The meeting was about safety protocols in the time of coronavirus. There was talk of masks, sanitizers and Plexiglas barriers. But that is not what people will remember about the all-staff Zoom call at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, July 7.
In its waning moments, during a Q. and A. part of the call, Gary Garrels, the museum's longest-tenured curator, was asked about comments attributed to him in a @changethemuseum Instagram post in June. The post recounted that when Mr. Garrels had earlier spoken about ''acquisitions by POC artists,'' he had added, ''Don't worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists.''
Mr. Garrels responded to this on July 7, saying that his comments were ''a little bit skewed.'' He then explained efforts on ''broadly diversifying the collection.''
''We have put a lot of focus,'' he continued, ''on collecting women, Black artists, first nation, Native, L.G.B.T.Q., Latino and so on.''
He added: ''I'm certainly not a believer in any kind of discrimination. And there are many white artists, many men who are making wonderful, wonderful work.''
When a staff member suggested that Mr. Garrels's comment was equivalent to saying, ''All lives matter,'' Mr. Garrels responded: ''I'm sorry, I don't agree. I think reverse discrimination '-- '--''
What he said after that was drowned out by gasps and someone saying, ''He didn't say that!''
Five days later, Mr. Garrels, 63, senior curator of painting and sculpture, resigned. It is a decision that has drawn criticism from his many defenders in the art world, cheers from many in a museum staff that declared him a symbol of an objectionable status quo and a renewed focus on the term ''reverse discrimination.''
Used by opponents of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the expression, said Justin Gomer, assistant professor of American studies at California State University at Long Beach, ''has been one of the most effective ways to undercut efforts to achieve racial equality.'' He said, ''It was popularized in the 1970s by civil rights opponents.''
Leigh Raiford, associate professor of African-American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, called the term ''the hollow cry of the privileged when they find themselves challenged to share power.''
And even some of Mr. Garrels's defenders are surprised he used it.
Kevin Beasley, a Black artist who views Mr. Garrels as a supporter, and credits him with collecting his work for the museum, said that when he heard Mr. Garrels's comment he ''was shocked,'' and wondered, ''Is this Gary? It didn't make sense.''
But supporters of the curator say that his use of the term, which Mr. Garrels has apologized for, did not warrant his abrupt departure from a post in which he had a record of supporting artists of color and others. Just last year, in a move he championed, the museum sold a Mark Rothko painting for $50.1 million and used the money to acquire works by women and people of color including Frank Bowling, Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam and Mickalene Thomas.
Image Gary Garrels championed the sale of a Rothko to acquire works by women and people of color, but his remark on ''reverse discrimination" led to his resignation. Credit... J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times ''I am deeply saddened that Gary is viewed as having any racial prejudice toward artists,'' said Komal Shah, a museum trustee who said Mr. Garrels had helped establish many young artists of color in the collection. ''In my experience it simply isn't true.''
Support came from outside the museum as well.
''Gary Garrels is not a white supremacist,'' Tom Eccles, executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, said. ''He has championed the voices of those who were in the margins.''
But others say Mr. Garrels did not just momentarily misspeak. Many staff members say they recalled remarks he made during a panel discussion about female artists in January in which he spoke about ''parity'' for women and that it would take time '-- and added: ''The other thing I have to say is I reassured artists we will continue to collect white men. There are a lot of great women artists but also still a lot of great men out there as well.''
Aruna D'Souza, the author of ''Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts,'' said in an interview that Mr. Garrels's remark ''wasn't just a slip of the tongue.''
His message, she said, was: '''Don't worry, we can keep collecting men, too. Things aren't going to change that much.'''
''Gary Garrels's comment,'' she continued, ''was upsetting because he was making it explicit, whiteness will still be at the center of the institution.''
Mr. Garrels is perhaps the most prominent figure to tumble so far as art museums around the country, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art, grapple with cultural tumult amid nationwide unrest after the death of George Floyd. In addition to Mr. Garrels's 19 years at SFMOMA, he had also been a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
After the Zoom meeting, an anonymous group of former museum employees calling themselves xSFMOMA started a petition that drew several hundred supporters and called out Mr. Garrels for using ''white supremacist and racist language.'' The petition demanded he resign.
Then the museum's store employees sent an email to the executive staff denouncing Mr. Garrels's comments as racist. ''We are not asking for an apology we're asking for action and accountability,'' the letter said.
The next day, Mr. Garrels lost some essential support when an unsigned email to staff from ''Members of the Curatorial Division'' was sent, saying they ''collectively'' disavowed Mr. Garrels's reverse discrimination comments. They added, ''We will no longer accept such racism denial; unilateral power over systems, money and colleagues; and comments, made publicly and internally, that are offensive and reckless.''
It demanded ''actions and accountability for Gary's conduct.''
Mr. Garrels resigned the next day, apologizing to the museum staff for using ''an offensive term.'' He wrote, ''I believe that true diversity and the fight for real and meaningful equality is the important battle of our time.'' Then he said, ''I can no longer effectively work at SFMOMA and so I have offered my resignation.''
One museum employee of color who asked to not be named because of fears of losing a job said it felt like time for Mr. Garrels to leave.
''We were trying to make all these changes,'' the employee said. ''He was an obstacle to that. We were working so hard for so long and for him to make these statements, it was so disheartening.''
Mr. Garrels's departure was part of an ongoing debate about racial equality in the staffing and the collecting at the museum, which draws close to one million visitors annually. The staff, which numbered nearly 500 before a coronavirus closure and layoffs, was 59 percent white, 16 percent Latino, 12 percent Asian and 4 percent Black (the remaining staffers identified with two or more races), a spokeswoman said.
Maria Jenson, executive director of SOMArts, a San Francisco organization that supports art for social change, and a former SFMOMA public partnerships manager, said the resignation was a ''reflection of much larger issues.''
''The same types of people keep getting hired for key leadership roles '-- namely people who are white and privileged,'' she said. ''Meetings feel like a social club.''
Last year, the museum staff went through racial equity training. But incidents still occurred. At the height of Black Lives Matter protests, SFMOMA had blocked from view a critical comment by a Black former museum employee, Taylor Brandon, who called museum officials ''profiteers of racism.''
Image A Richard Serra sculpture at SFMOMA. The museum has said it will be revising its exhibition review process to consider diversity, equity and inclusion. Credit... Jason Henry for The New York Times No Neutral Alliance, a coalition of artists of color, was participating in the museum's online exhibitions, but because of the way Ms. Brandon was treated, some of the artists are now boycotting the museum. The Alliance is making demands that include the resignation of the director, Neal Benezra, who has retained the support of the museum board.
Mr. Benezra issued a public apology after the incident and the museum's deputy director of external relations left her job. He and Mr. Garrels both declined to be interviewed for this article.
If Mr. Garrels had hoped to weather the storm of protest that followed his remarks on Zoom, the pressure on him only built, as the letter from employees of the museum store and from curators were sent.
Since his resignation, the museum has outlined a number of steps it is taking in response to the criticism. Last week, it announced it will be hiring a director of diversity. It also promised to investigate new and old discrimination complaints, and to revise the exhibition review process to consider diversity, equity and inclusion.
Last Thursday, the museum curators, who had denounced Mr. Garrels, sent a letter to Mr. Benezra in which they said, ''We write to voice our support for you and your understanding of the need for change.''
On Tuesday, the museum's board chairman, Robert J. Fisher, sent an email to his staff in which he said the board supports Mr. Benezra, who, he wrote, ''is committed to transforming SFMOMA into an anti-racist institution.''
''Our staff is hurt, exhausted and frustrated,'' Mr. Fisher said. ''They have been courageous in voicing their experiences of racism and inequity. We are deeply sorry for the pain and anger this has caused our wonderful team and our community.''
''We hear your calls for change,'' he continued, ''and are united in the commitment to respond with action.''
Some of the announced plans address demands made by No Neutral Alliance and the museum said it was trying to schedule a meeting with members of the group.
And for now, there are no more Zoom meetings. Last week, Davida Lindsay-Bell, the museum's chief human resources officer, sent an email saying all-staff Zoom meetings would be postponed ''until we resolve and improve format and logistics.''
Trudeau's family members received $283,400 to speak at events hosted by WE Charity | The Star
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 22:54
By Alex Boutilier Ottawa Bureau Thu., July 9, 2020 timer 4 min. read
OTTAWA'--Members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's immediate family received hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at events hosted by WE Charity, the organization at the centre of a widening political scandal for the Liberal government.
Trudeau is facing his third ethics investigation as prime minister for his government's decision to sole-source the delivery of a $900-million volunteering grant program to WE Charity.
The prime minister has said that both he and his family had ''voluntarily'' worked with WE in the past and they intend to continue that work. But WE confirmed that members of Trudeau's family, including his wife, Sophie Gr(C)goire Trudeau, have received financial compensation for speaking at WE-hosted events.
The existence of financial payments between WE and the Trudeau family was first reported by Canadaland and CBC News on Thursday.
Margaret Trudeau, the prime minister's mother, received $250,000 in honorariums for speaking at 28 WE-hosted events between 2016 and 2020. Alexandre Trudeau, the prime minister's brother, received $32,000 in speaking fees between 2017 and 2018.
WE said both were booked for the events through Speakers' Spotlight, a company that connects notable speakers to corporate and charity event organizers. The company once featured Justin Trudeau, before his acceptance of paid speaking gigs as an MP set off a minor scandal. The payments were supposed to be from ME to WE Social Enterprise, WE's for-profit corporation, not the charity itself.
Gr(C)goire Trudeau, an ''ambassador and ally'' to WE who also hosts a podcast for the charity, was given a one-time honorarium of $1,400 for speaking at a WE event in 2012.
''The prime minister's relatives engage with a variety of organizations and support many personal causes on their own accord,'' wrote Alex Wellstead, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office.
''What is important to remember here is that this is about a charity supporting students,'' Wellstead added in response to questions about WE's payments to the Trudeau family.
Bloc Qu(C)b(C)cois Leader Yves-Fran§ois Blanchet said Trudeau should step aside and allow Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to govern until the ethics investigation is complete.
The Liberal government announced on June 25 that it would outsource the management of a $900-million grant program for student volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic to WE, a global charity co-founded by brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger. WE would receive $19.5 million in payments to manage the program.
Trudeau has said that the arrangement was suggested by federal bureaucrats and that WE was the ''best and only'' organization capable of handling the program. The Liberal government has since reversed the decision and said the public service will administer the program.
The ties between WE and the Trudeau family are now the subject of a conflict of interest investigation by Canada's ethics commissioner.
Commissioner Mario Dion confirmed last Friday that his office was examining whether Trudeau violated three separate ethics laws '-- if the prime minister put himself in a conflict of interest in awarding the contract to WE, whether Trudeau gave preferential treatment to WE, and whether or not he should have recused himself from a cabinet vote to move ahead with the program.
Asked why he did not recuse himself from that cabinet decision, Trudeau said Wednesday that he had ''long worked on youth issues.''
''Recognizing their desire to build a better Canada, particularly through this time of crisis, is something I believe in deeply,'' Trudeau said.
Trudeau has twice been found to have broken ethics laws before '-- first in 2017, for accepting a holiday vacation on a private island owned by the Aga Khan. Then, on the eve of the 2019 election, ethics commissioner Mario Dion ruled that Trudeau had applied inappropriate political pressure on former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to strike a deferred prosecution deal for engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin.
Get more politics insight in your inboxMake sense of what's happening across the country and around the world with the Star's This Week in Politics email newsletter.
Sign Up NowDuff Conacher, the co-founder of Democracy Watch, said that Trudeau's failure to recuse himself from the cabinet decision is a clear breach of ethics rules. But the new revelation about payments to the Trudeau family ''compounds'' the prime minister's ''conflict of interest.''
''We need more information about the big, outstanding question which is the prime minister's claim that, on its own, the public service said only WE could do this contract,'' Conacher said in an interview.
''(If that's not true), then it potentially becomes much closer to breach of trust by Trudeau for participating in the decision-making process.''
''This looks more and more like a coverup,'' said NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus in an interview Thursday.
''When the prime minister is being asked in an unfolding scandal if his family are financially benefitting from WE, you would think that they would do their due diligence. And I can't imagine an operation as big and professional as the Prime Minister's Office isn't checking. So why did the prime minister (say) that people were not getting paid when his family members were getting paid?''
Michael Barrett, the Conservatives' shadow minister for ethics, demanded that the Liberal government immediately turn over all documentation about the agreement between the government and WE Charity, as well as communications between the two sides.
Barrett said that while the government has agreed to turn over documents to the finance committee, that process will take weeks and Canadians deserve answers quickly.
''We know from (the last ethics report into the SNC-Lavalin affair) the prime minister has the ability and will invoke cabinet confidence to silence witnesses,'' Barrett said in an interview.
''We need a debate in Parliament about how we can get answers for Canadians. Because this is ultimately about protecting Canadian's confidence in Parliament, and in the highest office of this country, the Prime Minister's Office.''
Clarification '' July 10, 2020: The headline on this article was edited to make clear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family members were not paid by WE Charity but paid to speak at events hosted by the charity.
FBI raids offices at downtown One Cleveland Center building tied to Ukrainian oligarch -
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:34
FBI raids the Cleveland offices of Optima Management Group with ties to Ukrainian oligarch, August 4, 2020
CLEVELAND, Ohio '-- The FBI on Tuesday raided the Cleveland offices of a company with ties to a Ukrainian oligarch that owns several downtown buildings.
FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said agents searched the offices of Optima Management Group in One Cleveland Center at East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue. A spokesman for the IRS also said his agency's investigators were present.
Optima is a conglomerate of companies across the United States that has interests in real estate in Cleveland, including One Cleveland Center, the 55 Public Square building and the Westin Cleveland Downtown. Its offices are visible from an entrance and windows on the side of One Cleveland Center, and on Tuesday multiple agents were seen carrying and moving computers, boxes and other items both inside the office and later as they loaded materials into a van.
Anderson said agents also executed search warrants at an office in Miami.
Federal authorities in Cleveland have been conducting a wide-ranging probe involving Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky that has been ongoing for quite some time. Kolomoisky is a principal of the Privat Group, a large Ukrainian business company, and principals of the company are also part of Optima.
Optima had a much larger presence in Cleveland about a decade ago when it bought several buildings under the leadership of executive Chaim Schochet. Its presence in Northeast Ohio has dwindled in recent years.
Optima also controlled Warren Steel Holdings, a mill northwest of Youngstown that closed in 2016.
Kolomoisky and a fellow Ukrainian billionaire formed PrivatBank in the early 1990s. It became one of the Ukraine's key financial institutions, according to Forbes. The Ukrainian government nationalized the bank in 2016 after an investigation suggested there was large-scale fraud over a decade-long period, Forbes reported.
The financial news outlet places Kolomoisky's net worth at about $1 billion. He remains a complicated political figure in his home country. He is a former governor of Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region.
Published reports said that Kolomoisky had refused to set up a meeting with President Donald Trump's ally Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an attempt to dig up dirt against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden last year.
Kolomoisky's attorney Michael Sullivan declined comment.
Read more:
Ukrainian-linked investment company in FBI probe was once one of downtown Cleveland's biggest landlords
Ukrainian oligarch with ties to downtown Cleveland real estate under FBI investigation
The most important guy you've never heard of: Chaim Schochet, 25, builds downtown Cleveland empire
AECOM Centre in downtown Cleveland sells to New Jersey buyer with renovation plans
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My 2 Cents -
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 00:22
Did you know you can send a letter within the United States for 2 cents in 2020? I recently learned how someone received and mailed a letter for only 2 cents postage. Curious, I mailed four letters to friends that arrived without extra postage due, so here's my attempt at explaining how and why. Lastly, I share a negative remark I received from someone defending the "struggling" Post Office, and why that isn't exactly true.
This is only valid for personal letters written and sent to friends and family within the United States that weigh under 1/2 ounce. Each additional 1/2 ounce is an additional 2 cents.
This is NOT for commercial use or important documents. Don't use to send checks or sensitive papers. You also can't use to mail to any federal government agencies such as the social security office, military bases, prisons, police stations, or Washington DC, etc. This is NOT available for foreign mail.
In a nutshell, I'll tell you how to address your envelope, then explain why it works.
When addressing your letter and writing your return address, spell out every word. Spell out "Street," "Avenue," "Boulevard." etc. If it's part of the address, spell out "North," or "South, etc. Spell out the State: "Nebraska," "California," "Mississippi," etc. DO NOT use any abbreviations, none! I'll explain why below. On my envelopes, I spelled out "Post Office Box," "Apartment," and "Northeast" (instead of NE). Next, DO NOT include the zip code, instead write "Zip Exempt."
CORRECTION : The top of your envelope should include notations at the top of the envelope next to the stamp as shown in the photos below, EXCEPT it should say " Non Domestic" . Though both of my letters went through as shown, the complete text of the law you are using actually reads:
First Class Non Domestic Without Prejudice USC-1-207 bk.12 Statutes at Large Chapter 71 Section 23 37th. Congress Session 111
Finally, add 2 cent postage. It can be one 2 cent stamp; I just happen to have 1 cent bird stamps. I also started pre-printing my return address and the law code, but it can be hand-written.
Here's a letter I sent to my friend, Nancy. The postmark reads, "Portland... 8 January 2020." It took an extra day to reach her.
How is this possible? When you mail a letter this way you are sending mail using the General Post Office that still exists within the USPS corporation/agency. Here's a screenshot of that law below. Notice Sec. 23. When your letter is delivered to the post office or mail carrier with a stamp affixed to the envelope the cost is 2 cents.
Here's some USPS history. The current USPS corporation/agency was created in 1970 when Nixon enacted the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, passed by the United States Congress to abolish the then United States Post Office Department, which was a part of the Cabinet, and created the United States Postal Service, a corporation-like independent agency with a monopoly on the delivery of mail in the United States. You can find all the info about it with a quick online search. However, the old law still exists. It can't be rescinded, repealed or amended.
Is the USPS struggling? I don't think so. I totally agree that the current 55 cent postage to send a letter is not going to break the bank, and I will still send cards using the current USPS rate. But before you accuse anyone of "nickel and diming the failing Post Office to death," yes that's what I was accused of by someone who failed to know how much the USPS makes from my little card business each year. The USPS is a money-making corporation whose heads (possibly the government itself) are the cause of their own money pitfalls, not FedEx or even Amazon. You can look up the accusing article by searching: Business Insider, The US Postal Service's volumes tanked for the first time in nearly a decade - here's why insiders say FedEx and Amazon are to blame, Aug 15, 2019. It's a jarring headline of an article that describes the USPS as "troubled" and "crumbling" while stating it "hemorrhaged some $69 billion from 2007 to 2018." That's over $6 billion each year! If it's a hemorrhage, it's my opinion that the amount is over their normal revenue, right? But the problem with their decline in revenue isn't due to competition. The USPS was forced to pre-pay pension plans for the next 75 years. Wouldn't that be for employees who aren't even born yet? The article also states that while the USPS moved 47 million fewer packages in the second quarter of 2019 than in the previous year (a decline of 3.2%) its revenue increased by 4.8%. If I'm reading that right, the USPS worked less and made more. There's more info about the history of the US Post Office and how much they make if interested, or you're a student doing a school paper at
I'll get off my soapbox now. I hope I relieved any guilt about hurting the USPS. Just remember they issued Forever Stamps. Anyone else still using 48 cents Forever Stamps on envelopes today? Does USPS ask for extra postage? NOPE!
If you decide to send someone your 2 Cents in the form of an addressed envelope may they, also, enjoy this little tidbit of hidden trivia.
And finally, please note, I am not a legal advisor of the law. This is a result of my findings, research, and curiosity. I'm not offering legal advice. If you verify this information yourself, you will come to the same conclusion. Cheers!
Data isn't just being collected from your phone. It's being used to score you. - Houston Chronicle
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:17
Harvey Rosenfield and Laura Antonini, The Washington Post
Published 2:44 pm CDT, Friday, July 31, 2020 Operating in the shadows of the online marketplace, specialized tech companies you've likely never heard of are tapping vast troves of our personal data to generate secret "surveillance scores" - digital mug shots of millions of Americans - that supposedly predict our future behavior. The firms sell their scoring services to major businesses across the U.S. economy.
People with low scores can suffer harsh consequences.
CoreLogic and TransUnion say that scores they peddle to landlords can predict whether a potential tenant will pay the rent on time, be able to "absorb rent increases," or break a lease. Large employers use HireVue, a firm that generates an "employability" score about candidates by analyzing "tens of thousands of factors," including a person's facial expressions and voice intonations. Other employers use Cornerstone's score, which considers where a job prospect lives and which web browser they use to judge how successful they will be at a job.
Brand-name retailers purchase "risk scores" from Retail Equation to help make judgments about whether consumers commit fraud when they return goods for refunds. Players in the gig economy use outside firms such as Sift to score consumers' "overall trustworthiness." Wireless customers predicted to be less profitable are sometimes forced to endure longer customer service hold times.
Auto insurers raise premiums based on scores calculated using information from smartphone apps that track driving styles. Large analytics firms monitor whether we are likely to take our medication based on our propensity to refill our prescriptions; pharmaceutical companies, health-care providers and insurance companies can use those scores to, among other things, "match the right patient investment level to the right patients."
Surveillance scoring is the product of two trends. First is the rampant (and mostly unregulated) collection of every intimate detail about our lives, amassed by the nanosecond from smartphones to cars, toasters to toys. This fire hose of data - most of which we surrender voluntarily - includes our demographics, income, facial characteristics, the sound of our voice, our precise location, shopping history, medical conditions, genetic information, what we search for on the Internet, the websites we visit, when we read an email, what apps we use and how long we use them, and how often we sleep, exercise and the like.
The second trend driving these scores is the arrival of technologies able to instantaneously crunch this data: exponentially more powerful computers and high-speed communications systems such as 5G, which lead to the scoring algorithms that use artificial intelligence to rate all of us in some way.
The result: automated decisions, based on each consumer's unique score, that are, as a practical matter, irreversible.
That's because the entire process - the scores themselves, as well as the data upon which they are based - is concealed from us. It is mostly impossible to know when one has become the casualty of a score, let alone whether a score is inaccurate, outdated or the product of biased or discriminatory code programmed by a faceless software engineer. There is no appeal.
Surveillance scoring bears a faint resemblance to credit scoring in the 1960s. In that pre-computer era, private investigators working for banks, retailers and insurance companies tailed consumers and scoured newspapers for information about arrests, promotions, sexual orientation, drinking habits and cleanliness to decide a consumer's creditworthiness -- until Congress established rules in the 1970s giving consumers the right to review and question their credit scores.
Today's data snoops obtain infinitely more information about their targets, and in real time. And the impact of surveillance scoring is far more pernicious.
The tech industry insists that its every advance improves our lives. But that's a myth. Surveillance scoring enables companies to cloak old-school discrimination in an aura of technological infallibility and wonder.
Secret surveillance scores create micro-markets in which some consumers are no longer welcome. They divide Americans into "haves" and "have-nots," with the losers relegated to the status of second-class citizens.
Consumers need a 21st-century solution to this emergent threat. Congress, awash in tech money, is mired in an outdated legal paradigm: "disclosure" of privacy policies and "consent" via a click. No one pretends that these industrial age contract law concepts will do anything to curb data larceny, let alone regulate or bar secret surveillance scores.
We petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and regulate surveillance scoring. The commission's response? A blog post urging the firms that develop and apply scores to regulate themselves.
This is only the latest example of Washington's capitulation to the tech industry, whose continuous loop of privacy violations, abject apologies and payment of inconsequential penalties confirms that consumers cannot rely on the federal government for protection.
Secret surveillance scoring places us at the precipice of the "singularity," a dystopian turning point after which machines will make judgments about humans that will determine our fate. We either seize control of our future, or risk losing it.
- - -
Rosenfield and Antonini are consumer advocates.
Some Photoshop users can try Adobe's anti-misinformation system later this year - The Verge
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:01
Adobe has released more details on its Content Authenticity Initiative, a system for permanently attaching sources and details to an image. The project is meant to mitigate two problems: artists losing credit for work and newsworthy images being manipulated or taken out of context. It's set for a limited debut on Adobe's Photoshop software and Behance social network by the end of 2020, and Adobe hopes for wider adoption soon after.
Adobe pitched the CAI last year as a general anti-misinformation and pro-attribution tool, but many details remained in flux. A newly released white paper makes its scope clearer. The CAI is primarily a more persistent, verifiable type of image metadata. It's similar to the standard EXIF tags that show the location or date of a photograph, but with cryptographic signatures that let you verify the tags haven't been changed or falsely applied to a manipulated photo.
Adobe wants web users to go ''a layer deeper''
People can still download and edit the image, take a screenshot of it, or interact the way they would any picture. Any CAI metadata tags will show that the image was manipulated, however. Adobe is basically encouraging adding valuable context and viewing any untagged photos with suspicion, rather than trying to literally stop plagiarism or fakery. ''There will always be bad actors,'' says Adobe community products VP Will Allen. ''What we want to do is provide consumers a way to go a layer deeper '-- to actually see what happened to that asset, who it came from, where it came from, and what happened to it.''
The white paper makes clear that Adobe will need lots of hardware and software support for the system to work effectively. CAI-enabled cameras (including both basic smartphones and high-end professional cameras) would need to securely add tags for dates, locations, and other details. Photo editing tools would record how an image has been altered '-- showing that a journalist adjusted the light balance but didn't erase or add any details. And social networks or other sites would need to display the information and explain why users should care about it.
Adobe originally announced Twitter and The New York Times Company as partners, and the CAI specifications will be freely available under an open source license. Allen says Adobe has also talked to other social networking companies. ''We're having really active conversations across the board with lots of different companies,'' he says, including ''everyone you would imagine'' in the world of social networking.
Convincing sites to get on board may be the biggest challenge
The white paper adds more detail about how different kinds of creators would use the tools. A photojournalist might care primarily about proving a picture's provenance. They would want a CAI-enabled camera to provide the initial metadata, a Photoshop record for edits, and certificates identifying the source. A digital artist might only want to attach their name and a link to a website with more details, which would also be provided via CAI.
Adobe has also worked with human rights organization to make the tool work for non-journalists documenting human rights abuses. This includes adding options that preserve important factual data (like locations and any manipulation history) without storing personally identifying information.
You can already find systems that cover some of CAI's features. The Guardian Project and, for instance, maintain an app called ProofMode that adds cryptographically signed metadata for anonymous citizen journalists. But Adobe is trying to create a unified system that it can convince mainstream sites to integrate.
Getting web users to check and trust metadata appears to be one of Adobe's key challenges. In addition to nailing down some raw technical specifics, like the method for issuing and storing trusted certificates, the company and its partners are testing how to provide relevant data without overloading users. ''It's up to the different publishers and platforms to decide what that experience is, and that's something we're really diving into with a lot of our partners,'' says Allen.
A CAI prototype will initially launch on Adobe-owned products: a ''subset'' of Photoshop users will be able to tag their photos and add those photos to Behance, and a verification site will let anyone check a CAI-tagged picture's metadata. There's no firm timeline for adding it to Twitter or rolling it out across third-party apps, but Allen says Adobe is ''pushing aggressively'' for a launch.
Owen Benjamin vs. Patreon lawsuit, what are the possible implications? -
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:58
A peruse of Twitter the last couple of days showed a lot of Creators on the platform get a bit worried about the fan-supported platform going away. Why? The reason just might be comedian Owen Benjamin.
The former Sullivan & Son star become a lighting rod for controversy the last few years as he began to grow disillusioned with Hollywood and take progressively more aggressive and controversial stances online and in his webcasts. He's been accused of all different kinds of hate speech and anti-semitism which eventually let to his suspension and later banning from most social platforms and Youtube. Leading the comedian to self-produce his own specials and host a subscription show on his own website.
One of those platforms that Benjamin was kick off was the fan-subscription site Patreon, where Benjamin could continue to work and get funded by his fans. Upon his ouster Benjamin sued the site for the dismissal at the cost of $3.5M and encouraged his fans to do the same. His fans answered and followed suit, 72 of them in fact, filed claims against Patreon citing the same reasons Benjamin claimed that by banning a Creator it disrupts the economic relationship between Creator and Backer. A legal term called ''tortious interference with a business relationship.''
In the past, tech companies were almost totally protected from these types of lawsuits due to the Congressional law that encourages free speech on the week. However, because of this autonomy, many companies have gotten sloppy with their Terms of Service. Patreon's TOS stated that anyone who wants to sue the company must do so with arbitration, bans class actions or any joint actions, and pays for the arbitration fees. In theory this makes sense because individual consumers with small claims can do so without a lawyers. Enter the loophole where all individual claims can't be class action'...
In California, the law states that arbitration fees must be paid in advance. So if the average arbitration costing around $10,000 the costs for Patroen could total $750,000 before they even get into arbitration adding the idea that the platform could be bankrupted before any money (if any) is given to the claimants.
Even moreso, Patreon changed its TOS at the top of the year as a direct result of these actions. Previously, their Terms of Service states those wanting arbitration must alert the company that they planned on doing this. Once these notifications happened, the tech company updated its TOS to bar claims the parties were going to bring. Stating that as a fan, they could not bring a claim against Patreon on behalf of the banned or suspended Creator. So they were informed these claims were coming upon request, then they changed the TOS as a direct result.
Patreon also filed a Mass Action suit against the claimants and sought an injunction to stop the arbitration moving forward upon realizing fees were going to mount up.
Just the other day the court issued a tentative order denying Patreon's injunctions.
During the hearing, Patreon's counsel brought up additional cases that it claimed applied to the lawsuit. Many legal experts believe Patron will probably lose and should in its actions of essentially demanding to be informed, then attempting to change its TOS because of being informed.
Because of this preliminary decision by the court, many of Patreon Creators are getting scared about the idea of the platform possibly going away. Many have grown reliant on the platform to support their livelihood and projects. The longterm effect of this could leave Creators, including many large comedy podcasts without a revenue stream and a large one for some. Just off the top of our heads, comedy podcasts like Chapo Trap House, Cumtown, and History Hyenas earn in one month on Patreon what some could earn in an annual salary.
Other tech companies should pay close attention to this case and tighten up their Terms of Service immediately. Not only does this leave them open but this isn't the first case of this ''loophole'' being utilized. Similarly DoorDash was hit with a similar lawsuit from its drivers over tip compensation.
NSA warns about location services
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:30
U/OO/155603-20 | PP-20-0535 | Aug 2020 National Security Agency | Cybersecurity Information Limiting Location Data Exposure Mobile devices store and share device geolocation data by design. This data is essential to device communications and provides features'--such as mapping applications'--that users consider indispensable. Mobile devices determine location through any combination of Global Positioning System (GPS) and wireless signals (e.g., cellular, wireless (W i-Fi®1), or Bluetooth®2 (BT)). Location data can be extremely valuable and must be protected. It can reveal details about the number of users in a location, user and supply movements, daily routines (user and organizational), and can expose otherwise unknown associations between users and locations. Mitigations reduce, but do not eliminate, location tracking risks in mobile devices. Most users rely on features disabled by such mitigations, making such safeguards impractical. Users should be aware of these risks and take action based on their specific situation and risk tolerance. When location exposure could be detrimental to a mission, users should prioritize mission risk and apply location tracking mitigations to the greatest extent possible. While the guidance in this document may be useful to a wide range of users, it is intended primarily for NSS/DoD system users.3 Mobile devices expose location data Using a mobile device'--even powering it on'--exposes location data. Mobile devices inherently trust cellular networks and providers, and the cellular provider receives real-time location information for a mobile device every time it connects to the network. This means a provider can track users across a wide area. In some scenarios, such as 911 calls, this capability saves lives, whereas for personnel with location sensitivities, it may incur risks. If an adversary can influence or control the provider in some way, this location data may be compromised. Public news articles have reported that providers have been known to sell data, including near-real time location data, to third-parties [1]. Location data from a mobile device can be obtained even without provider cooperation. These devices transmit identifying information when connecting to cellular networks. Commercially available rogue base stations allow anyone in the local area to inexpensively and easily obtain real-time location data and track targets. This equipment is difficult to distinguish from legitimate equipment, and devices will automatically try to connect to it, if it is the strongest signal present [2]. Additionally, location data is stored on the mobile device. Past location information can be used to forecast future locations [3]. Other examples of risk exist: websites use browser fingerprinting to harvest location information [4], and W i-Fi access points and Bluetooth sensors can reveal location information [5]. Location services '‰ GPS A mobile device provides geolocation data as a service to apps. This is known as location services, and users can disable them in the settings of a device. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that disabling location services on a mobile device does not turn off GPS, and does not significantly reduce the risk of location exposure. Disabling location services only limits access to GPS and location data by apps. It does not prevent the operating system from using location data or communicating that data to the network. Also important to remember is that GPS is not the same as location services. Even if GPS and cellular data are unavailable, a mobile device calculates location using Wi-Fi and/or BT. Apps and websites can also use other sensor data (that does not require user permission) and web browser information to obtain or infer location information [6]. 1 Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of Wi-Fi Alliance. 2 Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. 3 The information contained in this document was developed in the course of NSA's Cybersecurity mission, including its responsibilities to assist Executive departments and agencies with operations security programs.
U/OO/155603-20 | PP-20-0535 | Aug 2020 2 NSA | Limiting Location Data Exposure Location can often be determined even if cellular is turned off Even if cellular service is turned off on a mobile device, Wi-Fi and BT can be used to determine a user's location. Inconspicuous equipment (e.g., wireless sniffers) can determine signal strength and calculate location, even when the user is not actively using the wireless services. Even if all wireless radios are disabled, numerous sensors on the device provide sufficient data to calculate location. Disabling BT completely may not be possible on some devices, even when a setting to disable BT exists. When communication is restored, saved information may be transmitted. If a mobile device has been compromised, the user may no longer be able to trust the setting indicators. Detecting compromised mobile devices can be difficult or impossible; such devices may store or transmit location data even when location settings or all wireless capabilities have been disabled. The risk isn't limited to mobile devices Anything that sends and receives wireless signals has location risks similar to mobile devices. This includes, but is not limited to, fitness trackers, smart watches, smart medical devices, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and built-in vehicle communications. Personal and household smart devices (e.g., light bulbs, cookware, thermostats, home security, etc.) often contain wireless capabilities of which the user is unaware. Such IoT devices can be difficult to secure, most have no way to turn off wireless features, and little, if any, security built in. These security and privacy issues could result in these devices collecting and exposing sensitive location information about all devices that have come into range of the IoT devices [7]. Geolocation information contained in data automatically synced to cloud accounts could also present a risk of location data exposure if the accounts or the servers where the accounts are located are compromised. Apps and social media Apps, even when installed using the approved app store, may collect, aggregate, and transmit information that exposes a user's location. Many apps request permission for location and other resources that are not needed for the function of the app. Users with location concerns should be extremely careful about sharing information on social media. If errors occur in the privacy settings on social media sites, information may be exposed to a wider audience than intended. Pictures posted on social media may have location data stored in hidden metadata. Even without explicit location data, pictures may reveal location information through picture content [8]. Mitigations Different users accept different levels of risk regarding location tracking, but most users have some level of concern. The following general mitigations can be used for those with location sensitivities: ‚· Disable location services settings on the device. ‚· Disable radios when they are not actively in use: disable BT and turn off Wi-Fi if these capabilities are not needed. Use Airplane Mode when the device is not in use. Ensure BT and W i-Fi are disabled when Airplane Mode is engaged.4 ‚· Apps should be given as few permissions as possible: ‚§ Set privacy settings to ensure apps are not using or sharing location data. ‚§ Avoid using apps related to location if possible, since these apps inherently expose user location data. If used, location privacy/permission settings for such apps should be set to either not allow location data usage or, at most, allow location data usage only while using the app. Examples of apps that relate to location are maps, compasses, traffic apps, fitness apps, apps for finding local restaurants, and shopping apps. ‚· Disable advertising permissions to the greatest extent possible: ‚§ Set privacy settings to limit ad tracking, noting that these restrictions are at the vendor's discretion. ‚§ Reset the advertising ID for the device on a regular basis. At a minimum, this should be on a weekly basis. 4 For iOS devices: Only use the Settings app to disable Wi-Fi/BT. Settings for these features in the control center may not work as expected.
U/OO/155603-20 | PP-20-0535 | Aug 2020 3 NSA | Limiting Location Data Exposure ‚· Turn off settings (typically known as FindMy or Find My Device settings) that allow a lost, stolen, or misplaced device to be tracked. ‚· Minimize web-browsing on the device as much as possible, and set browser privacy/permission location settings to not allow location data usage. ‚· Use an anonymizing Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help obscure location. ‚· Minimize the amount of data with location information that is stored in the cloud, if possible. If it is critical that location is not revealed for a particular mission, consider the following recommendations: ‚· Determine a non-sensitive location where devices with wireless capabilities can be secured prior to the start of any activities. Ensure that the mission site cannot be predicted from this location. ‚· Leave all devices with any wireless capabilities (including personal devices) at this non-sensitive location. Turning off the device may not be sufficient if a device has been compromised. ‚· For mission transportation, use vehicles without built-in wireless communication capabilities, or turn off the capabilities, if possible. Protect data, protect privacy, protect the mission While it may not always be possible to completely prevent the exposure of location information, it is possible'--through careful configuration and use'--to reduce the amount of location data shared. Awareness of the ways in which such information is available is the first step. Works Cited [1] Pai, Ajit, ''Status of the FCC's Investigation into the Disclosure of Consumers' Real-Time Location Data,'' Federal Communications Commission, 31 January 2020. [Online] Available at: [2] J. Dunn, ''Security weaknesses in 5G, 4G, and 3G could expose users' locations.'' Sophos, 04 February 2020. [Online] Available at: [3] S. Lee, J. Lim, J. Park, K. Kim. ''Next Place Prediction Based on Spatiotemporal Pattern Mining of Mobile Device Logs.'' PubMed Central, US National Library of Medicine, 23 January 2016. [Online] Available at: [4] Y. Cao, S. Li, E. Wijmans. ''(Cross-) Browser Fingerprinting via OS and Hardware Level Features.'' The Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, 27 February 2017. [Online] Available at: [5] Moz://a location service Overview. Mozilla, 2012-2020. [Online] Available at: [6] A. Mosenia, X. Dai, P. Mittal, N. Jha. ''PinMe: Tracking a Smartphone User around the World.'' Cornell University, 05 February 2018. [Online] Available at: [7] FTC Staff Report, ''internet of things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World.'' Federal Trade Commission, 09 January 2015. [Online] Available at: [8] T. Weyand, I. Kostrikov, J. Philbin. ''PlaNet - Photo Geolocation with Convolutional Neural Networks.'' Cornell University, 17 February 2016. [Online] Available: Disclaimer of Endorsement The information and opinions contained in this document are provided "as is" and without any warranties or guarantees. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, and this guidance shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Contact Client Requirements / General Cybersecurity Inquiries: Cybersecurity Requirements Center, 410-854-4200, Media inquiries / Press Desk: Media Relations, 443-634-0721,
Can Trump Postpone the Election? Maybe He Can! | Armstrong Economics
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 15:01
Trump tweeted about postponing the election due to the main-in voting without proving who you are. There is a lot of fake news running around claiming that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution says the term must end by January 20th. However, this does not specify which January.
The 20th Amendment says: The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Then there are many claiming that the 22nd Amendment defines the term of the president as four years. This Amendment only limits the president to two terms and has nothing to do with the length of a term of office.
The 22nd Amendment Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
Originally, the office of President and Vice President were separate. People ran for each. The way we have Vice President selected by the Presidental candidate is also not authorized by the Constitution.
Article II, Section I:
''The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.'' (see also 3 USC §12)
All of this does not address what happens in an emergency. Former President Harry Truman seized steel production under the argument of national security during the Koren War. He explained: ''Our national security and our chances for peace depend on our defense production. Our defense production depends on steel.'' He claimed, ''inherent power'' to do what needed to be he had done. The Supreme Court rejected that argument saying that: ''The Founders of this Nation entrusted the lawmaking power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times. It would do no good to recall the historical events, the fears of power, and the hopes for freedom that lay behind their choice.'' Justice Robert Jackson wrote:
They knew what emergencies were, knew the pressures they engender for authoritative action, knew, too, how they afford a ready pretext for usurpation. We may also suspect that they suspected that emergency powers would tend to kindle emergencies. Aside from suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in time of rebellion or invasion, when the public safety may require it, they made no express provision for exercise of extraordinary authority because of a crisis. I do not think we rightfully may so amend their work.
However, here the enemy of the state is actually Congress. There is no question that the COVID numbers have been so abused because the hospitals are paid even for people without insurance as long as they claim they have COVID. Even the director of the CDC Robert Redfield admitted that before Congress. The numbers are inflated because they are not paid unless it is COVID.
This has been defined under National Security. What is fascinating is that this conspiracy to seize the government from Trump has manufactured an actual National Security Crisis using this exaggerated COVID Pandemic which did not exist under Truman. Here, there are shortages of money because of social-distancing and shutting down the economy so people have not been spending cash, and even the Post Office is disrupted. In trying to mail books, delays were unbelievable. Congress changed its rules and have allowed its member to attend remotely. That in itself may not be constitutional. Congress has allowed lawmakers to cast votes for as many as 10 other House members by proxy. This is certainly a highly dangerous new rule.
Article I, Section 4 clearly requires that: ''The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.'' There is no Constitutional Authority for proxy votes. Each representative was to represent 30,000 people '' not a party. Additionally, elections for the Senate and House of Representatives were: ''The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.''
Here we have vast portions of government offices not functioning '' even Congress itself. This opens the door to the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20). This was signed by President of the United States George W. Bush on May 4, 2007, in the aftermath of 911. , This Presidential Directive establishes an interesting comprehensive policy whereby what happens when the federal government institutions fail to operate in the event of a ''catastrophic emergency'' which the media has certainly turned this COVID Crisis into locking down the entire economy.
The COIVID contrived crisis is such an emergency is defined as ''any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.''
The Directive states its purpose:
''This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes ''National Essential Functions,'' prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.''
This presidential directive defines the ''national essential functions'' of the federal government, specifies ''continuity requirements'' for the departments and agencies in the federal government's executive branch, and ''provides guidance for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations. It also provides for a National Continuity Coordinator who will oversee the ''development and implementation of federal continuity policies.''
Since Congress has made new rules that it will no longer require member to be present due to this COVID Crisis and allows proxy voting not authorized by the Constitution, the very foundation of a representative government has ceased to exist. The purpose of this Directive is to protect the constitution. There is no comity among the branches to preserve the constitutional framework of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, an appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency.
This Directive 51 asserts that the president has the power to declare a catastrophic emergency. It does not specify who has the power to declare the emergency over. It also authorizes the new position of ''National Continuity Coordinator'' would be filled by the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. The directive further specifies that a ''Continuity Policy Coordination Committee'', is to be chaired by a senior director of the Homeland Security Council who is selected by the National Continuity Coordinator. The majority of this order is secret and has not been published. The mere fact that Congress has stopped attendance and allowed proxy voting does not comply with the constitution and calls into question is this COVID Crisis has indeed risen to a catastrophic emergency thanks to the media.
It certainly appears that this is ripe for the Supreme Court. What if there was an act of war and Congress was destroyed in an attack? How would the government function is Congress does not attend? The primary mission of the Homeland Security Act was to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and minimize damage and assist in recovery for terrorist attacks that occur in the United States. If it argued that COVID was deliberately released by any clandestine group to bring down the US economy in order to create a Great Reset opportunity, then clearly Homeland Security comes into place and the Justice Department is duty-bound to investigate if anyone in Congress or any agency, including Fauci, have conspired with anyone to create this national catastrophic emergency and cause the national GDP to collapse in the greatest recorded decline in history.
There is the authority to postpone the elections when Congress itself is no longer attending. This will end up in the Supreme Court, but there should be a nonpartisan investigation of everyone involved and ASAP to be able to reveal evidence to justify this catastrophic emergency which has been fueled by CNN, Washington Post, and New York Times just to mention a few.
3 USC §12. Failure of certificates of electors to reach President of the Senate or Archivist of the United States; demand on State for certificate
When no certificate of vote and list mentioned in sections 9 and 11 of this title from any State shall have been received by the President of the Senate or by the Archivist of the United States by the fourth Wednesday in December, after the meeting of the electors shall have been held, the President of the Senate or, if he be absent from the seat of government, the Archivist of the United States shall request, by the most expeditious method available, the secretary of state of the State to send up the certificate and list lodged with him by the electors of such State; and it shall be his duty upon receipt of such request immediately to transmit same by registered mail to the President of the Senate at the seat of government.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 644, 62 Stat. 674 ; Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, §8, 65 Stat. 712 ; Pub. L. 98''497, title I, §107(e)(1), (2)(B), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2291 .)
1984-Pub. L. 98''497 substituted ''Archivist of the United States'' for ''Administrator of General Services'' in section catchline and two places in text.
1951-Act Oct. 31, 1951, substituted ''Administrator of General Services'' for ''Secretary of State'' in section catchline and two places in text.
Effective Date of 1984 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 98''497 effective Apr. 1, 1985, see section 301 of Pub. L. 98''497, set out as a note under section 2102 of Title 44, Public Printing and Documents.
Voice Of America Promoted A Pro-Biden Muslim Political Campaign Ad, Then Removed It - Sara A. Carter : Sara A. Carter
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 22:26
This story is developing and will be updated.
Voice of America posted what appears to be a political campaign ad on at least one of its social media platform last week, asking the Muslim community both in the United States and abroad to support Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden.
The ad, which was uploaded in late July to VOA's Facebook page, used a speech Biden recently made during an online rally with the Muslim Advocacy Group, Emgage Action. In that rally he addressed Muslim voters in the United States, as reported.
The two plus minute political ad, which was uploaded to VOA's Urdu Facebook account on or about July 21, used the VOA logo, was apparently translated into Urdu and promoted Biden for president to Urdu speakers globally.
The incident has been verified by a U.S. official familiar with the ad and its eventual removal from the VOA's Facebook page. Further, the political ad uses a music video by artist Zeshan B, with the song Brown Power. Zeshan B, who is from Chicago, had attended Eid at the Obama White House and produced his first album later in 2017. This website could not reach Zeshan B. for comment.
VOA, which was established in 1942, is considered the premiere U.S. agency for global media outreach. In fact, it is a U.S. government tax payer funded international broadcast entity with an annual budget of roughly $234.7 million. The agency has employees roughly 1,078 people, as well as hundreds of foreign contractors.
The campaign clip opens with Biden's address participants to the Emgage Action USA.
The ad uses Biden's promise to ''end the Muslim ban on day one'' if he is elected to office. (For clarification, there is no Muslim ban in the United States.)
The Biden campaign did not return emails, however, sources familiar with the ad, said it does not appear that Biden's campaign was aware of it, or approved it.
VOA did not immediately respond to numerous emails for comment.
According to the source, it appears that VOA employees ''repackaged an ad'' to post on the site in support of Biden.
Biden's Part
Biden's comments from his video conference with Emgage Action is the bulk of the ad, which uses scare tactics on Muslim voters to effort their support for Biden. It is not certain, at this point in time, what group or person produced the video but the VOA posted it with their logo on their social media platforms, a U.S. government official confirmed.
''We all have the same root here, in terms of our fundamental basic beliefs'...Your voice is your vote, your vote is your voice,'' says Biden.
''I'll be a president that seeks out and incorporates and listens to the ideas and concerns of Muslim Americans on everyday issues that matter most to our communities,'' he says. ''That will include having Muslim American voices as part of my administration.''
Rep. Andy Biggs, R- Arizona and Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told this website Monday night that if this video was posted on VOA's social media platform it should be investigated.
''It is outrageous that VOA, a taxpayer funded communications organization, used its platform to campaign for Biden,'' Biggs said.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Muslim Right's Activist Linda Sarsour, who have been criticized for their anti-semitic statements and actions, also appear in the video, which promotes the website the Million Muslim Vote. It is sponsored by Emgage, a political PAC supporting Biden in November. The website states that every dollar ''you contribute will go towards ensuring that the voices of Muslim American communities are heard during the 2020 Presidential Elections.''
Partners of Emgage are listed on their website as Council On American Islamic Relations (CAIR), My Muslim Vote, American Pakistan Foundation, Muslim Women For, MPowerChange, and the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations.
The ad, which is yet of unknown origin but used by VOA online, was obtained exclusively by and appears to have been translated into Urdu, a language spoken in Pakistan, and in large swaths of India and Afghanistan.
The picture was captured off of VOA's Urdu Facebook page.The campaign ad, which appears to have been based of a video produced by, a Muslim American organization, was apparently rebranded by VOA and used on its platforms, according to the sources.
''That will include having Muslim American voices as part of my administration,'' Former Vice President Joe Biden
Posting the video by VOA appears to directly conflict with its charter and may be a considered a Hatch Act violation, said several officials familiar with the ad.
For example, VOA's charter specifically stated that it ''will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive'' news site.
Moreover, the charter emphasizes that the news organization ''will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.''
Lastly, the charter promises that ''VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.''
As for the Video it is not certain who produced it but it appears to have been altered by VOA employees who added the logo to its content.
The video opens with Biden's comments to the Muslim group as he quotes the Prophet Mohammed from the Koran.
''Mohammed instructs,'' says Biden. ''Whoever among you sees wrong, let him change it with his hand. If he is not able, then with his tongue. If he is not able, then with his heart'...''
Then the political ad changes to a group of presumably Muslim people walking through a field where a man dressed as a U.S. police officer is frisking a black man and then hands him a backpack.
The voiceover states ''make no mistake people 2020 is our year. Let's dive into it with 20/20 vision. We can see clearly that America is fighting for its very soul.''
BBG Watch and USAGM Watch, a watchdog group which monitors the VOA, along with other U.S. government international broadcast stations, has investigated extensive concerns regarding employees working for VOA and continued problems with promoting anti-American or partisan political commentary and news.
Those working for the watchdog group are ''unpaid volunteers, including many current and former employees of U.S. international broadcasting. They are working to restore good management and sharp news focus to taxpayer-funded American media outreach abroad.'' will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Obama releases list of candidate endorsements, skips AOC | Fox News
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 23:08
Published August 03, 2020
Last Update 7 hrs ago
Obama initially withheld support for AOC early in the 2018 midterm cycle, but ultimately endorsed the progressive candidateFormer President Barack Obama endorsed more than 100 Democratic candidates running for office this November, but didn't offer his support to progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In a statement on Monday, Obama announced his first wave of support for 118 Democrats running for federal, statewide and state legislative offices from 17 states, including New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska and Nevada.
"I'm proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic and highly qualified Democrats," Obama said. "Together, these candidates will help us redeem our country's promise by sticking up for working people, restoring fairness and opportunity to our system, and fighting for the good of all Americans '-- not just those at the top."
The former president added that the group of candidates makes him "optimistic not just about our party's chances in November but about our country's future so long after that."
"So if you're in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall," Obama said. "And if you can, vote early '-- by mail or in person."
Obama's office said the former president selected candidates because he believed their election to public office would "advance key goals," including winning control of the U.S. Senate, holding the majority in the House, electing Democrats who will "support fair redistricting in 2021," and promoting "diverse, emerging leaders for this time."
Some of the candidates are also alumni of his presidential campaigns and administration.
Obama's office said that the former president plans to issue a second wave of endorsements this fall after the remaining states' primaries have wrapped up.
"Our country's future hangs on this election, and it won't be easy," he said. "But pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real, and what is important."
He added: "Elections matter. And we need Americans of all political stripes to get involved in our politics and our public life like never before."
Obama endorsed progressive candidate Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal and first-time candidate who toppled longtime Rep. Eliot Engle in New York's Democratic primary in June.
Despite Bowman being backed by Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Obama did not offer her his endorsement.
In 2018, ahead of the midterms, Obama initially fell short of offering Ocasio-Cortez his support after she ousted longtime former Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley.
Obama ultimately offered his support for Ocasio-Cortez in 2018 just ahead of the midterm elections.
Also included in Obama's endorsements are former Democratic presidential candidate and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate; former Obama aide and incumbent Rep. Andy Kim from New Jersey; and incumbent members of Congress, Katie Porter of California; Max Rose of New York; Antonio Delgado of New York; and Joe Cunningham of South Carolina.
Meanwhile, Obama formally endorsed Joe Biden '' his vice president and running mate through two terms and presidential campaigns '' stepping off the sidelines in April after withholding support for any candidate for months.
"Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now," Obama said in April.
Susan Rice - Wikipedia
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 01:07
Susan Elizabeth Rice (born November 17, 1964) is an American diplomat, Democratic policy advisor, and former public official who served as the 27th United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 and as the 24th United States national security advisor from 2013 to 2017.
Susan Rice
24th United States National Security Advisor In office July 1, 2013 '' January 20, 2017PresidentBarack ObamaDeputyTony BlinkenAvril Haines Preceded by Thomas E. Donilon Succeeded by Michael Flynn27th United States Ambassador to the United Nations In office January 26, 2009 '' June 30, 2013PresidentBarack ObamaDeputyBrooke AndersonRosemary DiCarlo Preceded by Zalmay Khalilzad Succeeded by Samantha Power12th Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs In office October 14, 1997 '' January 20, 2001PresidentBill Clinton Preceded by George Moose Succeeded by Walter H. Kansteiner IIIPersonal detailsBornSusan Elizabeth Rice
( 1964-11-17 ) November 17, 1964 (age 55) Washington, D.C., U.S.Political partyDemocraticSpouse(s)Children2ParentsEmmett J. Rice (father)Lois Dickson Rice (mother)EducationStanford University (BA)New College, Oxford (MPhil, DPhil)OccupationPolitical officialDiplomatPolicy advisorProfessionDiplomatRice was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Stanford University and New College at the University of Oxford. She served on President Bill Clinton's National Security Council from 1993 to 1997 and was the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the State Department from 1997 to 2001. Rice's tenure saw significant changes in U.S.-Africa policy, including the passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, support for democratic transitions in South Africa and Nigeria, and an increased U.S. focus on fighting HIV/AIDS.
A former Brookings Institution fellow, Rice served as a foreign policy advisor to Democratic presidential nominees Michael Dukakis, John Kerry and Barack Obama. After Obama won the 2008 presidential election, Rice was nominated as Ambassador to the United Nations. The U.S. Senate confirmed her by unanimous consent on January 22, 2009. During her tenure at the United Nations, Rice championed a human rights and anti-poverty agenda, elevated climate change and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and women's rights as global priorities, and committed the U.S. to agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
Mentioned as a possible replacement for retiring U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012,[1][2] Rice withdrew from consideration following controversy related to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.[3] Rice succeeded Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama on July 1, 2013.
Rice is on the shortlist to become Joe Biden's vice-presidential running mate in 2020.[4]
Early life, education, and early career Edit Rice was born in Washington, D.C.,[5] to education policy scholar Lois Rice (n(C)e Dickson), who helped design the federal Pell Grant subsidy system and who joined the Brookings Institution in 1992; [6] and Emmett J. Rice (1919''2011), a Cornell University economics professor and the second black governor of the Federal Reserve System.[5] Her maternal grandparents were Jamaican.[7] Her parents divorced when Rice was ten years of age.[8] In 1978, her mother married Alfred Bradley Fitt, an attorney, who at the time was general counsel of the U. S. Congressional Budget Office.
Rice said that her parents taught her to "never use race as an excuse or advantage", and as a young girl she "dreamed of becoming the first U.S. senator from the District of Columbia".[5]
Rice was a three-letter varsity athlete,[9] student government president, and valedictorian at National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., a private girls' day school.[10] She attended Stanford University, where she received a Truman Scholarship and graduated with a BA with honors in history in 1986. She was elected Phi Beta Kappa her junior year.[11][12][13]
Rice attended New College, Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where she earned a Master of Philosophy in 1988 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in 1990, both in International Relations.[13] Her doctoral dissertation was entitled Commonwealth Initiative in Zimbabwe, 1979''1980: Implications for International Peacekeeping. Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, honored her dissertation as the UK's most distinguished in international relations.[5][14]
Rice was a foreign policy aide to Michael Dukakis during the 1988 presidential election. She was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, from 1990 to early 1992. Rice worked in McKinsey's Toronto office.[15]
Clinton administration Edit Rice served in the Clinton administration in various capacities: at the National Security Council (NSC) from 1993 to 1997 (as director for international organizations and peacekeeping from 1993 to 1995, and as special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs from 1995 to 1997); and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997 to 2001. Rice's tenure saw significant changes in U.S.-Africa policy, including the passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, support for democratic transitions in South Africa and Nigeria, and an increased U.S. focus on fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.[16]: 201''204
National Security Council Edit At the time of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Rice reportedly said, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November election?" She denied the quote but acknowledged the mistakes made at the time and felt that a debt needed repaying.[17][16]: 152 The inability or failure of the Clinton administration to do anything about the genocide would form her later views on possible military interventions.[18] She said of the experience: "I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required."[19] Later in 2012, during an interview with The New Republic, Rice stated "To suggest that I'm repenting for [Rwanda] or that I'm haunted by that or that I don't sleep at night because of that or that every policy I've implemented subsequently is driven by that is garbage."[20]
Timothy M. Carney, former U.S. ambassador to Sudan, co-authored an op-ed in 2002 claiming that in 1997 Sudan offered to turn over its intelligence on bin Laden but that Rice, together with then NSC terrorism specialist Richard A. Clarke, successfully lobbied for continuing to bar U.S. officials from engaging with the Khartoum government.[21] Similar allegations were made by Vanity Fair contributing editor David Rose[22] and Richard Miniter, author of Losing Bin Laden.[23] The allegations against Rice were determined to be unfounded by the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and the 9/11 Commission, which found no evidence that Sudan ever made an offer to share intelligence on bin Laden.[16]
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Edit Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a longtime mentor and family friend to Rice, urged Clinton to appoint Rice as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1997.[5] At a confirmation hearing chaired by Senator John Ashcroft, Rice, who attended the hearing along with her infant son whom she was then nursing, made a great impression on senators from both parties and "sailed through the confirmation process".[5]
In the context of the Rwandan, Ugandan, AFDL and Angolan invasion of Zaire (later known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1996 and overthrow of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, Rice is alleged to have said that "Anything's better than Mobutu."[24] According to G(C)rard Prunier, a staffer to the Assistant Secretary said that "the only thing we have to do is look the other way", with respect to regional intervention in the conflict.[25] New York Times correspondent Howard W. French said that according to his sources, Rice herself made the remark.[26]
On July 7, 1998, Rice was a member of an American delegation to visit detained Nigerian president-elect Basorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. During this meeting, Abiola suffered a fatal heart attack.[27]
Rice supported U.S. efforts to reach both the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in the Congo and the Lom(C) Peace Accord in Sierra Leone.[28] Some observers criticized the Sierra Leone agreement as too indulgent of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and for bringing the war criminal Foday Sankoh into government, leading to the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1313, which blamed the RUF for the continuing conflict in the west African country.[29] Rice played a major role in peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea during the Eritrean''Ethiopian War, leading to the Algiers Agreement in 2000 ending the conflict. For her efforts she was named a co-recipient of the White House's Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for "distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between nations," alongside Gayle Smith and Anthony Lake.[30][16]: 183
Rice had a poor relationship with State Department veteran Richard Holbrooke, whom she considered to be meddling on her turf and who in return felt she was rising too quickly in U.S. diplomatic ranks.[31][32]
Business and think tank activities Edit Susan E. Rice (middle) at the
USCIRF hearings (November 27, 2001)
Rice was managing director and principal at Intellibridge from 2001 to 2002.[33][34] From 2002 to 2009, she was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where "she focused on U.S. foreign policy, weak and failing states, the implications of global poverty, and transnational threats to security."[35]
In the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Rice gave a series of interviews about the conflict with Tavis Smiley. [36] In these interviews she spoke of "regime change" but did not take a clear position on the invasion. [37][38][39]. In a December 2002 NPR interview, Rice said, "It's clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It's clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that's the path we're on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side. ... The George W. Bush administration frankly owes the American public a much fuller and more honest assessment of what the costs will be of the actual conflict, as well as the aftermath, the post-conflict reconstruction. And the costs are going to be huge."[40] [37][41]. In a February 2003 NPR interview, Rice said, ''I think he [then Secretary of State Colin Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don't think many informed people doubted that."[42] In her memoir Rice says that "From the start, I viewed that war of choice as a dangerous diversion from the main objective of defeating al-Qaida globally and in Afghanistan."[16]: 212 A few of Rice's colleagues at Brookings said that she consistently opposed the Iraq War from 2002.[37] In April 2003 Rice said ''To maximize our likelihood of success, the US is going to have to remain committed to and focused on reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq for many years to come."[43]
During the 2004 presidential campaign, Rice served as a foreign policy adviser to John Kerry.[44]
Rice went on leave from the Brookings Institution to serve as a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign. She was one of the first high-profile foreign policy staffers to sign onto Obama's campaign, as most of her peers had supported Hillary Clinton during the presidential primaries.[31] Rice criticized Obama's Republican opponent in the campaign, John McCain, calling his policies "reckless" and dismissing the Arizona senator's trip to Iraq as "strolling around the market in a flak jacket".[45]
On November 5, 2008, Rice was named to the advisory board of the Obama''Biden Transition Project.[46]
Obama administration Edit U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Edit On December 1, 2008, president-elect Obama announced that he would nominate Rice to be the United States ambassador to the United Nations,[47][48] a position which he restored to cabinet level.[49] Reportedly Rice had wanted the post of National Security Advisor, which instead went to retired United States Marine Corps general James L. Jones.[31]
At her confirmation hearing, Rice was introduced by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who said "I can think better messenger than Dr. Susan Rice. I am honored to present her to this distinguished committee, and I enthusiastically endorse her nomination."[50] Rice was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on January 22, 2009.[51][52] Rice became the second youngest person[49] and the first African-American woman to represent the U.S. at the UN.[53]
During her tenure at the United Nations, Rice championed a human rights and anti-poverty agenda, elevated climate change and women's rights as global priorities, and committed the U.S. to agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Rice led the fight to advance LGBT rights at the U.N. Human Rights Council and was recognized for her staunch defense of Israel at the Security Council.[54][55] Rice won praise for leading the Security Council to impose the toughest sanctions to date on Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs, and for reaffirming U.S. commitment to the UN and multilateralism.[56]
Three Security Council diplomats took issue with Rice's negotiating style, calling it "rude" and overly blunt, while others attributed those criticisms to sexism. According to David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy magazine, Rice could be challenging to work with due to her "toughness"'--in the mold of James Baker or Henry Kissinger'--but had the asset of a close relationship with the U.S. president and proved to be an effective policymaker. Some human rights activists took issue with Rice and U.S. foreign policy generally in 2012 for working against UN statements that criticized Rwanda for supporting a rebel group in Congo known for committing atrocities.[57]
Libyan Civil War Edit As the 2011 Libyan Civil War progressed, the United States and its allies offered a choice for Colonel Gaddafi and his aides: step down from power or face an international response. Rice offered some of the toughest rhetoric toward Gaddafi, criticizing his denials of atrocities against his own citizens as "frankly, delusional".[58] Several UN diplomats said that in a closed door meeting on April 28, Rice's claims of Gaddafi's atrocities included the issuance of Viagra to loyalists in order to further terrorize the population with sexual violence.[59] Together with National Security Council figure Samantha Power, who already supported the U.S.-led military intervention in Libya, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who came to support it, the three overcame internal opposition from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, to have the administration advance a UN proposal to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and authorize other military actions as necessary.[18][60]
On March 17, 2011, the UK, France and Lebanon joined the U.S. to vote for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 while Brazil, Germany, and India joined permanent Security Council members China and Russia in abstaining. Rice and Clinton played major roles in gaining approval for the resolution.[18][61] Clinton said the same day that establishing a no-fly zone over Libya would require the bombing of air defenses. Rice said, "we are interested in a broad range of actions that will effectively protect civilians and increase the pressure on the Gaddafi regime to halt the killing and to allow the Libyan people to express themselves in their aspirations for the future freely and peacefully".[62]
Syrian Civil War Edit In January 2012, after the Russian and Chinese veto of another Security Council resolution calling on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down, Rice strongly condemned both countries, saying, "They put a stake in the heart of efforts to resolve this conflict peacefully", and adding that "we the United States are standing with the people of Syria. Russia and China are obviously with Assad".[63] In her words, "the United States is disgusted that a couple of members of this Council continue to prevent us from fulfilling our sole purpose".[64]
2012 Benghazi attack Edit On September 11, 2012, a U.S. diplomatic facility and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya was attacked, resulting in the deaths of the United States ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALS, Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods. On September 16, Rice appeared on five major interview shows to discuss the attacks. Prior to her appearance, Rice was provided with "talking points" from a CIA memo,[65] which stated:
The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.The investigation is ongoing, and the U.S. government is working w/ Libyan authorities to help bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens.[66]Each of the eleven drafts of CIA talking points maintained that the attack was "spontaneously inspired" by a violent protest at the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt hours earlier, which had been triggered by the release of an anti-Muslim video.[67] During the hours before the Benghazi attack, Egyptian satellite television networks popular in Benghazi had been covering the outrage over the video.[68] Using the CIA talking points as a guide, Rice stated on Face the Nation:
Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy'--sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that'--in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent. We do not'--we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned. I think it's clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence.... Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we'll have to determine.[69][70][71][72][73]
Since Rice's five television appearances, there have been persistent accusations that she had intentionally misled the public. However, none of the ten Benghazi investigations conducted by Congress determined she had. The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee's two-year investigation did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people. The Associated Press reported:
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found.[74]
A group of 97 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama on November 19 to say Rice's statements were "misleading" and that she should accordingly not be considered a candidate to succeed Hillary Clinton in 2013 as Secretary of State.[75] Some Republican senators, who would have had a vote on whether to confirm Rice, also voiced objections and said their meetings with Rice at the end of November 2012 did not ease their concerns.[76][77][78] On December 13, 2012, in a letter to President Obama, Rice asked him to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State, saying "if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive, and costly'--to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities.... Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time."[3]
National Security Advisor Edit Rice was picked to succeed Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor following Donilon's resignation on June 5, 2013.[79] The position of National Security Advisor does not require Senate approval.[80] Rice was sworn in as the 24th National Security Advisor on July 1, 2013.[81]
In a trip to Cairo in early November 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry contradicted Susan Rice who had criticized the human rights violations in U.S.-aligned Egypt.[82] Rice condemned Egypt's Rabaa massacre, which took place on August 14, 2013, when Egyptian security forces killed over 1000 people during the violent dispersal of mass anti-government sit-ins at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares.[83]
Rice was close to Rwanda's president Paul Kagame.[84][85] The Daily Beast reported that "critics of the Obama administration's Africa policy have focused on the role of Susan E. Rice ... in the administration's failure to take action against the country they see as a major cause of the Congolese crisis, Rwanda."[86]
In May 2014, Rice traveled to Israel for meetings with Israeli officials in which nuclear talks with Iran were discussed. Rice's visit, the first in her role as national security adviser, came after peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed. The Obama administration made clear that Rice's trip was part of regularly scheduled talks and that the stalled Middle East peace discussions were not on the agenda. However, White House spokesman Jay Carney said negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program would be on the agenda, among other topics.[87] In July 2014, Rice expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself during the 2014 Israel''Gaza conflict. She stated: "When countries single out Israel for unfair treatment at the UN, it isn't just a problem for Israel, it is a problem for all of us".[88]
Rice has been criticized for intensifying the Obama administration's conflicts with Israel during her time as National Security Advisor. Dennis Ross, a Middle East advisor to President Obama, criticized Rice's "combative mind-set" as opposed to her predecessor's, Tom Donilon, who played a more conciliatory role. Ross writes that after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public reprimand of the Obama administration's Iran negotiations, Rice fumed to Abe Foxman that, "in her view, the Israeli leader did everything but use 'the N-word' in describing the president".[89][90]
President Obama and Rice speaking with Russian president
Vladimir Putin and Putin's interpreter on the sidelines of the
G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015
In releasing the 2015 National Security Strategy, Rice said that the United States was pursuing an "ambitious yet achievable agenda" overseas. She argued that U.S. leadership had been essential for success on issues including Ebola, Iran's nuclear program and sanctioning Russia over Ukraine. The document formed a blueprint for foreign policy, defense and national security for the last two years of President Obama's term. It had previously been updated in 2010. In a letter outlining the strategy, President Obama said that the U.S. would "always defend our interests and uphold our commitments to allies and partners", adding, "But we have to make hard choices among many competing priorities and we must always resist the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear."[91]
On a visit to Pakistan in 2015, Rice warned Pakistani political and military leaders that attacks in Afghanistan by militants based in Pakistan threatened regional security. Rice also delivered an invitation from President Obama for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit the United States in October. The meetings came at a tense time for Pakistan's relations with neighboring Afghanistan and archrival India, along with uncertainty over whether the United States would release $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.[92]
In a 2015 speech on U.S.''China relations, Rice noted the problems of Chinese hacking, saying, "This is not a mild irritation. It is an economic and national security concern to the United States. It puts enormous strain on our bilateral relationship, and it is a critical factor in determining the future trajectory of U.S.''China ties."[93]
The Obama administration supported the Saudi-and Emirati-led intervention in Yemen and blockade of Yemen, but Rice opposed a coalition attack on the port city of Al Hudaydah and personally called UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed to stop the planned offensive.[94]
South Sudan Edit Rice has been a long time supporter for independence of South Sudan supporting president Salva Kiir Mayardit.[95] When South Sudan became independent in 2011, Rice arranged for assistance of $1.5 billion in the first few years to the Salva Kiir administration.[96] Civil War broke out in 2013 between President Kiir's forces and forces led by deputy Riek Machar. The Civil War led to slaughter of thousands of civilian and UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan warned of genocide.[97] It is estimated that 383,000 was killed and more than 4,500,000 was displaced during the civil war.[98] An arms embargo was proposed in the UN Security Council, supported by US Ambassador to UN Samantha Power and Secretary of State John Kerry, but the embargo was ultimately vetoed by Rice.[99] Rice issued a statement about the atrocities.[100] Although the US Embassy in South Sudan reported the atrocities of President Kiir to the State Department, Rise insisted US has to continue to support the Kiir administration; this led to a formal dissent by the US Embassy personnel.[101][102]
Post-Obama administration Edit Rice shakes hands with National Security Advisor Designate
Michael Flynn on January 10, 2017
Rice at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in 2019
On April 3, 2017, Eli Lake reported in Bloomberg View that as National Security Advisor, Rice had requested that the identities of some Americans mentioned in intelligence reports related to the campaign and presidential transition of Donald Trump be unmasked.[103] Any request for an American's identity to be unmasked required approval by the National Security Agency; NSA director Michael Rogers said the NSA evaluated each request to determine "Is there a valid need to know in the course of the execution of their official duties?" and "Is the identification necessary to truly understand the context of the intelligence value that the report is designed to generate?"[104] Rice said that she asked for identities of U.S. persons to be revealed to provide context to the intelligence reports, and not for political purposes.[105][106]
The report of Rice unmasking Trump officials followed the announcement of the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes, "that he had seen reports indicating that Mr. Trump or his associates might have been 'incidentally' swept up in the monitoring of foreigners".[106] The Committee was investigating both Trump's ties to Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election and Trump's allegations that President Obama had Trump Tower under surveillance.[103] Lake's April 3 report of the unmasking specified "Rice's requests to unmask the names of Trump transition officials do not vindicate Trump's own tweets from March 4 in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower."[103] Nevertheless, Republicans called for an investigation into the unmasking while Democrats said that the unmasking story was a diversion from the Russian influence investigation.[106]
After members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were able to view the material on which Nunes based his assertions, a number of news organizations reported that both Democrats and Republicans familiar with the material said that there was "no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal".[107][108][109] The report also called Rice's unmasking requests "normal and appropriate".[107]
In August 2017, Eli Lake reported in Bloomberg View that Rice's successor as National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster, "has concluded that Rice did nothing wrong".[110]
Rice informed the House Intelligence Committee in September 2017 that she requested the unmasking because of a redacted report provided by the intelligence services concerning an undisclosed visit to the United States by United Arab Emirates crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in December 2016. During the visit al-Nahyan met with Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower in New York.[111]
On March 8, 2017, Rice joined American University as a distinguished visiting research fellow in the School of International Service (SIS) at the university. In her residency she planned to work on her next book and mentoring young SIS students.[112]
On March 28, 2018, Rice was appointed to the board of directors at Netflix.[113]
Rice criticized the United States' close relationship with Saudi Arabia despite murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses, Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada, Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen and Saudi Arabian-led blockade against Qatar.[114][115] In a New York Times article "A partner, We Can't Depend On,"[116] Rice wrote: "If we fail to punish [Saudi crown prince Bin Salman] directly and target only those around him, the crown prince will be further emboldened to take extreme actions."[117] Rice also criticized Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which critics say gave Turkey the green light to invade and occupy northern Syria and attack Kurdish forces who assisted the U.S. in the destruction of the Islamic State.[118]
After U.S. senator Susan Collins from Maine voted in favor of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Rice publicly considered a challenge to Collins in 2020.[119][120] In April 2019, however, Rice announced that she would not seek a Senate run against Collins in 2020.[121]
Rice has voiced heavy criticism over Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley. She insisted that a two-state solution is the only way to keep Israel Jewish and democratic.[122]
In July 2020, it was widely reported that Rice was under consideration to serve as Joe Biden's running mate for Vice President in the 2020 general election.[123]
Affiliations Edit Rice is a distinguished visiting research fellow at American University's School of International Service and non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[112][124] She is also a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.[125] Rice currently serves on the board of Netflix and is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group,[126] American Academy of Diplomacy,[127] and Council on Foreign Relations.[128]
Rice has previously served on the boards of several organizations, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,[129] Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University,[130] Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (Bloomberg BNA),[131] Partnership for Public Service,[132] National Democratic Institute, U.S. Fund for UNICEF,[33] Atlantic Council,[133] and Internews Network.[134][135]
Personal life Edit Rice married Canadian-born former ABC News executive producer Ian Officer Cameron[136] on September 12, 1992, at the St. Albans School chapel.[15] They met as students at Stanford.[137] The couple have two children: a daughter and son.[11][13][132][138]
Rice is an avid tennis player.[139]
Honors and awards Edit Rice was inducted into Stanford's Black Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002.[14] In 2017, Rice was presented with the award of Commander of the Legion of Honour of France, by French president Fran§ois Hollande for her contributions to Franco-American relations.[140]
Foreign honors Edit Foreign honorsScholastic Edit University DegreesChancellor, visitor, governor, rector and fellowshipsHonorary degrees Edit Honorary degreesMemberships and fellowships Edit Location Date Organisation Position District of Columbia2002 '' 2009Brookings InstitutionSenior FellowPublications Edit Rice, Susan Elizabeth. 1990. The Commonwealth Initiative in Zimbabwe, 1979''1980: Implications for International Peacekeeping, doctoral thesis, New College, Oxford University.Rice, Susan E., Corinne Graff, and Carlos Pascual, editors. 2010. Confronting Poverty: Weak States and U.S. National Security, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C.[148]Rice, Susan. 2019. Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, memoir, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY[16]References Edit ^ "Susan Rice likely Hillary Clinton replacement". CBS News. November 12, 2012 . Retrieved November 13, 2012 . ^ DeYoung, Karen; Miller, Greg (November 13, 2012). 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Africa's World War:Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-19-537420-9. ^ French, Howard W. (September 24, 2009). "Kagame's Hidden War in the Congo". The New York Review of Books. ^ "Abiola's death '' an eyewitness account". BBC News. July 7, 1998. ^ Brett Stephens (December 10, 2012), The Other Susan Rice File The Wall Street Journal ^ Dorman, Andrew M. (2009). Blair's Successful War: British Military Intervention in Sierra Leone. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing. pp. 115''117. ISBN 9780754672999. ^ "Susan Rice, Former White House and State Department Senior Official, Joins Brookings Institution". Brookings Institution . Retrieved June 4, 2020 . ^ a b c "Susan Rice Isn't Going Quietly". The New Republic. December 20, 2012 . Retrieved September 3, 2013 . ^ Prendergast, John (December 3, 2012). "Susan Rice's Middle Finger, and the World's Deadliest Wars". The Daily Beast. ^ a b "Susan Rice". 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December 3, 2012. ^ "Rwanda: The Darling Tyrant". Politico. April 2014. ^ "Susan Rice's Paul Kagame Problem". Daily Beast. July 14, 2017. ^ Felsenthal, Mark (May 6, 2014). "Iran on agenda for White House aide talks in Israel". Washington . Retrieved September 2, 2015 . ^ "Susan Rice launches staunch defence of Israel despite 'alarming' Gaza death toll". The Guardian. July 29, 2014. ^ "How Obama Got to 'Yes' on Iran: The Inside Story". Politico. October 8, 2015 . Retrieved April 11, 2016 . ^ Ross, Dennis (October 13, 2015). Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. Macmillan. p. 366. ISBN 9780374709488. ^ "Susan Rice: US has ambitious but achievable agenda". BBC News. February 6, 2015 . Retrieved September 2, 2015 . ^ "US national security advisor warns Pakistan on recent militant attacks". Reuters. August 30, 2017 . Retrieved April 4, 2017 . ^ "National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice's As Prepared Remarks on the U.S.-China Relationship at George Washington University". September 21, 2015 . Retrieved April 4, 2017 . ^ Emmons, Alex (June 18, 2018). "The U.S. Is Exacerbating the World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis by Outsourcing Its Yemen Policy". The Intercept. ^ "Inside the White House Fight Over the Slaughter in South Sudan". Foreign Policy. January 26, 2015. ^ "Both Sides Are At Fault: Susan Rice On South Sudan's Civil War". NPR. March 8, 2016. ^ UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS SAYS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS AN OBLIGATION TO PREVENT ETHNIC CLEANSING IN SOUTH SUDAN (Report). UNMISS. November 30, 2016. ^ South Sudan's Civil War: Nearly 400,000 Estimated Dead (PDF) (Report). Congressional Research Service Reports on Foreign Policy and Regional Affairs. September 28, 2018. ^ "The Lost Hopes for South Sudan". The New Yorker. January 18, 2016. ^ "Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on South Sudan" (Press release). White House. July 11, 2016. ^ Shackelford, Elizabeth (May 12, 2020). The Dissent Channel American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age. Public Affairs. ^ "Book Review - The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age". Global Policy Journal. July 3, 2020. ^ a b c Lake, Eli (April 3, 2017). "Susan Rice Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel". Bloomberg View . Retrieved April 5, 2017 . ^ Lizza, Ryan (April 4, 2017). "Susan Rice and the Latest Bogus Attempt to Justify Trump's Wiretapping Tweet". The New Yorker. ^ Shabad, Rebecca (April 4, 2017). "Susan Rice says unmasking of names wasn't for political purposes". ^ a b c Baker, Peter (April 4, 2017). "Susan Rice, Ex-National Security Adviser, Now in Spotlight in Surveillance Debate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved April 5, 2017 . ^ a b Jim Sciutto, Manu Raju and Eric Bradner. "Classified docs contradict Nunes surveillance claims, GOP and Dem sources say". CNN . Retrieved April 20, 2017 . ^ "Susan Rice did nothing wrong, say Dem and GOP congressional aides". NBC News . Retrieved April 20, 2017 . ^ "The Continuing Fallout from Trump and Nunes's Fake Scandal". The New Yorker. April 18, 2017 . Retrieved April 20, 2017 . ^ Lake, Eli. "You Can Thank Leakers for New Russia Sanctions". Bloomberg View . Retrieved June 8, 2018 . ^ Raju, Manu (September 14, 2017). "Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials". CNN. ^ a b "Ambassador Susan Rice Joins American University School of International Service | News | School of International Service | American University, Washington D.C." American University . Retrieved February 2, 2018 . ^ Spangler, Todd (March 28, 2018). "Netflix Names Former Obama Adviser and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to Board". Variety . Retrieved October 7, 2018 . ^ "Biden Confronted His Legacy On Saudi Arabia. Obama Won't". HuffPost. December 12, 2019. ^ "Susan Rice: President Trump, the Autocrats' Best Friend". The New York Times. August 9, 2018. ^ "A Partner We Can't Depend On". The New York Times. October 29, 2018. ^ "A wounded MBS is going to be a dangerous Saudi ruler". TRT World. November 16, 2019. ^ "Susan Rice says U.S. has 'sold out the Kurds' with Syria move". PBS. October 11, 2019. ^ Bradner, Eric. "Susan Rice tweets 'Me' when asked who could challenge Sen. Collins in 2020". CNN . Retrieved October 7, 2018 . ^ "Does Collins already have a challenger in Maine? 'Me,' says former Obama official". USA TODAY . Retrieved October 7, 2018 . ^ Susan Rice Says She Won't Challenge Susan Collins in 2020, Associated Press (April 11, 2019). ^ "Rice: Annexation would make bipartisan support for Israel hard to sustain". The Jerusalem Post. June 23, 2020. ^ "In VP search, Biden has a known quantity in Susan Rice". AP NEWS. July 24, 2020 . Retrieved July 28, 2020 . ^ a b "Former UN Ambassador and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice Joins Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center as Senior Fellow". Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs . Retrieved July 23, 2020 . ^ "Susan E. Rice". New York Times . Retrieved July 23, 2020 . ^ "Aspen Strategy Group". Aspen Institute. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008 . Retrieved May 14, 2008 . ^ "Susan E. Rice". The American Academy of Diplomacy . Retrieved July 23, 2020 . ^ V¤liverronen, Jari (September 13, 2002). "Susan Rice, Former White House and State Department Senior Official, Joins Brookings Institution". Brookings Institution. Archived from the original on November 2, 2007 . Retrieved May 14, 2008 . ^ "Board of Trustees". The Kennedy Center . Retrieved July 23, 2020 . ^ "Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Annual Report 2007" (PDF) . Stanford University. 2007. p. 47. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 16, 2008 . Retrieved May 6, 2008 . ^ Bolbach, Cynthia J. (March 28, 2008). "Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14 (a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934". The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. p. 3 . Retrieved May 13, 2008 . [Rice a director since 2004] . ^ a b "Board of Directors '' Susan E. Rice, Ph.D". The Partnership for Public Service. 2007. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008 . Retrieved May 13, 2008 . ^ "The Atlantic Council of the United States '' Board Members". The Atlantic Council of the United States. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008 . Retrieved May 13, 2008 . ^ "2003 Annual Report" (PDF) . Internews International. 2003. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 25, 2008 . Retrieved May 13, 2008 . ^ "Internews '' Directors and Officers". Internews International. Archived from the original on June 12, 2008 . Retrieved May 13, 2008 . ^ "The Calgary Sun '' Susan Rice on tap to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations". Calgary Sun. November 25, 2008 . Retrieved December 28, 2008 . ^ Pickert, Kate (December 2, 2008). "U.N. Ambassador: Susan E. Rice '' Obama's White House '' TIME". Time . Retrieved December 28, 2008 . ^ Kabbany, Jennifer (May 29, 2018). "The conservative leader at Stanford '-- is Susan Rice's son". The College Fix. Student Free Press Association . Retrieved February 28, 2019 . ^ Fletcher, Michael A. (June 29, 2016). "Susan Rice Talks Diversity, Sports and Night Fears". The Undefeated. ESPN Internet Ventures . Retrieved April 5, 2017 . ^ "Former UN Ambassador and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice Joins Belfer Center as Senior Fellow". Harvard Kennedy School . Retrieved June 4, 2020 . ^ "Emeritus, Honorary and Wykeham Fellows | New College". ^ "Ambassador Susan Rice Joins American University School of International Service | News | School of International Service | American University, Washington DC". American University. ^ ^ "Susan Rice 2010 Commencement Address | Spelman College". ^ ^ "Special Collections & Archives: Bowdoin Honorary Degree Recipients". ^ "Bowdoin to Award Three Honorary Degrees at Commencement | Bowdoin News Archive". ^ Rice, Susan; Graff, Corinne; Pascual, Carlos (eds.). Confronting Poverty. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press . Retrieved June 4, 2020 . External links Edit Wikimedia Commons has media related to Susan Rice .United States Mission to the United NationsSusan Rice on FacebookSusan Rice on Twitter Article archive at the Brookings InstitutionAppearances on C-SPANSusan Rice on Charlie RoseSusan Rice on IMDb"Susan Rice collected news and commentary". The New York Times. Susan E. Rice collected news and commentary at The Washington PostBBC Radio 4 ProfileArticles"The Ethiopian-Eritrean War: U.S. Policy Options", Before the House Committee on International Relations, Africa Subcommittee, May 25, 1999. Retrieved May 13, 2008.Martha Brant, Into Africa, Stanford Magazine, January''February 2000Interview with Dave Ross on (audio)Profile on Foreign PolicyDocumentsNomination of Hon. Susan E. Rice to be U.N. Representative: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session, January 15, 2009
Trump Claims Authority to Issue Order on Mail-In Votes
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:54
This article is republished here with permission from The Associated Press. This content is shared here because the topic may interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- President Donald Trump claimed that he has the authority to issue an executive order on mail-in ballots, whose increasing use, he argues, could increase election fraud and uncertainty, though it is is unclear what he could do to curtail the practice.
''I have the right to do it,'' Trump told reporters at a White House press conference. ''We haven't gotten there yet, we'll see what happens.''
Trump added that Republicans are planning to file suit as soon as Tuesday to try to block Nevada's expansion of mail-in voting.
Nearly all election procedures are governed on a state-by-state basis, with the remainder set by Congress or enshrined in the Constitution. There is no precedent or apparent authority for Trump to try to curtail the use of mail-in ballots by executive order, though he could use a document to formalize his opposition to the practice.
Trump's claimed authority comes days after he publicly floated a delay to the Nov. 3 presidential election, a notion was met with swift bipartisan blowback.
Trump has increasingly sought to cast doubt on November's election and the expected pandemic-induced surge in mail-in and absentee voting '-- particularly as he has found himself trailing in public and private polling. Trump has called remote voting options the ''biggest risk'' to his reelection. His campaign and the Republican Party have sued to combat the practice, which was once a significant advantage for the GOP.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting and the states that use it exclusively say they have necessary safeguards in place to ensure that a hostile foreign actor doesn't disrupt the vote. Election security experts say voter fraud is rare in all forms of balloting, including by mail.
In addition to his claims of fraud, Trump argued that voting by mail would delay the determination of the election's victor, noting that the winner of a New York Democratic congressional primary vote conducted by mail weeks ago remains undeclared. Trump said he believes that race would need to be ''rerun.''
Trump claimed the challenge would be greater in a presidential election, where the Electoral College could come down to just one state, and some states allow mail-in ballots to be received up to a week after Election Day.
''You'll never know who won that state,'' Trump said of Nevada's expansion of mail voting.
Joe Biden delays his vice presidential pick by TWO WEEKS
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:54
By Emily Goodin, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For 16:31 03 Aug 2020, updated 13:48 04 Aug 2020
Joe Biden has delayed naming his vice presidential pick by two weeksAllies worry process has become mess and pitted women against womenBiden originally said he would name pick first week of AugustTimeline is moved back as no favorite has emergedTop contenders are Kamala Harris, Karen Bass, Susan Rice, Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden has delayed naming his vice presidential pick by two weeks amid worries the process has become a mess that has pitted women against woman.
Biden said last week he would announce his running mate the first week of August but that appears unlikely to happen this week as he hasn't narrowed down his pick amid pressure to name a black woman.
But now that's been moved back by two weeks, The Washington Post reported, amid worries from Biden supporters that the process has become 'messier than it should be,' pitting women - and especially black women - against one another.
The delay indicates there is no clear favorite among Biden or his allies to be his running mate.
Joe Biden has delayed naming his vice presidential pick by two weeks after saying he would name the person the first week in August Senator Kamala Harris Senator Elizabeth WarrenFormer National Security Adviser Susan RiceCongresswoman Karen BassThe former vice president is reportedly going to speak to five or six contenders instead of having the traditional short list of three names.
And allies of all the contenders are lobbying the former vice president and his campaign to pick the running mate of their choice.
The presumptive Democratic nominee joked last week he would have to escape the TV camera crews that are parked outside of his Wilmington, Delaware, home so he could meet his pick without being caught.
'I'm going to try to figure out how to trick you all so we can meet in person. I've got crews outside my house. I don't think it matters actually. What I said is I'm going to have a choice in the first week in August, and I promise I'll let you know when I do,' he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
At least nearly a dozen women have been named as potential partners for Biden after he vowed to put a woman on the ticket with him. But, in the wake of the demonstrations that sprung up after the death of George Floyd, pressure has increased for him to name a black woman.
And, with that pressure, came an increased scrutiny on the potential female candidates with reports California Senator Kamala Harris is too 'ambitious' to be picked and pressure on Congresswoman Karen Bass to explain her past praise for Scientology and Fidel Castro.
'It's been relentless. It's been unfortunate. But I must say it's been predictable,' Donna Brazile, a former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, told The Post. 'It's extremely disappointing, because many of these attacks . . . are being made by Democratic men who should know better.'
'I would hope that in this selection process, we are mindful that Black women '-- and women of color '-- deserve respect,' she noted.
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The finalists are thought to include Harris, former national security adviser Susan Rice, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Karen Bass. And, of course, the pick could end being someone else.
Harris and Warren have already gone through some level of national vetting thanks to their presidential campaigns. Warren, a favorite of the progressives, would appease the left flank of the party if she joined the ticket but she is white when the pressure is on Biden to pick a black woman.
Harris has strong qualifications for the job but a report in Politico last week saw several Biden allies question how loyal the California senator would be to Biden given her attack on Biden in the July 2019 primary debate when she questioned his opposition to a busing program in the 1970s that she used to attend a better school.
Those Biden allies - both on the record and without using their names - indicated their concern Harris would be more consumed with a future presidential bid of her own.
Harris pushed back at the talk of her 'ambition.'
'There will be a resistance to your ambition,' she told young black women on Friday during a Black Girls Lead 2020 conference. 'There will be people who say to you, 'You are out of your lane,' because they are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don't you let that burden you.'
And she was defended by Biden's campaign manager, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who tweeted: 'Ambitious women make history, change the world, and win.'
Biden is said to be comfortable with Rice, who worked with him in the Obama administration, and is said to envision with her the kind of partnership he had with Obama. While she is an expert on foreign policy, she has no previous political experience.
The former vice president is said to want a running mate who would have a similar relationship with him that he enjoyed with President Barack Obama.
Bass took the Sunday shows this weekend to push back on comments she made in 2016 praising Fidel Castro and calling his death a loss to the Cuban people.
She told 'Fox News Sunday' her perspective on the late Cuban dictator was 'developed over time' and that she now understood that the Castro government 'was a brutal regime.' She said she would not make similar comments again.
Bass also had to defend remarks she made in 2010 praising the Church of Scientology. She spoke at Scientology ceremony when she was in the California state assembly.
'Back in 2010, I attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own, and spoke briefly about things I think most of us agree with, and on those things '-- respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression '-- my views have not changed,' she wrote on Twitter. 'Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group.'
She also noted she worships at First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in South LA.
Bass, who serves as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has a lot of support among Congressional Democrats, who have voiced that to Biden and his surrogates.
She has also privately reassured Biden allies she has no interest in the top spot and would be a loyal lieutenant, The New York Times reported.
Biden, if he wins in November, would be 78 years old on inauguration day, meaning his choice of a running mate could be of even greater consequence.
Following widespread protests over racial injustice and police brutality, pressure increased on Biden to choose a woman of color. Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian parents, fits the bill.
Harris is widely viewed as a favorite to run alongside Biden. She is a battle-tested former presidential candidate and ex-prosecutor who has shown an ability to go on the attack - a valued asset for a running mate. A first-term senator from California, she has already been heavily vetted by the media and rival campaigns.
Harris endorsed Biden after dropping out of the race. But her criticism of him during a Democratic primary debate about his opposition to school busing rankled some people close to Biden, who worry about her ambition and loyalty.
Family life: Married to Douglas Emhoff, with two adult stepchildren.
Rice served as President Barack Obama's national security adviser during his second term, where she worked hand in hand on foreign policy matters with Biden, who was Obama's vice president.
Prior to that, Rice served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Obama and has advised several other Democratic presidential candidates on national security.
A Black woman, Rice could help drive the African-American vote, the Democratic Party´s most loyal constituency. But she has never run for public office, which means she would be untested on the campaign trail. Her involvement in the controversy over the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, could revive that incident as a campaign issue.
Family life: Married to former ABC News executive Ian Cameron with son and a daughter; son John is a Trump supporter
Biden has said Demings, an African-American congresswoman from the election battleground state of Florida, is on the shortlist for running mate.
The former Orlando police chief served as one of the managers of the House of Representatives' impeachment proceedings against Republican President Donald Trump but has a lower profile among voters nationally.
Demings' background in law enforcement and her relatively unvetted past as police chief could be viewed as risk factors to a Biden campaign that wants to appeal to progressive voters.
Family life: Married to Jerry Demings, current mayor of Orange County, Florida, with three adult children
A late addition to Biden's shortlist, Bass, a congresswoman from Southern California and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, would add a progressive voice to the ticket.
Bass has an extensive background in police reform efforts and has spearheaded the legislative response in the House to the killing of George Floyd by police in May. But at 66, she may not offer the prospect of generational transition that Biden wants to show.
Family life: Lost her daughter and son-in-law in 2006 car crash; has four adult stepchildren from her former marriage
Duckworth has a compelling personal story and would help bolster the campaign's national security credentials.
The senator from Illinois is a combat veteran who lost her legs when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004. She went on to become the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American elected to Congress. Duckworth, however, has not been on the forefront of civil justice issues like Harris, Bass and others on Biden's list.
Family life: Married to Bryan Bowlsbey, also a veteran, with two daughters, Abigail, five and Maile, two, the first child born to a sitting female senator
Bottoms is the first-term mayor of a city that has been riven by protests over Floyd's death and the shooting of another Black man, Rayshard Brooks, by Atlanta police in June. Atlanta also has been a hot spot in the coronavirus pandemic, putting Bottoms on the front lines of the country's two largest challenges of the moment.
While Bottoms was an early supporter of Biden, her lack of experience on the federal level may doom her chances. Biden, who would be the oldest U.S. president, has insisted his No. 2 be ready to assume the presidency at any time.
Married to Home Depot executive Derek Bottoms, with four adopted children
Warren,has spoken with Biden regularly since dropping out of the Democratic nominating race and endorsing him. The senator from Massachusetts is seen by Biden advisers as a bridge between the former vice president and people skeptical of his commitment to progressive policy priorities.
The selection of Warren, however, could fuel allegations by the Trump campaign that Biden favors an overly leftist agenda, while potentially alienating moderate voters in battleground states that Biden is cultivating.
Family life: Married to Harvard professor Bruce Mann, with two adult children from her first marriage and three grandchildren
Lujan Grishambecame the first Latina Democratic governor of a state in 2018, after serving six years in Congress.
Biden's campaign has been pushed by allies to consider a running mate who could boost his support among Latino voters, potentially the largest minority voting bloc in the November election.
Family life: Husband Gregory Girsham died of a brain aneurysm in 2004. She has two daughters
Whitmer raised her profile as the governor of a battleground state hit hard by the coronavirus.
But she came under fire earlier this year from some Michigan residents for a stay-at-home order that they viewed as too onerous.
Family life: Has two children from her first marriage and three stepchildren from her second marriage to Marc Mallory, a dentist
An impassioned obituary for a 79-year-old coronavirus victim blames Trump for his death, then calls out Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and people who refused to wear masks
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:38
(C) Screenshot Facebook A Covid-19 victim's widow blamed his death on President Donald Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and defiant anti-maskers. Screenshot Facebook The widow of a coronavirus patient in Texas is blaming President Donald Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and anti-maskers for her husband's death.Stacey Nagy published an impassioned obituary which ran in the Jefferson Jimplecute, according to a note that Nagy wrote on Twitter."The blame for his death and the deaths of all the other innocent people, falls on Trump, Abbott and all the other politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously and were more concerned with their popularity and votes than lives," Nagy wrote.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.David Nagy, who died on July 22, is one of nearly 7,000 Texas residents who lost their lives to the novel coronavirus.
Heartbroken over her husband's death, Nagy's grieving widow, Stacey, wrote an impassioned obituary, placing the blame on President Donald Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and what she described as selfish anti-maskers.
"The blame for his death and the deaths of all the other innocent people, falls on Trump, Abbott and all the other politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously and were more concerned with their popularity and votes than lives," Nagy wrote. "Also to blame are the many ignorant, self centered and selfish people who refused to follow the advice of the medical professionals, believing their 'right' not to wear a mask was more important than killing innocent people."
The obituary ran in the Jefferson Jimplecute newspaper, and could not be found online. Several people have shared photos of the print version of the obituary, which was published on July 30. Jefferson is a city in eastern Texas, about 165 miles from Dallas. It has a population of around 1,961.
Some have tweeted copies of the obituary to Trump.
'--Stacey Nagy (@StaceyNagy4) August 3, 2020The obituary says that David Nagy, 79, died in the ICU at Christus Good Shepherd Hospital in Longview, Texas.
Nagy leaves behind five children, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, his obituary says.
Stacey Nagy described herself in the obituary as inconsolable, and indicated that her husband had been separated from family during his last days. Medical protocol requires that COVID-19 patients be isolated during their care because of the highly contagious nature of the virus.
Stacey Nagy didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
"Dave did everything he was supposed to do, but you did not," Nagy wrote to the politicians and anti-maskers in the obituary. "Shame on all of you, and may Karma find you all!"
'--Spiro Agnew's Ghost (@SpiroAgnewGhost) August 3, 2020Video: Former Pope Benedict is seriously ill: report (Reuters)
Neil Young sues Trump campaign for copyright infringement - Washington Times
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 02:57
Neil Young sued President Trump's reelection campaign in federal court Tuesday for using his music without permission during a political rally held last month in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Lawyers for the legendary Canadian-American musician filed a copyright infringement suit in light of two of his songs being played at the June 20 rally without authorization.
''This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing. However, Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a 'theme song' for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate,'' Mr. Young's lawyers wrote in a filing submitted to a Manhattan federal court.
The suit seeks a court order blocking the Trump campaign from playing any of Mr. Young's music, as well as statutory damages for each infringement and legal fees.
Mr. Trump's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Copyright (C) 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
'Not Another Foot': Biden Vows To End Trump Border Wall If Elected : NPR
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:37
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, seen here at a campaign event in July, says he won't tear down the border wall put in place during the Trump administration. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, seen here at a campaign event in July, says he won't tear down the border wall put in place during the Trump administration.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden says if elected, he would not tear down the parts of the barrier along the U.S. Southern border built during the Trump administration '-- but he would cease construction.
"There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration, No. 1," he told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro during an interview with journalists from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
"I'm going to make sure that we have border protection, but it's going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it. And at the ports of entry '-- that's where all the bad stuff is happening," the former vice president said during the virtual interview on Tuesday.
Biden committed to fully ending land confiscations, a more aggressive stance than President Barack Obama took when he came into office after President George W. Bush had approved border fencing to be built in the Southwest.
"End. Stop. Done. Over. Not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We're out. We're not going to confiscate the land," Biden told Garcia-Navarro.
Obama oversaw the construction of a fence along the Southern border following Bush's signing of the Secure Fence Act in 2006. As the Austin American-Statesman reported, the Department of Homeland Security built 654 miles of fence at a cost of $2.4 billion. Significant amounts of private land were seized by the federal government for to clear space for the barrier.
Ending China tariffs
On China, Biden said he would reverse President Trump's tariffs and pushed back at the suggestion that some believe the Trump administration's aggressive stance toward China has been effective.
"Manufacturing's gone in recession. Agriculture lost billions of dollars that taxpayers had to pay. We're going after China in the wrong way," he said.
"China is stealing intellectual property. China's conditioning, being able to do business in China, based on whether or not you have 51% Chinese ownership, that's got to end."
When pressed on whether China would have to meet any conditions for reversing tariffs, Biden deflected and said he would take a multilateral approach to get China to change its behavior.
"The question is, what is the appropriate behavior that they have to engage in international trade with us? They have to play by the international rules, and what we have done is, we have disarmed ourselves," he said.
"We make up 25% of the world's economy, but we poked our finger in the eye of all of our allies out there. The way China will respond is when we gather the rest of the world that in fact engages in open trade and making sure that we're in a position that we deal with WHO the right way ... That's when China's behavior is going to change."
On taking a cognitive test
Biden bristled when asked by CBS' Errol Barnett, a Black journalist, whether he had taken a cognitive test. "No, I haven't taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?" Biden said. "Come on, Man. That's like saying you, before you got on this program, did you take a test where you're taking cocaine or not? What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?"
In recent weeks, Trump has bragged about his own such test, which is meant to identify cognitive decline, not measure a person's intelligence. He has tried to make Biden's mental state an issue for voters. Biden turns 78 a few weeks after the election. Trump is 74. Either would be the oldest president inaugurated.
Biden didn't comment on Trump's tactic beyond saying he looks forward to debating. "Well, if he can't figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don't know what the hell he's talking about... I know you're trying to goad me, but I mean, I'm so forward-looking to have an opportunity to sit with the president or stand with the president and the debates."
NABJ-NAHJ/Errol Barnett YouTube
Praying Medic on Twitter: "Heads up. 👇 New York Attorney General Letitia James will make a ''major national announcement'' Tomorrow at 11:30am ET." / Twitter
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 03:55
Praying Medic : Heads up. 👇New York Attorney General Letitia James will make a ''major national announcement'' Tomorrow at 11:30am'...
Thu Aug 06 03:23:20 +0000 2020
CC : @prayingmedic @nightpain4220
Thu Aug 06 03:55:02 +0000 2020
Jan Butler : @prayingmedic Fore knowledge is good. Discernment!
Thu Aug 06 03:55:00 +0000 2020
Danijela Neric : @prayingmedic @LoRosS26 She is Muller 2?
Thu Aug 06 03:53:45 +0000 2020
pam425 : @prayingmedic
Thu Aug 06 03:53:39 +0000 2020
Going into my engine room its safe there : @prayingmedic Time to throw the ROE in the trash?
Thu Aug 06 03:52:55 +0000 2020
Biden VP search narrows to Kamala Harris and Susan Rice: report
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:49
August 5, 2020 | 5:27pm
Enlarge Image California Sen. Kamala Harris, left, and Susan Rice, national security adviser under President Obama Getty Images
Joe Biden's veep pick has reportedly narrowed to two candidates: Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice.
According to an Axios report published Wednesday, the Democratic nominee, 77, is holed up in his Delaware home where his campaign is in the final stages of vetting a handful of potential running mates.
But people close to Biden believe his search has narrowed to either Kamala Harris, the Democrat senator from California, or Susan Rice, President Obama's former national security adviser, and would be ''surprised if he picks anyone else,'' the report said.
A third contender is Californian Rep. Karen Bass but her stock appears to have fallen in recent weeks after years-old comments of her praising Scientology and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro surfaced.
Biden previously said he would announce his running mate on Aug. 1 but is now not expected to name his veep until at least Aug. 10.
At age 77, Biden would be the oldest ever elected president and has signaled that he will only serve one term, making his VP pick all the more important.
He has committed to choosing a woman to join his ticket and under pressure to choose someone of color, said last month that there were four black women on his shortlist.
Why the Botched N.Y.C. Primary Has Become the November Nightmare - The New York Times
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:50
Nearly six weeks later, two congressional races remain undecided, and officials are trading blame over the mishandling of tens of thousands of mail-in ballots.
Problems plagued New York City's June 23 primary, and weeks later Board of Elections staff members were still tallying ballots. Credit... Victor J. Blue for The New York Times Published Aug. 3, 2020Updated Aug. 4, 2020
Election officials in New York City widely distributed mail-in ballots for the primary on June 23, which featured dozens of hard-fought races. The officials had hoped to make voting much easier, but they did not seem prepared for the response: more than 10 times the number of absentee ballots received in recent elections in the city.
Now, nearly six weeks later, two closely watched congressional races remain undecided, and major delays in counting a deluge of 400,000 mail-in ballots and other problems are being cited as examples of the challenges facing the nation as it looks toward conducting the November general election during the pandemic.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other officials are trading blame for the botched counting in the city, and the Postal Service is coming under criticism over whether it is equipped to handle the sharp increase in absentee ballots.
Election lawyers said one area of concern in New York City was that mail-in ballots have prepaid return envelopes. The Postal Service apparently had difficulty processing some of them correctly and, as a result, an unknown number of votes '-- perhaps thousands '-- may have been wrongfully disqualified because of a lack of a postmark.
Thousands more ballots in the city were discarded by election officials for minor errors, or not even sent to voters until the day before the primary, making it all but impossible for the ballots to be returned in time.
In recent days, President Trump has also jumped into the fray, repeatedly citing the primary in New York City for his unfounded claims that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud. There is no evidence that the primary results were tainted by criminal malfeasance, according to a wide array of election officials and representatives of campaigns.
Still, candidates and political analysts are warning that government officials at all levels need to take urgent action to avoid a nightmare in November.
''This election is a canary in the coal mine,'' said Suraj Patel, a Democrat running for Congress in a district that includes parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, who has filed a federal lawsuit over the primary.
Mr. Patel trails the incumbent, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, by some 3,700 votes, though more than 12,000 ballots have been disqualified, including about 1,200 that were missing postmarks, he said.
He is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in July that is asking a federal court to order election officials to count disqualified ballots. The lawsuit included testimony that election officials had mailed out more than 34,000 ballots one day before the June 23 primary.
A winner has also not been declared in a congressional district in the Bronx, where Ritchie Torres, a Democratic city councilman, holds a comfortable lead over several other contenders.
Other states and localities had vote-by-mail primaries during the pandemic, with some scattered reports of problems '-- though nothing on the scale of New York City's weekslong process. Even before the outbreak, the city's Board of Elections had a reputation as a troubled agency that ran elections rife with problems.
New York City election officials insisted last week that they were doing their best under the extraordinary circumstances.
They pointed out the difficulties in protecting election workers from the coronavirus, and cited state laws requiring the disqualification of ballots for various small errors '-- including missing signatures on ballot envelopes or envelopes sealed with tape '-- for contributing to the high number of invalidated ballots.
Election officials also said the changing plans for the state's presidential primary '-- it was initially canceled before being reinstated by the courts '-- had delayed the process of sending out absentee ballots.
The city's Board of Elections is not expected to certify the vote until Tuesday. Thirteen weeks later, on Nov. 3, the state and city could face another crush of absentee ballots.
Frederic M. Umane, the board's secretary, defended the handling of the election, calling the ballot-counting process ''slow, but accurate and open.''
He said the board's operation was greatly affected by the outbreak.
''Our staff was decimated by Covid,'' Mr. Umane said, noting the board had about 350 permanent workers and other temporary workers, many of whom were sick and could not work before the primary.
Mr. Umane said the board might need hundreds more workers for the November election.
Primaries were conducted across the state, but New York City seemed to encounter the biggest problems, in part because it had many closely contested races and substantial voter participation.
Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, acknowledged last week that the primary was flawed, likening mail-in voting to other ''systems that we were working on but were not ready,'' such as remote learning and telemedicine, and suggesting the problem lay at a local level.
''We did have '-- not we '-- boards of elections had operational issues, some better, some worse, and they have to learn from them,'' Mr. Cuomo said. ''And we want to get the lessons and make the system better and make it better for November.''
A person familiar with the internal operation of the city's Board of Elections, but not authorized to speak on the record, said that having to increase the number of mail-in ballots had caused enormous struggles at the agency.
''Imagine saying, 'I'm having a dinner party for 10 people,' and then they say, 'No, it's 100 people,''' the person said. ''It's a very deep learning curve.''
The person added that the board made missteps along the way, including not hiring enough people to count the absentee ballots. Even the vendors hired to produce the ballots seemed overwhelmed.
In comments on Saturday, Mr. Cuomo said his administration had offered help to local election boards, including ''personnel to do counting,'' though no boards seemed to take the state up on its offer. He also noted that some boards did not start counting ballots until the second week of July. ''Well, what was that?'' he said.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly referred to the New York primary over the last two weeks, warning that the ''same thing would happen, but on massive scale'' across the country on Nov. 3.
The president returned to the topic on Thursday as means of justifying his suggestion that the general election might need to be postponed, a trial balloon that was widely panned by even his fellow Republicans.
New York State lawmakers said they had responded to the problems last month by approving a roster of fixes to the vote-by-mail system, though it was not clear if Mr. Cuomo would sign the bills. Among other changes, the legislation would allow the counting of ballots received shortly after the election without postmarks and would require officials to notify voters of small errors in their ballot envelopes.
Election experts pointed to an array of causes for the issues in the primary: In late April, as the toll from the coronavirus mounted, Mr. Cuomo ordered a wide expansion of absentee voting, sending every New Yorker eligible to vote in the primary an application for an absentee ballot.
Image Councilman Ritchie Torres, right, is leading in his Bronx congressional race, but has not been declared the winner. Credit... Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times While the intention may have been to encourage voting, the infrastructure lagged: Until a wave of changes approved in 2019, New York had been behind other states in adopting measures like early voting.
''The state has long had some of the strictest rules when it comes to being able to cast an absentee ballot, and it wasn't built to support the increased volume,'' said Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.
The counting of absentee ballots is more labor intensive than machine counts of in-person votes, which in the past had made up more than 90 percent of New York's election returns. Jerry H. Goldfeder, a veteran election lawyer, said the board did not have enough money to hire workers to process absentee ballots.
''They could have asked for money and hired more staff, because they knew in advance they were going to get an avalanche of absentee ballots,'' Mr. Goldfeder said. ''There's nothing magical about that.''
In all, the New York City Board of Elections sent more than 750,000 ballots with prepaid return envelopes, and some 400,000 were mailed back. Postage on prepaid envelopes costs less than a stamp and is charged to the payer only if used.
Prepaid envelopes are not typically postmarked by the post office's sorting systems, though the Postal Service recommends that ballot envelopes use a special bar code to help identify them. Officials say they make every effort to identify ballots and assure a postmark, a critical element in determining if ballots were sent by the Election Day deadline.
That means going so far as to use human ''gatekeepers'' to backstop the Postal Service's massive computerized sorting systems, who pull ballot envelopes out, one at a time, and feed them through a cancellation machine to assure a postmark.
Image The city's Board of Elections sent over 750,000 mail-in ballots, and about 400,000 were returned. Credit... Victor J. Blue for The New York Times But it was far from foolproof: Michael Calabrese, a manager at the Postal Service's Manhattan processing plant, could only confirm that extra gatekeepers were on hand to locate stray ballots on Election Day itself.
Even so, some unmarked ballots got through.
''It's not a 100 percent process,'' he said, under questioning from Judge Analisa Torres of Federal District Court in Manhattan. ''It's not something we could normally do, but in order to capture and read those ballots, we did that.''
The postal agency defended its performance, but also acknowledged that ''some ballots may not have been postmarked.'' It said it would take ''action to resolve the issue going forward.''
''We continue to work with the secretary of state and all New York boards of election and look forward to a successful general election,'' Xavier C. Hernandez, a Postal Service spokesman, said.
Bruce Gyory, a Democratic political consultant, said the state and city needed to drastically increase election staff for November. ''This is logistics,'' Mr. Gyory said. ''It isn't rocket science.''
He added that such steps could make it more difficult for Mr. Trump to cite problems in New York to dispute the results of the general election.
''He is trying to create doubt,'' Mr. Gyory said. ''Because he knows he's going to lose the election if things don't change.''
Jeffery C. Mays, Luis Ferr(C)-Sadurn­ and Emma G. Fitzsimmons contributed reporting.
Updated Aug. 6, 2020
It's Election Day in Tennessee, where voters are picking a Republican candidate to replace Senator Lamar Alexander in a heated primary. Here are 13 women who have been under consideration to be Joe Biden's running mate, and why each might be chosen '-- and might not be. Get an email recapping the day's news Download our mobile app on iOS and Android and turn on Breaking News and Politics alerts
Syria says US 'stealing' oil after American energy firm signs deal with Kurdish rebels '-- RT World News
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:49
The Syrian government has accused the US of ''stealing'' the country's oil reserves, which Washington claimed to be protecting from terrorists. American lawmakers admitted that a deal has been signed with Kurdish rebels.
When President Donald Trump pulled US troops out of Syria last October, it was not the full withdrawal promised in his anti-interventionist campaign speeches. Instead, a contingent was left behind in areas of north Syria controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, ostensibly to protect the region's oilfields from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists.
Also on Covid-19 gives cover for US-led coalition to keep up pressure on Syria However, the Syrian government has accused the US of pilfering the oil for itself. In a statement to the state-controlled SANA News Agency on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry condemned a deal signed between an unnamed American oil firm and the SDF, calling the oil extraction ''stealing'' and the rebels ''a cheap puppet in the hands of the American occupation.''
The ministry added that it would consider the deal ''null and void.''
The government in Damascus has long accused the US of looting Syria's oil reserves. While the troops left behind on the oilfields supposedly stopped the black gold from falling into terrorist hands, sanctions on the Syrian government mean that the US hasn't handed it over to Damascus either. Instead, rumors have circulated that the US quietly sold the oil off to foreign buyers, with Syrian President Bashar Assad accusing America of flogging the oil to Turkey, just as Islamic State and Al-Nusra terrorists did beforehand.
Back stateside, President Trump's assertion that ''I kept the oil'' did little to dispel these rumors.
Also on US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target The deal mentioned by the Foreign Ministry, though, is acknowledged by Washington. In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham said that a deal had been signed to ''modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria.'' Graham asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whether the Trump administration supported the deal, to which Pompeo replied ''we are.''
It is unclear, however, what ''modernization'' entails, and whether or not any oil will leave Syria.
Before its descent into civil war, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil per day, of which 140,000 were exported to buyers including Germany and Italy. The seizure of its oil reserves, coupled with US sanctions on its energy and export industries, have hammered the Syrian economy.
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Shadowy U.S. firm secures deal for Syrian oil
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:37
(C) AP Photo/Hussein Malla A pond of oil at an oil field controlled by a U.S-backed Kurdish group, in Rmeilan, Hassakeh province, Syria. An American company has inked a contract with Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria to develop and export the region's crude oil under a secretive deal approved by the U.S. government months after President Donald Trump announced he was leaving U.S. troops to ''secure the oil,'' multiple people familiar with the project told POLITICO.
The agreement reached by a little-known firm helmed by politically connected ex-military and diplomatic officials has already angered the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which does not recognize the Kurdish authorities as autonomous. The Syrian Foreign Minister called the deal illegal and said it is aimed at ''stealing'' Syria's crude.
The company, Delta Crescent Energy LLC, was incorporated in Delaware in February 2019, according to its business license. Its partners include former U.S. ambassador to Denmark James Cain; James Reese, a former officer in the Army's elite Delta Force; and John P. Dorrier Jr., a former executive at GulfSand Petroleum, a U.K.-based oil company with offices and drilling experience in Syria.
It has been in talks with the Kurds for more than a year but only received a license from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control for the work in April, according to a State Department official and a Syrian source familiar with the discussions. The arrangement is to refine and use some of the oil locally but also export some through northern Iraq and Turkey, they said.
The Treasury Department has multiple sanctions against Syria's oil market. In a March 2019 the Trump administration issued the orders targeting companies that deliver or finance petroleum shipments of Syrian oil on behalf of the country's government. The effort is designed to punish the Assad regime for atrocities committed amid the country's civil war.
However, the Pentagon and State Department have long been working to enable the Syrian Kurds to harness the crude oil in the region, a former Trump administration official told POLITICO. The idea is that revenue from the oil could help the Kurds deal with the dire humanitarian situation in the war-torn country, including overflowing refugee camps from years of civil war, the person said.
''The goal is to get the production back up to where it was before the civil war and sanctions,'' said Ambassadior Cain. ''It was very much our effort to keep the State Department advised - not seeking approval - but wanting to know if this was contrary to American policy interest. Nobody told us no.''
A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which controls the region and is allied with the United States, declined to comment. A Treasury Department spokesperson also declined to discuss the deal on Monday.
"Treasury does not generally comment on or provide details on license applications or specific licenses that have been issued as the information contained within these licensing applications and determinations may be protected by the Privacy Act, the Trade Secrets Act, or other regulations governing OFAC's licensing authorities," the spokesperson said in an email.
The deal first came to light during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was questioned about it by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Pompeo said the administration supports the deal and said it is intended to ''modernize'' the oil fields. ''The deal took a little longer ... than we had hoped, and now we're in implementation,'' he said.
Graham told POLITICO on Monday that the company will brief him this week on its plans.
"I think this company's going to improve the viability of the northern oil fields to make them more productive,'' Graham said. ''Conceptually it makes sense that we should, instead of just writing checks, help people help themselves.''
The State Department is leading the effort under James Jeffrey, United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, and his deputy, Joel Rayburn, the former Trump administration official said.
However, they have sought to keep the deal quiet for fear that Russia, which backs Assad's regime and deploys military and paramilitary forces across the region, might retaliate, both the State Department official and Syrian source said.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the contract but noted that the U.S. government considers requests ''on a case-by-case basis to authorize U.S. persons' involvement in activities that would normally be prohibited.''
''We are not involved in the commercial decisions of our local partners. However, as a general matter, we work to ensure that our sanctions are in line with our foreign policy interests and target the Assad's regime continued violence against the Syrian people,'' the spokesperson said.
''Syrian oil is for the Syrian people and we remain committed to the unity and territorial integrity of Syria," the spokesperson added. "The United States government does not own, control, or manage the oil resources in Syria. The populations in areas liberated from ISIS make their own decisions on local governance.''
Delta Crescent has so far been the only company to receive a license to work in Syria since U.S. military forces all but abandoned the country in October.
Trump at the time ordered only enough troops to stay in the war-ravaged country to allow for ''keeping the oil." The U.S. used residual forces to secure the oil fields in the eastern part of the country and to continue fighting Islamic State militants. The country's oil field were seized by ISIS during the civil war. Years of fighting that forced ISIS to retreat left the production infrastructure devastated, however.
Delta Crescent operates under the protection of the SDF and the U.S. military in northeast Syria, the sources said. The company's plan is to sell the Syrian oil at a low price to various customers in the region, potentially including Assad, Turkish-backed rebels and Iraqi Kurdistan, all of whom could then sell it on the international market for a much higher price, the Syrian source said.
Reese, the former Delta Force soldier was also a founder at North Carolina-based consulting and private security firm TigerSwan.
The company gained notoriety several years ago when North Dakota regulators sued it for providing private security in the state without a license after it sent agents to crack down on protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, operated by a company owned by Trump donor Kelcy Warren.
TigerSwan denied all wrongdoing and the state dropped the case after the company left North Dakota.
Attempts to reach Dorrier were unsuccessful. He left GulfSands in the late 2000s, according to news reports at the time. A GulfSands spokesperson did not reply to emails seeking comment.
Betsy Swan Woodruff contributed to this report.
Video: Report: Taliban allowing Al Qaeda training camps and providing support, despite U.S. agreement to cut all ties (FOX News)
France to set legal age of sexual consent at 15 - BBC News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 02:29
Image copyright AFP Image caption Ms Schiappa told French media the government had decided to set the age of consent at 15 France plans to fix the legal age of sexual consent at 15, meaning sex with someone younger than that would be considered rape.
Equality Minister Marl¨ne Schiappa welcomed the move, which follows advice from doctors and legal experts.
Currently, prosecutors must prove sex with someone under 15 was forced in order to bring rape charges.
The change comes amid uproar over two recent cases of men accused of having sex with 11-year-old girls.
Under the existing legislation, if there is no violence or coercion proved, offenders may only be charged with sexual abuse of a minor and not rape. This has a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of '‚¬75,000 (£66,000; $87,000).
Sentences are the same for sexual assaults of minors and non-minors, but rape convictions carry much harsher punishments.
The government is to approve the new age limit as part of a package of other laws against sexual violence and harassment in the coming weeks.
It had been discussing whether to set the age as 13 or 15, which is what groups fighting violence against children had campaigned for.
Ms Schiappa told AFP news agency that she was "very glad" that the higher age was chosen. The limit is also supported by President Emmanuel Macron.
Minister of Solidarity and Health Agn¨s Buzyn said setting a legal age of sexual consent would allow a "collective awareness" and that everyone would see what was "legal and illegal", Le Figaro newspaper reports (in French).
Image copyright AFP Image caption President Macron has expressed support to setting 15 as the age of consent Last November, a 30-year-old man was acquitted of rape after a court determined his 11-year-old victim had not been subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise".
In another case, a court initially said a 28-year-old man should face charges of sexual assault, and not rape, after saying the victim was not physically forced to have sex.
But the same court reversed its decision last month, saying the accused should indeed face rape charges.
Legislation varies across Europe, with countries setting different legal ages of consent:
14 years old: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal15: Greece, Poland, Sweden16: Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia17: CyprusIn the UK the age of sexual consent is 16, but children under the age of 13 have additional legal protections that declare they can never consent to sexual activity.
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VIDEO-'Masks make us slaves': thousands march in Berlin anti-lockdown protest - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:11
VIDEO-UK: Anti-mask activists descend on London streets - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:10
VIDEO-Los Angeles to cut water and power to homes hosting large gatherings amid pandemic - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:09
VIDEO-33 cases
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:05
VIDEO-Even the Soviet Union couldn't 'emulate' Victoria's prescribed lockdowns - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:00
VIDEO-Cuomo calls on wealthy New Yorkers to come back to the city: 'I'll buy you a drink!' | Fox News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:50
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged wealthy New Yorkers to return to Manhattan as the coronavirus is now ''under control,'' to assist the city with the financial burden caused by the pandemic.
Many New Yorkers fled the city at the height of the pandemic, the wealthy heading to their weekend homes in the Hamptons, upstate or in Connecticut, while others rented homes outside the city '' leaving thousands of apartments across the city empty.
The coronavirus has persisted for six months and is not showing any signs of easing, while a vaccine still seems at least several months away.
''I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, 'You gotta come back, when are you coming back?''' Cuomo said during a press conference earlier this week.
"'We'll go to dinner, I'll buy you a drink, come over I'll cook','' Cuomo said describing his pleas with wealthy New Yorkers.
''They're not coming back right now. And you know what else they're thinking? 'If I stay there, I pay a lower income tax,' because they don't pay the New York City surcharge,'' Cuomo said.
HEALTH CARE WORKER SAYS CORONAVIRUS PPE SHORTAGE FORCED HER TO STAPLE N95 MASK TOGETHER: 'IT CUT MY FACE'The governor has also been fighting back against recent calls to raise taxes on the wealthy to help with the $30 billion deficit the city has incurred from the pandemic '' arguing this will be the nail in the coffin that prompts the wealthy to hold off on returning to the city.
''Our population, one percent of the population [of N.Y.C.] pays 50 percent of the taxes. And they're the most mobile people on the globe,'' Cuomo said.
He urged congress to reject any bill that ''hurts New York again,'' and called on lawmakers to include more financial aid in the upcoming stimulus bill expected to pass through the Senate potentially as soon as this week.
''If they don't make this bill right, frankly, they shouldn't pass it because it will be the last bill,'' Cuomo said.
''Don't vote for the bill,'' he added.
VIDEO-Protest against coronavirus curbs draws crowds in Berlin - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:44
VIDEO-THE TIMELINE - Donald Trump, Q and The Great Awakening - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:40
VIDEO-Germany'²s growing anti-lockdown movement
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:23
Germany is seeing growing protests against the government for its handling of the pandemic. Who are these people and why are they taking to the streets?
It was a curious sight to behold. On August 1, a motley crowd of protesters from across Germany '-- ranging from far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists to supporters of the anti-vaccination movement and followers of esotericism '-- flocked to Berlin to vent their anger at government-imposed restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus. In front of the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate, people shouted "we're the second wave" and "resistance." According to the police, some 20,000 protesters converged on the capital that Saturday.
The event had been organized by a controversial Stuttgart-based organization known to have staged the country's largest anti-coronavirus lockdown protests so far. That day's theme '-- "Tag der Freiheit," or "Day of Freedom" '-- was eerily reminiscent of the title of a 1935 Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl.
Read more: Germany debates curbing freedom of assembly after coronavirus rallies
Shared loathing of the governmentProtester were seen waving Germany's Imperial War Flag, a favorite with far-right extremists and members of the Reichsb¼rger, or Reich Citizens' Movement, both of whom reject Germany's present-day political order. Yet among the crowd were also people waving peace and rainbow flags, as well those with placards reading "Jesus Lives!"
The demonstration also included families, many of whom voiced a vague displeasure with coronavirus-related safety measures adopted by the government, albeit without subscribing to any of the conspiracy theories espoused by others attending the march.
While the protesters evidently hailed from all walks of life and did not share a single worldview, they were united in their loathing of the government's approach to containing COVID-19. Many are also deeply suspicious of the media. A DW journalist covering the event was repeatedly insulted, bullied and urged to remove her face mask.
Read more: Opinion: Germany should not ban protests by coronavirus deniers
Railing against Angela Merkel and Bill GatesIt was clear from some of the protesters' placards that they do not believe the coronavirus exists. Instead, many are convinced the virus is a pretext fabricated by the government to turn Germany into a dictatorship.
Some of the protesters were seen wearing Nazi-era Stars of David on their chests that read "not vaccinated." They were drawing a parallel to Jews in Nazi Germany, casting themselves as a persecuted people living under a dictatorship that imposes "vaccination fascism." Some were seen and heard lambasting Chancellor Angela Merkel, high-profile German virologist Christian Drosten and German Health Minister Jens Spahn as "appeasement politicians."
Many marchers held signs reading "don't give Gates a chance," a riff on a slogan popularized years ago in the fight against AIDS but tweaked to target Microsoft founder Bill Gates. These protesters are convinced that the billionaire tech entrepreneur is out to vaccinate people against their will and plant microchips in their bodies.
Read more: In Germany, vaccine fears spark conspiracy theories
Protesters in Berlin on August 1 carried signs with slogans such as "we are the second wave"
Most of these conspiracy theories originated online. Some have been aggressively promoted by right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists on social media since anti-coronavirus protests began some four months ago. This online campaign partially explains why so many protesters are now taking to the streets, often wearing T-shirts and carrying signs that reference these conspiracy theories.
Who is promoting these theories?Anselm Lenz, a former journalist, organized Germany's first protest march against coronavirus lockdown measures. Lenz, who is associated with the country's political left, claimed the German state had allied itself with pharmaceutical and tech companies to abolish democracy.
A mere 40 people showed up to his protest at Berlin's Rosa Luxemburg square. Just four weeks later, a similar gathering drew a crowd of 1,000 people, with some railing against Bill Gates and what they called a "vaccination dictatorship."
Read more: German conspiracists protest against coronavirus lockdown
Former radio journalist Ken Jebsen was one of the first high-profile figures to join the movement. Jebsen, who was fired from his job in 2011 for anti-Semitic remarks, has since built up a popular YouTube channel and personal website. Some 490,000 followers regularly consume his content. At one of the early protests, Jebsen interviewed Lenz and shared it on his channel. Jebsen has also claimed on YouTube that Bill Gates is manipulating the World Health Organization in order to make money selling a vaccine. That particular clip resonated with Jebsen's supporters and was widely shared online, garnering 3 million views in just one week.
Some 20,000 people turned out in Berlin as part of the "Day of Freedom"
German cookbook author and vegan chef Attila Hildmann similarly suspects Gates of evil machinations. He has become one of the most outspoken critics of coronavirus lockdown measures. After being banned from Instagram for violating its community rules, he began posting content on messenger service Telegram, where he currently has over 68,000 followers. Hildmann deems Gates a Satanist and Merkel a Chinese puppet. He has also urged his followers to violently resist the lockdown if necessary.
Heiko Schrang's worldview is similar to Hildmann's. The conspiracy theorists makes YouTube videos in which he variously decries an alleged manipulation of society through the mainstream media, brands the coronavirus a hoax, or calls on citizens to disregard everything their leaders "up there" tell them.
Resurgent movementMany of these conspiracy theorists have a common enemy: the German state, Bill Gates and a "Zionist global conspiracy." They often refer to one another when promoting their ideas, building on each other's crude theories.
When coronavirus infection rates recently began tapering off, their theories suddenly lost some of their appeal. But now that Germany is seeing a rise in cases once more, and a second lockdown is being considered, the movement is once again growing.
Read more: Is Germany ready for the second coronavirus wave?
Jebsen and Hildmann both livestreamed last Saturday's anti-lockdown protest, praising those in attendance as "freedom fighters." Like other supporters of the movement, they claimed that over 1 million people had gathered in Berlin when in fact, some 20,000 turned out.
A few of those who attended sported T-shirts alluding to a book written by Heiko Schrang, who was celebrated like a pop star at the march. He gave a speech onstage, spurring the thousands of protesters on and promising that liberation from the "coronavirus dictatorship" was near. A video of his speech was viewed over 13,000 times within the first hour of being uploaded.
VIDEO-How tons of ammonium nitrate were stranded in Beirut port for years - CNN
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:16
By Mary Ilyushina and Katie Polglase, CNN
Updated 10:05 PM EDT, Wed August 05, 2020
(CNN) As Lebanon's investigation into the devastating blast in Beirut continues, officials have pointed to a possible cause: A massive shipment of agricultural fertilizer that authorities say was stored in the port of Beirut without safety precautions for years -- despite warnings by local officials.
Documents newly reviewed by CNN reveal that a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian-owned vessel in 2013. The ship, named the MV Rhosus, was destined for Mozambique -- but stopped in Beirut due to financial difficulties that also created unrest with the ship's Russian and Ukrainian crew.
Once it arrived, the ship never left Beirut's port, according Lebanon's Director of Customs, Badri Daher, despite repeated warnings by him and others that the cargo was the equivalent of "a floating bomb."
"Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it," Daher's predecessor, Chafic Merhi, wrote in a 2016 letter addressed to a judge involved in the case.
Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the source of the substance that ultimately exploded in Beirut on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the devastating blast was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. He added that the substance had been stored for six years at the port warehouse without safety measures, "endangering the safety of citizens."
Lebanon's general security chief also said a "highly explosive material" had been confiscated years earlier and stored in the warehouse, which is just a few minutes' walk from Beirut's shopping and nightlife districts. Tuesday's massive explosion, which rocked the capital, left at least 135 dead and 5,000 injured.
On Wednesday, Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad Najd said there are papers and documents dating back to 2014 proving the existence of an exchange of information about the "material" confiscated by Lebanese authorities. She told Jordan's state-owned channel Al Mamlaka that the exchange is being considered in relation to the potential cause of the deadly Beirut blast.
Asked in a telephone interview if there are any early findings in the investigations related to the cause of the explosion, she said, "There are no preliminary results or clarification."
'Floating bomb'In 2013, the MV Rhosus set off from Batumi, Georgia, destined for Mozambique, according to the vessel's path and the account of its captain Boris Prokoshev.
It was carrying 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, an industrial chemical commonly used around the world as a fertilizer -- and in explosives for mining.
The Moldovan-flagged ship stopped in Greece to refuel. That's when the ship's owner told the Russian and Ukrainian sailors that he had run out of money and they would have to pick up additional cargo to cover the travel costs -- which led them on a detour to Beirut.
The vessel was owned by a company called Teto Shipping which members of the crew said was owned by Igor Grechushkin, a Khabarovsk businessman who resided in Cyprus.
Once in Beirut, the MV Rhosus was detained by local port authorities due to "gross violations in operating a vessel," unpaid fees to the port, and complaints filed by the Russian and Ukrainian crew , according to the Seafarers' Union of Russia (affiliated with the International Transport Workers' Federation, or ITF), which represented the Russian sailors, told CNN.
It never resumed its journey.
The sailors had been on the ship for 11 months with few supplies, according to Prokoshev. "I wrote to Putin everyday... Eventually we had to sell the fuel and use the money to hire a lawyer because there was not help, the owner did not even provide us with food or water," Prokoshev said in a radio interview with Echo Moscow on Wednesday.
They would eventually abandon the ship. "According to our information, the Russian crew was later repatriated to their homeland... the salaries were not paid," the union told CNN.
"At the time, on board of the dry cargo ship there were particularly dangerous goods -- ammonium nitrate, which the port authorities of Beirut did not allow to unload or transfer to another ship," it added.
In 2014, Mikhail Voytenko, who runs an online publication tracking maritime activity, described the ship as a "floating bomb."
CNN made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Grechushkin on a Cyprus telephone number.
Unheard warningsAccording to emails exchanged by Prokoshev and a Beirut-based lawyer Charbel Dagher, who represented the crew in Lebanon, the ammonium nitrate was unloaded in Beirut's port by November 2014 and stored in a hangar.
It was then kept in that hangar for six years, despite repeated warnings from the Director of Lebanese Customs, Badri Daher, of the "extreme danger" that the cargo posed.
But public court documents CNN obtained through the prominent Lebanese human rights activist, Wadih Al-Asmar, reveal that Daher and his predecessor, Merhi, turned to Beirut's courts to help dispose of the dangerous goods multiple times from 2014 onwards.
"In our memos 19320/2014 dated 5/12/2014 and 5/6/2015 [...] we requested that your honor order the responsible Port Authorities to re-export Ammonium Nitrate that was taken off the Rhosus ship and placed in Customs hangar number 12 in Beirut port," Daher wrote in 2017.
At points, he even offered to sell the dangerous cargo to the Lebanese army, according to the court documents, but to no avail.
Daher confirmed to CNN earlier on Wednesday that his office sent "a total of six letters to the legal authorities" but that the authorities never responded to any of their letters.
"The Port Authority should not have allowed the ship to offload the chemicals into the port," he said. "The chemicals were originally going to Mozambique, not Lebanon."
On Wednesday, the Director General of Beirut Port Hassan Kraytem told local television channel OTV: "We stored the material in warehouse number 12 at Beirut port in accordance with a court order. We knew that they were dangerous materials, but not to that extent."
Kraytem too said that the issue of removing the explosive material had been brought up by State Security and Customs -- but that the issue had not been "resolved."
"Customs and State Security sent letters [to the authorities] asking to remove or re-export the explosive materials six years ago, and we have been waiting since then for this issue to be resolved, but to no avail," Kraytem said.
Maintenance was conducted on the warehouse door just hours before the blast on Tuesday, he added. "We were asked to fix a door of the warehouse by State Security and we did that at noon, but what occurred in the afternoon I have no idea," he said.
Huge explosion rocks Beirut
The aftermath of a massive explosion is seen in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday, August 5.
Lebanese soldiers search for survivors on Wednesday. Hundreds of people have been reported missing.
Damage is seen inside an apartment on Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.
Debris hangs from a damaged facade.
A woman walks over rubble in her apartment on Wednesday.
An injured man sits next to a restaurant in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood on Wednesday.
Lebanese soldiers search for survivors on Wednesday.
Debris litters the floor of the Lebanese Parliament on Wednesday.
Beirut was declared a "disaster city" by authorities on Wednesday.
A woman looks out of the collapsed facade of a Beirut apartment on Wednesday.
The Beirut neighborhood of Mar Mikhael sits in ruins.
A Lebanese army helicopter flies over Beirut on Wednesday.
A damaged hospital room is seen on Wednesday.
People walk Wednesday along a road littered with debris and abandoned vehicles.
A helicopter fights a fire Tuesday at the scene of the explosion.
A nurse takes care of three babies in a damaged Beirut hospital on Tuesday.
Rescue crews search a street for survivors on Tuesday night. "People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones, and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity," Health Minister Hamad Hassan
told the Reuters news agency. "We are facing a real catastrophe and need time to assess the extent of damages."
A wounded man is helped as he walks through debris following the explosion.
Smoke rises after the blast. This image was obtained from a video on social media.
Lebanese Red Cross officers carry an injured woman on Tuesday night.
A building's facade is shattered after Tuesday's explosion.
Wounded people wait to received help outside a hospital. Emergency wards have been inundated.
An investigation into the explosion was announced by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
People run for cover following the explosion. Bachar Ghattas, an eyewitness, described scenes of chaos: "You can see injured people all over the streets in Beirut, glass all over the place, cars are damaged. It is like an apocalypse."
Injured people sit on a street after the blast.
Lebanese soldiers watch as a helicopter fights a fire at the scene of the explosion.
A man sits near the site of the blast.
Firefighters work at the scene on Tuesday.
A wounded person is carried after the blast.
The explosion was near the port in the Lebanese capital.
Smoke billows following the explosion.
A wounded man walks near the scene.
People gather by damaged buildings after the blast.
Firefighters use a water hose on flaming debris.
Red smoke rises after the explosion, which could be felt for miles. "What I felt was that it was an earthquake," Beirut resident Rania Masri told CNN.
People walk near the scene of the explosion.
A man reacts at the scene soon after the explosion.
Ammonium nitrateAmmonium nitrate has been implicated in deadly industrial explosions in the past, and is known to require careful handling.
"Poorly stored ammonium nitrate is notorious for explosions -- for example in Oppau, Germany; in Galveston Bay, Texas; and more recently at West in Waco, Texas; and Tianjin in China," Andrea Sella, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University College London, told the Science Media Centre.
"This is a catastrophic regulatory failure because regulations on the storage of ammonium nitrate are typically very clear. The idea that such a quantity would have been left unattended for six years beggars belief and was an accident waiting to happen."
Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut's explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. The resulting fire caused an explosion and additional fires that damaged more than 1,000 buildings and killed nearly 400 people, according to the website of the Texas Historical Association.
Previous disasters linked to the chemical have led to improved regulations for its safe storage, Associate Professor Stewart Walker, from the school of Forensic, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told CNN said; such rules mean it tends to be kept away from population centers.
"Both of these things will be questioned in the investigation into the Beirut explosion, because they had such a large amount of ammonium nitrate, which may not have been stored appropriately, and in an area where there is a large number of people," he added.
CNN's Kareem Khadder, Schams Elwazer, Rob Picheta and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this story.
VIDEO-Peter Navarro Cites 'Dilbert' Cartoonist to Prove Experts Wrong on Hydroxy
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:14
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro approvingly cited a pro-Trump cartoonist on Wednesday night to make his case that the White House's public health experts are wrong on controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
Over the past couple of weeks, Trumpworld has re-embraced hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment after a fringe doctor who believes in demon sperm declared in a viral video that the drug can ''cure'' COVID-19. President Donald Trump has doubled down on his support for that doctor, calling her ''spectacular'' and ''very respected.''
At the same time, several experts on the White House coronavirus task force have attempted to push back against the president's promotion of hydroxychloroquine. Coronavirus testing czar Brett Giroir, for instance, said it's time we ''move on'' from the drug after several high-quality studies showed no benefit in treating coronavirus.
During an interview with CNN anchor Erin Burnett, Navarro'--who recently said he took ''exception'' to Giroir's remarks'--continued his unapologetic promotion of the drug as a coronavirus treatment.
Reacting to top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci decrying the death threats his family's received, Navarro insisted his own very public criticism of Fauci played no role in the hostility directed at the doctor.
''Those are fair policy disputes,'' he shouted after Burnett brought up his op-ed where he claimed Fauci has ''been wrong on everything'' surrounding coronavirus, including hydroxychloroquine.
''Tony is a great guy, right?'' Navarro continued. ''There's just disagreements. And on things like, for example, hydroxychloroquine, he has a strong point of view. There's as many doctors on the other side.''
Arguing that there are many more experts who say hydroxychloroquine is not effective, Burnett added: ''Peter, first of all, you're an economist, not a scientist.''
After the CNN anchor cited Fauci's and Dr. Deborah Birx's recent dismissals of hydroxychloroquine and pointed out that there are five peer-reviewed studies that show the drug's lack of efficacy, Navarro countered with a comic strip artist's opinion.
''All right. Let me say this to you, okay?'' Navarro exclaimed. ''I reach out to all your viewers. Scott Adams'--you know Scott Adams, right? He's the guy who wrote the Dilbert cartoon. He did a beautiful ten-minute video on Twitter, and the thesis of the video is that CNN might be killing thousands because of the way they've treated that. So, I would just ask'--I'll let Scott Adams' video be my defense on this.''
The video that Navarro referenced shows the Trump-boosting cartoonist pointing to a bunch of whiteboards while accusing CNN of killing tens of thousands of people because of their ''dangerous'' reporting on the drug.
Burnett was not so impressed with Navarro's counterargument.
''Can I just say something? I find that to be offensive because he's a comic strip writer,'' she fumed.''I just said that because I want to be clear. I just said Dr. Fauci, Dr. Brett Giroir, and Dr. Deborah Birx.''
Navarro, meanwhile, contended that Birx had not ''come out against hydroxychloroquine,'' prompting Burnett to play a clip of Birx saying that there's ''no evidence that the drug improves those patients' outcomes, whether they have mild-to-moderate disease or whether they're seriously ill in the hospital.''
The Trump aide, meanwhile, seemingly revealed the real reason he's so intent on pushing the drug even while the FDA has revoked its emergency use for coronavirus treatment.
''Let me tell you why I got involved with this,'' he barked. ''I got involved with this because as a Defense Production Act coordinator I'm literally sitting on 63 million tablets, 63 million tablets, of hydroxychloroquine that would help possibly four million Americans stay alive. And so I've got that stake in the game.''
VIDEO-Oprah Hosts White Guilt Session: 'Whiteness Gives You an Advantage No Matter What' '' True Pundit
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:13
Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey declared in an episode of her eponymous series, The Oprah Conversation that ''whiteness'' and ''white privilege'' afford unspecified benefits to white people in the ''caste system'' of America.
In an episode entitled ''Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: Part 1'' '-- featuring former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho and drawing its name from Acho's YouTube series of the same name '-- Oprah Winfrey invited several white people to discuss ''racism,'' ''white privilege,'' and ''whiteness.'' Oprah praised her white guests for accusing themselves of being ''racist.''
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Oprah said: There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people '-- the caste system that's been put in place '-- but they still, no matter where they are on the rung, or the ladder of success, they still have their whiteness.
leg up. You still have your whiteness. That's what the term ''white privilege'' is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter.
VIDEO-Dr. Simone Gold on Twitter: "There is a financial incentive for hydroxychloroquine to be discredited as an effective treatment for Covid-19. If hydroxychloroquine was labeled as a first line treatment, emergency use authorization for competing produ
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:10
Dr. Simone Gold : There is a financial incentive for hydroxychloroquine to be discredited as an effective treatment for Covid-19.If'...
Wed Aug 05 21:39:16 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Joe Biden on Twitter: "There's been a lot of talk about my vetting process lately. Here's an inside look:" / Twitter
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:03
Joe Biden : There's been a lot of talk about my vetting process lately. Here's an inside look:
Wed Aug 05 20:40:00 +0000 2020
JZ : @JoeBiden 2021
Thu Aug 06 04:02:51 +0000 2020
Exquirentibus : @JoeBiden He's only driving on his own driveway.
Thu Aug 06 04:02:38 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Dr. Urso on Twitter: "HCQ is super safe and has preventative effects. Here's the data." / Twitter
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 03:59
Dr. Urso : HCQ is super safe and has preventative effects. Here's the data.
Thu Aug 06 03:33:00 +0000 2020
Michael : @richardursomd @this_vid
Thu Aug 06 03:58:17 +0000 2020
sfrohne : @richardursomd Fantastic
Thu Aug 06 03:58:10 +0000 2020
Himalayas2020 : @richardursomd
Thu Aug 06 03:57:50 +0000 2020
deoccult : @richardursomd why does Fauci want more people to die @realDonaldTrump?
Thu Aug 06 03:57:12 +0000 2020
Capt. JAG : @richardursomd @ThomasMArmstro2 I believe it Dr. Urso, except the Dr. never mentioned it's proven serious side effe'...
Thu Aug 06 03:56:55 +0000 2020
Harv : @richardursomd
Thu Aug 06 03:55:10 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Los Angeles to cut water and power to homes hosting large gatherings amid pandemic - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 03:28
VIDEO-Bleacher Report on Twitter: "Dream and Mercury players are wearing ''Vote Warnock'' shirts to their game today. Raphael Warnock is running against Kelly Loeffler for Senate. Loeffler is a co-owner of the Dream and said she opposes the Black Lives
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 22:30
Bleacher Report : Dream and Mercury players are wearing ''Vote Warnock'' shirts to their game today.Raphael Warnock is running agains'...
Tue Aug 04 22:06:56 +0000 2020
VIDEO-CDC expects 2020 outbreak of life-threatening AFM in children - ABC News
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 22:20
Acute flaccid myelitis "is a medical emergency ..."
August 5, 2020, 12:00 PM
7 min read
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a call to action to warn of a potential outbreak between the end of this summer and winter of a rare, but potentially lethal disease that affects young children, where seeking medical attention right away could make all the difference.
Acute flaccid myelitis "is a medical emergency that requires immediate recognition and care," urged CDC director Robert Redfield, on a conference call with the media Tuesday.
AFM is a rare, rapid onset neurological disease affecting the spinal cord leading to paralysis. Symptoms of AFM include sudden arm or leg weakness, difficulty walking, limb pain, back pain or neck pain. AFM can cause paralysis over the course of hours to days, which may require a ventilator for breathing.
It most commonly affects young children. Parents are being asked to seek medical care immediately if a child develops a sudden arm or leg weakness.
Most children with AFM will have a fever or respiratory illness about six days before weakness occurs. For this reason, AFM has been associated with viruses, and specifically one called Enterovirus D68.
But why some children get AFM and some don't isn't yet clear.
An AFM infographic.
An AFM infographic.
CDC"We've learned a lot, but we have a lot to learn about AFM ... We are working at CDC and collaborating with the NIH on a couple of prospective large studies, which will help us better understand risk factors for AFM," said Redfield.
The CDC began tracking cases of AFM in 2014 and a wave of cases has occurred every other year since then. In 2018, the US experienced the third and largest outbreak of AFM with 238 cases in 42 states between August and November.
The average age was just 5 years old.
At least 98% of those children were hospitalized, and over half were admitted to the intensive care unit, while 20% required a ventilator to breathe.
And while most parents sought medical attention within one day of developing AFM symptoms, a concerning 10% were not hospitalized after four days of weakness.
While many children will recover to their usual state of health after AFM, unfortunately, many kids will have permanent disability.
"Early and aggressive physical therapy and occupational therapy can help strengthen the functioning they will retain and go about their lives with the best functioning possible," said Dr. Thomas Clark, a pediatrician and CDC deputy director of the division of viral diseases.
With the 2020 peak season looming, AFM is a priority for CDC as it prepares for an outbreak this year.
"As a parent and a grandparent my heart goes out to the families affected by AFM," Redfield said.
Parents should look out for any sudden weakness of the arms or legs in addition to pain in these areas, the neck or the back. If your child recently had a viral cold or fever, this should heighten your suspicion for AFM.
Clark urged pediatricians and other health care providers to "consider and properly recognize [AFM], hospitalize immediately, take specimens as soon as possible and report [the case] to local health authorities."
If suspecting AFM, health care providers should order an MRI in order to distinguish AFM from other neurological conditions.
Paramedic Randy Lilly, wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), tends to a 10-month-old boy with fever while riding by ambulance with the infant's mother to Stamford Hospital, April 4, 2020, in Stamford, Conn.
Paramedic Randy Lilly, wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), tends to a 10-month-old boy with fever while riding by ambulance with the infant's mother to Stamford Hospital, April 4, 2020, in Stamford, Conn.
John Moore/Getty Images"It's vital that all health care providers maintain a high index of suspicion for AFM in children with acute limb weakness or neck or back pain that develops after an upper respiratory illness from late summer through fall," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an Emergency Physician at Lenox Hill in New York City.
"We expect that AFM will likely have another peak in 2020. That said, it's still unclear if or how COVID-19's recommended social distancing measures and attention to mask wearing and hand hygiene will impact how much enterovirus we end up seeing, along with cases of AFM," Glatter said.
The same hygiene precautions for COVID-19 apply to viruses that cause AFM.
As some of the symptoms of COVID-19 may overlap with AFM, parents should be on high alert this season.
Non-COVID-19 emergency room visits dropped off sharply in 2020 due to fear of COVID-19. If this trend continues, parents need to know that time is critical and potentially lifesaving with AFM, so even in the age of COVID-19 seek medical attention immediately if your child has sudden numbness in their arms or legs.
"We are concerned in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that cases [of AFM] might not be recognized or that parents might be concerned about taking their kids to the doctor," Clark said.
Molly Stout, M.D. is a dermatology resident at Northwestern in Chicago and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.
VIDEO-2hrs05mins-Sally Yates testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 22:03
VIDEO-errol barnett on Twitter: "''Why the hell would I take a test?'' @JoeBiden scoffs at idea of taking a cognitive test. Suggests @realDonaldTrump ''can't figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion.'' Full interview at @NABJ @NAHJ v
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:39
errol barnett : ''Why the hell would I take a test?''@JoeBiden scoffs at idea of taking a cognitive test.Suggests'...
Wed Aug 05 09:18:48 +0000 2020
ComeOnFeelTheNoise : @errolbarnett @CBSNews @JoeBiden @realDonaldTrump @NABJ @NAHJ Yosemite.
Wed Aug 05 18:38:22 +0000 2020
🎠Just Saying : @errolbarnett @JoeBiden @realDonaldTrump @NABJ @NAHJ @CBSNews Errol: Do you still support Biden?How do you feel a'...
Wed Aug 05 18:38:13 +0000 2020
berningman2020 ðŸ...º : @errolbarnett @SovernNation @JoeBiden @realDonaldTrump @NABJ @NAHJ @CBSNews So unusual to see a reporter actually q'...
Wed Aug 05 18:36:43 +0000 2020
angel snow : @errolbarnett @JoeBiden @realDonaldTrump @NABJ @NAHJ @CBSNews Omg ðŸ"
Wed Aug 05 18:35:37 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Moderna has $400 million in deposits for Covid-19 vaccine - CNN
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:40
By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
Updated 11:41 AM EDT, Wed August 05, 2020
New York(CNN Business) Moderna, one of the companies working on a treatment for Covid-19, said Wednesday that it's on track to finish enrollment for a phase 3 study of its vaccine by the end of September.
The biotech, which has received funding from the United States' Operation Warp Speed program, also said it had about $400 million of customer deposits for a potential supply of its mRNA-1273 vaccine.
Moderna made the announcement in its earnings release Wednesday morning. The company posted a loss that was smaller than expected but revenue that topped forecasts.
Shares of Moderna ( MRNA ) fell about 4% on the news, but the stock has soared nearly 300% this year on hopes that it will be able to develop a successful coronavirus vaccine. The company has also come under scrutiny from some investors as several insiders have sold stock as it has surged.
People have also been closely watching to see what drug companies plan to charge for treatments after biotech Gilead Sciences ( GILD ) revealed in June that its remdesivir drug would cost $520 a vial, or $3,120 for a five-day course of six vials, for people covered by private heath insurance plans.
But Moderna CEO St(C)phane Bancel vowed during a conference call with analysts that its vaccine would be affordable.
"We are working with governments around the world and others to ensure the vaccine is accessible regardless of ability to pay. And we will be responsible on price...during the pandemic," Bancel said, adding that deals for smaller amounts of the vaccine have so far cost between $32 and $37 per dose and that Moderna would charge lower prices for higher volumes of mRNA-1273.
Moderna is just one of several companies racing to come up with a vaccine. Shares of another smaller biotech, Novavax ( NVAX ) , soared nearly 15% Wednesday after it announced promising clinical trial results of its own. Novavax shares are up more than 4,000% this year.
Novavax has also received Operation Warp Speed funding, as have giant drug companies Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) , AstraZeneca ( AZN ) , GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK ) and a joint trial of Big Pharma giant Pfizer ( PFE ) and Germany's BioNTech ( BNTX ) .
VIDEO-Yates: Comey went 'rogue' with Flynn interview | Fox News
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:39
Published August 05, 2020
Last Update an hour ago
Yates defended the investigation, but took issue with how Comey handled itFormer Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that when the FBI interviewed then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in January 2017, it was done without her authorization, and that she was upset when she found out about it.
Committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Yates about the circumstances surrounding the interview, particularly the actions of then-FBI Director James Comey.
"I was upset that Director Comey didn't coordinate that with us and acted unilaterally," Yates said.
"Did Comey go rogue?" Graham asked.
"You could use that term, yes," Yates agreed.
Yates said she also took issue with Comey for not telling her that Flynn's communications with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were being investigated and that she first learned about this from President Barack Obama during an Oval Office meeting. Yates said she was "irritated" with Comey for not telling her about this earlier.
That meeting, which took place on Jan. 5, 2017, was of great interest to Graham, who wanted to know why Obama knew about Flynn's conversations before she did. Graham and other Republicans have speculated that Obama wanted Flynn investigated for nefarious purposes. Yates claimed that this was not the case, and explained why Obama was aware of the calls at the time.
Yates said that after Obama placed sanctions on Russia, the Kremlin vowed to take retaliatory action, only to suddenly change course. She said Obama wanted to find out why, which led to the Justice Department discovering Flynn's talks with Kislyak.
Those discussions included a conversation about sanctions that Obama had placed on Russia, with Flynn encouraging Russia not to retaliate too harshly because the incoming Trump administration would be different from Obama's.
"The purpose of this meeting was for the president to find out whether '' based on the calls between Ambassador Kislyak and Gen. Flynn '' the transition team needed to be careful about what it was sharing with Gen. Flynn," Yates said, noting that the meeting was not about influencing an investigation, which "would have set off alarms for me."
Handwritten notes from then-FBI agent Peter Strzok indicated that Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time, may have mentioned the Logan Act at the Jan. 5 meeting. The Logan Act is a 1799 law that prohibits unauthorized American citizens from communicating with foreign governments or officials "in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States." It has never been used to successfully prosecute anyone.
When asked if Biden mentioned the Logan Act, Yates said she could not recall. She did say that Comey spoke about the Logan Act, but that she did not remember if he said this during the Oval Office meeting or in a conversation afterward.
Speaking further on the Flynn investigation, Yates said she supported the probe. She also supported Flynn's prosecution for providing false statements to the FBI, stating that Flynn's lies were "absolutely material" to the investigation. She said that the Justice Department's decision to dismiss Flynn's case was "highly irregular," and that in her nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor she had "never seen" anything like it.
VIDEO-Andy Ngo Speaks at Congress About Antifa - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:52
VIDEO-12mins-A Conversation with Ayanna Pressley - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:35
VIDEO-The 7th Sign, The Trumpet Is Blown 2020 Hell On Earth - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:29
VIDEO-Violent attacker of two gay men in Calgary IDENTIFIED by Rebel News - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:23
VIDEO-Arkansas man plants mysterious seeds from China |
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 14:55
The U.S Department of Agriculture is warning people to watch out for unsolicited packages of seeds shipped from China.
BOONEVILLE, Ark. '-- The U.S Department of Agriculture is warning people to watch out for unsolicited packages of seeds shipped from China.
Experts are concerned the seeds could be an invasive species and are warning people not to plant them.
Before word got out, a man in Booneville planted the seeds and they've been growing in his garden for two months. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is unsure what kind of plant it is and plans to remove it.
"We brought them down here and planted the seeds just to see what would happen, every two weeks I'd come by and put miracle grow on it and they just started growing like crazy," said Doyle Crenshaw.
Experts are unsure what this plant really is, but the concern is it turning out to be an invasive species, which could hurt local agriculture.
"Our concern is from an invasive pest aspect, these seeds could introduce an invasive weed, or an invasive insect pest or a plant disease," Scott Bray with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture told 5NEWS.
The plant has a large white fruit and orange flowers, much resembling a squash plant.
"The package said it was from China and said "studded earrings" on the outside, and we thought that was a little odd," Crenshaw said.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is removing the plant from Crenshaw's property for further study.
If you receive these seeds, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture says to place them in a sealed package and give them a call to pick them up. More information can be found on their website.
VIDEO-Israel Defense Forces on Twitter: "#Hezbollah has a long history of covering up inconvenient truths and then parading foreign officials around. Maybe this time ask why missile workshop located so close to int'l #airport in heart of #Beirut? #maybe
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 11:57
Israel Defense Forces : #Hezbollah has a long history of covering up inconvenient truths and then parading foreign officials around. Maybe'...
Mon Oct 01 12:08:51 +0000 2018
UPDATE: Al-Hadeth News Says MASSIVE Beirut Explosion Was Warehouse for Iranian Missiles to Hezbollah -- INSANE VIDEO!
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:15
A MASSIVE explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday.As reported earlier by Cristina Laila The National News Agency reported that the explosion was at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port.
A Powerful explosion has occured in Beirut. It's not yet clear what caused the blast. #Beirut
'-- Sputnik Insight (@Sputnik_Insight) August 4, 2020
TRENDING: Teen Activist Who Rallied to Defund Police and Remove Police from Schools Is Shot Dead in Chicago
But now there are conflicting reports including a report at Al-Hadeth that claims the massive explosion was a Hezbollah warehouse in Beirut for missiles from Iran.Al-Hadeth from Jordan reported (translated):
Security sources said two explosions occurred in Beirut, leaving one wounded. The Lebanese Minister of Health also confirmed that a large number of people were injured.
The site of the accident was reportedly inside the Port of Beirut, specifically Ward 12, a warehouse for explosives.
The massive explosion damaged the glass of buildings in most parts of Beirut, and injured hundreds of people.
Possible causes of Beirut explosion:
' Firecrackers exploded due to large and negligible production ( Al Jazeera) ' The warehouse was stored with benzene ( Al Mayeeden) ' A Hezbollah missile store was targeted near the Beirut port (Al Hadath)
'-- Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 4, 2020
Hundreds reportedly injured. No glass left on buildings in most of the city. Damage extensive & widespread.
Thoughts with the people on the ground.#Beirut #Lebanon
'-- Firas Maksad (@FirasMaksad) August 4, 2020
Look at this video at the 10 second mark!!!Those aren't fireworks!
BREAKING: Massive explosion rocks Beirut; reports of many injured
'-- BNO News (@BNONews) August 4, 2020
VIDEO-Poilievre grills Morneau over explanation on WE controversy : "You expect us to believe that?" - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:05
VIDEO-Bodycam footage shows new details of George Floyd's arrest - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 03:02
VIDEO-Trump fires Tennessee Valley Authority chair over compensation, outsourcing
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 02:53
WASHINGTON '-- President Donald Trump said Monday that he had fired the chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority, saying the executive was getting paid too much and was hiring foreign workers.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he was formally removing the authority's chair of the board and another member of the board, and he threatened to remove other board members if they keep hiring foreign labor.
The TVA is a federally owned corporation created in 1933 to provide flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region that was hard hit by the Great Depression. The region covers most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky as well as small sections of Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
He said the TVA board must immediately hire a new chief executive officer who ''puts the interests of Americans first.'' According to Trump, the CEO earns $8 million a year.
''The new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year,'' Trump said. ''We want the TVA to take action on this immediately. ... Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: 'You're fired.'''
U.S. Tech Workers, a nonprofit that wants to limit visas given to foreign technology workers, took out an ad to persuade Trump to stop the TVA from outsourcing much of its information technology division. The group, led by Kevin Lynn, criticized the TVA for furloughing its own workers and replacing them with contractors using foreign workers with H-1B visas.
Trump made the announcement as he signed an executive order to require all federal agencies to complete an internal audit to prove they are not replacing qualified American workers with people from other countries. The White House said the order will help prevent federal agencies from unfairly replacing American workers with lower cost foreign labor.
RelatedThe order followed the TVA's announcement that it would outsource 20% of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries. TVA's action could cause more than 200 highly skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs to foreign workers hired on temporary work visas, according to the White House.
But Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said the TVA doesn't get any taxpayer money. Commenting on the issue in April, Alexander said the White House was spreading misinformation. He said that TVA chief executive officers' pay is lower than other large utilities and that TVA energy rates are among the lowest in the nation.
VIDEO-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Unloads on Chinese Communist Party on Sunday Morning Futures - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:56
VIDEO-Who Will Be Next in the Cancel Culture Movement? | Larry Elder - YouTube
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:22
VIDEO-'Nobody believes you': Poilievre grills Trudeau as he testifies over WE Charity controversy - YouTube
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 22:51
VIDEO-Ice Cube on Twitter: "" / Twitter
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:49
Ice Cube :
Mon Aug 03 21:09:25 +0000 2020
Mack P : @icecube Cube
Tue Aug 04 16:47:26 +0000 2020
TUFF LOVE : @icecube It's going to take a major change in the Black Communities to make this change, number one we need to inve'...
Tue Aug 04 16:47:01 +0000 2020
Angalator : @icecube I would like to know what you REALLY MEAN!!! Talk about beating around the bush. You are a rich rich man,'...
Tue Aug 04 16:46:43 +0000 2020
CHRISTEN CHIVES PARLER @gumball : @icecube Yes we love America,,,were Americans,
Tue Aug 04 16:45:21 +0000 2020 : @icecube I have the same triforce mole formation forming on the right side of my face too
Tue Aug 04 16:44:41 +0000 2020
Bone : @icecube Luv you bro. But i cant vote for trump. He let you know off the top he got nothing for us black ppl. Cha'...
Tue Aug 04 16:44:06 +0000 2020
Angalator : @icecube I used to respect you Ice. But what I am hearing is BS! Where I live the black folks work and play right a'...
Tue Aug 04 16:43:58 +0000 2020
Yakob Israel : @icecube we DONT VOTE; ITS A COMMANDMENT FROM GOD! DEUTERONOMY 17:15Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee,'...
Tue Aug 04 16:43:10 +0000 2020
Y.C.K - YUNG CITY KIDS' : @icecube All hands-on deck🎯ðŸ'¯
Tue Aug 04 16:42:27 +0000 2020
AC_Classof86 : @icecube Us Blacks are Wlecome to Trumps Country Club. We All Invited🇺🇸ðŸŽðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ðŸŽðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ Get Off the Democrat PlantationðŸ¤--ðŸ¤--ðŸ¤--'...
Tue Aug 04 16:41:14 +0000 2020
VIDEO-TikTok Microsoft deal: State media says China could retaliate
Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:46
Published Tue, Aug 4 2020 1:14 AM EDT
Updated 4 hours ago
A Facebook iconShare by facebookA Twitter iconShare by twitterA LinkedIn iconShare by linkedinAn email iconShare by email
Chinese state media labeled the U.S. a "rogue country" and dubbed the potential sale of social media firm TikTok to Microsoft as "theft."State-backed China Daily said Beijing "has plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab" of TikTok.President Donald Trump gave the green light for Microsoft to pursue a partial acquisition of TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. Chinese state media labeled the U.S. a "rogue country" and dubbed the potential sale of social media firm TikTok to Microsoft as "theft," adding that Beijing could retaliate if a deal is sealed.
Microsoft ann